Showing posts from May, 2014

Enacting a Renewable Energy Law in Poland: the Uphill Marathon

     The press is filled with new accounts of an admission by the Prime Minister's office that we may not have a renewable energy law in place and approved by Brussels before 2017. This squares up pretty well with my predictions on the process early this year. Almost no one understood that the renewable energy support program will not ultimately be written in Warsaw, but in Brussels. Due to the need to approve state aid, the European Commission has a major role to play in determining what can occur in every Member State.       While the Directorate General for Competition in Brussels is rewriting the rules to be applied in 2017 and thereafter, Poland has not completed the required procedure for state aid that started in 2005. The new State Aid Guidelines for Environmental Protection announced on April 9, 2014 require that changes be made by 2017. The Prime Minister's staff person mentioning a review in 2017 while speaking at a conference this week signals that the Polish

The Polish Energy Market is Moving Faster than the Government: Turning Green

From the Polish Institute for Renewable Energy: Poland stresses the importance of the coal sector and at the same time fighting for "the rehabilitation of coal" in Europe and improve the operation of coal mining in Silesia. The role of coal in the economy is not so big. Revenues from the sale of coal in the national GDP is less than 1.4%, while that for the renewable energy market in 2013 exceeded 1.3% of GDP. Gramwzielone Every year this trend will get stronger and it is occurring despite the Polish Government, not because of it. The underlying factors strongly favor the continuation of the increasingly role of green energy and the declining role of coal. Beyond the problems of Polish coal  (which are themselves impossible to underestimate), it is quicker to build green energy production than any conventional plant (except natural gas, which is largely moot now). The premium for green energy is less each year as the "cross over" point nears on many RES techno

Implications of New Guidelines on State Aid on Pending Enforcement Case Against Poland

     The new European Commission Guidelines on State Aid for Renewable Energy , adopted on April 9, 2014, are quite controversial in the RES industry and even elsewhere in Brussels. Many believe that the shift to "competitive mechanisms" in RES support will mean that the targets for 2020 will become impossible to achieve. Remember that the targets were set by the European Parliament for renewable energy and the guidelines are simply an expression of policy by one Directorate of the European Commission. It is possible that the lobbying in Brussels will push changes in the guidelines' most objectionable features, including an unrealistically low ceiling for small project exemptions from auctions. However, the first nine years of Polish RES support under an unnotified Green Certificate system will be evaluated under the rules existing at the time, not the new guidelines. This spells continued major problems for the Polish Government.    Several parts of the new guidelines

New biogas article in Polish Press

My analysis of the benefits of co-digestion of organic wastes was just publishe d in Poland. You will have to hit google translate for the link. A full English language version is available and will be up on the new CEERES website in a month. The goal is to get the draft Polish law cleaned up to allow this approach to biogas without the current restrictions in the bill, i.e. on the size of plant and substrates used.

It's Not Easy Being Green.......

It's Not Easy Being Green! Be sure to click the embedded link in the above text.

Hitting Reality: Polish Energy Policy Meets the Facts

     At some point, facts matter. In the end, reality has a way of asserting itself. Senator Everett Dirksen (for whom a US Senate office building is now named) was asked on one election night to comment on his early lead in the voting. He told the story of two Irishmen working on a fifteen story building. O'Malley falls off the top floor and his colleague O'Reilly starts running down the stairwell to try to help him. O'Reilly sticks his head out and yells to O'Malley, "how is it going?" O'Malley says "so far, so good...." as his sails to the ground below.     Many political myths employed by politicians in Poland on national energy policy are about to hit the ground as well . Because the Economic Summit is in Katowice this week, we will hear all about the importance of coal to Poland. An historical fact, for sure. But a ever-diminishing premise at this point. Less Polish coal is mined every year. Polish coal costs more to mine and is of po

Objecting to the draft RES Law in Brussels

I posted this item to summarize the next steps and the arguments at I am working on the biogas sector's comments to the Commission to object to major parts of the law in its draft form. 1. Continued support for co-firing; 2. Requiring small projects to go through an auction, contrary to the Guidelines of the Commission; 3. Defining small projects at 1 MW which discriminates illegally against biogas plants from 1-2 MW (the majority of those now built in Poland); 4. The absence of any details on the Green Certificate coefficients that will be used and no clear criteria or formula for setting them; 5. The absence of any reference prices for the auctions and no clear criteria or formula for setting them; These issues all go to the DG Competition approval of the law as state aid. Other issues go to the approval of the law as a correct transposition of the RES directive. It is clear that the proposal

How Polish Biogas Policy Will Not Help Farmers

   The impetus for Polish policy supporting biogas has been almost entirely from the stand-point of agriculture (narrowly defined). The Ministry of Agriculture has been the only Ministry taking biogas seriously (the Ministry of Environment seems to forget that biogas has a critical organic waste management role). The vision of the Ministry of Agriculture (until recently anyway) was for small farm-based biogas plants averaging 250 kW in capacity. Ironically, while sacrificing every other biogas application to this vision, the current proposed law does little to help farmers get into the biogas business.    Every serious discussion of biogas policy needs to start with how much it actually cost. The Institute for Renewable Energy documented the cost of biogas last July in their report to the Ministry of Economy using multiple sources. Their data were realistic and no one has seriously questioned their conclusions: biogas requires substantially more support than the flat value of the Gre