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Saturday, December 13, 2008

Fossil future, December, 2008

In today's edition:
  1. Fossil fuels central to EU's long-term energy security vision
  2. Commission unveils new energy-saving measures
  3. Wind picks up for offshore grid plan
  4. International Energy Agency raises alarm on oil, climate
  5. Commission makes energy 'top priority' of EU budget reform
  6. EU offered plan to commercialise carbon capture necessary
Yeah, a rather informational one. It discuss the plans of the EU on energy security, more precisely the fossil part of it. So, enjoy!

Fossil fuels central to EU's long-term energy security vision

14 November 2008
The European Commission's Second Strategic Energy Review warns that net imports of fossil fuels will remain constant until 2020 despite EU efforts to move towards a 'low carbon' economy. Gas supply security takes centre stage in the review.

The five-point plan charts the policy priorities for the next Commission, due to take office in September 2009.

Energy infrastructure, notably gas pipelines, and external energy relations top the list. The Nabucco and Baltic Sea pipelines are listed as priority in the review, along with four other projects.

Concrete actions to address oil supply security are not listed in the review, however.

Oil supply constraints are also being addressed with EU rules for vehicle CO2 emissions and green transport legislation. But the review's central focus on gas rather than oil has angered some green MEPs.

New rules on emergency oil and gas stocks are contained under point three of the action plan, followed by revisions of existing EU energy efficiency laws on appliances, tyres and buildings. A Communication on the development of a North Sea offshore wind energy grid features among the six priority infrastructure projects.

Coal is listed as an "essential component" of the EU's domestic energy supply, followed by nuclear, which "contributes to the EU's security of energy supply as a major source of baseload electricity". source

My comment: I already discussed that Energy Review in tothefuturewithlove and I said it - there's nothing new in it, though the priorities are good thing, they give a clear idea of what should happen. It's fun that it focuses so much on gas, but it makes sense since Europe counts so much on gas, Russian gas to be precise. And the oil is so cheap anyway. One thing however-notice that it also talks about coal. I think coal have no place in the European future- instead they should really focus on green energy.

Commission unveils new energy-saving measures

14 November 2008

The European Commission has proposed reinforcing existing efficiency standards on buildings and energy-using products as part of the Second Strategic Energy Review package announced yesterday (13 November).

The draft law on buildingsPdf external would extend the scope of the 2002 Energy Performance of Buildings Directive by eliminating the current 1000m2 threshold required for buildings undergoing a major renovation to meet specific efficiency standards.

The revision is expected to generate 5–6% energy saving in the EU in 2020. source

My comment: This is a continuation of the previous article. Now, on the treshold-although, very nice, I see how it's happened home in Sofia. The net result is that home-owners will have to pay money to renovate old buildings. Not that this is bad-it will improve efficiency and eventually lead to some savings. The problem is that it's not entirely fair - this should be an obligation of the builders of the building, not of the people who own an appartment for like 30 years in the very end of their use-this is simply stupid.

Wind picks up for offshore grid plan

14 November 2008

The European Commission is promoting offshore wind energy development as part of its Second Strategic Energy Review, released in Brussels yesterday (13 November). Endorsement by Brussels comes hot on the heels of massive growth in the sector.

Second only to natural gas in terms of new electricity capacity, wind power is considered the most promising option in the EU's portfolio of renewable energy technologies, which includes solar and hydro power too.

A recent study, sponsored by Greenpeace, predicts that an interconnected grid of North Sea wind farms with an output of 68 gigawatts could serve up to 70 million households by 2030 . The Commission's action plan ups that potential to 150 gigawatts. source

My comment: Again on the same Review. What I like is that there are numbers of the power they expect from the North Sea grid. Maybe they should have mentioned how much electricity a big European city or an industrialised country requires. It would be a good for comparison. I think the idea of those interconnected grids is great, I hope they put the adequate financing in it. It's simply great for Europe. To be precisely honest, I think Europe should bet on renewables and nuclear plants.

International Energy Agency raises alarm on oil, climate

13 November 2008

In this year's World Energy Outlook, the International Energy Agency (IEA) breaks with its tradition of allaying concerns about the availability of oil. Instead, it calls for an urgent transition to a more sustainable global energy system to avert a potential climate catastrophe.

"Current global trends in energy supply and consumption are patently unsustainable - environmentally, economically and socially," writes the agency in the executive summary of its 2008 outlook, unveiled on 12 November.

The IEA report came as oil prices reached their lowest level since January 2007, with investors worried about the effects of the global economic downturn on oil demand. Light sweet crude traded at only $56 a barrel on Wednesday (12 November) after hitting a peak of $147 in July.

This year's report contains a similar message to the 2006 edition, which called for "strong policy action" to give relief to a "dirty, insecure and expensive" energy future. But the financial crisis and growing concerns that the climate is changing rapidly and dangerously put the 2008 report, which calls for a "global energy revolution," in a different context.

Findings of "unprecedented field-by-field analysis" on the historical output of 800 oil fields are also included in the report. Irrespective of how much oil actually remains available on the planet, major structural changes are taking place in the global energy system, whereby oil reserves are increasingly under the control of non-OECD countries, the IEA points out in the report which affects the access to the fields and the stability of the supply. source

My comment: Haha, nice! What's the funniest is the last paragraph about the non-OECD-y of the exporting countries and what it implies. Actually, it only means that the control will be in the hands of different players, nothing more. In any case, the outcome is good-IEA finally realised that oil isn't a secure energy source, so it asks for renewables. That's good enough for me.

Commission makes energy 'top priority' of EU budget reform

13 November 2008

Energy policy should rank among the "top priorities of the EU budget," claimed Budget and Financial Programming Commissioner Dalia Grybauskaite at a conference yesterday (12 November 2008) on reform of the EU budget.

Money from the budget should be allocated to "research on energy efficiency, investments in new technologies and renewable energy sources," Commissioner Grybauskaite stated.

The suggestion follows a broad consultation that the Commission had with member states, social partners, political leaders and members of civil society over the reform of the EU budget.

However, given that a large proportion of the EU budget had already been set aside for agricultural subsidies, she did not expect the EU budget to be reformed in the near future. source

My comment: I start hating the agricultural subsidies extremely much. From one side, there's the tobacco producers who are also agricultural producers. Two months ago, they were in Brussel asking for subsidies. I don't know what was the reaction, but it's absurd to subsidieze toxic substances. It's just as absurd with other stuff- the subsidies should be the lowest possible, barely enough to secure sustainability of Europe-nothing more and nothing less. And energy efficiency and security is much more important in the case. If not else, because the bring along R&D which is important.

EU offered plan to commercialise carbon capture

12 November 2008

An EU demonstration programmePdf external to bring forward the large-scale deployment of carbon capture and storage (CCS) by ten years was unveiled on 10 November by a multi-stakeholder platform of industry, scientists and NGOs united in support of the technology.

A total of 10 to 12 demonstration projects, using a variety of technologies, will have to be set up by 2015 to "de-risk" carbon capture and storage (CCS) and make it commercially available by 2020, argues a report from the European Technology Platform for Zero Emission Fossil Fuel Power Plants (ZEP).

ZEP concluded that eight of the projects currently announced should meet most of the criteria, but a further two to four will be needed to solve the remaining unknowns.

ZEP also concluded that the incentive mechanism needed to guarantee that the plants are constructed and operational by 2015 is still missing. It said an additional €7–€12 billion would be needed to cover the extra cost of CCS installations and lower plant efficiency. source

My comment: Ok, you know what I think on CCS so... When I see an actual demonstration, then we'll talk.

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