Showing posts from August, 2014

US Renewable Energy Grows to 14% with Little Impact on End-user Prices

"According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA)'s latest "Electric Power Monthly" report, with data for the first six months of 2014, renewable energy sources (i.e., biomass, geothermal, hydropower, solar, wind) provided 14.3 percent of net U.S. electrical generation. Conventional hydropower accounted for 7.0 percent, while non-hydro renewables provided an even larger share at 7.3 percent. Overall, electrical generation from non-hydro renewable energy sources (i.e., biomass, geothermal, solar, wind) expanded by 10.4 percent compared to the first half of 2013,according to the EIA. "  Renewable Energy World.

This growth in US renewable energy largely occurs in state markets that use the residential portfolio system or green electricity quotas. These are implemented by green certificates as used in Poland, Sweden and the UK. The remarkable part about the growth is that it occurs during a period of uncertainly over the federal tax credit as well as in…

OCCP Continues View that RES Tax Exemptions Are State AId in New Draft Law

The Office of Competition and Consumer Protection (UOKiK) continues the view expressed by the previous Director that the tax exemptions in the draft RES law are state aid.

The correspondence dated May 23, 2014 discussing Article 177 of the July 2014 version of the law clearly agrees with the earlier assessment that tax exemptions are state aid. This "is state aid within the meaning of Article 107 of the TFEU [Treaty for the Functioning of the European Union]." They also note that the GBER or block exemption rule that the Government is relying upon to avoid notification does not cover the tax exemptions.

OCCP concluded in November 28, 2013:

“In this context, I wish to point out thatthe exemption from excise duty for RES energyin the Directive on the taxation of energy is optional, and hence the establishment of this type of release is not an obligation of a Member State, but the only element implemented by environmental policies. Bearing in mind thatthis exemption applies to pu…

Consequences of Failure to Notify on Green Certificate State Aid

At this point the Polish Government has apparently made a decision to not notify the Commission on the Green Certificate system. Since there is absolutely no doubt that it does constitute state aid and the Commission has informally signaled that to the Government, it is probably a good time to ask what will happen next. This will be such a disaster that the Government will have to back off its current stance. There is simply no alternative.
State aid that is done without notification is unlawful and must be recovered from the recipients.  See CELF case (C-199/06) European Court of Justice, February 12, 2008. .  In cases where Member States do not notify the Commission of its plans to grant or alter aid prior to such aid being put into effect, the aid is unlawful in relation to Community law from the time that it is granted.”Notice From The Commission, “Towards an effective implementation of Commission decisions ordering Member States to recover unlawful and incompatible State aid,” …

Balancing with Biogas?

News that the peak market prices are getting out of hand in Poland raises the issue of using more means to balance energy production. The 24 hour cycle seems to be getting worse. Energy storage over a short span of hours seems to be an attractive idea.

While there are a number of energy storage solutions using batteries to store electricity, or devices to store kinetic energy to produce electricity later, one of the renewable energy sources itself has the potential to provide output matched to the 24-hour demand cycle - biogas,

All biogas plants have biogas storage in some form. The most common is shown below:

One biogas vendor explained one of the advantages of gas storage:

"Since the gas-store can hold several hours of gas, the CHP unit can be turned down during off-peak generating times without loss of biogas. The stored biogas can then be burned during high-peak electricity demand hours to maximize revenue efficiency. In addition, the gas store provides a steady supply to the …

August in Poland.

August in Poland. The politicians are doing what they do best... taking a break.

During this period of inattention, it might be useful to compare what the Polish legislature  is doing on renewable energy compared to the French legislature in the same situation (albeit less severe in France).

The French did not notify Brussels of their wind tariff in their renewable energy law.When the preliminary memo came out that the European Court was getting ready to find the wind tariff to be state aid, everyone was quite attentive to the possible consequences. Unnotified and unapproved state aid is illegal in the European Union. Legal commentators noted that once the case got back to the national, French court, it "essentially has no choice but to cancel the preferential feed-in tariffs to wind power producers agreed to in 2008, likely resulting in massive refunds for consumers. France can expect down-stream lawsuits from wind power producers as a result of government FIT adjustments, or po…

Thanks to My Readers!

Many thanks to those of you who stop by this blog to pick up my posts and sometimes rants!

I am now running about 500 "hits" a day and will continue to keep readers updated on Polish renewable energy developments from the perspective of a practical "green businessman."

Please posts comments or questions, if you have any. I am happy to provide more information, links, and even documents.


New RES law in Poland Will Recognize Stored Energy As Renewable

In a big breakthrough, the Polish Government has now included energy stored from renewable sources to be part of the energy from a renewable energy installation. Article 2.13 defines a renewable energy installation to include "stored electricity produced from the equipment." This means that stored energy will still count as renewable energy if that was the source of the input.

This will create great opportunities for new energy storage projects, especially in the PV sector. The big thing to remember is that the law, when passed, will apply to all RES facilities and those that are already operating can add storage and not only keep Green Certificates, but directly sell the stored energy in the peak period market. This is only allowed the way the law is drafted for "grandfathered" facilities that do not have to sell to the grid through the new state-owned entity to be created by the new law.

The challenge is how to make the new law work to funnel electricity into th…

Commission Finds Polish Certificates are State Aid

There have been communications to the Polish Government that signal the Commission's intentions of finding both the co-generation certificates and the Green Certificates to be state aid. A formal decision will take longer, but there is no doubt as to the outcome at this point. This is completely contrary to the representations of the Government to the Parliament and public.

The Polish Government notified the Commission of the co-generation law in 2013 and did not receive a quick answer that it was not state aid. The Commission came back with detailed questions aimed at getting the information necessary to determine if the program was compatible with the current state aid guidelines (2008). See S.A. 36518 - certificates of origin for co-generation, May 31, 2013. This is no surprise because since 2001, the European Commission has found that every RES/CHP certificate program had provisions that constituted state aid.[1] 
The head of the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection (…

New Report Recognizes Important Role for Energy Storage in Europe


The report recognizes the need for energy storage in the grid to reduce the impact of peak demand, but also acknowledges the need to have storage at the distributed grid level to improve voltage control and lower the cost of integration into the main grid.

The technologies mentioned are all in existence today and have been constructed and operated on a commercial scale.

The need is to change the legal and regulatory framework to create an investment climate to support energy storage. The first step is very simple, but still in not done in Poland, and that is to allow storage and discharge of energy to keep its renewable energy character and support. The next step may be to provide a premium for electricity stored during off-peak hours and discharged during peak hours.  We should be exploring whether something this simple could be the decisive factor and wh…