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Saturday, November 29, 2008

Energy and climate , October, 2008

In today's edition:
  1. EU scientists team up on clean energy research
  2. Dip in oil and carbon prices to hamper clean tech drive?
  3. EU still missing funds for carbon storage plants
  4. Energy savings 'golden opportunity' for developing world
  5. Major EU cities pledge to fight climate change
  6. Poland proposes 'price band' for CO2
  7. New international agency to promote renewable energies
Erm, yeah..many but short. I promise :) Well, if you don't count my comment which can get extensive at times. I find this edition for very interesting, since there are many news and non-news. But hey, Europe is a busy place!

EU scientists team up on clean energy research

31 October 2008

Ten leading European research institutes have joined forces to expedite the development of new cleaner technologies to steer the EU towards achieving its ambitious energy and climate change agenda.

Launching the European Energy Research Alliance (EERA) on 27 October, the institutes committed to using their combined annual R&D budget of more than €1.3 billion to "strengthen, expand and optimise EU energy research capabilities".

The initiative was conceived in close cooperation with the European Commission and is a key part of the EU's Strategic Energy Technology Plan (SET-Plan), proposed in November 2007 to help the bloc meet its target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 20% by 2020.

The EERA will focus "on the strategic and targeted development of next generations of energy technologies, drawing on results from fundamental research and maturing technologies to the point where it can be embedded in industry driven research". Key research areas promoted include wind, solar energy, second-generation biofuels, smart grids and carbon capture and storage.

It is hoped that the EERA will provide EU leadership in energy by building Europe's research capacity to conduct large, high-risk and high-gain R&D programmes.

The first joint EERA programmes are expected to be launched in 2009. Cooperation will expand and intensify, as other research organisations are welcome to join once the project is properly up and running. source My comment: Ok, the goals of EERA sound little bit more dramatic than they should sound, but it's a great initiative in any case. Although I'm not sure how well the cooperation will go, but hey, the more money, the more money :) And it's a fact that people usually cannot spend all their budgets because they are too low for what they need and too much for what they don't need. That's why I believe this is a good step forward and I'm expecting the results!

Dip in oil and carbon prices to hamper clean tech drive?

29 October 2008

EU CO2 emission allowances are trading at an 18-month low, crude oil prices have dropped 50% since July, and financial markets are in crisis, potentially putting a dampener on investment in clean technologies and renewable energies.

The low carbon and crude oil prices may be an incentive for new EU ETS entrants, who would prefer to pay for emissions permits rather than invest in technologies that reduce emissions. Most analyses indicate that CO2 needs to trade at above €25 (rather than current 14) per tonne at the very least to make efficiency upgrades profitable in the long term.

While oil has become cheaper due to lower global demand following the financial crisis, the collapse of global money markets has also created a shortage of financing for renewables projects, which are often capital intensive, McCrone told EurActiv.

The European Commission has repeatedly used high oil prices as a justification for investing in more costly renewable energy or other low carbon technologies. Ferran Tarradellas, spokesperson for the Commission's energy directorate, suggested the EU executive's views on the matter had not changed since a new outlook projects that global production will decline quicker than global demand.source

My comment: I suggest you read that article in the original, because I kind of shortened it beyong recognition. The key moment is that experts still have faith in renewables wich is nice. With those low prices of oil, it makes sense that people would try to speculate again how good fossil fuels are, but apparantly, this is not the case. And in the end, it doesn't matter for Europe since our problem is gas and prices of gas don't decrease that much and it's not only matter of money, but also of dependence. That's why it really is unlikely that Brussel will back off from the plans for renewables.

EU still missing funds for carbon storage plants

3 November 2008

Commitments to finance carbon capture and storage demonstration plants are not forthcoming, despite progress by EU member states on finalising a legal framework for the geological storage of CO2 captured during power generation.

UK Liberal MEP Chris Davies said during a 30 October conference in Brussels that he was "angry and frustrated" about a lack of willingness on the part of EU governments to pledge funds.

Davies is the European Parliament's rapporteur on a directive for a legal framework governing the geological storage of CO2, part of EU efforts to develop commercially viable carbon capture and storage (CCS) technologies that could dramatically reduce CO2 emissions from coal-fired power stations. The MEP has been touring EU capitals during the past two weeks in an effort to drum up support for a plan to finance 12 CCS demonstration plants through the diversion of funds normally reserved for early entrants into the EU's Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS).

The plan, co-sponsored by an amendment to a Commission proposal to revise the EU ETS by Irish Christian Democrat MEP Avril Doyle, has received the backing of MEPs in Parliament's environment (ENVI) committee (EurActiv 08/10/08).

But while member states are said to agree on defining a legal framework for storing CO2 in geological formations on EU territory, reaction to the MEPs' proposed financing scheme has been lukewarm.

Member states oppose the ways revenues obtained through the EU ETS should be spent, and the mandatory emissions performance standard (EPS) for power station-and their numerical expressions. source

My comment: Yeah, well, we all know that. Although I completely support the idea, I firmly oppose CCS, so I don't find it surprising they cannot get the financing. It's hard to obrain funds for something that isn't even existing and even if it is, it's not on technological level that would matter. And for me, these are simply wasted money on the environment front (though they are very well spent on the scientific one). We should focus on effectiveness and renewables instead.

Energy savings 'golden opportunity' for developing world

29 October 2008

Consumers and businesses in developing countries could save an estimated $600 billion a year by 2020 by investing in more energy-efficient cars, appliances and production methods, according to research by the McKinsey Global Institute.

Developing countries could decrease their annual energy demand growth by more than half over the next 12 years by opting for a range of measures, including energy-efficient cars and appliances, building insulation and lower-energy-consuming lighting and production technologies, according to the reportPdf external , published on 29 October.

This would lower energy consumption by 22% compared with the usual figures, "an abatement equivalent to the entire energy consumption of China today," the researchers found.

Developing countries will be responsible for most of the global increase in energy demand by 2020, according to the International Energy Agency, with their share expected to rise from 51% to 60%.

But investing in energy-saving measures would reduce the need for fuel imports and lower the expense of building new energy-supply infrastructure, the report found.

In fact, an annual investment of $90 billion on energy productivity until 2020 would deliver yearly savings of up to $600 billion to consumers and businesses, according to MGI. Without this efficiency gain, twice that amount would have to be spent on expanding existing supply capacity to meet the growing demand, it says. source

My comment: Right, the only thing that this article is missing is that developping countries rarely have enough money to invest in such sectors and even if they have them, they are more likely to invest them in more business oriented way. Though the article offers a great opportunity of business because what it says is comepletely true-the saved money are earned money, so it's worthy to invest in effectiveness. The point is that most of those countries are on the resource-end, meaning they are paid to be ineffective, dirty and to destroy their nature. If they start considering effectiveness and sustainability, they won't sell themselves so cheaply anymore.

Major EU cities pledge to fight climate change

28 October 2008

Some 130 major European cities yesterday committed to bringing climate change into citizens' hearts and minds by adopting ambitious sustainable public procurement policies. But they stressed that results would only be achieved if central governments gave them more power.

"Cities are best placed to speak with their citizens on global matters such as climate change" and to show how local level changes from waste management to public transport can contribute to facing this global challenge, said EUROCITIES in a statement on 27 October, underlining that over 70% of the European population lives in an urban context.

A declaration on climate changePdf external from the network of local governments of some 130 major cities across 34 European countries "testifies to the commitment of cities" to taking local action on climate change.

The declaration is not binding but provides guidelines for implementing local policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by involving all local actors, better urban planning, transport and mobility, renewable energy and diversified energy production.

Examples of actions proposed include:

  • Adopting ambitious sustainable public procurement policies (see EurActiv dossier on green public procurement);
  • developing innovative partnerships in the fields of research and higher education;
  • limiting urban sprawl and developing compact cities;
  • creating new 'eco-quarters';
  • constructing energy-efficient buildings;
  • developing new forms of mobility, and;
  • developing the production of renewable energy.


My comment: Right, we will try to do it, but only if governments do it first. I hear this everyday from our mayor, who is in constant war with the government. The results are that the city and the country bounce the responsibility and do a joined nothing to improve the situation. I may only hope it's not the way it will work troughout Europe, because if this initiative is taken seriously, it could lead to beautiful results.

Poland proposes 'price band' for CO2

7 November 2008

Poland, backed by a number of Eastern European member states, has proposed setting upper and lower limits for CO2 permits within the EU's Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS).

The biggest burden under the current EU ETS in cutting the emissions would fall on Latvia, Lithuania, Bulgaria and Romania, whereas the proposal of the seven would put the burden on countries such as Luxembourg, Spain, Italy and Austria.

On the economic and finance ministers' meeting on 4th October, Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk declared that the initiative was supported by the Visegrad and Baltic states, all of which entered the EU in 2004. They gathered in Warsaw on 5 November to discuss opportunities to intensify cooperation on the EU's climate plan, Reuters reported.

According to Reuters, a Polish document circulated to finance ministers called for "some kind of safety mechanism" against "the high probability of significant CO2 price volatility post-2013". A price floor would allow renewable energy companies to continue investing, safe in the knowledge knowing that carbon prices would not collapse. Moreover, a cap would prevent the cost of carbon from rising so high as to render national energy-intensive industries uncompetitive, it was claimed.

In addition to the price floor and ceiling, the Polish energy companies support their government's position that energy-efficiency benchmarking can deliver the same results as full auctioning foreseen by the Commission after 2013, but with only a quarter of the costs.

The government advisor argued that the Polish calculations showed that the ETS would raise costs for Polish industries by 65%, well above the EU average. He decribed the Commission's estimate that only about 15% of the rise in electricity prices would be caused by the impact of the ETS as "completely abstract". source

My comment: As much as I hate Poland and their politics, I have to admit they are right to request a chane in the emissions scheme. It really doesn't account for the change that happened after 1990 and they are major! It's not fair to not consider the huge investment in new, cleaner technologies that those countries made after they escaped from Soviet nonsense (and yeah, as pro-Russia as I am, I still cannot accept unsustainable development). But, and I have to put that but, coal power plant cannot go on! That's absolute! And I belive only Poland and Hungary count on them so much. Another thing I should add is that when you call for "somewhat safety mechanism" that's precisely what you would get. Don't those countries have experts! This is ridiculous and Poland is behaving like a yound child.

New international agency to promote renewable energies

3 November 2008

Joint efforts to expand worldwide use of renewable energies recently received a boost as countries from all continents team up to support the establishment of an International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).

The agency, an initiative from Germany, Spain and Denmark, is set to be launched in Bonn in January, after 51 countries agreed upon its statute at a conference in Madrid on 23 and 24 October.

IRENA is meant to be the first truly international organisation offering both industrialised and developing countries support and concrete advice to help them reach higher shares of renewable energies on the road to low-carbon economies. It will work closely with other related international organisations and initiatives, only offering its services at the request of member states.

Details of the agency's size remain unclear, but a "lean" structure is foreseen. Signatory countries are invited to submit applications for the location of its headquarters as well as nominations for a director-general.

The agency's mandate encompasses all forms of renewable energy, including bio-energy, solar power and wind energy. source

My comment:Can I be the director-general, pretty please? Well, jokes aside, but I almost get an alergy from "unclear but lean" proposals. I mean, why should everything in the EU starts from chaotic state and develop into whatever it happens to be? Those structure must be planned, not just created! Oh, well, in any case, it sounds promising. Even in this chaotic state.


Dennis Markatos-Soriano said...

Good info on EU climate developments-
There are pretty intense changes in energy (especially driving) habits taking place. One exciting result is that the US is consuming more than 5% less oil in ‘08 and thus our carbon emissions are poised to fall 2.5% this year. See details at:

Even China emissions are falling this quarter as electricity consumption falls a record in November. See details at:

The real challenge will be how we continue emissions reduction once the economy picks up again.

If you find the SET daily blog on major energy and climate developments useful at , please consider adding it to your blogroll.
Onwards to sustainability,

Denitsa said...

Check this link:;_ylt=AsXQhgXvV7DPPzLOg07g23pvieAA
It says that the emissions for 2007 are up.
I guess that this fall you're talking about is because of the crisis, not because of concern for the environment.

I'll check your site, but if I decide to add it to my links, I'd like to receive the same from you.


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