Renew On Line (UK) 35

Extracts from the Jan-Feb 2002 edition of Renew
These extracts only represent about 25% of it
   Welcome   Archives   Bulletin         

Stories in this issue...

PIU - so far, so good

Overview of PIU report

UK still low on EU League Table

RO Delayed

Wind Works for Farmers: NIMBY Glen

New Wave Project

NETA vís Renewables and CHP

Green Juice ?

Foresight on Energy

World Renewables round up

Renewables could save US $ 50bn

China cuts CO2

COP 7 tries to deliver

Nuclear Roundup

In the Rest of Renew 135

10. World round up

France has wind problems ...

French electricity bills will rise significantly since the government has set high guaranteed prices for wind-generated electricity, according to the country’s energy watchdog, the Commission de Regulation de l’Electricite (CRE). The government has confirmed that wind energy producers will be paid 55 centimes per kilowatt hour for the first five years- although it added that prices will subsequently fall to an average 48 centimes/kWh over 15 years. The State-owned Electricite de France company (EdF) will pay the fixed prices to the wind producers and then they can pass the cost to consumers.

CRE estimated that if 10,000 MW of wind power was built under this REFIT styled system, residential prices would have to rise 3% and industrial prices by 15% to pay for the wind energy - equivalent to an increase of between one and two centimes per kWh. The cost of subsidising France’s whole renewables programme, which includes solar and biomass, will come to 3-4 centimes/kWh by 2010. Reuters noted that ‘France has a target to produce 21% of its energy from renewable sources by 2010, building on the 15% currently generated by hydropower. The government is working on fixed price proposals for small hydro, solar and biomass’.

However, as far as the new wind programme was concerned, there seemed to be problems. Thierry Trouve, from CRE, told Reuters "The government has chosen a very expensive way of doing this. With the same targets, the costs could be a third lower for example by using market driven mechanisms". Trouve said wind generators’ operating costs were between 30 and 35 centimes/kWh while typical French electricity prices were around 20 centimes/kWh. Because EdF is government owned, the programme could be interpreted as state aid and the government did not seek EU approval before setting the tariffs. As we noted in Renew 133, recently the European Court of Justice ruled that generous prices paid by German utilities for renewable energy were allowed under EU law but Trouve said that case was different as the companies were privately owned.

The French government has said it chose the guaranteed price system to develop renewables as it would be quicker than using market mechanisms like green certificates. In market-based systems, as adopted in the UK, renewable generators issue green certificates which are bought by suppliers as a way to meet legal commitments to buy a certain amount of electricity from green sources. Source: Reuters

The British Disease ? Meanwhile opposition to wind projects has emerged in the Languedoc-Roussillon region where some 800 projects are envisaged. It may not be entirely co-incidental that this is an area where large numbers of British people have bought homes. James Graham, a local British wine grower, said: "We’re not against wind power as such. But what we want to avoid is turning a vast expanse of beautiful scenery into what amounts to an industrial site". Sounds familiar?

... so does Norway

Norway’s wind power development programme has been thrown into chaos by a call from two government agencies for eight out of 13 proposed projects to be blocked on environmental grounds. Though some of the projects were already approved, the government’s nature management and cultural heritage directorates said that more investigation was required. "Freedom from emissions is not enough to justify classification of a wind power facility as environmentally friendly." The directorates recommended an overhaul of planning procedures to avoid "unacceptable and unnecessary conflicts and environmental destruction".

Iceland to go green

Iceland is currently the largest user of renewables, with 99% of electricity coming via geysers and hydroelectric dams, but it has only explored about 14% of this potential and it is committed to becoming the world's first hydrogen economy- hoping to cut greenhouse emissions to zero, within 30 years. At present, it imports oil to meet 35% of its energy needs, and this makes the country one of the world’s higher per capita carbon emitters, but, on the basis of a programme being backed by DaimlerChrysler, Shell Hydrogen and Norsk Hydro, in a joint Icelandic New Energy venture, the aim is to lead the conversion into a hydrogen economy by following a six-step plan which could take 30 years to fulfill. The first phase, now running, is a £4m programme, subsidised by the EU, to run a trial on three hydrogen buses and to add a hydrogen station in a conventional petrol station. The second phase will convert the island’s buses to hydrogen, followed by all cars. The fourth and fifth phases should convert the fishing fleet. The sixth and most adventurous phase is to export hydrogen to Europe. Source: Guardian 18/7/01

Australian Green Power

The Australian government has issued its latest call for projects to receive funding under the Aus $55.6 m Renewable Energy Commercialisation Programme, while in Queensland more than $8 million in funding is to be provided to support a renewable energy program. The federal funding will support the Renewable Remote Power Generation Program Working Property Rebate Scheme. In parallel the Australian Wind Energy Association and environmental group Greenpeace have pledged to boost wind-fired power production to 5,000 megawatts a year by 2010 from 72 megawatts currently. The government ruled last year that energy retailers source an extra 9,500 gigawatt hours from renewable energy by 2010, helping to boost demand for alternatives to the main coal and gas-fired supplies. But the association argued this target was too low.

* Suncor, one of Canada’s largest oil producers, has abandoned plans for extracting oil shale in Australia, and are investing in 11MW wind project in Canada, with emissions being a key issue.

German Biomass boost

New rules have come into force aimed at helping Germany’s biomass energy sector replicate the runaway success of the wind power industry. The rules define which materials can be considered biomass, which technical procedures will be used and to which environmental standards producers must adhere. Operators of biomass plants in Germany are guaranteed tariff levels between 17 and 20 pfennigs (7.5 and 8.8 US cents) per kilowatt-hour

US, Canada, Mexico link

The North American Free Trade Agreement evidently isn’t all bad. Following a meeting of its Commission for Environmental Cooperation in Mexico last year, the USA, Canada and Mexico have signed an agreement to explore market opportunities for renewable energies in the three countries.

Mind you, it could simply be seen as a way for the US to meet it energy shortfalls from southern and northern sources.

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