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.


RES generation in EU captures record share of energy mix

Renewable energy generation captured a record-high 35 percent share of the EU’s energy mix in the fourth quarter of 2019, up from 31 percent a year earlier, primarily as a result of record generation levels registered by the hydropower and wind energy sectors, latest European Commission data has shown.

Hydropower production rose significantly, by over 16 TWh year to year, while major gains were achieved by the wind energy sector, whose onshore wind farms grew by 9 TWh, or 9 percent year to year, and offshore wind farms registered a record year-to-year increase of 3.3 TWh, 18 percent.

Overall RES generation in December totaled 105 TWh, a new record level for the month, as a result of favorable conditions for wind farms and record hydropower production levels.

On the contrary, the energy mix share of fossil fuel fell to 39 percent in the fourth quarter of 2019, down from 42 percent a year earlier.

Greenhouse gas emissions in EU electricity generation fell by approximately 12 percent in 2019 as a result of the increase in RES production and a turn from coal to gas.

CO2 emission right costs increased by 57 percent year to year, to 25 euros per ton, according to the European Commission data.



Energy savings a key factor for new NECP’s ambitious objectives

Energy savings, or, more specifically, a reduction of the environmental footprint of buildings and vehicles, will be a key factor in the government’s ambitious objectives included in the new National Energy and Climate Plan (NECP).

The plan, to be presented to market officials today at a Bank of Greece event, reduces a 2030 energy consumption reduction target set in 2007 by 38.5 percent.

The country’s previous Syriza-led administration had initially set a reduction target of 27 percent before revising this figure to a more aggressive – yet non-binding – 30 percent and finally accepting a European Commission decision last year for 32.5 percent. This was the target officially adopted for the previous NECP by former energy minister Giorgos Stathakis.

Seen, at the time, as highly ambitious for the standards of a country such as Greece, the NECP’s energy consumption reduction target has now been pushed even higher, by six percentage points.

Approximately 600,000 buildings will need to be made more energy efficient by 2030 if the target is to be achieved. Also, at least 82,000 new electric cars must enter the country’s fleet by 2030, from a mere 315 last year. Generous incentives will need to be offered if these numbers are to be reached.


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.)

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European Parliament proposes 550g rule exceptions

Energy committee officials, meeting in European Parliament to revise an electricity market directive, have delivered a new proposal whose implementation would subject conventional power plants to a CO2 emission limit of 200 kilograms per KWh per year, as long as these plants belong to a category of back-up units that would contribute to the system only when necessary.

A decision has already been reached to exclude any plants that emit more than 550g of CO2 per KWh from public money, through eligibility for support mechanisms.

The latest proposal would offer some leeweay to plants exceeding this 550g limit, as long as they have qualified for the back-up reserve category.

The energy committee MEPs noted that power plants belonging to this back-up category are entitled to different emission limits as they will remain sidelined and called to action only if capacity mechanisms have proved to be insufficient. Subsequently, these back-up units will not cause the type of market distortions that could be caused by capacity mechanisms, officials agreed.

This additional proposal, offering some leniency, comes as an effort to bridge gaps between EU member states. Poland, for example, has reacted strongly against the 550g limit, noting it will affect the country’s electricity production.

IEA: Greater energy demand to offset RES penetration emission benefits

RES penetration in the global energy mix stands to experience rapid growth but, even so, CO2 emissions will rise slightly, compared to current levels, as a result of an increase in primary energy demand over the next 25 years, according to an IEA World Energy Outlook 207 report covering 2016 to 2040.

This essentially means current CO2 emission concerns will remain an issue in the years ahead and obstruct climate change objectives from being reached, unless far more ambitious policies, an unlikely prospect, are applied.

Over the next 25 years, the world’s growing energy needs will first be met by renewables and natural gas, as fast-declining costs turn solar power into the cheapest source of new electricity generation, the IEA report notes.

Global energy demand is expected to be 30 percent higher by 2040, half as much as it would have been without efficiency improvements, according to the report.

It added that the boom years for coal are over — in the absence of large-scale carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS) — and rising oil demand will slow down but not reversed before 2040 even as electric-car sales rise steeply.

Solar PV is set to lead capacity additions, pushed by deployment in China and India, while, in the EU, wind stands to become the leading source of electricity soon after 2030, according to the IEA report.

“Solar is forging ahead in global power markets as it becomes the cheapest source of electricity generation in many places, including China and India,” noted Dr Fatih Birol, the IEA’s executive director. “Electric vehicles (EVs) are in the fast lane as a result of government support and declining battery costs but it is far too early to write the obituary of oil, as growth for trucks, petrochemicals, shipping and aviation keep pushing demand higher. The US will become the undisputed leader for oil and gas production for decades, which represents a major upheaval for international market dynamics.”

These themes – as well as the future role of oil and gas in the energy mix, how clean-energy technologies are deploying, and the need for more investment in CCUS – were among the key topics discussed by the world’s energy leaders at the IEA’s 2017 Ministerial Meeting in Paris last week.


EU council meeting on emissions underway in Luxembourg

Sokratis Famellos, deputy minister for the environment and energy, is taking part in a meeting of the European Council for the Protection of the Environment, now underway in Luxembourg.

Among the items on the agenda are emissions of gases into the atmosphere and implementation of the Paris Agreement.

“The ministers will discuss two legislative proposals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in sectors that are not covered by the ETS regulation system. In addition, the Council will take decisions on the Paris Agreement before the 23rd session of the COP23 in Bonn,” the European Council announced.


EU carbon discharge limit plan could backfire, Eurelectric warns

A European Commission proposal that would impose a carbon discharge limit of 550 grams per kilowatt on power generators may backfire as a result of high costs, failure to achieve decarbonisation objectives, and its disproportionately large impact on east and southeast European countries, Eurelectric, a group representing power generators across the European Union, has warned.

The European Commission’s 550 grams per kilowatt limit for power generators is intended to allow them to take part in capacity mechanisms.

This law would begin applying five years after its implementation for existing units and take immediate effect for new power generating facilities.