Renew On Line (UK) 70
|Extracts from NATTA's journal
Renew, Issue 170 Nov-Dec 2007
|Welcome Archives Bulletin|
8 EU News
EU Green Energy Jobs
When the European Council set energy targets for 2020 earlier this spring, it was suggested that greening of the energy sector would create 650,000 jobs. The European Parliament has now reviewed this claim in an internal briefing, which concludes that it may not be as simple as that- the kind of work will change, but probably not the total number of jobs. The briefing note by the Policy Department Economy and Science of the European Parliament points to an OECD report from 2004 which said that, without change in taxes and global trading, the estimated employment impact of policies in Europe to limit CO2 emissions is rather uncertain and remains small . The argument is that, in most cases, new jobs on renewables will simply replace old jobs in fossil energy, and although it is accepted that energy sources like biomass may involve more workers, as may energy conservation projects, they will be less skilled and lower paid. Even so the Briefing paper does conclude that a more rapid switch to renewable appears to have an unambiguous benefit in terms of overall employment , presumably since it involves a rapid change over and a lot of new projects. After the new system is established, though employment levels may be similar.
180 GW of EU wind by 2020?
At the EWEC 2007 Conference in Milan, Arthouros Zervos, president of the European Wind Energy Association, noted that Europe has 50,000 MW of installed wind capacity. In an average wind year this produces approximately 100 TWh of electricity, equal to 3.3% of total EU electricity consumption. If we reach 180 GW by 2020, this will produce more than 500 TWh of electricity a year which represents a five fold increase compared to today s production.
The European Commission has published a report on trends and developments in eco-innovation in the EU. While confirming the strong growth of eco-industries the report emphasises that the state of the environment and climate change call for the take-up of clean and environmentally-friendly innovation on a massive scale. EU Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas said: Eco-innovation is a central element in the fight against climate change. It will bring us a long way towards meeting our targets of reducing energy consumption by 20% and increasing the use of renewable energy by 20% by 2020. However, we have less than 13 years to achieve these goals. It is vital that the full capacity for eco-innovation be exploited without delay. Only through eco-innovation can we fundamentally change our patterns of production and consumption.
The EC says that EU Eco-industries have grown in recent years to become a viable and prominent force in the European economy. Today they represent about 2.1% of its Gross Domestic Product and account for some 3.5 million jobs. About three quarters of these jobs are found in the water and waste management sectors and the remainder in other areas such as air pollution control, soil remediation, renewable energy, and recycling. Internationally, the European sector fares well and constitutes about one third of the world market share in eco-industries.
However more was needed: Eco-innovation must become pervasive across all industries if we are to overcome the challenges we face . To that end the European Union s Environmental Technology Action Plan (ETAP) was launched by the Commission in 2004 as a way of channelling efforts by the EU and Member States towards common goals and to serve as a catalyst for change.
ETAP Environmental Technology Action Plan
The aim of ETAP is to stimulate eco-innovation and encourage the take-up of environmental technologies on a broad scale. The focus of the plan is to foster greater demand for environmental technologies and to create a fertile ground for eco-innovation.
The EC say that, by 2013, ETAP will have helped channel over € 12bn towards eco-innovation projects. These projects focus on developing industrial processes and business practices based on the life-cycle approach. They also concentrate on developing products which are more environmentally friendly. The wind power sector, for example, owes much of its success to research and development projects funded by the EU.
The EC added The success of the wind power sector must be emulated in other areas. Too many environmental technologies remain in small niche markets. Ensuring greater take-up of environmental technologies which already exist or are just entering the market could provide substantial environmental gains. Measures such as green procurement and standardisation can stimulate demand for environmental technologies. In the short-term these policies need to focus on those sectors which can yield large environmental benefits quickly and easily. These include construction, food and drink, and private transport. It is estimated that these sectors account for 70 to 80% of all environmental impacts.
The EC says that the eco-innovation roadmaps drawn up by Member States show the actions that individual Member States are adopting. The ETAP report points to actions the EU and Member States should focus on: promoting green procurement, focusing on sectors with high gains, setting performance targets, creating an eco-innovation observatory .
New German plan
Germany has announced plans to reduce CO2 emissions by 40% by 2020, with renewables contributing 27% by then. In May, the German Minister for Environment, Sigmar Gabriel unveiled the ambitious eight-point action plan. The new German emissions targets go twice as far as the binding EU targets agreed at the EU Spring Summit in March. The new Climate Agenda 2020 calls for a transformation of the industrial society . In order to reach its 40% target (a reduction of 270 million tonnes of CO2), the document proposes eight measures:
• Modernising power stations (-30 million tonnes);
• doubling the amount of combined heat & power use (-20 m tonnes);
• increasing the share of renewables in electricity production to 27% (- 55 million tonnes);
• cutting electricity consumption by 11% (-40 million tonnes);
• improving energy efficiency of buildings (-41 million tonnes);
• using more renewables for heating (-14 million tonnes);
• increasing fuel and engine efficiency in transport and more use of biofuels
(-30 million tonnes), and;
• reducing emissions of other (non -CO2) gases like methane or F-gases.
The plan explicitly rejects a revival of nuclear, sticking to the coalition comprise between the SPD (Social Democrats) and CDU-CSU (Christian Democrats) to a phase-out. The investment costs for these plans would be € 3 bn, whereas it is estimated that climate change could lead to damage costs of € 137 bn.
German Offshore wind
Germany s Plambeck Neue Energien AG has received approval for the Gode Wind offshore wind farm, with 80 5MW turbines initially, then expansion to 220. Project start is 2008/9. Germany hopes to have 1.5 GW of offshore wind by 2010.
REFIT attacked The IEA has called on Germany to switch from REFIT
to a quota system, an idea roundly dismissed by the World Wind Energy Association and the German Wind Energy Association as absurd and likely to slow wind s rapid growth.
Reflecting NGO eco-concerns, the European Commission s binding target for biofuels to make up at least 10% of vehicle fuel by 2020 will involve tight minimum sustainability standards on net carbon saving, biodiversity and land use, and will promote more efficient second generation fuels.
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