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News Article | May 10, 2017
Site: www.prnewswire.com

"Akamai has been seeing a strong trend with customers that value and demand clean-powered, decarbonized services from their supply chains," said Jim Benson, Akamai EVP and CFO. "This project is one of several in which Akamai plans to invest to reach our 50 percent goal. Only recently have companies like Akamai with small, distributed loads, relative to big buyers like Apple, Google and Amazon, been able to make a meaningful impact on decarbonizing operations that go beyond purchasing unbundled renewable energy credits. We believe our innovative procurement strategy can be a model for others, and we're excited to help lead the way." "Corporate buyers have become a very important market for the growth of utility-scale renewable energy deployment, having overtaken electric utilities in gigawatts purchased in 2015," said Matt Langley, VP of Finance and Origination at Infinity Renewables. "We predict that minor energy off-takers, like Akamai, represent the next big wave of corporate buyers, and we are eager to partner with them." "Mid-market corporate buyers like Akamai represent a huge opportunity to significantly expand private procurement of renewable energy," said Lily Donge, Principal at Business Renewables Center (BRC), Rocky Mountain Institute. "As an early mover, Akamai is leading the way for other organizations to invest in renewables and demonstrating the value of BRC's mission to make that process as easy as possible through best practices, guides and educational programs and convenings." Greenpeace ranked Akamai in the top 20 percent of CDN and data center providers in its recent "Clicking Clean" report for action on energy efficiency, renewable energy and advocacy efforts. In addition to Akamai's renewable energy goal, Greenpeace recognized that the Company's "distributed business model and relationships with data center operators around the world put it in a unique position to be a catalyst for a renewably powered Internet." About Akamai As the world's largest and most trusted cloud delivery platform, Akamai makes it easier for its customers to provide the best and most secure digital experiences on any device, anytime, anywhere. Akamai's massively distributed platform is unparalleled in scale with over 200,000 servers across 130 countries, giving customers superior performance and threat protection. Akamai's portfolio of web and mobile performance, cloud security, enterprise access, and video delivery solutions are supported by exceptional customer service and 24/7 monitoring. To learn why the top financial institutions, e-commerce leaders, media & entertainment providers, and government organizations trust Akamai please visit www.akamai.com, blogs.akamai.com, or @Akamai on Twitter. Akamai Statement Under the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act This release contains information about future expectations, plans and prospects of Akamai's management that constitute forward-looking statements for purposes of the safe harbor provisions under The Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995,  including statements about future energy-related investments. Actual results may differ materially from those indicated by these forward-looking statements as a result of various important factors including, but not limited to, inability to complete planned investments, unexpected increase in future energy usage, and other factors that are discussed in Akamai's Annual Report on Form 10-K, quarterly reports on Form 10-Q, and other documents periodically filed with the SEC. To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/akamai-focuses-on-clean-powered-internet-with-wind-farm-investment-300454443.html


News Article | September 26, 2016
Site: www.rechargenews.com

A report, entitled The Potential for Energy Citizens in the European Union, was produced by the environmental research institute CE Delft for the European Renewable Energy Federation, Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace and REScoop.eu. The research shows that 264 million EU 'energy citizens' could potentially generate around 45% of the EU’s total electricity demand by 2050. However, EU residents face significant legal obstacles to producing their own power. The report says throughout the EU there are explicit legal restrictions, disproportionate administrative and planning procedures and punitive tariffs that prevent people from driving a renewable energy transition. "This shows that people have the power to revolutionise Europe’s energy system, reclaiming power from big energy companies, and putting the planet first,” says Molly Walsh, community power campaigner for Friends of the Earth. "We need to enshrine the right for people to produce their own renewable energy in European and national legislation.” The organisations are calling for a framework to protect, support and promote energy citizens to be put at the core of the EC’s new renewables directive and market design initiative. They say the research is in line with EC president Jean-Claude Juncker’s wish for "the EU to become the world number one in renewable energies" and with the EC’s vision of "an Energy Union with citizens at its core".


News Article | December 11, 2016
Site: www.theenergycollective.com

The literature on EU energy regulations got longer by about a thousand pages [on 30 November], as the European Commission put forward its vision for achieving a “clean energy transition”, writes Sophie Yeo for Carbon Brief. The vast collection of documents — including revisions to directives, impact assessments, enquiries and new regulations — will determine the future of energy in the EU up to 2030. It touches upon subjects including coal subsidies, bio energy, grid access and rights for individual energy producers. Original post. Republished from Carbon Brief under Creative Commons licence. Referred to as the EU’s “winter package”, the new rules will partly determine how successfully the EU meets its 2030 climate objectives, as well as setting out a common energy system for the EU’s 28 member states, known as the  Energy Union. Jonathan Gaventa, a director of the thinktank E3G, tells Carbon Brief: “This is the main legislative vehicle for the energy side of the energy union. There have been a few pieces of legislation on climate and gas security, but the bulk of energy measures are essentially coming out at the same time, in one big go. And that [is] nearly all the legislation that gets published by the Commission.” The proposed legislation will have to be approved by the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers before it becomes official, which means that it is unlikely to remain in its current form. The package will probably not be adopted before 2018/19, meaning it is unclear whether the UK will end up writing these rules into its own law, in light of the decision to leave the EU. The EU package changes the rules on what types of energy should be given priority (“dispatched”) in the grid. The decision about what sources of power are prioritised is based partly, but not only, upon the price of the electricity being produced, to ensure that consumers are getting the cheapest option on the market. Renewable s had a distinct advantage under the  Renewable Energy Directive adopted in 2009, as they were given priority over fossil fuel generators, as a means of keeping carbon emissions low and ensuring a market for renewable power. This advantage is revoked in the proposed legislation released this week. Now, with a few exceptions, renewable power will be treated in the same way as fossil fuel power when it comes to the order in which it is dispatched to the grid. The exceptions include renewable energy installations with a capacity of less than 500kW (a threshold that shrinks to 250kW from 2026), demonstration projects for innovative technologies, and existing installations (unless they are modified or expanded). The EU says that this will ensure a “level playing field for all technologies without jeopardising our climate and energy targets” — and, indeed, with low or non-existent cost of actually generating wind and solar power, renewable plants should end up dispatching to the grid first regardless of the legislation. But NGOs are incensed about the change. According to an EU impact assessment seen by the Guardian, it could increase carbon emissions by up to 10%. Jean-François Fauconnier, renewables policy coordinator at Climate Action Network Europe, said: “The Commission deserves severe criticism for proposing to undermine market access for renewable energy. The proposals do not reflect the increasing economic benefits of renewable energy and citizens’ desire to participate in the market. The Commission chose to propose a very weak set of rules to appease backward looking member states, and harmful and outdated fossil fuel industries.” There are concerns that abandoning the principle of priority dispatch could start to cause problems in times of overcapacity — if the grid is too congested, then the flexibility of renewables means that they could be the first to be curtailed. Capacity mechanisms are a method of ensuring a constant supply of electricity, in an age when generation is becoming less predictable because of the higher penetration of renewables into the grid. They typically offer payments to generators on top of the money they earn from selling their electricity in exchange for maintaining existing capacity. Payments to keep coal capacity online can be seen as a subsidy for some of the polluting plants from which the EU is working to distance itself. Many European nations have chosen to implement them, but their methods so far lack uniformity. “Like mushrooms, they just kind of spring up across Europe in an unpredictable fashion,” E3G’s Gaventa told Carbon Brief. Extract of new EU regulations, setting out the new design for capacity mechanisms. Source: Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the internal market for electricity As part of its winter package, the EU has issued both the result of its enquiry into capacity mechanisms and a new set of design principles for countries that want to use them. Under the new rules for capacity mechanisms, member states must consult on its proposed mechanism “at least with its electrically connected neighbouring member states”, the legislation says, adding that states may not add more capacity than is necessary to address their concerns over security of supply. This will help to create more coherence across the 28-state bloc. But, perhaps most importantly, the new rules impose an emissions limit on what can receive payments under capacity mechanisms. New capacity is only eligible if it emits less than 550 grams of CO2 per kilowatt hour (CO2/kWh), although existing plants are initially exempt from this rule. This all but rules out new coal plants from getting paid through capacity mechanisms. Five years after the regulation has entered into force, this limit applies to all plants given capacity payments. Maroš Šefčovič, vice-president of the Commission and in charge of the Energy Union, highlighted the “high environmental standards” of the new capacity mechanism arrangements. However, NGOs pointed out that it left loopholes for subsidising existing coal plants. According to Greenpeace, at least 95% of coal power plants would be eligible to receive capacity payments until 2026 under the Commission’s proposals. The Energy Union operates under the principle of “energy efficiency first” — but the target has long been the subject of conflict. “The cheapest energy, the cleanest energy, the most secure energy is the energy that is not used at all,” says the proposal. In 2014, the European Council agreed a 27% energy efficiency target by 2030, with a review before 2020. Today’s proposal increases this target to 30%. The proposal says that member states should continue with the previous pathway of achieving the overall target through incremental improvements of 1.5% per year. This would be sufficient, the document says, to take the EU to — but not beyond — the 30% objective. According to the impact assessment, the 30% target will lead to a €9bn increase in energy system costs compared to the 27% target. However, it’ll make this back in the long run, as the same amount would be saved as a result of the higher target between 2021 and 2050. For many, the 30% target is still not enough. The European Parliament has called for40% energy efficiency target by 2030, saying this this would result in net savings of €239bn per year on energy bills. Some businesses, including Philips Lighting and Siemens, have also called for a higher target. The board of directors of the European Alliance to Save Energy  expressed disappointment at the new target. It said: “We have showcased energy efficiency as a success story,the business opportunity behind energy efficiency has been acknowledged, but by setting the target at 30%, the European Commission has fallen short from unleashing the full potential of energy efficiency and the related benefits to consumers. The proposed target will not sufficiently push the EU beyond business-as-usual, but will maintain the current speed and rate of investments.” Bioenergy is a complicated and heated subject within the EU. By 2020, bioenergy is expected to contribute 57% of the EU’s total renewable energy, but there are serious questions about whether this is a truly sustainable alternative to fossil fuels. The revised legislation proposal introduces new sustainability criteria for bioenergy production, including new rules aimed at ensuring forests are harvested sustainably and conservation areas are protected. It also establishes new thresholds for the amount of greenhouse gas emissions that must be saved by switching to biofuels. But NGOs have accused the EU of “greenwashing” its existing policies and giving a boost to bio energy. Sini Eräjää, policy officer at EU Bio energy,  wrote in a blog post: “In order to (supposedly) guarantee the ‘sustainability’ of biomass from forests, the Commission is proposing to only require that (i) the country of origin has some very basic forestry legislation and (ii) there is some form of accounting framework for land sector emissions (LULUCF) in place. In practice, these very lax requirements would not impose any new legal restrictions on any European country or, indeed, the majority of countries already exporting forest biomass to the EU (notably, Russia and the US).” The proposed revision to the renewable energy directive also allows individuals and communities to generate their own energy, where previously individual nations had been able to restrict the right to self-produce. Individuals can also feed any excess energy they produce back into the grid and be paid for it at market value. However, the amount of renewable capacity that can be installed is capped at 18MW per community, which could limit the ability of renewable cooperatives to take part in the EU energy market. While the EU has set region-wide targets for 2030, there are no targets for individual member states for renewable energy or efficiency. The EU has proposed new governance regulations to ensure that the bloc hits its targets anyway. If it looks like the EU is offtrack for its emissions, renewables or efficiency targets, then the Commission will be able to issue recommendations to member states to ensure targets will be met. Examples of actions that could be taken include financial contributions by member states that could be used to support new renewable energy projects across the union. This article was first published by Carbon Brief and is republished here under a Creative Commons license.


News Article | December 6, 2016
Site: news.yahoo.com

Google will power 100 percent of its sprawling data centers and offices with renewable energy starting next year. The tech giant on Tuesday said it had bought enough wind and solar power to account for all the electricity it uses globally each year. That means the servers handling your Google Maps requests, storing your backlog of unread Gmails and holding the work of aspiring YouTube stars will use only emissions-free energy. Last year, just 44 percent of Google's power supplies came from renewables, the company said. SEE ALSO: Apple aims to clean up its supply chain with new renewable energy goals "It's been a long road here, but we're excited that we finally reached it," Neha Palmer, Google's head of energy strategy for its global infrastructure division, told Mashable. Google's announcement arrives at an uncertain time in the clean energy sector. President-elect Donald Trump — the only climate-change denying global leader — has vowed to scrap rules for curbing greenhouse gas emissions and instead accelerate fossil fuel production. He's expressed no small amount of disdain for wind farms. If the future Trump administration lags on environmental progress, companies will likely play an even greater role in growing the U.S. clean energy market, said Nathan Serota, a senior analyst at Bloomberg New Energy Finance in New York. "A Trump presidency could actually wind up causing corporations to pick up the slack, and to fill the leadership vacuum on renewable energy that's being left in the federal government," he said. Businesses will also need to become more vocal advocates of policies that make it easier or cheaper to build wind, solar and other cleaner projects, said Gary Cook, an IT sector analyst for the environmental group Greenpeace. "Corporate leadership has been critical in driving a lot of the renewable energy investment," Cook said. "It could be even more important in the coming years and months with much less leadership, and more hostility, from the federal government." Google, for its part, said it has no plans to change its clean-energy approach under Trump. "We will continue to run our business in an environmentally responsible way," Palmer said. "We'll hold to our values, which includes obviously continuing to procure renewable energy. " Tech companies in particular are buying more renewable power for two key reasons. First, it benefits their bottom lines. The price of solar energy in the U.S. has plunged 80 percent since 2012, while the price of wind power has tumbled 60 percent, thanks to improving technology and design, lower financing costs and less regulatory red tape. Solar and wind power is increasingly competitive with conventional sources like natural gas or coal. When companies buy power from a wind or solar project, they often sign long-term agreements with the projects' developers. The contracts set a fixed price for the electricity over 10 or 20 years, which allows companies to manage their future expenses and ideally save money in the end. Google signed the country's first corporate renewables deal in 2010, with a contract to buy 114 megawatts of electricity from a wind farm in Iowa.  Since then, Google has signed agreements for 17 more wind farms and two solar projects in six U.S. states and six countries.  Together, the 20 projects can produce 2,600 megawatts of clean electricity — enough to power all of Google's direct operations worldwide. The power doesn't account for indirect electricity demand from its third-party manufacturing partners. The second reason for the clean energy push? Corporate sustainability goals. As the digital economy expands, digital companies are building more energy-guzzling data centers around the world. Businesses are now facing increasing pressure from their customers and environmental groups to meet that rising energy demand with renewables, rather than higher-emissions coal and natural gas.  Tech companies alone now account for about two-thirds of all corporate renewables deals signed since 2010, or about 4,700 out of 7,000 megawatts under contract, according to a tracker compiled by the Rocky Mountain Institute, an environmental think tank. "The IT sector has been leading the charge among corporations to purchase renewable energy to power their rapid growth," said Cook from Greenpeace.  Cook is the lead author of the group's annual "Click Clean" report, which ranks major internet companies on their environmental performance. In the 2015 report, Google was listed as a "green internet innovator" while Amazon Web Services was considered "middle of the road" and Oracle was considered stuck in the "dirty energy past." "Given the growth of the sector, there's still a lot to do," Cook said. "Some companies are still lagging, in terms of really matching up their growth with an equivalent amount of renewable energy supply." Social media giant Facebook scored well in the last Greenpeace report after making "radical improvements in transparency" and encouraging Iowa utilities to invest billions of dollars in new wind farms by building a Facebook data center in the state.   Two other Facebook data centers — in Clonee, Ireland and Los Lunas, New Mexico — will be powered entirely by clean energy when completed, a spokesperson noted in an email. Apple, one of Google's top competitors, has also made sizable progress on clean energy.   The California tech company in September said it would partner with its far-flung manufacturers to reduce carbon emissions from factories — a major component of Apple's carbon footprint. Apple already powers nearly all its data centers, offices and retail stores worldwide with renewables.   In August, Apple won U.S. federal approval to start selling clean electricity, just as Google did in 2010. Microsoft this fall announced a new goal to get 50 percent of its data centers' power from clean energy sources by 2018, and 60 percent renewables by the early 2020s. At Salesforce, the goal is 100 percent renewables for the firm's global operations. To that end, the cloud computing company signed two major agreements last year with wind farms in Texas and West Virginia. "Looking forward, corporations have the opportunity and the responsibility to play a major role in transforming our energy systems so they are reliable, safe and clean," Suzanne DiBianca, Salesforce's chief philanthropy officer, said in an email. Google's own efforts to buy wind and solar power could make it easier for more companies, tech or otherwise, to follow suit, Palmer said. For instance, Google recently worked with Duke Energy in North Carolina to build a 61-megawatt solar project that will power Google's new data center in the state. As part of the deal, other companies in the area can purchase power from the project, with no added cost for ratepayers. "We're hoping that the increased demand will actually push the market to become more innovative, and we'll see new technologies, we'll see new ways to integrate renewable energy as a result," Palmer said.


News Article | January 7, 2016
Site: cleantechnica.com

Getting to 100% renewable energy in the US by 2050 is a goal that is gaining traction among the US public. Reports from many environmental organizations have been written on how to get to this target, including from Greenpeace and the World Wildlife Foundation. After last year’s COP21 conference, the momentum has gotten stronger in order to keep global temperature within the 1.5°C threshold to avoid dramatic climatic change on the Earth. Now, another massive report suggests a framework on how the US can get to 100% renewable energy sources by 2050. A paper titled 100% Clean and Renewable Wind, Water and Sunlight all-sector Roadmaps for the 50 United States suggests this is possible even within 35 years. This analysis shows that getting to 100% renewable energy within the US would consist of: Under a 100% renewable scenario based on these numbers, millions of jobs would be created. Consider that 3.9 million construction jobs and 2 million operational jobs at renewable energy plants would outpace 3.9 million jobs lost from the traditional energy sectors. To further enhance these numbers, The Solutions Project website shows what each jurisdiction needs to do to get to 100%. For example, Minnesota could get 60% of its total energy from onshore wind (and note that this is all energy, not just electricity, but relies on electrification of transport). California, on the other hand, can get 26.5% from solar PV plants and 25% from onshore wind. The numbers are primarily based on existing, commercially available technology. There is some potential to increase energy from “newer renewables” if they develop to a mature, cost-competitive scale. While tidal and wave energy make up a small fraction of the suggested renewable energy mix, for example, both have a lot to gain if they make further breakthroughs and cost improvements. Military giant Lockheed Martin is investing in wave and tidal energy. It seeks to capitalize on these new markets, as both the US tidal and wave energy markets are projected to reach $10.1 billion by 2020. On the other end, future challenges could face hydroelectricity. A recent article from CBC discussed how a new Nature report points to how power plant production (including hydro) could see declines by 66.7% globally by 2040 & 2069, due (of course) to a changing climate. Nonetheless, this report and the tidy website give a roadmap and discussion for how the US can get to 100% renewables by 2050.    Get CleanTechnica’s 1st (completely free) electric car report → “Electric Cars: What Early Adopters & First Followers Want.”   Come attend CleanTechnica’s 1st “Cleantech Revolution Tour” event → in Berlin, Germany, April 9–10.   Keep up to date with all the hottest cleantech news by subscribing to our (free) cleantech newsletter, or keep an eye on sector-specific news by getting our (also free) solar energy newsletter, electric vehicle newsletter, or wind energy newsletter.  


News Article | December 6, 2016
Site: phys.org

The internet company believes that beginning next year, it will have amassed enough renewable energy to meet all of its electricity needs throughout the world. That's significant, given Google's ravenous appetite for electricity to power its offices and the huge data centers that process requests on its dominant search engine, store Gmail, YouTube video clips and photos for more than a billion people. Google says its 13 data centers and offices consume about 5.7 terawatt hours of electricity annually—nearly the same amount as San Francisco, where more than 800,000 people live and tens of thousands of others come to work and visit. The accomplishment announced Tuesday doesn't mean Google will be able to power its operations solely on wind and solar power. That's not possible because of the complicated way that power grids and regulations are set up around the U.S. and the rest of the world. Google instead believes it is now in a position to offset every megawatt hour of electricity supplied by a power plant running on fossil fuels with renewable energy that the Mountain View, California, company has purchased through a variety of contracts. About 95 percent of Google's renewable energy deals come from wind power farms, with the remainder from solar power. Nearly 20 other technology companies also have pledged to secure enough renewable energy to power their worldwide operations, said Gary Cook, senior energy campaigner for the environmental group Greenpeace. Google made its commitment four years ago and appears to be the first big company to have fulfilled the promise. Apple is getting close to matching its rival. The iPhone maker says it has secured enough renewable energy to power about 93 percent of its worldwide operations. Apple is also trying to convert more of the overseas suppliers that manufacture the iPhone and other devices to renewable energy sources, but that goal is expected take years to reach. Cook said the symbolic message sent by Google's achievement is important to environmental experts who believe electricity generated with coal and natural gas is causing damage that is contributing to extreme swings in the climate. U.S. President-elect Donald Trump dismissed the need for climate control during his campaign for office, and he has pledged to undo a number of regulations to protect the environment. "More than ever, companies must show this sort of leadership on renewable energy," Cook said Tuesday. "Now is not the time to be silent." Google still hopes to work with power utilities and regulators around the world to make it possible for all of its renewable energy to be directly piped into its offices and data centers around the clock. For now, Google sells its supply of renewable energy to other electricity grids whenever it isn't possible for its own operations to use the power. Google Inc. declined to disclose how much it has spent on its stockpile of renewable energy or the size of its annual electricity bill. Explore further: Google ups ante, nearly doubles bet on renewable energy


News Article | September 17, 2016
Site: www.topix.com

The idea was discussed during the forum on Negros Clean Energy held at the Sangguniang Panlungsod session hall here Thursday. Reuben Muni, climate and energy campaigner of Greenpeace, said the NIR still has more opportunities in continuing the solar revolution by maximizing the use of solar rooftops.


News Article | December 8, 2016
Site: cleantechnica.com

The literature on EU energy regulations got longer by about a thousand pages yesterday, as the European Commission put forward its vision for achieving a “clean energy transition”. The vast collection of documents — including revisions to directives, impact assessments, enquiries and new regulations — will determine the future of energy in the EU up to 2030. It touches upon subjects including coal subsidies, bio energy, grid access and rights for individual energy producers. Referred to as the EU’s “winter package”, the new rules will partly determine how successfully the EU meets its 2030 climate objectives, as well as setting out a common energy system for the EU’s 28 member states, known as the Energy Union. Jonathan Gaventa, a director of the thinktank E3G, tells Carbon Brief: “This is the main legislative vehicle for the energy side of the energy union. There have been a few pieces of legislation on climate and gas security, but the bulk of energy measures are essentially coming out at the same time, in one big go. And that [is] nearly all the legislation that gets published by the Commission.” The proposed legislation will have to be approved by the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers before it becomes official, which means that it is unlikely to remain in its current form. The package will probably not be adopted before 2018/19, meaning it is unclear whether the UK will end up writing these rules into its own law, in light of the decision to leave the EU. The EU package changes the rules on what types of energy should be given priority (“dispatched”) in the grid. The decision about what sources of power are prioritised is based partly, but not only, upon the price of the electricity being produced, to ensure that consumers are getting the cheapest option on the market. Renewable s had a distinct advantage under the Renewable Energy Directive adopted in 2009, as they were given priority over fossil fuel generators, as a means of keeping carbon emissions low and ensuring a market for renewable power. This advantage is revoked in the proposed legislation released this week. Now, with a few exceptions, renewable power will be treated in the same way as fossil fuel power when it comes to the order in which it is dispatched to the grid. The exceptions include renewable energy installations with a capacity of less than 500kW (a threshold that shrinks to 250kW from 2026), demonstration projects for innovative technologies, and existing installations (unless they are modified or expanded). The EU says that this will ensure a “level playing field for all technologies without jeopardising our climate and energy targets” — and, indeed, with low or non-existent cost of actually generating wind and solar power, renewable plants should end up dispatching to the grid first regardless of the legislation. But NGOs are incensed about the change. According to an EU impact assessment seen by the Guardian, it could increase carbon emissions by up to 10%. “The Commission deserves severe criticism for proposing to undermine market access for renewable energy. The proposals do not reflect the increasing economic benefits of renewable energy and citizens’ desire to participate in the market. The Commission chose to propose a very weak set of rules to appease backward looking member states, and harmful and outdated fossil fuel industries.” There are concerns that abandoning the principle of priority dispatch could start to cause problems in times of overcapacity — if the grid is too congested, then the flexibility of renewables means that they could be the first to be curtailed. Capacity mechanisms are a method of ensuring a constant supply of electricity, in an age when generation is becoming less predictable because of the higher penetration of renewables into the grid. They typically offer payments to generators on top of the money they earn from selling their electricity in exchange for maintaining existing capacity. Payments to keep coal capacity online can be seen as a subsidy for some of the polluting plants from which the EU is working to distance itself. Many European nations have chosen to implement them, but their methods so far lack uniformity. “Like mushrooms, they just kind of spring up across Europe in an unpredictable fashion,” E3G’s Gaventa told Carbon Brief. As part of its winter package, the EU has issued both the result of its enquiry into capacity mechanisms and a new set of design principles for countries that want to use them. Under the new rules for capacity mechanisms, member states must consult on its proposed mechanism “at least with its electrically connected neighbouring member states”, the legislation says, adding that states may not add more capacity than is necessary to address their concerns over security of supply. This will help to create more coherence across the 28-state bloc. But, perhaps most importantly, the new rules impose an emissions limit on what can receive payments under capacity mechanisms. New capacity is only eligible if it emits less than 550 grams of CO2 per kilowatt hour (CO2/kWh), although existing plants are initially exempt from this rule. This all but rules out new coal plants from getting paid through capacity mechanisms. Five years after the regulation has entered into force, this limit applies to all plants given capacity payments. Maroš Šefčovič, vice-president of the Commission and in charge of the Energy Union, highlighted the “high environmental standards” of the new capacity mechanism arrangements. However, NGOs pointed out that it left loopholes for subsidising existing coal plants. According to Greenpeace, at least 95% of coal power plants would be eligible to receive capacity payments until 2026 under the Commission’s proposals. The Energy Union operates under the principle of “energy efficiency first” — but the target has long been the subject of conflict. “The cheapest energy, the cleanest energy, the most secure energy is the energy that is not used at all,” says the proposal. In 2014, the European Council agreed a 27% energy efficiency target by 2030, with a review before 2020. Today’s proposal increases this target to 30%. The proposal says that member states should continue with the previous pathway of achieving the overall target through incremental improvements of 1.5% per year. This would be sufficient, the document says, to take the EU to — but not beyond — the 30% objective. According to the impact assessment, the 30% target will lead to a €9bn increase in energy system costs compared to the 27% target. However, it’ll make this back in the long run, as the same amount would be saved as a result of the higher target between 2021 and 2050. For many, the 30% target is still not enough. The European Parliament has called for 40% energy efficiency target by 2030, saying this this would result in net savings of €239bn per year on energy bills. Some businesses, including Philips Lighting and Siemens, have also called for a higher target. The board of directors of the European Alliance to Save Energy expressed disappointment at the new target. It said: “We have showcased energy efficiency as a success story,the business opportunity behind energy efficiency has been acknowledged, but by setting the target at 30%, the European Commission has fallen short from unleashing the full potential of energy efficiency and the related benefits to consumers. The proposed target will not sufficiently push the EU beyond business-as-usual, but will maintain the current speed and rate of investments.” Bioenergy is a complicated and heated subject within the EU. By 2020, bioenergy is expected to contribute 57% of the EU’s total renewable energy, but there are serious questions about whether this is a truly sustainable alternative to fossil fuels. The revised legislation proposal introduces new sustainability criteria for bioenergy production, including new rules aimed at ensuring forests are harvested sustainably and conservation areas are protected. It also establishes new thresholds for the amount of greenhouse gas emissions that must be saved by switching to biofuels. But NGOs have accused the EU of “greenwashing” its existing policies and giving a boost to bio energy. Sini Eräjää, policy officer at EU Bio energy, wrote in a blog post: “In order to (supposedly) guarantee the ‘sustainability’ of biomass from forests, the Commission is proposing to only require that (i) the country of origin has some very basic forestry legislation and (ii) there is some form of accounting framework for land sector emissions (LULUCF) in place. In practice, these very lax requirements would not impose any new legal restrictions on any European country or, indeed, the majority of countries already exporting forest biomass to the EU (notably, Russia and the US).” The proposed revision to the renewable energy directive also allows individuals and communities to generate their own energy, where previously individual nations had been able to restrict the right to self-produce. Individuals can also feed any excess energy they produce back into the grid and be paid for it at market value. However, the amount of renewable capacity that can be installed is capped at 18MW per community, which could limit the ability of renewable cooperatives to take part in the EU energy market. While the EU has set region-wide targets for 2030, there are no targets for individual member states for renewable energy or efficiency. The EU has proposed new governance regulations to ensure that the bloc hits its targets anyway. If it looks like the EU is offtrack for its emissions, renewables or efficiency targets, then the Commission will be able to issue recommendations to member states to ensure targets will be met. Examples of actions that could be taken include financial contributions by member states that could be used to support new renewable energy projects across the union. Buy a cool T-shirt or mug in the CleanTechnica store!   Keep up to date with all the hottest cleantech news by subscribing to our (free) cleantech daily newsletter or weekly newsletter, or keep an eye on sector-specific news by getting our (also free) solar energy newsletter, electric vehicle newsletter, or wind energy newsletter.


News Article | December 23, 2015
Site: cleantechnica.com

Taking a major step towards setting up renewable energy targets, a legislative body in Israel approved a renewable energy bill. With provisions of setting up time-bound renewable energy targets, a bill was approved by the Ministerial Committee of Legislation. The bill is expected to facilitate the government’s setting up of targets for renewable energy generation. The bill is expected to help Israel achieve the emissions reduction target it submitted to the United Nations earlier this year. Israel aims to cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 26% from 2005 levels by 2030. The submission also includes a target to increase the share of renewable energy in the country’s total energy production to 17%, from current 2%. The new bill may address the share of renewable energy in the electricity sector. Over the last few months, the Israeli government has shown intent to promote renewable energy technologies. Following discussions with Greenpeace Israel, the Israeli Ministry of Finance stated that it hopes to enact net-metering regulations and policies to remove hurdles for increasing investment in the solar power sector. Israel is also working on large-scale solar power projects. It issued licenses to 9 projects with combined generation capacity of 385 MW. The Public Utility Authority has also issued 50 licenses for smaller projects with a total installed capacity of 116 MW.   Get CleanTechnica’s 1st (completely free) electric car report → “Electric Cars: What Early Adopters & First Followers Want.”   Come attend CleanTechnica’s 1st “Cleantech Revolution Tour” event → in Berlin, Germany, April 9–10.   Keep up to date with all the hottest cleantech news by subscribing to our (free) cleantech newsletter, or keep an eye on sector-specific news by getting our (also free) solar energy newsletter, electric vehicle newsletter, or wind energy newsletter.  


News Article | March 14, 2016
Site: cleantechnica.com

A landmark renewable energy law is making progress through the bureaucratic process of the Israeli government. According to media reports, the Israeli Legislature’s Finance Committee recently discussed the details of a renewable energy law. The current form of the law has attracted some criticism, as it does not explicitly mention any targets for renewable energy use. While the Infrastructure, Energy and Water Resources Ministry seeks to increase the share of renewable energy in the country’s electricity consumption to 10% by 2020 and 17% by 2030, the draft renewable energy law gives power to decide the renewable energy targets to the Cabinet. At present, only 2.6% of the electricity consumed in Israel comes from renewable energy sources. The ministry reported to the Finance Committee that it has set a quote of 3 GW renewable energy capacity to be set up by private sector generators, but only 800 MW capacity is currently operational. If the draft renewable energy law is amended to include specific, time-bound targets for renewable energy share it will remove any uncertainty and ambiguity for project developers, and attract many international investors to Israel. The bill is expected to help Israel achieve the emissions reduction target it submitted to the United Nations earlier this year. Israel aims to cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 26% from 2005 levels by 2030. Over the last few months, the Israeli government has shown intent to promote renewable energy technologies. Following discussions with Greenpeace Israel, the Israeli Ministry of Finance stated that it hopes to enact net-metering regulations and policies to remove hurdles for increasing investment in the solar power sector. Israel is also working on large-scale solar power projects. It issued licenses to 9 projects with a combined generation capacity of 385 MW. The Public Utility Authority has also issued 50 licenses for smaller projects with a total installed capacity of 116 MW. Image Credit: א.ינאי | Public Domain    Get CleanTechnica’s 1st (completely free) electric car report → “Electric Cars: What Early Adopters & First Followers Want.”   Come attend CleanTechnica’s 1st “Cleantech Revolution Tour” event → in Berlin, Germany, April 9–10.   Keep up to date with all the hottest cleantech news by subscribing to our (free) cleantech newsletter, or keep an eye on sector-specific news by getting our (also free) solar energy newsletter, electric vehicle newsletter, or wind energy newsletter.  

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