The Paris Climate Agreement

At the COP21 in Paris, 195 countries adopted the Climate Agreement to limit the rise of global temperature  “to well below 2 ºC above pre-industrial levels and pursuing efforts to limit temperature increase to 1.5 ºC.

The text of the Agreement can be found here.

Now it is up to all countries to show their leadership. Their Pledges have to transform into actions to bring down greenhouse gas emissions to reach a climate-neutral and sustainable future.

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

World energy consumption keeps growing – fossil resources still dominant

Over 2014 the world’s energy consumption has increased as can be conluded on basis of the June-2015 numbers of the BP Energy Statistical Review. The majority of resources to fuel this growth are still fossil based.2015_sgu_BP statistical review 2015_2015JUN15.001The share of renewables is rapidly growing in importance. However, decreasing  world fossil fuel consumption and fueling the growing energy consumption by renewable sources still remains a daunting challenge.2015_sgu_EU Energy consumption BP Stats_2015JUN16.002The growth of fossil fuels and renewables from 2008 (credit crisis) onward, tends towards reaching growth parity. The big question is when will the growth of the world’s renewable energy consumption turn into growth dominancy?

Germany will need a trend reversal to reach the 2020 energy and climate targets

Tuesday, March 31, Mrs. Hendricks, the German Minister of Environment, pointed out that after three years of increasing CO2 emissions in Germany, “the trend finally points into the right direction”. Germany saw 4,3% lower CO2 emissions in 2014. It is a start, but a lot has to be done to further decarbonize Germans energy consumption to reach its 2020 energy targets.

Germany presented an ambitious Action Plan to give yet another fierce impulse to the decarbonization of Germany’s energy consumption in december 2014. 2015_SGU_Insights_Germany energy and carbon intensity performance.007Though the ‘Energiewende’ is progressing (see graph), the ambition is challenging, in two ways. Firstly, by 2020 the total CO2-emissions must be 40% less than they were in 1990. Secondly, the total energy consumption must be 20% lower than it was in 2008. However, as the graph shows the downward trend to decarbonize Germany’s energy consumption has flattened. Even though the use of renewable energy has grown dramatically. Obviously decreasing the use of coal will help. But also an ‘Energiewende 2.0’ in oil consumption is urgently needed.

Continue reading Germany will need a trend reversal to reach the 2020 energy and climate targets

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.

Continue reading Trend towards Europe-based feedstocks for biofuels