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European Commission approves 3 support measures for renewable energy in Denmark

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The European Commission has approved under EU State aid rules three schemes to support electricity production from wind and solar in Denmark in 2018 and 2019.

Denmark has a goal of supplying 50% of its energy consumption from renewable energy sources by 2030 and to become independent from fossil fuels by 2050. In line with this goal, the Danish authorities will implement three measures supporting renewable energy:

  • A multi-technology tender scheme for onshore and offshore wind turbines and solar installations, with a budget of DKK 842 million (€112 million). The beneficiaries of the aid will be selected through two tenders organised in 2018 and 2019, with the different technologies competing with each other. The selected installations will offer their electricity on the market and receive support in the form of a premium on top of the market price (top-up payment).
  • An aid scheme for onshore wind for test and demonstration projects outside the two national test centres for large wind turbines, with an expected budget of DKK 200 million (€27 million), and a transitional aid scheme for onshore wind, with a budget of DKK 40 million (€5 million).

The aid for the three schemes will be granted for a period of 20 years from the time of the connection to the grid. The renewable support schemes are financed from the State budget.

The Commission assessed all three schemes under EU State aid rules, in particular the Commission’s 2014 Guidelines on State Aid for Environmental Protection and Energy. It found that the three Danish schemes will encourage the development of offshore and onshore wind and solar technologies, in line with the requirements of the Guidelines.

On this basis, the Commission concluded that the measures will help Denmark boost the share of electricity produced from renewable energy sources, in line with the environmental objectives of the EU, while any distortion of competition caused by the state support is minimised.

Background

The Commission’s 2014 Guidelines on State Aid for Environmental Protection and Energy allow Member States to support the production of electricity from renewable energy sources, subject to certain conditions. These rules are aimed at meeting the EU’s ambitious energy and climate targets at the least possible cost for taxpayers and without undue distortions of competition in the Single Market.

The Renewable Energy Directive established targets for all Member States’ shares of renewable energy sources in gross final energy consumption by 2020. For Denmark, that target is 30% by 2020. Furthermore, Denmark has a goal of supplying 50% of its energy consumption from renewable energy sources by 2030 and to become independent from fossil fuels by 2050. All three schemes aim to contribute to reaching those targets.

More information on today’s decision will be available, once potential confidentiality issues have been resolved, in the State aid register on the Commission’s competition website under the case numbers SA.49918, SA.50715 and SA.50717. The State Aid Weekly e-News lists new publications of State aid decisions on the internet and in the EU Official Journal.

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Power sector leads the way decarbonising the Irish energy sector

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Ireland has successfully advanced the transformation of its energy sector, led primarily by the power sector. In 2017, about a quarter of the country’s total power generation came from wind power, the third highest share among all 30 IEA member countries, according to the latest review of Ireland’s energy policies by the International Energy Agency.

The Irish electricity system can already accommodate up to 65% of variable wind and solar generation, without risking security of supply. This is one of the highest shares globally, and a testimony to the country’s innovation and research capacity.

Ireland’s overall energy system remains  heavily reliant on fossil fuels, and with energy consumption projected to rise with population growth, Ireland will need to meet its future energy needs through low-carbon and energy efficient solutions in order to keep carbon emissions in check. Ireland is not on course to meet its emissions reduction and renewable energy targets for 2020, which means that reaching its 2030 targets is also in question.

“Ireland has become a world leader in system integration of renewables thanks in large part to strong policies and commitment to innovation” said Paul Simons, IEA Deputy Executive Director, who presented the report in Ireland. “Building on this success, we advise the government to urgently implement additional measures and monitor  their  progress to get the country back on track to meet its long-term climate targets.”

Efforts to manage emissions could include building on the success of its broad set of existing energy efficiency policies and the many new policies that have come into force since 2017, supported by a substantial increase in funding. Ireland’s commitment to efficiency is highlighted by its decision to host the IEA’s 4th Annual Global Conference on Energy Efficiency in Dublin in June 2019.

Decarbonising heating in buildings is a particular challenge for Ireland because of a highly dispersed population living in single-family dwellings, which, compared to other IEA countries, still feature a high share of individual oil-heating systems. As Ireland has already achieved significant reductions in energy intensity, attention should now shift to switching from fossil fuels towards more renewable energy sources in heat production.

Since January 2019, all new buildings must install renewable energy systems to ensure that the expansion of the building stock does not lock-in carbon fuel consumption. Decarbonising heat in the existing building stock is more challenging; especially in the rental sector. In its report, the IEA recommends a two pronged strategy: complementing attractive financial incentives for landlords along with the introduction of minimum energy efficiency standards where needed.

Moving towards a low-carbon energy system will also ease concerns over Ireland’s security of supply, given its limited domestic hydrocarbon resources and geography that makes a full integration into larger European energy markets challenging.

Ireland is one of the few countries that taxes all carbon fuels, an effective instrument for reducing demand and enhancing energy efficiency. But the carbon tax rate has not changed since 2014 and, with rising living standards, its impact on customer behaviour is weakening. The IEA encourages the Irish government to introduce an automatic upward adjustment of the tax when pre-set emission targets are not met.

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IEA country review: Sweden is a leader in the energy transition

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Sweden is a global leader in building a low-carbon economy, with the lowest share of fossil fuels in its primary energy supply among all IEA member countries, and the second-lowest carbon-intensive economy.

Sweden has been successful in its energy transformation through market-based policies that focus on energy efficiency and renewable energy, notably CO2 taxation, which has helped drive decarbonisation across several sectors.

Sweden’s energy policy is also well-integrated with its climate objectives, according to the latest review of the country’s energy policies conducted by the International Energy Agency. In the 2016 Energy Agreement and the Climate Framework from 2017, Sweden set ambitious targets, including the long-term goal of zero net emissions by 2045. But additional action is needed to achieve these results, as the country’s total carbon emissions have been flat since 2013.

“Sweden has shown that ambitious energy transition policies can accompany strong economic growth” said Paul Simons, the IEA’s Deputy Executive Director. “With the Energy Agreement now in place, the time has come to implement a clear roadmap towards the long term target of carbon neutrality.”

The report pays special attention to transport-related emissions. This sector accounts for less than a quarter of Sweden’s final energy consumption, but over half of its energy-related CO2 emissions. Sweden has set a target to reduce transport emissions by 70% between 2010 and 2030.

The government has also introduced several new policies including a bonus/penalty system to support new low‑emission vehicles and measures to increase the use of biofuels. However, Sweden is not yet on a trajectory towards its 2030 target, and the IEA recommends that the government closely monitors developments,  and strengthens policy measures as needed.

The electricity system is another important element in Sweden’s energy transition. Sweden has largely decarbonised its electricity generation through investments in  nuclear power, hydropower, and most recently, other renewables. This is an important achievement that needs to be sustained. Sweden has not taken a formal position against the construction of new nuclear plants and most existing nuclear power plants are expected to run for the next several decades before being phased out. That said, there is little interest to invest in new reactors in the current market.  Meanwhile, Sweden has set an ambitious target of achieving 100% renewable electricity generation by 2040. The IEA recommends the government carefully assess how to reach that target and what the implications will be for grid stability and security of supply.

One key factor for maintaining a secure electricity supply is the regional power market. Sweden is well‑connected with its Nordic and Baltic neighbours and has become a large net exporter of  electricity. As the share of wind power continues to increase, supported by green electricity certificates, regional trade becomes even more important.

“The Nordic power market is an excellent example of how countries can benefit from closer collaboration,” said Mr Simons. “We recommend further market integration to support the continued energy transition in the region.” 

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ADB Expands Circular Economy With SUS’s Low Carbon Eco-Industrial Parks In China

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ADB signed a $100 million loan with Shanghai SUS Environment Company Limited, to support low-carbon eco-industrial park waste-to-energy projects in the People’s Republic of China. Photo: ADB

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) signed a $100 million loan with Shanghai SUS Environment Company Limited (SUS) to finance a portfolio of innovative and socially inclusive waste-to-energy (WTE) facilities within low carbon eco-industrial parks (EIPs) in the People’s Republic of China (PRC).  

This marks ADB’s first eco-industrial park waste-to-energy project. The project will utilize state-of-the-art incineration and emission treatment technologies, treat municipal solid waste (MSW) sustainably, supply clean electricity to the grid, and have the potential to supply power and steam to treat different types of waste within the EIPs. 

ADB’s loan to SUS will expand the PRC’s low-carbon circular economy and make cities more livable, through integrated urban waste management systems. The project will mitigate climate change through increased renewable energy generation and reduction of landfill-generated methane.

“SUS is a pioneer in the PRC’s environmental protection industry. SUS’s waste-to-energy facilities can meet stringent air emissions standards, recycle resources within the eco-industrial parks, and are community centric with its onsite waste museums and artistic architectures,” said Infrastructure Finance Division Director for Southeast Asia, East Asia, and the Pacific at ADB’s Private Sector Operations Department Mr. Jackie Surtani. 

“The cooperation with ADB will help SUS to accelerate the development of multiple projects and enable us to provide better services to the people and government where WTE projects are needed. SUS welcomes this unique opportunity to establish a long-term partnership with ADB,” said Mr. Long Jisheng, SUS Chairman and Chief Executive Officer.

The PRC is the world’s largest producer of MSW, generating about 215 million tons in 2017. This is expected to increase to 500 million tons per year by 2025. The facilities to be financed under this project will utilize clean and state-of-the-art incineration technology to process about 4,800 tons of MSW per day. Overall, the WTE facilities will treat 1.75 million tons of MSW, generate 437.5 gigawatt-hours of clean energy, and reduce carbon dioxide equivalent emissions by about 1.17 million tons annually.

The project will also generate 150 new jobs, including over 30 new jobs to women in operations and open career opportunities through technical training to female staff.

Established in 2008, SUS is a leading environmental protection company headquartered in Shanghai. SUS provides equipment and design capacity for grate incineration technology for WTE plants and develops and operates WTE plants and eco-industrial parks in the PRC. SUS is a licensee of Hitachi Zosen Corporation, a leading global WTE engineering company with more than 820 WTE units in commercial operations globally. CITIC Private Equity Funds Management Co., Ltd. invested in SUS in 2014 and is SUS’s largest shareholder.

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