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Interview: Marie Donnelly, Director of New and Renewable Sources of Energy, Energy Efficiency and Innovation

SETIS feed - Wed, 2012-10-03 14:15

You once said that “energy efficiency is like motherhood and apple pie” – everyone thinks it’s a good idea but no one agrees on what’s best. Do you have any further thoughts on that in terms of the new Energy Efficiency Directive?

First of all, we have a Directive and we are very pleased that we do. Having said that, we know that this Directive alone will not bring us to 20% [increase in efficiency by 2020]. But it’s going to put us in a new direction and, I believe, on the right path.

Another important aspect, over and above the details of the articles themselves, is that the Directive involves everybody as an actor. We have the public sector, which, apart from developing policy, now has to act in terms of buildings and their renovation. The Directive also brings in the utilities, who, up until now, could stand back and watch energy efficiency happening in industry and elsewhere.

But now the Directive imposes an annual 1.5% energy savings target on power companies; so they are part of the game as well. It involves industry, as they will now have to carry out energy audits, which raises awareness in this sector.

Once they’re aware, they will make the right, commercial decisions after that. And it involves the consumer, through metering and billing information, and demand response, which we’ve written into the Directive but nobody ever sees. That’s a radical change. The fact that we’ve brought in so many actors means we’re definitely in the right direction.


Some potential investors are put off by the long time it takes to get a return on their investment in energy efficiency. How can the EC further encourage them?

Energy efficiency measures will give you a return within anything from 10 minutes to 10-15 years. It depends on what you’re going to do. But it also depends on what perspective you’re taking on a return on investment. It also depends on what rate of return you’re looking for. I think it’s fair to say – and this will come as a surprise to no one – that we’re no longer in the days of the three-year return at 10% a year.

So let’s readjust our expectations and put that into the perspective of the kind of market and economy we’re likely to have over the next few years. By its nature, energy is a long-term investment, with a steady rate of return. It’s not designed to be high-tech, with a 50% increase of share price falling out of the sky overnight. It’s designed to be regular and routine. If you apply those criteria to the investment, I think it still makes sense.


Some members of the power industry think that, to encourage a greater shift towards low-carbon energies, we need less interference from national governments or the EU but simply for the carbon price to go up. Then the market would look after itself. Do you agree?

If life were so simple, I’m sure we’d have done it already! Part of the difficulty of the carbon price is that Europe, I believe, is committed to climate change action and I believe we are in a leadership position on that. But the rest of the world is not following us. And, in the current environment, it doesn’t do Europe any good to handicap itself with an extra charge that other parts of the world don’t have.

The Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) represents that kind of a challenge for us. I know it’s a market-based operation and I know it’s for climate change. But if it means an extra 3% or 5% charge on our industry in Europe and makes them less competitive as a consequence, we haven’t really done a service to “Europe Inc”. So getting a balance between climate change action and industrial competitiveness is the issue we are struggling with at the moment.


As high-emitting sources of greenhouses gases, such as coal-fired power plants, are phased out or converted, say, to biomass or co-firing, the relative carbon savings of other renewables are less obvious. How does that affect our long-term energy strategy?

I think we have to remind ourselves what our energy strategy for Europe is. What are the objectives? Yes, of course we have climate change as an objective, but we also – and on an equal footing – have security of supply and competitiveness.

Wind and solar support us in our security of supply and, ultimately, in our competitiveness. Both of these technologies have a relatively high investment cost, but relatively low operational costs. We expect to be able to reap the rewards of that even from 2013 on, if you look at our 2050 Roadmap.

So the philosophy of going down the road of renewables, whether for wind – both onshore and offshore – or PV makes sense for those reasons alone, but also because energy demand is likely to grow. We will need, in the interim period, all of the technologies that we have available to us at the moment. I don’t think we have the luxury of saying we don’t need this or that, or that we can drop this or drop that. Not yet.




Categories: EC Energy News

More clout for cloud computing

Science and technology - Thu, 2012-09-27 00:00

			Five electronic devices with blue screens linked by blue arrows to a single blue cloud © EU

27/09/2012 00:00:00

New strategy to create single set of rules for cloud computing and increase EU GDP by €160 billion annually by 2020. ...

Categories: EC Energy News

New in the SETIS toolkit: Smart Electricity Mapping tool

SETIS feed - Wed, 2012-09-26 12:28

The Smart Electricity Systems team (or Action, as it is officially named) is part of the Energy Security Unit at the JRC Institute for Energy and Transport, located both in Petten (NL) and Ispra (IT).

The team recently compiled a Smart Electricity Mapping tool, which brings together inputs and feedback from utilities, industry, research and academia.

The mapping exercise, which was carried out in 2011, is the first comprehensive inventory of Smart Grid projects in Europe.

Access the application either in the SETIS toolkit or by clicking HERE.

Categories: EC Energy News

JRC report: “Technology Learning Curves for Energy Policy Support”

SETIS feed - Fri, 2012-09-21 16:35

It aimed to assess the challenges in the application of the two-factor learning curve, or alternative solutions in supporting policy decision making in the framework of the European Strategic Energy Technology Plan, and explored options for improvement. The workshop gathered distinguished experts in the field of scientific research on learning curves and policy researchers from the European Commission and ECN to assess the challenges in the application of the two-factor-learning curve, or alternative solutions in supporting policy decision making, and to provide options for improvement.

The report forms the summary of outcomes from the workshop.



Categories: EC Energy News

Expert workshop on ‘Learning Curves for Policy Support’

SETIS feed - Fri, 2012-09-21 16:04

It aimed to assess the challenges in the application of the two-factor learning curve, or alternative solutions in supporting policy decision making in the framework of the European Strategic Energy Technology Plan, and explored options for improvement. The workshop gathered distinguished experts in the field of scientific research on learning curves and policy researchers from the European Commission and ECN to assess the challenges in the application of the two-factor-learning curve, or alternative solutions in supporting policy decision making, and to provide options for improvement.

The summary report of the workshop is available here.


Categories: EC Energy News

JRC report: “Technology Learning Curves for Energy Policy Support”

SETIS feed - Fri, 2012-09-21 15:55

It aimed to assess the challenges in the application of the two-factor learning curve, or alternative solutions in supporting policy decision making in the framework of the European Strategic Energy Technology Plan, and explored options for improvement. The workshop gathered distinguished experts in the field of scientific research on learning curves and policy researchers from the European Commission and ECN to assess the challenges in the application of the two-factor-learning curve, or alternative solutions in supporting policy decision making, and to provide options for improvement.

This report forms the summary of outcomes from the workshop. Due to the very different nature of the One-Factor-Learning concept and the Two-Factor-Learning concept, these are discussed in separate parts. In each of these parts the context and the methodology are introduced, methodological and data challenges are described and the problems associated with the application of the concept in models is discussed.

Categories: EC Energy News

JRC report: “Technology Learning Curves for Energy Policy Support”

SETIS feed - Fri, 2012-09-21 15:55

It aimed to assess the challenges in the application of the two-factor learning curve, or alternative solutions in supporting policy decision making in the framework of the European Strategic Energy Technology Plan, and explored options for improvement. The workshop gathered distinguished experts in the field of scientific research on learning curves and policy researchers from the European Commission and ECN to assess the challenges in the application of the two-factor-learning curve, or alternative solutions in supporting policy decision making, and to provide options for improvement.

This report forms the summary of outcomes from the workshop. Due to the very different nature of the One-Factor-Learning concept and the Two-Factor-Learning concept, these are discussed in separate parts. In each of these parts the context and the methodology are introduced, methodological and data challenges are described and the problems associated with the application of the concept in models is discussed.

Categories: EC Energy News

TPWind 2nd Energy R&D Event: Cross-sectoral Offshore Activities

SETIS feed - Mon, 2012-09-17 16:16

The event is organized by TPWind, a forum and network of EU wind energy R&D experts. Launched in 2006 and funded by the European Commission since 2007, TPWind is an essential implementing tool of the European Wind Initiative, a long-term, large-scale EU Programme for developing wind power with a total budget of €6 bn for the 2010 – 2020 period.

Categories: EC Energy News

4th International Conference on Ocean Energy 2012

SETIS feed - Mon, 2012-09-17 15:22

The 2012 conference will bring together over 750 international experts and world-leading companies in ocean energy. Global industry and academic experts in marine renewable energy will present over a hundred papers on themes important to growing this new marine industry. The conference will also include a trade exhibition where many of the top industrial players will demonstrate the latest technologies in harnessing renewable energy from the sea.

Categories: EC Energy News

Six companies received awards for innovative technologies that contribute towards energy efficiency

SETIS feed - Mon, 2012-09-17 14:55

The winning companies were IBM (27 data centres in 15 countries), Google (data centre in St. Ghislain, Belgium), the Datacenter Group (Amsterdam), R-iX and Hoogendoorn IT Services  (Spaanse Kubus in Rotterdam).

They were among the 57 enterprises that had signed up to the code of conduct proposed by the EU’s Joint Research Centre to limit the growing energy consumption of data centres – predicted to reach 100 TWh in the year 2020 – through the adoption of energy efficiency measures.

This year's winners have in particular reduced the need for mechanical cooling of the data centres and have raised the indoor temperature. These are among the most important measures to improve efficiency and reduce energy consumption.

For further information:
http://ec.europa.eu/dgs/jrc/index.cfm?id=1410&dt_code=NWS&obj_id=14920&ori=RSS

Categories: EC Energy News

27th European Photovoltaic Solar Energy Conference and Exhibition

SETIS feed - Fri, 2012-09-14 14:35

In addition to allowing for a deep insight into the development and progress in all areas of the PV sector, the conference will also provide ample opportunities to discuss new ideas and approaches to overcome some of the challenges the sector is facing.

Categories: EC Energy News

The European Wind Energy Association 2013 Annual Conference

SETIS feed - Fri, 2012-09-14 14:27

Emphasis will be put on identifying policy and market frameworks which need to change in order to attract long-term investment. Sessions will analyse existing policy and market barriers to the development of the wind industry and share best practice on how best to overcome operational challenges stemming from these barriers.

Categories: EC Energy News

European Parliament approves the Energy Efficiency Directive

SETIS feed - Thu, 2012-09-13 12:50

Measures include setting up energy efficiency schemes for utilities, renovating public buildings, and energy audits for all large firms in all Member States. Other measures include an exemplary role to be played by the public sector and a right for consumers to know how much energy they consume.

The directive came in order to try and get the EU back on track to meeting a non-binding 20% energy efficiency target, which had been agreed by member states at the March 2007 EU summit, along with binding 20% targets for renewable energy and CO2 reduction. Cutting energy consumption by 20% could save the EU €50 billion per year.

The main changes the directive brings to existing legislation are:
• Energy companies are required to reduce their energy sales to industrial and household clients by at least 1.5% each year.
• A 3% annual renovation rate for public buildings which are “central government-owned and occupied”.
• An obligation on each EU member state to draw up a roadmap to make the entire building sector more energy efficient by 2050 (commercial, public and private households included).

The new directive also includes additional measures on energy audits and energy management for large firms, cost-benefit analysis for the deployment of combined heat and power generation (CHP) and public procurement.

The directive will enter into force 20 days after its publication in EU's Official Journal and member states will have 18 months to transpose it into their national laws. The directive was adopted with 632 votes in favour, 25 against and 19 abstentions.

For more information: http://ec.europa.eu/energy/efficiency/eed/eed_en.htm

 

Categories: EC Energy News

Three new Commission studies on unconventional fossil fuels

SETIS feed - Thu, 2012-09-13 12:45

The study on energy markets reveals that unconventional gas developments in the US have led to greater Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) supplies becoming available at global level, indirectly influencing EU gas prices. It also suggests that future shale gas production in Europe could help the EU maintain its dependency on energy imports at around 50% of its total energy needs. But the report warns that this depends on recoverable volumes, technological developments, public acceptance and access to land and markets.

The study on climate impacts shows that shale gas produced in the EU causes more GHG emissions than conventional natural gas produced in the EU. However, the study points out that this could be less than imported gas from outside the EU, whether it is via pipeline or by LNG, due to the impacts on emissions from long-distance gas transport.

The report on environmental impacts shows that extracting shale gas generally leads to a larger environmental footprint than conventional gas development. Risks of surface and ground water contamination, water resource depletion, air and noise emissions, land take, disturbance to biodiversity and impacts related to traffic are estimated to be high in the case of cumulative projects.

These studies contribute to ongoing work examining the need for a risk management framework for shale gas developments in Europe. While the Commission remains neutral as regards Member States decisions' concerning their energy mix, it oversees compliance with EU legal requirements, and ensures that an appropriate framework to enable sustainable shale gas extraction is in place.

For further information:
http://ec.europa.eu/environment/integration/energy/studies_en.htm

Categories: EC Energy News

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