Five sessions focus on source noise; wind farm design; real-world measurements; national guidelines and human perception; and new this year: noise issues offshore.
The new rules to be implemented through the Renewable Energy Directive and the Fuel Quality Directive:
- limit to 5 percent the contribution that biofuels based on food crops can make to the EU’s 10 percent target for renewable energy in the transport sector by 2020;
- for new biofuel plants, increase the minimum greenhouse gas savings requirement to 60 percent compared to fossil fuels (the current figure is 35 percent, increasing to 50 percent in 2017);
- require indirect land use change (ILUC) to be taken into account – through mechanisms still to be agreed – in the reporting of greenhouse gas savings;
- provide incentives for biofuels with no or low ILUC emissions, notably second- and third-generation biofuels made from algae, straw and other waste materials.
Climate Action Commissioner Connie Hedegaard said: ‘"We must invest in biofuels that achieve real emission cuts and do not compete with food. We are of course not closing down first generation biofuels, but we are sending a clear signal that future increases in biofuels must come from advanced biofuels. Everything else will be unsustainable".
The European Biomass Association (AEBIOM) responded that the new rules would damage growing markets in biogas and biomass as well as biofuels. In contrast to the food and animal feed industries, the biofuel industry already has strong and credible certification systems to guarantee sustainability, said AEBIOM president Gustav Melin, so it would be penalised unfairly.
When calculating contributions towards renewable energy targets, the extra weighting (a factor of up to four) proposed for waste-derived biofuels would mean the remaining 5 percent renewables target under the Renewable Energy Directive could be met by as little as 1.25 percent of actual biofuels. Some of this might also be made from imported waste derived from unsustainable sources, AEBIOM added.
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In the UK, a new all-party parliamentary group aims to give “deep geothermal” the kind of lobbying support among legislators that wind, solar and marine energy already enjoy. One of its founders is Sarah Newton, whose constituency in Cornwall overlies granite rock that is well suited to geothermal exploration. Iceland, which makes extensive use of geothermal energy, has agreed to share technical information
In October, energy minister Greg Barker backed UK geothermal development in a speech at the UK Deep Geothermal Symposium in London, which followed an EGEC workshop on geothermal district heating (GeoDH). According to the International Energy Agency, Barker said, geothermal energy could eventually provide more than 3 percent of both the world’s electricity and heat demand. The UK is helping to develop up to 15 GW of geothermal projects in east Africa, while the EU is working with similar aims alongside the African Union.
EGEC reports that the lle-de-France region of France, including Greater Paris, is looking to nearly double its use of geothermal energy as a part of a larger plan to get 50 percent of its heat from renewable sources. The results of the first nationwide study of geothermal energy in France will be presented at Les Journées de la Géothermie on 14 and 15 November.
In Hungary, PannErgy subsidiary Miskolci Geotermia has won the second part of a EUR 3.5 million government grant for a joint geothermal project at Kistokaj. And in Turkey, energy company Zorlu Enerji says it plans to build a 175 MW geothermal project in Osmaniye.
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Highlights this year include a focus on district heating and CHP, interactive sessions with top-level speakers, the Eastern European market, and more case studies than ever before.
That’s the conclusion of a workshop held at the end of September to discuss R&D priorities for the European PV industry up to 2015. The event was organised by the European Photovoltaic Industry Association (EPIA) and the European Photovoltaic Technology Platform (EU PVTP).
According to Pietro Caloprisco of the EPIA, the PV manufacturing segment is struggling to accommodate steep decreases in selling prices of modules and cells.
At the same time, more PV capacity than expected has been connected to the power grid, raising concerns among grid operators and policy-makers.
PV R&D needs to address grid stabilisation – such as ancillary services, storage and innovative inverter functionalities – the delegates concluded. The EPIA recently published a report: Connecting the Sun: Solar photovoltaics on the road to large-scale grid integration, which concludes that “large-scale integration of PV in the power system is possible to a greater extent than many have expected, even if some technical issues will have to be addressed”.
The workshop participants also noted that lower generation costs are better achieved through product reliability, increased performance and sustainability than through cheap system components.
A group of manufacturers calling themselves EU ProSun have complained that China is dumping cheap solar panels onto Europe, prompting a Commission enquiry that may lead Europe to impose import duties. But representatives from a counter-coalition representing the wider European solar industry, the Alliance for Affordable Solar Energy, say that free trade has helped to create 300,000 European jobs that would be put at risk by a trade war.
In future the SEII also plans to work more closely with industrial initiatives such as the European Electricity Grid Initiative (EEGI) and Energy Efficiency Buildings European Initiative (E2B EI).
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There are separate tracks for biodiesel and bioethanol.
Most readers of the SETIS website will be familiar with EERA, but could you please say a few words about the Alliance, its members and how it contributes to the SET-Plan?
The idea of this alliance is to streamline ongoing R&D activities in different Member States. I see this as very important because we have to be able to increase our research impact with existing resources. The core of EERA consists of 15 top research and technology organisations (RTOs) from 15 EU Member States. However, EERA is willing to take on board all those organisations where there is a commitment and capability to contribute. Today, more than 150 different universities or RTOs are already involved as well as some 2000 researchers.
At the heart of EERA is a series of Joint Programmes for research in key renewable energy technologies. Could you say a few words about these?
There are 13 Joint Programmes currently running and others are in the preparation stages, some with more than 30 collaborating research institutions. Obviously, carbon-free energy production or conversion is the main goal, but it is important to have good coverage of a range of energy topics. There are a great many activities going on in the area of renewables, which is without any doubt one of the most important aspects of our future energy policy.
The main challenge so far has been to get the work on the right track. The impact of the joint effort will be seen in the near future. Even so, we have to understand the time needed to develop innovations and to publish research findings in top scientific journals.
What, so far, have been some of the other challenges of this kind of international collaborative research? And how have these been overcome?
Of course different organisations, especially when they are in different countries, have their own cultures and research agendas. Also, in some countries, research is very dependent on competitive funding. So it is not enough to get R&D organisations to agree to collaborate; we also have to get the funding agencies on board with us.
What are some of the particular strengths of European research on renewable energies, vis-à-vis some of the other leading world players? Are we particularly strong in some areas?
We have been able to achieve a cutting-edge position in many areas. One of these areas is third generation bio-liquids.
Funding is always an issue for innovative R&D, especially as much of Europe is going through a deep financial crisis. What does the future look like for research within EERA?
As a slogan I could say that we have to do more with less. And at the same time we have to increase the quality and impact of our research. The most important thing is to publish our research findings for the benefit of society. Of course Horizon 2020 will present important opportunities and EERA is keen to play an active role.
As Chairman of EERA and President/CEO of VTT you must have your finger on the pulse of the various SET-Plan technologies. How are we doing in terms of meeting the SET-Plan goals for 2020 and beyond? And what more is needed?
We will not be able to reach some of the targets. However, the technological prerequisites are there. And sometimes political decisions and policies are not oriented in the right direction. Meanwhile it is of the utmost importance to be able to develop and utilise a wide range of energy instruments.
How do you see the role of SETIS, as an information system for the SET-Plan?
SETIS plays an important role. It is extremely important to be able to find all the relevant information and avoid any unnecessary duplication.