roviding a secure, reliable and sustainableenergy supply has become a top priority inmany countries around the world. Whilethe need to develop sustainable andviable energy sources has become more evident thanever, the challenge remains as to how to maximise ourenergy generation capacity and how to better controlour energy consumption.Whilst presenting its most recent strategic plan toachieve the goal of saving 20 per cent of Europeanenergy consumption by 2020, the EuropeanCommission put forward its calculations on how the20-20-20 targets are to be achieved. Of the threepillars that make up the Energy 2020 strategy, "Energyefficiency" has emerged as the most talked about. However, European efforts to increase energyefficiency up to this point have been very focused onmeasures to improve end-use efficiency, and largelyignore the potential to reduce huge losses that occur inthe production and delivery of power."Energy Efficiency or what we prefer to call 'efficientenergy' is more than just reducing greenhouse gases,it is about the efficient use of our resources, our fuel,water and land. In general it is about driving thedevelopment of more resource efficient energyproduction and delivery sectors in Europe; activities towhich GE Energy is entirely committed," says RicardoCordoba, President of GE Energy for Western Europeand North Africa.With various barriers presenting a challenge to the European Union's ambitions to meet its 2020targets, it is clear that the road ahead remains long and there is much work still to be done. The 2010 report "Governments, Market and Green Growth: Energy systems transformation for sustainable prosperity" highlighted that in order tomitigate our reliance on carbon energy, policies mustfocus on an "altogether new systems trajectory", thuspromoting innovations and technologies "that in a new and integrated manner create a low carbon system to produce, distribute, and use energy in new ways."1GE Energy is at the forefront of this development andis committed to leadership in Europe and around theworld for the development of "efficient energy". SUPPORTING SUPPLY-SIDEEFFICIENCY Many of the technical, supply-side, options are proven, cost-effective and reliable technologies that are already commercially deployed, however their potential has yet to be fully realised. Thisencompasses a wide range of complimentary solutionsthat inlcude, for example, combined heat and power,improvements in power plant efficiencies and waste heat recovery (using the waste heat fromindustrial processes to generate what is effectively zerocarbon electricity). Supply-side efficiency options also support theemergence of smart grid technologies, which willenable electricity systems to be operated moreefficiently, and so reduce energy losses fromtransmission and distribution networks, and reducesome of the need for the construction and operation ofhigh cost and polluting back-up power stations.The benefits of supply-side power generationefficiencies are independent of the evolution ofRight:Ricardo Cordoba,President of GE Energyfor Western Europe andNorth AfricaENERGY EFFICIENCY BEGINS WITH EFFICIENT ENERGY084INNOVATION TECHNOLOGYPGE ENERGY
Europe's future demand for electric power. That saidall forecasts point to rising European demand forelectricity in the coming decades, net of expecteddemand-side efficiency and conservations gains. It is in that scenario that a reinvigoration of supply-sideopportunities or more resource-efficient electric powergeneration can be seen for what it is - a strategicimperative for Europe. Many activities have the potential of increasing theefficiency of the production and transmission ofenergy, some costing very little. From retrofitting and/or replacing equipment to more investment-heavy measures like fuel switching, there are a host of technology changes that can bring aboutsignificant fuel efficiency improvements in the powergeneration sector, including: turbine upgrades, fuelswitching, and combined heat and power and waste-heat utilisation. "General Electric is a leader in the development ofsolutions in all these areas. At GE, we have investedover US$850 million in renewable energy technologyand production since entering the industry in 2002.Our Ecomagination products include wind turbines,high efficiency gas turbines, Smart Grid technologies,coal gasification, nuclear power, solar photovoltaics,"says Ricardo Cordoba.Given the "act now" capability, the energy securitybenefits, the widespread acceptance of thetechnologies and the cost-effectiveness that supplyside energy efficiency offers, it should be consideredas the starting point for a broader energy efficiencystrategy and as a transition strategy to a lower-carbonand resource-efficient future.WHAT ROLE FOR THE REGIONS?With or without binding targets for energy efficiency,regions will be crucial in fighting not only climatechange but also in implementing the necessarychanges to our energy landscape which isdecentralising into the regions with small(er) scalerenewable energy plants. They can support thedevelopment of the low-carbon economy by growingthousands of new jobs, skills and economic clustersthat will be vital to ensure the investment ininfrastructure needed.GE Energy has long recognised the pivotal role thatregions have to play, to such an extent that theyfounded a groundbreaking relationship with theAssembly of European Regions (AER). Established inMay 2009, this co-operation is the result of a sharedideology between GE Energy and the AER that to findthe solutions to Europe's energy challenges andsucceed in the battle against climate change, Europe'sregions must play a central role. INNOVATION TECHNOLOGY085?