Practical visionaries

Leadership roundtables on delivering a low carbon future

“Every hour, the population of London emits enough CO2 to envelop Somerset House.”

To achieve a low carbon world, there is widespread acceptance of the need to act – and to act quickly. In the UK, energy goals are widely understood and a target framework has already been established which follows the plans of the European Union’s executive Commission for how member states should share an overall objective to get one fifth of all energy demand from renewable resources by 2020.

Delivering this low carbon future will see a massive scale up in renewable energy, energy conservation, improved transport efficiency and industry general waste management. However, the current ‘market’ does not naturally drive low carbon projects, or displace traditional ones. This implies a huge commercial challenge. Regulatory frameworks and practices are not in place to govern and permit many low carbon initiatives either in the UK or elsewhere. While technology per se is not a constraint, deployment and operation of energy sources such as nuclear and offshore wind present huge challenges.

The first of Strategy&’s roundtable discussions, held in June 2008, was on the low carbon business climate and explored what works, how barriers can be overcome and where the roles of government, commercial companies, finance agents and supporting organisations can make a difference. Contributions provided the elements of what might become a low carbon project execution blueprint for public and private ‘Practical Visionaries’.

The second event, held in November 2008, asked regulators, financiers, project sponsors and suppliers to share their experiences on the delivery of low carbon energy projects using a 'Blue Skies' project to help facilitate the discussion. Participants identified some of the major challenges, from the ideation through to operations phases of projects to practical strategies for tackling them.