Government approves scheme to diversify green energy

DNaughten

A new scheme designed to diversify the State’s renewable energy production and boost its chances of meeting key EU targets has been approved by the Government. The Renewable Electricity Support Scheme (RESS) is designed to help the State meet its renewable pledges up to 2030. Its first priority is to boost renewable energy production quickly to help turn 16 per cent of the State’s energy needs “green” by 2020. The scheme will incentivise the introduction of sufficient renewable electricity generation by promoting investment by community groups in green projects. Offshore wind and tidal projects will be central if the State is to meet its targets, while it is expected to also support an immediate scale-up of solar projects. Projects looking for support under the scheme will need to meet pre-qualification criteria, including offering the community an opportunity to invest in and take ownership of a portion of renewable projects in their local area.

Auction system

The RESS scheme introduces a new auction system where types of energy will bid for State support. It is proposed that the scheme be funded through the Public Service Obligation Levy, which is a charge on consumers to support the generation of electricity from renewable sources. Individual projects will not be capped, but the Government will limit the amount that a single technology, such as wind or tidal, can win in a single auction. The auctions will be held at frequent intervals throughout the lifetime of the scheme to allow the State to take advantage of falling technology costs. The first auction in 2019 will prioritise “shovel-ready projects”. “By not auctioning all the required capacity at once, we will not be locking in higher costs for consumers for the entirety of the scheme,” Minister for the Environment Denis Naughten said. In effect it should make it easier for solar and offshore wind to get investment, yielding multiple billions for green projects over the next 15 years.

2020 vision

It is hoped renewable energy will represent 40 per cent of the State’s gross electricity consumption by 2020, and 55 per cent by 2030, subject to determining the cost-effective level that will be set out in the draft National Energy and Climate Plan, which must be approved by the EU and in place by the end of 2019. In addition the scheme is intended to deliver broader energy policy objectives, including enhancing security of supply. “This scheme will mark a shift from guaranteed fixed prices for renewable generators to a more market-oriented mechanism [auctions] where the cost of support will be determined by competitive bidding between renewable generators,” said Mr Naughten. The next step for the Government is to secure EU approval for the package, which typically takes six to nine months. It is estimated that the first auction will be in the second half of next year.

https://www.irishtimes.com/news/environment/government-approves-scheme-to-diversify-green-energy-1.3575492

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Increased generation from Scottish renewables

Windfarm near Ardrossan, Scotland

In June the UK Government released figures showing that renewable energy generation has seen a dramatic 11% increase in the first half of 2018 compared to the same period in 2017. Improved weather conditions for generation have seen wind generation in Scotland increase by 37%.

Paul Wheelhouse, Scottish energy minister, said: “These figures show that Scotland’s renewable energy sector is stronger than ever with almost exactly 1GW of new capacity installed since Q1 2017 and a strong pipeline of further projects still to be constructed.” Last year proved to be another record breaking year with provisional annual statistics showing that renewable electricity generation was up 27% on 2016 and 19% on 2015. The increase in generation now brings 69% of Scotland’s electricity consumption being delivered by renewable energy.

Scotland has long delivered on world leading electricity targets and is helped by an abundant onshore wind resource and historic hydro system. As the Scottish Government builds out new offshore wind and tidal projects the increase in generation only looks to continue. Recent plans for a new pumped storage hydro scheme on Scotland’s famous Loch Ness show a long term vision for the country’s electricity grid as it looks to increase penetration of renewables into its grid system. Climate change targets have been helped by the closure of Scotland’s last remaining coal powered fire station in recent years but ageing nuclear power stations and a “no new nuclear” policy look to add new challenges in the future.

Taxi drivers to get €7,000 grant for switching to electric cars

Taxi

Taxi drivers and operators of other public service vehicles are set to benefit from a new €7,000 grant scheme aimed at encouraging them to opt for electric vehicles. Minister for Transport, Shane Ross, has announced a new incentive scheme offering a €7,000 grant towards the purchase of an electric vehicle for those with a small public service vehicle (SPSV) licence. That grant is on top of the existing electric car incentives – the €5,000 rebate on vehicle registration tax, a €3,800 grant from the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI), and the upcoming new grant from the SEAI for installing a home-charging point.

The Department of Transport grant applies to any fully electric vehicle up to six years old, although the amount reduces according to the age of the car. A smaller €3,500 grant applies if you want to buy a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) for taxi use, but only those with Co2 emissions lower than 65g/km. Conventional hybrids are excluded.

The move is the latest in a series of measures being introduced by the Government to promote electric car ownership. Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe introduced a one-year exemption on benefit in kind for electric vehicles in the budget, and it is expected that the exemption will be rolled out for at least three years, including a suspension of any benefit in kind levied on charging your electric car at work.

Meanwhile, Minister for the Environment Denis Naughten has stated that he is looking at other ways to encourage an increase in the move to electric vehicles, including making motorways tolls free for electric cars and banning sales of any non-hybrid or electric car from 2030 onwards. However, the current financial incentives are still not having much effect. Electric cars accounted for a paltry 0.25 per cent of the market last year, with just 622 sold in total in a total new car market of 131,335.

Source: http://www.irishtimes.com

GREEN ELECTRICITY CERTIFICATES IN NORWAY

NSP 09-08-2016

Hydropower is still the mainstay of the Norwegian power supply system, with other renewable energy sources such as wind and solar providing an important supplement. In the public debate, we often hear that Norway must become greener and make a transition to greater use of renewable energy. In fact, Norway is already leading the way in this field, since almost all our electricity production is based on renewable sources. Our power resources have been crucial for value creation, welfare and growth in Norway for over a hundred years, and will continue to play a vital role in future.

But this will require continued development of renewable energy sources. The green electricity certificates is an instrument intended to boost the renewable electricity production in Norway.  So what is an Norwegian green electricity certificate scheme?

Electricity certificates

The joint Norwegian-Swedish electricity certificate scheme is intended to boost renewable electricity production in both countries. Norway and Sweden have a common goal of increasing electricity production based on renewable energy sources by 26.4 TWh by 2020, using the joint electricity certificate market.

The electricity certificate market is a market-based support scheme. In this system, producers of renewable electricity receive one certificate per MWh of electricity they produce for a period of 15 years. All renewable production facilities that started construction after 7 September 2009, and hydropower plants with an installed capacity of up to 1 MW that started construction after 1 January 2004, will receive electricity certificates. Facilities that are put into operation after 31 December 2020 will not receive electricity certificates. The electricity certificate scheme is technology-neutral, i.e. all forms of renewable electricity are entitled to electricity certificates, including hydropower, wind power and bioenergy.

Norway and Sweden are responsible for financing half of the support scheme each, regardless of where the investments take place. The authorities have therefore obliged all electricity suppliers and certain categories of end-users to purchase electricity certificates for a specific percentage of their electricity consumption (their quota). This was 3 per cent in 2012 and will gradually be increased to approximately 18 per cent in 2020, and then reduced again towards 2035. The scheme will be terminated in 2036. A demand for electricity certificates is created by the quota obligations imposed by the government, so that electricity certificates have a value. In other words, the market determines the price of electricity certificates and which projects are developed. Producers of renewable electricity gain an income from the sale of electricity certificates, in addition to revenues from the sale of electricity. The income from the electricity certificates is intended to make it more profitable to develop new electricity production based on renewable energy sources. The end-users contribute to this through their electricity bills. In Norway, the framework for the scheme is governed by the Act relating to electricity certificates.

The Electricity Certificate Act  

An electricity certificate is a confirmation issued by the Norwegian State that one megawatt hour of renewable energy has been produced pursuant to the Electricity Certificate Act. The electricity certificate system is intended to promote investments in renewable energy. Electricity customers finance the scheme through their electricity bills. The electricity certificate market is a statutory market in that the market would not have established itself naturally, but that the need and demand has been created through the Electricity Certificate Act.

The Electricity Certificate Act has been supplemented by the regulations relating to electricity certificates of December 2011 – and will be supplemented by new regulations in 2016.

The Electricity certificate market

The electricity certificate market is based on an international agreement with Sweden, and the joint market makes use of a cooperation mechanism under the Renewables Directive. The goal is for the joint electricity certificate market to increase electricity production based on renewable energy sources in Norway and Sweden by 26.4 TWh by 2020.

To establish the joint market, it was necessary to ensure that electricity certificate obligations in Sweden can be fulfilled using Norwegian electricity certificates and vice versa.

Producers

The owner of a production facility is entitled to electricity certificates if specific conditions in Chapter 1 of the Electricity Certificate Act have been fulfilled. The production facility must produce electricity based on renewable energy sources (this is a technology-neutral requirement), be approved by the NVE and satisfy requirements for metering and reporting. Both expansion of existing facilities and new facilities may satisfy the conditions for receiving electricity certificates. Production facilities which become operational after 31 December 2020 will not be entitled to electricity certificates. Those subject to the electricity certificate obligation are primarily suppliers of electric energy to end-users. But, in certain cases, end-users themselves may themselves be subject to an electricity certificate obligation.

Producers entitled to electrical certificates must apply for approval of the facility to the NVE, which administers the electrical certificate scheme in Norway. In addition, the producer, or a registrar authorised by the producer, must apply for an account in the electronic electricity certificate registry.

Electricity certificate registry

Statnett SF is responsible for the electricity certificate registry, and has established and operates the registry. Statnett SF is responsible for registration and cancellation of electricity certificates in the registry. The electricity certificates are issued after production has taken place on the basis of actual metering data. Electricity certificates are issued by Statnett SF registering the electricity certificate in the certificate account of the entity entitled to electricity certificates. The scheme will be terminated on 1 April 2036 through the cancellation of electricity certificates for the year 2035.

Trading of the certificates

The electricity certificate scheme is based on trading of the certificates, so that the entities entitled to electricity certificates can capitalise the value represented by the certificates. Those subject to an electricity certificate obligation will have access to the electricity certificates that are necessary in order to fulfill their electricity certificate obligation.