Renew On Line (UK) 34
Extracts from the November-December
2001 edition of Renew
|Welcome Archives Bulletin|
EU Renewables Directive
After much haggling, the European Parliament has approved the Renewables Directive, which aims to double the share of renewable power in European Unions energy mix, to 12.5% by 2010, forming a cornerstone of the EU's climate change policy. The directive includes indicative targets for each country, but these are now to be non-mandatory. However the directive allows the European Commission to propose more mandatory legislation if it judges countries are not making sufficient progress. It also protects support systems in place in some countries to support renewables, such as the German REFIT feed-in system that makes electricity distributors buy output from renewable power generators at a fixed price. Current national support systems will be allowed to remain for at least the next seven years.
The pro-renewables lobby had feared that the EC - ever keen to create harmonised rules within the EUs single energy market - would try to use the directive to harmonise government support systems for renewables, putting schemes like REFIT at risk. The bad news is that, after long debate, a compromise clause in the the directive allows waste combustion to be included as a renewable source, as long as the waste hierarchy is respected. Evidently, the UK, Italy and the Netherlands had pushed for the inclusion of municipal waste incineration as a renewable form of energy. The directive still has to be approved by individual EU governments, but this is considered a formality. Details in Renew 135.
EU will miss targets unless more action is taken
The European Unions target for renewable energy will not be met unless policy changes are made, according to Juan Fraga, General Secretary of EUFORES, the European Forum of Renewable Energy Sources. Renewables are presently growing at a faster rate than in the past times, that is true, but not enough to reach the ambitious goals recently set, and less so with an increase in consumption which is simply too high due to the failure of energy conservation measures and to the lacking improvement of energy efficiency. Proactive policies are needed that foster an increased deployment and market penetration of renewables, as well as a market with fair competition rules, represented by allowing transparency and true accounting of all the costs involved in the whole energy production, transportation & consumption process.
In his paper to the WEC Energy Resources 2001 e-conference, he added It is more important than ever that the EU shows strong political willingness to support renewables, and thus to increase significantly their market penetration. Renewable energy sources have a crucial role to play in achieving the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and environmental protection, while ensuring the security of energy supply and contributing to economic development and employment creation. If the EU fails in this task, a great opportunity will be lost to switch to a truly sustainable energy model, both in environmental and economic terms.
He would presumably welcome the news of the EUs new plan to go beyond Kyoto (see page 9). Certainly he noted the urgency and seriousness of the need to adopt renewable energy remains despite the failure last year of the climate change conference (COP6) in The Hague, and the discouraging news that the United States will not support the Kyoto protocol.
He called for more urgent efforts toward the establishment of the proposed European Charter for Sustainable Energy (EURENEW) to set up a common framework for the development of renewables, not least since he noted that a recent study by EUFORES showed that renewables could create 900,000 net new jobs by 2020, with much of it in peripheral and rural areas.
EC wants more
The European Commission, for its part, seems to be taking notice. It is to seek the backing of member states for sweeping changes to the EUs climate change, public health and transport as part of a sustainable development policy. According the the FT, the EC has proposed that the EU go beyond its Kyoto protocol commitments and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 1 % of their 1990 levels each year until 2020, with energy taxation index keyed to nominal income growth, subsidies for fossil fuels phased out and alternative fuels used to meet at least 7% of consumption by cars and trucks by 2010.
A Euro Micro CHP boom?
A rapid upsurge in european sales of micro combined heat and power units is predicted in a new study of units with a maximum electric output of 10kW or less, by Frost & Sullivan, the international consulting company. They say that the embryonic micro CHP market will accelerate over the next decade so that sales will rise from less than 2,000 units sold on a commercial basis in 2000 to half a million systems in 2010 - with revenues surging from just under $20 m to over $2 bn.
Their widespread adoption will, it is claimed, lead to significant changes in residential patterns of energy generation and consumption, with the accumulated forecast output of all the micro CHP systems expected to be sold over the next ten years adding up to 3.5 GW. The report also suggests that from 2003 onwards, the Stirling engine market will experience a renaissance with the launch of the first commercialised engines.
In 2006, fuel cells will have reached sufficient maturity to be launched on the market and will lead the field towards the end of the forecast period. By 2010, Frost & Sullivan believes that fuel cells will have a huge lead, accounting for over 60 per cent of total sales in the European micro CHP market. They note that with its outstanding electrical efficiency and extremely low-emission power generation process, the fuel cell will certainly constitute the backbone of the rising micro CHP market in the medium term. But protagonists of internal combustion engine based systems have not yet given in and are poised to occupy more than a niche of the market with solid, proven, familiar and optimised technology.
Germany is seen as likely to be one of the pioneers in the development and adoption of micro CHP technology. Up to 2003, the German market will absorb more than half of all products distributed across Europe.
The Irish government is seeking 255 megawatts of electricity from renewable sources under the new Alternative Energy Requirement competition, which aims to lead to contracts trebling the output of renewable energy-based electricity over the next 15 years. Currently 118 MW of the national capacity of 4,750 MW comes from such sources.
Price caps ranging from 3.79p for large-scale wind electricity to 5.1p for small-scale hydro electricity being offered. This will create more than £200 million of investment opportunities, and save on the import of 300,000 tonnes of fossil fuels and prevent the emission of more than one million tonnes of greenhouse gases. The chairwoman of the Irish Wind Energy Association, Ms Inge Buckley, said it would enable producers to sell electricity to the ESB under a public service obligation contract for 15 years. We have almost 300 megawatts with full planning permission and most of that has been waiting for this announcement. Now we are expecting a flurry of activity. Source: Irish Times