Tag Archives: renewable energy target

RE and EE Carbon Policy news 6 February 2015

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

A “J’Accuse” from an ex-EU official: only a real Energy Union can save the EU energy market

A “J’Accuse” from an ex-EU official

An “Energy Union” in Europe means that an EU-level organisation will balance the flows of electricity, not national transmission system operators. And it means the EU will ensure security of supply – not the national member states. That is the vision of Jean-Arnold Vinois, until recently Director in charge of the internal energy market at the European Commission and co-author of a groundbreaking report from Notre Europe (Jacques Delors Institute) on the Energy Union. As Brussels awaits the official version of the Energy Union from the Commission on 25 February, Vinois slams the current state of the European energy sector. The distribution system operators, he says, are ineffective, the generators are “dinosaurs”, almost no one is investing in R&D in energy, the decision to allow state aid to the nuclear project Hinkley Point C is “questionable” and the lack of solidarity EU countries show in regard to Putin is “sad”. He predicts IT companies may take over from the energy companies and the Chinese may blow away Alstom, Siemens and ABB.
Jean-Arnold Vinois is loving the liberty that comes with no longer actively working at the European Commission. The former Director in charge of the internal energy market retired in 2013 – although he remains an Honorary Director at the Commission – to join the respectable think tank “Notre Europe – Jacque Delors Institute”, founded in Paris in 1996 by the ex-Commission President of the same name. Here, he has co-authored a report with colleague Sami Andoura – with a preface by Delors himself – setting out an intrepid vision for the increasingly talked about Energy Union.

> READ FULL STORY HERE

MIT study investigates role of bio-energy in low-carbon future

MIT study investigates role of bio-energy

According to a new report from MIT, released in January, bioenergy production could cut greenhouse gas emissions by more than half, but with a caveat. “To achieve the cut”, notes MIT in a press release, “the carbon price must cover emissions from changing land use. Without this safeguard, deforestation becomes a major concern as forests are cleared to make way for farmland.”
MIT notes that “if emissions from deforestation are included in a carbon price, bioenergy — together with other advances in clean technology — can reduce emissions 57 percent by 2050, relative to when there is not a carbon price. In comparison, not counting emissions from changing land use in the carbon price leads to a reduction of only 16 percent.”
MIT says the study “is one of the most in-depth evaluations to date of how bioenergy might fit into a low-carbon future. The research team developed a cutting-edge modeling tool covering a comprehensive range of bioenergy pathways. Researchers then used the new tool to consider interactions among bioenergy, other low-carbon technologies, and the economy in a world where bioenergy fuels about a quarter of global energy needs by 2050.”

> READ FULL STORY HERE

Six steps to prepare the European energy system for the future

Symbolique 2006

The effects of the energy transition are increasingly felt in the European energy system. Above all in Germany which is leading the way with its Energiewende. The two largest German utility companies, Eon and RWE, have both announced major strategic reorientations to adapt to the new realities. At the same time, German policymakers and regulators face great challenges to ensure that the German energy system will not collapse under the weight of the growing share of variable energy sources. Other European countries will soon face similar issues.
As long as the share of wind and solar power in the system is limited, their fluctuating output can be leveled out with existing non-variable capacity. But when the shares of variable sources reaches more than 20-25%, it becomes more and more difficult to run back-up capacity profitably for a (sometimes very) limited amount of time. Profitable operations are possibly only if prices are allowed to peak.

> READ FULL STORY HERE

India’s energy and climate change challenge

India’s energy and climate change challenge

The US and India agreed on a climate deal during President Obama’s state visit to meet India’s prime minister Narendra Modi in January. Last time the president visited one of the world’s foremost developing economies, China, he signed an historic deal on climate change. As the world’s third largest emitter, India is coming under increasing pressure to follow suit.
The new US-India pact is weaker than the agreement Obama signed in Beijing. But there are a number of good reasons India is reluctant to take strong action to curb its emissions in the short term.
Carbon Brief takes a look at the factors likely to shape India’s energy and climate choices in the coming years, and what it means for the world’s efforts to tackle climate change.

> READ FULL STORY HERE

Sir Richard Branson: Ditch carbon emissions by 2050

Sir Richard Branson Ditch carbon emissions by 2050

Countries should aim to rid the world’s economy of carbon emissions by the middle of the century, Sir Richard Branson and other leading business figures have today said.
The group, known as the B Team, also urged chief executives to support their net-zero ambition by committing to “bold long-term targets” for emission reductions.
Effectively removing carbon from the global economy by 2050 is a far more ambitious goal than any country has yet committed to. But the B Team argued in a statement that by making the commitment governments will demonstrate they are “unequivocally setting the world on a clear, low-carbon trajectory”. They added that such a move would inspire confidence among the business community to invest in clean energy and other low carbon solutions.

> READ FULL STORY HERE

India resists international scrutiny as it shapes climate plan

India resists international scrutiny as it shapes climate plan

The government is “optimistic” about achieving a target to install 100GW of solar by 2020 and could go further with more finance and technology support.
Yet Javadekar made clear India would resist any outside scrutiny of its plans, in defiance of European calls for transparency.
“There is no question of an ex-ante review in an independent country and democratic country like India,” Javedekar said at a conference in New Delhi.
He was speaking about the road to a UN summit in Paris this December, where world leaders hope to strike a global climate deal.
Developed countries are expected to reveal by the end of March their draft contributions towards the international effort to limit dangerous warming. These will focus on cutting greenhouse gas emissions.

> READ FULL STORY HERE

Norway reveals 40% carbon cut goal for 2030, matching EU target

Norway reveals 40% carbon cut goal for 2030 matching EU target

The announcement comes days before UN envoys meet in Geneva to discuss a global deal to address climate change, which scientists say will increase the risk of extreme weather events.
Prime minister Erna Solberg said the country needed to take “brave new steps” to curb its emissions, which were 3.7% above 1990 levels in 2013, higher than the EU average.
“The Norwegian climate target will be in line with the overall target to avoid an increase in global average temperature of more than two degrees Celsius compared to pre-industrial levels,” she said.
Last October EU member states agreed to reduce GHG emissions 40% on 1990 levels by 2030.

> READ FULL STORY HERE

National carbon market on the horizon for China

National carbon market on the horizon for China

China has been experimenting with provincial carbon-market schemes over the past four years. Government officials are now suitably convinced that a national market could begin in mid-2016, Reuters reports.
But progress will likely be slow as China seeks to avoid the problems currently hobbling the EU’s scheme. Carbon Brief looks at how China’s pilot schemes are progressing, and what the next steps are to creating the world’s largest carbon market.

> READ FULL STORY HERE

The Carbon Calculus

The Carbon Calculus

A year and a half ago, Steve Clem, a vice president at global construction company Skanska, testified at the Oregon legislature in support of a bill to fund a study analyzing a state carbon tax. That study, “Carbon Tax and Shift,” written by the Northwest Economic Research Center at Portland State University and released in March 2013, set in motion a debate about whether the state should institute a mechanism for putting a price on carbon emissions.
Last year the legislature passed SB306, setting aside money for the research institute to redo the study with more geographic and industry specificity. The new research, released on December 8, 2014, lays the groundwork for lawmakers to consider a bill to create a carbon tax. If enacted, Oregon would be the first jurisdiction in the United States to have a statewide tax on carbon emissions.

> READ FULL STORY HERE

Ocean Carbon Uptake More Variable Than Previously Thought

Ocean Carbon Uptake More Variable Than Previously Thought

Earth’s oceans are thought to have taken up about one quarter of the carbon dioxide (CO2) that humans pumped into the atmosphere in the past 2 decades. The CO2 drives acidification and has consequences for sea life, but it also moderates the rate of climate change.
Researchers studying how the rate of CO2 uptake has changed over time using ship observations have mostly relied on ocean carbon measurements from only a few regions. Landschützer et al. set out to create a global model of CO2 uptake using fine-scale observations on a global scale.
The team used the Surface Ocean CO2 Atlas to create monthly maps of CO2 concentration at sea surface. Between 1998 and 2011, they found strong interannual variations, with the Pacific Ocean dominating the global flux variability. There, the El Niño–Southern Oscillation was the primary driver.

> READ FULL STORY HERE

DECC adds £25m to low carbon auction pot

DECC adds £25m to low carbon auction pot

The UK Government has increased the budget for low carbon projects that will be supported under the Contracts for Difference (CfD) scheme.
Projects will now compete for £325 million – a £25 million rise, which follows “high levels of demand” for the contracts, DECC said.
The extra funding will boost the amount available for “less established technologies” such as offshore wind and biomass with combined heat and power (CHP) – taking the total to £260 million.

> READ FULL STORY HERE

The Hack That Warmed the World

The Hack That Warmed the World

The client wanted carbon credits: tradable serial numbers that confer the right to pollute the Earth with invisible, odorless gas. Jugga, as the client called himself, planned to steal the credits, quickly resell them, and become rich overnight—but he needed the Black Dragon to hack into a computer system to help him do it. The Dragon, who in online forums advertised his services as a corporate spy, was sure he could hack anything. But when Jugga contacted him in June 2011, the hacker had no idea what carbon credits even were. “I didn’t think anyone would be stupid enough to come up with that,” the Dragon says of the concept.
The two men communicated via secure online chats, using their pseudonyms. In real life, the Dragon was 31-year-old Matthew Beddoes, a coal miner’s son, high-school dropout, and self-taught computer whiz who collected thousands of strangers’ credit card numbers and floated from couch to couch in central England’s Midlands region. Jugga was 36-year-old Jasdeep Singh Randhawa, who was previously part of a cigarette-smuggling network in Leicestershire.

> READ FULL STORY HERE

Policies that have lowered Australia’s electricity consumption – part 1

Bruce Rowse

Since 2008 electricity generation in Australia’s National Electricity Market (NEM) has declined. The graphs below, showing generation from the two most populous states in the NEM – N.S.W. and Victoria – illustrate the extent of the decline.

NSW_and_Victoria_electricity_generation_2004-to-2013

This sustained decline has never occurred before in Australia’s history.

This post has a focus on the state of Victoria, and looks at the contribution the national Renewable Energy Target (RET) – aided by the state Feed in Tariff -  and the Victorian Energy Efficiency Target scheme have had to reducing electricity consumption. Both these schemes require electricity retailers to purchase and surrender a prescribed number of certificates each year.

Renewable Energy Target

Since 2011 the RET has had two types of certificates, Large Generation Certificates (LGCs) and Small Technology Certificates (STCs). For electricity generation LGCs represent generation plants in excess of 100 kW, with these generators joining the NEM. They are therefore already accounted for in the generation figures graphed above. Well over 80% of STCs have come from solar PV systems.

STCs enable an upfront discount by deeming the forward generation by 15 years. Taking this into account, by analysing the data in the REC registery, the amount of actual electricity generation each year from solar PV in Victoria is graphed below from 2004 to 2012. (2013 data not yet finalised).

Victoria_solarPV_generation_2004-to-2012

The rapid decline in the installed cost of PV in Australia, supported by the RET and the Victorian Feed in Tariff, has caused a rapid growth in the number of PV systems installed, so much so that by 2012 small scale PV contributed to slightly more than 2% of state electricity generation.

The RET had a stimulatory multiplier attached to it for systems under 5 kW in size up until June 2013. Similarly Victoria’s feed in tariff’s started off high, then have twice dropped substantially. Once complete 2013 STC data is available I will preparing a post which examines the impact of the RET and the FIT policies in detail and examines their efficiency and effectiveness.

Victorian Energy Efficiency Target (VEET) Scheme

The VEET white certificate scheme has been in place since January 2009. By analysing the data in the VEET registry the amount of electricity saved as a result of the VEET scheme is graphed below.

VEECS-registered_and_surrendered_2009-to-2013

Whilst there is reasonably high certainty of the amount of electricity generated by a PV system, there is generally less certainty about the savings achieved by energy efficiency measures. The key technology that has produced the greatest number of certificates in the VEET scheme has been Standby Power Controllers, for which I believe that the deeming values used have been excessively high.

Nonetheless, even if the VEET scheme has only achieved half the savings it has deemed to, it has also contributed to reducing Victoria’s electricity consumption by more than 2% since it started in 2009. In another post I’ll be examining the effectiveness of the VEET scheme in more detail.

Together the REC certificates (with feed in tariff support) and energy efficiency white certificates in Victoria appear to have reduced electricity consumption by over 2,000,000 MWh. However with 2013 electricity consumption around 4,000,000 MWh lower than in 2008, and around 8,000,000 MWh lower than had the increasing trend of 2004 to 2008 remained, there have clearly been other factors that have contributed to Victoria’s declining electricity consumption.

These include national equipment energy efficiency standards, building efficiency standards and carbon pricing. Additionally increases in electricity costs may have driven voluntary decreases in electricity consumption, as would have the gradual decline of Victoria’s manufacturing sector. These will be examined in the next part of this discussion on policies that have lowered Australia’s electricity consumption.