Memorandum submitted by the Advanced Power
Generation Technology Forum
The Advanced Power Generation Technology Forum
(APGTF), a Foresight Associate Programme, provides the focus for
the UK Power Generation Sector on power generation technologies
for fossil fuels, biomass and associated technologies.
A broad range of interests is represented on the
APGTF, mainly through the key Trade Associations involving the
power generators and users, equipment manufacturers and fuel suppliers
(namely Electricity Association, Association Electricity Producers,
Combined Heat and Power Association, BEAMA/Power Generation Contractors
Association and COALPRO) together with representatives from the
Research Community, Government (DTI, DTI-OST and DTI-SEPU) and
the Funding Agencies (EPSRC).
The members of the APGTF have a prominent place
in the important UK Power Generation Industry which had total
exports exceeding £1.6 Billion in 2000,
the prime markets being Asia and the Americas. A recent study
on behalf of DTI showed the annual total turnover of companies
in the UK fossil power generation equipment supply chain to be
well in excess of £27 billion (probably around £40 billion).
The sector is an important employer of engineers, technologists
and skilled tradesmen providing over 150,000 high quality jobs.
It is well supported by the UK science and education base, which
complements the in-house R&D resources of the companies.
The APGTF endorses the Government's goals for
major reductions of emissions of
greenhouse gases; and
competitiveness and affordability.
These are truly international objectives, which
need to be achieved against a background of growing demand for
electric power worldwide (15,000 billion Kwh in 2000 to 24,000
billion Kwh in 2020)
and an insatiable growth in energy use (and associated CO2
emissions) from the transport sector.
The members of the APGTF can contribute to achieving
these objectives for the UK and internationally through: supply
of new cleaner, safer and more efficient power plant; retrofit
of emissions control and carbon management technologies to existing
plant; high quality and cost-effective operation and engineering
support for power stations. In so doing the Industry will continue
to sustain high-grade employment, maintain skills and contribute
to the balance of payments and to the country's science, technology
and engineering base.
With respect to the Science and Technology Committee's
own enquiry we have prepared comments against each of the Terms
of Reference and present these below:
1. To evaluate the level of expenditure on
RD&D in non-carbon energy technologies, by UK government,
the Research Councils, the Carbon Trust and industry, and where
it is being directed
We would like to see an analysis of expenditure
in the UK. Our perception is that funding is much greatereven
on a pro rata basisin the USA and the USA gives much greater
support to demonstration of first-of-class technologies. For example,
President Bush has recently committed 2 billion USD in federal
cost sharing support to the Clean Coal Power Initiative (CCPI)
over the next 10 years. In the first round of proposals (2002)
the DOE plans to award 330MUSD.
2. To identify which technologies are, or
should be, receiving support, and how much investment is directed
at research, development and demonstration respectively
Government should not attempt to pick winners.
A balance of energy sources is necessary for power generation
and transport and a variety of developing technologies should
be supported at the Research, Development and Demonstration stages.
These technologies should include those directed at reducing carbon
emissions from plants which use fossil fuels, recognising that
global carbon emissions will only be possible if emissions from
existing plants are tackled.
3. To assess the skills base and the state
of RD&D for different technologies
We believe the skills base in Universities and
Industry (in both equipment supply companies and utilities) is
relatively strong but this will only remain the case if industry
is seen to have a long-term future.
4. To establish how government policy on energy
RD&D is formulated, implemented and evaluated, and the nature
of co-ordination between department, external agencies and industry
We believe industry should be consulted to a
greater extent than in the past. The DTI's Cleaner Coal R&D
Programme is a good example of this. More involvement of the industry
is needed in the planning of University R&D. The latest Scottish
Executive initiative looks promising in this respect. Our response
to the Energy Policy Review makes some specific recommendations
on co-ordination, implementation and industrial involvement; we
would like to see these implemented.
5. To establish the level of and rationale
for international collaboration in energy RD&D and how the
priorities are determined
We consider it essential that the UK takes a
prominent role in the formulation of the EU's policies for RD&D
but we caution against allowing this to become a substitute for
a national programme.
6. To examine the effect on energy RD&D
of privatisation, liberalisation, regulation and changes in ownership
in the sector
Privatisation has had a negative effect on R&D.
Support for industrial R&D from the former CEGB ended with
privatisation and has not been replaced. The generation companies
are increasingly risk aversenot surprising in view of the
difficult commercial situation for this sector. At the moment,
the market drives towards cheapest electricity; this provides
a disincentive towards energy efficiency, new plant investment
and fuel diversity. A different set of market conditions or signals
needs to be provided in order to create a stable situation.
7. To make comparisons with overseas competitors
See 1. above.
17 September 2002
5 DTI Report Competitiveness Analysis of the UK Fossil
Fuel Power Generation Equipment Industry. Back
Report for DTI "Supply Chain in the UK Fossil Fuel Power
Generation Sector" by S Harrison and N Holmes. Back
The Financial Times. 4 June 2001. Back