Reports


What our editors are reading

More grist to the electrification mill

Reports

Electrification of the transport, buildings and industrial sectors in Europe could slash greenhouse-gas emissions by 60% between 2020 and 2050, says a report from BloombergNEF (BNEF) and power companies Statkraft and Eaton. But the authors are clear concrete action is needed from policy makers to make change happen. This could include  incentives or requirements to cut emissions from building heat, supporting demonstration projects for electrification and ironing out barriers to the production of green hydrogen.  Engaging energy consumers and civil society is also important, they state.

Share
Link to source

Sudden, inevitable policy shift increases risk of stranded assets

Reports

New investments by oil companies over the next five years could see their value plummet as much as 50% if policy makers undertake a sudden, and inevitable, shift to increase action to counter climate change, warns a report by Carbon Tracker Initiative. This abrupt “handbrake turn” — assessed in the report to occur in 2025 — will lead to a subsequent fall in oil prices and negative impact on the valuation of oil firms. The report finds US firms, led by ExxonMobil, are most exposed, and suggests investors insist on higher rates of return to reflect this risk.

Share
Link to source

Energy emissions decoupled from economy in 2019

Reports

Increased renewables, fuel switching and an uptick in nuclear power saw static emissions growth from energy last year, even as the global economy grew by 2.9%, says data from the International Energy Agency. Emissions from coal dropped 1.3% year-on-year, with the IEA saying the data suggests the energy transition is underway. Advanced economies saw their emissions decline by over 370 million tonnes (or 3.2%), with the power sector responsible for 85% of the drop. Mild weather drove down emissions by 150 million tonnes.

Share
Link to source

Climate action in China will save lives

Reports

Ambitious climate action by China would also save lives and millions in healthcare costs by significantly increasing outdoor air quality, says a report by the International Institute for Sustainable Development. But to achieve these wins, the country needs to slash fossil fuel subsidies and invest more heavily in renewables. Subsidies to fossil fuel consumption in China amount to around $40 billion a year, while renewable energy subsidies are only a quarter of that at $10.5 billion a year, says the IISD.

Share
Link to source

Utility-scale solar prices in the US have plummeted 70%

Reports

Median prices for installed photovoltaics projects in the US have fallen by 70% or more since 2010, says the latest annual report on utility-scale solar by the governmental Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Levelised PPA prices for utility-scale PV power purchase agreements have also fallen dramatically, by $10/MWh annually in most years since 2013. The cumulative net AC capacity factor of individual projects — how much energy is produced compared with the facility’s maximum possible output — ranged widely from 12.1% to 34.8%.

Share
Link to source

EIA: US renewables to surge in 2020

Reports

Renewable energy is closer to pulling ahead of fossil fuels in the US. Data from the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) shows wind and solar will represent almost 32 GW, or 76%, of new capacity additions this year. The EIA expects 42 GW of new capacity to start commercial operation in 2020. Wind power accounts for the largest share of new capacity at 44%, followed by solar and natural gas at 32% and 22% respectively. Wind’s previous record in the US was 13.2 GW in 2012.

Share
Link to source

Sustainable investing is a win-win

Reports

Research by S&P Global Market Intelligence shows investors are wrong to be wary of sustainable investing that takes into consideration environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors. The analysis concludes: “Carbon-sensitive portfolios have similar returns and significantly better climate characteristics than portfolios constructed without carbon emission considerations.” It cites studies showing companies with lower carbon emissions are more profitable than those producing more emissions. Highly profitable firms are usually well managed and have the resources to adopt proactive environmental strategies to decrease regulatory liabilities, mitigate business risks and manage important stakeholders, it states.

Share
Link to source

EU needs EV infrastructure plan

Reports

Electric vehicles are increasing in Europe, but charging points need to come on line to keep up with and encourage this growth. Scenarios estimate there will be 33 to 44 million EVs in the EU by 2030. NGO T&E has designed a methodology, a Public Charging Supply metric, to help policy makers set public charging infrastructure targets. The organisation suggests 1.3 million public charge points will be required EU-wide in five years and close to three million by 2030, requiring investment of €1.8 billion in 2025, 3% of the EU’s annual investment in road transport infrastructure.

Share
Link to source

Clean energy standards will require new policies

Reports

A report by the Centre for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES) finds a market-based solution is needed to support the US’s clean energy standards (CES) if mid-century climate goals are to be reached. Many states in the US have CES requiring a certain proportion of retail electricity be renewable. But only a few have the most effective approach – a market-based model that prioritises performance and outcome rather than particular technologies. A federal CES could also be adopted that covers the industrial and transportation sectors as well as utilities.

Share
Link to source

US states, cities and businesses driving a low-carbon future

Reports

A coalition of US states, cities and businesses – representing 68% of the country’s GDP – are laying the foundation for a thorough national climate strategy which, combined with aggressive future federal climate action, could lead to a 49% cut in emissions, against 2005 levels, by 2030. Accelerating America’s Pledge, released at the UN climate talks in Madrid, reports that existing policies will already achieve a 25% cut by 2030. A well-planned, rapid change could bring benefits across the economy, including via lower power bills for consumers due to falling costs of clean technologies.

Share
Link to source

Innovation at the grid edge

Reports

This white paper by Siemens looks at technological developments at the grid edge — the interface between the grid, the final consumer and the technologies that connect to it — including artificial intelligence and data-driven systems. These technologies are creating new forms of connectedness and opening up new opportunities for generating and using energy. The paper examines these developments and their impact on the transition to a net-zero energy system: encouraging the move from a centralized energy system to one that is more decentralized, more local and more efficient.

Share
Link to source

Put carbon pricing at heart of US climate agenda

Reports

Carbon pricing must lead US efforts to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050, says the Centre for Climate and Energy Solutions. The agenda should also include: half of new light-duty vehicle sales becoming zero emission vehicles by 2035; new national standards for regulating methane emissions in the oil and gas sector; phasing out of subsidies for higher-carbon energy sources and adoption of tax credits for zero-carbon power generation; and setting state and local goals and building standards to decarbonise buildings through energy efficiency, electrification and other forms of fuel switching.

Share
Link to source

EVs could shift LA’s residential peak load to night-time

Reports

With a 10% penetration of electric vehicles, the car capital of the world could shift its entire residential peak load to night-time hours. In Los Angeles, even such a low penetration of EVs would create enough virtual power plants to discharge during peak evening hours. The annual cost savings would be $560 per EV customer even after accounting for the cost of overnight recharging. Deloitte forecasts a tipping point in 2022 where the cost of ownership of an EV will equal the cost of an internal combustion engine vehicle.

Share
Link to source

Asian banks need more climate transparency

Reports

There is a clear need for more transparency and standardisation around climate action policies and measures in place in all Asian development finance institutions, says a report by think tank E3G. It singles out the China Development Bank and Korea Development Bank in particular for making “very little information publicly available” on many of the ten metrics covered in its report aimed at measuring progress on actions to achieve the Paris Agreement, including mitigation and adaptation, climate risk and greenhouse gas accounting.

Share
Link to source

California’s gas system must shrink and decarbonise

Reports

California has committed to 100% clean electricity, a doubling of energy efficiency, widespread transport electrification and a carbon neutral economy by 2045. A report by Gridworks warns the state must plan the transition of its gas system or face “immense risk” as increasing infrastructure costs coincide with a rapid decline in demand. The volume of gas flowing through California’s gas delivery system will decline dramatically because of state and local policies. Even without electrification, gas use in homes will drop by 25% by 2050 because of efficiency.

Share
Link to source

Climate is top concern for global CEOs

Reports

Top CEOs globally believe climate change is the leading risk to organisational growth in 2019, ahead of technological disruption, return to territorialism, cyber security and operational risk, shows KPMG’s 2019 Global CEO Outlook. This is the first time in the five-year history of the survey that climate change ranked first. Of the 1300 CEOs across 11 markets and 11 industry sectors, 76% said their company’s growth will depend on their ability to navigate the shift to a low-carbon, clean-technology economy.

Share
Link to source

EU coal power losses to reach €6.6 billion

Reports

Almost 80% of EU coal power plants are running at a loss due to competition from cheaper renewable energy technologies and gas, and are on track to lose as much as €6.6 billion this year. Apocoalypse now, by the Carbon Tracker Initiative, finds that Germany, Spain and the Czech Republic are the most exposed. RWE, with nearly 18,000 MW of installed coal capacity, could post a loss of €975 million. Given the worsening economics of coal-burn, analysts forecast the fuel could be phased out entirely by 2030.

Share
Link to source

Pathway to sustainable finance in New Zealand

Reports

New Zealand’s financial markets are largely not aligned with sustainability initiatives, writes the Aotearoa Circle Sustainable Finance Forum in its interim report on why and how the country needs to shift to a sustainable economy. The solutions lie in three themes: changing mindsets, particularly among leadership, to drive the change; greening the finance sector, including by pricing the social and environmental impacts of business; and by redirecting capital to projects which deliver on the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals.

Share
Link to source

Renewables poised for 50% growth by 2024

Reports

Falling costs and supportive policies will help push the total global installed renewable capacity up by 1200 GW by 2024, an increase of 50% on current levels, finds the International Energy Agency. Renewables will account for 30% of global power generation by 2024, compared to 26% today. Solar PV will drive this surge, with the agency forecasting a 60% increase. But this growth will still fall short of global sustainability targets with policy uncertainty, system integration and high investment risk remaining barriers.

Share
Link to source

Renewables not gas cheapest for reliability

Reports

A combination of wind, solar, battery storage, energy efficiency and demand flexibility is already a cheaper means of securing reliable power supply in the heavily fossil-fuel dependent Canadian province of Alberta than building gas fired capacity, concludes the Pembina Institute, a non-partisan think tank. Despite the low cost of gas in Alberta, the zero-carbon mix is the winner for security of supply and lowest cost. Pembina’s conclusion supports similar US modelling and assumes no subsidies for any technology.

Share
Link to source

Wind’s role in power supply could boom

Reports

Wind’s role in power supply could be nine times larger than it is today by 2040, says a study by KPMG. Wind could supply up to 34% of global electric power demand compared to 4% today, says a report for Siemens Gamesa. That is 14,000 TWh, equivalent to today’s total power generation in China, Europe and the US. The industry could offset 5.6 billion tonnes of CO2, equal to the annual emissions of the world’s 80 most polluting cities, by 2050.

Share
Link to source

Reducing building construction emissions

Reports

Building and construction are responsible for 39% of all global carbon emissions. Energy to heat, cool and light buildings accounts for 28% of emissions, with the remaining 11% from embodied carbon, emissions associated with materials and construction processes. The Green Building Council, backed by companies such as HeidelbergCement, Skanska, a construction group, and Google, has issued a report showing how carbon emissions could be eliminated throughout the whole building lifecycle, but warns change will not happen without a radical shift in how industry works together

Share
Link to source

China leads renewable jobs table

Reports

Renewable energy employed 11 million people at the end of 2018, according to the sixth edition of the Renewable Energy and Jobs – Annual Review 2019 by the International Renewable Energy Agency. Thirty-nine of all renewable energy jobs were in China, and 32% of renewable energy jobs were held by women, says the report. Solar photovoltaic (PV) remained the top employer among renewable energy technologies in 2018, comprising a third of the sector’s jobs. Asia hosted over three million PV jobs, nearly nine-tenths of the global total

Share
Link to source

Bumpy road ahead for oil

Reports

Introducing the concept of Energy Return on Capital Invested (EROCI), this report from BNP Paribas looks at the economics of oil versus renewables for road transport and warns the rapid decarbonisation of the utility sector — and resultant stranded fossil fuel-based assets — should serve as a warning to the oil industry. Renewables combined with electric vehicles yield six to seven times more energy than a similar outlay on oil for gasoline-powered light-duty vehicles and three to four times more than diesel-powered vehicles

Share
Link to source

Nordic clean energy progress too slow

Reports

All five Nordic countries (Norway, Finland, Denmark, Sweden and Iceland) have significantly increased renewable energy use, but must do more to decarbonise industry, transport and buildings, says a report tracking clean energy progress. Norway leads the deployment of electric vehicles, but they only make up 3% of the total Nordic car fleet. The average energy demand of Nordic buildings has decreased only slightly over the last ten years, and the exploitation of residual heat and further decarbonisation of industry are major technological and political challenges, says the report.

Share
Link to source

US states show energy efficiency makes sense

Reports

Despite climate change denying rhetoric from the White House, the latest scorecard from the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy describes 2019 as a “whirlwind year for energy efficiency” at the state level. Massachusetts, California, Rhode Island, Vermont and New York top the list. Particular highlights were the adoption by Nevada, New Mexico, Washington, New York and Maine of 100% clean energy goals coupled with plans to ramp up efficiency investment. The scorecard shows utilities in the US spent $8 billion in 2018 for efficiency programmes, achieving electricity savings of 27.1 million megawatt hours.

Share
Link to source

EU needs to stop paying ships to pollute

Reports

A paper from the NGO Transport & Environment estimates the EU gives more than €24 billion a year in subsidies to the maritime sector in the form of fossil fuel tax exemptions. Shipping is not subject to any formal emissions reduction targets under EU legislation and T&E wants the sector to be brought under the EU Emissions Trading System. This move would generate over €3.6 billion a year in revenues that could be invested in greening the EU economy, including the maritime sector in green port infrastructure and operational subsidies for first-movers, says the organisation.

Share
Link to source

Big figures, but still not enough

Reports

Global investment in new renewable energy capacity from 2010 to 2019 should hit $2.6 trillion, led by growth in solar power capacity, finds the latest Global Trends in Renewable Energy Investment report. Overall green power has helped the world avoid around 2 gigatonnes of CO2 emissions, conclude the authors. But they warn the figures, as impressive as they may seem, represent only “a small share of the overall economic transition required to address climate change” and call for the pace of the global switch to renewables to be rapidly stepped up.

Share
Link to source

Oil majors failing to take climate emergency seriously

Reports

In 2018, all major oil companies sanctioned projects that fall outside the international agreement to keep warming “well below 2°C” and that will fail to deliver adequate returns in a low-carbon world. In its report, Carbon Tracker Initiative singles out “large European companies doing their most to reassure investors they are responsive to climate concerns”, namely BP, Shell, Total and Equinor, as being equally guilty as other firms. Overall, it cites $50 billion of recently sanctioned projects across the oil and gas industry that are not aligned with the Paris climate agreement.

Share
Link to source

Think big and believe in the energy transition

Reports

If investors and policy makers accept that a rapid clean energy transition is taking place, this will become a self-fulfilling prophecy, enabling emissions to be reduced in line with the Paris climate agreement, concludes a White Paper from the World Economic Forum. If, on the other hand, leaders opt for gradual change and only half-heartedly accept and advocate for a rapid move from fossil fuels to renewables and energy efficiency, progress will be too slow and runaway climate change likely to be the result.

Share
Link to source

US offshore wind industry is booming

Reports

The pipeline of offshore wind projects in the US is over 25.8 gigawatts (GW), of which 21.2 GW is in sites won through government auctions, says the US Department of Energy. The 2018 Offshore Wind Technologies Market Report shows US offshore wind capacity could grow to 11–16 GW by 2030. Offtake prices for the first commercial-scale offshore wind project in Massachusetts were lower than expected. The first-year price for the power purchase agreement was $74 a megawatt-hour (MWh) for phase 1 of the 800MW Vineyard Wind project and $65/MWh for phase 2.

Share
Link to source

How to green China’s Belt and Road initiative

Reports

The 126 countries involved in China’s Belt and Road Initiative need to ensure investments in infrastructure and real estate are low-carbon and in line with the commitments of the Paris climate agreement if the world is to have any hope of keeping climate change and its effects under control, say researchers from China, the UK and the US. The report proposals a series of solutions, including forming an international coalition to support green financing and promoting green investment principles with global investors.

Share
Link to source

EU not walking the renewables talk

Reports

In 2018, the European Commission published its vision of how the European economy can become climate neutral by 2050 and countries around Europe are declaring climate emergencies. Yet, research shows not one EU member state comprehensively reports on its fossil fuel subsidies or has plans to phase them out. Worse, five EU countries — the UK, Germany, Greece, Poland and Slovenia — are looking to introduce new fossil fuel subsidies by 2030. The information comes from the countries’ draft National Energy and Climate Plans.

Share
Link to source

Top companies flock to US solar investments

Reports

Leading companies are increasingly investing in solar energy in the US because it makes economic sense, says an industry report. Most of the top ten are household names. Apple is the leading procurer of corporate solar in the US with nearly 400 megawatts of total installed capacity. The tech giant is followed by: Amazon; chain retailers Target and Walmart; data centre company Switch; Google; health company Kaiser Permanente; global property and supply chain logistics  firm Prologis; Belgian chemical company Solvay; and Fifth Third Bank.

Share
Link to source

Investing in storage could help slash CO2 emissions

Reports

A study by researchers at the University of Michigan, US concludes that without storage, adding 60  GW of renewables to California would achieve a 72% reduction in CO2 emissions compared with a zero-renewables case. Adding energy storage technologies would allow a 90% reduction in CO2, they find. In Texas, the same renewables deployment level of 60 GW would lead to a 54% emissions reduction and storage could increase this to 57%. A carbon tax could help pay for energy storage, they suggest.

Share
Link to source

US wind energy costs plummet to all-time lows

Reports

Low wind turbine pricing continues to push down installed project costs, a report by the US Department of Energy finds. Wind turbine prices have fallen to $700–$900/kW, helping push the average installed cost of wind projects in 2018 to $1470/kW, down 40% since the peak in 2009 and 2010The median and generation-weighted average wind power purchase agreement prices from contracts executed in the past three years are also consistently below the low end of the projected natural gas fuel cost range, says the report.

Share
Link to source

Fossil fuels offer ever poorer return on energy investment

Reports

Fossil fuels come out on top when their energy return on energy investment (EROI) — the ratio of how much energy a source such as coal will produce compared to how much energy it takes to extract— is compared to renewables. But researchers from the University of Leeds, UK, say this is because historically EROIs have been measured at extraction. Taking into account the energy required to transform oil, coal and gas into finished fuels brings the ratios much closer and makes a strong case for rapidly stepping up investment in renewable energies, say the scientists.

Share
Link to source

Coastal states must cooperate to support US offshore wind

Reports

US states must do more than compete with each other for ocean energy power. They must cooperate to create a winning industry for the country, says the Leadership 100 Work Plan by the Business Network for Offshore Wind. This is because US states, which are independent in some ways from each other and from the federal government, often compete to be home to the nascent offshore wind supply chain. Cooperation between states is also key to developing the grid and transmission lines needed to support large offshore wind projects.

Share
Link to source

Investors and pensions at risk from reduced fossil fuel shipping

Reports

Fossil fuels make up over 40% of the annual cargo tonnage of all maritime trade. If the world changes its energy sources to reduce emissions in line with the Paris climate agreement, investors in shipping and ports will be exposed to substantial financial risks, says a study by Maritime Strategies International. If the average global temperature rise is limited to 1.5°C, the value of the world’s dry bulk ships will more than halve from $195 billion in 2018 to $90 billion by 2030 with significant implications for investment banks and major institutional investors.

Share
Link to source

Renewables are here to stay

Reports

Solar photovoltaics and wind are now mainstream options in the power sector, with an increasing number of countries generating more than 20% of their electricity from these energy sources, shows the Renewables 2019 Global Status Report from REN21, a think tank. But a lack of ambitious and sustained policies to drive decarbonisation in the heating, cooling and transport sectors means countries are not maximising the benefits of the clean energy transition, including cleaner air and energy security, says the report.

Share
Link to source

Yeti-sized digital footprint

Reports

At over 300 million tonnes, online video emits as much carbon dioxide a year as Spain, says a report by French think tank The Shift Project. The main use of digital tools worldwide, online video accounts for 60% of global data flows and is the biggest producer of GHG emissions in the digital sector. Overall, the digital sector is responsible for 4% of global emissions, as much as civil aviation, and its global energy consumption is growing by 9% a year. Left unchecked, its emissions may double by 2025, reaching the same share of global emissions as passenger cars today.

Share
Link to source

US state policies boost renewable energy

Reports

About half of the growth in US renewable energy generation since 2000 is because of state requirements, says a report by the National Conference of State Legislatures. Iowa was the first state to establish a renewable portfolio standard, which mandates utilities to source a certain proportion of electricity from renewables. More than half of states have since established such requirements. But the role of RPS policies has diminished because of declining renewable energy costs and the adoption of other state policies such as net metering.

Share
Link to source

Energy sustainability could boost workforce diversity

Reports

The US clean energy economy workforce is old school. Compared with other sectors, including fossil fuels, the clean energy workforce is older, more male-dominated and lacks more racial diversity, says a report, Advancing Inclusion Through Clean Energy Jobs, by the Brookings Metropolitan Policy Programme in Washington DC. The authors argue the clean energy transition will bring high-paying jobs, especially to those with fewer academic credentials — and it is therefore a great opportunity to include women and minorities. 

Share
Link to source

Over slow coal phase out

Reports

To meet the goals of the Paris climate agreement, the EU should phase out coal by 2030. Analysis by Sandbag and Climate Action Network Europe shows Europe is not on track. After examining the draft National Energy and Climate Plans of 21 countries still using coal for electricity generation, the NGOs found only eight will end coal by this date, leaving 60 gigawatts of installed capacity, a reduction of only 58% compared to current levels. As the report says, member states need to make sure the transition is more than just talk. 

Share
Link to source

Financing a just transition

Reports

The just transition has become a trendy term, but financing the move away from coal and fossil fuels to a sustainable and clean economy based on renewables and efficiency is complicated. The EU office of the WWF has produced this briefing paper showing how EU-level funds can help pay for this transformation in the form of seed money for the development of comprehensive and locally developed, strategic long-term transition plans based on assessments of early economic needs.

Share
Link to source

Wind leading US energy transition

Reports

Annual generation from wind will surpass hydro power generation for the first time in 2019 to become the leading source of renewable electricity generation in the US, forecasts the Energy Information Administration. Wind will maintain that position in 2020, says the government agency’s monthly Short-Term Energy Outlook. Renewables will produce 18% of the country’s electricity in 2019 and almost 20% in 2020, it adds. In contrast, coal consumption, already at a 39-year low of 687 million tonnes (Mt), will fall to 602 Mt in 2019 and to 567 Mt in 2020.

Share
Link to source

EU moves closer to green finance laws

Reports

The EU Technical Expert Group on sustainable finance has released three new reports related to taxonomy, green bonds standards and climate benchmarks. These will form the basis for a package of legislation on green finance, stipulating which economic activities can be labelled “environmentally sustainable” as the EU aims for a net-zero emissions economy. WWF called the report on taxonomy “a robust starting point”. The green bonds standards “add value beyond current best market practice”, said the NGO, encouraging adoption by bond issuers, underwriters and investors. 

Share
Link to source

Energy efficiency is the heart of the transition

Reports

Analysis from the Energy Efficiency Council, an Australian non-profit, underlines the growing importance of energy efficiency. Global private and public investment in energy efficiency was AU$346 billion (€212 billion) in 2018. Energy savings are not a marginal issue with energy efficiency improvements since 2000 reducing China’s annual energy demand in 2017 by nearly 10%, notes the report. In short, in 2017 China saved more than twice as much energy as Australia used. The main message:  put energy efficiency at the centre of energy policies.

Share
Link to source

Targets and cheap construction costs boost wind

Reports

Just four states provided 52% of US wind energy in 2018, says a paper by the US Energy Information Administration. Texas, Oklahoma, Iowa and Kansas are not only very windy, but they also have either mandatory renewable energy requirements or voluntary goals as well as relatively cheap construction costs. Five other states—California, Illinois, Minnesota, North Dakota and Colorado—provided another 20% of total wind generation. US producers generated 275 million megawatt hours of electricity from wind power in 2018, says the federal agency. 

Share
Link to source

Tax incentives to spur power sector innovation

Reports

Tax incentives are inherently less efficient than direct federal spending at transmitting incentives to the private sector, say researchers at Columbia University, US. But new predictable, long-term tax incentives are important to enable the deployment of technologies to make the power sector more flexible and integrate significant amounts of renewable energy, they add. Support should be ramped down as technologies mature, they insist. Eligibility for America’s federal tax credit for wind energy projects expires in December 2019 and the incentive for solar will start being phased out in 2020.

Share
Link to source

Urgent need to overhaul US grid

Reports

The US power grid is ageing and urgently needs an update, says a report by the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), Grid Vision: The Electric Highway to a 21st Century Economy. The American Society of Civil Engineers recently gave America’s electricity infrastructure a grade of only D+, highlights the report. Dozens of studies confirm that an investment in transmission will pay for itself many times over, says AWEA. Well-designed transmission projects provide consumer benefits two to four times greater than their cost, the trade group says. 

Share
Link to source

Solar needs right support

Reports

Solar power is forecast to increase significantly in the coming years, says the Global Market Outlook For Solar Power 2019-2023, an industry report. It cites the continuing fall in solar’s power generation cost, which decreased by around 14% year-on-year in 2018 to $0.02 a kilowatt hour in many sunny places around the world, as an important element. But the report warns: “Low generation cost alone is not enough to facilitate growth; it also needs the right policy frameworks and energy market designs”. 

Share
Link to source

Slow progress on renewables in heat and transport

Reports

Increasing progress towards the global energy targets set in the UN 2030 Sustainable Development Goals requires “stronger political commitment, long-term energy planning, increased private financing and adequate policy and fiscal incentives to spur faster deployment of new technologies”, says a report from the International Energy Agency, the International Renewable Energy Agency, the World Bank and others. The use of renewable energy in heat generation and transport still lags far behind the goals, it states.

Share
Link to source

Electric vehicles save energy

Reports

Policies, targets and fiscal incentives are important to grow the electric vehicle (EV) market, says the International Energy Agency in the 2019 Global EV Outlook. Technology developments are bringing down costs and this trend is set to continue. The report also underlines the need for policies and market frameworks to ensure electric mobility plays an active role in increasing the flexibility of power systems. It likewise confirms electric cars save more energy than they use, significantly contributing to reducing emissions and oil use by 2030. 

Share
Link to source

Urban waste heat potential

Reports

The potential for waste heat for district heating and cooling was a big subject at the recent Euroheat & Power Congress. The Accessible Urban Waste Heat report published in 2018 by ReUseHeat, an EU research project, is worth (re-)visiting to help assess opportunities. It shows enough waste heat could be recovered from urban sources, such as data centres, metro stations, service sector buildings, and waste water treatment plants to supply more than 10% of the EU’s total energy demand for heat and hot water.

Share
Link to source

Cities’ investment needs

Reports

new publication by Energy Cities, a Brussels-based NGO, illustrates the energy transition investment needs of five European cities (Ghent, Belgium, Frederikshavn, Denmark Bordeaux-Métropole, France, Sevilla, Spain and Tallinn, Estonia). The amounts vary significantly between €750 million to €3 billion. The report also provides guidance on where financial support is needed locally in an effort to steer funding change at an EU and national level to ensure spending supports actions in line with the Paris Climate Agreement. 

Share
Link to source

Countries told to improve net zero emissions plans

Reports

All EU member states need to rewrite draft plans aimed at showing how they will get on a pathway to net zero emissions by 2050, according to analysis by the Ecologic Institute and Climact, commissioned by the European Climate Foundation. Too many countries have limited plans for phasing out coal and fossil fuel subsidies, offer few indications on much needed investments, have included “too much unsustainable biomass” in their planned energy mix and are failing to consult adequately with the public. Final versions are due by the end of the year.

Share
Link to source

Energy transition business leaders

Reports

For businesses wanting to lead the energy transition, the World Economic Forum has put together a report entitled Two Degrees of Transformation: Businesses are coming together to lead on climate change. Will you join them? It cites companies from a variety of sectors that have reinvented their businesses to thrive in a low-carbon future. It focuses on: different industries working together to develop low-carbon products and technologies; creating sustainable value chains; harnessing data and connectivity; and financing change.

Share
Link to source

Recommendations to reduce financial climate risks

Reports

The Network for Greening the Financial System has published its first report setting out financial risks linked to climate change and outlining six recommendations for central banks and financial supervisors. These include: integrating climate-related risks into financial stability monitoring and sustainability into portfolio management; bridging data gaps; building awareness, intellectual capacity and encouraging knowledge sharing; robust and internationally consistent climate and environment-related disclosure; supporting a taxonomy of economic activities.

Share
Link to source

Heavy industry costs to achieve net-zero emissions

Reports

Products from Europe’s heavy industries are needed to power the clean energy transition, yet these sectors release over 500 million tonnes of CO2 emissions a year, 14% of the EU total. These emissions can be reduced to net-zero by 2050, concludes a report by Material Economics. The change will have little impact on end-user/consumer costs, but industry will need to introduce new costlier production processes with significant near-term capital investment equivalent to a 25–60% increase on today’s rates required, reaching €40-50 billion a year.

Share
Link to source

Investors need to wake up to climate change

Reports

BlackRock, the world’s biggest asset manager, warns the US economy is at risk of severe consequences because of climate change and urges investors to wake up. Rising sea levels, increased and more violent hurricanes, wildfires and droughts are all threats that should be factored into investment decisions, it says. Its report examines four scenarios based on different levels of climate action, showing that an immediate and decisive move away from fossil fuels to reduce stop emissions and climate change spiralling out of control will also reduce investment risk. 

Share
Link to source

Renewables and electrification to deliver climate goals

Reports

Scaling-up renewable energy combined with electrification can deliver more than 75% of the energy-related emission reductions needed to meet global climate goals, says the International Renewable Energy Agency. An accelerated energy transition based on this approach would also save the global economy up to $160 trillion cumulatively over the next 30 years in avoided health costs, energy subsidies and climate damages. Every dollar spent on energy transition would pay off up to seven times, says the report, with the global economy growing by 2.5% in 2050.

Share
Link to source

Lower gas volumes in all scenarios

Reports

The second Gas for Climate study published by Navigant for a group of seven European gas transport companies and two renewable gas industry associations looks at the role of gas in a decarbonised EU energy system. It compares a “minimal gas” scenario with an “optimised gas” scenario. Both arrive at a net-zero emissions system by 2050 via a large scale-up of wind and solar, and blue hydrogen being replaced by renewable green hydrogen towards 2050/2060. In both scenarios, gas volumes used in networks are lower in 2050 than in 2019.

Share
Link to source

Ten priorities for the EU

Reports

Agora Energiewende has drawn up ten priorities showing the next European Commission, to be in place by the end of 2019, how the EU can meet its 2030 climate and energy targets. A vibrant action framework with the right financial and policy support is vital, says the think tank. Avoided health costs will outweigh the costs of a clean energy transition, it states, adding that the transformation will increase GDP and employment, not raise household expenses, and boost energy security. Energy and trade intensive sectors will need support, but industrial competitiveness is not at risk.

Share
Link to source

Drastic action to decarbonise aviation

Reports

Emissions from aviation are out of control and a radical new plan is needed for the sector to achieve its climate goals, says the Rocky Mountain Institute. The Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA) doesn’t do enough to meet established goals, let alone address climate stability targets, says the US organisation. It calls instead for a clear path to transform commercial aircraft using breakthrough technologies, to remove barriers slowing the uptake of lower carbon fuels and for a new forum bringing together all aviation sector actors to work collaboratively. 

Share
Link to source

Solutions to integrate variable renewables

Reports

Recognising the diversity of solutions and differences between local energy systems, the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) has analysed, mapped and categorised solutions from around the world aimed at facilitating the integration of variable renewable power. The report’s goal is to make life easier for policy makers and help them understand the most apt solutions for their power systems. IRENA also urges decision makers to continually revisit and update market policies and those in place to drive technological innovation to keep up with new developments and breakthroughs. 

Share
Link to source

Infrastructure choices key to fighting climate change

Reports

Resource extraction and processing are responsible for about half of global greenhouse gas emissions, finds the latest Global Resources Outlook from UN Environment. Published every four years based on research by the International Resource Panel, the report says economically attractive and technologically feasible alternatives exist. The climate change impacts from the extraction and production of metals approximately doubled from 2000 to 2015, with the iron-steel production chain the worst offender. The authors also highlight the massive increase in fossil fuel electricity generation capacity and underline the importance of policy makers taking the right infrastructure decisions to avoid lock in of environmentally harmful technologies.

Share
Link to source

Green gas has its place

Reports

Building the infrastructure to decarbonise the EU’s energy system by 2050 through large amounts of green gas could be up to 36% more expensive than through energy efficiency and smart electrification, concludes Towards fossil-free energy in 2050, a report from UK consultancy Element Energy and Cambridge Econometrics, commissioned by the European Climate Foundation. Developed with input from renewable energy organisations, the gas industry, car companies and others, the report’s scenarios do not rely entirely on direct electrification, but instead underline its complementarity with carbon-neutral green gases and heat networks. 

Share
Link to source

Data driven report on electricity in Europe

Reports

A presentation of conclusions drawn from vast quantities of data, Power Facts Europe 2019 is a dry read. But it is also refreshingly packed with real world evidence of how the transition of 500 million citizens to clean electricity is being actively and positively managed by grid operators. The report, from the European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity (ENTSO-E), bluntly tells us that failing to build out the grid as planned to integrate renewables will result in an extra system cost by 2040 of €43 billion a year.

Share
Link to source

Ten years and ten tasks to rewire the economy

Reports

Rewiring the Economy from Cambridge University’s Institute for Sustainability Leadership is described as a strategic compass bearing for business, government and finance leaders. The intention is to inspire collaboration between the three for fundamental change in the global economy. Inequality, conflict and insecurity are the author’s worries along with degradation of ecosystems, depletion of resources and rising greenhouse gas levels. Government and Finance are each allotted three tasks, while Business gets four. Decisions based on evidence, measuring the right things and “socially useful” action are among the most frequent admonishments.

Share
Link to source

Case studies in how to fast track zero-carbon growth

Reports

The best way for governments to accelerate action on clean electrification and environmental husbandry is to implement bold policies that provide clarity and confidence for bold business investment. For courageous policies that work, look to business leadership, is the key message from The Ambition Loop, a hard-hitting, how-to report. It documents successful business-policy feedback loops for a wide range of countries and technologies. A stimulating read that inspires action for public-private partnerships and provides step-by-step instructions on how to go about it.

Share
Link to source

The European Power Sector in 2018

Reports

Replacing coal with renewables is the fastest way to cut emissions, concludes an evaluation of the EU’s electricity system in 2018 by Agora Energiewende and Sandbag. In six years, Europe’s annual CO2 emissions from coal power plants have fallen by 250 million tonnes and for the first time in 2018 wind and solar power were comparable to existing coal and gas generation costs. But growth in renewables must increase substantially to meet the EU’s goal of covering 32% of energy demand with renewables by 2030. 

Share
Link to source

Where does change start if the future is already decided?

Reports

The future is “decarbonised, decentralised and electric” and distribution system operators (DSOs) will be at the heat of this transformation, says a report from consultancy EY. Drafted with input from European DSOs, the latter are urged to get ready now and make concrete plans to enable a successful energy transition. The next five years will be critical for DSOs, which must continue to develop and operate the network in a reliable, affordable and sustainable way, while building a grid that is fit for the future, says the report.

Share
Link to source

BP Shareholder Resolution

Reports

BP will support a call from institutional investors to disclose how its policies and spending plans align with the 2015 Paris climate agreement. The company’s board will back a resolution at its annual general meeting in May to broaden its corporate reporting. The resolution says investors remain concerned BP has not demonstrated that its strategy, “which includes growth in oil and gas as well as pursuing low carbon businesses”, is consistent with the Paris goals. It also highlights potential discrepancies between its pledge “to power economic growth and lift people out of poverty” given climate vulnerabilities in developing countries. 

Share
Link to source

Climate governance guidance to help boards

Reports

Ahead of its annual gathering of movers and shakers in Davos, Switzerland, the World Economic Forum, in conjunction with consultants PwC, has published a guide for board members of all companies advising them how to navigate the challenges and opportunities of climate change. Good governance based around eight principles, ranging from climate accountability, risk assessment and reporting and disclosure, is at the heart of the paper, which builds on existing corporate governance frameworks, such as the recommendations of the Financial Stability Board’s Task Force on ClimateRelated Financial Disclosures.

Share
Link to source

Energy transition helps reduce household electricity prices

Reports

The economic benefits of energy market coupling, grid upgrades and transitioning from fossil fuels to renewable energies are showing up in lower electricity prices for consumers. The price fall and the reasons behind it are revealed in the latest Energy Prices and Costs in Europe report. For the first time since 2008, household electricity prices fell between 2016 and 2017 as did the cost to consumers of supporting renewable energy. The data also shows almost flat electricity demand growth over the next decade and a steep drop in gas investments.

Share
Link to source

Changing energy tax rules will boost just energy transition

Reports

Simplifying EU decision-making rules would speed up a fair and affordable energy transition, says the European Political Strategy Centre, the European Commission’s in-house think-tank. The use of so-called passerelle clauses would allow the EU to move from unanimity to qualified majority voting in specified policy areas, such as energy taxation. This would enable changes “crucial to curbing the dominance of oil” and meeting global climate change commitments, and encourage “redistributive measures” to support those most affected by the transition and fiscal incentives to boost investments in low-carbon technologies.

Share
Link to source

Companies ignoring climate change are risky investments

Reports

Hermes was one of the first big asset management companies to consistently warn of the risk to business of a warming world. Its message has only gotten stronger since.

Companies not adapting to a low carbon economy are at risk of being left with stranded assets, Hermes says in its Carbon Report 2018. And those with high scores in environmental governance provide better financial returns, the data reveals. Investor concern about climate change has the power to unite rather than divide society, states CEO Saker Nusseibeh.

Share
Link to source

US market reform vital for reliable and affordable electricity

Reports

When Michael Goggin and Rob Gramlich team up on reforming wholesale electricity markets, the result is bound to be good. It would be hard to find a duo with more experience in communicating the complexities of electricity market design.

Sweeping changes in fuel costs, technology and computing make it imperative to redesign markets if reliable and affordable electricity in the US is to continue, the report finds. Growing proportions of renewables only add to the urgency. A table of recommendations for energy, capacity and reliability services markets is the key takeaway.

Share
Link to source

Business case for renewable energy gets stronger

Reports

The membership of the group of RE100 companies committed to powering their businesses with renewable energy now represent 5% of global GDP, reveals the most recent RE100 Progress and Insights report.

Of the 155 member companies, including Google, Coca-Cola, BMW, and IKEA, 37 already get 95% of their electricity from renewable sources. The RE base is now growing outside Europe and North America. Its reach extends to 140 markets. Ten Japanese companies were among the 37 to become members in 2018. 

Share
Link to source

Cement, steel and shipping can be decarbonised

Reports

When leaders from across the entire energy spectrum present a report outlining how to decarbonise the cement, steel, plastics, trucking and aviation industries by mid-century with hardly a ripple to the global economy there are grounds for optimism. The sectors emit nearly a third of global dioxide emissions. Eradicating these is far harder than for the power sector, but is vital for keeping the rise in global temperature to well below 2°C. The Mission Possible report comes from the Energy Transitions Commission.

Share
Link to source
Carbon capture and storage no longer needed

Carbon capture and storage no longer needed

Reports

Advances in renewable energy technology and natural gas make retrofitting coal power stations to enable them to capture and store their carbon emissions no longer necessary, reports the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis. In its report, Holy Grail of Carbon Capture Continues to Elude Coal Industry, the IEEFA tracks the “dismal performance” of four “wildly expensive” flagship carbon capture projects across North America. More reliable and far cheaper power-generation alternatives exist, it says.

Share
Link to source
Electricity cheaper from new wind than from existing coal

Electricity cheaper from new wind than from existing coal

Reports

If there is any doubt left about the economic advisability of transitioning to renewable energy it is swept away by Lazard’s 12th like-for-like analysis of electricity generation costs for the owners of assets managed by the financial advisory heavyweight. Lazard documents how the average cost of electricity from US wind farms undercuts the average cost of electricity from existing coal plants across the scale. Solar PV cannot compete with the average cost-range for wind, but beats coal at the top end of coal’s average cost. 

Share
Link to source

Four next steps to accelerate energy transition

Reports

In a discussion paper of refreshing clarity, think-tank The Australia Institute outlines the next steps its government should take to fast-track the energy transition: support dispatchable renewables and storage; build-out transmission links; modernise market rules; create a safety net for displaced fossil-fuel workers.The well argued advice is highly applicable to other countries with growing penetrations of renewables. The paper includes solutions for making investment in new capacity attractive in a world where electricity prices are being driven down by low-cost wind and solar.

Share
Link to source

Grid stability benefits of wind compared with coal and gas

Reports

Wind turbines can change their output in response to operator and market signals at least ten times faster than conventional thermal power facilities and their response is far more accurate, concludes a report by Sandia National Laboratories for the US government. The inertia of a wind turbine rotor stores kinetic energy in return for only a slight loss of the turbine’s operating efficiency. Battery storage may find it hard to compete with the flexibility of wind turbines in the frequency management market.

Share
Link to source

Renovate buildings to save energy and improve health

Reports

Those looking for new arguments to encourage policy makers and the private sector to invest in the renovation of buildings to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, would do well to take on board the findings in a study by Buildings 2030 and conducted by the Buildings Performance Institute Europe. It shows that making offices, schools and hospitals more energy efficient would greatly improve people’s health, well-being and productivity. The increase in productivity across Europe could be worth up to €500 billion.

Share
Link to source

Energy efficiency can double energy’s economic value

Reports

Efforts to deploy the right energy efficiency policies could see emissions peak quickly and then fall while the global economy doubles, says the IEA. Energy Efficiency 2018 finds that efficiency gains could allow the world to extract twice as much economic value from the energy it uses. This would reduce energy bills by more than $500 billion dollars a year, lower energy imports and cut air pollution. The report sets out a vision for 2040 with 60% more building space, 20% more people and double global GDP, while using only marginally more energy and cutting emissions by 12%.

Share
Link to source

Oil, gas sector spends little on low carbon assets

Reports

CDP has updated its ranking of the world’s largest publicly listed oil and gas companies against their readiness for the low-carbon transition. Norway’s Equinor comes out top, with Total, Shell and Eni closely following. European companies come out on top, pivoting portfolios towards gas, setting climate-related targets and investing in low-carbon technologies. Since 2010, the 24 ranked companies have invested $22 billion in alternative energies, but spending on low-carbon assets for the sector as a whole will account for only 1.3% of total 2018 CAPEX.

Share
Link to source

Latest impartial evidence on cost of energy

Reports

Verified and current information on the full system-cost of electricity production and delivery, from the power plant to the wall socket is surprisingly hard to come by. Yet forging energy policy without this is like shooting in the dark. To shed light, researchers at the University of Texas have developed a comprehensive cost of energy methodology. One result is a colour coded map for the entire US: wind generation is cheapest where it is windy, solar cheapest where it sunny, with mainly gas filling in the gaps. 

Share
Link to source

Clean energies for clean air

Reports

Reducing the over-dependence on fossil fuels in the global energy mix, investing in improvements in energy efficiency and facilitating the uptake of renewable energy sources, will not only help keep global warming under control, but also improve the lives of billions of children, says a report from the World Heath Organization. Launched at the WHO’s first Global Conference on Air Pollution and Health, the report warns of the dire impact air pollution from the burning of fossil fuels and vehicle exhausts is having on children the world over.

Share
Link to source

Road transport pushes up EU emissions

Reports

Greenhouse gas emissions in the EU increased by 0.6% emissions in 2017 compared to 2016, according to preliminary estimates from the European Environment Agency. The rise was mostly due to the increase of oil consumption by road transport. The increase prolongs a relatively stable trend in emissions since 2014, after a 10-year period of almost continuous reduction. The EU, however, needs to step up the pace significantly to reach its long-term decarbonisation objective of reducing emissions by 80-95% by 2050, highlights the report.

Share
Link to source

Chilling prospects

Reports

As the world’s population and temperatures continue to rise, more of us will live in hot places. “The health and economic risks associated with a lack of access to sustainable cooling is higher than ever before,” states Chilling Prospects: Providing Sustainable Cooling for All. “Access to cooling is now a fundamental issue of equity.” Demand for sustainable cooling is creating a market for super- efficient, affordable technologies, says the report, which is intended as both a wake-up call and call for action.

Share
Link to source

Official summary of latest IPCC report

Reports

The Summary for Policy Makers is a sobering reminder of the sheer weight of scientific evidence behind the IPPC’s latest conclusion: mankind is about to trigger a cascading series of disasters that will tip the world’s ecosystem irreversibly out of balance. But it is not too late, stresses the panel. Fast and decisive action to halt global warming at 1.5C above pre-industrial levels would likely stabilise the world for decades. At just 34 pages, it is well worth the time it takes to read.

Share
Link to source

Capital costs fall again for solar and wind

Reports

Market prices for electricity from solar and wind get ever more attractive in comparison with electricity from fossil fuel and nuclear technologies. That is not only because fossil fuel prices are burdened by carbon costs and nuclear by safety costs, but also because the cost of constructing wind and solar continues to fall. Analysis of 2016 data by the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) provides useful evidence for the downward trend. It also reveals that construction costs for gas went up.

Share
Link to source

Denmark demonstrates how

Reports

Despite a hot summer in Denmark with little wind, the country’s wind turbines supplied more electricity than coal, gas, solar and biomass combined, reports the national wind turbine owners association in a briefing note. Although the 1653 GWh of wind energy provided in June and July compares poorly with the 2167 GWh from the same, but windier, period in 2017, the total wind production was still three times more than the next largest volume from a single electricity producing technology, natural gas.

See datasets for production and consumption here

Share
Link to source

Making business sense

Reports

Powering companies by renewable energy makes business and climate sense, says this report from the global RE100 initiative and Capgemini Invent. The 152 corporates committed to sourcing 100% of their energy from renewables are more profitable than their peers, it finds. An analysis of data from 2016-2017 shows RE100 businesses perform better than non-members on net profit margins and earnings before interests and taxes by up to 7.7 percentage points. The gains are true across all sectors, though most prominent for IT, telecommunications, construction and real estate.

Share
Link to source

Green investor bible updated

Reports

Issuers, investors and regulators wanting to see whether projects are apt for green financing will benefit from the latest version of this guide. It identifies the assets and projects needed to deliver a low carbon economy and offers screening criteria consistent with limiting warming to 2°C as set out in the Paris climate agreement. The 2018 taxonomy covers eight sectors, including energy, buildings, transport and industry, and uses a traffic light system to indicate eligible assets and projects.

Share
Link to source

Transformational action needed

Reports

It is technically and economically possible for Europe to reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, say the European Climate Foundation and Climact, a climate and energy consultancy. They makes it clear, however, that this is no small task and will require, without delay, transformational action in all parts of society. This means significant changes in terms of consumption patterns and increases in natural sinks, such as trees, alongside a shift to energy efficiency, renewables and electrification.

Share
Link to source

Saving electricity has a cost

Reports

How much does saving a kWh cost a customer who supports energy efficiency initiatives, such as financial incentives, technical assistance, education and energy audits? This thorny question is answered in great detail in “The Cost of Saving Electricity Through Energy Efficiency Programs Funded by Utility Customers 2009-2015,” from Lawrence Berkeley National Lab in California. Nearly every US state offers energy efficiency programmes. LBNL provides crucial metrics for assessing when not consuming a kWh can reduce overall cost.

Share
Link to source
Processing...
Thank you! Your subscription has been confirmed. You'll hear from us soon.
SUBSCRIBE TO NEWSLETTER
Sign up to the FORESIGHT Climate & Energy Newsletter. Get free opinion pieces and photo essays. You will also be the first to know when new expert articles are published.
ErrorHere