EU energy policy

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...]

The End of the Energiewende?

Energiewende demonstration in 2014 (photo Bundjugend)

The prominent German economist Heiner Flassbeck has challenged fundamental assumptions of the Energiewende at his blog site makroskop.eu. According to Flassbeck, the former Director of Macroeconomics and Development at the UNCTAD in Geneva and a former State Secretary of Finance, a recent period of extremely low solar and wind power generation shows that Germany will never be able to rely on renewable energy, regardless of  how much new capacity … [Read more...]

How to boost CO2 prices in the European carbon market

photo Daniel Patman

If the EU is serious about raising the carbon price in the EU Emission Trading System (ETS), the best option for the short term is to strengthen the Market Stability Reserve by increasing the amount of “surplus allowances” taken out of the system, according to Hæge Fjellheim, Head of carbon analysis  at Thomson Reuters Point Carbon. Fjellheim discusses progress on the ETS reform in light of the recent vote in the European Parliament’s Environment … [Read more...]

“Negative emissions”: the next challenge for climate policy

forest in Italy (photo Moyan Brenn)

If the Paris climate objectives are upheld, policymakers will soon be facing calls to set emission-reduction targets of much more than 100 percent, write Oliver Geden of the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP) in Berlin and Stefan Schäfer of the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS) in Potsdam. But the debate about how to achieve “negative emissions” – and who will have to achieve them – has not even … [Read more...]

A rush to subsidies as power plants in Europe face existential threat

Abengoa solar power plant in Spain (photo Wim Hertog)

So-called capacity markets are driving what appears to be a major new trend in energy policy across Europe: more public subsidies for electric utilities, writes independent consultant Gerard Wynn. In a new report for the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA), Wynn takes a critical look at capacity payments in Spain, which cost taxpayers €1 billion annually. Meanwhile, the UK just forked out £1.2 billion in a capacity … [Read more...]

How Europe can deliver on energy efficiency

EU energy labels for home appliances (photo Europe by Satellite)

The European Commission’s recently released Clean Energy Package, has a 2030 target of 30% energy savings. An important policy instrument to deliver these are Energy Efficiency Obligation (EEO) schemes. According to new research from the Regulatory Assistance Project (RAP), not only are EEOs a highly cost-effective way to deliver energy efficiency, over the long term they can deliver consumer savings worth more than 4 times the costs of meeting … [Read more...]

Time to give the chop to fracking: Fraxit now!

First US shale gas arrives at Ineos plant in Scotland September 2016

On Tuesday the US Environmental Protection Agency released a definitive study concluding that hydraulic fracturing can impact drinking water at each stage in the shale gas production process. Do we really want to see 16,000 or more shale gas wells drilled in the British countryside carrying the same and other risks, ask professors Peter Strachan and Alex Russell?  They assess the case for fracking in the UK against six "stress tests" and conclude … [Read more...]