Category Archives: Renewable energy and bio based solutions

Full Focus on electric vehicles is not enough to bring down carbon emissions in the Netherlands

Although December 2016 shows another record-high for electric vehicles in the Netherlands, also other low-carbon options are urgently needed to further reduce transport emissions.

31,6%, in December 2016, has been the highest share for full electric (FEV) and plug-in hybrid electric (PHEV) passengers vehicles in the monthly new car registrations in the Netherlands so far. The previous record was set in December 2015 (24,6% share for EVs). December 2016 showed another important milestone: total EVs registrations has topped over the 100 thousand, since their introduction around 2012. Yet, the EV market uptake in 2016 slowed down and was 36% less than in 2015, mainly due to a sobered fiscal support scheme for PHEVs.

Monthly car registrations in the Netherlands (2014-2016)
Monthly car registrations in the Netherlands (2014-2016)

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In today’s European energy landscape – only renewables show growth

The strong dominance of fossil resources (share-wise) in energy consumption can make it  easy to overlook the disruptive changes that are taking place in today’s energy landscape: for more than a decade now, total energy consumption is going down in the European Union – at the cost of fossil fuels. Only renewable based energy consumption is growing.2015_sgu_EU Energy consumption BP Stats_2015JUN16.003Energy consumption from renewabe resources (solar, wind, geothermal, bioenery) shows a hyperbolic curve – flat from 1965 to the end of the 1980s, curving in the 1990s and going steep up in share in this century. In 2014 the combined hydro and other renewables energy consumption bypassed nuclear and has climbed to 75% of the coal based consumption level.

The graph below presents which resources fueled growth in a given year compared to the year before. Oil, gas, to a lesser extent coal, and in the 80s nuclear were the resources used for energy consumption growth – up to 2004. From that year on dominancy has been taken over by hydro and other renewables.

The COP21 conference  in Paris is approaching and the EU 2030 energy and climate targets are set – as well as the low carbon economy vision for 2050.

It is clear which ‘colour’ will dominate Europe’s energy landscape in the decades that come.

2015_sgu_EU Energy consumption BP Stats_2015JUN16.004

Trend towards Europe-based feedstocks for biofuels

Europe-based feedstocks for biofuels have gained dominancy in the last couple of years official reporting in the Netherlands and Germany shows.  Also the greenhouse gas (GHG) savings established by the use of biofuels in these two countries have increased.

Europe is currenlty debating  the pathways to a decarbonized, resource efficient  and energy independent Europe. The numbers in this graph demonstrate how biofuel GHG-savings and feedstock origin are contributing to these objectives.

2015_SGU_Insight on GHG saving and origin biofuel feedstocks.001

Plotting the 2010 performance of the entire EU* causes some confusion. Both the GHG-saving and feedstock origin 2010 figures for the EU are higher than one would expect from the Dutch and German performances over 2011 till 2013 . Are other countries achieving higher GHG-saving levels and significantly using more European feedstocks? A more detailed analysis of the performances of other member states will be needed to clarify.

*The EU performance are based on the in 2013 by the European Commission (EC) published  Renewable Energy Report. The newest EC Renewable Energy Progress report is expected  to be published soon. It will bring clarity on the 2012 performance  and enable comparison to the performances as reported in the Netherlands and Germany.

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What are your best next steps?

Europe is transforming towards a low-carbon and resource efficient economy. This will impact various economic sectors such as; the energy, transport and mobility, and the agricultural sector.

As a result, many EU Member States are exploring pathways to restructure their energy production and consumption patterns. Several countries are designing processes to reach a sustainable fuel mix.

These developments are guided through European and national regulations. At both European and national level regulations are in place and updated on continuous basis following new insights, often provided for by civil organisations.

For companies many market opportunities will spring from these developments. By viewing compliance as an opportunity, companies start converting ‘conventional’ to ‘green’ offerings. A following step is designing new sustainable products or processes and ultimately find new sustainable business models.

For the various parties in this process, studio Gear Up identifies and creates the best opportunities in sustainable low carbon options.