The last winter days are coming to the end. We are looking forward to welcome spring. Sunshine and warm beams will light up the cities and countries however for those who just can`t wait the beginning of spring, we offer to plunge into the hot volcano of the latest global energy news and tendencies right now. Last winter Friday spills the beans over:
1. Green energy vs. coal in Europe. For the first time ever the European Union generated more electricity from renewables than from coal in 2017. The figures are based on near-complete electricity market data from each of the 28 EU member states. The report was published by the Sandbag (Great Britain) and Agora Energiewende (Germany) centers of climate changes research. The results of the year 2017 prove the electricity consumption increased in the EU by 0,7%. The analysis also shows that the share of renewables in the various EU countries is growing very unevenly. In the past three years, for example, the United Kingdom and Germany have contributed to more than half of the increase in renewables – wind energy in particular is playing a major role here. In Germany, in 2017, 30 percent of the electricity was generated from wind, solar and biomass, and 28 percent in the United Kingdom. The strongest percentage growth was recorded in Denmark: in 2017, 74 percent of the electricity produced there came from wind, solar and biomass, a rise of seven percentage points. The strong growth in a few countries is contrasted with very low growth in many other EU countries: anemic growth throughout the decade can be observed in Slovenia, Bulgaria, France, Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Hungary. It is to be mentioned as well the renewables are being developed not only in the European Union. 2016 marked the boom in the solar power plants all over the world in comparison to the colar power plants. The International Energy Agency claims the solar power plants capacity grew up to 74 GW while coal ones only to 57 GW. Well, green generation is hence winning in 2017.
2. Integration of Western Balkans into the Pan-European Energy Market. The report of the Energy Community Secretariat provides the overview of the progress made by the Western Balkan members of the Energy Community towards integration with the European Union in the energy sectors. Director of the Energy Community Secretariat, Mr Janez Kopač, said: “While the Energy Community has proved to be an effective instrument in facilitating and accelerating EU-inspired energy reforms in the Western Balkans, stark differences between the six aspiring EU members persist. Moreover, it is vital that the Western Balkans do not get left behind in the clean energy transition.” As outlined in the report, Montenegro is the frontrunner in terms of compliance with obligations under the Energy Community Treaty. Serbia is performing well on the books but is slow in real implementation of the acquis in wording and spirit. The two countries have started EU accession talks. They are followed by Albania and former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, both having obtained EU candidate country status and currently at a crossroads between accelerating and stagnating with energy sector reforms. Finally, Bosnia and Herzegovina, as aspiring potential candidate for EU membership, lags behind the others. Owing the facts outlined above, the European Union should provide expert assistance and support of the energy policy of the Balkan countries on the highest level.
3. 43 m € to develop the power systems of Moldova. The European Union will invest about 43 m € on the energy projects of Moldova in order to improve the infrastructure and supply of the clear water and electricity. The Moldovan Ministry of agriculture, regional development and environment protection provided the following information. Implementation of the project is crucial both for the Moldovan government and for the local authorities. It will be implemented along with the project of GIZ (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit), namely “Modernization of the local state services in Moldova”. Up to 200 thousand of citizens from 22 cities of Moldova will now have an access to the improved energy infrastructure. Moreover, owing the EU assistance the other energy projects will be fulfilled as well, as mentioned Liviu Volkonovich, Minister. Peter Michalko, Head of the EU delegation in Moldova, stated the EU assistance would improve the quality of living of many Moldovan citizens. The diplomat emphasized the projects implementation would be permanently controlled by the European experts. The first tranche of the financial assistance will amount up to 3 € and it will be used for the technical specifications development whereas the rest of assets will be ised for the implementation of the projects until 2019. The assistance previews implementation of about 8 projects in the state energy efficiency sphere. In particular, about 300 km of water supply and sewage systems and 7 treatment plants will be built, as well as energy consumption in 10 state institutions will be reduced. For small Moldova, such scale of modernization, is really significant.
4. Energy reforms of Singapore. The Singapore Government has confirmed plans to implement a carbon tax from 2019. The tax rate will start at $5 (£2.7) per tonne of greenhouse gas emissions until 2023, following which it will increase to between $10 (£5.4) and $15 (£8) per tonne of emissions by 2030. Announcing the plans as part of the Budget, Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat said major facilities that produce more than 25,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions will be affected. They account for around 80% of the nation’s emissions.
The government expects the carbon tax to encourage businesses to take measures to cut emissions. It stated: “Companies that do so will be more competitive, as more countries impose tighter limits on their carbon emissions and international agreements on climate change like the Paris Agreement take effect. There will also be new opportunities in areas like sustainable energy and clean technology.”
5. Energy out of air. New start-up Moya Power was presented in London– a lightweight, flexible sheeting material that can independently harvest low grade wind energy in a variety of locations. The company is researching and developing a clean wind energy solution that does not rely on prime real estate or expensive infrastructure. Moya Power is a wind energy harvesting, flexible sheeting material that is designed to scavenge-off low grade wind energy, which is most abundantly found against existing infrastructure. This involves vibrations and low speed, turbulent winds generating power 24 hours a day, which can be mounted on otherwise unused surfaces, hidden from public view. Due to its light and flexible design, Moya Power can be located in dark and hard-to-reach areas, that is, where other power solutions will not work. In addition, the dimensions of piezoelectric threads can be optimized for different wind conditions. The pilot plant has already been launched in London. If Moya Power shows significant results, such devices may appear elsewhere in future. For example, skyscrapers, industrial zones, or any other windy areas of cities have great potential.