Issue 25

July 2013

Member state governments have proposed just one carbon capture and storage project (CCS) for the second round of funding from the NER300 programme, an EU scheme that supports low-carbon technologies. The only project to be submitted was from the White Rose project in Yorkshire UK. So far NER300 has financed thirty-two renewables proposals from 15 countries which require match funding from governments or private sector backers.

DG Energy’s 2013 Sustainable Energy Week was held the 24-28 June in Brussels. Events were held at both the Charlemagne building as well as the Committee of the Regions. On its second day, Paul Hodson from DG Energy covered a session on ‘Towards EU 2020 and beyond’, and made some useful points on the barriers to promoting new attitudes towards financing regional green energy projects. Crucially, Mr. Hodson openly recognised that current EU regulations will need to be improved, and legal challenges overcome. Mr.

The revised Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) requiring all new buildings to consume ‘nearly zero-energy’ from 2021 and those owned and occupied by the public sector organisations to comply by 2019 is not going well. Fewer than half of the 27 member states met the transposition deadline last summer and of them only 14 have submitted national plans stipulating how the nearly zero-energy definition is applied according to local conditions.

At the Thursday Session ‘What Europe can learn from Europe’, the issue of how to best mobilise private capital for energy efficiency in buildings and industry was extensively discussed. Whilst many approaches leant on using public-private partnerships, two examples worthy of note for their opposite approach to financing includes BetterVest of Germany and the Green Deal Finance Company of the UK. BetterVest are a crowdsourcing web platform which allows businesses to attract investors to help them upgrade the energy efficiency of their premises.

As reported in recent Newsflash’s, the EU’s seventh environment action programme (7EAP) the Eus legislative environmental plan for the period up to 2020 has been on the table between European Parliament and the Council of Ministers. In the last week of the Irish Presidency, a deal was secured on a shared text that allows the 7th EAP to set out priority objectives for EU environment policy in a range of areas including waste management, chemicals and biodiversity up to 2020.

Following a vote in the EP environment committee this month, shale gas, shale oil and coal-bed methane exploration projects should be subject to Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs). The vote upholds rapporteur Andrea Zanoni MEP’s view that the exploration, evaluation and extraction of the fuels be covered by the revised EIA Directive, which is currently being debated between the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers.

A Call for Proposals to fund the setting-up of Verification Bodies under the EU Environmental Technology Verification (ETV) pilot programme will be published before the end of July 2013. All documents will be accessible on through DG ENVIRONMENT’s dedicated grants page for 2013 The ETV pilot programme has been set up to provide third-party verification, on a voluntary basis, of the performance claims made by technology manufacturers in business-to-business relations.

The European Commission launched a consultation on how to use phosphorus in a more sustainable way. Phosphorus is widely used in agriculture and is an essential component in fertilizer and feed, but it is a non-renewable resource. Supplies are limited and much phosphorus is currently wasted, creating concerns about future supplies in the EU and worldwide. The consultation asks how to ensure that reserves are available for future generations, and about ways to minimise the undesirable side effects phosphorus use can have on the environment.

Anti-pollution measures for pulp and paper installations will be subject to improvement once the latest best available techniques (BAT) are formally adopted before January 2014 in the form of BREF documents that set out standards if permits are to be awarded under the Industrial Emissions Directive. A final draft of the document, was published by European Commission’s Agency in Seville. Permits for installations will have to be updated within at least four years of the BREF’s being published in the EU’s Official Journal according to the IED directive.

A consultation has been launched by the European Commission that looks at freight train operators having to pay more for the use of older noisy rolling stock. DG MOVE, the Commission’s transport department is though hesitant in using this approach through fear of shifting freight from rail back to the road. Railway noise is emerging as a major political issue that will become even more important with the predicted increase in rail traffic.