Tag Archives: EE policy

RE and EE Carbon Policy news 26 January 2015

Weekly RE and EE Carbon Policy news update from the web.

New efficiency standards for residential water heaters are on the horizon

New efficiency standards for residential water heaters
In less than two years, new water heater energy efficiency standards will be in effect, starting in April 2015. U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Steven Chu announced in April of 2010 that the Department had finalized higher energy efficiency standards for a key group of heating appliances that will together save consumers up to $10 billion and prevent the release of up to 164 million metric tons of carbon dioxide over 30 years. These new standards — for residential water heaters, pool heaters and direct heating equipment such as gas fireplaces — will reduce air pollution, prevent the release of harmful nitrogen oxides and mercury, and avoid emissions equivalent to taking 46 million cars off the road for one year, the DOE said.
Residential water heating products affected by the new 2015 Energy Conservation Standards include gas-fired, oil-fired, electric, tabletop, instantaneous gas-fired and instantaneous electric. See the chart below for new energy factor requirements for all these products.


Businesses’ energy efficiency upgrades ‘invisible’

Businesses energy efficiency upgrades

That’s the view of Tim Rotheray, Director of the Association for Decentralised Energy (ADE), whose new report highlights improved energy efficiency has helped the UK avoid building 14 new power stations.
It found demand side investments such as onsite generation and efficiency have saved British consumers £37.2 billion on their energy bills every year.
Carbon emissions have also reduced, equivalent to one-third of the emissions absorbed by the Amazon rainforest annually.
Referring to the report titled ‘Invisible Energy’, Mr Rotheray told ELN: “When you tell someone, this hospital here or that building there, they’ve done X or Y in terms of reducing their energy demand, no one knows about it.
“The economy has grown and energy use has stayed broadly flat and most of that is due to activity in the decentralised energy space, in the demand side.”


The Ecosystem Marketplace’s Forest Carbon News

The Ecosystem Marketplace’s Forest

For those of us who stocked our cabinets with canned food and pored over Y2K personal survival guides in 1999, it’s hard to believe we made it this far. But here we are a whole 15 years into the new millennium and our computer clocks are still ticking, even as the atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) concentration continues to rise. Gone are the days when climate projections for the year 2020 seemed far away. We’re already back to the future and we don’t have much more time – or atmosphere – to spare.

Will 2015 be THE year when countries come to an international agreement to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions? How will forests and land use be incorporated in this vision? What role will the private sector play?

For this New Year’s edition of Forest Carbon News, we asked market experts to look into their crystal balls and answer the following question:

What are your predictions for the forest carbon markets in 2015? What policy, science, economic, and other developments could impact the market?


Market waits on SB32 to outline post-2020 directions

Market waits on SB32 to outline post

California’s lawmakers will during this session discuss Senate Bill 32 (SB32), first proposed in December by Senator Fran Pavley, which would confer authority upon the Air Resources Board (ARB) to mandate greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reductions through 2050, and require ARB to approve a 2050 statewide emissions target equivalent to an 80% reduction below the 1990 level.
The bill, which is quite basic in its current form, is expected to undergo changes in its structure as it will have to pass two committees and both the Senate and Assembly, before landing on the Governor’s desk for final approval.
“Pavley is an important author and this is an important bill. When this bill reaches the committee it will trigger a big discussion on California’s long-term emissions policy, and how the bill fares will be signal for what the California legislators are looking for,” remarked Jon Costantino, Senior Advisor at Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP, “The Governor would like to see such a bill, in one form or another, passed by the Californian Legislature, but it remains to be seen how the other members in the Senate and the Assembly take positions on this. I expect we will find that out most probably towards the latter end of the year.”


Reducing Carbon Pollution and Transitioning to Clean Energy

Reducing Carbon Pollution and Transitioning

Gov. Inslee’s 2015 climate legislation will help Washington continue its transition toward energy independence, reduce carbon pollution and meet our statutory greenhouse gas limits. The proposals support Gov. Inslee’s Executive Order 14-04 issued in 2014.


Top 10 Carbon Market Predictions for 2015 from The Climate Trust

Top 10 Carbon Market Predictions for 2015

The Climate Trust, a mission-driven nonprofit that specializes in climate solutions, with a reduction of 1.9 million tons of greenhouse gases to its name, announced its second annual prediction list of 10 carbon market trends to watch in 2015.

The trends, which range from increased climate change adaptation measures at the state and city-level to new protocols for agriculture and forestry, were identified by The Climate Trust based on interactions with their diverse group of working partners—government, utilities, project developers and large businesses.

“We’re excited to once again look at the overall market with fresh eyes and identify areas of potential movement and growth,” said Dick Kempka, vice president of business development for The Climate Trust.


EPA to Issue Carbon Rules by Summer

EPA to Issue Carbon Rules by Summer

Three of the most sweeping federal regulations of power plant carbon emissions in U.S. history will be finalized all at once this summer, the Environmental Protection Agency announced Wednesday – an attempt, some experts say, to fend off legal challenges to the controversial climate change measures.
Separate emissions standards for new, modified and existing power plants will be completed “by mid-summer 2015,” Janet McCabe, acting assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation, said in a call with reporters. They are the first ever that would rein in carbon dioxide emissions from power plants and together form a cornerstone of President Barack Obama’s second-term efforts to address climate change.


What falling oil prices may mean for the future of renewable energy investment

What falling oil prices may mean for the future of renewable energy investment

Oil prices have plummeted in recent months, with the price of oil today hitting its lowest point for five years. That’s led to lots of speculation about the impact of falling oil prices on the world’s efforts to cut emissions by decarbonising the energy sector.
There’s little consensus. Some analysts argue that the falling oil price could end the world’s slow march towards zero carbon energy. Others say renewables are established enough to see out the storm.
There are good reasons for such uncertainty. The renewable energy industry’s fate rests on a number of factors that are very hard to predict.
We take you through the key elements of what’s likely to continue to be a major story in coming months.


Declining electricity use – will this continue?

Electricity consumption in Australia’s national electricity market continues to decline in 2014. As graphed below for New South Wale and Victoria centralised generation for the first six months of 2014 is 11% and 8% down respectively against the peak’s of 2009 and 2008.

Decline in NSW electricity generation

Half year electricity generation, NSW, 2004 to 2014. Based on data from the Australian Energy Market Operator

Decline in Victoria's electricity generation

Half year electricity generation, Victoria, 2004 to 2014. Based on data from the Australian Energy Market Operator

This decline has come despite the turmoil regarding carbon policy in Australia. Victoria had ditched its Greener Government Building’s program, and the Victorian Energy Efficiency Target (VEET) Scheme (a Utility Energy Efficiency Obligation or White Certificate scheme) will be closing shortly. Yet electricity consumption and greenhouse emissions continue to decline. There are a wide range of reasons for this, encompassing both energy efficiency and distributed solar PV generation.

But with the carbon pricing mechanism now abolished, uncertainty about whether there will continue to be support for renewable energy via the Renewable Energy Target RET, and in Victoria the shutting of the VEET scheme, will this decline continue?

Population growth is putting upwards pressure on electricity consumption. The Energy Efficiency Opportunities Program, which helped the very largest energy users identify cost-effective ways of reducing their energy consumption, has been axed. The government’s commitment to lower electricity prices will increase the payback on renewable energy and energy efficiency. The electricity retailers have withdrawn their support for the state energy saver schemes, possibly concerned about revenue loss as electricity consumption drops. Electric cars still haven’t taken off, but with a great deal of money now moving into energy storage research and development, as battery prices drop demand for electric cars – and electricity – will increase.

Yet downward pressure will continue to come from Australia’s appliance and equipment standards and labeling program. Solar installations will continue even without a RET, although at a slower rate. The NSW Energy Saver Scheme (ESS) continues to grow from strength to strength. Manufacturing decline will likely continue, with the shut down of Australian car manufacturing by 2018. The Building Code of Australia is likely to continue to tighten up its energy efficiency provisions. Lighting technology, representative of many energy using technologies, will continue to get more efficient and efficient technology more affordable. Solar PV pricing will drop further by the end of the decade. Many major corporations now have sustainability well embedded into their operations and decision making processes. And the number of engineers and tradespeople with skills in renewable energy and energy efficiency is much higher than it was at the peak of consumption six years ago.

The Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) forecasts that consumption will be largely flat through to 2020, with savings offset by increased electricity use in the liquification of LNG for export. But in the recent past AEMO has consistently overestimated growth in consumption, although it may now have better tuned its forecasting model.s

To the best of my knowledge never before has Australia seen six year of decline in electricity demand. But the policy environment has supported this. Now some of the key policy drivers are disappearing. On the other hand, there is now an industry, particularly the solar PV industry, that is a force in its own right, and technological progress is now strongly geared towards efficiency. Perhaps we are approaching a point where policy is not the deciding factor. That would be very exciting, a major transition, and one that provides hope for a low carbon future. If the downward trend continues, we may look back at this decade as being pivotal. The decade, where, in Australia at least, emissions abatement wasn’t totally dependent on a strong supportive EE and RE policy environment. Where GDP growth clearly decoupled from energy use, and where energy savings began to decouple from policy.