Renew On Line (UK) 60

Extracts from NATTA's journal
, issue160 March-April2006

   Welcome   Archives   Bulletin         


1. Intermittency- not a big issue?

2. Marine renewables- tidal and wave progress

3. Wind power- problems and successes

4. The Energy Review- UK split on nuclear power

5. NFFO fund raided – Treasury helps itself

6. Microgen for all – micro CHP in action

7. LCBP gets £30m  - Skills gap? 

8. UK roundup – local wind and solar projects

9. Global Developments - Clinton Global Initiative

10. Europe - France, Spain, Portugal, Germany

11. Around the World - USA, Canada, China

12. Nuclear News- Chernobyl revisited, US Safety

10. EU: 34% from renewables by 2020?

Europe could get 34% of its electricity from renewables by 2020, according to ‘FORRES 2020: Analysis of the renewable energy sources’ evolution up to 2020’. It says that wind will grow from 34 TWh in 2001 to 385 TWh in 2020 under a ‘business as usual’ (BAU) scenario, but would reach 461 TWh under a scenario that models the future evolution based on the currently available best practice.  In parallel, solar PV would increase from 0.2 TWh to 8.8 TWh under BAU but 17.9 TWh under the best policy scenario, while solar thermal electric would grow from nothing in 2001 to 12.7 and 21.7TWh, respectively. Wave and tidal power would rise from 0 to 8.4 or 33.2, geothermal would expand from 6.3 to 7.5 or 8.2, biomass and biogas would increase from 37 to 141 or 338, while small-scale hydro would go from 38 TWh in 2001 to 44.3 TWH in 2020 under BAU or 48.4 TWH under the  best policy scenario. Total supply of green power among the 25 countries would increase from 403 TWh to 900 TWh under BAU or 1,234 TWh by 2020 under the best policy scenario. Total power demand will increase from 2,960 TWh in 2001 to 4,009 or 3,583 TWh respectively, meaning that green power will rise from 13.6% of demand in 2001, to 22.5% under BAU, or 34.4% by 2020, under the best policy scenario.  However the report says that this would require “immediate policy actions in most member states.”

The analysis was produced by a number of groups, including Fraunhofer ISI, EEG, ECOFYS, KEMA and REC.

The European Parliament has called for a 20% target for renewables in overall energy consumption in the EU by 2020, but Claude Turmes, a member of the Greens/EFA party from Luxembourg and a member of the Euro Parliamentary energy committee, has called for it to be increased to  at least 25% with the upcoming Seventh Framework Programme for research (FP7)  being revised to provide ‘increased funding for renewable sources of energy and energy efficiency’.

A report from the European Parliaments committee on industry, research and energy has also insisted that ‘in the 7th Framework Programme for Research & Technological Development (FP7), a minimum of Euro 300 million a year be dedicated to renewable energies and Euro 200m a year to energy efficiency, to compensate the historical bias in EU energy research programs’.  It argues that ‘all non mature energy technologies need a certain amount of support in the first years of development’ and notes that, according to the IEA, only 8.2% of total energy R&D funds of OECD countries were allocated to renewables between 1974 & 2001. Source: ReFocus Weekly

Renewables around the EU

France tries hard...

France’s new energy law aims to ensure that, in line with its  EU-agreed Kyoto target, 21% of electricity will come from renewables by 2010. But the introduction of land zoning for wind projects are seen by the wind industry as potentially an administrative hurdle, and, as noted in Renew 157, the  eligibility rules for the new Feed-In Tariff may block small independent projects. Nevertheless, the government forecast a quadrupling of the national wind power capacity in the next two years.

... but Spain leads

In 1997, Spain had 200 MW of wind turbine capacity, but annual growth rates of 30% have pushed this up to 8,263 MW, making  Spain the global leader.  And they seem to aim to stay ahead.  An earlier government target of 13,000 MW by 2010 has been updated to 20,000 MW by 2011. That would mean that wind  would be supplying 15% of national electricity, up from the current level of 6.5%. And overall  the government wants 12.1% of energy to come from from renewables by 2010, with 30.3% of electricity coming from green power. To back this up, the Spanish government has approved a Euro 23.6 bn renewable energy initiative to 2010, although most of this is expected to come from the private sector.

...and Portugal goes for PV

Work has started on the world’s largest solar energy station, a 62 MW array with 350,000 PV panels covering 112 hectares- an area the size of 150 football pitches- near the southern Portuguese town of Moura. When completed, in 2009, the Girassol plant should be able to produce enough electricity to power 21,000 homes, and will have cost £168 m to install- with much of the capital having been raised locally. Moura’s town hall holds 90% of the capital on behalf of local investors.

Germany: now at 11% from renewables  

According to the German Electricity Industry Association, the proportion of electricity generated in Germany from renewable sources increased to 11% in the first half of 2005- compared to 5% in 1998. Overall electricity generated from renewables rose 13%, to 31 billion kilowatt-hours, compared to the first half of 2004. This equals the amount of electricity consumed by around 18 million four-person households in that period. At 48.7%, wind energy accounted for just under half of the electricity produced from renewables, while hydro & biomass including wastes accounted for 37% and 13.2% respectively. Solar PV supplied 1% of the electricity produced, a 50% increase from the previous year, the largest % expansion for any renewable in Germany so far.

The use of renewables to generate electricity has expanded faster in Germany than in other countries thanks to its ‘feed-in’ payment system, which guarantees producers a fixed price for electricity generated from renewables and fed into the grid. The price depends on the technology used and is reduced from year to year. As a result, competition is encouraged, and the industry has an incentive to continue to develop the technologies. In view of the fact that in 2004 the German renewables industry employed 150,000 and had a turnover of 12 bn euros, it’s not surprising that the new coalition Government has agreed that the Renewable Energy Law will remain unchanged until the scheduled review in 2007, and that Germany’s existing renewable energy targets will also be maintained- 12.5%  of electricity by 2010 and 20% by 2020;  and 4.2% of total energy by 2010 and 10% by 2020.

Estonia: wind project funded by emissions trading

The 18.4 MW Pakri wind farm on the Gulf of Finland in Estonia has been part-funded under the Kyoto Joint Implementation scheme. Initiated by Danish developer Global Green Energy, using German Nordex 2.3 turbines, it will sell certificates for 500,000 metric tons of avoided CO2 emissions to Finland- and receive Euro 2.9 million for this sale. In addition the first certified emission credits have been issued under the  Kyoto Clean Development Mechanism for two hydro projects in Honduras.

Green Eire

Renewables grew 50% in Ireland in 2005, to 2.2% of energy from 1.5% in 2003- with the electricty share growing by 22% and wind by 44%.

Aviation & Climate Change- EU response

With emissions from aviation continuing to rise, international pressure is growing for something to be done, with the European Union taking a lead.  Having looked at some market-based solutions- airline ticket or departure taxes, emissions charges- the European Commission has concluded that the most cost-efficient and environmentally effective option would be to include emissions from aviation in the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (‘ETS’), presumably in its second round starting in 2008.

However, the EC has also emphasises some existing efforts that it said must be continued or strengthened, including improved Air Traffic Management, which it says offer potential for efficiency improvements, in terms of for example more direct flight routes and less queuing of aircraft. But, this is a relatively small issue, and, in any case, you would think that this is the sort of thing the industry would come up with when and if  economic pressure was imposed to reflect the full environmental costs of their activities.  Similarly for fuel efficiency- although as the Tyndall Centre noted in its new study (see Renew 159) the scope for that is limited to about a 1.7% p.a. improvement, whereas demand in terms of passenger-kms was likely to rise by 7% p.a. even under the low growth/high efficiency scenario. It concluded that, unless something is done, aircraft emissions could be 20% of the UK’s emissions by 2030 and 50% by 2050.

If aviation was included in the EU ETS, an emission cap would be set and Aircraft operators would be allocated tradable emission allowances. They would then be an incentive to to stay beneath the cap, so as to earn emission credits that they could sell, or to avoid having to buy them.  No caps have yet been discussed but if for example emissions in 2012 were be capped at their 2008 levels, the EC says that would be equivalent to an emissions saving of around 17% of otherwise projected increases. Depending on how tight the cap was, then there might be some radical innovations- alternative zero carbon fuels even- but the most likely thing to happen, at least in the in the short to medium term, is increased prices, producing a fall in demand i.e. less airtravel. However, the EC claims that prices might only rise by at most 9 euro, depending on the flight, and the result will be ‘a small reduction in the rate at which demand grows’, of about 0.1-2.1% during 2008-12, assuming CO2 allowance prices of 10-30 euro.  Interestingly it wants to impose these caps on all aircraft using EU airport- not just EU based airlines.  It is now consulting on the idea- although the US has objected to it.

* In the EU the direct greenhouse gas(GHG) emissions from aviation correspond to about 3% of total GHG emissions. However, this  doesn’t include indirect warming effects, such as those from NOx emissions, contrails and cirrus cloud effects. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has estimated that aviation’s total impact is about 2 to 4 times higher than the effect of its past CO2 emissions alone. From 1990 to 2003, the EU’s GHG emissions from international aviation increased by 73%, or 4.3% per year. If growth continues at this rate, the increase since 1990 will, it said, reach 150% by 2012- and the Tyndall report seems to put it even higher.

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