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Japan nuclear scare: renewable energy as viable solution discussed at T&D Europe in Copenhagen next week

Can renewables replace nuclear power generation? Is the power infrastructure ready to support the change?  Are governments and energy companies willing to invest in renewable integration infrastructure?  Many of these questions will be addressed by the high-level energy experts converging on Copenhagen next week for the annual Transmission & Distribution Europe and Smart Grids Europe at what is the leading utility forum on the continent.

Volatility and risks of nuclear power
Aida Mezit, project director of Transmission & Distribution Europe says the recent damage to nuclear plants and resultant leaks in Japan have brought home harsh realities of nuclear power generation and more than highlighted its volatility and risks.  She continues:  “the energy community and governments around the world are now posed with the question of the future of nuclear power and viable alternatives to it.”  She says many proponents of green energy see this as a chance for renewables to step up from the sidelines in the energy production.  

Aida Mezit adds:  “many discussions in Copenhagen next week will focus on whether the large scale renewables (tidal, offshore wind and solar) are in fact ready to take on the role nuclear power has held for the last 40 years and what investments and innovations are needed  to adapt the ageing and rigid transmission infrastructure to meet new complex demands?”

The project director of Transmission & Distribution Europe notes:  “Controversially, there has also been a recent backlash against renewable energy in some European countries, as it is to a large extent subsidised by governments, and thus viewed as expensive and in its current form financially non-viable.  Until we create an adequate infrastructure and capacity to transport renewables across large geographical regions as well as store the generated energy, the renewable generation will continue to be deemed inefficient and expensive. “

Danes leaders on green issues
“Denmark is the perfect setting for this unique platform”, says Aida Mezit, “because the Danes are leaders on green issues such as energy conservation and integration of renewables.  Both the local utilities with their advanced smart-grid rollouts and government with their carbon reduction targets and regulations are pushing for new ways to synergise the energy supply system.”
More than 30 utilities from all over Europe, as well as the USA, South Africa, Japan and Australia, will share their experiences and report back on projects, including a strong Danish delegation.

The presentations of the following speakers are expected to lead to lively debate on the issue of renewable and nuclear energy:

  • Toru Hattori, Senior Research Economist, Central Research Institute of Electric Power Industry (CRIEPI), Japan (he will address nuclear power and alternatives)
  • Eoin Kennedy, Senior Power System Analyst, EirGrid, Ireland
  • Christoph Gatzen, Economist, Frontier Economics, Germany
  • Wilhelm Winter, Project Manager Grid Studies, TenneT TSO Germany and Consortium Member,  DENA 2, Germany
  • John Hodemaekers, Head of Innovation department, Stedin Netbeheer, The Netherlands

Event dates and location:  12-14 April 2011 at the Bella Center, Center Boulevard, Copenhagen.
Event website:  www.td-europe.eu

For media enquiries and interview requests:
Communications manager:  Annemarie Roodbol
Tel:  +27 21 700-3558
Fax:  +27 21 700-3551
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