Renew On Line (UK) 49

Extracts from NATTA's journal
, issue 148 March-April 2004

   Welcome   Archives   Bulletin         


1. Innovation Review- Beyond wind
2. Marine Energy Challenge
3. 35,000 jobs by 2020 ..but UKERC is delayed
4. Security of Supply…BBC turns the lights off
5. Government pushes ahead with renewables and carbon trading
6. Wind costs and benefits
7. ‘No’ to the Severn Barrage
8. Stalling on Micro-CHP and VAT
9. Mini-Hydo project blocked, Biofuels still pushed
10. Europe Roundup: Germany gets it right
11. World Roundup: wave power hits US, 100% renewable Japan
12. Nuclear News: Waste haunts Italy, who will get ITER?

10. Europe Roundup

 ‘EU must try harder’...

The European Union will miss its emission targets under the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, unless EU Member States implement additional measures and policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions according to a recent European Commission report, which states that the decreasing emission trend since 1990 has been reversed in 2000 and 2001. Based on Member States projections it concludes that with existing domestic policies and measures alone, the EU as a whole and 13 out of 15 Member States would miss their emission reduction targets. Under the Kyoto Protocol, the EU is committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 8% from 1990 levels by 2008-2012. Margot Wallström, Commissioner for Environment,  has urged Member States to try harder.  “This is serious” she said,“Time is running out”. 

Situation in individual Member States

Under existing policies and measures the EU says  only the United Kingdom and Sweden will reach their agreed share of the EU greenhouse gas emission target.  Assuming that no additional measures and policies are taken Spain would be the worst performer with projected emissions over 30% above its commitment. Also Denmark would be significantly above its commitment, even if correction is made for electricity trade in 1990. Austria, Belgium and Ireland are projected to emit 20% more emissions in 2010 than their commitments allow.  A number of Member States have already identified additional policies and measures, some of them based on the implementation of EU Directives, in order to further decrease emissions. According to their projections, total EU emissions would decline by another 6.7%, amounting to a fall of 7.2 % from 1990 to 2010. But even that would still leave a shortfall of almost 1% for the EU to meet its 8% commitment. Therefore, the EC says,  more stringent policies and measures from Member States are of utmost importance in order to comply with the Kyoto Protocol. The countries which would be able to reach their targets with the additional policies and measures that they have identified are Finland, France, Greece and Ireland. The Netherlands would be close to reaching it.

Germany sets new Target

It certainly is worrying. Projections of greenhouse gas emissions for the EU in 2010 show considerably higher emissions than the projections of the previous year. This is in particular due to the fact that Germany has considerably revised its former projections. Germany is now projecting itself to marginally missing its commitment with its existing policies and measures.

However, it is also trying to do better in future.  In the run up to the new EU-wide ‘cap and trade’ Emission Trading programme, which should start in 2005, Germany, along  with all the other EU countries, is developing plans for emission targets- see the UKs new targets earlier. 

Germany’s environment ministry has proposed that the traded sectors CO2 emissions allowance allocation for 2005-07 should average 488mt a year, down from 505mt/yr in 2000-02- a reduction of 3.4%. The ministry is seeking a target for the second phase (2008-2012) of 480mt- a 5% reduction on emissions in 2000-02.

Against the 1990 baseline this is a cut of 25%, which is more than that required under Germany’s EU burden sharing agreement (21%) under the Kyoto agreement, but it is not yet finalised- it’s seen as an opening bid by the green led ministry.

Germany  -  more  for PV & biofuels

New regulations for photovoltaic solar came into force in Germany in January which guarantee every operator of a PV installation a fixed basic reimbursement of 45.7 Euro Cent for each kilowatt hour fed into the public grid. An additional 11.7 cents is also guaranteed for photovoltaic installations on roofs of up to 30 kW, respectively 9.3 Cent for installations over 30 kW. For facades there is a further payment of 5 cent. Each of these payments lasts for 20 years. In addition, the rule that the overall programme should be limited  to a total of 1000 MW has been removed.

The new regulation is an amendment of  the Renewable Energy Act, initiated by EUROSOLR, and was agreed by Parliament  last Nov., with the backing of all parties. It is expected that this clear signal in favour of renewable energy will encourage investors to install more than 200 MW of photovoltaic power in the year 2004.

The new law replaces the former law, which guaranteed a general payment of 46 cents without differentiation, with the exemption of devices up to 5 kWp. These installations got an additional promotion by the 100,000 roof program that offered low-interest credits of 1.9% interest rate. The 100, 000 roof-programme (300 MW) was successfully been completed last year. The total PV installation in Germany is already nearly 400 MW. Hermann Scheer  from EUROSOLAR forecasts that their initiative could lead to 200 MW of new PV installations for 2004, and more for the coming years. In parallel in Jan. biofuels were exempted from petroleum tax.  Biogas, Bio-Ethanol, synthesised gasoline from Biomass, bio-diesel, hydrogen produced by biomass, and fatty acid methyl ester are 100% tax-privileged until 2009. Source:WCRE update

...and a new  Renewables Act

The German government has adopted the revised  Renewables Act, which is designed to redefine the country’s framework conditions for renewable energy in Germany.  The initial proposal for this legislation, which was published in August 2003, had sparked controversy between green politicians and the utilities, who were worried about the cost (see Renew 148).  The aim of the law is to increase the share of renewable energy in power production from 6.3% in 2000 to 12.5% in 2010 and to a minimum of 20% in 2020, in line with EU targets.

The first German Renewables Act, which was passed in April 2000, created a boom in the renewables sector, which now has an estimated annual turnover of 8 bn euro. It inspired similar initiatives in other countries such as Austria, France, Spain and the Czech Republic.

‘Germany gets it right’

‘The German’s approach to small and community projects is a clear winner. Acknowledging that they are more expensive than large-scale projects, but that they have clear benefits to the community and in energy management, German subsidies increase for small projects and for emerging technologies. It will continue to be more effective than the UK’s approach, which leaves local generators struggling with the cost and commitment required to meet the same rules applied to multinational multiutilities’. Earthed Feb 2004

*The pioneering  Danish wind power companies, Vesta and NEG Micon, have merged.

....EC panics over energy security

Europe could need 750 new power stations in the next 15 years- an extra 300GW- if it is to meet mounting electricity demand and avoid the kind of blackouts that hit Italy this year. The warning is contained in draft European Commission plan, on the security of electricity supply. However the proposals ran it onto opposition from environmentalists who depicted the call for  new plants as a panic response to the blackouts, which could undermine the EU’s environmental policies. In particular it was pointed out that the Italian blackout occurred in the middle of the night, when demand was low- it wasn’t due to shortage of capacity but to over-reliance on cross-border energy transfers aimed at keeping prices low.  That’s not to say that Italy, and much of the rest of the EU, doesn’t need more generating capacity, and in particular more renewables- Italy, for example, relies heavily on imported power, including a lot of oil.  The draft EU plan however seems to focus  on  the single energy market, market liberalisation and encouraging more cross-border electricity transfers, as the solution.

EU’s PV lead

It’s not all bad news from the EU. Europe is now the world’s second largest manufacturer of solar photovoltaics (PV), accounting for more than 24% of overall production, behind Japan (44%) and ahead of the USA (22%). Current forecasts show large potential for solar electricity production, for which Europe has seen an average growth rate of 30% per year over the last decade. Nevertheless, the EU says, photovoltaics are currently under-utilised in the European Union, despite the active support of the European Commission for research, development and demonstration projects in this area, with over EUR 200 million of funding for almost 200 projects over the last 10 years. The recently created “Photovoltaics Technology Research Advisory Council” aims to change the situation. The initiative involves 18 members representing all the major players in this technology. To find the best way forward, the Advisory Council’s objective is to develop a Foresight Report and a Strategic Research Agenda, in order to address the remaining barriers to maximising the potential of PV.

EU Energy Efficiency Directive

The EU has also proposed new multi-sectorial energy efficiency  rules to ensure that all Member States save each year at least 1% more energy- which should lead to around 6% p.a. energy savings in  2012.  Small, compared with the huge potential  for savings, but it all helps.

Lithuanian Wind

Lithuania,  which along with the other 10 new accession states,  is now part of the EU,  has a reasonable wind energy potential, as we noted in Renew 146, estimated to be of the order of 500MW, according to a study competed by the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development. And there are a range of projects proposed. For example, there are reports that NEG Micon is planning to install 15MW of wind plant between Gargzdai and Vezaicai in the West of the country, at a cost of Euro 20m. In addition the Janava- based Achema Hidrostoys hydro power company is planning to branch out into wind power, and has talked of investment in up to 60MW of new wind capacity. However at a conference on the ‘Prospects for Wind Energy development in Lithuania’, held in Vilnius last Dec., Lithuanian governments energy planners expressed some concerns about  potential problems with grid management if substantial amounts of wind power were fed in, and a rather conservative limit of 170MW has been suggested.

Although it has costs, grid strengthening would presumably help avoid this constraint. Certainly, Denmark has not had significant grid balancing problems with a very much larger contribution from wind (over 3000MW) supplying over 20% of the countries electricity.  If Lithuania is to achieve the target it has set, of obtaining 7% of its electricity and 12% of its primary energy from renewables by 2010, then it will have to be bit more pro-active on windpower, which, along with biomass, is its best option.

For the wind conference papers see:

For an overview of the Lithuanian  renewable energy situation see:

Norways offshore wind

The Norwegian government has received around 2,600 applications to build offshore wind projects, in what promises to be one of the best off-shore areas in the world. Not all will be accepted but Industry sources say that perhaps several hundred windfarms could be developed.

Source:EPW 129

France Lags

Andre Antolini, the chairman of the French renewable energy association, has claimed that the French government has no real commitment to renewable energy. Although the European Commission has set the target of 21% of generation coming from renewable sources by 2010, in France, he noted that only 1% of energy is sourced renewably, rising to 15 per cent if large-scale hydro projects are taken into account.

And although the government is trying to promote renewable energy projects, Antolini points out that since the decree on wind farm energy tariffs in 2001, only 90 megawatts of facilities have been put in place, far from the government’s 10GW target for 2010. He argues that the various regions of France need to be given specific targets in this area and that the ban on sites with a generation capacity of more than 12 MW must be abolished.

Source: Le Figaro, Nov 26

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