Renew On Line (UK) number73

Extracts from NATTA's journal
Renew, Issue 173 May-June 2008
   Welcome   Archives   Bulletin         

1. UK Needs to try harder 

2. Wave and Tidal-  ‘slow progress’

3. RO bands- no to REFIT  

4. Biofuel doubts grow 

5 Micro power- ups and down  

6. Reactions to Nuclear White paper 

7. Wind power developments  

8. Planning Changes 

9. Global developments  

10. EU News 

11. Nuclear News


10. EU News 

EU energy use grows  

A study by the Institute for Environment & Sustainability, for the European Union, ‘Electricity Consumption and Efficiency Trends in the Enlarged EU: Status Report 2006’, shows that electricity use in the EU-27 Member States and Candidate Countries has continued to grow, despite numerous energy efficiency polices and programmes at EU and national level. In 1999-2004, in the EU-25, total electricity use grew10.8% in the residential sector, 15.6% in the tertiary sector, and 9.5% in industry.

Why the Increase?   The rise was seen as being a result of the spread/use of appliances- dish-washers, tumble-driers, air-conditioners, personal computers, broadband, DVD players etc., ‘which are all still far away from saturation levels’, plus more lighting, larger houses and an older population demanding higher indoor temperatures and all-day heating in winter and cooling in summer. In the tertiary sector (public sector, health, services and commerce) lighting is the main electricity used- 26% of electricity consumption, but air conditioners are estimated to consume 70-80TWh of electricity, while a German survey found ICT use in buildings to be 11% of total electricity consumption in this sector.

Energy consumption in the industrial sector has continued to grow in 1999 to 2004 in the EU-25, from 299 Mtoe to 319 Mtoe, an increase of 6.6%, while the yearly growth rate in 2003-2004 has been 1.3%. Total electricity consumption for the industrial sector on the EU-25 was 792 TWh in year 1990 and 1042 TWh in year 2000 and reached 1089 TWh in 2004. Electricity use in the industrial sectors has grown  9.5% in the period 1999-2004 and 1.7% in the period 2003-2004.

Slamming on the caps

Given the situation of ever rising demand (see above), energy efficiency programmes are obviously vital, and the EU does have a target of a 20% reduction (on current levels) by 2020, but on their own efficiency measures don’t seem likely to stave off increased demand- so unless something else is done emissions will continue to rise. That is clearly not what the EU wants and, as noted in Renew 171, it has backed quite stringent carbon caps for the new round of the EU Emission Trading System for 2008-12. As it stands, many EU states are well behind their binding Kyoto targets to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 2012, especially Spain, Portugal and Italy. In the new round, the European Commission has accepted the proposed emission plans of Britain, France, Slovenia and Denmark, but for most the rest the proposed caps were reduced slightly e.g. Sweden got 90.5% of what they bid for,  but for most of the ex-Soviet EU countries, quite dramatic cuts were imposed. Latvia’s cap was reduced to 44.5% of that bid for, Estonia’s cap was cut to 52% of that requested, Lithuania’s to 53%. Bulgarias to 62.6%, Polands to 73%, Slovakia’s to 74.8%, Romania’s to 79.3%, the Czech Republic to 85.2% and Hungary to 87.6%. The other new EU countries also had a quite hard time: Cyprus got 77%, Malta 71%. And Luxembourg got a miserable 63%!

This brought the total annual emissions limit for EU countries for the 2008-12 trading phase to 2.08 billion tonnes, versus 2.33 billion tonnes that countries asked for in the national plans. Not much of a cut overall, but hard on some on the new EU countries.  

New EU Energy plan 

How can this be achieved? Well in part by adherence to the target of getting 20% of EU energy from renewables by 2020. The EU came out with its national allocations for that target in January. The big hitters are Austria 34% (it was obtaining 23.3%% in 2005), Finland 38% (was 28.5% in 2005), Latvia 42% (~35%), and Sweden 49% (~40%). Portugal got 31%, Denmark 30%, France, 23%, Spain 20%, Germany 18%, Greece 18%, Italy 17%, Ireland 16%, the UK 15%, the Netherlands 14% and Belgium 13%. Luxembourg and Malta get the lowest- 11.1% and 10% respectively, and Cyprus 13%. In Central & Eastern Europe, Slovenia got 25%,  Estonia 25%. Lithuania 23%, Romania 24%, Bulgaria 16%, Poland 15%, Slovakia 14%, Czech Rep. 13% and Hungary 13%. They can all buy in green credits to help, from those with excess, inside or outside the EU, under a ‘Guarantee of Origin’ scheme. But that will be limited. So  REFIT schemes are safe- see Box. The EC also propose changes to the third EU-ETS round, to help countries to meet their carbon caps. Full details in Renew 174. See Groups for some reactions.

 ‘Save REFIT’

In the run up to the EC’s new energy plan renewables lobbyists opposed the idea of a mandatory EU- wide Trade Mechanism with ‘green certificates’ for renewable electricity, since they said it could endanger national suppport mechanisms like REFIT. See Groups. They warned that objectors could take it to the Euro Court of Justice, as Germany did in 2000 to defend its Feed-In-Tariff. But in the event the EC backed a voluntary scheme just for any excess credits.

German Coal Crisis 

The German newspaper Der Spiegel has noted that  ‘German energy policy is caught on the horns of a dilemma. Chancellor Merkel does not want to scuttle the negotiated elimination of nuclear energy. But at the same time, she insisted during an energy summit in early July that Germany must reduce its CO2 output by 40% by 2020.’  

It reports industry views that phasing out nuclear will require the substitution of 20GW of electricity production, and that an additional 20GW will be needed as obsolete coal, gas or oil-burning power plants go offline. And it adds ‘Unable to rely on nuclear energy and skeptical of the potential capacity of alternative energy sources, they have chosen instead to go retro. From cities like Stade in northern Germany to Karlsruhe in the south, power companies want to both build 30 new coal-burning power plants and modernize several older plants, even though brown and black coal are the worst energy sources in terms of pollutants, accounting for about 40% of CO2.’

It notes that ‘communities throughout Germany are already demonstrating how resistance to coal-burning power plants could form a new social movement akin to that against nuclear power’ and also that  the great hope of the coal lobby, Carbon Capture & Storage, ‘is not just expensive- it won’t be ready for mass-production until 2020 at the  earliest’.  

More on the problems of CCS in the Features in Renew 173.    

 For the full article see:,1518,496691,00.htm 

German Green Heat law

There has been talk of a nation wide renewable heat  Feed-in-Tariff in Germany. And the first regional heating law for renewable energy has actually now emerged in Baden-Württemberg.  From 1st April 2008, new buildings in Baden-Württemberg must obtain 20% of their heating requirements from renewable sources. In its draft of an appropriate law, the government of Baden-Württemberg is the first federal state to call for the use of solar, bio or environmental heating systems for use in water heating and space heating.

France goes Greener 

 French President Nicholas Sarkozy has promised a range of new green policies including new high speed train lines, more rail freight, a lorry tax and a programme of home insulation to help cut domestic energy use by 40% by 2020.  He also pledged €1bn over four years for research into clean engine and fuel technology and also to increase the share of electricity from renewable and clean sources to more than 20% by 2020 and to match spending on renewables with that on nuclear technology. The Financial Times commented: ‘With 77% of its electricity generated by nuclear plants, France is on course to beat its Kyoto target of cutting greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2012. But emissions from road transport are rising fast and the government said earlier this year that it would struggle to meet its longer-term target of cutting carbon dioxide emissions by 30% by 2030.’   Source: FT

EU rethink

The EC seems to have backed off the ‘10% by 2020’ EU biofuel target - it says sustainability is more important.  

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