Showing posts from July, 2015

Polish RES Law Acknowledges that Green Certificates are State Aid

While the Commission communicated to the Polish Government in 2013 that it considered the Polish Green Certificates to be state aid, requiring notification of the Commission and approval under the 2008 guidelines, the Polish Government has repeatedly denied this fact.

Now in the new law on RES, Article 39.2 requires that certificates and other forms of support be added together to determine if the state aid limits on support for an individual project would be exceeded. This reflects the fact that the Polish Government has known for years that the Green Certificates are state aid. The Commission has decided that green certificates are state aid in every case before it (earlier based on the substitution fees in various Member State laws and later on the certificate as a valuable asset itself). See DOUBLING DOWN ON A JUNK POKER HAND: THE POLISH GOVERNMENT APPARENTLY INTENDS TO IGNORE ITS TREATY OBLIGATIONS ON STATE AID, Mott's Blog, June 7, 2014 (detailed references and links include…

The Impending Scandal Over "Capacity Markets"

Losing the ability to sell electricity much of the time to renewables, the coal-based energy sector has come up with a new mantra: capacity markets. This requires that consumers and/or taxpayers pay to have the old fossil fuel plants sit there and "be available" for peak needs. This will cost the German dearly, annually over ten billion more than assumed.

Using coal plants as "peakers" to meet the highest part of the demand cycle is very, very inefficient. As costly as energy storage is now according to its skeptics, it is still more cost effective than using fossil-fuel peaker plants! The Edison Electric Power Research Institute reported a benefit to cost ratio over one for nearly every technological scenario.  “Cost-Effectiveness of Energy Storage in California,” Application of the EPRI EnergyStorage Valuation Tool to Inform the California Public Utility Commission Proceeding R. 10-12-007 3002001162  (2014).

One has to speculate that the state aid guidelines excl…

The Notion of Cheaper Fossil Fuels Has a Shelve Life

The arguments advanced in Poland in favor of the continued public investment in coal and lignite all center on their availability (which is an empty argument) and their relatively lower price.  The lower price of fossil fuels is a near-term fact in some ways (depending on where you are on-shore wind may already be cheaper than new coal plants). See U.S. EIA (2014). But the cost advantage of fossil fuel has a shelve life, It is a transitional notion that will disappear in the coming years.

Even China, which was rapidly expanding coal-fired capacity has slowed down now, and the future will belong to renewables.

Source: Bloomberg 2015.

Generally in China, the "cross-over" point for on-shore wind is 2022 and the point for PV is 2027. In some other places it has already been hit. This is pretty dramatic stuff since the financial life for energy projects is 15-20 years. So a facility that goes into planning this year and is built, say in 2017-2018, will operate for half or more of…

What Does Everyone in Europe Know that Poland Does Not? No Future in Coal

Now another company has made a business decision based on an objective view of the European energy market...... ENGI elected not to go forward with plans for a coal-fired electricity plant in Lublin,

Polish politicians try to sell their commitment to coal as an energy security issue. At least Poland has coal, so it goes. But if it is not economically feasible to use coal, especially most Polish coal, then how is this argument any different than saying that Poland has tides for wave power? ["... current demonstration projects suggest the levelised cost of energy (LCOE) [for tidal power]to be in the range of EUR 0.25-0.47/kWh."].

If an energy resource is not economically feasible, it ceases to be a realistic major part of energy security.


Note: For the price of 0.17-0.23 EURO/kWh, Poland can have biogas that produces roughly twice the green energy accounting the heat utilization. Source: European Biogas Association 2011: Polish Biogas Associa…

The Possible New Government in Poland Seems to be Struck on Coal

While throughout Europe, the sun is setting on coal-fired power plants, Poland's likely new governing party seems eager to double down on "black" at the energy table. The Katowice convention of Law and Justice saw their key people repeat the plan to replace the coal-fired plants closing in Poland in the next few years with newer versions of the same thing. Of course, a pulverized coal plant meeting EU requirements on emissions has a levelized cost of production higher than onshore wind mills. See U.S. Energy Information Agency "Levelized Cost and Levelized Avoided Cost of New Generation Technologies,in the Annual Energy Outlook 2015. By the time all of these coal-induced dreams could actually be built, solar PV will also likely be near the same cost as well.

In the same vein, the coal that will be burnt in Poland in ten years is far more likely to be foreign than Polish. Polish coal production is half of what is was in 1990 and is dropping every year. The state-own…