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.”
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.
IRENA and UN agree to jointly combat desertification through renewables
The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) and the Secretariat of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) are joining forces to support climate adaptation and resilience and to implement UN Sustainable Development Goals through renewables.
In a Memorandum of Understanding signed today by IRENA’s Director-General Francesco La Camera and UNCCD’s Executive Secretary Ibrahim Thiaw, the two organisations have agreed to increase renewable energy capacity building and investment on the ground, get a better understanding of the land and renewable energy nexus and undertake joint outreach activities. The agreement was signed on the sidelines of the Conference of Parties to the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (COP14) which currently takes place in New Delhi, India.
“Today, renewable energy is the most effective climate action tool available. But renewables can play an important role in combating desertification and land degradation too”, said IRENA’s Director-General Francesco La Camera. “By signing today’s MoU, we intend to strengthen collaboration with the UN on country and regional support activities that accelerate renewables deployment as a component of a broader strategy to expand access to energy, foster sustainable development, biodiversity and climate resilience.”
“Renewable energy is one of the solutions to restore land, as it can help conserve food or develop irrigation systems. There are a lot of areas for cooperation,” UNCCD’s Executive Secretary Ibrahim Thiaw said, adding that he expects renewable energy to be among the issues that could come up as a request from our Parties, in their efforts to halt and reverse land degradation.
Sustainable energy can stimulate land restoration and conservation efforts and improve the economic sustainability of projects undertaken. For example, renewables can electrify rural health centers, provide solutions in the agri-food sector and alleviate poverty through integrated rural community development projects. In regions like Africa and particularly the Sahel, additional bioenergy production through land restoration activities can generate further benefits by lightening the burden of energy in security while generating employment and income, thereby reducing poverty.
ADB-Supported Solar Project in Cambodia Achieves Lowest-Ever Tariff in ASEAN
The auction for 60 megawatts (MW) of solar photovoltaic (PV) capacity conducted by Electricite du Cambodge (EDC), Cambodia’s national electricity utility, has led to the lowest bid of 3.877 cents (US dollar) per kilowatt hour by Prime Road Alternative Company Limited. The project, supported by the Asian Development Bank (ADB), drew 26 bidders, including several global companies, and has achieved the lowest power purchase tariff for a solar project so far recorded in Southeast Asia.
The 60 MW project is part of a 100 MW National Solar Park and is structured as a public–private partnership. EDC is providing the land and transmission access, while the private sector will provide power generation capacity based on a long-term power purchase agreement with EDC. ADB served as the transaction advisor for the project, through the Office of Public–Private Partnerships, while also providing a sovereign loan blended with climate finance funds to finance the transmission line and substation for the solar park. The project preparation work was carried out by ADB with the support of the governments of Canada and Singapore.
“The record low prices show the power of competition. This is a new era for renewable energy development in Cambodia and the region, and particularly for solar power generation. This is good news for EDC and the people of Cambodia,” said the Director of ADB’s Office of Public–Private Partnerships Mr. Siddharta Shah. “We believe more governments in the region will adopt auction as a strategy to procure renewable energy generation capacity, and this structure and tariff will serve as a benchmark for future projects.”
“Expanding solar generation is aligned with the country’s goal of increasing access to affordable and reliable sources of electricity,” said ADB Principal Climate Change Specialist Mr. Pradeep Tharakan. “ADB, as a trusted development partner of the government, is working toward the long-term development of the energy sector in the country.”
ADB’s other ongoing support to the country’s energy sector includes financing for the expansion and strengthening of the national grid; the development of a comprehensive power development plan through 2040; and the piloting of innovative technologies, including energy storage systems.
IEA and ASEAN: “Key strategic partners” in pursuit of Southeast Asia’s energy goals
Dr Fatih Birol, the IEA’s Executive Director, took part in the 37th ASEAN Ministers of Energy Meeting (AMEM) in Bangkok on 4 September.
Dr Birol gave the opening presentation of the AMEM, discussing with Ministers the energy challenges facing ASEAN, as set out in the IEA’s forthcoming 2019 Southeast Asia Energy Outlook, and presenting the results of the IEA’s extensive work with ASEAN. As part of this, he highlighted the results of the IEA’s work in response to the ministerial mandates it received at the 2018 AMEM in Singapore, related to how the region can boost regional power trade, boost energy efficiency and speed up renewables integration.
ASEAN ministers released a Joint Ministerial Statement at the completion of the AMEM that expressed their “appreciation to the IEA Executive Director for contributing to stronger ASEAN-IEA institutional ties and advancing ASEAN energy priorities.” They confirmed that “the IEA is a key strategic partner to ASEAN in helping the region tackle its energy challenges across all fuels and all technologies”. Ministers also called for further “strengthening of the ASEAN-IEA partnership in 2019-2020, specifically through joint projects to increase regional power trade and renewables integration, enhance buildings energy efficiency, boost energy security and enhance energy data quality.”
On the margins of AMEM, Dr Birol met with ministers from various Southeast Asian countries, including three IEA Association countries (Indonesia, Thailand and Singapore) and the next AMEM chair, Viet Nam, to discuss the IEA’s engagement with the region and with the countries bilaterally.
While in Bangkok, Dr Birol also gave a special address at the ASEAN Energy Business Forum. His remarks focused on key global trends in energy markets and their implications for Southeast Asia.
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