By Pascal Schweitzer, General Manager of Power Services in Europe
As the COP22 climate summit kicks off this week in Morocco, the world is expecting concrete action to deliver on the breakthroughs achieved at last year’s Paris summit. And in Europe we have an incredible opportunity to lead this new energy era.
It is already clear that Europe’s future will be powered in a profoundly different way. The goals are set: 20% cut in greenhouse gas emissions, 20% improvement in energy efficiency, and 20% of renewables in Europe’s energy consumption by 2020.
On top of that, digitalization is radically changing the face of our industry. Today’s devices are connected - from large wind farms to small refrigerators - and this is growing every day. Analysts estimate that more than 50 billion assets will be connected to the Internet by 2020. In the very near future, machines and data will be key assets in driving business growth.
Europe’s energy infrastructure is not ready everywhere to meet these challenges. Too much of our infrastructure is old - the average age of a power plant ranges from 30 to 40 years. The system badly needs modernization if it is to deliver its economic potential and help meet the climate targets. The scale and speed of the change to meet this challenge can be unsettling. Traditional power generation business models are being disrupted and are under threat from poor profitability and competition.
The good news is with the latest available technologies, the performance of these existing assets can be improved dramatically.
Last week, GE brought together many of its key European power generation customers in Munich to discuss the outlook for the industry. And a quote cited during the discussions from Albert Einstein captured for me the essence of the challenge brilliantly: “We can’t solve our problems by using the same type of thinking that created them.”
Uncertain times demand bold moves. GE has made such a move a year ago when combining forces with Alstom to create a cutting-edge organization by uniting two giants in the power service industry. We understood that our customers need a new kind of services partner to help address the region’s challenges. A partner that is able to provide solutions at the total plant level. A partner that is able to offer innovative new technologies and improve the way traditional power services are performed. A service partner that can work across different technologies, leverage digital, be creative commercially and has right mindset. GE’s new Power Services business is exactly this partner.
With this combined portfolio, we launched our Fleet360* - Total Plant Services Solutions, built entirely around our customers’ business models and needs.
This “total plant solutions” portfolio is a major step in our journey to becoming a technology-agnostic, one-stop services provider for power plant operators. No matter how complex the plant is, every solution we build with our customers considers the plant’s entire systemic operations.
And we’re delivering for customers throughout Europe – helping them to improve power generation. In Italy we helped A2A generate more power with less fuel, with lower emissions and costs. In Czech Republic, we completed advanced boiler modernization projects at ČEZ Group’s coal-fired plants to reduce the plants’ nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions by 60% and meet EU emissions standards. Most recently, in Croatia we agreed with HEP to modernize the only coal-fired power plant in the country to increase its efficiency by 3.6%.
We are driven by passion to power Europe
We do more than just help our customers provide power. We share the same mission and passion: to power Europe. Our teams have varied and complementary profiles, all driven to find the best solutions for the energy sector, both for today and tomorrow. Every day, across the spectrum, we are on the ground to customize and share solutions to service the full European energy mix.
I am convinced that Power Services in Europe stands together with its customers at the threshold of the next energy technology wave. We have the passion, expertise and entrepreneurial spirit to breathe new life into the aging infrastructure, and turn change into opportunity. Together we are building the bridge to the future of energy in Europe.