The Industrial Innovation for Competitiveness (i24c) platform publishes today its first Memo on the potential for innovation in the construction value chain, which is one of Europe’s key industries. Titled Scaling Up Innovation in the Construction Value Chain Combining Value Creation and Climate Ambition in one of Europe’s Key Industries, the memo builds on work undertaken by the Buildings Performance Institute Europe (BPIE). It outlines how transformative innovation in the construction value chain can be leveraged to deliver both climate benefits after COP21 and economic gains. To deliver on this potential, policy has a key role to play especially to enable the emergence of challenge-driven innovation ecosystems involving all actors of the value chain.
i24c is powered by the European Climate Foundation.
According to a new analysis by Agora Energiewende several records were broken in the German power system in 2015. Renewable energies delivered more power than any other power source previously: Every third kilowatt-hour (32.5 percent) consumed in Germany came from wind, solar, hydroelectric or biomass power plants. In the previous year, these sources provided only 27.3 percent of power needs. Also power production hit a new record high.
The ten key points of analysis on the state of energy transition in the electricity sector at a glance:
Renewable energy: 2015 was a year of superlatives. Wind energy saw record growth of 50 percent, renewables were by far the dominant energy source with a 30 percent share of production. They now cover 32.5 percent of power consumption.
Power usage: Electricity usage rose slightly in 2015 due to weather conditions compared to 2014, while the economy grew by 1.7 percent. However, the decoupling of power usage and growth is not happening fast enough: While the federal government’s energy concept envisions a decline in power usage of 10 percent by 2020 over 2008, usage was only down 3.4 percent in 2015.
Conventional energy: Nuclear and gas power plants produced somewhat less power than in the previous year, electricity from lignite and hard coal remained nearly constant. Because renewables are covering ever more of the domestic power needs, German coal power is being increasingly exported.
Climate protection: The CO2 balance of the power sector hardly changed compared to the previous year. Total greenhouse gas emissions in Germany even rose slightly and were 26 percent below those of 1990 in 2015. It is thus becoming more and more difficult for Germany to reach its 2020 climate targets.
Power exports: Power exports rose considerably in 2015. Physical power flows reached an all-time high at 50 terawatt-hours on balance. This was on balance around eight percent of all power production. Measured by trade flows, net exports amounted to around 61 tera- watt-hours, 50 percent more than in the previous year. The Netherlands, Austria and France are the main power importers from Germany. The reason: Germany has the second-lowest market power price in Europe after Scandinavia.
Power prices: Market power prices fell again in 2015. They were around 31.60 euros per megawatt-hour. On the futures market, prices decreased even further: In the second half of 2015, power for the years 2016 and 2017 traded at less than 30 euros per megawatt-hour.
Flexibility: There was a mixed picture of the flexibility of the power system in 2015. While the number of hours with negative power prices nearly doubled to around 126 (2014: 64 hours), the average negative power price sank to around nine euros per megawatt-hour (2014: minus 15.55 euros).
Record days: On 23 August, the share of renewables reached its highest level: Between 1pm and 2pm, 83.2 percent of all power demand were covered by renewables. The litmus test for the power system came on 20 March, during the partial eclipse of the sun: The power system dealt extremely well with the sharp fluctuations in nationwide solar power production.
Popular sentiment: A large majority of the population supports the energy transition: 90 percent of all citizens consider the Energiewende as “important” or “very important”. Solar (85 percent) and wind (77 percent) power are the most popular choices to be the main pillar of the energy system, while only 5 percent of the population favour nuclear and coal power.
Outlook 2016: In production, the share of nuclear energy will decline slightly, while renewables will continue to expand, due to the continued build-up in wind power plants. Despite the decline in market power prices, household power prices are likely to rise slightly due to higher levies and fees, nearing the 2014 level.
On November 25th, the ECF and partners including Renault, Michelin, Valeo and many others, launched a new report that aims to quantify the multiple economic and environmental benefits that accrue from a shift towards zero-emissions vehicles: En route pour un transport durable. The technical and macro-economic analysis focused on a mid-range scenario for deployment of low-carbon technologies in cars and vans, such as lightweight materials, hybridization, e-drive and hydrogen fuel cells.
The analysis showed that by 2030 this transition pathway could generate savings for French motorists of around €590 per year, more than offsetting the average technology cost within 3 years. At the national level, this would reduce overall spending on overseas oil imports by around €5.9 billion annually. The shift in spending away from imported fuels and towards domestically produced electricity and hydrogen, and the French automotive and infrastructure value chains, would lead to a mild increase in GDP and a net additional 66,000 jobs in France. CO2 from cars and vans would be cut by 40%, and health-damaging Nitrogen oxides and particulates would be down by 72% and 92% respectively.
The findings followed 6 months of discussion and analysis between the consultants and the expert working group, which comprised the following organisations: Automotive companies Renault, Michelin, Valeo, Saft and Eurobat; Energy and infrastructure companies Air Liquide, ERDF and ABB; materials organisations Lanxess, European Aluminium and Association Française de l’Aluminium; workers union CFDT-FGMM, and the foundations Nicolas Hulot and ECF.
Philippe Portier, Secretary General of the union CFDT, said : “From the perspective of workers’ representatives, this study demonstrates that low-carbon technologies are an opportunity to create new domestic jobs in all sectors relevant to the car industry. Current developments concerning testing of vehicles must not be used as an excuse to slow down the transition but should be an opportunity to train employees toprepare for these changes.”
Eighty people from industry and civil society, attended the conference at l’Atelier Renault on the Champs Elysees, where they were welcomed by the ECF’s Christoph Wolff, before being presented the findings of the study by Richard Lewney from Cambridge Econometrics. A panel debate on how automotive innovation can create jobs and provide clean air in France then got underway, bringing together Cécile Ostria (Fondation Nicolas Hulot), Eric Muret (ABB France), Philippe Portier (FGMM CFDT), Jean Philippe Hermine (Renault), Pierre-Etienne Franc (Air Liquide),Jean-Luc Di Paola-Galloni (Valeo), and Michel Derdevet (ERdF). This debate was moderated by the ECF’s Abrial Gilbert.
A ten-page summary of the report is available to download as a PDF here [French].
The full technical reportis available to download as a PDF here [English].
The Energy Union is a new European project aiming to leverage the power of concerted EU action to address new energy challenges. The project has a major potential to reduce the costs and risks of Europe’s long term energy transition in line with The ECF and European Commission Roadmap 2050 findings.
On November 18th, the European Commission published a report on the State of the EU Energy Union. This is the first in a new annual tradition from the European Commission to assess progress towards the stated objective of a resilient Energy Union with a forward-looking climate policy.
Two of the ECF’s closest partners, CISL (Cambridge Institute for Sustainable Leadership) and E3G (Third Generation Environmentalism) launched a new report that brings the perspective of progressive business and thought-leaders on progress so far and priorities for the next years. The report concludes that, if implemented, the EU Energy Union project is Europe’s chance to stay competitive and secure in a changing global energy landscape. Hence, the report gives a performance grade ‘A’ for the potential of the project. Realising that, however, relies on thorough implementation of the vision in the next years. The report finds that further action is needed on clarity of investment signals, on consistency of implementation, on integrating energy with finance and digital agendas, and in transitioning out of polluting and inefficient coal power. The organisations, therefore, find the Energy Union project currently achieves a Performance Grade ‘C’.
The full report can be downloaded here and the infographic here.
The paper looks at a number of scenarios from academia, industry and government. By examining the problem from a whole-system perspective the paper outlines what needs to be done if these low-carbon futures are to become a reality. Energy use is broken down into heat, transport and electricity, and the decisions that need to be made across the three areas to achieve the desired outcomes portrayed in the scenarios.
The paper highlights that at times decisions in different areas will be odds with each other, and the informed choices that must be made to narrow down the range of options. There are also recommendations on cost effective regulations that can promote the necessary shifts without appearing too top-down or causing a political backlash. The final outcome is a list of 17 decisions that the team believes need to be made by urgently.
The paper was funded by ECF and will be launched in the House of Commons in December 2015.”
The European Council for an Energy Efficient Economy, eceee, commissioned respected economic consultancy Ecofys to carry out a review of recent literature concerning the European Commission’s use of discount rates in energy system modelling. The report summarises much of that work, and in so doing demonstrates the strong influence that choice of discount rates has on policy design. It also brings evidence of which rates Member States use for individual investment decisions in their own modelling, and gives an account of developments in the Commission’s approach. The report provides a balanced, objective overview of recent expert work in this area and adds up to a compelling case for using lower rates for the important impact assessments that will be carried out in 2016. Arguably this is a prerequisite for both greater transparency in policy-making, and proper application of the “Energy Efficiency First” principle.
The paper was commissioned by the European Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (eceee) with co-funding from ECF. It was presented in the European Parliament in October 2015, at a hearing hosted by MEP Anneleen van Bossuyt, entitled Better regulation. Better impact assessments.”
Study lends scientific support to calls for more ambitious climate action.
PARIS – With an important United Nations climate change meeting approaching later this year in Paris, a new study from an international research consortium argues that deeply reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions is technically and economically feasible in the world’s largest economies and major developing countries. The report from the Deep Decarbonisation Pathways Project (DDPP), a collaboration among research teams from 16 of the highest emitting countries, lends scientific support to calls for more action to prevent dangerous climate change in the run-up to the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP-21) of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change this December.
The study includes reports on each of the countries represented by DDPP research teams – Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, South Africa, South Korea, the United Kingdom and the United States – describing country-specific strategies for transitioning to a low carbon economy.
The project is co-funded by the European Climate Foundation.
The report “Streamlining planning and reporting requirements in the EU Energy Union framework“ was produced by Ecologic with funding from the European Climate Foundation.
Takes stock of the existing planning and reporting regime in the Energy Union field up to 2020 in order to identify overlaps and gaps, and
Assesses strengths and weaknesses of four streamlining options based on criteria derived from overarching principles of good governance and from the expectations that member states and EU institutions have formulated for the new 2030 energy governance.
The study’s empirical foundation is an analysis of gaps, overlaps and inconsistencies in the existing planning and reporting regime.
Europe has a significant untapped potential for converting wastes from farming, forestry, industry and households to advanced low-carbon biofuels, but only if it sets a strong sustainability framework and ambitious decarbonisation targets for transport fuels in 2030, finds a new report entitled “Wasted: Europe’s Untapped Resource.”
The project, supported by a coalition of technology innovators and green NGOs, was convened by the ECF. The study found that if all sustainable waste from farms, forests, households and industry were used for transport fuels, there could be sufficient fuel to displace about 37 million tonnes of oil annually by 2030. To put this in context, this technical potential would be equal to 16 per cent of road transport fuel demand in 2030.
“Even when taking account of possible indirect emissions, alternative fuels from wastes and residues offer real and substantial carbon savings,” said Chris Malins who led the analysis for the International Council on Clean Transportation. “The resource is available, and the technology exists – the challenge now is for Europe to put a policy framework in place that allows rapid investment.”
The European Council has called on the European Commission to present initiatives before the end of the year on the governance of EU climate and energy policies after 2020. This is a unique opportunity to improve the current policy framework, provided that the EU institutions are ambitious enough to take up the challenge.
E3G, WWF and ClientEarth provide “Four Key Messages for the Governance of European Climate and Energy Policies after 2020″ with support from the European Climate Foundation:
Getting the governance arrangements right is critical;
Governance reform should reinforce the 2020 acquis;
Post-2020 governance must strengthen the EU’s conformity with the Commission’s core principles of good governance; and
The door should be open for wider institutional and procedural innovation.