Accelerating the energy transition through partnership and innovationNov 15, 2021 by Energy Connects
Christian Bruch, President and CEO and CSO of Siemens Energy, talks to Energy Connects on how we can leverage global events like ADIPEC to build partnerships, accelerate innovation, and amplify the decarbonisation journey.
We are gathering at ADIPEC at a time that marks a critical turning-point for humanity. The energy sector has a fundamental role in combating climate change, and events like ADIPEC are crucial for driving the energy transition forward. They create platforms for important exchanges of ideas, shaping partnerships, and celebrating shared successes.
It is time to act. The world is at a tipping point. The pledges made at COP26 are crucial to tackling climate change and facilitating the energy transition to a lower-carbon economy. But we’re already behind schedule, and taking action now is instrumental.
The targets we have seen and the commitments we've made will require significant and lasting changes in the energy industry. Many companies, including Siemens Energy, have committed to becoming carbon-neutral in their own operations by 2030. More than 130 countries have committed to net-zero targets by 2050, including countries in this region, the UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Bahrain. But to achieve carbon-neutrality, we all need to do more than just set mid-century goals. It's time to declare exactly what we want to achieve in one year, in five years, in ten years – and how we're going to achieve it.
Here and now, we need to apply every available technology that can help reduce carbon emissions. Every ton of CO2 that we eliminate will help across the entire value chain. Fossil fuels also have a role to play in the energy transition. Used intelligently – and alongside the steadily expanding utilisation of climate-neutral alternatives – they’ll build a bridge to a sustainable energy system. This approach can keep power plants and their associated installations from becoming the stranded assets of tomorrow. Our hydrogen-compatible gas turbines are a prime example. Our customers are investing in highly efficient gas-fired power plants that can also be operated with hydrogen. This creates security of investment and at the same time makes a massive contribution to reducing CO2 emissions.
The transition won’t happen overnight. And it will cost money – but that shouldn’t keep us from doing everything we can today. Debates about the color of hydrogen or whether new gas-fired power plants make sense are wasting time we don’t have and distracting us from what we need to do. That’s just a fact. Let’s act together right now.
Governments also need to take the initiative. We need clarity on boundary conditions to act today. Governmental support – in the form of global economic programs and legally binding quotas and CO2 prices – will be important for stimulating new technologies. But in the long run, this support can’t be a substitute for private investment. Instead of hyperregulation and government micromanagement, policymakers should establish a framework with clear goals and incentives – a framework in which the best ideas and the most innovative and efficient technologies and business models can prevail.
In addition, we need to develop and scale future technologies and make them affordable. To realize this we need innovations to balance the supply, distribution, and demand sides of a successful, sustainable energy system.
The key to the energy transition lies in innovation and strong partnerships: not just developing new technologies, but innovative multilateral collaborations across the private and public sectors. We can’t make the energy transition a success alone, which is why we’ve created a global structure to consistently drive innovation. This includes our Innovation Centers in Germany, US, UAE and China that enable us to maintain an open and dynamic ecosystem with customers, industry partners, universities, and research institutions. We’ve also entered into a large number of cooperation agreements. And we’re leveraging the innovative strength of start-ups through our company incubator. This creates space for projects to develop through an entrepreneurial approach and connects innovative ideas from within Siemens Energy to the world outside.
In short: Developing innovations will need partnerships. We need methods that are faster and more cost-efficient and that extend beyond a single company’s capabilities. With the help of these and many other collaborations, we’re actively engaging with global innovation networks to solve energy transition problems and accelerate and scale ideas profitably under real-world conditions. Let’s start working together today to develop the energy of tomorrow.