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Survey reveals utility leaders blame governments for slow growth

Forty-two per cent of electric utility executives around the world believe the power sector is lagging behind in the development of renewable energy sources, according to "The Big Leap: Utilities Global Survey 2006," by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC). The blame is placed on policy makers, with 80% of 116 senior executives believing that political and regulatory factors are a barrier to reducing environmental damage and developing new technologies. "Many within the industry believe the pace of change needs to be stepped up to face the challenges ahead," says PWC. "Our report highlights yet again the need for the industry to work with government and investors to make the infrastructure, technological, environmental and investment leaps that need to happen to arrive at a long term sustainable solution," adds Manfred Wiegand, global utilities leader at PWC. But even while recognising the potential of renewables, utility executives apparently have more faith in traditional energy technologies. "Investment in technology, particularly in clean coal generation, will be a key determinant in the extent to which greenhouse gas growth is mitigated. Coal and nuclear will play a larger part in the fuel mix," says PWC in its summary. "Coal ranks alongside gas as the fuel expected to make the biggest contribution to meeting demand growth in the next five years." Forty-four per cent of respondents expect nuclear capacity to increase. PWC surveys utility boardroom opinion annually. The 2006 survey covers 98 utility and utility investor companies across 43 countries.

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