Reports & Publications

World Meteorological Organization (WMO): “Carbon dioxide levels continue at record levels, despite COVID-19 lockdown”

World Meteorological Organization (WMO): “Carbon dioxide levels continue at record levels, despite COVID-19 lockdown”

The WMO always reports very relevant information. In one of their latest bulletins, the following, amongst others, was stated:

“Carbon dioxide levels saw another growth spurt in 2019 and the annual global average breached the significant threshold of 410 parts per million, according to the WMO Greenhouse Gas Bulletin. The rise has continued in 2020. Since 1990, there has been a 45% increase in total radiative forcing – the warming effect on the climate – by long-lived greenhouse gases, with CO2 accounting for four fifths of this.”

 “Carbon dioxide remains in the atmosphere for centuries and in the ocean for even longer. The last time the Earth experienced a comparable concentration of CO2 was 3-5 million years ago, when the temperature was 2-3°C warmer and sea level was 10-20 meters higher than now. But there weren’t 7.7 billion inhabitants,” said WMO Secretary-General Professor Petteri Taalas.

 “We breached the global threshold of 400 parts per million in 2015. And just four years later, we crossed 410 ppm. Such a rate of increase has never been seen in the history of our records. The lockdown-related fall in emissions is just a tiny blip on the long-term graph. We need a sustained flattening of the curve,” said Prof Taalas. “The COVID-19 pandemic is not a solution for climate change. However, it does provide us with a platform for more sustained and ambitious climate action to reduce emissions to net zero through a complete transformation of our industrial, energy and transport systems.  The needed changes are economically affordable and technically possible and would affect our everyday life only marginally. It is to be welcomed that a growing number of countries and companies have committed themselves to carbon neutrality,” he said. “There is no time to lose.”

Please read the WMO Greenhouse Gas Bulletin, by clicking here.

For an general overview of facts and figures including graphs, please click here.

Please realise that the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) is the United Nations System’s authoritative voice on Weather, Climate and Water.

Are electric cars just as safe as fuel-powered cars? And what are the safety aspects in closed spaces?

Are electric cars just as safe as fuel-powered cars? And what are the safety aspects in closed spaces?

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.

G40-city network: 40 medium-sized municipalities in the Netherlands argue: “Overstimulation” is not an argument for phasing out the solarpanel netting-scheme (‘salderingsregeling’)

G40-city network: 40 medium-sized municipalities in the Netherlands argue: “Overstimulation” is not an argument for phasing out the solarpanel netting-scheme (‘salderingsregeling’)

Remarkable conclusions from a second opinion investigation carried out by the “Stichting Economisch Onderzoek (SEO)” (Economic Research Foundation) at the request of the G-40 city network.

According to the G40-citynetwork (translated from the original message in the Dutch language): “On 8 October, the Minister of Economic Affairs and Climate has submitted the bill on Phasing Out Netting Regulations for small consumers. With this law, one of the few measures that stimulates citizens to invest in local sustainable energy is pushed aside. The reason for the phasing out is the expectation of “overstimulation”. However, research commissioned by the G40-network shows that overstimulation by maintaining the scheme has not been demonstrated. The Minister bases his bill on various studies, including the evaluation studies conducted by PWC. Partly on the basis of this, the conclusion is drawn that there is “overstimulation” if the existing netting scheme continues to exist. The G40-network has asked SEO to conduct a second opinion on the PWC studies. Conclusion: overstimulation as a motivator has not been explained, demonstrated or substantiated. ”. Read more …..

A remarkable but also worrying conclusion. After all: everything must be done to stimulate residents and owners of buildings to proactively participate in sustainability. Installing solar panels is one of those solutions. The last thing we want are unnecessary hurdles.

To view the report, please click here.

Remark: The G40-citynetwork is the network of 40 medium to large cities in the Netherlands, who find each other in the various urban issues, facing the members of the network.

IEA Renewables 2020 report: interesting dynamic data-dashboard

IEA Renewables 2020 report: interesting dynamic data-dashboard

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.

By clicking this link, one can see what this means for PV residential systems in the Netherlands.

We’re grateful for these innovative and insightful developments by IEA !

More insight helps us all make the right decisions at the level of individual households, companies, regions and nations.

Council of State in the Netherlands: Major steps are now necessary to achieve Climate Act objectives

Council of State in the Netherlands: Major steps are now necessary to achieve Climate Act objectives

Introduction

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.”

Click here for more information.

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:

  • Climate goals
  • Administrative and implementation aspects
  • Economic considerations
  • Legal 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:

  1. Emission reduction pace must double to achieve the 2030 reduction target.
  2. Achievement of the Urgenda target is uncertain, even with a large, second coronavirus wave.
  3. Largest emission reductions in the power sector, fewer reductions among the end-use sectors.
  4. Renewable heating and fuels lag behind and the energy savings rate decreases.
  5. The Netherlands is increasingly dependent on imported natural gas.
  6. 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)
  • Agriculture: 26.4
  • Mobility: 35.2
  • Electricity: 42.3
  • Industry: 56.7
  • 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.

For more information, we refer to the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency (PBL) link: https://www.pbl.nl/en/publications/netherlands-climate-and-energy-outlook-2020-summary

Dutch Climate Policy Monitor

Dutch Climate Policy Monitor

The Dutch Climate Policy Monitor, issued by the Dutch government, shows the progress of the policy and the promises made in the climate agreement.

For more information, please click here (document is in the Dutch language). But as written in previous blogs, more progress is needed in the Netherlands.

External views through smart benchmarking, then local action and also international cooperation

External views through smart benchmarking, then local action and also international cooperation

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 power of residential battery energy storage systems

The power of residential battery energy storage systems

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.

 

Note (re. https://fes.institute/en/position-paper/):

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.

Foundation Future Energy Systems

Foundation Future Energy Systems

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