Renewable power growth to beat coal: Alstom

DAVOS, Switzerland (Reuters) - Power equipment maker Alstom expects demand for renewable and nuclear technologies to outstrip growth in coal and gas fired electricity projects, Chief Executive Patrick Kron said on Thursday.

Steam billows from the cooling towers of Vattenfall's Jaenschwalde brown coal power station behind wind turbines near Cottbus, eastern Germany, in this December 2, 2009 file photo. REUTERS/Pawel Kopczynski/Files

“There will be a faster growth of non carbon dioxide emitting technologies, but there will also be a role in thermal (gas and coal) as part of the equation. There will be a move toward more efficient thermal plants,” he said.

“Renewables and nuclear are likely to grow faster, but coal and gas will definitely grow,” he added, declining to comment on which technologies Alstom expected to see greatest sales growth.

Alstom’s sales of power plant turbines have suffered from a decline in electricity demand in 2009, the first year-on-year drop in global demand since 1945, said Kron.

Alstom’s total orders should recover from lows seen last year but it is “not unlikely” that sales will fall in the 2010/11 reporting year because of the 2009 dip, he said.

“Over 2009 we had a slowdown in order intake as a number of customers delayed their investment decisions, because of the uncertainties,” he said.

“As far as our order intakes were concerned we reached a type of low point in 2009 and now we will see how it goes.”

The financial crisis has dampened energy demand growth in some countries, leading some plant builders to put off major investment projects, while smaller developers in the renewables sectors have struggled to get financing for projects.

But Kron was upbeat on prospects for long-term sales.

“Our market growth will remain steady over the medium and long term. There is a massive need for power generation,” he said.

Editing by Daniel Fineren and Jon Boyle