German multinational Siemens has had its hand in the renewable energy pie for decades, purchasing existing wind and solar companies to compliment its already sizable energy division. Siemens is a regular topic here at CleanTechnica, a leading manufacturer of wind turbines and investing into many other renewable energy fields.
However, Siemens aren’t getting carried away, it seems, by the renewable energy hype.
Speaking at Climate Week in New York, Siemens chief executive Roland Busch made it clear that the company had no intention of divesting itself of fossil fuel technology or investment any time soon. In fact, Busch believes that fossil fuels are going to be an integral part of the global energy mix for the next two decades.
Speaking after the UN climate summit, Roland Busch explained that Siemens was committing to its long-term investment in fossil fuels such as coal, explaining that he could not imagine a future free from fossil fuels.
“You can run Germany on renewable energy on a sunny day when the wind is blowing, but you will still need coal [on other days],” Busch said. “Regardless of how much you push [renewable energy] in the next years you will still have a certain share of energy coming from fossil fuels. We are trying to make that more efficient, more low-carbon, with our technologies.”
“In the next ten to 20 years I can’t imagine running any economies without fossil fuel. Beyond 20 years, it’s very hard to say.”
Siemens has been investing heavily in wind over the past few years, becoming one of the top global manufacturers of wind turbines. The company recently revealed its newest turbine at the WindEnergy 2014 trade fair in Hamburg — a 3.3 MW turbine that provides high energy yields at low wind sites — and earlier this year provided the UK with its first 6 MW wind turbine, erected at the Westermost Rough offshore wind farm in the North Sea.
According to Blue and Green Tomorrow, Siemens makes “40% of its total revenue from green solutions” and has also invested in technologies capable of minimizing the impact of greenhouse gas emissions, such as carbon capture and storage technology.
As Roland Busch said, however, “beyond 20 years, it’s very hard to say” what role fossil fuel technology will take. If nothing else, its increasing impact on the environment and finite-resources makes fossil fuel a risky long-term investment — a fact impacting more and more investment portfolios with each passing year.
Many commentators will inevitably end up trashing Siemens and Roland Busch for these statements, but to have expected anything less is the height of naivety. The reality is that fossil fuel energy is too firmly entrenched into almost every nation on Earth, and to expect that integral energy generating-technology to simply be eradicated in anything less than decades is simply unrealistic. Siemens should be congratulated for pushing so hard on renewable energy and carbon-mitigation technologies, instead of being berated for sensible investment choices.
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