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Addressing energy efficiency measures and innovations in Sweden and the United Kingdom

 

On the 4th of October I participated in a panel discussion at an event organised by the Embassy of Sweden in London and a number of Swedish companies which addressed energy efficiency measures and innovations in Sweden and the United Kingdom (see programme attached).

The Panel was moderated by Ms Fiona Harvey, award winning Environment Correspondent of  The Guardian Newspaper and the other panellist were Mr Paul Chandler, Executive Vice President, Skanska UK, Ms Matilda Gennvi Gustafsson, Director of Sustainability, Ericsson, Dt Lars Erik Liljelund, Executive Director of Mistra, Mr Guy Newey, Head of the Environment and Energy Policy exchange and Mr Peter Wessleu, UK Country Manager, Vattenfall.

The discussion both by the other panellists and the contributions of the 140+ audience was very interesting.

My key contributions were:

  1. 1.   How are incentives for energy efficiency and renewable energy aligned with climate targets and policy?

The EU  2020 energy targets are for at European level to achieve the following:

–       20% renewables in the energy mix,

–       20% energy savings,

–       20% reductions of CO2 levels by 2020 wrt 1990 levels

These are overall targets and they are translated to national targets depending on the realities and the possibilities of each country.

The 2011 Roadmap for Moving to a competitive low carbon economy by 2050 and the Energy Roadmap 2050 – are in line with the objective of reduction of GHG emissions by 80-95% by 2050 compared with 1990 levels.

The Green paper on a 2030 framework for climate and energy policies (March 2013, COM 92013) 169 final[1]) recognizes that although we have made good progress towards meeting the 2020 goals, creating an internal energy market for energy and meeting other objectives of energy policy, there is a need now to reflect on a new 2030 framework for climate and energy policies.

Early agreement on the 2030 framework is important because:

–       the long investment cycle means that infrastructure funded today will still be use in 2030 and beyond. Investors need certainty and reduced regulatory risk

–       clarifying the 2030 objectives will create more demand for efficient and low carbon technologies

–       it is expected that there will be an international agreement for a legally binding international agreement on climate mitigation. The EU has to agree on its own ambitious targets in advance of this date.

Achievements so far:

–       The 20% GHG emissions reductions is achieved through the implementation of the Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) scheme. It covers about 10,000 installations and about 50% of all GHG in Europe. In 2011 GHG were estimated to be at -16% below 1990 levels

–       Renewable energy target: in 2010 the RES share in the EU was 12.7% wrt 8.5% in 2005. The share of renewables has grown by 4.5.% per annum but will need to be 6.3% per year in order to meet the target set.         
Massive investments in transmission and distribution grids , including through cross border infrastructure are needed in order to complete the internal energy market will also be needed to accommodate renewable energy.

–       Energy savings target and implementing measures: the 2020 target of saving 20% of the EU’s primary energy consumption compared with the projections made in 2007 is not legally binding.
Primary energy consumption in the EU peaked in 2005/2006 at around 1825 Mtoe and has slightly decreased since 2007 to reach 1730 Mtoe in 2011 (down about 5%). Schemes such as Ecodesign and Energy labeling Directives reduce the energy demand of industrial and household products.

–       Security of supply and affordability of energy in the internal energy market: the EU has adopted legislation for the internal energy market for electricity and natural gas as well as regulation on Trans-European Energy Infrastructure guidelines      
The third energy package did not address the management challenges linked to the introduction of renewables – e.g. dealing with the variable supply of certain renewables (e.g. wind and solar) were also not fully considered and the impact of a large number of national support schemes for renewables on market integration was underestimated.

-2.  How much influence does policy have on business?

– Is there sufficient dialogue between policy makers and the market? Is there enough certainty for investments?

The aim is for policy to have direct influence on business and for the policy to respond to the needs of business and consumers. Without the industry and without the consumers on board the targets for curbing  GHG emissions will not be met. Otherwise our policies would be irrelevant to the realities on the ground.

We take consultation with industry very seriously as well as with governments and civil society and NGOs. It is for this reason that we have published a Green Paper in March of this year on the framework for climate and energy policies for 2030.

The results have been:

–       MS and stakeholders – want EU to provide a framework in order to reduce uncertainty among investors, governments and citizens (all except Poland)

  • DK, FR, UK, Spain – propose binding targets of 40%
  • Poland – decision should be taken after 2015
  • CZ, RO – would accept more ambitious targets only in the case of global agreement
  • Lithuanian – want more analysis on impacts
  • FIN, UK – propose dual emission reduction targets for 2030
  • Cyprus – proposes less binding targets

–       Renewable targets:

  • DK in favour of a 2030 target
  • LT– targets only after analysis of the impact on MS and industry sectors
  • Austria is strongly in favour provided the system security and the social dimension is taken into account
  • FI – moderate binding target
  • FR – target fixed at a later stage
  • PT – open to target
  • EE – will support targets if EU level action has added value (Estonia)
  • RO- target to beset by each MS
  • UK and CZ – explicitly against target

–       Energy efficiency:

  • DK and PT – in favour
  • EE – yes if EU targets will benefit – have added value
  • LT – thorough impact assessment
  • FR – favourable but to be fixed later
  • FI – in favour of indicative targets
  • RO – in favour of an overall inspirational target
  • AU and CY – prefer to postpone decision until 2014
  • UK and CZ – against mandatory targets

–        

–       INDUSTRY

  • Want better balance between:
    •  cost-competitiveness,
    • Security of supply
    • And climate change objectives
    • Energy intensive industries – generally against RES and energy savings targets
    • Industry which provides low carbon equipment want targets since they argue that his produces jobs and improves security of supply in the EU
    • NGOs à generally want targets
    • Trade Unions à generally want targets – but this should not be done at the cost of competitiveness of Europe
    • Citizens – generally pro targets but citizens from Central and Eastern Countries are generally concerned about European competitiveness.

–       Broad agreement on the need for GHG reduction targets but differences on the level of ambition

–       Mixed views on the usefulness of renewables and energy savings targets

Increasing energy security is also one of the reasons behind a block on the development of natural gas imports in Sweden. Greater investment in native renewable energy technologies and energy conservation is envisaged instead. 

  1. 3.   Sustainable Cities – what are the EU initiatives ?

Key messages

•             Cities need tailor made solutions to respond to global challenges. Cities are best placed to know how climate change is impacting them and how to respond to those impacts.

•             Innovative actions play a crucial role in climate change adaptation and sustainable urban development.

•             The European Commission stands ready to support cities in their challenge by helping to strengthen cities’ capacities and to facilitate experience exchange.

 

General points on cities and climate action

 

•             Today, four out of five Europeans live in cities. Urban areas are responsible for 60-80% of the global energy consumption and of CO2 emissions and generate a substantial amount of air pollutants. It is clear, that targeted action is urgent and cities and urban areas should be at the core of our policies.

•             Cities are also particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. Vulnerabilities and risks related to, for example, flooding, heat waves and sea-level rise are increasing, and the costs of inaction are high. It is clear that we need to invest now in order to prevent higher losses in the future.

•             The challenges each city is facing are specific, reflecting geography and socio-economic conditions. But cities can learn from each other and benefit from available knowledge and experience. The Commission’s objective is that climate action and urban development should go hand-in-hand: to minimize climate risks and to maximize health benefits and local employment. Citizens, enterprises and local authorities are fundamental players to develop specific local adaptation strategies.

 

Future programming period 2014-2020 for European Structural and Investment funds

 

Partnership Agreement and the Operational Programmes for ESI funds offer the possibility to shape future funding priorities, including those for sustainable urban development and for climate investment. The Commission will, based on experience with the implementation of the 2007-2013 period, play an active role in identifying and supporting the “right choices”.

The programming phase is the pivotal point where each MS is to ensure that its own climate change related concerns are properly translated into areas of activity which will secure funding from ESI funds. The national partnership will include environmental partners and other sources of expert knowledge that could support the national authorities in their efforts of drawing up concrete and relevant priorities and measures. These could include not only key actions specifically designed for addressing the climate change (such as promoting green technologies that will reduce GHG emissions, invest in infrastructure that will support adaptation to climate change, build the institutional capacity for planning and implementing climate related measures, raise the awareness of the wider public etc.), but also support the mainstreaming of climate related actions into other fields (such as designing and building infrastructure that will be resilient to the future effects of climate change, develop new economic activities with a low carbon footprint, invest in research that takes into account the climate change, build skills and a market for green jobs etc.). This can substantially contribute to fostering the idea of sustainable cities and offer wide funding possibilities from different funds, esp. the cohesion fund and the European regional development fund.

All the coordinated efforts of the MS in the programming phase will greatly contribute to securing that at least 20% of the EU funds are committed to climate action objectives. During the implementation phase of the programmes, the successful achievement of this objective will be monitored by the means of a system for tracking and recording the climate related expenditure that is actually incurred throughout the EU by the projects supported through ESI funds.

An explicit requirement of the regulations is that the competent bodies in each MS will prepare their programming documents in close cooperation and consultation with a partnership that includes the representatives of competent regional, local, urban and other public authorities, economic and social partners, and bodies representing civil society, including environmental partners, non-governmental organisations, and bodies responsible for promoting equality and non-discrimination. The purpose of such a partnership is to observe the principle of multi-level governance required at the national level.

 Climate investment under LIFE+ program 2014-2020

Within the next Multiannual Financial Framework (i.e. EU multiannual budget) , the Commission will implement a new Programme for the Environment and Climate Action (LIFE+[2]), also offering funding possibilities for climate action in cities. The new sub-programme for Climate Action covers three following areas:

–              “Climate Change Mitigation” will focus on reducing greenhouse gas emissions;

–              “Climate Change Adaptation” will focus on increasing resilience to climate change;

–              “Climate Governance and Information” will focus on increasing awareness, communication, cooperation and dissemination on climate mitigation and adaptation actions.

The Commission envisages promoting adaptation and mitigation approaches in cities, notably through the mainstreaming of climate action into urban land use planning, building layouts, public procurement practices and natural resources management.

Covenant of Mayors and future initiative for urban adaptation to climate change

The Covenant of Mayors is a European initiative involving local and regional authorities, voluntarily committing to increasing energy efficiency and use of renewable energy sources on their territories. By their commitment, Covenant signatories aim to meet and exceed the European Union 20% CO2 reduction objective by 2020.

From 2014 on, the Covenant will be complemented by a dedicated adaptation strand where cities will be committing themselves to deliver local adaptation plans.

EU cities adapt project (DG CLIMA 2011-2013)[3]

The EU cities adapt project (DG CLIMA 2011-2013) involves 21 European cities that have been selected to receive special training and capacity building for urban adaptation (http://eucities-adapt.eu/cms/).


About Androulla Kaminara

SCR member of St.Antony's College, Oxford University, 2013-24 Academic Visitor and 2012-13 EU Fellow Senior Academic Associate- Non-resident of EUCERS, King's College, London University Views are personal.

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