Javier Cavada, the CEO of Mitsubishi Power in Europe, said the continent needs less positioning and “more action” to help spur massive investments needed in its green transition.
Cavada, whose remit for the Japanese energy technology giant also extends to the Middle East and Africa, said it was time for the EU and European nations to convert promising signals of intent into the firm frameworks needed by Mitsubishi and others.
“There are a lot of policies, a lot of statements, drafts, targets [in Europe] – but I look around the planet and we see more action in other places,” Cavada told Recharge. “Investment without visibility is not possible.”
“Europe still has the time to do it, but the clock is ticking,” said Cavada, adding that “global champions” of the energy transition were increasingly looking positively at the US and the Middle East, which had in different way sown the regulatory seeds to underpin big investments in the transition.
“The Middle East is a pretty good place for production of hydrogen, renewables and low-cost molecules,” he said, adding that the region can become a “hub” for green fuels as it already is for oil & gas.
Mitsubishi Power Europe is active in a raft of energy transition technologies, including hydrogen and storage, which its CEO said will both be crucial to making the transition a reality.
Cavada – who was previously CEO of energy storage pioneer Highview Power and chairs floating wind group Gazelle – is confident that demand for low carbon hydrogen will emerge in Europe, citing the potential for industries such as aluminium to differentiate their products as ‘green’ as a key driver towards the deployment of clean H2 in new industries.
“Looking around at markets, I can see a lot more demand and applications of hydrogen ready to go every hour and every day.”
Cavada said energy storage is showing promising signs of positive policy activity, citing recent moves by Spain to establish regulations to recognise the value of standalone storage, while the UK is also a “good example” of forward-thinking policy.
“We are not totally there but we are moving in the right direction,” he added.
The Mitsubishi Power Europe chief predicted green hydrogen-based generation in gas turbines has the potential to be a big player in the transition.
“We already have 100% hydrogen gas turbines” at smaller scale and up to 30%, moving to 50% and 100% for large-scale turbines.
“The only way to have 24/7, 365-day stable green electricity, fully decarbonised, [is a] turbine that can ramp up very quickly.”
Cavada said hydrogen firing is an efficient use of excess power generation from renewables. “The grid is not able to capture it all. So it will be transformed to green H2, a very good way of ensuring it won’t be wasted.
“That wasted electricity we are making into a molecule.”
Mitsubishi Power this week announced that its Takasago Hydrogen Park, billed as the world's first integrated hydrogen validation facility, entered full-scale operation.
The central-Japan facility will play a key role in validating co-firing and 100% hydrogen firing of gas turbines, the company said.