Among the continuous flows of information, Ukrenergo always selects exclusively interesting news, useful for the true energy aesthetes. Welcome to our 5-minute journey through energy spaces. Make yourself comfortable – today we are talking about the following.
1.HSBC to Terminate Coal Energy Financing. HSBC, one of the world’s largest banks, has published their new “Energy Policy,” identifying the energy sectors the Bank will no longer support. In this regard, it means that HSBC will stop financing the construction of new coal-fired power plants in all countries with the exception of Bangladesh, Indonesia and Vietnam. However, even this exception is temporary and stems from the necessity to balance local energy needs. The Bank will consider the possibility of supporting new coal generation projects in these countries separately in each specific case and finance them exclusively when generating facilities meet certain emission standards (no more than 810 g of CO2 per kWh). Moreover, HSBC takes on a voluntary commitment not to finance oil and gas projects in the Arctic, new projects for the extraction of oil from oil sands and large hydroelectric dams unless they meet the requirements of the World Commission on Dams, as well as nuclear projects failing to meet the IAEA standards. In addition to full prohibitions, the new Energy Policy establishes a “special order” for cooperation with a number of industries characterized by increased environmental and climatic risks. By 2030, all electricity consumed by the Bank should originate from renewable energy sources. In 2017, HSBC purchased 27 percent of its electricity from green energy producers. It is worth noting that the refusal of financial organizations to finance coal business is becoming an increasingly frequent phenomenon. For example, last year Deutsche Bank also announced that it and its subsidiaries would not provide new funding for coal mining and coal-fired power generation projects.
2.Off-Grid Solutions Project from Panasonic. Panasonic Corporation has announced the launch of a project for people without electricity access, so-called Off-Grid Solutions. The initiative combines educational measures to promote a common understanding of electricity and provide people with relevant products to resolve power supply problems. The Off-Grid Solutions project falls within the scope of corporate social responsibility of the Japanese company, which, by the way, celebrates the centenary of its establishment this year. This new initiative aims to support the creation of a sustainable society, where every person who lives without access to electricity is able to lead an independent life. Panasonic will donate its products, such as solar energy generation and storage systems, provide trainings to educate human resources and help develop local business models. These measures will also contribute to the expansion of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. The new project is primarily aimed at communities in Asia and Africa with a high level of off-grid population. Panasonic will cooperate with non-governmental organizations that are already working on the resolution of such social problems within these communities. The project will be launched in Indonesia (January 2018-December 2019), then in Myanmar (April 2018-March 2020) and Kenya. Moreover, its operation will be gradually expanded to other regions and countries. Undoubtedly, this is a magnificent initiative from the Japanese technological giant.
3.New Markets for Electricity. According to the National Energy Administration (NEA), China plans to launch the first spot markets for real-time electricity sales in eight regions of the country. Such steps were promoted by Beijing’s aspirations to accelerate the liberalization of electricity prices, currently set by the government, within the framework of the general reform of the country’s electricity market. This will allow generating companies, industrial users and distributors to trade electricity in real time at market prices. The new model will be tested in eight regions, namely, Guangdong, Western Mongolia, Zhejiang, Shanxi, Shandong, Fujian, Sichuan and Gansu. Their electricity generation in 2017 amounted to 2.6 trillion kWh, representing 42 percent of China’s total generation. Let us recall that this step became possible after these regions launched the updated electricity markets last year. China’s largest utility companies, including Huadian Corp, China Datang Group, China State Grid Corp and Three Gorges, will become the largest players in new spot markets. The NEA encouraged future market participants to provide their feedback on the project by the end of the month. There are no exact dates of the launch of markets. However, last August, the Administration indicated that they planned to introduce a new scheme by the end of 2018.
4.Near Zero-Energy Buildings in the EU by 2050. Houses consume 40 percent of energy in the EU. They also account for 36 percent of CO2 emissions in the region. Therefore, the European Parliament and the Council approved Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) 2010/31/EU in 2010. It specifies that starting from December 31, 2020 all new buildings in the EU countries should be near zero-energy ones. EPBD is one of the key elements in the European Union’s strategy aimed to combat climate change. Recently, the European Parliament has adopted amendments to this Directive. It now establishes that the entire fund of buildings in Europe must be brought to “near zero-energy consumption standard” by 2050. This means that the rate of real estate renovation will increase. According to the calculations of the European Commission, it is necessary to renovate an average of 3 percent of buildings annually. The updated Directive requires the EU member states to prepare roadmaps for the decarbonization of the real estate sector with 2030 intermediate target indicators. The new version of the Directive introduces the concept of “smartness indicator,” a new tool for measuring the ability of buildings to improve the operation of engineering systems and interact with the electrical grid, adapting energy consumption to the real needs of inhabitants. The European Commission will have to develop this concept by the end of 2019. The updated Directive also introduces requirements aimed at stimulating the development of electric transport and provides for at least one charge for electric cars in new and renovated buildings with more than 10 parking spaces. To become effective, the amendments must be approved by the Council.
5.Energizing Education. Metka Power West Africa, a subsidiary of the Greece-based Mytilineos, has signed an engineering, procurement and construction agreement with the Federal Government of Nigeria on the installation of power plants and street lighting in four local universities. The agreement also provides for operation and technical maintenance services. All four universities will be supplied with electricity through hybrid power plants, which use renewable energy sources, storages and diesel generators as a reserve and constitute a central element of the university mini-grids. This configuration will allow the objects to work completely autonomously. This decision was approved by the Nigerian government due to the low quality and unstable operation of local distribution grids. The required project AC capacity should be 7.5 MW. For this purpose, they will install solar modules with the capacity of 9.3 MW as well as energy storage devices with 5,760 batteries and diesel generators of 7.5 MW. Upon completion, all generating facilities will be owned by the central government of Nigeria, while Metka Power West Africa will be responsible for operation and maintenance during one year. This project is the first phase of the Energizing Education program developed by the Nigeria’s Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing and implemented by the country’s Rural Electrification Agency. The main objective of the program is to ensure the uninterrupted operation of a number of federal universities and university hospitals in Nigeria.