ABB to develop energy storage solution in Switzerland

Located in Dietikon, the pilot storage facility will be integrated into the utility’s power distribution network and evaluated in key areas such as balancing peak loads, intermittent power supply, and the viability of such a solution for grid optimization.

“Storage will play a key role in the evolution of more flexible and smarter grids as we address the challenge of accommodating growing amounts of intermittent renewable energies like solar and wind power,” said Oleg Aleinikov, head of ABB's substations business, a part of the company’s Power Systems division. “We are pleased to partner EKZ on the development of this pilot battery storage project, which will provide useful insights and knowledge in this technology.”

ABB will supply and install the one megawatt lithium-ion battery-based solution with an initial capacity to store 350-500 kWhs (kilowatt hours) of electricity providing additional power to the grid on demand. EKZ will evaluate the connection and behavior of grid-linked battery storage and monitor various operational and economic parameters. The pilot is scheduled to be energized by the end of 2011 when EKZ will take over the operations.

"This pilot will help us to evaluate battery storage as an option to ensure a secure and reliable power supply” said Peter Franken, head of energy distribution at EKZ. "Energy storage will be a focus area with the increase in distributed generation and renewables and could play an important part in the smart grid of tomorrow."

ABB ( is a leader in power and automation technologies that enable utility and industry customers to improve their performance while lowering environmental impact. The ABB Group of companies operates in around 100 countries and employs about 124,000 people.


Eco World Styria wins RegioStars Award 2012

Cleantech cluster Eco World Styria, based in Austria, has won the RegioStars Award 2012 for its work on “intelligent growth”.

The winner was selected from 272 European regions, which were allowed to submit one EU-funded project each.

The award recognised the cluster’s success: since it was set up in 2005, it has grown to more than 180 companies working in the cleantech sector. By 2020, it aims to increase the number of employees in the cluster from the current 16,000 to 20,000.

In terms of turnover, cluster members have grown on average about 16% compared to the growth of world markets of about 10% per year.
The award also took account of the innovation delivered by the cluster’s Technology Round Tables and the Cleantech Innovators Club, which has resulted in the design and production of cleantech products such as new generators, building technologies, ash briquetting and landfill mining.

“The RegioStars Award 2012 is a further confirmation that Styria is internationally among the top regions for the further development of the trendsetting green technologies,” said the Styrian provincial minister of economy, Christian Buchmann.

“Domestic companies are among the market leaders on an international scale, and Eco World Styria was chosen as the best cleantech cluster of the world. Therefore, in the future, too, we will attach importance to energy and environmental engineering as the essential area of strength of the Styrian economy.”
It's the first time that an Austrian project has won the award.


European Bank funds clean water in Romania

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) has loaned €12.8m loan to SC APA Canal SA Galati, the water utility company based in Galati county, south-east Romania.

The money will be used to modernise water supply and wastewater infrastructure in five towns in Galati county — Galati city, Tecuci, Targu Bujor, Pechea and Liesti — and to improve the quality of existing water services in Galati in line with the relevant EU directives. The work will benefit about 400,000 residents.

“With this important investment, the EBRD is continuing to play a key role in providing finance for the modernisation of Romania’s water sector,” said Jean-Patrick Marquet, EBRD’s director for municipal and environmental infrastructure.

“This new investment signed today will help bring the operations of SC APA Canal SA Galati in line with EU environmental standards and ensure quality water supply and sanitation services to its customers.”

For more information, click here


Fleet Sustainibility: How Fleets Can Help Jumpstart EV Adoption

This is an extract from the first issue of PwC’s Cleantech Perspectives. Each quarterly issue of Cleantech Perspectives will feature a segment on renewable energy, e-mobility, smart grid, and tax policy. To read the whole issue, click here 

Today’s fleet operators are faced with the ever-increasing challenge of reducing operating costs while meeting new corporate and government sustainability goals.  Meanwhile, growing global demand and geopolitical conflicts are driving large fluctuations in gasoline prices, which exacerbate the challenges of managing fuel costs, the largest component of ongoing fleet operating costs.  
It is expected that these factors would drive a large shift in fleet purchases to alternative technologies, which can reduce fuel consumption and hedge against large price fluctuations.  Leading companies with large fleets have indeed anticipated these changes and have begun to incorporate advanced technologies and alternative fuels into their fleets with resulting large savings.
Similarly, some taxi operators have shifted a portion of their fleets to Hybrid Electric Vehicles (HEVs) since ten-plus-years of in market operation have proven these vehicles to be robust and economical.1 Despite these actions, the level of broader fleet adoption remains relatively low, limited in many cases by fleet vehicle supply and options.  
Outside of HEVs, many of the major original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) have focused more advanced technology development on consumer vehicles such as the Nissan Leaf and Chevrolet Volt – the first two modern plug-in electric consumer vehicles to market – while initial commercial electric vehicle development has been primarily carried out by niche players and aftermarket upfitters.
Despite relatively high gasoline prices (as of July 2, 2012, the nationwide average for regular unleaded was $3.36/gal and the price in California was $3.77/gal2), plug-in electric vehicles and other alternative fuel vehicles are still struggling to attract customers in large numbers (with the one exception of the Prius HEV).
General Motors recently halted production of the Volt for five weeks due to soft demand.3   Consumers’ concerns with range and initial acquisition costs make electric vehicles – even extended range electric vehicles like the Volt – too uncertain a proposition to drive significant market demand.
On the other hand, fleet customers represent a significant opportunity to grow the electric vehicle (EV) and other alternative fuel vehicle market.  With more than 16.3 million vehicles in operation, they likely possess enough capacity to drive initial ramp-up scale in the battery industry and OEM supply chains to make electric vehicles more cost efficient for general consumers.
Eight key parameters make fleets an attractive market for electric vehicles:4
·     Total Cost of Ownership Approach: fleet operators consider the total lifecycle cost of a vehicle versus only its initial acquisition cost when making purchase decisions
·     Route Predictability: route dedicated EV infrastructure as well as EV battery size can be optimized for fleet applications, helping to minimize costs
·     High Utilization Rates: high annual mileage helps to accelerate the payback period
·     Centralized Parking Facilities: central depots help to reduce the reliance on public charging infrastructure and provide for economies of scale for installing multiple chargers
·     Maintenance Costs: high mileage electric drive vehicles tend to have lower maintenance costs
·     Lower Electricity Rates: fleet operators can benefit from commercial electricity rates, especially when employing dedicated charging facilities
·     Alternative Business Models: due to larger purchasing power and access to capital, fleet operators can benefit from leasing strategies and other business models that make EVs more attractive
·     Corporate Sustainability: EVs can help commercial and government enterprises meet reduced emission and fuel consumption targets
The growth in commercial and fleet electric vehicles not only can provide the scale economies to make EVs more cost effective for retail consumers, but they can also influence the growth of a public charging infrastructure, thereby delivering the positive externalities and network effects to alleviate potential EV customers’ range anxiety. From a commercial development and public policy perspective, fleets represent an attractive means of increasing EV adoption and reducing dependence on petroleum for transportation.
That being said, from a fleet operator’s perspective, EVs and other alternative fuel vehicles represent only a partial solution. These technologies should be employed as part of a broader fleet sustainability strategy that incorporates other sustainability levers, such as right sizing and operating efficiencies.
Comprehensive strategies can deliver total lifecycle cost savings of over 10% with simultaneous emissions reductions greater than 20%. The overall lifetime savings are primarily a result of annual fuel cost reductions of up to 40%, which significantly improve annual fleet operating expenses.

Right sizing of vehicles and fleets can account for 50% of the lifetime savings. Advanced technologies and operating efficiencies each account for about 25%. Operating efficiencies include vehicle load reduction, other vehicle design elements, driver engagement programs, and telematics and other routing technology.

The leading fleet operators are employing all of these strategies. Other large fleet operators, including utilities companies and telecom providers, are also starting to explore these practices due to the significant operational savings. In general, utilizing all three levers provides a robust solution that can deliver sustainable results, increase environmental as well as financial savings, and help fleet operators meet operational targets.

1 U.S. Department of Energy, Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Alternative Fuels and Advanced Vehicles Data Center, HEV Sales by Model 1999-2011
2 U.S. Energy Information Administration. "Gasoline and Diesel Fuel Update",, viewed as of July 3, 2012.
3 "Electric Cars Face Issues in US," Voice of America Press Releases and Documents, 9 March 2012, 2012 Federal Information & News Dispatch, Inc.
4 "Fleet Electrification Roadmap, Revolutionizing Transportation and Achieving Energy Security," Electrification Coalition, November 2010


France: Companies bid for wind farm tender

A consortium led by Iberdrola has submitted two bids for windfarm projects off the Brittany and Atlantic coasts as part of the French Government’s plans to install up to 3GW of offshore wind capacity. 

The consortium, which comprises renewable energy project designer Eole Res, French turbine manufacturer Areva, engineering and construction company Technip, and the developer Neoen Marine, is bidding for two of five contracts in the first phase of the development.
This represents 980MW, divided between two areas: Saint-Brieuc, located in Côte d’Armor (Northern Brittany), which has a potential maximum capacity of 500MW, and Saint-Nazaire (Loire-Atlantique) on the Atlantic coast, with a potential capacity of 480MW.
Two French companies, EDF and GDF Suez, have also submitted bids for the 3,000MW project. GDF is partnering with German turbine manufacturer Siemens, while EDF will partner with either Areva or Alstom.
The results of the tender for the €10bn, 600 turbine development will be announced in April with the first wind farms due to be commissioned in 2015.


French minister calls for carbon tax on imports

Newly-appointed French minister for “industrial revival” Arnaud Montebourg, has called for a carbon tax on non-EU imports, according to a report by EurActiv. 

The idea, first mooted in 2008, then backed by Nicolas Sarkozy in 2009, was rejected then by European Member States on protectionist grounds, with only Italy supporting the proposal.

Montebourg said that importers of goods manufactured outside Europe would have to buy pollution permits from the EU’s emissions trading scheme (EU ETS). Emerging economies, such as India and China, would be offered partnership in those industrial sectors that would suffer most from the tax, such as steelmaking, aluminium and cement.

It’s not clear whether the EU will be more receptive to the proposals this time.


Germany and the UK: feed-in-tariff update

The German Federal Network Agency has cut the country’s photovoltaic feed-in tariffs (FIT) by 15% of 2011 rates for 2012.

The move comes in response to increasing capacity installation rates — 1.6GW of new photovoltaic capacity was installed between July and September 2011, slightly below the 2010 level of 1.7GW.
Meanwhile in the UK, the Court of Appeal has delayed its decision as to whether the Government’s consultation and implementation of new feed-in-tariff rates was lawful.
The delay has infuriated the solar industry, which is waiting to see what tariff levels will apply and when.
John Faulks, general counsel of Solarcentury, said: “The Secretary of State’s defence is seriously worrying. He thinks he has the power to do whatever he likes to FITs whenever he likes. And that means no FITs are safe for any technology installed or not at any time.
“We will be awaiting a judgment for at least a week, and hope for the sake of all stakeholders in our renewable energy future — investors, consumers and the general public — that we win this case to secure the robust, secure feed-in tariff we need to drive our low carbon future. DECC have it within their power to remove the uncertainty immediately.”


Poland's wind power capacity on the rise

Poland is slowly developing its wind power generator capacity but is still a long way behind the UK, Denmark, Netherlands and Belgium, says Cleantech Poland.

According to the Ministry of Transport, Construction and Maritime Economy, there are 31 planning applications in place for the construction and operation of artificial islands and other infrastructure needed for offshore wind energy projects.
Projects in the pipeline include PGE Energia Odnawialna’s plans for three artificial islands on which wind turbines could be installed, PKN Orlen’s wind farm plans as well as other developments proposed by Portuguese and Spanish companies.
Compared to Europe in general, Poland is lagging behind in terms of wind energy generation capacity: the total output of European offshore wind farms has already exceeded 3GW, and it could reach 40GW by 2020. According to the Polish Wind Energy Association, Poland could have 10GW of offshore wind energy installed by 2030.


Denmark tops new cleantech investment index

Denmark has the best conditions for investing in clean technology in the world, according to the first Global Cleantech Innovation Index.

The index, published by Cleantech Group and WWF, analyses where cleantech industries are currently developing and where they might thrive in the future.
According to Coming Clean: The Global Cleantech Innovation Index 2012, Israel, Sweden and Finland are the next best countries for cleantech development.

However, their economies are relatively small so they need to find innovative ways to finance the scaling up of technologies to commercial scale, the index states.

The US came fifth but has other advantages: the country has the greatest public cleantech research and development budget, the greatest number of cleantech start-ups and investors, as well as the most venture capital, private equity and merger and acquisition deals in the world.

Though China placed relatively low 13th, it is successful at scaling up entrepreneurial cleantech companies to market, and at creating revenue. India, which placed 12th in the index, is similarly successful in these areas.

“The global macro-economic landscape is shifting; fostering entrepreneurial start-ups and growth companies with clean technology solutions will be an increasingly important part of countries’ competitiveness on the world stage,” said Richard Youngman, managing director Europe & Asia at Cleantech Group.

Samantha Smith, leader of WWF’s Global climate and energy initiative, said: “This index shows that several countries are on the right track, but clearly much more needs to be done if we are to properly address climate change and achieve a transition towards a global 100 percent renewable future.”

“The overwhelming majority of capital required for making the transition to a low-carbon future will come from a variety of private sources. Developing a working recipe for strengthening the flow of public-private finance towards early as well as later stage cleantech is key for countries that want to taste the economic success of cleantech.”
Thirty-eight countries were evaluated according to 15 indicators related to the creation and commercialisation of cleantech start-ups.

To download the index, click here


Energy companies call for 2030 European energy targets

A coalition of leading European energy companies has called for binding 2030 targets for renewables, CO2 emissions reduction and energy efficiency in a response to the Commission’s Energy Roadmap 2050.

The companies, including DONG Energy, Public Power Corporation and ACCIONA, said that the low carbon price within the European emission trading scheme (EUETS) combined with the over-supply of emission allowances for 2020 is not providing investors with the confidence to invest in renewable energy technologies, and is not encouraging a shift to existing relatively low carbon, gas-fired power plants either.

Targets for 2030 should, therefore, be set, the coalition argued.

Citing the Low Carbon Roadmap 2050, which states that current policies will not allow the EU to meet its objective of 80-95% carbon emissions reduction by 2050, the companies said: “The Coalition believes that this is largely due to the significant policy gap between 2020 and 2050 and therefore calls upon the Commission and the Presidency of the Council to collaborate on taking this next step and decide on legal mandates for binding 2030 renewables, CO2 and energy efficiency targets.”
However, setting 2030 targets on itself will not be enough; they must be supported by an upgrading of the European transmission and distribution grid and market design. The coalition called for “new ambitious policy measures for 2030 and beyond are now critical for investors to develop and deploy the technologies and solutions of tomorrow”.

To read the full letter, click here


Irish wastewater plants fail EU standards

Nearly half of Ireland’s wastewater treatment plants serving urban centres are failing to achieve national and EU standards, according to a new report by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

The report found that 46% of wastewater treatment plants did not meet all wastewater quality standards or EPA guidelines. Eleven large urban areas, including Bray and Ringaskiddy, do not meet the Urban Waste Water Treatment Directive (UWWTD) requirement to have secondary treatment in place.

Eight urban areas, including the cities of Cork, Dublin and Kilkenny, do not meet the UWWTD requirement to provide nutrient reduction in addition to secondary treatment for discharges to sensitive water areas by specified dates.

Gerard O’Leary, programme manager in the EPA’s Office of Environmental Enforcement, said: “This level of performance is poor and needs to improve. In order to meet EU targets further investment in infrastructure is required and we need a step change in the operation and maintenance of these valuable assets.”

The EPA said it expected the relevant local authorities would have done necessary treatment work in the large urban centres by 2015.

For more information, click here


Emissions limits could harm EU car leadership

Europe could lose its market advantage on fuel-efficient cars if leaked proposals on carbon dioxide emissions/km limits are adopted.

According to Transport and the Environment (TE), the Commission is planning to set 95g of carbon dioxide/km as the mandatory emissions limit for the average new car by 2020.

Current CO2 emission levels of about 140g/km must be reduced to 130g/km by 2015, according to EU regulations, so a 95g/km target represents a reduction of 30% within 10 years.

However, TE says that should 95g/km prove to be the new target, it may not be low enough to ensure the EU remains the global market leader in fuel-efficient car design and manufacture, as other countries are looking to introduce even tighter standards.

T&E cars manager Greg Archer said: “Tighter CO2 standards will be welcomed by drivers across Europe who will save an average of €500 a year in fuel costs if the 95g limit is adopted. But it could have been so much more — a target of 80g would make the savings €650 a year.

“Thanks to new rules put in place by the US administration, the typical American car by 2025 will include more advanced technologies for fuel efficiency than the average European car.

“There is a real danger that Europe is going to lose its competitive edge in low carbon vehicles if suppliers don’t get the investment certainty needed to develop advanced technologies.”


Too late, for two degrees ?

This is an extract taken from PwC’s Low Carbon Economy Index, which evaluates the rate of decarbonisation of the global economy that is needed to limit warming to 2°C. This is based on a carbon budget that would stabilise atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations at 450 ppm and give a 50% probability of limiting warming to 2°C.

Stabilising atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations at 450 ppm, according to broad scientific consensus, will give the world a 50% probability of limiting warming to 2°C above pre-industrial levels.

The 2°C target was formally agreed at COP-15 at Copenhagen 2009. Governments have since agreed to launch a review in 2013 to consider strengthening the long-term goal to 1.5°C.

We published the first Low Carbon Economy Index (LCEI) ahead of COP-15, to look at the progress of the G20 economies against a global carbon budget1 necessary to stabilise atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations at 450 ppm. We estimated a low carbon pathway for the 21st century for the global economy, which required the world to decarbonise at 3.7% a year to 2050.

This is the fourth edition of our Low Carbon Economy Index, and a stock-take of progress since the Copenhagen summit. The failure of the global economy to reduce carbon intensity beyond business-as-usual levels has magnified the low carbon challenge.

Since 2000, the rate of decarbonisation has averaged 0.8% globally, a fraction of the required reduction. From 2010 to 2011, global carbon intensity continued this trend, falling by just 0.7%. Because of this slow start, global carbon intensity now needs to be cut by an average of 5.1% a year from now to 2050.

This rate of reduction has not been achieved in any of the past 50 years. Even if it might be achievable in the longer term, it is unrealistic to expect that decarbonisation could be stepped up immediately – which means that the reduction required in future years is likely to be far greater than 5.1%.

Governments’ ambitions to limit warning to 2°C now appear highly unrealistic. This new reality means that we must contemplate a much more challenging future. Whilst the negotiators continue to focus on 2°C, a growing number of scientists and other expert organisations are now projecting much more pessimistic scenarios for global temperatures. The International Energy Agency, for example, now considers 4°C and 6°C scenarios as well as 2°C in their latest analysis.

To download the main report for free, click here


UK can become offshore wind leader

The UK Government’s offshore wind energy cost target can be achieved to deliver 18GW of offshore wind capacity by 2020.

That’s the conclusion of a new report from The Crown Estate, which says that the cost £100 per megawatt hour is possible if developers and the supply chain to work with Government to give long-term certainty for offshore wind investors.

The report says cost reductions can be achieved with: the introduction of larger turbines with higher reliability and energy capture and lower operating costs: greater competition in key supply markets — turbines, foundations and installation — from within the UK, Europe and the Far East; early involvement of suppliers and improved windfarm design; economies of scale and standardization; optimisation of installation methods; mass produced deeper water foundations; and attracting lower costs of capital through de-risking construction, and operations and maintenance.

The Crown Estate says that if the cost target is hit, the UK could become a world- leading industry in offshore wind, creating jobs and inward investment, and achieving renewable energy targets. It would also make offshore wind energy cost competitive with energy from nuclear and carbon abated fossil fuels.

To read the report, click here