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Sunday, July 17, 2011

Bolshoi Petroleum guilty for the failure of Nabucco?, 2011

Today:
  1. Brussels warns Italy against slashing solar energy incentives
  2. Poland, Czech Republic eye power market integration
  3. Bulgarians irked at Turkey's nuclear power plan
  4. EU steels itself for carbon rules challenge
  5. Brussels loosens 'binding' efficiency plans
  6. 'Bolshoi Petroleum' deal collapses
Quote of the day: "Changing one monopoly with other is always stupid. And that is the main problem with Nabucco - that it doesn't have viable supplier. Just note in the article how now they blame BP for undermining the projects credibility. Go figure :) Again, ROFL :) "

Brussels warns Italy against slashing solar energy incentives

20 April 2011
The European Union's energy chief urged Italy to set up a clear and predictable support scheme for the solar energy sector and ensure stability for investors to avoid possible penalties.
Under a law passed in Italy in March, current generous incentives to the booming solar market - originally expected to run from 2011 to 2013 - will apply only to those solar plants that connect to the grid by the end of May.
The law was issued in compliance with the EU's directive on 2020 green energy targets but the sudden change in the support scheme has caused uproar among investors and operators about the future of business in one of Europe's biggest solar markets.
EU Energy Commissioner Günther Oettinger said in a letter to Italy's Industry Minister Paolo Romani he was concerned about consequences of such changes for investment in the renewable energy sector after receiving complaints from sector operators.
Italy's solar sector has boomed since 2007, when extensive production incentives were first launched. It has attracted the world's biggest photovoltaic module makers such as China's Suntech Power Holdings Co, Trina, Yingli Green Energy and US firm First Solar. 
Italy's major renewable energy body, APER, has said it would appeal to Brussels against the law which could cause damage to investors totalling billions of euros. 
Italy plans to put a six-monthly or annual cap on solar incentive costs rather than on installed capacity under the new solar support scheme and aims to scrap incentives from 2017, Industry Undersecretary Stefano Saglia said last week.Solar sector operators and investors fear the government will introduce an annual limit on installed photovoltaic capacity, saying such a move would brake growth of the sector in Italy, as has happened in Spain.
 sourceMy comment: I must say that I agree with to some extent with the new regulations in Italiy. I realise the changes are meant to help the gas producers with whom Italy have juicy contracts, but this is not the point. The point that renewables should be competitive with the other source of energy. The way to that, however, passes trough 2 stages (roughly) - first one needs government support to introduce the renewables in the market and to help them start up and gain inertia. And second, one needs to make them compete with other sectors so that they can become cheaper and ultimately better than the other sources of energy. If the government always supports the production of green energy, it will never ever become cheaper. While it can and it should be cheaper than fossil fuels.
But until the government buy expensive green energy, green producers simply don't have the incentive to lower the prices. When they have to compete on the open market, the story changes. Of course, that is the ideal case when all the fossil producers are not current or former national companies which are heavily supported by taxpayers money. Which is the case in most of the EU.

Poland, Czech Republic eye power market integration 

30 March 2011
Poland's largest energy bourse – PolPX – and Czech market operator OTE are in talks about joining their power markets, possibly later in 2011, the chief of the Polish bourse Grzegorz Onichimowski said on Tuesday (29 March).
Electricity trade on linked exchanges could potentially start using existing interconnectors to transfer about seven GWh of power a year, about 5% of Poland's annual consumption, Onichimowski said.
The discussions represent the latest move among Central European exchanges to couple their power markets in a region that offers a potentially lucrative, but currently fragmented, market.The Czech and Slovak electricity markets merged in 2009 in a move that boosted liquidity and showed other Central and Eastern European countries that integration could work.
In February, the Czech and Slovak grid operators said they would look to combine their markets with Hungary as a step toward integrating the region with western electricity markets.
The integration would mark the second for PolPX, which last year linked its power market with Scandinavia's Nordpool via a 600 MW cable to give Warsaw-based investors access to Europe's most liquid energy market and boost trade on the Polish bourse.
The European Union plans ultimately to bind together the power networks of all EU countries to boost distribution of renewable energy and help the region cope in the event of an energy crisis. source
My comment: This is of course wonderful news, because the more connected we are, the harder we are to separate but that's another story. I applaud the merger.
More on Poland: EU carbon rules hinder Poland's plans for new coal power- Poland appears to have lost its fight to exempt new coal-fired power stations from paying for European Union emissions permits, an EU document showed on Tuesday (29 March).
Poland had planned to give away tens of millions of free carbon emissions permits to new power stations as it struggles to align its high-carbon economy with the EU's ambitions to cut carbon dioxide emissions.
In return for dropping their opposition, they were allowed to grant up to 70% of those permits for free in 2013, gradually reducing the number to zero by 2020. The exemption also applied to plants that were "physically initiated" by the end of 2008 – a term that most people assumed to mean "already under construction".
Last year, Poland started a diplomatic push to broadly reinterpret the definition of "physically initiated" to include sites that were under preparation, a move that could allow the construction of up to 15,000 megawatts more of new capacity – equivalent to about 10-20 coal-fired plants.
But the final legal interpretation has now been published by the European Commission, stating that for a power plant to be eligible, visible construction work must have started before the end of 2008, or a construction contract must have been signed. - If you only think about how ridiculous is the idea of visible construction...Anyway. That was the smarter thing the EC could do. Because there is absolutely no way to reach our emission goals if we provide every new coal plant with all the emissions it needs.
And if you want to know more on Poland ( Coal comfort' as Poland takes over EU presidency - Environmentalists say that Poland bent the law to get free greenhouse gas emissions permits for 13 unbuilt coal plants, the day before it took over the EU presidency on 1 July. ) I think that Polish government is growing more and more arrogant. I don't know what it means "we can't afford limiting carbon emissions" Which country can afford it? Everybody makes some economies one way or another. What they do is actually stealing from all of us.

Bulgarians irked at Turkey's nuclear power plan

08 April 2011
Turkey is planning to build a nuclear power station at İğneada, a small town close to the Bulgarian border on the Black Sea coast. No official Bulgarian reaction has yet been recorded, but Internet forums were overwhelmed with alarmed messages regarding the possible consequences of the decision.
İğneada, which lies on the Black Sea coast in the region of Thrace, is the safest location for the plant in terms of earthquake resistance, Turkish officials said.
A nuclear plant at İğneada would be the third such project recently announced by Turkey. Ankara has already approved plans to build two nuclear plants, one in Akkuyu on the Mediterranean and another one at Sinop, on the northern edge of Turkey's Black Sea coast.
Turkey concluded a deal with Russia to build Turkey's first nuclear plant in Akkuyu. The second nuclear plant will reportedly be developed by Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) and Toshiba.
Turkey intends to build three nuclear power plants with a total power generation capacity of 15,000 megawatts by 2023, the officials said.
The site planned for the Mediterranean nuclear station is only a couple of dozen miles away from a fault line which geologists fear is in danger of sliding at any time.
According to the Dnevnik daily, EurActiv's partner in Bulgaria, the planned Turkish plant is located 15km from Rezovo, a village situated on the Bulgarian side of the Black Sea, near the Turkish border. Bulgaria has a 300km-long Black Sea coast, which hosts a myriad of booming tourist resorts.
In Brussels, the European Commission admitted it could not prevent countries from building nuclear power stations in border regions.sourceMy comment: Although I am supporter of nuclear energy, I am against the nuclear plants in Turkey. For the simple reason that when the big earthquake happened in Istanbul, a big part of the city, unfortunately fell. And the reason for all the victims, was the corruption and the lack of control over constructions. Should such a country be allowed to build in highly seismic areas??? I think not. 
Another question is why Iran shouldn't have the right to use nuclear energy and Turkey should have it. Especially since Turkey and Iran are so close these days. How come Brussels can interfere with Bulgaria's desire to build the second nuclear power plant at Belene, but it cannot or would not interfere with Turkey's intentions to build not one but three power plants?! I sincerely hope there is a way to stop them from those crazy activities, but since the contracts are already signed, I see very little chance for that. But then, we all have to ask ourselves about the hypocrisy of the western countries. And their utter helplessness in the face of big money.

EU steels itself for carbon rules challenge

05 April 2011
A legal challenge to draft EU rules for including steel plants in Europe's carbon emissions market is being planned by industry body Eurofer.
Eurofer claims the EU's proposals do not properly implement laws allowing the industry's most efficient 10% of factories to get free pollution permits after 2013.
The European Commission said it was confident of the methodology agreed last October, which followed two years of consultation with industry and EU member states.
The environmental group Sandbag complained that the steel industry had banked 212 million carbon permits, worth €3.4 billion, within an ETS that had become dysfunctional.The group claimed that steel giant ArcelorMittal was holding 44.6% of this surplus.
Carbon Trade Watch, which analysed the 77% of installations for which data was available, found that for the fifth time in six years, the ETS cap had been set too high.Permit allocations had been 3.2% higher than the actual emissions measured from their relevant installations, the group said.
"Emissions trading is being used as an industrial subsidy for polluters."
The EU is acting to reverse this situation by 2013, when the 90% of plants which do not meet its new 'benchmarks' will have their free permits withdrawn.
sourceMy comment: I would so much like to see the steel industry paying for all the pollution they do. But I doubt that will happen. Germany is way too strong. And the steel lobby seems unbreakable.

Brussels loosens 'binding' efficiency plans

12 May 2011
The European Commission has watered down plans to advance the EU towards 20% energy savings by the end of the decade, EurActiv has learned from a draft efficiency directive.
Stefan Scheuer, a former green campaigner who now heads an environment consultancy firm, told EurActiv that the 20% energy savings target for 2020 no longer sounded credible to him."Moving the deadline beyond 2013 shows a lack of seriousness from this Commission to make it happen," he said.
"In 2014 it will be left to the successor to Barroso's team, so they are probably putting their cards on the table now and showing that they are insufficient."
Unlike the EU's other 2020 targets - for renewables and CO2 cuts - the 20% increase in energy savings is not legally binding, and is also the only one that the EU is on track to miss.sourceMy comment: Hardly a surprise...

'Bolshoi Petroleum' deal collapses

18 May 2011
Negotiations between British Petroleum and Rosneft, Russia's leading oil company, to develop three massive offshore exploration blocks in the Arctic have failed, according to media reports yesterday (17 May).
The 16-billion dollar deal, dubbed 'Bolshoi Petroleum' by the British media, was based on swapping a 5% stake in BP for a 9.5% stake in Rosneft.
But the $16-billion deal collapsed after BP and Rosneft made a cash-and-stock offer to buy out the Russian co-owners of TNK-BP, the Russian wing of British Petroleum.
TNK-BP is represented by the Alfa-Access-Renova (AAR) consortium. AAR represents a quartet of Russian billionaires who own half of TNK-BP.
The four billionaires who own half of TNK-BP were willing to sell their stake in return for shares in BP and Rosneft, enabling them to maintain a presence in the Russian oil sector, according to sources close to the parties quoted by Reuters.
BP and Rosneft had been prepared to pay more than $30 billion for the Russian partners' stake, AFP reported.
Reportedly, AAR had obtained a court injunction against the Rosneft deal, claiming it violated their TNK-BP agreement.
While Rosneft has other suitors to plumb the Arctic depths with, BP's fortunes have been struck a serious blow, the Moscow News comments.
Now it looks like the door to the Arctic is closed for BP, and Rosneft is now looking for new partners for its Arctic projects, an unnamed source told AFP.Sources cited by Reuters name Exxon, Chevron, Shell and Chinese firms as potential partners to explore the three Kara Sea blocks earmarked for the BP venture.
 sourceMy comment: BP's relations with Russia are real soap opera. Too bad nobody will every film that one. I think it would be quite fun to watch :)

Nabucco grapples with communication issues
Energy Commissioner Günther Oettinger has thrown his weight behind a troubleshooting effort following reports that Azerbaijan, the main supplier to the EU-favoured Nabucco gas pipeline project, is now unwilling to sell its gas to the consortium.
Reports that Western countries are accusing Azerbaijan of blocking Nabucco are untrue, Oettinger was quoted as saying by local press in Azeri capital Baku yesterday (8 June). - ROFL ROFL ROFL! Aint that fun, actually? :) It's not like it wasn't expected. Changing one monopoly with other is always stupid. And that is the main problem with Nabucco - that it doesn't have viable supplier. Just note in the article how now they blame BP for undermining the projects credibility. Go figure :) Again, ROFL :) 
 Nabucco pipeline construction pushed back to 2013 - Construction of the Nabucco pipeline, a project designed to bring natural gas to Europe from suppliers other than Russia, will start in 2013 instead of 2012 as initially planned, its managing director announced on Friday (6 May).
Reinhard Mitschek, managing director of the Nabucco Gas Pipeline consortium, said the plans had been modified following announcements by potential suppliers in the Caspian and Middle East regions.
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European biofuel dispute splits the industry -
A divisive debate over the green credentials of biofuels has stalled investment and threatens the future of some producers, but could also create lucrative opportunities, according to European companies.
After a two-year investigation, the European Commission has decided that the complex issue of 'indirect land use change' (ILUC) – or displaced deforestation – can lessen carbon savings from biofuels.
In July it may announce moves to curb the least sustainable - possibly by raising an EU-wide sustainability benchmark. -
 EU's airline  emission goals under scrutiny - When the European Commission unveiled plans to slash transport CO2 emissions by 60% by 2050 last week, many assumed the figure would apply to road, rail and air travel in the same way. But EurActiv has learned that the cut for aviation is only 34%, a target both environmentalists and industry sources say is unrealistic.
Airlines in EU biofuels pact to cut pollution - European airlines, biofuel producers and the European Commission signed up yesterday (22 June) to producing two million tonnes of biofuel for aviation by 2020 even as debate rages over how green such fuels actually are. 
 

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