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Europe moving from coal and gas to renewables, says industry expert

European energy companies are increasingly investing in renewables rather than coal and gas, Gérard Mestrallet, chief executive of power company Engie, told the Financial Times21 May 2015

Coal and gas power generation is uneconomic for European suppliers, Mestrallet said.

"“The choice we have made is very clear. We have stopped investing — and so did the others by the way — in thermal power generation in Europe and we are investing in renewables," he told the newspaper.

In emerging markets, however, coal and gas remains strong and Engie continues to build big power plants in Brazil, Chile, Peru, the Middle East and Asia, Mestrallet said.

Engie was formerly known as GDF Suez, changed its name last month to reflect its increasing involvement in renewables.

"The energy transition has become a global movement, characterised by decarbonisation and the development of renewable energy sources," it said in a statement at the time.

Mestrallet spoke to the Financial Times at a business and climate change conference in Paris, where many delegates echoed his sentiments, the paper said.

Daniel Benes, chairman of European energy group CEZ, said that the need to diversify its portfolio and bolster energy security and sources means CEZ now plans to be zero emission by 2050, the report said.

"Coal power plants will still have their place in power generation in the near future," Benes, said. but it was clear that in the long term this had to change.

This week, the The European Investment Bank (EIB) approved more than €8 billion ($9 billion) of financing for 21 renewable energy and infrastructure projects.