This highlights what happens every week in the energy sector that has geopolitical significance and has the power to shape the way the energy industry works. To get this report in your inbox days before it is published, subscribe here!
EU: The European Parliament voted on Jan. 17 in favor of the Renewable Energy Directive (RED) proposal. This means that negotiations with the EU Council over the proposed draft can start immediately. The negotiations between the Council and the Parliament will be an improvement of the existing EU legislation provisions so that the EU’s 2020 headline targets and the 2030 climate and energy goals are met. The members of parliament agreed on:
- a binding overall energy efficiency target of 35 percent after 2021 (member states proposed a 30 percent non-binding target last year);
- the removal of biodiesel made from palm oil from its list of biofuels that can count towards the EU’s renewables target from 2021
- a 35 percent share of renewable energy of the energy consumption in the EU in 2030;
- 12 percent of the energy consumed in transport comes from renewable sources;
- 90 percent of fuel stations along the roads of the trans-European networks be equipped with high power recharging points for electric vehicles.
To meet these proposed targets at the EU level, the nation states are asked to set their own national targets and implement their decision on the matter through the approval of a draft law that relates to Energy Union governance. While doing so, the nation states will negotiate, through the EU Council with the Parliament on the final text of the Renewable Energy Directive.
EU: The EU’s commissioner for climate action and energy Miguel Arias Cañete said on Jan. 17 that the funding climate change adaption would increase. By having 20 percent of the EU’s foreign spending allocated to climate-related projects, the EU-provided climate finance will increase in 2018. He insisted that, although public money will contribute to the renewable energy sector, it was private money that would actually bring up the “revolution” of the energy sector. In his opinion, in order for technological improvements to increase, contributing to growing energy efficiency, countries must create better investment environment.
Poland: Poland’s Energy Minister Krzysztof Tchorzewski said that Warsaw would find it almost impossible to meet an ambitious new target for renewable energy use that was backed this week by European lawmakers as they voted on the RED proposal. In the same time, the minister confirmed the government was moving forward with its plans to build a new nuclear power plant, adding that the government is “close” to deciding on the financial model for funding the project. Also this week, the Polish state-owned transmission system operator has warned, in an article published on Euractiv, that the minimal cross-zonal capacities for trade which is proposed by the latest draft of Electricity Regulation will contribute to the formation of a “fictitious” outcome for the wholesale market. The Polish operator suggests that the current directive, which was approved in December by the Council, set general requirements for the capacity calculation process and leave the details to be elaborated upon during research and design activities conducted by the national operators. The two instances are outlining Poland’s negotiation tactics with regards to the EU energy union governance.
Bulgaria: As the Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov visited Baku on Jan. 15-16, President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev said that his country, via its state energy company SOCAR would be ready to engage in Bulgaria’s gasification, at its own expense. The Southern Corridor development was also discussed, with Bulgaria already having committed to buy 1 billion cubic meters of Azerbaijani gas. Meanwhile, ICGB, the project company which is developing the gas interconnector between Greece and Bulgaria, said on Jan. 18 that the deadline for submission of offers for the owner’s engineer tender would be extended to February 13. This came after the competition regulator didn’t initiate administrative proceedings on the appeals submitted by two Bulgarian companies against the proposed public procedure. The ICGB pipeline will connect the Greek gas transmission system in the area of Komotini to the Bulgarian gas transmission system in the area of Stara Zagora and the planned pipeline capacity will be up to 3 billion cubic meters per year.
Hungary: The General Electric Hungary, a subsidiary of the American GE, won a €793 million contract to manufacture and supply the turbines for two new reactors under construction at the Paks nuclear power plant in Hungary which Rosatom, the Russian state nuclear corporation Rosatom, builds. The head of the Hungarian prime minister’s Office announced on Jan. 18 that the government will draft a plan to support the establishment of 3,000 small solar parks on farmland, each with a capacity of around 0.5 MW.
Moldova: Moldova’s Red Union Fenosa denied that its Spanish owner, Gas Natural Fenosa was selling it, as it was said in an article published in El Economista. However, Red Union Fenosa confirmed that several companies have shown interest in a potential acquisition.
Cryptocurrencies: The debate over how much power is consumed by cryptocurrency miners is growing. Considering the debate on the significant changes cryptocurrencies pose to national economies, it is likely that the debate on energy will add both to the negative (with those saying consumption is unsustainable) and to the positive (with those saying that considering cryptocurrencies are only a natural evolving “economic need”, the growing energy consumption will only push for a revolution of the energy sector and force for more renewables and new technologies come online).
Increasing pipe’s efficiency: Researchers at the Institute of Science and Technology Austria (IST Austria) are arguing that about 95 percent of energy used for pipelines can be saved by reducing turbulence in a pipe. They have destabilized pipe’s turbulence so that the flow turned to a laminar (non-turbulent) state, and they observed that the flow remained laminar thereafter. That means that the fluid would be transported in parallel layers which do not mix, which would save up about 95% of the energy required to pump a fluid through a pipe. Considering this is the first time that it is proven a fluid can flow in a non-turbulent manner through a pipe, this is the first step for the development of a number of pipeline applications, which would then have a positive effect on the energy sector.
To get this report in your inbox days before it is published, subscribe here!