Greece seeks over €3bn from new EU climate-change fund

The Greek government is seeking more than three billion euros from the EU’s new climate-change fund, roughly the cost of measures designed to reduce the cost of power bills, for its electricity subsidies program.

The distribution plan for the new climate-change fund, approved in European parliament last week, is expected to offer Greece 5.5 percent of its 57 billion-euro starting sum.

Distribution details are still being negotiated by the EU’s 27 member states. Environment ministers will meet in Luxembourg today.

The new EU fund is expected to gradually grow through contributions raised by an extension of the carbon tax system (ETS II), planned to also cover buildings and transportation. The rise in fuel prices is expected to contribute many billions of euros in extra revenues to the climate-change fund.

The plan to extend the carbon tax system (ETS II) into transportation has prompted a strong reaction from the sector, representatives fearing additional costs without incentives for a shift away from fossil-fuel usage.

Country’s first climate-change law headed for parliament

The country’s first climate-change draft bill, carrying binding 2030 and 2040 carbon emission targets, as well as a climate neutrality commitment by 2050, is expected to be submitted to parliament within the next few days after having adopted many comments forwarded during consultation.

Deadlines that had been set for the use of heating fuel boilers as well as vehicles with internal combustion engines appear set to be granted extensions of a few years.

A ban on the installation of heating fuel boilers in areas equipped with sufficient natural gas networks will now probably not come into effect until 2024 or 2025, instead of 2023, as was intended by the draft bill prior to revisions.

A plan for the withdrawal of all carbon-emitting taxis in Athens and Thessaloniki by early 2025 also appears set to be given an extension, of two years. The same applies for new rental cars and new company cars.

It remains unclear if the draft bill will include revisions to binding targets for industrial activity emissions, especially energy-intensive enterprises subject to the EU’s Emissions Trading System (EU ETS).

EVIKEN, the Association of Industrial Energy Consumers, during consultation, supported that this category of enterprises must be exempted from a 30 percent emission reduction target between 2023 and 2030, as stated in the original draft bill.

 

Revised NECP’s 2030 energy storage target to be doubled to 3 GW

Greece’s revised National Energy and Climate Plan will set a doubled energy-storage capacity target of 3 GW by 2030, to support the RES sector’s greater penetration of the energy mix, as part of the country’s contribution to CO2 emission reductions.

The previous energy-storage capacity target of 1.5 GW will be moved closer, to 2025, so that additional energy storage projects may be installed during the latter half of the decade, energy minister Kostas Skrekas told a recent energy sector conference.

The revised NECP will also set a higher target for RES installations, at 25 GW, from the existing plan’s 18.9-GW objective, as energypress has previously reported.

Investors are expected to receive a total of 450 million euros from the Energy Transition Fund as support for the first wave of RES projects to be installed by 2025.

 

 

Energy ministry-led committee working on NECP revisions

An inter-ministerial committee headed by the energy ministry is continuing work on revisions to the National Energy and Climate Plan (NECP), the effort’s aim being to achieve the European Commission’s more ambitious climate change targets, as stipulated in the EU’s Fit for 55 package, striving for a 55 percent reduction of carbon emissions by 2030, compared to 1990 levels.

The committee has lined up meetings with top-ranked officials at related ministries, energypress sources have informed.

Formulas calculating the parameters of the revised Fit for 55 road map are expected to be implemented by the summer.

Besides the revised 2030 targets, the country’s new NECP will include climate-change targets for 2040 as well as energy-mix and energy-efficiency revisions that will be required for the achievement of climate neutrality by 2050, the same sources informed.

Offshore wind farms, storage, RES licensing, climate in bills

Two legislative initiatives by the energy ministry, one for climate change rules, the other for a second round of RES licensing simplification revisions, development of offshore wind farms, and a framework for the installation and operation of energy storage units, will be presented at a cabinet meeting today.

The country’s climate rules will make official Greece’s target for a 55 percent reduction in carbon emissions by 2030, compared to 1990 levels, aligned with the EU’s new and more ambitious “Fit for 55” climate-change package.

Greece’s legal framework on the climate will also propose a binding road map for the achievement of net-zero emissions by 2050, also in accordance with EU objectives.

As part of the RES licensing simplification procedure’s second round, the energy ministry has proposed the introduction of letters of guarantee, worth sizeable amounts, for RES connections to the network, the aim being to subdue excess investment plan applications, but will enable investors to have their say through public consultation before any decision is made.

 

COP26 starts with disappointing G20 result, lacking commitment

The biggest challenge to be faced by world leaders at the crucial UN COP26 summit talks on climate, now underway in Glasgow, could well be the disappointing outcome at a meeting of G20 countries, which agreed on the need to restrict global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels but fell short of making specific commitments to achieve this goal.

The COP26 summit, seen as crucial for saving the planet from climate change effects, was delayed by a year as a result of the pandemic.

Limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels will save the planet from catastrophe, scientists believe.

Nearly 200 countries had signed the 2015 Paris accords on climate change, but far greater diplomacy and political will is needed for tougher commitments.

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis will travel to Glasgow today to deliver a speech before an audience of world leaders.

The Greek leader’s speech is expected to highlight the country’s decarbonization objectives; significant RES production increase and more ambitious targets and plans, including installation of offshore wind farms; Greece’s green island plans and innovative programs being implemented; initiatives for an eco-friendly shipping industry; and measures for the environmental protection of ecosystems.

 

Huawei Wins WWF Climate Solver Award 2020

Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd. a leading global provider of information and communications technology (ICT) infrastructure and smart devices, was awarded the WWF Climate Solver  award 2020 for its world leading FusionSolar Smart PV solution at Climate Action Week – 2021 Zero Carbon Mission International Climate Summit, co-organized by World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and Phoenix TV.

This year’s Summit officially launched the annual Carbon Neutrality Action Leadership Award, which, based on the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) and the UN-supported Race to Zero initiative, was designed to recognize individuals, teams and projects with outstanding performance in business commitment, innovation in technology, actions that produce results, and impactful communications, with the aim of encouraging companies to take actions that help mitigate climate change, driving various industries to set up emission reduction targets, and setting an example for taking such actions.

The Carbon Neutrality Actor – Climate Solver of the Year award is a key component of the Carbon Neutrality Action Leadership Award, and is based on the WWF Climate solver program, an annual program launched in China in 2011. It aims to create favorable conditions for the promotion of climate technologies with revolutionary potential by identifying and selecting innovative low-carbon technologies, so as to contribute to the realization of the goal of keeping global average temperature rise below 2℃.

Since its launch in 2011, the award has recognized 34 innovative low-carbon technologies. Applications for the 2020-2021 Climate Solver Award opened in December 2020 and closed in March of this year. After rigorous compliance review, primary election, two rounds of evaluation by experts, accounting of emission reduction potential and on-site replies, the Huawei FusionSolar Smart PV solution was selected as the winner from a host of candidates.

This year’s selection criteria were particularly stringent. The on-site reply session examined not only the level of technical advance (20%), the economics (20%) and the maturity (15%) of the candidate technologies, but also their ecological and environmental benefits, growth potential and social benefits, accounting for 20%, 15% and 10% of the overall score, respectively.

As of June 30, 2021, Huawei Digital Power had helped customers generate 403.4 billion kWh of electricity with green energy, saving 12.4 billion kWh of electricity consumption and reducing CO2 emissions by 200 million tons, equivalent to planting 270 million trees.

The Summit, under the theme of “Global Carbon Neutrality and China’s Role”, invited more than 70 guests, including Al Gore, former Vice President of the United States; Tu Ruihe, the representative of UNEP China Office; Jia Feng, Director of the Center for Environmental Education and Communications of the Ministry of Environmental Protection; and Marco Lambertini, Director General of WWF International, to discuss topics including global carbon neutrality, corporate resolve for achieving climate goals, green finance, energy transformation, green building and low-carbon transportation. The event aims to bring together resources, fully mobilize corporate engagement in addressing climate change, and provide diverse guidance and services such as strategic planning, technology application, results demonstration, knowledge sharing and international exchanges for local governments and enterprises to achieve the goals for peak CO2 emissions and carbon neutrality.

Founded in 1987, Huawei has more than 197,000 employees and operates in more than 170 countries and regions, serving more than three billion people around the world.

Fast-track procedures in place for power line undergrounding

The energy ministry, striving to replace overhead power lines with underground networks for the infrastructure’s protection following recent fire-related damages, preceded by snowstorm damages last winter, has taken measures to clear the way of any possible bureaucratic delays and is also seeking to secure additional funds for the undergrounding work.

Legislative revisions recently ratified in Parliament include a measure facilitating fast-track power line undergrounding by operators through forest land without them having to wait for approval from forestry officials, which has been customary practice.

As a result, distribution network operator DEDDIE/HEDNO and power grid operator IPTO can now proceed with power line undergrounding projects without delay or cancellation risks. This applies for both new power line networks and replacement of older ones.

The country has, at its disposal, EU Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF) money totaling 187 million euros for power line projects.

However, given the average cost of power line network undergrounding, estimated at 85,000 euros per kilometer, the aforementioned RRF amount would suffice for the development of about 2,200 kilometers, just a tiny fraction of the country’s existing overhead power lines.

Besides the RRF, the energy ministry is also considering to exhaust funding support possibilities through the National Strategic Reference Framework (NSRF) for the power line undergrounding expansion projects, now regarded as essential due to the growing impact of the climate change crisis.

NSRF possibilities considered for power line undergrounding

Energy ministry officials intend to examine National Strategic Reference Framework (NSRF) funding possibilities for power line network undergrounding, triple the cost of overhead power lines, following the recent destructive fires around the country.

The country has specific EU Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF) money, totaling 187 million euros, at its disposal for power line projects.

Given the average cost for power line network undergrounding, at 85,000 euros per kilometer, factoring in low and medium-voltage prices, the aforementioned RRF amount would be enough to develop about 2,200 kilometers, just a tiny fraction of distribution network operator DEDDIE/HEDNO’s total network. Undergrounding the country’s entire network would require an estimated 18.3 billion euros.

The high cost has limited the country’s power line undergrounding plans for the next five years to approximately 2,150 kilometers.

The operator has already undergrounded 10 percent of its 240,000-kilometer network, leaving a further 216,000 kilometers for potential undergrounding.

Overhead medium-voltage power line development costs approximately 30,000 euros per kilometer. Overhead low-voltage lines cost 25,000 euros per kilometer, compared to 70,000 euros for undergrounding.

Given the increased threat of forest fires brought about by hotter temperatures attributed to the climate change crisis, power line network undergrounding would provide protection to the network.

Fires, UN climate change report to raise NECP objectives

Not long after the European Green Deal and the European Commission’s decision to reduce greenhouse emissions by 55 percent, compared to 1990 levels, the National Energy and Climate Plan will, once again, need to be revised into an even more ambitious strategy following the extensive wildfires around Greece over the past week or so that have scorched over 90,000 hectares of land in Evia, the northern section of the wider Athens area, as well as the Peloponnese.

The climate change crisis and faster ascent to a global temperature limit set by scientists, as highlighted in a UN report released yesterday, increases the sense of urgency for an even more ambitious NECP, a challenge of paramount importance for the government, as it is  expected to made clear in coming days.

New NECP figures have yet to emerge, but a government committee has already delivered a gap analysis with new policies and measures that need to be tabled. A deeper analysis of the data, in association with external scientific associates, will soon follow before revised targets are set.

The RES sector, according to the country’s latest NECP, is expected to constitute at least 35 percent of energy consumption by 2030, but this goal will now surely be raised.

 

NSRF offering €5.2bn for green transition, decarbonization

Nearly one quarter, or 5.2 billion euros, of the new National Strategic Reference Framework (NSRF) amount allotted to Greece, covering 2021 to 2027, will be used to support the country’s green-energy transition and decarbonization efforts.

The funding will be divided into two programs, one for Environment, Energy and Climate Change, worth 3.61 billion euros, and the other for Fair Developmental Transition, worth 1.63 billion euros.

The two programs will offer support for investments promoting RES penetration, environmental protection, a circular economy, the climate change defense, while also supporting the decarbonization effort in the western Macedonia and Megalopoli regions, both lignite-dependent local economies, as well as the islands.

The Environment, Energy and Climate Change section of the NSRF funding package, presented in Athens yesterday, has been designed to lead to: “A greener and more resilient Europe with low carbon emissions, through the promotion of clean energy, green and blue investments, a circular economy, climate change mitigation and adjustment, risk prevention and management, and sustainable urban mobility.”

 

EU raises RES energy-mix target for 2030 to 40%

A new and more ambitious EU climate-change package, dubbed “Fit for 55” and just presented by the European Commission, has increased the EU’s RES energy-mix target for 2030 to 40 percent from the previous goal of 32 percent.

The package includes measures covering climate change, energy, land usage, transportation and transboundary taxation, their ultimate aim being to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55 percent by 2030, compared to 1990 levels.

The measures are seen as crucial for the establishment of a more environmentally friendly energy system, given the fact that energy production and usage account for 75 percent of carbon emissions in the EU.

EU ‘Fit For 55’ climate package to bring about many changes

To be presented today by the European Commission, the EU’s upcoming “Fit For 55” package of climate-change measures, setting stricter and more ambitious objectives for a 55 percent carbon emission reduction by 2030, compared to 1990 levels, will bring about a series of revisions.

These will include changes to the Emissions Trading System (ETS) and fuel taxation, as well as the introduction of new taxes and a Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM), promising transboundary taxes on non-EU countries regarded as making a lesser effort, than the EU, to combat climate change.

It still remains unclear if consumers or polluters, or both, will cover the cost of the “Fit For 55” measures.

Heating and transportation costs are expected to rise considerably over the next few years, according to a Euractiv report.

The package’s draft proposes an expansion of the ETS into the heating sector, for buildings, as well as into transportation, as a disincentive restricting high-polluting practices, including use of diesel.

The CBAM is expected to be launched on a three-year trial basis, beginning in 2023, before it is officially implemented in 2026.

EU to present tougher climate change rules with ‘Fit For 55’

The EU’s upcoming “Fit For 55” package of measures, setting stricter and more ambitious objectives for a 55 percent carbon emission reduction by 2030, promises to bring about widespread change in the energy sector, impacting renewable energy, energy efficiency, the Emissions Trading System (ETS), energy taxation and forestry regulations.

National Energy and Climate Plans will need to be adjusted once the package comes into effect.

The package, whose details are planned to be presented by the European Commission on July 14, will, without a doubt, have an immediate impact on CO2 emission rights, seen rising even higher than yesterday’s new all-time high of 57.90 euros per ton, even though some time will be required before disagreements are overcome and the package is ratified in EU parliament.

“Fit For 55” has already prompted negative reaction from EU members states in the east.

The ETS is expected to apply to a greater number of sectors, the objective being to push CO2 emission right prices higher so that polluters are forced to reduce emissions rather than pay exorbitant amounts.

The RES sector’s representation in the EU energy mix, currently set at 32 percent for 2030, will be pushed higher to levels of between 35 and 40 percent, according to sources. Environmental organizations have been pressuring for an even more ambitious level of 50 percent.

Also, the measures will introduce transboundary taxes on non-EU countries regarded as making a lesser effort, than the EU, to combat climate change.

The new rules are also expected to reinforce Land use, land-use change, and forestry (LULUCF) regulations set by the UN Climate Change Secretariat.

Gas, CO2 costs, up over 50%, increasing electricity prices

The pandemic’s gradual remission and tougher climate-change policies have ushered in a period of elevated electricity price levels, both in Greece and internationally, expected to be prolonged, according to many analysts.

Suppliers, one after another, are increasing prices for household and business consumption, passing on to consumers additional costs encountered in the wholesale market through the activation of price-related clauses.

According to Greek energy exchange data, day-ahead market prices currently range between 78 and 80 euros per MWh, nearly double the level of 45 euros per MWh at the beginning of the year.

Similar price increases of about 50 percent have also been recorded in markets abroad during the first half of the year.

Electricity producers operating natural-gas fueled power stations have been impacted by higher gas prices, data provided by the Dutch trading platform TTF has highlighted.

Electricity producers also face considerably higher CO2 emission right prices, currently ranging between 52 and 55 euros per ton from 32 to 34 euros per MWh early this year.

According to many analysts, CO2 emission right prices will continue rising in the years to come and may have doubled by 2030.

Higher natural gas and CO2 emission right prices are impacting electricity producers generating through natural gas-fired power stations. They are required to pay for CO2 emission rights, one-third of levels imposed on lignite-based producers.

Experts agree that toughening EU climate-change measures, to be followed by corresponding US polices, will keep driving energy commodities higher, noting that oil and gas price rises will be subdued as low-cost, cleaner forms of energy further penetrate markets.

 

European CEO Alliance backs ambitious climate strategy

100 billion euros of investment to decarbonize their companies by 2030, a gradual introduction of a cross-sector CO2 price and ambitious phase-out dates for coal: These are some of the key points of ten top managers from the energy, transport and technology industries issued in a joint position paper. Thereby, the leading European CEOs are calling for far-reaching climate protection measures at the occasion of the seventh international climate strike on Friday, March 19, 2021.

The ten business leaders Björn Rosengren (ABB), Thierry Vanlancker (AkzoNobel), Francesco Starace (ENEL), Leonhard Birnbaum (E.ON), Ignacio Galán (Iberdrola), Søren Skou (Maersk), Christian Klein (SAP), Henrik Henriksson (Scania), Jean-Pascale Tricoire (Schneider Electric) and Herbert Diess (Volkswagen) are members of the “CEO Alliance for Europe’s Recovery, Reform and Resilience”.

This CEO Alliance formed in 2020 against the backdrop of the Covid-19 pandemic and the historic decisions on the European Green Deal. Their common goal is to make the EU the world’s leading region for climate protection while unlocking investments, driving innovations in tomorrow’s technologies and creating future-proof jobs.

The top managers published a joint position paper with ambitious proposals. They state: “We firmly believe that the EU Green Deal and Next Generation EU will put Europe’s innovation and business ingenuity to the service of the global climate cause, will kick-start a wave of investments into sustainability and resilience and will create future-proof jobs across the EU.”

The CEOs encourage European policy makers to take bold steps towards climate neutrality such as “continuing to pursue a standardized cross-sector CO2 price” and “setting end-dates for carbon-intense technologies”.

The CEO Alliance considers itself an “Action Tank”, working together in concrete joint projects: Cross-EU charging infrastructure for heavy duty transport, integration of EU Power systems, digital carbon footprint tracking, sustainable healthy buildings, e-buses for Europe, green hydrogen value chain and rapid build-up of battery production.

The aspiration of the top managers is to work with their companies across sectors to find practical solutions for effective climate protection. In doing so, they strive for an ongoing constructive dialogue with the EU Commission. In a digital meeting just days ago, the Executive Vice President of the Commission Frans Timmermans and the CEOs discussed the progress on the implementation of the Green Deal and the interim status of the Alliance’s joint projects.

Executive Vice-President Timmermans stated: “Making Europe climate neutral by 2050 is a huge challenge. The European Commission will propose legislation to put sectors like transport and energy on the right track. Our long term plan includes investment in charging infrastructure, battery production, renovation and renewable energy production. The NextGeneration EU recovery fund will help make this possible. Our goal is not any transition, it’s a just and fair transition, leaving no one behind. I welcome the CEO Alliance’s commitment to Europe’s green recovery and share their conviction that their companies have what it takes to build a sustainable future.”

 

 

 

 

 

Ministry approves strategy for emission-free buildings by 2050

The energy ministry has approved a report detailing a long-term strategy for the renovation of public and private buildings into carbon emission-free units of elevated energy efficiency by 2050.

The aim is to transform existing buildings into units of virtually-zero energy consumption, the report noted.

Given the fact that buildings currently represent almost 40 percent of overall energy consumption, a large-scale upgrade of existing buildings and construction of new eco-friendly buildings requiring minimal energy consumption is deemed necessary.

This prospect would offer tremendous energy consumption and cost savings for dwellers and users while also improving living standards in terms of comfort, security and health, the report notes.

Energy efficiency upgrade measures concerning 2020 to 2030 are already being implemented through the National Energy and Climate Plan, aiming for upgrades of 12 to 15 percent of buildings over this ten-year period.

However, more ambitious measures, including stricter exterior surface insulation standards for new buildings and a greater number of upgrades at existing buildings will be needed for close-to-zero carbon emissions in this sector by 2050, according to the report.

Energy consumption at buildings will need to fall 8 percent by 2030, compared to 2015, and close to 40 percent by 2050, the report notes.

 

EU lawmakers vote in favor of carbon levy on certain imports

EU lawmakers have adopted a resolution for a carbon levy on certain imports from less climate-ambitious countries, with 444 votes in favor, 70 against and 181 abstentions.

Through the adoption of a Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM), to be implemented in 2023, the aim will be to create a global level playing field and prevent carbon leakage, which could create competitive disadvantages for European industrial producers.

The resolution underlines that the EU’s ambitious climate change targets should not lead to carbon leakage as global climate change efforts will not yield results if European production simply relocates to non-European countries with less ambitious emission standards, European Parliament announced in a statement.

European lawmakers, therefore, are in favor of a carbon tax on goods from non-EU countries that have not set ambitious targets for tackling climate change, as the EU has done with its ETS emissions trading system.

Besides creating a level playing field worldwide, the resolution should also serve as an incentive for both European and non-European industries to accelerate decarbonization procedures in line with the Paris Climate Agreement objectives.

 

Spain’s Repsol on verge of exiting Greek upstream market

Spanish petroleum firm Repsol, a member of consortiums holding licenses to three fields in Greece, is on the verge of leaving the country’s upstream market as a part of a wider strategic adjustment prompted by the oil crisis and the pandemic, developments that have impacted exploration plans, as well as a company plan to reduce its environmental footprint, sources have informed.

The upstream industry has been hit hard by the pandemic, which has driven down prices and demand. The EU’s climate-change policies are another key factor behind Repsol’s decision.

Repsol is believed to have decided to significantly reduce the number of countries in which it is currently present for hydrocarbon exploration and production, the intention being to limit operations to the more lucrative of fields.

All three fields in Repsol’s Greek portfolio are still at preliminary research stages and do not offer any production assurances, meaning they will most probably be among the first to be scrapped by the company from its list of projects.

Respol formed a partnership with Hellenic Petroleum (ELPE) for offshore exploration in the Ionian Sea. Repsol is the operator in this arrangement. A license secured by the two partners for this region in 2018 was approved in Greek Parliament a year later.

Also, in 2017, Repsol agreed to enter a partnership with Energean Oil & Gas, acquiring 60 percent stakes, and the operator’s role, for onshore blocks in Ioannina and Etoloakarnania, northwestern Greece.

Repsol maintains interests in over 40 countries, producing approximately 700,000 barrels per day.

Energy issues ‘perhaps greatest technological challenge of today’

By Mr. Vasilis Digalakis

Undersecretary of Education

Imposed mainly by climate change, the upcoming modifications in the way we produce, distribute, store and consume energy constitute perhaps the greatest technological challenge of our time. Almost all of science and engineering converge in energy technologies, which is why it will be the focus of research activity and the main field of innovation in the years to come.

It is generally admitted that our country has the privilege of possessing a wealth of energy potential. However, we are lagging significantly behind in its exploitation and must move rapidly towards energy transformation, by strengthening our infrastructure and adopting innovative models of production and consumption. There is a range of challenges that we will have to face, especially due to the fact that we are launching from a particularly negative starting point with regard to the existing production and distribution assets.

Crete, in particular, having until now had an autonomous power system and major requirements especially during the summer months, constitutes an extremely urgent priority: in order to offer 1 Kwh of electricity for consumption today, 2.9 KwH of primary energy are needed, with obvious consequences for national economy and the environment.

At the same time, the rich solar and wind energy potential of the island cannot be exploited, due to the regulatory restrictions imposed by a failure of interconnection of the island with the continental network. Worse still, a significant part of the existing Renewable Energy Sources production is discarded and not exploited. This can change with the upcoming interconnections implemented by the Independent Power Transmission Operator, as well as by making use of storage technologies.

Today we have a unique opportunity: we can turn the island into a living laboratory of energy technologies. With excellent research institutes – which in some cases lead European programmes for energy transformation – Crete can and should set an example of successful application of production, management and energy saving technologies:

  • With the implementation of smart grids and the extensive installation of smart meters in order to reduce needs during peak periods, through demand response technologies and IT know-how exploitation.
  • By transforming urban centres into smart cities using intelligent energy management and energy infrastructure improvement systems combined with water management and agricultural production systems.
  • Utilizing energy storage and management technologies in conjunction with the introduction of electric vehicles (Vehicle to Grid – Grid to Vehicle).
  • Through energy upgrading of the building stock with an emphasis on tourism and hospitality and the promotion of zero energy balance buildings and zero energy emissions.
  • By reducing the urban heat island effect, which in turn can lead to a drastic reduction in energy demand during the summer season.

Key reform directions of the current political leadership of the Ministry of Education in the field of higher education are to improve the quality of education and relevance to the labour market, as well as the transfer of knowledge generated in universities to the real economy. In this context, the 5th Pancretan Energy Conference gives the opportunity to the Higher Education Institutes of the country to participate in the dialogue on the energy developments in our region and to highlight their action and research results.

 

Hydrocarbons can push RES sector to next stage, new EDEY official says

The hydrocarbons industry will continue to play an important role in the energy mix until 2050, despite a shift in policies turning to renewable energy, and could also serve as a lever of support propelling the RES sector to its next stage, according to Aristofanis Stefatos, the newly appointed chief executive of EDEY, the Greek Hydrocarbon Management Company.

Stefatos and Rikard Skoufias, concurrently named new president of EDEY, offered their views on the upstream sector during questioning by Greek Parliament’s permanent committee on institutions and transparency.

The two men, both proposed by energy minister Costis Hatzidakis for the top EDEY jobs, officially assumed their roles following approval by the committee.

During questioning, committee members asked about the future of the hydrocarbons sector and licenses in Greece given the major decline in crude oil prices, as well as climate change policies being adopted.

Stefatos described the dip in crude oil prices as a temporary condition, noting the sector has experienced such situations in the past before rebounding. “It is only a matter of time before the same thing happens again,” he noted.

The two officials were also asked to comment on environmental protection issues, while Stefatos, the new chief executive, was asked to clarify on his position as shareholder of a Norwegian upstream company.

An offshore corridor running down from Albania into Greece’s EEZ has potential, while signs of a deposit in the area are encouraging, Stefatos told the committee. However, further 3D seismic surveys must soon be conducted in the area, he stressed.

Jinkosolar among participants at UN Climate Action Summit 2019

JinkoSolar, one of the largest and most innovative solar module manufacturers in the world, took part in yesterday’s UN Climate Action Summit 2019 in New York, the company announced.

JinkoSolar led discussions with attending leaders about the impact of climate change, the company noted in a statement.

To move forward on ambitious climate action globally, UN Secretary-General António Guterres invited over 100 heads of state, government leaders, the private sector, civil society, local authorities and other international organizations. This event was one of five high-level summits during the 74th Session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA 74), which was officially convened on September 17, 2019.

The significant economic benefits of renewable energy, in particular, solar power, was among the most urgent topics of discussion.

The goal of the UN 2019 Climate Summit is to challenge state regions, cities, companies and investors to step up and propose actionable solutions. The plans proposed from the summit will contribute to the 25th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 25) as part of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) scheduled for December 2019.

Ms. Qian Jing, Vice President of JinkoSolar, commented: “As grid parity becomes a reality in over 100 countries and regions worldwide, renewable energy from solar power opens up incredible possibilities to solve problems. As large as reversing deserts into an oasis, reusing abandoned land and bringing new life to arid soil. This is all possible because of the 95% reduction in PV power generation costs over the past decade. With solar electrification on the rise, cutting down trees for fire and heating will be a thing of the past. Solar power will also redefine how we build new energy-powered automobiles, solar building materials will dominate architectural design, and building surfaces will become generators to store solar power. Once policy and the mechanism for economic incentives are in-sync, we will see more enterprise collaboration on technical innovation and this will accelerate energy transformation around the world.”

 

Climate change impacting energy output of sources, networks

There has been much debate of late on the ability of Greece’s grid to operate up to standard amid extreme conditions, the talk prompted by last month’s deadly flash floods in the country’s northern region Halkidiki, as well as the current heatwave throughout the country.

Rising air and water temperatures impact both conventional and nuclear energy production, Europe’s biggest energy source, in a number of ways. Water temperatures need to be at optimal levels for nuclear stations to function properly. Operations at nuclear energy facilities in France have needed to be interrupted this year, as well as in the past, as a result of unsuitable water temperatures.

High air temperatures impact, for various reasons, the output levels of gas and fuel-fired power stations, renewable energy sources, as well as nuclear energy facilities, while coal and biomass units are less affected.

Natural gas-fired power station production levels drop by 0.1 percent for every one-degree Celsius increase in air temperature. The production drop is greater for nuclear units, reaching 0.5 percent. A further one-percent production drop is caused by every 5-degree Celsius increase in water temperature.

Hydropower facilities are affected as a result of greater evaporation and lower water levels.

Solar energy systems also produce less amid extremely hot temperatures, the drop estimated at between 0.4 and 0.5 percent for every one degree Celsius increase in temperature, according to an older study.

Though alternative sources are brought into action to ensure energy sufficiency when certain electricity production units are under-performing, networks, also susceptible to heatwaves, do not have such flexibility.

Higher temperatures affect the production levels of transformers and cables,  overland and underground. Network yield losses increase by one percent for every three-degree Celsius rise in temperature. The increased threat of fires, as was experienced in the worst possible way in California last year, only makes matters worse.

Energy system adjustments are urgently needed in various parts of the world, including Greece, as grids were shaped under certain assumptions and factors that reflect past conditions, not more recent developments, namely global warming and climate change.

Over the past decade or so, certain countries, including France, have made energy system revisions and implemented these changes. However, the speed at which the climate has destabilized may require follow-up revisions.

 

 

DESFA, a long term, sustainable friend of the environment

Nicola Battilana, CEO of gas grid operator DESFA 

Article on the occasion of the International Environment Day

Since its foundation, gas grid operator DESFA has placed particular emphasis on environmental protection by planning and investing in the continuous improvement of its operations, taking into account the principles of sustainability and maximum preservation of natural wealth.

DESFA’s Environmental Policy is communicated to stakeholders and includes principles, regarding the sustainable use of natural resources, the prevention of pollution and the protection of ecosystems and biodiversity. The environmental performance is monitored after recognizing environmental aspects, deciding on Key Performance Indicators and determining goals, as part of a Certified Environmental Management System, according to the ISO 14001:2015 International Standard.

Pioneering in eco-strategy, DESFA was the first European Transmission System Operator, who started recording its Carbon Footprint since 2011, according to the International standards (ISO 14064). Carbon Footprint estimates the total greenhouse gas emissions caused directly or indirectly by the organization. In fact, in 2018 DESFA’s Carbon Footprint was reduced to 0,011 kg CO2/Nm3, which represents a consistent 8% reduction over the last three years.

Such sustainable outcomes are the result of DESFA’s long-term strategy, as developed in the company’s internal policies, in the Business Plan and in the Ten Year Development Plan (TYDP), which reflect its commitment to energy efficiency and to investments that increase the use of natural gas as a clean energy alternative. Being considerably cleaner than coal and other fossil fuels, the use of natural gas in power generation or heating reduces carbon dioxide and other emissions, in particular particulate matters and Sulphur dioxides, resulting in both immediate and long-term benefits for public health and the environment. Numbers are self-explanatory: when burned, natural gas emits as much as 70% less CO2 than coal (0,4tn CO2/MWhvs. 1,3 tnCO2/MWh from coal) and 20-30% less than oil, results in significantly less nitrogen oxides (NOx) and negligible emissions of sulfur dioxide (SO2), mercury (Hg), and Particulate Matter (PM) compared with other fuels.

DESFA’s own example as the owner and operator of an LNG gasification terminal on the island of Revithoussa better advocates the company’s commitment to the benefits resulting from the use of natural gas. This large, state-of-the-art, industrial unit constitutes an exemplary standard of energy efficiency, since it operates under the strictest environmental terms and utilizes the latest technology on energy sustainability, such as its Cogeneration Heat and Power High Efficiency (CHP–High Efficiency) unit.

Energy sustainability is an ongoing process. To that end, the company plans to further enhance energy efficiency and adoption of liquefied natural gas (LNG) as a marine fuel, by participating in projects and investing in upgrades of the LNG Terminal.

A major step is the participation in the POSEIDON MED II program, an EU co-financed project, aiming to make Greece the focal point for supplying and distributing liquefied natural gas in Southeast Europe as part of the company’ s Small Scale LNG projects. Finally, the use of LNG as bunkering fuel is associated with the reduction of negative environmental impact of traditional marine fuels, complying with the requirements of Annex VI of the IMO MARPOL Convention and of Directive 2012/33/EU, which foresees that as of 2020, ship operators that trade in European territorial seas and exclusive economic zones will be required to burn fuel with less than 0,5% of Sulphur content.

DESFA’s approach to QHSE issues is rigorous and covers all activities within the Company, including those of contractors and subcontractors. The applied, monitored and certified management systems cover all DESFA’s facilities and activities and include all the necessary components to ensure compliance with requirements, including the Directive 2003/87/EC of the European Parliament, establishing a scheme for greenhouse gas Emission Trading System. The facilities partaking in the ETS have achieved the Compliance Status “A”, meaning full harmonization with the relevant legislation.

DESFA is also committed to take initiatives to protect and enhance the natural environment and ecosystems, as a priority and key pillar of sustainable development. To that end, DESFA will continue to closely follow developments, European trends and international recognized methods that are expected to play a key role in innovative environmental practices.

Investors interested in PPC lignite units, challenges remain

With just 19 days remaining until the May 28 deadline for binding bids in the main power utility PPC’s bailout-required disinvestment of its Megalopoli and Meliti lignite power stations, prospective bidding teams appear interested but challenges remain for the sale, relaunched after an initial attempt failed to produce a result.

The candidates are believed to be preparing decent offers based on the current SPA terms, Greek electricity market conditions and EU climate change policies.

The Czech Republic’s Sev.En Energy, joined by GEK Terna; CHN Energy-Damco Energy (Copelouzos Group); Mytilineos; and Elvalhalcor are preparing worthy offers, sources have informed.

China’s CHN Energy and Sev.En Energy have emerged as the chief partners of their respective pairings, while their Greek associates have assumed negotiating roles with PPC.

Mytilineos and Elvalhalcor are both still looking to establish an association for the disinvestment and are also pushing for further sale term improvements.

The Greek participants are particularly keen to acquire the lignite units as a means of breaking PPC’s monopoly and avoiding any new sale attempt that would also bring hydropower units into the picture and end up attracting major European players with financial might.

Greek energy firms are looking to avoid the market entry of foreign competitors as this would lead to market share contractions and a loss of their leading domestic roles.

Despite the investor interest, the sale attempt remains challenging for all sides. The Megalopoli and Meliti lignite units, according to PPC’s financial results for 2018, incurred losses of more than 360 million euros. Also, CO2 emission right costs are continuing on their upward trajectory, while Brussels’ tough stance on carbon is  stiffening.

 

CO2 rights market now in right shape, Brussels officials note

A market stability reserve introduced to fix CO2 emission rights market irregularities detected earlier this decade is now offering more effective protection against potentially dangerous extreme fluctuations, European Commission officials noted at a Brussels news conference.

“The adjustments have been implemented and are working. We’re not claiming that the CO2 market is working because of the revisions, as, in actual fact, this is a market system. Market forces are determining prices,” a Brussels official pointed out. “Obviously, we will see CO2 emission right price increases amid economic growth and increased productivity,” the official added.

The CO2 emission rights market is fundamental to the EU’s decarbonization targets, European Commission officials stressed.

It is no longer necessary, following the Paris Agreement (COP21), to keep explaining why more needs to be done about climate change, Brussels officials highlighted.

CO2 emission right prices reached as high as 26 euros per ton in recent times but, last week, deescalated to levels of around 16 euros per ton.

As a country whose energy system remains heavily reliant on lignite-based electricity production, Greece is among the EU member states currently restricted to less ambitious decarbonization targets. A slower transformation process is needed.

 

Climate change commitments to be reviewed at NYC summit next week

Three years following the signing of the historic COP21 agreement in Paris, French President Emmanuel Macron, Secretary-General of the United Nations António Guterres, the President of the World Bank Group Jim Yong Kim, and United Nations Special Envoy for Climate Action Michael R. Bloomberg will co-host the Second One Planet Summit in New York City next week.

The summit will review the commitments made at the first One Planet Summit on December 12, 2017, and will further accelerate the implementation of the Paris Agreement by putting finance in service of climate action. It will contribute to strengthening multilateral collaboration, building trust between public and private actors, to ensure a collective response to the climate change.

Speakers will include many heads of State and Government, business leaders, economists and representatives of civil society.

In light of the emergency caused by the ecological, social and economic impacts of climate change, climate challenge is a shared responsibility that requires the mobilization of and cooperation between everyone: governments, the public and private sectors, and civil society, the summit’s organizers noted in a statement.  Following the 2018 Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco and ahead of the COP24 Conference in Katowice and the 2019 UNSG Climate Action Summit, the second One Planet Summit will be a crucial step for raising ambitions and accelerating the protection of our planet, the organizers added.

The summit is scheduled to take place from 2 pm to 4:30 pm on September 26 at New York City’s Plaza Hotel, following the second annual Bloomberg Global Business Forum and alongside the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly.

“Climate action requires a collective response. Discipline and ambition are essential. We are going through challenging times, but solutions are everywhere, all over the world. We must act together to foster innovation, boost transformative projects, gather public and private investments, and deliver on our promises for the next generations. The time has come. It is our priority, both economically and politically. We are ready now for this shared action,” stated French President Emmanuel Macron.

“New York City has long been a place where the world comes together to solve big problems – and climate change is one of the most urgent. Since last year’s summit, we’ve taken important steps forward to reduce carbon emissions and improve people’s lives, by cleaning the air, growing the economy, and creating jobs. This year’s summit is a chance to accelerate that progress and spread the health and economic benefits of climate action to more people around the world,” remarked Michael R. Bloomberg, founder of Bloomberg LP and Bloomberg Philanthropies, mayor of New York City from 2002-2013, UN Special Envoy for Climate Action and WHO Global Ambassador for Noncommunicable Diseases.

The inaugural One Planet Summit gathered more than 4,000 participants to accelerate the implementation of the Paris Agreement and to engage public and private actors in the fight against climate change. Twelve international commitments were made, bringing together some thirty coalitions and initiatives, based on three key fields of action: increasing finance for climate change adaptation and resilience; accelerating the transition towards a low-carbon economy; and firmly positioning climate challenges at the heart of finance.

The 2018 Summit will provide an opportunity to review progress made in implementing these commitments and to strengthen trust and collaboration among actors in order to foster ambitious new initiatives.

“Climate change is the most pressing challenge facing humankind. Strong leadership is needed urgently. We must use every opportunity – including the One Planet Summit and the high-level session of the United Nations General Assembly – to mobilize world leaders for ambitious and immediate climate action. The facts are clear and alarming: climate change continues to move faster than our efforts to address it. We must all do far more in order to win this race for our future,” underlined António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations.

“The goals of the Paris Agreement are critical to sustaining the global fight against poverty. Commitment to climate action is strong, investment is growing, and the Paris goals are within our reach. But we need to accelerate progress. The public and private sectors must work together more effectively to coordinate policy reforms that boost investment. This will help us create new markets for climate action, especially in the developing countries that need it most,” underlined World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim.

The program of the 2018 Summit is structured to develop a One Planet Roadmap for climate action and green finance that can help align forces along the most strategic pathways to success, including: collaborating and sharing solutions to deliver local, national, and global action; investing in the transition to low-emissions and inclusive economies; and protecting vulnerable populations through innovative technologies and nature-based solutions and the restoration of ecosystems.

Heads of State and Government, business leaders, as well as other civil society actors who have already confirmed their participation at the One Planet Summit 2018 include: Prime Minister of New Zealand, Jacinda Ardern; Leontino Balbo Junior, Executive Vice-President of Native; Mark Carney, Governor of the Bank of England; Aliko Dangote, Founder and Chair of the Dangote Group; Valdis Dombrovskis, Vice-President of the European Commission; Bill Gates, Co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; President of Togo, Faure Gnassingbé; President of the Republic of the Marshall Islands Dr. Hilda C. Heine; Christine Lagarde, Managing Director and Chair of the International Monetary Fund; Luis Alberto Moreno, President of the Inter-American Development Bank; H.E. Yasir Othman Al-Rumayyan, Chief Executive, Secretary-General, and Managing Director, Public Investment Fund; Paul Polman, CEO of Unilever; Prime Minister of Norway, Erna Solberg; Tri Rismaharini, Mayor of Surabaya, Indonesia; and Professor Johan Rockström, Director Designate of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research.

The program will be presented and moderated by Arianna Huffington, Founder and CEO of Thrive Global.

Official hashtag: #OnePlanetSummit

For general inquiries: APCO Worldwide
oneplanetsummit@apcoworldwide.com
Elysée: secretariat.presse@elysee.fr
United Nations: Shepard@un.org
World Bank Group: msheikh1@worldbankgroup.org
Bloomberg: press@BloombergGBF.com

 

 

 

 

 

CO2 Challenge enters next stage, project partners announce

The CO2 Challenge, seeking to find and scale technologies capable of reducing vessel greenhouse gas emissions by ten per cent, is gaining momentum and moving into the second stage, project partners Cargill, Rainmaking and DNV GL announced at the recent SMM trade fair in Hamburg.

The first in-person meetings with start-ups providing innovative technologies were conducted at the stand maintained by DNV GL, a global quality assurance and risk management company.   

“We’ve had a positive response to the CO2 Challenge,” said George Wells, Global Head of Assets and Structuring at Cargill. “We had the opportunity to meet some of the start-ups in person at SMM and are impressed with the technologies and new ideas. As the CO2 Challenge continues, we are confident that we will continue to see interesting options. We launched the CO2 Challenge because our industry must innovate to improve our environmental performance. The solutions are there – we just need to uncover and implement them.”

Since the project was announced in June 2018, the CO2 Challenge has received some 70 applicants from 20 different countries; the scouting process uncovered a further 68 start-ups. The project team, which consists of representatives from DNV GL, Cargill and Rainmaking, is in the process of interviewing applicants. The CO2 Challenge has received a wide variety of technical applications, including wind propulsion, engine optimization, digital, air lubrication, hull optimization and more.

“DNV GL is very proud to be working with a partner like Cargill, who are demonstrating their vision for more efficient and environmentally responsibility maritime operations,” noted Trond Hodne, DNV GL – Maritime Sales and Marketing Director. “The SMM in Hamburg is the perfect venue for moving the CO2 Challenge onto the next stage. With its emphasis on innovation, technology and sustainability, the SMM shows how our industry is moving forward on these issues. But for sustainability to be realised, we need to make sure that new solutions are grounded in solid engineering and meet required safety standards. DNV GL, as a trusted and impartial technical expert, will work with Cargill to make sure that we meet this challenge.”

The CO2 Challenge is still open to new applicants until 17 September 2018.

(Pictured are, left to right: Trond Hodne, DNV GL – Maritime Sales and Marketing Director; George Wells, Global Head of Assets and Structuring at Cargill; and Alex Farcet, Partner, Rainmaking.)

For further information, visit www.co2-challenge.com

 

Numerous fires not coincidental, World Economic Forum notes

Major blazes affecting areas traditionally not on the fire-danger map are prompting questions for answers to this unprecedented phenomenon. A total of 11 wildfires are currently blazing in the Arctic circle, an article published by the World Economic Forum, citing a related story run by The Guardian, has pointed out.

Fires are raging in Russia, Norway and Finland, while Sweden, experiencing the most extensive Arctic fires, has been forced to evacuate four communities, according to The Guardian.

Two Italian water-bombing planes that answered Sweden’s call for help are scheduled to begin operating today. Sweden has requested even more planes and helicopters from the EU.

“This is definitely the worst year in recent times for forest fires. Whilst we get them every year, 2018 is shaping up to be excessive,” noted Mike Peacock, a university researcher and Uppsula resident.

This year’s fires in Sweden cover a much larger area than fires in past years. The blazes are a consequence of a heat wave that is bringing unusually hot, dry weather to much of Europe, prompting major fire outbreaks far beyond Europe’s Mediterranean firezone, EU officials are pointing out.

The European Forest Fire Information System has warned that fire conditions will persist in central and northern Europe over the next few weeks.

Scientists say the increase in northern fires is another sign of climate change.

“What we’re seeing with this global heatwave is that these areas of fire susceptibility are now broadening, with the moors in northwest England and now these Swedish fires a consequence of that,” professor of global change ecology at the Open University Vincent Gauci commented.

“Both these areas are typically mild and wet which allows forests and peatlands to develop quite large carbon stores,” he said. “When such carbon-dense ecosystems experience aridity and heat and there is a source of ignition – lightning or people – fires will happen.”

The European Arctic is not the only part of the far north seeing increased fire activity.

Two recent fires brought the total number of fires in Alaska’s Galena Zone have burned 44,000 acres to date.

This year’s fires come a year after Europe had its worst fire season in recorded history, though 2017’s most devastating fires were in the more typically fire-susceptible countries of Italy, Portugal and Spain, where they burned thousands of hectares of agricultural land and forests into November.

In Greece, devastating wildfires that broke out on Monday west and northeast of Athens and have so far led to over 70 deaths, have emerged as the latest fire disaster to hit Europe’s south.

 

RAE seeks power generator licensing improvements

RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, has taken action aimed at improving licensing procedures for the installation of power generators.

The matter has been the cause of friction between the authority and PPC, the main power utility, which, in the past, has criticized RAE for delaying the issuance of licenses needed to install power generators on islands. PPC argued these delays have negatively impacted the power utility and electricity consumers on islands.

PPC has also criticized the regulatory authority for failing to recognize transportation and installation costs concerning mobile power generators used on non-interconnected islands. The power utility had undertaken such initiatives without previous approval from RAE. Costs for such ventures are recoverable only in cases for which production licences have been issued.

The dispute between the two sides, dating back to 2016, was eventually resolved but matters concerning the issuance of licenses, especially the need to hasten the process, remained pending.

It remains to be seen whether the new framework decided on by RAE will help hasten licensing procedures.

RAE has pointed out that restrictions concerning the use of mobile power generators, which run on diesel and mazut, are necessary as a result of EU climate change policies and emission targets set by the Paris climate accord.