Tag Archives: energy efficiency

No Energy Efficiency in the Emissions Reduction Fund.

Australia’s $2.5 billion emissions reduction fund aims to achieve carbon abatement through a reverse auction process. The first auction was held last week. At an average price of just under $14 a tonne the majority of projects successful in the auction were either for land-based carbon sequestration (for example tree plantings) or for methane capture from municipal tips.

With energy efficiency commonly portrayed as “the low hanging fruit” one could have expected that a range of energy efficiency projects would have been successful in the auction. However, no energy efficiency projects were listed in the list of successful projects. http://www.cleanenergyregulator.gov.au/Emissions-Reduction-Fund/News-and-events/Pages/04-2015/Results-from-the-first-Emissions-Reduction-Fund-auction.aspx

Only those projects which were successful in the auction process are known, so it’s not possible to know how many energy efficiency projects, if any, were submitted.

Under the now closed Energy Efficiency Opportunities scheme many of Australia’s largest businesses would have developed energy efficiency projects that for relatively little effort potentially could have been submitted for the auction process. Were these companies playing a wait-and-see game to see what the price would be? Or did some of them they try to get in on the first auction and were simply unsuccessful? Or did they anticipate a relatively low price, and figure it would be a waste of time participating?

Many in the energy efficiency industry have endeavoured to influence the design of the emissions reduction fund, principally by engaging in the public consultation around scheme design. But they may be feeling that their effort has been wasted.

Energy efficiency, contrary to popular belief, actually doesn’t usually provide no cost returns. Instead it provides a reasonably good return on investment. By if the first auction is any indication, clearly not good enough to deliver abatement at $14 a tonne. Which actually isn’t rocket science to figure out.

Consider for example, a lighting upgrade – a pretty typical EE measure. For argument’s sake let’s say that we are replacing twin 36 W fluorescent fittings in an office with LED light fittings each consuming 40 Watts. Allowing for ballast energy consumption associated with the fluorescent tubes the saving per fitting is 40 Watts. If we assume that the lights operate for 50 hours a week, or around 2500 hours a year, annual energy savings per fitting are 100 kW. Assuming that this is a commercial office where the peak tariff is say $0.20/kWh, annual savings are $20. If the cost of the new fitting, installed, along with the cost of disposing of the old fitting, was $100 then the simple payback would be five years. The carbon savings would be roughly 100 kg per year. At a carbon price of $14 a tonne, this would yield $1.40 year. As can be seen this is a relatively small amount, and essentially only improves the economics of the lighting upgrade by around about 7%. So why would anyone bother aggregating a whole lot of savings from various light upgrades and go to the effort of annual verification and reporting?

With respect to energy efficiency, the emissions reduction fund makes sense if you have a project ready to go, that you are going to do anyway so you only need to put in a low bid, and where the cost of annual reporting is less than a benefit gained from the fund. Did you mention the word additionality? If any EE projects are successful in future auctions it’s going to be hard to prove that the emissions reduction fund has actually generated more savings from energy efficiency than would have been the case without the fund.

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.


RE and EE Carbon Policy news 7 January 2015

“2015 is shaping up to be a big year in carbon policy with the November conference in Paris aiming to achieve a legally binding agreement on climate encompassing all nations.

So I am pleased to now introduce the first of our weekly carbon policy news updates, focused on renewable energy and energy efficiency. These updates will bring you news on:

–          Announcements from individual countries or trading blocks (eg the EU) about new policies

–          Evaluations of existing policies (have they worked well or not)

–          Announcements from the UN bodies about policies.

Lets hope that 2015 is a year where carbon policy becomes more effective at reducing carbon emissions.

Bruce Rowse”


Why energy efficiency should be the first fuel – EE 101 in 176 words

EE 101: Energy efficiency (well done) is fantastic financially, excellent environmentally, and stupendous socially! If you are purchasing energy, consider energy efficiency as the first fuel that you use.

Fantastic financially

Why invest in building more more power stations when you get a better return with energy efficiency? This is especially the case with new buildings. Every dollar invested in energy efficiency through the process of conceiving, designing, constructing and commissioning a new building will yield about $15 in lifetime energy savings. That’s a fantastic 1500% ROI!

Excellent environmentally

Using less energy through energy efficiency means less greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution. Considered as a fuel source, energy efficiency produces zero ongoing carbon emissions. An excellent reason to use energy efficiency as your first fuel.

Stupendous socially

Compare a large fossil fuel electricity plant. These plants are very well engineered – and accordingly don’t need much human intervention. They are lousy at job creating. On the other hand energy efficiency is dispersed, and creates jobs, lots of them. Jobs in both manufacturing and installation. Stupendous!