The Summit is an important event on the road to COP26 in Glasgow in November 2021. It brought together decisionmakers and representatives of more than 40 countries covering more than 80% of global GDP, population and emissions. Focus was on the critical need for international collaboration and policy implementation to accelerate clean energy transitions. On May 18, the IEA will publish a wide-ranging roadmap for the global energy sector to reach net-zero emissions by 2050. Good to continue monitoring these important developments.
We read with interest a recent article in the Dutch newspaper FD, in which prominent figures of the political party D66 advise the next Dutch government to seriously consider a role for nuclear energy from 2030. Our advice is to do this from a European perspective.
We would therefore like to recommend the politicians and readers of this website to also read the 2010 study by the European Climate Foundation (ECF). We have written about this before in previous blogs, but we would like to make reference to the Roadmap 2050 website again; https://www.roadmap2050.eu/. The various reports (Roadmap 2050 (click here), Power Perspective 2030 (click here)) also clearly describe the role of nuclear energy. We understand the concerns and questions about how to deal with radioactive waste, but we believe that responsible solutions are (will be) available.
As can be viewed from previous blogs, we keep a close eye on the Hydrogen developments worldwide.
The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) shows on their website an extremely useful overview of the possibilities and applications of Green Hydrogen. Furthermore it makes a good distinction between Fossil fuel based grey hydrogen, blue hydrogen, turquoise hydrogen and green hydrogen. Costs developments are elaborated and show the full potential in the areas of energy transition. For further detail, please click here ….
Notes: the various types of Hydrogen are nicely shown by IRENA on their website:
Fossil fuel based grey hydrogen (source = methane of coal; process = steam methane reforming (SMR) or gasification).
Blue hydrogen (source = methane or coal; process = SMR or gasification with carbon capture).
Turquoise hydrogen (source = methane; process = pyrolysis).
Green hydrogen (source = renewable electricity (e.g. offshore wind energy and solar energy); process = electrolysis).
Majority of hydrogen produced today is grey hydrogen, but the potential for green hydrogen is huge.
We also refer to previous articles on our website:
The Commission’s proposal to cut greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% by 2030 sets Europe on a responsible path to becoming climate neutral by 2050.
Based on a comprehensive impact assessment, the Commission has proposed to increase the EU’s ambition on reducing greenhouse gases and set this more ambitious path for the next 10 years. The assessment shows how all sectors of the economy and society can contribute, and sets out the policy actions required to achieve this goal.
Set a more ambitious and cost-effective path to achieving climate neutrality by 2050
Stimulate the creation of green jobs and continue the EU’s track record of cutting greenhouse gas emissions whilst growing its economy
Encourage international partners to increase their ambition to limit the rise in global temperature to 1.5°C and avoid the most severe consequences of climate change
With this latest reduction, the ambitions of the EU significantly increase: a reduction of 40 percent had previously been agreed. Hence great news !
But there is a lot of work to do, to achieve this. However, this new plan creates various opportunities for us.
Consultancy firm CE Delft concludes that electric cars are just as safe as cars which run on fuel.
Commissioned by the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (“RVO”) and on behalf of the “Nationale Agenda Laadinfrastructuur (NAL)” (freely translated: National Agenda for Charging Infrastructure), CE Delft conducted a study. Read more ……
The safety of cars in closed spaces (parking garages) has also been examined. Parking garages in the Netherlands must comply with the 2012 Building Decree (Rijksoverheid, 2011). However, the safety conclusions are not yet clear when referring to the mentioned report. More information is expected in 2021. We keep a close eye on further developments.
IEA has included in their Renewables 2020 report a very interesting dynamic data-dashboard, which will enable readers to examine historical data and investigate forecasts for various sectors and technologies.
According to the website of the Council: “The Climate Act came into force in the Netherlands on 1 September 2019. The aim of this act is to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases, such as CO2. Excessive greenhouse gas in the atmosphere change the climate and have negative consequences for people and the natural environment. The task of the Advisory Division of the Council of State by virtue of the Climate Act is to review the climate policy implemented by the government.” For further information, please click here.
The Council of State (Advisory body on legislation and highest general administrative court) in the Netherlands
On October 30, the Council of State posted the following message on its website (‘translated’): “The climate goals which the government and parliament have set for themselves in the Climate Act are not being achieved. This is only possible if additional measures are already taken now to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This cannot be delayed. The Climate and Energy Outlook 2020 of the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency (PBL) shows that no substantial progress has been made compared to last year: the estimated reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, at 34%, is far behind the statutory target of 49% . The ultimate goal, a 95% reduction in emissions by 2050, also seems out of sight. A coherent and coordinated legislative programme is now required to achieve the goals. Furthermore, much is still needed to successfully implement the so-called regional energy strategies.”
The website further states: “In the Climate Act, which has been in force since 1 September 2019, the Advisory Division of the Council of State has been given a new task: assessing the government’s climate policy. It does this by testing the government’s Climate Plan every five years. This happened for the first time in October 2019. This year the Advisory Division discussed the annual Climate Policy Document for the first time. In order to be able to perform this new task properly, the Advisory Division uses an assessment framework.”.
Assessment framework Advisory Division of the Council of State
The Advisory Division assesses the Climate Plan on the basis of a fixed assessment framework. This consists of four parts:
Administrative and implementation aspects
The assessment framework is intended for the Climate Plan, but can also be the starting point for assessing the Climate Policy Document and the Progress Report, according to the Council of State on his website.
It is very good that we have this important institution to properly inform the Dutch population.
In previous blogs on our website it was already stated that the Netherlands is certainly not at the forefront in Europe and in the field of renewable energy (see previous blog by clicking the link here) the Netherlands is in last place. These kinds of reports feed the picture that is now also outlined by the Council of State. We have to act more and faster!
The Netherlands Climate and Energy Outlook 2020
The Netherlands Climate and Energy Outlook 2020, recently published by the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency, contains a number of interesting findings. Below we have listed several relevant points, translated from the Dutch version, and printed in Italics.
6 key observations shared in the Dutch Outlook 2020 are quite worrying, but not surprising, given previous blogs we’ve written:
Emission reduction pace must double to achieve the 2030 reduction target.
Achievement of the Urgenda target is uncertain, even with a large, second coronavirus wave.
Largest emission reductions in the power sector, fewer reductions among the end-use sectors.
Renewable heating and fuels lag behind and the energy savings rate decreases.
The Netherlands is increasingly dependent on imported natural gas.
The Netherlands’ greenhouse gas footprint is larger than its national greenhouse gas emissions.
The great thing about such an extensive report is to receive a lot of detailed information, but that can also be a disadvantage to miss the overarching picture (“not to see the wood for the trees”).
The Dutch Outlook 2020 provides the distribution of greenhouse gas emissions in the Netherlands (in megatons of CO2 equivalents) over the various sectors in the year 2019 (provisional data RIVM / Emission Registration):
Land use: 4.8
Built Environment: 23.3 (= 12,3% of total emissions)
Total = 188.7
The report shows future projections and hence the concerns expressed.
We would like to mention a few other relevant facts from the chapter ‘Built Environment’ of the Netherlands Climate and Energy Outlook 2020:
With a 70% share, Dutch households make the largest contribution to the total emissions from the built environment.
Greenhouse gas emissions from households and services are almost entirely determined by gas consumption for space heating, hot water preparation and cooking. In itself no news here, but it shows once again that insulation measures are very important.
Decrease in gas consumption due to reduction in household size, climate change and improved energy quality of homes. An average gas-fired home now (in 2020) consumes around 1,250 cubic meters of natural gas, compared to nearly 1,950 cubic meters in 2000. The Outlook estimates that natural gas consumption will decrease for an average gas-heated home in 2030 to just over 1,000 cubic meters of gas.
The consumption of electricity in homes has more or less stabilised since 2012. An average household used approximately 3,100 kilowatt hours per year in 2019. This could decrease further to ca. 2,600 kilowatt hours by 2030. This concerns the total supply from the grid plus own generation.
Regarding energy-saving measures, a distinction must be made between on the one hand so-called single measures such as floor, roof, facade or window insulation and replacement of heating systems and on the other hand renovations that often already have an integrated character.
The Outlook reports a few interesting figures: in 2018, 450,000 insulation measures were taken, 280,000 glass improvements were made, and 375,000 central heating boilers were replaced by an high efficiency central heating boiler or heat pump (source: RVO 2019).
Dutch TNO organisation has recently concluded that improved consumption and cost overview has no measurable saving effect compared to the old situation. Remarkable and it raises questions; how can we provide better insight that influence human behaviour positively.
We must understand developments globally to become stronger locally.
Two particular references I would like to mention in this context. The conclusions, which one can draw from these statistics and overviews, are straightforward and I leave this up to the individual reader.
IEA: Energy Technology RD&D Budgets 2020
I can really recommend the reader to look at IEA’s Energy Technology RD&D Budgets 2020.
These overviews include data on budgets in specific IEA member countries and the database shows RD&D budgets and various indicators. One ought to be cautious when interpreting the absolute figures. Nevertheless, it shows the money being spent on national level and in which areas.
With compliments to the IEA who states on their website: “The complete IEA Energy Technology RD&D Budget Database can be accessed for free through IEA Data Services by logging in as GUEST. Please see the documentation, manual, or questionnaire for additional information.”.
For more information on this wealth of information provided by IEA, please click here.
Share of renewable energy in EU member states (source: Eurostat Statistics)
The “Eurostat Statistics Explained” provide useful and clear insights.
For instance, the Renewable energy statistics give the following results:
Share of renewable energy nearly doubled between 2004 and 2018.
In 2018, renewable energy represented 18.9% of energy consumed in the EU, compared with 9.6% in 2004 – the 2020 target is 20%.
The share of energy from renewable sources used in transport activities in the EU reached 8.3% in 2018.
If one views how the Netherlands is doing in all of this, the following results:
Netherlands takes last (27th) place in the graph presented by Eurostat on “Share of energy from renewable sources in the EU Member States (2018, in % of gross final energy consumption)” – click here.
A more positive picture for the Netherlands (4th place measured from the top) is viewed when studying the graph “Share of energy from renewable sources in transport (2018, in % of gross final energy consumption)” – click here.
As a Dutchman, but very much being the European and mostly the global citizen for ecological issues, I obviously want my country to do much better in what I’ve extracted from the Eurostat data. Hence, some of the key questions should be; why are the other countries doing ‘better’, and what’s hindering us from performing as requested? What can we learn from the top performers on our national, regional and local levels? These questions stimulate the international cooperation in large implementation projects. Where organisations from many countries with good diversity are participating. And once finished, we share the lessons learnt and best practices.
For more information on the Eurostat statistics, please click here.
The importance of applying significant focus on the actual implementation of energy storage as part of smart energy transition solutions.
A relevant quote from the report produced by SolarPower Europe ‘European Market Outlook For Residential Battery Storage 2020–2024’: “Last year, 745 MWh from 96,000 systems were installed, representing a 57% annual growth rate. The foundation for the European residential BESS sector was laid by a handful of countries, where a large residential solar market already, exists – namely Germany, Italy, UK, Austria, and Switzerland. These Top 5 markets absorbed over 90% of all BESS installations in 2019 and are also responsible for a similar level of the nearly 2 GWh of operating residential storage capacity in Europe so far.”. (Note: BESS stands for Battery Energy Storage Systems).
Please refer to the information accessible via the link by clicking here. The analyses and forecasts are a ‘must read’ for all working in the energy transition field.
The abovementioned report fully supports the developments and implementation success experienced elsewhere, by for example iwell; please refer to their website.
Another good example worth exploring, is the independent Dutch solar platform Zonatlas NL, freely accessible for individual households and individual business (e.g. SME). Zonatlas has for several regions in the Netherlands an on-line battery storage option available in case an individual household wants to make a connection with the energy generated by solar panels – please refer to the following website for more information: https://www.zonatlas.nl/start/
The author of this blog as well as the Dutch companies EnShared and Zonatlas made a contribution to the Position paper ‘Virtual Energy Plants through Energy Commons’, which was recently issued by the independent foundation Future Energy Systems – please refer to: https://fes.institute/en/position-paper/. Energy storage prominently features in this Paper, as it is an essential component in creating virtual energy plants. And when, for example, sufficient storage capacity is connected to the micro-grid, self-balancing and the trading of stored electricity can also be exploited. These storage systems provide another important form of flexibility to the market and will gain greater public interest as the share of renewables increases.
IEA World Energy Outlook 2020 clearly states: “Solar becomes the new king of electricity…..”. This makes the role of storage more important for affordable and reliable energy systems in the near future.
For further information, please click here, but the following quotes from IEA’s WEO 2020 are worth mentioning here:
“Renewables grow rapidly in all our scenarios, with solar at the centre of this new constellation of electricity generation technologies. Supportive policies and maturing technologies are enabling very cheap access to capital in leading markets. With sharp cost reductions over the past decade, solar PV is consistently cheaper than new coal- or gas fired power plants in most countries, and solar projects now offer some of the lowest cost electricity ever seen.”.
“Storage plays an increasingly vital role in ensuring the flexible operation of power systems, with India becoming the largest market for utility-scale battery storage.”.
In the Netherlands many realise that the current and past tax and subsidy regime hasn’t really supported the large scale implementation of energy storage to date. Nevertheless, we observe good examples of implementation in for example apartment buildings where a smart battery system significantly lowers the peaks in the power supply resulting from the elevator usages.
It’ll be obvious that in the Netherlands we should focus more and more on the smart introduction of battery and energy storage systems.
We will continue to write about future developments.
A Virtual Energy Plant through an Energy Common is a network of local small- and medium scale power and heat generating units such as wind farms, solar parks, and Combined Heat and Power (CHP) units, as well as flexible energy consumers and storage systems. The interconnected units are dispatched through an automated central ‘control room’ of the Energy Common thereby remaining independent in their operation and ownership. The objective of a community based Virtual Power Plant is twofold. First, it needs to generate enough renewable energy for the local community. Secondly it should relieve the load on the electricity grid by smartly distributing the power generated by the individual units during periods of peak load. In case of a surplus, the combined power generation and power consumption of the networked units in the Virtual Energy Plant can be traded on the energy exchange.
The Foundation Future Energy Systems (hereinafter: FES) was established on August 14, 2020. FES aims to join forces within different sectors in the field of energy, area development and social innovation in order to contribute to a more inclusive, just and sustainable society. What motivates the foundation is collaboration and co-creation, learning from experiences, and allowing each other’s complementarity to work to the benefit of all. Decisiveness, with a strong support organisation. The core focus is supporting energy cooperatives and neighbourhoods and helping to set up energy commons. The aim of the Foundation is not to make a profit, and the ANBI status will be applied for. For more information, see: https://fes.institute/en/
The Energy Commons Institute (ECI) was established in October 2019. Due to advancing insights regarding the objectives and in view of the experiences of the past year, it was decided to rename the foundation and to discontinue the ECI foundation. This is in line with the ideas and activities of the social and sustainable innovations advocated by the initiators. This new foundation FES – like ECI – has an independent vision of technological developments that promote the energy transition. With today’s science and developments, a sharpened mission and new approach are in line with this. An example of the activities of the new foundation FES is the support of energy markets for the pooling of flexibility in which benefits flow back to households as much as possible. Another example is supporting the development of new technologies and software, based on Open Source principles, which are necessary to enable an affordable energy transition for households and companies. With this review, the new foundation fits in seamlessly with the recently presented vision of Europe: “Recovery and preparation for the next generation”; https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/ip_20_940