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Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Energy in Europe - France joins the South Stream Fun!, 02, 2010

Sorry for the late post, but I had to work harder than usual these days.
  1. EU reaches agreement on energy savings in buildings
  2. Russia makes emissions pledge, but WTO confusion remains
  3. Slovenia gives Russia final piece of South Stream puzzle
  4. France joins South Stream gas pipeline
Quote of the day:"How exactly South Stream could be a competitor to Nabucco, when it's owned and executed by European companies!!! Even France joined the fun!
Fillon expressed satisfaction that France had overtaken the USA by volume of its investments in Russia."

EU reaches agreement on energy savings in buildings

18 November 2009

EU lawmakers last night (17 November) forged a long-awaited compromise on the recast buildings directive, agreeing that all new buildings would have to comply with high energy-performance standards and supply a significant share of their energy requirements from renewable sources after the end of 2020.

The recast Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (see EurActiv LinksDossier) will require the public sector to take the lead by owning and renting buildings with "nearly zero" energy standards by the end of 2018, two years in advance of the private sector. Moreover, member states were tasked to promote the conversion of existing buildings to comply with the standard.

The Swedish EU Presidency admitted that the concept of a 'nearly zero' energy building was "not a very exact expression," but said it would ensure that the legislation gives member states incentives to make significant efficiency improvements in a sector that produces a third of the EU's CO2 emissions. Sweden has been instrumental in pushing for a deal on this crucial piece of efficiency legislation before the end of its term.

Each member state will be responsible for defining its own standards, in a nod to the fact that a common system would not work in Europe as local conditions vary, for example from Finland to Greece.

MEPS had sought to require member states to set percentage targets for making a minimum share of existing buildings produce all their energy on-site from renewables, effectively becoming zero-energy (EurActiv 24/04/09). Moreover, they wanted all new buildings to reach the energy-neutral standard by 2019.

But national capitals considered the Parliament's starting position to be unrealistic and were concerned about too much red tape (EurActiv 08/07/09).

The energy performance certificates foreseen in the recast directive will provide further incentives for developers and building owners to invest in efficiency improvements during renovations.

Whenever a building is sold or rented out to a new tenant, a certificate must be issued with information on the energy performance level of the building and recommendations on how to improve it. The certificate will have to be displayed at buildings with over 500 m2 occupied by a public authority and which are frequently visited by the public. The threshold will fall to 250 m2 five years after the legislation has entered into force.

Member states will be responsible for putting in place their certification schemes, but the European Commission will develop a voluntary European-wide system for non-residential buildings by 2011.

The lawmakers agreed that the key to the implementation of the reinforced legislation will be appropriate funding. As a result, an article was added to the directive on financial incentives, at both the national and EU levels.

The new legislation will require member states to list incentives from technical assistance and subsidies to low interest loans by mid-2011 for the transition to near zero-energy buildings. source

My comment: I think I have already said that, it's very hard to make a building zero-emission one without significant thinking and investment. And very few member states currently are able to provide those investments. So I support this legislation, even if it's not very committing. But people do realise that the only way to fight our giant electricity and gas consumption is by changing our buildings to fit the time we live in and the technology we have. So I am an optimist, sooner rather than later, the buildings will start becoming zero-emissions. The real problems are Eastern European countries, where building is booming and the standards are questionable. Those entrepreneurs won't love the new, more expensive way to build. But with little political will by the EU, they won't have another choice.

Russia makes emissions pledge, but WTO confusion remains

19 November 2009

Russia set a new target for reducing its greenhouse gas emissions at a summit with the European Union yesterday (18 November), but failed to clear up confusion over its plans to join the World Trade Organisation.

The EU said the promise to make further reductions to those planned was a boost for climate talks in Copenhagen next month, and the good atmosphere at the meeting was a sharp contrast to previous EU-Russia summits that have been marred by disputes.

The EU also welcomed Russian President Dmitry Medvedev's commitment to join the WTO quickly but he failed to answer their questions about whether Moscow would join as a separate state or as part of a customs union with Belarus and Kazakhstan.

One sour note at the talks in Stockholm was a disagreement over human rights, with the EU expressing concern over the situation in Russia. But the sides said they hoped soon to agree a new framework agreement for economic and political ties and avoided any conflict over Russian energy supplies to Europe.

Asked to confirm the figure, Russian officials later said Medvedev had set a target of reducing harmful emissions by 22-25% by 2020 compared with 1990 levels. The previous target was 10-15%.

There was harmony, however, on energy issues. Both sides welcomed the signing on Monday of a memorandum requiring them to notify each other of any likely disruption to energy supplies and to work together to resolve the problem.

Medvedev said Russia would seek quick entry to the 153-nation WTO but said no decision had been taken on whether to join alone or with Kazakhstan and Belarus, the two former Soviet republics which are part of a customs union with Russia. source

My comment: I don't really get why people so much want to join WTO, but I guess there should be a good reason. I like the part "There was harmony, however, on energy issues.". ROFL. The harmony is amazing, isn't it? Anyway, so far no gas crisis this winter, so here, I'm also an optimist. And in the end, Mr. Putin showed the EU what he wanted, more crises wouldn't be in the spirit of business partnership that such big "countries" should have. As for the emissions cuts, I think soon a commitment from China or say Asia, will be enough for the whole world. Because they seem to produce like everything. Oh well...

Slovenia gives Russia final piece of South Stream puzzle

16 November 2009

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin won Slovenia's approval on 14 November for the South Stream pipeline, undermining European Union efforts to reduce dependency on Russian gas supplies.

The seal of approval is the latest victory for the Kremlin as it seeks to counter the long delayed Nabucco pipeline which is backed by the European Union as a way to curb dependency on Russia by pumping gas from the Caspian and the Middle East.

Slovenia's approval brings the South Stream pipeline a step closer to being built, though its backers - Russian gas behemoth Gazprom and Italy's Eni SpA - still have to raise billions of dollars to finance the project.

"We have now signed deals with all the European partners needed for this project to be completed," Putin told reporters at his Novo-Ogaryovo residency outside Moscow after signing the cooperation deal with Slovenian counterpart Borut Pahor.

Slovenia is the fifth country to sign such an agreement with Russia on the South Sea pipeline, which will skirt Ukraine and cross Bulgaria, Serbia, Hungary, Greece, Slovenia to Italy.

With a capacity of 63 billion cubic metres a year, the pipeline is expected to cost between 19 billion and 24 billion euros ($28 billion to $36 billion). It is due to become operational in 2015.

Russia has been trying to persuade major European powers that support for alternative supply routes - such as South Stream and another project known as Nord Stream - will ensure smooth supplies. Both projects bypass Ukraine.

Nord Stream, which will pipe gas under the Baltic Sea to Germany, recently received approvals from Denmark, Sweden and Finland, a sign that construction work may start next year.. source

My comment: I don't understand how exactly South Stream "undermine EU efforts to diversify supply", but I guess the journalist who wrote this has something in mind. I don't see how exactly having two pipes is worst than having one (passing trough Turkey which is notorious with their blackmailing of the EU) but whatever. I wonder if they will manage to build those pipes. After all, the crisis sucked most of the billions out of the people who would invest them into such projects. Sure, I'm far from the idea that there are no money left, it just might be harder to get them. And I wonder why they included Bulgaria in the list, when there are still problems for that projects here.

France joins South Stream gas pipeline

1 December 2009

French company Electricité de France (EDF) on 27 November signed a memorandum of understanding with Russia's Gazprom regarding its possible participation in the South Stream gas pipeline, seen as a competitor to the EU-backed Nabucco project.

The document, which concerns EDF's participation in the construction of the offshore section of the South Stream pipeline, was signed in Paris during a visit by Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.

The memorandum specifies that the details of EDF's participation in the project will be worked out jointly with Italy's ENI, which currently owns 50% of South Stream AG, according to a statement posted on Gazprom's website.

French Prime Minister François Fillon hailed EDF's participation in South Stream and the recent partnership between GDF-Suez and Gazprom on Nord Stream, according to the Kremlin website (EurActiv 30/07/09). Like South Stream, Nord Stream is designed to bring Russian gas to Western Europe, bypassing Ukraine.

Fillon expressed satisfaction that France had overtaken the USA by volume of its investments in Russia. He said contacts had been developed in other spheres too, declaring that 2010 would be "Russia Year" in his country, with "France Year" taking place simultaneously in Russia. Putin said that over 350 cultural events would take place under this heading.

Putin also mentioned other areas of cooperation, including machine-building, space, aeronautics and nuclear energy. source

My comment: Yeah, back on my previous comment. How exactly South Stream could be a competitor to Nabucco, when it's owned and executed by European companies!!! Even France joined the fun! I think it's not serious anymore to write the so loved line of how South Stream stands on the way of Nabucco, simply because it's not true! South Stream has the unique advantage that Russia is the source country of the gas and it has a HUGE desire to make sure this gas reaches the consumers. Which cannot be said for Nabucco which hardly has a source country. There isn't a drive for that project and people should understand it. It's much easier to diversify our energy dependence with other types of energy, like renewable, than to go trough the whole hurdle of making Nabucco a reality from zero to the end. It's just too hard. Or maybe it isn't, but it's not going to happen so quickly and that's important. The two project cannot compete and we have to understand it and move on!


Anonymous said...

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Anonymous said...

The bigger they are, the harder they fall.


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