Power-Gen: Change is in the Air

As recently as a few years ago, renewables were not treated with much respect at power conferences. Today, most of the major energy companies are formulating strategies to make clean energy an important part of their business.

That change is evident here in Cologne, Germany, where energy professionals are gathered at a series of conferences to talk about how to generate cleaner, cheap, reliable power in a carbon constrained world. The task is not easy, but it is doable.

The conferences, Power-Gen Europe, Renewable Energy Europe and Power-Grid Europe, have brought together a diverse group of people in the coal, natural gas, oil, nuclear and renewable energy industries to talk about the changing role of energy. It’s a different game out there, and people are recognizing it.

Walking around the conference, there is no denying that renewables, while still small part of the energy mix, are playing a big role in the minds of energy professionals. Everyone seems to see the change coming, and you can feel it at a gathering like this. There’s something different in the air.

You can’t have a conversation without talking about cap and trade, renewable energy targets and the competition between conventional and renewable energy investments.

Now we’re on our way to Intersolar in Munich, where the world’s largest solar conference is taking place. The tens of thousands of people here are a powerful symbol for how massive this industry is getting. It is still small, but this is only the beginning. Solar and other renewables are no longer an afterthought – they are a real option for consumers and utilities.

We’re putting together tons of interviews from the conferences in Cologne and Munich, so stay tuned to the roll-out of news packages and one-on-one conversations on the site in the coming week!

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I am a reporter with ClimateProgress.org, a blog published by the Center for American Progress. I am former editor and producer for RenewableEnergyWorld.com, where I contributed stories and hosted the Inside Renewable Energy Podcast. Keep in touch through twitter! My profile name is: Stphn_Lacey

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