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.

Brash Chip processing event in Northern Ireland

AR 27-06-2016

A brash chipping demonstration was recently held at Shanes Castle Estate, Co. Antrim. Shanes Castle is a working Estate consisting of about 800 acres of farmland and about 1000 acres of woodland.

The event was organised by Biomass Energy Northern Ireland (BENI) and one of its members from the local area, Glendale Tree services, Randalstown. The event was held for anyone actively involved or interested in the biomass sector, showcasing a very informative day and a great networking opportunity for those involved within the sector. The demonstration covered all aspects of chipping, from selecting the feedstock at Shane’s castle to its storage on the drying floors at the local Glendale Tree services site. Glendale Tree Services are a very local orientated company, actively working with schools and the community on simple environmental projects when the opportunity arises.

Attendees were also given the opportunity to visit Shanes Castle onsite renewable technology, the hydro-electrical system.  Originally installed in 1905 to provide power to the house and small buildings, it has now been refurbishment and recommissioned to provide green energy.  At present, the Hydro generates enough power to provide electricity to about 300 households and therefore save about 900 tonnes of CO2 per year. (Shanes Castle website http://www.shanescastle.com/)

GREBE Project meets in Inverness

The GREBE Project met in Scotland last week for their third project meeting.  As part of the meeting, GREBE met with another NPA funded project ‘FREED’ on Monday 5th June to discuss synergies between the two projects.  We then had two days for meetings to discuss the project activities and the reports on policy initiatives, funding mechanisms and climatic challenges of the NPA region which we will publish in September.  On the fourth day of our meeting, our Scottish partner, the Environmental Research Institute (ERI) organised site visits to look at renewable energy technologies in use in different areas.

Our first visit was to Dingwall Wind Co-Op http://dingwallwind.org.uk/.  The Dingwall Wind Co-op owns and runs a 250kW wind turbine just above Dingwall in Ross-shire.  The turbine is the first 100% co-operatively owned wind development in Scotland. The co-op was launched in September 2013 and the turbine was commissioned on the 16th of June 2014.  There are 179 members of the co-op, 90% of whom are from the local area. The co-op will contribute to a community fund estimated at between £2000 and £8000/year. Members of the co-op receive a good return on their investment and EIS tax relief. The landowners, who originated the project, receive a rental payment for use of their land.

Dingwall Co-op

Our next visit to John McKenzie at Scroggie Farm http://flyingfarmer.co/john-mckenzie/green-energy.  Using his own farm as a starting point, in 2009 John took his various experiences, particularly those from visiting the remote islands of Scotland, and embarked on a number of projects to promote local energy production and saving. The result is a farm that harnesses the wind, rain and sun for energy production.  The systems at the farm include Wind, Hydro(on and off grid), Solar PV, Solar Gain, Solar Thermal, Biomass, Electric Car.  Off-grid hydro equipment supplied by Powerspout Hydro Turbines.

We then visited to Black Isle Brewery http://www.blackislebrewery.com/, which is an organic brewery and use a biomass fed boiler to heat their HLT.

Our last visit of the day was to see a new 4MW biomass steam boiler at Tomatin Distillery http://www.tomatin.com/.  This biomass boiler is fuelled by locally produced wood pellets, provided by Balcas which allows Tomatin to displace the majority of the distillery’s heavy fuel oil and, in doing so, cut its carbon emissions.

 

Norway to fund 8 new centres for Environment – friendly Energy Research

NSP image 06-06-2016

The Research Council of Norway has granted funding to 8 new centres for Environment- friendly Energy Research. Each new centre is guaranteed an annual funding for up to eight years. The total annual allocations from the Research Council to the centres will be roughly NOK 160 million.

The centres were selected on the basis of scientific merit, potential for innovation and value creation, and the extent to which they fulfill government targets relating to energy and greenhouse gas emission.

The 8 new Centres will start up in 2017 – and be fully operating from 2018. The Centres will work to reduce greenhouse gas emission in Norway and inrenationally, utilise energy more efficently, and increase the production of renewable energy. The Centres will also has as a task to disseminate the results of their research and contribute to a knowledge-based debate on environment-friendly energy.

Long-Term Initiative

The funding of the centres is a long-term initiative from the Research Council to generate solutions to climate – and energy- related challenges and promote industrial development. The centres comprise dynamic research groups and a large number of user partners from trade and industry and the public sector. The user partners will take active part in the centres management, financing and research activities.

The long-term perspective for each centre provide greater opportunity to achieve valuable results in the field of energy and climate research – results that can also be applied in trade and industry for added value. The long-term initiative is designed an build upon:

  1. Long-term Perspective
  2. Stable financial framework
  3. Outstanding research environments
  4. Industrial actors
  5. Public administration
  6. Cooperation between research, Industry and public administration

 The 8 new centres for Environment-friendly Energy Research:

Centre:   (1) Norwegian CCS Research Centre –
Focus Area: Co2 – capture, transport and storage
Research: SINTEF Energy Research
Industry: 25 Partners

 

Centre:   (2) Norwegian Research Centre for Hydropower Technology
Focus Area: –          Develop Hydropower technology for the future

–          New solutions for utilising flexible hydropower

Research: Norwegian University of science and Technology (NTNU)
Industry: 31 Partners

 

Centre:   (3) Norwegian Centre for Sustainable Bio-based Fuels and Energy
Focus Area: –          Develop technology for second-generation biofuels

–          Achieve 30 per cent reduction in production cost

Research: Norwegian University of Life Science (UMB)
Industry: 40 Partners

 

Centre:   (4) Centre for Intelligent Electricity Distribution
Focus Area: –          Modernisation of the electricity grid (Flexibility, Efficiency)

–          Enable the grid to handle interactions with renewable energy

Research: SINTEF Energy Research
Industry: 26 Partners

 

Centre:   (5) Centre for an Energy Efficient and Competitive Industry for the future
Focus Area: Raising energy efficiency in Norwegian Industry
Research: SINTEF Energy Research
Industry: 36 Partners

 

Centre:   (6) Research Centre for Sustainable Solar Cell Technology
Focus Area: –          Production of silicon-based solar cells

–          Developing the world’s most environment-friendly process

Research: Institute for Energy Technology (IFE)
Industry: 15 Partners

 

Centre:   (7) Mobility Zero Emission Energy Systems
Focus Area: –          Energy for the transport sector (Hydrogen + Batteries)

–          Business models for zero-emission transport

Research: Institute for Energy Technology (IFE)
Industry: 38 Partners

 

Centre:   (8) The Research Centre for Smart Cities
Focus Area: –          Solutions for zero-emission zones in smart cities

–          Renewable energy benefit for local environment

Research: Norwegian Univercity of Science and Technology (NTNU)
Industry: 32 Partners

 

Hydrogen – a solution to the RES integration challenge?

NSP image 14-03-2016
Hydrogen Plant – Energy from RES could be stored as hydrogen and delivered back to the power station on demand

 

In some scenarios up to 50% of the electricity demand in the EU by 2030, will be covered by energy from Renewable Energy Sources (RES).  The energy production from RES is energy production from variable energy sources, whose production is subject to both seasonal as well as hourly weather variability. This is a situation that the power system has not coped with before. System flexibility is needed, and will increasingly be driven by supply variability – or all the energy from RES could be used to produce Hydrogen, without any need of transmission and distribution through the power system.

The traditional thinking is that new systems and tools are required to ensure that the renewable energy is integrated into the power system effectively. One of the options for providing the required flexibility to the power system, is energy storage through use of battery technologies.  An another way of thinking is to use RES to produce hydrogen, and make hydrogen supply a stable energy source for delivery to the power system – the transmission of a variable energy source (RES) into a stable energy source (hydrogen).

Business opportunities

  1. International agreements – Norway has committed itself both through international agreements and national objectives to reduce the national emissions drastically in the years ahead, agreed upon according to the Kyoto protocol.
  2. RES – Norway has more than enough renewable power resources to produce the needed amount of hydrogen – both to be self-sufficient and to export to EU.
  3. Technology – Hydrogen is a highly interdisciplinary technology area which both demands knowledge about process technology and power production; fields in which Norwegian universities, research institutions and industry – maintain a high competance level.
  4. Transport sector – Norway’s near-term emission reduction will be made in the transport sector. The transport sector points itself out as the most attractive choice for drastic emission reductions, base on the fact that Norway already is well on its way in this area, boasting the worlds best incentives for zero emission vehicles (electric vehicles). Now Norway has the opportunity to add hydrogen to the transportation fuel portfolio.

Export of sustainable energy

Norway will far into the future continue to have vast resources of renewable energy, and Norway has without comparison the largest hydro power resources in Europe, the best conditions for both on-and offshore wind, and a lot of possibilities to produce renewable energy from other sources.

The downturn of oil thus represents a unique chance for Norway to utilize its brain power and high competence within energy technology, not only to ensure future income from the export of energy – but also make the country fit for the future by exporting sustainable energy to the world markets.

After years of fossil fuel exports, many would argue that Norway has a special responsibility to do so as well.

Could hydrogen production and storage be Norway’s next oil?

AN AMBITIOUS ENERGY POLICY

NSP 15-02-2016

The Norwegian Government’s Strategy for cooperation with EU in 2016 and 2017 is an ambitious policy, because Norway has as a main priority to support EU with renewable energy and to build the necessary infrastructure to make it happen.  

Energy policy is one of five main priorities in the cooperation between the Norwegian Government and the EU. The main focus in the energy policy is to support EU with renewable energy. Building high-voltage power lines between Norway and European countries could contribute to make the energy market more efficient and to improve the security of energy supplies.

 

Cross-border power lines have advantages for all the countries involved, they give better use of electricity supply systems, more effective use of resources and greater security of supply. It also give opportunities for greater integration of renewable energy into the supply systems. But, the building of new power lines will cost a lot of money.

 

The Norwegian Government looks at Norway as a major energy exporter and a participant in the internal energy market through the EEA Agreement, and the Government therefore see it as important for Norway to take part in the development of EU energy policy.

 

The Norwegian Government encourage investments in research, environmental technology, infrastructure and tecnological innovations, and projects as the GREBE project, that focus on international cooperation to solve problem in the high-carbon economy, by using renewable energy as an instrument to create new opportunities for the business sector in several countries.

 

By participating in international cooperation on regional policy (EU NPA programme), Norway is contributing to the exchage of experience with other European countries and regions. This exchange and cooperation is valuable for Norwegian regional policy and business development. The EEA Agreement does not include the EU’s regional policy, but Norway is a partner in several of the EU’s regional development programmes, in this case the GREBE-Project and the Northern Periphery Programme.

RENEWABLES IN NORWAY: BUSINESS OPPORTUNITIES IN COLD CLIMATE

NSP image
Illustration of the planned Mine Datacenter in Maloy, Norway

 

With an energy system almost entirely based on renewable hydropower, Norway is well suited for hosting power consuming data storage centres. This is one of several business opportunities the Norwegian Minister of Petroleum and Energy – Mr. Tord Lien, recommend that the GREBE-Project look closer into.

According to a story in the Telegraph, teenagers spend on average 27 hours on the internet every week. The parent generation is quickly catching up, spending about 20 hours per week. We read the newspaper online, interact with friends and family on social media, stream music and films, and even buy our Christmas presents on the internet.

As we see a growing trend from physical products to digital services, the need for storing data has exploded. Enormous amounts of data needs to be processed and stored, and the computer facilities depend on energy intensive cooling systems. This also affects the climate, as much of the power comes from fossil fuel power plants.

This is where geography matters and why Norway is an attractive location for such power-consuming datacentres. With an energy system almost entirely based on hydropower, Norway is one of the very few countries in the world with a surplus production of renewable energy. This has also resulted in one of the lowest electricity prices in Europe. Nearly all projections indicate that Norway will enjoy such an abundance of renewable energy for a long time. Furthermore, the Norwegian climate is quite cold and chilly. This provides excellent conditions for natural cooling.

Norway has both the green energy and the climate to be a suitable host for energy consuming datacentres. Together with favourable investments conditions, this makes us a great location for the digital revolution. Geography still matters, even though computing is moving into the clouds.