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IEA becomes Facilitator of Biofuture Platform

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IEA Executive Director Dr Fatih Birol (left) with outgoing Biofuture Platform interim Facilitator Ambassador José Antônio Marcondes de Carvalho, Undersecretary General for the Environment, Energy and Science and Technology, at COP24 on 10 December, 2018 (Photograph: IEA)

The International Energy Agency officially took over on 1 February as the Facilitator of the Biofuture Platform, a group of 20 countries seeking to accelerate development and scale up deployment of modern sustainable low carbon alternatives to fossil based solutions in transport, chemicals, plastics and other sectors.

Since its launch in November 2016, the Biofuture Platform has worked closely with the IEA on a range of efforts, including analysis and promotion of innovative bioenergy technology, effective policies, sustainability governance and multilateral collaboration. Last year, the IEA’s Renewables 2018 identified modern bioenergy as the “overlooked giant” among renewables, noting that it corresponds to 50% of the total consumption of renewable energy.

The transition of the Facilitator role to the IEA reinforces the Biofuture Platform’s commitment to shared leadership and international dialogue and collaboration on sustainable bioenergy. The IEA will work closely under the guidance of the Biofuture Platform’s 20 member countries to design and implement a plan of work in pursuit of the Platform’s mission. In particular, the IEA will work very closely with the Platform’s Core Group, which is led by Brazil and also includes India, the United Kingdom, Canada, and The Netherlands.

In addition, the IEA will seek to further deepen its engagement and strengthen collaboration with bioenergy frontrunners from governments, industry and academia, as well as other partnerships, including the IEA Bioenergy Technology Collaboration Programme.

The 20 members of the Biofuture Platform are: Argentina, Brazil, Canada, China, Denmark, Egypt, Finland, France, India, Indonesia, Italy, Morocco, Mozambique, the Netherlands, Paraguay, the Philippines, Sweden, United Kingdom, United States and Uruguay.

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EU gas market: New rules agreed will also cover gas pipelines entering the EU

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New rules setting out a clear regulatory framework to operate gas pipelines inside the EU and from non-EU countries were provisionally agreed between MEPs and member states.

An overhaul of EU gas market rules was informally agreed on Tuesday evening. The amended rules will cover both internal EU gas pipelines as well as all gas pipelines from non-EU countries into the EU, creating legal clarity for existing and new gas infrastructure.

he rule stating that ownership of gas transmission infrastructure must be separate from that of the gas already applies to EU pipelines. With the new legislation, this would be applicable to all gas pipelines in the EU as a general rule, even if they originate outside of the European Union, with the possibility for derogations for existing gas pipelines and exemptions for new ones.

New gas pipelines from non-EU countries

The new rules give exclusive competence to the EU when it comes to agreements on new EU gas lines with non-EU countries. The member state in which the pipeline’s first entry point is located shall consult the non-EU country concerned before deciding on an exemption based on EU rules. The Commission will take the binding decision on whether to grant the exemption. If the member state’s assessment differs from that of the Commission, it is the Commission’s assessment which prevails.

The Commission may also authorise a member state to open negotiations with a non-EU country, unless it considers this to be in conflict with EU law or detrimental to competition or security of supply. Before signing such an agreement, the member state shall notify the text of the agreement to the Commission and receive its authorisation to sign.

The European Parliament also included in the text that under no circumstances should an agreement between a member state and a non-EU country lead to the implementation of this directive being delayed. Member states will have nine months to bring their national legislation in line with this directive.

Existing gas pipelines from non-EU countries

For derogations for existing pipelines (connected to EU pipelines before the entry into force of this directive), the member state in which the first entry point of the pipeline is located may derogate from the new rules, provided this derogation is not detrimental to competition in the EU. Member states can decide on a derogation within one year after the entry into force of the directive. If the pipeline is located in the territory of more than one member state, it shall consult the other member states before granting such a derogation.

After the deal was reached, rapporteur Jerzy Buzek (EPP, PL) said: “Many wanted to see these negotiations fail as, without this agreement, EU rules would not be applicable to gas pipelines from non-EU countries. With today’s deal, all future gas pipelines from non-EU countries, including Nord Stream 2, will have to abide by EU rules. This has always been the main goal of the European Parliament and I am delighted that this is today confirmed in the agreement with the Council.”

Next steps

The deal will now be put to the Industry, Research and Energy Committee and plenary for approval as well as to the Council. The Directive will enter into force 20 days after publication in the Official Journal.

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Share of renewable energy in the EU up to 17.5% in 2017

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In 2017, the share of energy from renewable sources in gross final consumption of energy, in the European Union (EU), reached 17.5%, up from 17.0% in 2016 and more than double the share in 2004 (8.5%), the first year for which the data are available.

The share of renewables in gross final consumption of energy is one of the headline indicators of the Europe 2020 strategy. The EU’s target is to obtain 20% of energy in gross final consumption of energy from renewable sources by 2020 and at least 32% by 2030.

These figures come from an article issued by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union.

Highest share of renewables in Sweden, lowest in Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Malta

Since 2004, the share of renewable sources in gross final consumption of energy grew significantly in all Member States. Compared with 2016, it has increased in 19 of the 28 Member States.

With more than half (54.5%) of its energy coming from renewable sources in its gross final consumption of energy, Sweden had by far the highest share in 2017, ahead of Finland (41.0%), Latvia (39.0%), Denmark (35.8%) and Austria  (32.6%)  At  the  opposite  end  of  the  scale,  the  lowest  proportions  of  renewables  were  registered in Luxembourg (6.4%), the Netherlands (6.6%) and Malta (7.2%).

The Netherlands and France: furthest away from their goals

Each EU Member State has its own Europe 2020 target. The national targets take into account the Member States’ different starting points, renewable energy potential and economic performance. Among the 28 EU Member States, 11 have already reached the level required to meet their national 2020 targets: Bulgaria, Czechia, Denmark, Estonia, Croatia, Italy, Lithuania, Hungary, Romania, Finland and Sweden. Moreover, Latvia and Austria are around 1 percentage point (pp) away from theirs 2020 targets. At the opposite end of the scale, the Netherlands (7.4 pp from its national 2020 objective), France (6.7 pp), Ireland (5.3 pp), the United Kingdom (4.8 pp), Luxembourg (4.6 pp), Poland (4.1 pp) and Belgium (3.9 pp) are the furthest away from their targets.

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New Initiatives on Renewable Energy Launched at World Government Summit 2019

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With thousands of high-level delegates convening in Dubai for the UAE-led global platform dedicated to shaping the future of governments worldwide, this year’s World Government Summit is setting the agenda for the next generation of governments, focusing on how they can harness innovation and technology to solve universal challenges facing humanity.

One of the Summit’s main areas of focus is the leveraging of knowledge, technology and international cooperation to accelerate the implementation of UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Opening WGS2019, U.N. Deputy-Secretary General Amina J. Mohammed set the agenda by sending an urgent call to delegates, noting that the achievement of the SDGs is not on track, with potentially life-threatening consequences for billions of people, and serious environmental consequences.

To overcome these challenges, the Summit convenes Global Councils on the SDGs, a unique interdisciplinary network of decision-makers from governments, international organizations, academia and the private sector coming together to share innovative practices and creative solutions needed for the implementation of the SDGs at national and global levels. As Chair of the Global Council on SDG7, the UN goal to ensure access to affordable, reliable and modern energy for all by 2030, the work of IRENA Director-General Adnan Z. Amin supports the development of innovative solutions to harness the potential of renewable energy for energy access, gender equality and the empowerment of women, healthcare, and other goals under the sustainable development agenda. “SDG7 touches on all SDG areas. Through renewable energy solutions we can provide sustainable, low-cost energy to drive the Agenda 2030 forward,” Adnan Amin re-iterated to delegates during WGS19.

Following a dynamic and highly engaged meeting of the Global Council on SDG7 yesterday, the Council announced a number of new initiatives aimed at shifting SDG implementation into high gear through renewable energy. These include:

  • Set up collaboration platform for electrification of health centers – aimed at exploring how renewable energy can overcome pressing health gaps.
  • Promote certification schemes for solar PV technicians – focused on expanding training for technicians to meet growing renewable energy demand.
  • Explore 100% renewable energy pathway – aimed at moving renewable energy penetration far beyond electricity supply into all end use sectors.

IRENA’s Director-General, alongside former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, French Prime Minister Laurent Fabius, UN General Assembly President Maria Espinosa and many others, took part in a rich round table discussion on the nexus between climate and health issues convened by the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment and hosted Minister Dr Thani Al Zeyoudi. Mr Amin reminded the panel that this is the time to propose concrete solutions, and that much greater concrete policy action is needed to accelerate the energy revolution.

IRENA

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