Europe is in the midst of a wind energy boom, with the continent now installing more wind power capacity than any other form of energy. In an interview with Yale Environment 360, the European Wind Energy Association’s Christian Kjaer describes his vision of how wind can lead the way in making Europe’s electricity generation 100 percent renewable by (more…)
The use of renewable sources of energy in Europe continues to grow at a brisk pace and energy efficiency also is improving, significantly reducing reliance on coal and natural gas, according to a new report. In
According to Bloomberg New Energy Finance, tax fraud is the carbon trading market’s most egregious form of cheating, affecting about seven percent of this $125 billion market in 2009.
In August 2009, seven people were arrested near London for not paying tax on the sale of carbon permits, for a total of £38 million (about U.S. $63 million). The taxes were levied as part of the European Union Greenhouse Gas Emission Trading System, created in January 2005 and based on Directive 2003/87/EC, which was enforced beginning Oct. 25, 2003.
Carbon emissions trading, or cap-and-trade, is a system whereby governments tell industry how much carbon dioxide a particular factory or operation can emit. If the factory or operation manages to emit less than the mandate allows, it can sell its excess on the open market, but either it or its designated seller is required to report the transaction and pay taxes on it, as on any financial gain. (more…)
The European Union has announced its plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and “de-carbonize” the energy sector, reducing the air pollution that iscontributing to chronic respiratory disease in millions of people.
Yet within the Industrial Emission Directive (IED) , which underwent a second reading in the European Parliament in late April, it appears that some discussions are leaning in favor of emissions-emitting industry interests over public health and the fight against climate change.
In 2001, the E.U. Large Combustion Plant Directive (LCPD) was redesigned to gradually limit emissions from facilities such as coal-fired power plants. Yet even though these facilities have had 15 years to get ready to comply with a tougher nitrogen oxide emission limit value starting in 2016, some E.U. countries and their power companies are pushing for more time. (more…)
The latest national projections submitted by governments to the E.U. executive suggest the 27-nation bloc could reach an overall renewable share of 20.3 percent by the end of the decade.
“These forecasts show that member states take renewable energy very seriously and are really dedicated to pushing their domestic production,” E.U. Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger said.
Spain and Germany forecast the largest surpluses in 2020, predicting they will exceed their national renewable targets by 2.7 and 0.7 percentage points respectively.
This will help to make up for projected shortfalls in several EU countries, including Italy, which expects to miss its 17 percent target by 1 percentage point. (more…)
The European Commission confirmed on Thursday that it believes legally binding sustainability criteria for biomass used to generate heat and power are not necessary in Europe, thus ending a long process by which the European Union body has debated the utility of a supranational scheme.
The Commission, however, adopted a report on sustainability requirements for the use of solid biomass and biogas in electricity, heating, and cooling. The report makes recommendations on sustainability criteria to member states and encourages them to introduce schemes at the national level.
This strategy minimizes the risk of the development of varied and possibly incompatible criteria at the national level, leading to barriers to trade and limiting the growth of the bio-energy sector in the European Union. (more…)
By 2020, the European Union will meet its goal of generating 20 percent of its electricity from wind, solar, and other renewable sources of energy, according to the European Wind Energy Association.
The group said that 14 of the EU’s 27 member states will meet the 20 percent goal, eight will exceed it, and five will fall short, though only by one percent.
“Sustainable development” has generated substantial buzz since the concept was brought into focus by the Brundtland Commission’s now famous 1987 report, Our Common Future. The Commission defined the concept as “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”
Since then, the definition has been debated and adapted for specific purposes throughout policy, academic, governmental, and organizational circles. Many of these interpretations are only relevant to the circumstances in which they are applied. In the context of biomass and biofuels, sustainability standards are specific rules and criteria by which the production, transportation, and processing of feedstocks can be assessed for their environmental, social, and other values.
In the international community, sustainability guidelines for biomass have begun to emerge, but remain aspirational at best. While high oil prices, increasing pressures to mitigate climate change effects, and efforts to boost rural agricultural production throughout the world will continue to sustain support for the development of biomass and biofuel resources, environmental concerns will temper optimistic projections for the industry.