Electrifying CERAWeek 2014
Mar 13, 2014
Chiara Cavallo

Last week saw more than 2,300 energy experts meet at CERAWeek in Houston, including Steve Bolze, President & CEO of GE Power & Water who participated in a panel about the future of power technology and infrastructure. With so much insights shared during the week on strategic energy issues, we thought it would be worth highlighting some of the biggest themes which came out of the event.

Among those, it emerged clearly the role that electrification plays going forward, from the increasing need of energy efficiency, through the development of cost effective solar solutions, to enabling a better transmission across the globe.

Check out our Storify post below for insight into what was being said across the industry over the last few days.






    1. Renewables:

    There was absolutely no way you could miss the debate around renewables, with solar set to help meet power needs in high energy consumption countries such as China, supplementing Oil and Gas in the Middle East and enabling energy generation in developing nations such as Africa.

    #Renewable power generation is China's highest priority for new power, says head of China's grid. #CERAWeek #wind #solar
    China wants 100 GW of installed, connected #windpower by 2017 and twice that by 2020, says head of the country's state grid. #CERAWeek
    In 2006 new power added to China's grid was 80% coal. Now only 34% of new power is coal. --Xizhou Zhou of @IHS. #CERAWeek

    We also listened to a great speaker slot from Jim Hughes, CEO of FirstSolar:


    And while cost may have been a key concern voiced at CERAWeek overall, solar is becoming economically more viable in several countries without subsidies.

    You are hearing about #solar in every session at this energy conference is b/c the economics now work. - @FirstSolar Jim Hughes #CERAWeek
    If we abolished every subsidy in Germany for #solar, solar would continue to grow there - @eonenergyuk Leonhard Birnbaum #CERAWeek

    However, grid integration is essential to the success of renewables and we need effective transmission of energy to where it is needed from areas where there is a surplus through High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) transmission.

    US #renewableenergy expansion requires grid, transmission optimization #CERAWeek

    2. Cost:

    Cost was also high up on the agenda, with upstream costs being a major concern across the board, including onshore unconventional, which has increased by 48% over the last three years.

    Global energy chiefs concerned that costs are rising faster than price on the biggest projects  @russellgold #ceraweek
    #LNG industry needs innovation to reduce construction costs 40%: Peter Coleman, CEO & managing dir. of Woodside, @ #CERAWeek

    Companies, especially IOC, will be more selective as to where they spend capex, and it’s clear there will be more collaboration/partnerships required to face the challenge of increasing cost.


    3. Natural Gas:

    The consensus is that Natural Gas is going to remain the fastest growing energy fuel source going forward, overtaking coal as the primary energy source by 2025

    #NatGas overtaking #coal as top generating source by 2016 at Dominion VA Power. We won't be 'another Germany' #CERAWeek #tef

    Building up appropriate infrastructure for natural gas is crucial if we are going to see global benefits.

    Steve Bolze at #CERAWeek: #natural gas infrastructure buildout critical to global supply certainty
    Critical to properly pace transition from coal-fired to gas-fired gas power generation. AES' Andres Gluski #CERAWeek

    In North America, there was a call for more natural gas for power generation, particularly as coal plants continue to be retired.

    MT @DanWhitten: #1 thing we can do is produce more #natgas and make sure it goes into power generation @Shell_US Marvin Odum tells #CERAWeek
    LNG was also a big talking point, including GE Power & Water on the potential for smaller scale LNG, which you can also read about in more detail on our blog here: 
    At #CERAWeek, #LNG has been heavily discussed. But is there really potential on a smaller scale?  via @GE_PowerConvers
    4. New technology & infrastructure:
    Last, but by certainly no means least, there seemed to be widespread agreement that investing in new technology and energy infrastructure could make energy production far more effective, efficient and help reduce costs in the long run.
    The pace of innovation is terrific, and we need new ideas from all over the world." - Steve Bolze at #CERAWeek
    @GE_PowerWater Steve Bolze speaks on the Future of Power Technology and Infrastructure #ceraweek @IHS
    "A 1% increase in gas turbine efficiency could be worth $4B in savings each year" - Steve Bolze at #CERAWeek 
    Overall, this was a fantastic event which raised some interesting debates which will no doubt shape the future of the energy industry. Let us know what you think about our themes here and of course, continue the debate with #CERAWeek on Twitter - we'll look out for your questions!
    Thanks to all who joined us in conversations at @IHS #CERAWeek during the last few days. Have a great weekend!






Chiara Cavallo

Chiara Cavallo is the Chief Marketing Officer for GE’s Power Conversion business, overseeing marketing and communications. Chiara is a curious learner. She emphasizes focus and collaboration with an entrepreneurial mindset to drive wins in the market with her teams.