Focus on Clean Energy
Earlier this year it was starting to look worryingly like Europe was slamming into reverse gear with its clean energy policy. In its biannual report on renewables investment, released in May, consultancy EY reported that countries across the continent were becoming less attractive to investors as the pipelines of clean energy projects slowed following widespread subsidy cuts and a perceived “scaling back” of ambition.
Almost without exception, European markets slipped down the rankings while emerging economies across Latin America, Asia and Africa took their place near the top of the league table thanks to government plans to deploy green energy as a fast, relatively cheap way to develop their grids.
“European markets appear to be scaling back their ambitions as they address the challenges of marrying up increasingly mainstream renewables with a legacy of centralised conventional power generation,” EY said at the time.
But rather than being the start of a long, painful descent for Europe – historically the world’s frontrunner in renewable energy development – it now seems that the worrying report in May may have been a temporary blip.
The latest Renewable Energy Country Attractiveness Index (RECAI), released today, shows many European nations, including France, Belgium, Sweden, Ireland, Norway and Finland, all moved up the rankings thanks to a flurry of new renewables programmes that are helping to drive investment across the continent.
For example, France, moved up a position to reach 7th in the global rankings, thanks largely to a new national plan to tender 3GW of new solar capacity over the next three years, which will boost its solar capacity to more than 10GW by 2018. The country is also embarking on an ambitious project to pave 1,000km of roads in the country with solar panels. Construction work has already begun on the Normandy factory where the panels will be built, with the first shipments due to hit the streets next year.
Meanwhile, in Germany significant investment is going into grid flexibility to allow higher levels of renewables to come online, according to Ben Warren, EY global power & utilities corporate finance leader and RECAI chief editor. “The effort that’s going on in Germany is how to deploy more renewables and manage the stresses on the grid,” he told BusinessGreen, describing how a “buoyant” energy storage market is emerging along with new business models for peak shifting and demand shifting.
Reading more on: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/oct/26/new-projects-boost-europes-attractiveness-to-renewables-investors
WASHINGTON, DC – July 20, 2016 – Germany continues to lead the world in energy efficiency, followed by Italy and Japan (tied for second place), France, and the United Kingdom (not reflecting energy-related government changes in 2016), according to the 2016 International Energy Efficiency Scorecard published today by the nonprofit American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE). New to the rankings this year are eight nations: Indonesia, Netherlands, Poland, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Taiwan, Thailand, and Turkey.
Now in its third edition, the ACEEE report (http://aceee.org/portal/national-policy/international-scorecard) finds that the United States rose in the international rankings from #13 in 2014 to #8 in 2016.
On a scale of 100 possible points in 35 categories, the nations were ranked by ACEEE as follows: Germany (1), Italy (2, tied), Japan (2, tied), France (4), UK (5), China (6), Spain (7), South Korea (8, tied), United States (8, tied), Canada (10), Netherlands (11), Poland (12), Taiwan (13), India (14), Turkey (15), Australia (16), Russia (17), Indonesia (18), Mexico (19), Thailand (20), South Africa (21), Brazil (22), Saudi Arabia (23).
Together these countries represent 75% of all the energy consumed on the planet and over 80% of the world’s gross domestic product (GDP).
The US rank was boosted by high scores in a number of new metrics added to the report for 2016, as well as improvements in energy intensity, or energy use per dollar of GDP. The US also benefited from changes to the scoring methodology, which now allocates more weight to policy actions. The ACEEE report outlines a number of international best practices that the US could implement to improve its score.
ACEEE evaluated each country using 35 policy and performance metrics spread over four categories: buildings, industry, transportation, and overall national energy efficiency efforts. Germany scored the most points in the national efforts, buildings, and industry categories, while India tied with Italy and Japan for first place in transportation.
ACEEE Executive Director Steven Nadel said: “Energy efficiency is often the lowest-cost means of meeting new demand for energy. Governments that encourage investment in energy efficiency and implement supporting policies save citizens money, reduce dependence on energy imports, and reduce pollution. Yet energy efficiency remains massively underutilized globally, despite its proven multiple benefits and its potential to become the single largest resource to meet growing energy demand worldwide.”
German Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy Senior Advisor for General Issues of Energy Efficiency Georg Maue said: “Energy Efficiency plays a key role in Germany’s energy policy, the Energiewende, which aims to achieve a highly efficient and almost carbon neutral economy by 2050 at the latest. Our latest program, the National Action Plan on Energy Efficiency (NAPE), focuses on innovative industrial processes, energy-efficient buildings and products, and long-term investments. We are happy and grateful that ACEEE honors German efforts in its report. However, we will continue to step up our efforts, as there is a long way to go for us to reach our target of reducing the energy demand by 50% by 2050.”
Italian Ministry of Economic Development Head of Energy Efficiency Division Mauro Mallone said: “We are proud to have maintained the second position in this third edition of the 2016 ACEEE International Energy Efficiency Scorecard. The “silver medal” won by Italy is a recognition of the efforts made by the country to promote energy efficiency and accelerate the transition to a low carbon economy. This award is particularly appreciated as it comes from an independent assessment based on a complex set of policy and performance metrics.”
The ACEEE report notes that the United States, which improved its standing by tying with South Korea for 8th place, still has substantial room for improvement: “Despite its leadership on a number of policies, the United States falls behind most of the EU countries on our list in addition to China and Japan. The United States still has no binding energy savings goals, unlike Germany, France, Japan, and other countries which have a national energy conservation plan in place. The United States could take advantage of existing efficiency opportunities by mandating building energy use disclosure polices and categorical labels for appliances.”
Other possible areas of improvement for the US would be in passenger vehicle fuel economy, public transportation, the efficiency of freight transport, water efficiency policy, and requirements for large companies to conduct energy audits and hire energy managers.
ABOUT THE REPORT
The maximum possible score for a country was 100. ACEEE awarded 25 points each to the four categories: national efforts, buildings, industry, and transportation. Points were then allocated in each category based on how each country performed relative to others. ACEEE awarded the highest score available for a given metric to at least one country, which means that if any country were to emulate the top practices and results in each metric, it could obtain a score of 100. However, no country scored full points on all the metrics, indicating that all of them have room for improvement. The report’s scores and rankings were reviewed by experts from various countries.
EDITOR’S NOTE: A streaming audio replay of the news event is available on the Web at http://www.hastingsgroupmedia.com/ACEEE/072016InternationalScorecardReport.mp3.
The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy acts as a catalyst to advance energy efficiency policies, programs, technologies, investments, and behaviors.
Patrick Kiker - American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy
Clean energy in Italy is a fast-growing market which offers a lot of room to new companies, despite competition from low oil prices. At a global level, renewable energy sources in 2015 reached a new record, with over €290 billion invested globally (up 21% on 2014), more than double the €130 billion invested in fossil fuels.
In Italy, investment last year rose to over €2 billion, compared to €1.5 billion the previous year. Total growth however slowed in recent years, if compared to the over €10 billion invested in 2010 and €24 billion in 2011.
Renewables have a solid presence in the Italian market, contributing 35% to domestic energy needs. Between 2010 and 2015, Italy installed new clean energy plants for an overall capacity of 23 gigawatts, nearly half the total 50 gigawatts available from total renewable energy sources, moving investment for over €50 billion.
Green investment is also growing in terms of energy efficiency, which generated a turnover of over €5 billion in 2014, according to recent data by the Energy & Strategy Group of Polytechnic University, with €3 billion of investment in sustainable residential housing.
A third of green plants in Italy is composed by hydro-electric, a third by solar panels, and the remainder by wind, biomass and geothermal. The number of wind power plants installed in Italy increased strongly in 2015, after stalling the previous year, with €670 million invested, followed by solar power with €560 million, hydropower with €510 million and biomass generation with €310 million.
But the true new business, which has been growing in the past years, is the management and maintenance of all these plants. The Energy & Strategy Group estimates a market worth €450 million from managing Italian solar power plants, and of over €360 million for wind power, let alone the upgrade of the plants, which would need to be updated as technology evolves.
This developing market, in contrast with the general crisis of the energy market, is fueling interest from young entrepreneurs. One of 10 Italian start-ups operates in the energy sector, according to a report by Bernoni Grant Thornton, released on the occasion of the Good Energy Award, dedicated to companies which pay attention to sustainability, at its seventh edition this year.
Of 5,623 startups present in Italy, 598 are listed as “company at high technological value in energy terms,” equal to 10.6% of total. According to calculations by Bernoni Grant Thornton based on the register of Italian companies, the three regions with the largest number of green startups are Lombardy (107, or 8.7% of total 1,225), Emilia Romagna with 82 of 656 (12.5%) and Veneto with 44 of 413 (10.6%).
In percentage numbers, the leading regions are Trentino (26 of 185, or 14%), and Friuli(20 of 139, with 14.3%). Innovative solutions focus on the use of alternative sources, but especially on saving energy, which proved to be a winning bet for companies, both in ethical and economic terms.