Renew On Line (UK) 53

Extracts from NATTA's journal
, issue 153 Jan-Feb2005

   Welcome   Archives   Bulletin         


1.     Wave and Tidal move ahead

New Marine Renewables Centre

2.     Biomass Boost

£3.5m more

3. Wind power developments

Largest wind farm yet...      

4. Micro power shows off:

Micro wind boom

5. Funding programmes

£15.5m for Community Energy

£8.5m for Local  renewables

6. Policy Developments

Climate  Review

Emission Trading Review

Party Positions

7. Policy Issues and lobbying

‘Double the Climate Change Levy’

RO costs more than REFIT


8. Around the World

Australia, New Zealand, India ,Canary Isles, EU, US

9. Global Developments

IEA Research on renewables falls…

..but Solar hits 100 million

‘No’ to Large Hydro...

Climate Change 'a real threat'

10. Nuclear News

Ten new nukes? Not yet !

8. Around the World

Australia stays with coal

Last year, the Australian government produced a White paper ‘Securing Australia’s Energy Future’ which in effect backed fossil fuels as the main   way forward. It also reaffirmed  opposition to Kyoto, which it saw as potentially undermining its lucrative energy resource export trade- with China being the latest major customer.   But it was aware of the climate change issue and it will provide $500m for a Low Emission Technology fund to help develop cleaner options, primarily cleaner coal technologies.  It will also invest $75m in ‘Solar Cities’ demonstration trials and $134m to support the commercial development of renewable energy technologies.

However, these green concessions were seen as marginal by the Australian Business Council for Sustainable Energy (ABCSE), which argued that ‘Solar energy is well past the stage of demonstration- its been operating in Australia for more than 30 years’.    Instead of a short term programme of funding a few selected technologies, the ABCSE wanted to increase the Mandatory Renewable Energy Target (MRET), which is saw as ‘the only measure that drives industry growth for the Australian renewable energy industry’.    The ABCSE was also unconvinced by the ‘clean coal’ part of the programme, and in particular the idea of sequestration- underground CO2 storage. It noted that coal industry’s document “Coal 21” said this was over 10 years away from ‘being technically mature enough for commercial deployment’.  ABCSE also noted that geo-  sequestration will not apply to the existing 30 fossil fuel plants. “By leading with unproven coal technologies”, the new plan “defies international trends, is out of step with community expectations and signals the end of growth for Australian renewables. Most developed countries are pursuing this option. Australia is being left behind.”

...but demand for green power rises

Demand for green power has increased by 35% in Australia over the 18 months up to Dec 2003, with 87,722 domestic and 3,960 commercial customers. That was up 36% and 35% (respectively) since July 2002, with total sales being  633,235 MWh, with a pro-rated annual equivalent of 422,157 MWh, according to the latest National Green Power Accreditation Audit.

New Zealand  goes for wind

Wind power received the highest approval rating of 82%, followed by hydro at 79%, according to a survey of public opinion on energy sources conducted for the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority in New Zealand. Geothermal was supported by 67%, gas-fired plants by 38% and coal generation by 24%. Strong support was expressed by 35% of respondents for having a windfarm built in their area, while 25% were moderately in favour, 20% neutral and 18% against the idea.

Canada backs REFIT: the ruling Liberal party in the province of Ontario has backed the feed-in tariff approach to funding renewables, as used so successfully in Germany.

India goes for wind and PV

India has a very large population and is heavily dependent on import of fossil fuels, but it also has huge reserves of renewable energy sources which is is beginning to tap. India is the number one off-grid PV market in the world. In 2003 an estimated 26 MWp of PV cells  were manufactured by around 15 producers all around the country. India has a dedicated Ministry of Non-conventional Energy Sources (MNES), which offers a large and successful support programme for renewables like this. For a solar home system with 18 Wp MNES gives a central subsidy of 3,000 rupees (67 US$), rising to 10,000 rupees (222 US$) for a solar home system with 74 Wp.

India is also one of the largest five wind energy markets worldwide. By the end of 2003 around 2,110 MW of wind power capacity had been installed, equivalent to two-thirds of the Danish market (3,100 MW). MNES has started a wind measuring programme unique in the world with over 900 gauging stations in 24 regions of India. For more on the wind, & the PV support programme see the ‘India Special’ issue of SUN & WIND ENERGY, Oct 2004:

All green Canary Isle…

The Spanish utility ENDESA is to invest Euro 24m to make the Canary Island of El Hierro (population 10,000)  100%  powered by a 10MW combined hydro and wind project, with the wind being used partly for pumped storage. Power will also be used for desalination.

EU goes for Emission Trading ….

The European Environment Agency‘s ‘Annual European Community Greenhouse Gas Inventory 1990-2002 and Inventory Report 2004’,  says that emissions from the EU 15  fell by 0.5% from 2001 to 2002, partly due to the warmer weather. But vehicle emissions rose everywhere except Germany. 

The EU is looking to the new emission trading system to help improve things as far as power plant and industrial emissions are concerned.   Last year, the European Commission requested National Allocation Plans outlining CO2 emission allowances to energy-intensive industrial plants to be submitted by all EU 25 countries, ready for start up of the EU emissions trading scheme. There were delays and adjustments- in July the EC accepted five plans, (Denmark, Ireland, the Netherlands, Slovenia Sweden) unconditionally, but three others- from the UK, Austria, & Germany- were only approved pending technical changes. In Oct. six more were accepted (including, Lithuania, Estonia, Belgium & Portugal), but adjustments were required from France & Finland. 

The EU emissions trading scheme (EU-ETS) aims to ensure that greenhouse gas emissions in the energy and industry sectors are cut at least cost to the economy, and help the EU and its Member States meet their emission targets under the 1997 Kyoto Protocol.  Although some companies have objected to the EU-ETS, especially in the UK (see the CBI’s comments earlier), a new study from the UK’s Carbon Trust argues that it will not damage the competitiveness of UK industry, with virtually all sectors able to maintain profits- if the scheme is implemented in equivalent ways across the EU.  

Prof. Mike Grubb, Carbon Trust Director of Policy, said,‘UK industry has been very concerned that the EU ETS will cause British business to lose out due to global competition, or because of differences in national allocation plans within Europe. In contrast to this, our study reveals the EU ETS will not harm the competitiveness of virtually all industry sectors in Europe. Indeed, most sectors will not find it hard, at a minimum, to maintain current levels of profitability once the scheme is in place, and several could gain. However, our study confirms that current NAPs vary considerably, and some countries give surplus allowances to their companies, which could distort competition between EU countries for some sectors, notably steel.’

Overall, he felt that NAPs being proposed across the EU were currently too weak to drive significant carbon abatement activity. This means the ETS could fail to deliver against its objective of helping business to cost effectively reduce their carbon emissions, in line with the EU’s Kyoto commitment. Weak NAPs would also fail to kick-start the required long-term change process, leaving companies potentially facing much sharper cutbacks and much higher carbon prices during later stages of the EU ETS and exposing them to considerable risk- something he claimed the UK NAP avoided.

He concluded: “It’s crucial for all of  European industry,  as well as the fight against climate change, that the EU ensures equally strong NAPs across all countries from the start”. 

 The Report is  at:


…but US  says it is ‘in the lead’

Despite its opposition to Kyoto, the USA is still a major player in the renewables field- by virtue of its size and wealth and its technological prowess. Total US generation from geothermal, solar, wind, wood and waste power facilities was 89 billion kWh, according to the ‘International Energy Annual 2002’ produced by the US Energy Departments Energy Information Administration. Germany was in second place with 27 bn kWh, Japan with 21 b-kWh, Brazil with 15 bn kWh and Spain with 11 bn kWh. US energy secretary Spencer Abraham noted that the US was “the leading producer and consumer of renewable energy today.”  By 2001 it had 116 gigawatts of installed renewable energy capacity “greater than the amount of renewable energy generation capacity in Germany, Denmark, Sweden, France, Italy and the United Kingdom combined.” He was keen to continue to promote renewables, but saw the second pillar in US  climate friendly energy policy as clean coal, followed by “new generation nuclear” and then fusion.

... although it could do much better

Policy changes in the US could lead to 131 GW of green power capacity by 2025, more than ten times the level of 2001 according to ‘A Responsible Electricity Future: An Efficient, Cleaner & Balanced Scenario for the U.S. Electricity System’ a report prepared for the National Association of State Public Interest Research Groups.

Total generation from renewables could increase from 3% now to 15% in 2025 “by taking advantage of the potential for development of wind and solar power, biomass energy and other renewable sources of energy,” combined with a reduction in the growth of demand for electricity from 42% to 5%. Costs would be lower in the balanced case by avoiding the need for a ‘tremendous investment’ in new central generation and transmission facilities, and would avoid current power plants which ‘pose significant risks’ to customers and society in general.  Wind and biomass would dominate but geothermal would go from 2.9 GW capacity in 2001 to 8.9 GW in 2025; biomass would go from 1.8 to 39.9, solar thermal from 0.3 to 0.8, solar PV from 0.02 to 4.2 and wind from 4.2 to 73.3 GW over the quarter century. In total, non-hydro renewables could climb from 12.5 to 131.5 GW capacity.

Californian governor  Schwarzenegger has promised a ‘Million Homes’ solar PV programme which could lead to 2.7GWp being installed by 2008.  Meanwhile the Renewable Portfolio Standard system, now adopted by 9 states, along with other ‘mandate’ systems, has led to  2GW of renewables being installed.

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