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EU leaders agree to CO2 emissions cut

EU leaders agree to CO2 emissions cut

Oct.24. 2014

EU leaders have reached a landmark deal to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 40% by 2030, compared with 1990 levels.

The binding decision came after heated discussions at a summit in Brussels, as some members had argued that their varied interests should be protected.

Correspondents say the final deal is a compromise between countries that rely heavily on coal, and those willing to instil greater emissions cuts.

Environmental groups welcomed the deal, but said it did not go far enough.

The bloc also agreed to boost the use of renewable energy to 27% in the total energy mix and increase energy efficiency to at least 27%.

There were deep divisions within the EU on emissions cuts.

Poland, which is heavily reliant on coal, fears that the costs of decarbonising its economy will slow business growth. Its concerns at the summit were echoed by other central and east European members.

The President of the European Council, Herman Van Rompuy, said afterwards that some poorer EU members would get help – including additional funds – in reaching the agreed targets.

The UK also had opposed nationally binding targets for renewables – mainly wind, solar and hydroelectric power. It is embracing shale gas and nuclear as alternatives to the current over-reliance on oil and gas imports.

European Council President Herman Van Rompuy (left) listens to French President Francois Hollande (right)Herman Van Rompuy (left) described the deal as the “world’s most ambitious”

‘Very modest’ package

Leaders had been cautious about the prospect of a deal, before holding talks late into the night.

But in the early hours of Friday, Mr Van Rompuy, wrote in a tweet: “Deal! At least 40% emissions cut by 2030. World’s most ambitious, cost-effective, fair #EU2030 climate energy policy agreed .”

The EU Commissioner for Climate Action, Connie Hedegaard, said she was “very proud” that the leaders “were able to get their act together on this pressing climate challenge”.

Ed Davey, the UK’s Energy Secretary, described the deal as “a historic moment”.

“Europe has sent a clear and firm message to the world that ambitious climate action is needed now,” Mr Davey said.

“This morning only five countries in Europe had climate targets post 2020, now 28 countries do.

“It’s good for consumers because we can decarbonise at the lowest possible cost using a diverse mix of technologies. And it’s good for business as it provides the certainty they have been calling for to unlock billions in low carbon investment.”

Meanwhile, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said: “We made a decisive step forward.”

The EU is already on target to cut its CO2 emissions by 20% by 2020, compared with 1990 emission levels.

EU officials earlier said they wanted the EU to have an “ambitious position” in the run up to the UN climate change conference in Paris in December 2015.


Analysis: By Roger Harrabin, BBC Environment Analyst

The EU calls its climate deal ambitious- but it’s unlikely to achieve Europe’s own commitment to avoiding the risk of dangerous climate change.

Tackling climate change needs a transformation of the world’s energy economy over decades – and experts say a 40% cut in 2030 leaves too big a task for the next generation of politicians.

Europe says it accepts the need to reduce emissions by more than 80% of 1990 levels by 2050.

But this new deal leaves future leaders to cut CO2 threefold within 20 years – an effort UN experts say is nigh impossible.

The deal is a compromise between countries like the UK, willing to stretch to 50% by 2030, and Poland and others which heavily rely on coal.

Scientists and environmentalists will not be happy – but Europe’s leaders have been under heavy pressure not to impose much higher energy costs, especially when the economy is struggling.


A view of the exploratory drilling rig on the Horse Hill Developments site in Horley, Surrey (Oct 2014)The UK is backing shale gas as an alternative to over-reliance on imports of gas and oil

The EU leaders said the crisis in Ukraine and turmoil in the Middle East had made it clear Europe needed to be less reliant on outside sources of energy, the BBC’s Damian Grammaticas in Brussels reports.

And they will now be able to press large polluters like China and India to follow Europe’s lead, our correspondent adds.

However, environmentalist groups said the EU could have done more.

Joris den Blanken of Greenpeace called it a “very modest” package.

“It will mean a slowdown in clean energy development in Europe,” he was quoted as saying by the Associated Press.

Natalia Alonso of Oxfam welcomed the 40% target but said it fell “far too short”, while the European Environment Bureau, a coalition of environmental organisations, condemned the targets as “desperately ineffective”.

Jeremy Wates, EEB Secretary General, said the targets needed to be higher, adding: “With this abysmal result, Europe’s leaders have failed their citizens and failed the world.”

In the Belgian capital, the EU leaders were also expected to agree to boost measures to stop the spread of Ebola.

The UK is expected to urge its EU partners to send more medics and equipment to West Africa, in line with the UK’s help for Sierra Leone.

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Innovation key to solar advancement


Posted by Zeshan Rajput 

A new study from UK-based GlobaData reveals that energy storage innovation will be essential to the advancement of solar power generation.

Unfortunately, the study also found that there is little renewable energy storage innovation and few firms focusing on it. “Currently, there are no effective storage systems for megawatt scale solar power plants,” said GlobalData analyst Pavan Vyakaranam.

Concentrated Solar Power uses molten salts to produce power for a short period after the sun goes down, Vyakaranam said. But, while that technology is being used in large-scale solar projects, it’s not efficient enough to be applied on a larger scale.

Ideas for innovation include adapting the processes involved in the generation of thermal energy to solar and other intermittent renewable sources. Pumped hydroelectric storage is currently used as a grid energy storage mechanism. It stores power during off peak hours when energy is cheaper and can be used during peak hours.  “Pumped hydro storage is being used on large scale and it does hold hope for application on a larger scale,” Vyakaranam said.

There is little innovation happening in the renewable energy storage field, according to the report. Of 162 US patents issued for solar energy in the first quarter of 2012, only two dealt with energy storage. But there are likely other companies working on solutions, Vyakaranam said.

“Apart from solar energy companies with R&D facilities, storage innovation could also be expected from companies with pioneering research in other areas,” Vyakaranam said. “Companies dealing with advanced batteries and ultra capacitors are the important examples. There are a number of universities and research organizations with extensive research on fuel cell technology and Hydrogen-based energy storage systems, both of which can complement a solar power plant if there is a breakthrough in efficiency and cost.”

He said major energy companies like GE Energy and several battery companies are also doing research to see if battery storage could become more efficient and affordable.

“Currently, as solar energy is close to achieving grid parity in some locations, solar adoption is already increasing steadily,” Vyakaranam said. “However, a commercial storage technique would boost solar adoption in countries where there is excessive and intermittent generation of energy due to renewable energy sources like solar and wind.”

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Parabolic trough solar thermal electric power ...

Parabolic trough solar thermal electric power plant 1 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)





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An article from the LA Times published in February 2012 follows below


1.4-MW solar inverter for large commercial and utility-scale

Aurora Ultra-1400

Solar inverter manufacturer Power-One, Inc. offers the Aurora Ultra-1400 central inverter with an output power of up to 1.4 MW. The company says this liquid-cooled inverter is the largest product in their RE offering and has been designed for large commercial and utility-grade installations. Industry-leading power conversion efficiencies of up to 98.7% combined with an extra wide input voltage range and multiple MPPT channels optimize energy harvesting across a wide array of operating conditions.

The main feature of the system is represented by its IP65 enclosure with passive liquid cooling with total segregation of internal compartments that extends the maintenance cycle and reduces the cost of maintenance. The inverter is equipped with internal recombiner compartment with up to 24 individually fused inputs. Thanks to its innovative circuit topology the output voltage is 690Vac which allows a significant reduction of AC losses and the possibility of direct coupling with LV/MV standard transformer used in the large wind industry. Since its modular structure is made of front accessible and extractible subassemblies, installation and maintenance procedures are rather easy. This large inverter system can be monitored via Ethernet communication and two independent RS-485 communication interfaces for inverter and intelligent string combiner monitoring.

The company says the inverter is also compliant to BDEW (German Federal Association for Energy and Water) and FERC 661 (Federal Energy Regulatory Commission). “Our modular central inverter designed for large commercial and utility applications increases uptime and energy harvesting through a reduction in downtime caused by the failure at the inverter level or the photovoltaic field as well as a significant reduction of the cost of BOS,” says Paolo Casini, Vice President, Product Marketing at Power-One. “This eliminates plant shutdown, reduces repair time and consequently offers financial benefits in terms of production.”

Power One

A microinverter that’s more realiable

Solar microinverter manufacturer Enphase Energy offers field data demonstrating the reliability of its technology. The data, collected separately and independently byWestinghouse Solar and SunEdison over a two-year period from 2008–2010, shows the reliability of microinverters is 45 to 70 times greater than traditional central inverters. This level of field-proven reliability allows installers and system owners to benefit from the exceptional system uptime that the Enphase Microinverter System provides.

“We’ve incorporated the experience of having sold and supported more than 750,000 units into our manufacturing process and new product designs,” says Paul Nahi, CEO of Enphase Energy. “This empirical data from Westinghouse and SunEdison illustrates the reliability of our Microinverter System and the value that our estimated 99.8% uptime delivers to our customers.”

Enphase follows an end-to-end process, from development through manufacture, to ensure the reliability and durability of its microinverters. Each microinverter uses carefully selected components and is designed so individual components are stressed well within specification. Finally, units undergo a multi-stage testing process at the factory to minimize material or workmanship defects throughout the manufacturing process.

“Our leading AC solar solutions leverage the reliability of Enphase microinverters,” says Barry Cinnamon, CEO of Westinghouse Solar. “Our AC modules, with built-in Enphase microinverters, and integrated racking, wiring and grounding reduce field assembled components by 80 percent and labor by 50 percent. Field data has shown that these AC systems are more reliable, provide a higher ROI to the system owner and reduce on-going system maintenance costs.”

SunEdison also recently presented on inverter reliability during a technical workshop at Sandia National Labs in January 2011, and reported similar reliability data for their commercial systems using the Enphase Microinverter System.

Enphase Energy

India to fast-track National Solar Mission

Govt approves scheme to fast-track National Solar Mission

Jun 15

Posted by sunnergyinfo

NEW DELHI: In an effort to fast-track the National Solar Mission, the Government on Thursday approved a scheme which will help in availability of funds for carrying out projects under the mission.

The Union Cabinet cleared the Payment Security Scheme to enable financial closure of projects under the mission by extending Gross Budgetary Support (GBS) amounting to Rs 486 crore to the New and Renewable Energy Ministry (MNRE), an official spokesperson said here.

The scheme will help MNRE in the event of defaults in payment by the state utilities to NTPC Vidyut Vyapar Nigam (NVVN), the Central Agency which will purchase solar power from the developers and sell it to the utilities bundled with unallocated thermal power available from NTPC utilities.
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