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Tuesday, December 25, 2007

China's supremacy in renewables, gas and renewables quotas

China set to take global lead in renewable energy

The emerging Asian superpower is poised to surpass world solar and wind manufacturing leaders in Europe, Japan, and North America in the next three years, the Worldwatch Institute said in a new report released on Wednesday.

At current growth rates, the report says China will likely achieve - and probably even exceed - its target of obtaining 15% of its energy from renewables in 2020, up from 8% currently. By 2050, it could even reach 30%, according to the report, "Powering China's Development: The Role of Renewable Energyexternal ", published on 14 November.

"More than $50 billion was invested in renewable energy worldwide in 2006, and China is expected to invest over $10 billion in new renewables capacity in 2007, second only to Germany," the report points out.

It says a combination of ambitious targets, strong government policies and the manufacturing performance of Chinese companies could enable China to quickly "leapfrog" competitors in industrialised countries.

Chief among those is wind power, "the fastest-growing power generation technology in China," according to the report, which notes a doubling in installed capacity in 2006 alone. But China is also catching up fast in solar, where the country is already leading the hot water market with 40 million solar systems installed - nearly two thirds of global capacity. "More than 10% of Chinese households rely on the sun to heat their water," the report points out, saying the figure could rise to one third by 2020.

In Europe, the next frontier in terms of wind power is offshore, with projects in the North Sea tipped to boost installed capacity and help resolve the intermittency issue with more stable wind conditions.

But EWEA, the European Wind Energy Association, says more could be done on the policy side. "Certain issues need to be addressed, such as those related to grid extension, operation and reinforcement and to R&D in some fundamental areas," EWEA said, adding that "a European policy for offshore wind energy is needed."

Caspian gas starts flowing in Turkey-Greece pipe

A new 285 km pipeline will bring natural gas from the Caspian region to Europe for the first time, in a move that will partly relieve the EU's heavy dependence on Russian gas.

The connection was opened on Sunday (18 November) by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Greek counterpart Costas Karamanlis on a bridge over a river separating the two countries.
Karamanlis said the symbolic move indicated a thaw between the old rivals as Turkey progresses on its way to EU membership, despite persisting disagreement over the island of Cyprus.
The pipeline will bring natural gas from Azerbaijan and is part of the so-called Southern European Gas Ring project. Its capacity, currently at 250 million cubic metres of gas a year, is expected to triple when it is extended to Italy via a connection under the Adriatic Sea, expected to be completed in 2012.
The project has received financial and political backing from the European Union, which is keen to diversify its gas supplies away from Russia as tensions with Moscow have multiplied in recent years.
Ankara is also a key partner in the Nabucco pipeline project which is expected to bring Caspian gas to Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary and Austria via Turkey. However, the project has been delayed due to financial and political difficulties.
"Turkey is moving fast to become the fourth energy supply route for natural gas to Western Europe. There is a mutual dependence in energy policies which will help create a favourable atmosphere," Erdogan said.
The inauguration ceremony was attended by Azerbaijan's President Ilham Aliyev and US Secretary for Energy Samuel Bodman, in a sign that the America is keen to see the project through. "Turkey is an important energy gateway between the East and the West," Secretary Bodman said.
My comment: I'm extremely worried about the new-found dependency of EU on Turkey. Because we all know whose ally Turkey is. And that's not good. I don't really see the difference between dependeny on Russia and on USA-it's all the same-we're dependent. I hope someone figure out that sooner or later. And that renewables soon will be enough to breath easily.

Rich EU countries to bear greater renewables 'burden'

The minimum contribution of individual member states to EU renewable energy targets could be calculated on the basis of gross domestic product, according to recent comments by the Commission, which is preparing new legislation on renewables.

In March 2007, EU leaders committed themselves to an EU-wide target of producing 20% of energy from renewable sources by 2020, setting the stage for heated debate about how the commitment will be divided between member states.

Currently, 8.5% of EU energy consumption stems from renewable energies, meaning the share
would need to be increased by 11.5% over the next 12 years to reach the 20% target.
Tom Howes, a Commission official at the Directorate-General for Energy and Transport (DG TREN), said on 22 November that gross domestic product (GDP) may be used as an indicator
for determining the required percentage increase for each member state.

The system would work in two steps. First, each member state - regardless of GDP - would be required to increase renewable energy use by 5.75%. Then, as a second step, the remaining 5.75% increase would be adjusted according to GDP, with wealthier member states assigned a higher percentage than poorer ones, according to Howes.

But despite the potential for flexibility, "all member states will have to make significant
contributions to the target. No one can relax", Howes said, according to Reuters.

Member states with low potential for wind, solar, hydro or other non-fossil fuel energy production may also be allowed to purchase certified renewable energy credits from other member states with a higher renewables output, according to Howes.

A mechanism for trading renewables certificates already features in existing legislation on renewables, but the Commission has said it may expand the system as part of legislative proposals expected on 23 January 2008.

The renewable energy industry argues that a trading option will act as a disincentive for investment, as those member states with low renewables potential or under-developed markets will simply purchase credits from abroad.
My comment: I think this is fair, as we all know, what's the economical diversity among EU. I hope people will make the most out of it.

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