Skip to main content


Showing posts from 2013

English Version of 2012 Report for the Swedish-Norwegian Green Certificates Market now Available

The 2012 report for the joint green certificates market between Norway and Sweden is now available in English. This is the first report published jointly by the two national energy regulators. The joint market started its operation on 1 January 2012, while Sweden has been operating its national market since 2003. Check the document HERE. See previous posts on the green certificates market on this blog.

Shale Gas: French Constitutional Court Upholds Ban on Hydraulic Fracturing

The French Constitutional Court delivered on 11 October 2013 its decision as regards the conformity of Law No. 2011-835 of 13 July 2011 with the French Constitution. The law introduced a ban on the exploration and exploitation of liquids and gaseous hydrocarbons by the means of hydraulic fracturing. The law also repealed the research permits granted when such permits intended to use hydraulic fracturing. Therefore, the Dallas-based exploration company Schuepbach Energy LLC, which possessed two exploration permits, raised a question as to the conformity of the law with the Constitution. Importantly, the Constitutional Court backs the difference between hydraulic fracturing and the exploitation of geothermal resources, the latter being permitted.
The press release from the Constitutional Court is available here (in French). 
Full text of the decision here.

A more detailed analysis will follow rapidly on this blog.

UN IPCC Fifth Assessment Report (WGI): Morceaux Choisis

Working Group I of the United Nations International Panel for Climate Change (IPCC) made public its contribution to the fifth Assessment Report (AR5) on 27 September 2013. WGI focuses on the physical science knowledge as to climate change. Hereafter follow some quotes directly from the report. Those underline the level of seriousness of climate change and the direct link to human activities.
Observed changes in the climate system:
Atmosphere - "Warming of the climate system is unequivocal, and since the 1950s, many of the observed changes are unprecedented over decades to millennia." - "In the Northern Hemisphere, 1983-2012 was likely the warmest 30-year period of the last 1400 years (medium confidence)." - "Continental-scale surface temperature reconstructions show, with high confidence, multi-decadal periods during the Medieval Climate Anomaly (year 950-1250) that were in some regions as warm as in the late 20th century. These regional warm periods did not oc…

Climate Change State of Science: New IPPC report to be released on 28 September 2013

Today, 28 September 2013, the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) will release its new assessment of the state of science as to climate change as well as scenarios for the future.
A good article and video have been posted on the CNN website:

Sitat i Nationen om Elsertifikater

Avisen Nationen henviste til mitt arbeid med elsertifikatordningen i en artikkel datert 29. august 2013. Saken gjelder mulighet til å utvide ordningen til småkraftverkprosjekter bygd ut mellom 2004 og 2009.

Updated Map of the Norwegian Continental Shelf Available (Oil and Gas)

The Norwegian Petroleum Directorate has released a new map of the Norwegian Continental Shelf updated as of 21 June 2013. The map includes all production licenses, name of the operators, transport system by type of fuel (oil, gas, oil and gas, condensate). The NPD has also released maps by sectors: The Barents Sea, The Norwegian Sea and the North Sea. 
All maps available at:

Last Quotation of President Obama on Keystone XL Pipeline

A lot has been said and written on the Keystone pipeline multi-phase project which transports oil sand bitumen between Alberta, Canada, to the United States and ultimately to the Gulf Coast Area near Houston. The currently debated phases awaiting approval concern phases III and IV of the project (so-called "Keystone XL proposal"). Phases I and II are completed. Here follows a transcript of President Obama interview with the New York Times(NYT) realised on 24 July 2013, where he addressed the issue and summed up his last stance on the issue (underlinings are mine):

The French Court of Auditors Assesses the National Renewable Energy Policy

France's Court of Auditors has released on 25 July 2013 a report assessing the national policy in the field of promotion of renewable energies
The conclusions (in French) of the report are available on the website of the Court.
A comment in English of the report will be shortly posted on this blog.
Hereafter follow the 8 recommendations of the Court in their original version: •    mettre en place un dispositif centralisé du suivi statistique permettant de donner toute la visibilité requise pour éclairer les décisions, notamment en matière de connaissance des coûts de production par filière, des emplois et des marchés ; •    simplifier le régime juridique applicable à la production d’énergies renouvelables (géothermie, éolien terrestre) ; •    mettre en œuvre une planification et une cartographie des énergies renouvelables en tenant compte des contraintes de raccordement aux réseaux électriques ; •    réserver les appels d’offre aux technologies les plus en retard dans la réalisation…

European Commission Targets Aids from Germany to Energy-Intensive Industries in relation to Risks of Carbon Leakage (updated)

As expected (see previous post), the European Commission has concluded its assessment of Germany's state support to energy-intensive industries facing an alleged risk of carbon leakage in two state aid decisions, both released on 17 July 2013 (press release, IP/13/704). In the first decision, the Commission concludes positively, but not in the second one.
From a procedural point of view, it should be reminded that a Member State cannot put into effect a scheme which has been notified under state aid rules to the Commission until the latter has approved it.
Positive decision on 2013 national carbon leakage scheme
In the first decision, the Commission assessed Germany's scheme for the compensation of CO2 costs in favour of energy-intensive industries as reflected in their electricity price, i.e. so-called carbon leakage. The European executive concludes that the scheme is in line with the harmonised methodology defined in the EU state aid guidelines adopted in the field because &…

German Renewable Energies Law and its Exemptions under EU Scrutiny: European Commission may Launch Legal Proceedings for Breach of Competition Law

The news came on 14 July that the European Commission is considering launching legal proceeding against Germany's Renewable Energies Act (so-called EEG, founding act of the German energy transition, Energiwende). The information was originally released by Der Spiegel
DG Competition services have apparently concluded, after scrutiny of the German legislation for renewables, that some of the legal provisions providing for exemptions from charges levied on electricity consumers with the purpose of financing RES generation support (EEG levy, grid fees) may breach EU competition law (Der Spiegel, "Unfair Competition? EU Takes on German Green Energy Law", 15.07.2013). Some 3,200 companies have applied for an exemption to the EEG levy in 2012. (See also previous article in Der Spiegel, "War on Subsidies: Brussels Questions German Energy Revolution", 29.05.2013.)
According to Der Spiegel, the Commission will launch on Wednesday 17 July proceedings motivated by compl…

Public consultation: Evaluation of the European Agency for the Cooperation of the Energy Regulator (ACER) (18.09.2013)

The European Commission opened on 18 June 2013 a public consultation on the working methods and results achieved so far by the European Agency for the Cooperation of the Energy Regulator (ACER), established in accordance with Regulation (EC) 713/2009 of 13 July 2009.
ACER was officially established in March 2011 and has its headquarters in Ljubljana, Slovenia.
The background for the public consultation is further defined in the Commission's text for the public consultation: The Agency was established in order to fill in the regulatory gap, with the purpose to assist national regulatory authorities, and, if necessary to coordinate their actions, in order to enhance their cooperation at the EU level. ACER plays a central role in the development of EU-wide network and market rules with a view to create a single Internal Energy Market. It coordinates regional and cross-regional initiatives which favor market integration. The Agency monitors the work of European networks of transmission…

Gas-to-Power Contract: Statoil (Norway) to deliver spot-indexed gas to power utility Stadtwerke Düsselford (Germany)

Statoil announced on 13 June 2013 that the company just concluded a 15-year contract for the supply of natural gas to the 600 MW combined cycle gas turbine (CCGT) plant owned by Stadtwerke Düsseldorf, with delivery starting in 2016.
Viewed from a Norwegian and supplier perspective, one innovation of this contract is the indexation of the gas price to spot gas market. This has become a more common practice in the UK (e.g., through Britain's National Balancing Point) and to a certain extend in The Netherlands, but not yet in the most majority of the gas supply contracts, as the European Commission would have wished and called upon. So Norway is following the trend. In that, "the agreement builds on the liberalising gas, power and emissions markets and the available market price indices." In other words, "it represents a new type of partnership in the German gas-to-power market". See press release from Statoil (13.06.2013).
Another important aspect underlying the …

"Making the internal energy market work": Council Conclusions on Commission's Communication (7 June 2013)

The conclusions of the Council meeting (TTE configuration - Energy) on the European Commission's Communication on "Making the internal energy market work" (COM(0663) final) have been released and are available here.

Detailed analysis to be published shortly on this blog.

Regulated Tariffs, Interconnection Capacity and Hydropower Concessions: European Commission Asks France to Take Action

On 29 May 2013, the European Commission presented its recommendations to address the financial and economic situation in several Member States of the EU.
Among the country-specific recommendations (CSR) presented by the European Commission on 29 May 2013, it is worth noting some of the measures proposed in the energy sector in exchange of granting delays for correcting national deficits. The package is based on the adoption of a new strategy for growth and jobs, Europe 2020, in 2010, which includes "guidelines" for Member States' economic and employment policies. This was supplemented in June 2012 by the adoption of a Compact for Growth and Jobs. The monitoring of Member States' performance was then operated through the Annual Growth Survey, the Alert Mechanism Report and in-depth reviews.
The following paragraphs take the particular example of France. The recommendation for a Council Recommendation on France's 2013 national reform programme (COM(2013) 360 final

Conclusions of European Council meeting (22 May 2013) - Energy Matters

The European Council met in Brussels on 22 May 2013 for discussing two hot topics, i.e. energy and tax fraud and evasion.
The official text of the conclusions can be accessed here.
An detailed analysis of the energy matters covered by the conclusions will be published shortly on this blog. 

Photo credits: European Council 22 May 2013 - Family photo (c) The Council of the European Union

"L'Europe de l'Energie, c'est maintenant" (Le Monde) - Commentaires personnels suite à la relance de l'idée d'une Communauté Européenne de l'Energie

Alors que le Conseil Européen se réunit le 22 mai prochain, Jacques Delors, Martin Schultz, Sami Andoura, Jerzy Buzek et Antonio Vitorino publient une chronique commune dans le journal Le Monde daté du 20 mai 2013, chronique reprise sous divers formats dans d'autres journaux nationaux et européens. 
Ses auteurs en appellent a un "véritable changement de société dans nos modes de production, de transport et de consommation d'énergie" afin d'assurer la transition énergétique. Ils y définissent une condition au succès de cette dernière: "y associer la société civile en Europe", condition non explicitée. Plus fondamental, ils en appellent à la création d'une Communauté Européenne de l'Energie, dans la veine d'une autre communauté créée en 1951 autour du charbon et de l'acier. Toute chose devant être remise dans son contexte, essayons de comprendre où réside l'innovation de cette initiative.
L'appel le plus notable fait par le collec…

European Commission's President Barroso Reminds Member States of the Agenda for the 22 May European Council

On 22 May 2013, the European Council will meet to discuss two main topics: energy and tax fraud and evasion. Communication has become more and more sophisticated around these meetings, and the Commission has definitely done its homeworks.
First, President Barroso addressed a letter to the Members of the European Council, recalling the main points of the agenda for the meeting (see MEMO/13/416 dated 08/05/2013). Second, the Commission services published a background note on the two main issues to be discussed. A regards energy, the key elements that the Commission intends to push forward on the agenda of the European Council are presented in the note entitled "Energy challenges and policy" and are as follows:
Differences and complementarities between the different energy mixes of the Member States which "all are facing similar challenges". The Commission is of the view that the Member States "can tackle these challenges better together", which is a clear c…

Coordination Time for EU policies on Energy Technologies and Innovation - New Communication from the Commission

On 2 May 2013, the European Commission published yet another communication aimed to draw the lines of the future European low carbon strategy in the time-frame 2030/2050. Entitled Energy Technologies and Innovation (COM(2013) 253 final), this Communication looks at the manner the EU should coordinate its technology and innovation strategy in order to reach energy and climate goals.
The need for new technologies
The first question addressed by the Communication relates to the need for new technologies. The Communication starts with a straight YES, we do need new technologies because they are "vital to achieve all of the EU 2020 objectives in energy, climate, economic and social policy" (p.2). It reiterates here stances taken in two previous communications in 2007 and 2009, namely: Communication on SET Plan (COM(2007) 723) and Communication on Investing in low carbon technologies (COM(2009) 519).

Although the need for technological innovation is continuous, some believe that w…

State Guarantees for Publicly-Owned Electricity Utilities: Iceland Constrained to Change Rules by EFTA Surveillance Authority to Be Compatible with State Aid Regime

EFTA Surveillance Authority (ESA) announced on 24 April 2013 that it had decided to close a case concerning the qualification as state aids and legality of state guarantees granted to two publicly-owned electricity utilities in Iceland, namely Landsvirkjun and Orkuveita Reykjavíkur.
The previous Icelandic rules provided unlimited state guarantees to the two publicly owned electricity utilities, which was considered by ESA as state aids incompatible with EEA law.
To put an end to the investigation, Iceland had to change its rules for the attribution of state guarantees to these undertakings. The main changes adopted relate to: - the end of unlimited state guarantees for the two publicly-owned electricity utilities; - the payment by the two companies of a "state guarantee premium" equivalent to the benefits derived from the state guarantee, to be adjusted each year; - the prohibition from getting a guarantee covering more than 80% of either an outstanding loan or financial obl…

"Miljøteknologiportalen": Nytt Verktøy for å Finne Riktig Offentlig Finansiering

Innovasjon Norge, gjennom Programråd for miljøteknologi (oppnevnt av regjeringen), har etablert Miljøteknologiportalen ( som et nytt portal for å hjelpe bedriftene til å finne den riktige offentlig finansieringskilden. Jakt etter offentlig finansiering kan riktig nok oppleves som å bevege seg i en "virkemiddelskog", og slike verktøy er velkommen. 
Utfordringen er ofte å finne, men også å velge det programmet som skal passe best til prosjektet, ikke bare i kort sikt, men også i lang sikt, men tanke på f. ek.s kommersialisering og transisjon til markedet etter en fase av forskning og utvikling (FoU) samt testing. Hvordan man kan kombinere støtte er også en aktuell problemstilling som bedriftene oppdager etterhvert. 
Et bra tiltak som er verdt å nevne, huske og bruke.

CCS Directive to Enter into Force in EEA countries on 1 June 2013 (Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein)

The directive on the geological storage of carbon dioxide, Directive 2009/31/EC (so-called CCS Directive), was adopted on 23 April 2009 by the EU legislator. After the clearance on 11 April 2013 by the Icelandic authorities of some constitutional requirements, the Directive is now binding on the three states of the European Economic Area Agreement (EEA Agreement), which are Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein. Date of entry into force and deadline for transposition are 1 June 2013.
Main components of the CCS Directive
The CCS Directive establishes "a legal framework for the environmentally safe geological storage of CO2"  in the European Union, as an integral part of EU's climate change policy (Art. 1.1). It regulates the whole CCS chain, i.e.: - evaluation of the available storage volumes, once decision to start storage is made by the state; - selection of the storage sites, assessment and characterisation of the suitability of the sites, storage complex and surrounding a…

European Parliament Approves EU Energy Infrastructure Regulation in First Reading

The European Commission put forward on 11 October 2011 a proposal for a regulation on Guidelines for trans-European energy infrastructure (COM(2011)658). The regulation is part of the EU Energy Infrastructure Package which is financially supported by the Connecting Europe Facility (CPE).
Yesterday, on 12 March 2013, the European Parliament adopted  in first reading in plenary session, which opens for final adoption of the text after approval by the Council. 
The regulation aims to ensure the "timely development and interoperability of priority corridors and areas of trans-European energy infrastructure"
- It establishes criteria for identification the priority corridors and areas which are further defined in Annex I to the Regulation. The categories covered include infrastructures related to electricity, oil, gas and carbon dioxide. The concept of "infrastructure" is defined broadly, but has been refined through negotiations. 
- The Projects of Common Interest (P…

New funding of Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) Projects Awaited for 3 April 2013 (European Commission)

The European Commission services, DG Climate Action, announced on 4 March 2013 that it will launch a second call for proposals under the so-called NER300 programme on 3 April 2013, with a deadline for application on 3 July (approximately).
NER300 aims to provide financial support to commercial demonstration CCS projects as well as demonstration projects of innovative renewable technologies.
Under the first bidding round, no successful offer had been selected by lack of compliance with the selection criteria.
This news will be updated shortly.

"Smart strøm trenger smarte forbrukere" (Innlegg i Energi & Klima nettmagasinet)

Les mitt innlegg om innføring av "smarte strømmålere" og hvordan vil forbrukerne reagere i Energi & Klima nettmagasinet:
"Norske forbrukere får bedre tid til å venne seg til smarte måele, men hvor aktive og interesserte vil vi være? Siste mandag ble det kunngjort at Norge utsette utrullingen av Avanserte Måle- og Styresystemer (AMS) ..."
Les resten av innlegget her:

February EU Infringement Package: Signs of "Getting to 2014" in Completion of the Internal Energy Market?

Ensuring Implementation
Lithuania has now joined 10 other EU Member States that still have not communicated national measures aimed to transpose the provisions of the Electricity Directive 2009/72/EC and the Gas Directive 2009/73/EC under the Third Energy Package. Deadline for full transposition was 3 March 2011. (Reference: MEMO/13/122, 21.02.2013)
Lithuania received this February a reasoned opinion which is the second stage in the infringement procedure, after the sending of formal letter. In total, 15 Member States have received a reasoned opinion from the Commission on the matter. 6 of them have been referred to the European Court of Justice, which is the next stage of the infringement proceeding procedure (see press release of 24 January 2013, announcing that Bulgaria, Estonia and the UK had been referred to the Court by the Commission). For 5 of the original 15, the Commission decided to close the case. The press release from the Commission does not detail which transposition mea…