Energy efficiency rate has to double to meet climate targets

photo Portland General Electric

The annual improvement in energy efficiency has slowed down from 1.6% in the period 2000-2008 to 1.3% in 2009-2015, according to a comprehensive new report published by the World Energy Council and the French public agency ADEME. To meet the Paris climate targets, the rate should double to 2.5% per year to 2030, says  François Moisan, Scientific Director of ADEME. According to Moisan, price signals are key to achieving this goal, although … [Read more...]

How utilities can deal with the threat of community energy

Solar settlement in Freiburg, Germany

Community energy is the next big threat to utility companies – unless they manage to become part of this emerging energy economy. They still have a window of opportunity, says Craig Cavanaugh of software services company Omnetric Group, who spent six months researching the energy community market in Europe and the US. He sees three main opportunities for utilities: they can become “collaborative partner”, “community energy service provider” or … [Read more...]

US energy Independence Day dawns

Barry Worthington

The most significant US energy policy update in a decade, the Energy Policy Modernization Act 2016, will be introduced into the new Congress in January 2017. With provisions for accelerated permitting for oil and gas drilling, construction of export LNG terminals, as well as energy efficiency standards and grid-integration of renewables, the outlook for US energy security is bright, according to Barry Worthington, Executive Director of the US … [Read more...]

Mind the gap: how fuel economy standards will drive uptake of electric vehicles

Tesla car show room in Edinburgh Scotland photo Judy Dean slider

Electric vehicles represent one of the most promising technologies for reducing oil use and cutting emissions. A new study on e-mobility from the World Energy Council looks at fuel economy targets in the world’s biggest car markets – the EU, US and China – and identifies ways for increasing the numbers of electric vehicles in order to close the emissions gap and meet fuel economy standards. Policymakers, utilities, consumers and vehicle … [Read more...]

Energy Union as “energy democracy”

Maros Šefčovič  presents Energy Union Communication on 18 November (photo Europe by Satellite)

Citizens are at the core of the EU’s most ambitious energy strategy to date, the Energy Union, according to the European Commission. But how exactly could they get involved? Since 2012 social scientists with the R&Dialogue project have been working on processes to engage citizens, NGOs and industry in the energy transition. Their conclusion: citizens and companies should cooperate in participatory, ‘democratic’ structures to create a … [Read more...]

Standardising energy efficiency: US initiative aims to transform European market

Steven Fawkes (photo David Thorpe)

Energy efficiency remains one of the most intractable transition challenges. There are now finally plenty of funds available, yet progress remains slow. To overcome the last hurdles, major new initiatves have started up aiming to standardise energy efficiency processes to make it easier to invest in them. One of these is the Investor Confidence Project (ECP), originated by the Environmental Defense Fund. Goal: to turn energy efficiency projects … [Read more...]

EU turns up the heat: finally, a policy push for heating and cooling (half our energy use)  

Transport of a heat storage tank for use in a district heating system fed by a waste incinerator in Duiven, the Netherlands, operated by Nuon (photo: Nuon-Jorrit Lousberg)

Heating and cooling accounts for almost half of primary energy consumption in Europe, yet it has been largely ignored in the EU’s climate and energy policies. This is now starting to change. At the end of this year, member states in the EU must submit an assessment of the low-carbon potential provided by co-generation and district heating systems. Clare Taylor looks at some of the EU-funded district heating and co-generation projects that are … [Read more...]