Renew On Line (UK) 67
|Extracts from NATTA's journal
Renew, Issue 167 May-June 2007
|Welcome Archives Bulletin|
9. EU roundup
New EU 20% Energy Plan
In its new plan, the European Commission called for a target of least a 20% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions in 2020 compared to 1990, with these cuts being achieved mainly by expanding renewables to provide 20% of EU energy, and by a 20% cut in energy use via investment in energy efficiency, as already proposed in the EUs Energy Action Plan. It also called for an effort to push towards 30% emission reduction by 2020, in negotiations with other developed countries.
The EC’s Energy Package, consists of twelve reports covering EU energy market, energy security, renewables, efficiency, fossil fuels and nuclear. An interim report by the EC’s Industry, Research & Energy Committee had earlier called for binding sectoral targets for renewables to reach 25% of primary energy by 2020 and a roadmap to reach 50% by 2040. It also recognized the role that nuclear plays in some countries, but said that decisions on its future must be taken by member states individually.
Not everyone was happy with the idea of binding targets, but in the event, binding targets of a 20% emission cut by 2020, with 20% of EU energy to come from renewables by 2020, were accepted, although as a concession to France and the new EU countries, the role of nuclear would be taken into account when specific targets were set for each country.
EU views on energy
A Harris Interactive poll of European attitudes to energy, looking at views in Germany, France, Italy, Spain and the UK, found that only 30% strongly or somewhat supported building new nuclear power plants, while 46% oppose it. Italy was the most pro-nuclear country in the poll, with equal proportions of 42% of the population for and against new nuclear power stations. But only 31% of Italians would strongly or somewhat support a new nuclear plant being built within 100km of their homes, and 51% would oppose it. Surprisingly only 29% of those asked in France supported nuclear. More predictably 53% of Germans and 62% of Spaniards were against new nuclear construction. Overall 85% of people asked in the survey believed their governments should spend more on renewables. In France and Spain, more than 90% backed increased investment in renewables. In the UK, 77% said that human activity is contributing to climate change, while in the other four countries the proportion was close to 90%. But when asked how much they would pay to head off the threat, 5% say they would pay more than a week’s wages, while 33% would not be prepared to pay anything. Source: Financial Times 20/11/06
* The Global Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy Fund (GEEREF) recently launched by the EC has funding of Euro 80m over four years, and Germany and Italy will add Euro 32 million to mobilize investment of Euro 1 bn to overcome the financing barriers faced by technology transfer projects, particularly CDM projects.
New EU Scenarios
A report ‘Security of Energy Supply: the potential and reserves of various energy sources, technologies furthering self-reliance and the impact of policy decisions,’ produced for the European Parliament’s energy committee, says that by 2030 a radical renewables plus efficiency programme could supply 31% of total primary energy and cut CO2 emissions by 45% compared with 1990 levels. By comparison, under a ‘business as usual’ (BAU) scenario, emissions would rise 5% although an ‘advanced conventional’ strategy, with stronger support for nuclear and carbon capture and storage, could reduce this to under 2%. The renewables/efficiency programme would reduce demand for primary energy by 20% and cut import dependency from 65% as in the BAU case, to 49%. The report sees this as an example of a ‘domestic action’ approach which would decouple the EU from external problems. It would ‘swap the external threats from climate change and geopolitical turmoil for greater challenges with respect to the management of the more radical changes inside the domestic European society’.
German green power
Renewables provided 7.7% of total energy consumption (power and heating) in Germany last year, up from the 2005 level of 6.8%, which equates to supplies of about 200 billion kilowatt hours, or the power, heating and fuel consumption of 10 million households, according to the BEE. In 2006, 11.6% of electricity came from renewables.
Swiss geothermal tremor
Last Dec, Swiss engineers halted an experiment to extract geothermal
heat from deep below ground after it set off a small earthquake in the
nearby city of Basel. The tremor measured 3.4 on the Richter scale and
caused widespread fear, prompting about 1,000 calls to emergency services,
but evidently caused no injuries or serious damage. The mishap occurred
after water was injected at high pressure into a 5 km deep borehole.
And there was a 3.1 scale tremor subsequently.
Dutch green power falls
Since the end of 2004, the number of Dutch households voluntarily purchasing green power has decreased from 3.0 to 2.4 million. However, the Netherlands is still by far the largest voluntary green power market in the world, according to a market overview carried out by the Dutch information website www.energieprijzen.nl. Certainly that’s more than in the UK, where there are only 200,000 subscribers so far- see Groups in Renew 167.
GreenPrices.com, suggested that there are some possible reasons for the decline of the Dutch green power market. ‘At the start of the green power market support in 2001 the Dutch policy was based on stimulation of green power demand. At first, green power was even cheaper than grey power (i.e. from conventional sources). But in 2003 the government replaced the tax exemption for green power end-users with a support policy for green power generators: the so-called MEP-premium. Although the change in support also drove up the green power prices, the majority of Dutch households kept on using green power. The present number of 2.4 million represents some 34% of all Dutch households.’
It added ‘In the last two years smaller green power suppliers have gained some share in the market from the large Dutch suppliers Eneco, Essent and Nuon: from 20 to 25%. In total the Dutch green powered households consume approximately 7.2 TWh p.a. That is twice the total of 3.6 TWh that German green electricity suppliers put on the voluntary market, half of which is purchased by households and half by companies.’
* Over the last few years the Eugene Standard initiative has been trying to improve the take up and reliability of voluntary green power schemes. The Eugene Standard was initiated by WWF and 2 green power labels, ok-power and naturemade- attempting to give a European dimension to what were mainly national labels. See www.eugenestandard.org and the Groups section in Renew 167.
Solar in Spain
Solar panels are now compulsory on all new and renovated buildings in Spain as part of the country’s efforts to bring its building rules up to date and curb growing demand for energy. New homes have to be equipped with solar panels to provide between 30 and 70% of their hot water, depending on where the building is located and on its expected water usage. New non-residential buildings, such as shopping centres and hospitals, now have to have photovoltaic panels to generate a proportion of their electricity. Other measures in the new building code enforce the use of better insulation, improve the maintenance of heating /cooling systems and increase the use of natural light. ‘The new standards will bring energy savings of 30 to 40% for each building and a reduction of carbon dioxide emissions from energy consumption of 40 to 55%,’ the Environment and Housing Ministries said. Source: Reuters
Even so, Spain may not meet its renewable energy targets for 2010 unless solar power and biomass generation are pushed harder, according to renewable energy lobby group APPA. The overall target is to get 12% of Spain energy from renewables by 2010 and 30% of its electricity and almost 6% of its transport fuel. However, Reuters reported that Jose Maria Gonzalez Velez, APPA’s chairman, told a news conference: ‘That plan will not be met. Perhaps the wind energy and biofuel targets will be met, but no other technology is going to reach its target.’
APPA claimed that a government proposal to oblige distributors to buy power for the regulated market at quarterly auctions would effectively exclude independent renewable power generators- it would only suit big power companies like Endesa and Iberdrola who also have conventional power to draw on and can switch between the two.
Reuters noted that ‘Spain is under more pressure than most industrialised countries to increase renewable power sources because its carbon dioxide emissions have risen more than 50% since 1990’. Source: Reuters
* Press reports claim that Spain intends to reduce subsidies for power from wind turbines, while it increases financial support for other sources of renewable energies. The proposals would see feed-in tariffs for wind drop from Euro 97 per MWh to between Euro 67 and 87.
Renewables will be a priority area for future co-operation among the European Union and countries of the Black Sea and Caspian Sea regions. A meeting in Kazakhstan agreed on a common energy strategy and a new energy roadmap for co-operation between the EC and the governments of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Tajikistan, Turkey, Ukraine, Uzbekistan and the Russian Federation. Participants agreed that priority areas would be ‘supporting sustainable energy development including energy efficiency, renewable energy sources and demand side management; converging of energy markets; enhancing energy security; and attracting investment towards energy projects of common interest’.
The European Union and Russia have agreed to continue implementation
of a joint initiative to increase energy efficiency and ‘reduce
the impact on the environment by introducing new energy efficient and
environmentally clean technologies and renewable sources of energy’.
The latest progress report of the ‘EU-Russia Energy Dialogue’
presents the results achieved since October 2005, noting that the groups
on energy efficiency have become an important new element of the dialogue.
*The 150MW solar energy project in Israel’s Negev desert has been delayed and is only expected to be completed within the next two years, mainly due to Israel’s slow regulatory environment.
Turkey, still pressing hard to be accepted into the EU, is not exploiting its rich renewable energy resources sufficiently, according to Halil Ibrahim Akca from the State Planning Organisation. Demand for electricity is expected to reach 295 billion kWh by 2013 and he says Turkey must start exploiting its renewable energy resources immediately, for security, economic and environmental reasons. The country has potential of 130 billion kWh in hydroelectricity but uses only 35%, while the potential for wind power is 10,000 MW but has installed only 49 MW. The average annual solar energy potential of Turkey is equivalent to 87 million ton of oil, which would generate 110 billion kWh of power. It has 170 undeveloped geothermal regions with potential geothermal capacity of 30,000 MW, but only 229 MW is being used. Source: ReFocus Weekly
Warwick University hosted a three day ESRC backed conference in Feb. organised by Prof. Mike Bradshaw from Leicester University and Dr Dr Stefan Buzar from Oxfords Environmental Change Institute, on energy developments in Central and Eastern Europe. The big story is of course the battle over gas supplies, with Russia still dominating, but the CEE countries are seeking to develop renewables and improve energy efficiency, which may help. Another key issue is fuel poverty- liberalisation has pushed up energy prices. We’ll report in Renew 168.
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