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[en] In response to the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan, France ordered stress tests of its nuclear plants while Germany announced its nuclear exit by 2022. Given that both countries benefitted from nuclear energy with a relatively low risk of a disaster, this divergence is puzzling. Yet France and Germany’s reactions were not ad hoc reactions; they were shaped by their post-war experiences and previous anti-nuclear mobilizations. Fukushima merely offered a political opportunity for the effective vocalization of antinuclear dissent, and ultimately the permeability of governing institutions determined each country’s response. In order to explore this argument, this paper will examine the issue's coverage predominately within one French newspaper, Le Monde, and one German newspaper, Suddeutsche Zeitung, from 11 March to 18 June 2011 to gain insight of contemporary political opportunities and elite consensus as well as how meaning was being constructed and consumed by the public on this issue. (author)
[en] A first part discusses the content of the French law related to energy and climate (LREC) which actually reviews and corrects two major elements of the energy transition: the general objectives of the public policy (the climate objective in terms of carbon neutrality and with introduction of a factor 6, and the energy objectives which are updated), and aspects related with governance (reform of institutional tools such as the High Council for Climate and various agencies, and of formal tools such as programming and planning tools, and assessment tools. The second part comments other issues of the LREC: energy sources (development of renewable energy sources which are to be selected, located, and related to specialised activities, and the phasing out of fossil energies), and the choices of new vectors such as hydrogen. It also comments how the law addresses transition in the different usages of energy through a reduction of energy consumptions (building energy performance, optimisation of the CEE system), and an empowerment of energy consumers (legal framework for self-consumption, creation of a legal framework for communities of renewable energy)
[en] Highlights: • Q methodology revealed different stakeholder perspectives about solar parks. • Most perspectives agreed roofs should get priority over fields for power generation. • Opposition exists due to contrasting views on land use and land preservation. • Balancing large and small scale solar power may be more socially acceptable. - Abstract: The need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the electricity sector requires an increase in renewable generation capacity. However, the necessary space for power generation infrastructure can be in conflict with other uses of available land and different perspectives on how the development of renewable electricity should occur can lead to stakeholder oppositions. In an explorative study, I used Q methodology to inquire how affected stakeholders perceived the development of a photovoltaic solar park in Switzerland. This allowed me to identify possible ways to alleviate conflicts between designating land for agricultural use and renewable electricity development. The results show that while most identified worldviews among stakeholders agreed large roof surfaces should be prioritized for solar panels, remaining divergences explain tensions that threatened the realization of the solar park. Two perspectives were in conflict: on one side, actors defending a strict protection of agricultural land; on the other, actors who considered it appropriate to build solar panels on fields. The results also suggest that renewable energy expansion should preserve a balance between large-scale and small-scale photovoltaic power development to be socially acceptable amongst a broad spectrum of stakeholders.
[en] Highlights: • Reviews how the concept of energy service has been used to analyse energy demand. • Argues that common uses are too static and neglect the core meaning of service as useful work. • A concept of meta-services is proposed as a nexus of expectation, provision and experience. • Highlights: role of multiple stakeholders in shaping energy-service demand. • Discusses policy implications for servicizing and demand reduction. - Abstract: The idea that energy is not consumed for its own sake but for the services that it provides has become axiomatic. However, the implications are not worked through into energy policy nor into most analyses of energy demand. Instead, energy service demand is usually isolated from its dynamic and varied socio-cultural basis, rendering it inappropriately static and neglecting the core quality of usefulness that definitions of ‘energy service’ share. To address these limitations, this paper revisits and extends a sociological conceptualisation of services, referred to here as meta-services. These are composite and cross-cutting formations of convention, expectation and experience and the means of achieving them. Meta-services are more-than-energy services and are shaped not only through energy consumption, provision and governance but also by a range of other non-energy providers and organisations. This calls for demand reduction policies to engage wider coalitions of service ‘stakeholders’. In addition, because energy-services co-constitute meta-services, aspirations to deliver the same levels of service but more efficiently risk entrenching, rather than reducing, levels of service demand. Implications for service-based business models (servicizing) and policies are discussed.
[en] Highlights: • Level of interest towards EE varies greatly with countries’ renewable energy mix. • Energy efficiency is important even for renewable-rich countries. • Iceland, Norway and New Zealand are top-three renewable-rich OECD countries. • Policies need to be synchronized with technological advancements. - Abstract: The relevance of energy efficiency policy measures for renewable-rich countries could be different from those countries that have a limited share of renewables in their electricity generation mix, and are therefore likely to focus on low-carbon energy generation policies. This paper presents a comparative analysis of the energy efficiency initiatives of the three highest renewable-rich OECD countries, namely: Iceland, Norway and New Zealand. The paper then focuses on a comprehensive review of New Zealand's energy efficiency policies since a formal “Energy Efficiency and Conservation Act” came into force. This paper then highlights the future challenges for New Zealand and offers some policy recommendations, which may also be applicable for other renewable-rich countries.
[en] Highlights: • Tenants often do not profit from energy efficiency retrofits in financial terms. • Households with low energy consumption are disproportionately affected. • Alternative financing models are needed for more efficient and fair retrofit policies. - Abstract: With the goal of reducing carbon dioxide emissions and curbing climate change, increasing the energy efficiency of buildings with energy efficiency retrofits is an important task. In Germany a large share of the residential building stock is rented. This comes with barriers to energy efficiency retrofitting due to split incentive problems. Alongside existing government incentive programmes, the German tenancy law allows landlords to add a maximum of 11% of the energy-related modernisation costs onto the annual rent. Studies evaluating the actual outcomes, from an energy as well as a social point of view, are rare. This article compares calculated theoretical heating energy consumption for prior to and after retrofit with actual consumption data after retrofit. Further, the issue of household expenses is addressed by comparing increased rental costs after retrofit with household's energy expenses prior and after retrofit. Despite a reduction in energy consumption of 70%, more than half of the households faced increased costs due to higher rents after retrofit. Even when increases in energy prices are taken into account, still one third of the households faced higher costs. For a fairer and more effective distribution of costs and benefits, this article stresses the importance of alternative financing models.
[en] Highlights: • Literature review of empirical megaproject cost overrun and construction delays (power and O&G). • Index proposed to assess inter-regional capex cost differences of energy projects named Z-Factor. • Z-Factors implemented in energy system model to assess impact of cost overruns and delays in Brazil. • Result: delays and cost overruns impact Brazil energy security, increase oil products imports. • Non-hydro renewables fill the gap, indicating they should be the preferred option ex-ante. - Abstract: Cost minimization is arguably the most important criterion governing decisions about energy sector infrastructure construction. Usually, a winning project is picked among similar alternatives based on lowest levelized cost of energy, because, ceteris paribus, economies of scale drive down the unit cost of energy delivered. As such, megaprojects – here defined as costing more than a benchmark US$ 1 billion – are perceived as more competitive than smaller-scale options. However, megaprojects are prone to construction cost overruns and delays that, if included ex ante, may change the optimality of decision for a given project. We hypothesize that optimistic assumptions on techno-economic performance of megaprojects favor their inclusion in the solution of integrated assessment models (IAMs), preventing higher shares of non-hydro renewables, energy efficiency and other low-carbon options. To test this hypothesis, we ran the COPPE-MSB energy system cost-optimization model for infrastructure expansion. We estimate a factor (named Z factor, for zillions) to determine cost differences both within Brazil and vis-à-vis international parity and adjust the model's parameters for CAPEX and construction times of projects qualifying as megaprojects. Results show decreased coal and increased wind power generation, and a reduction in the number of new refineries leading to higher imports of diesel and gasoline.
[en] Highlights: • Potential for combining behavioral economics and big data in energy policy instrument mixes. • Existing energy policy instruments need to be more customized to different compliance behaviors. • Big data can offer a complementary methodological dimension to behavioral insights. • Government capacity to blend behavioral instruments and big data analysis is key to policy change. - Abstract: There has been a surge in the application of behavioral insights for environmental policymaking. It is often presented as an easy and low-cost intervention to alter individual behavior. However, there is limited insight into the cost effectiveness of these attempts and the impact of inserting behavioral policy instruments into an existing mix of traditional tools in a particular policy sector. Furthermore, there has been little focus on the intersection of large behavioral datasets and how they could complement behavioral insights. We present a conceptual overview of how the intersection of big data and behavioral knowledge would work in the renewable energy sector. We indicate that inserting behavioral insights into the energy instrument mix is complex due to technological trajectories, path dependencies and resistance from incumbent industries to change production patterns. We also highlight the underutilized role of large behavioral datasets that can inform not only policy implementation, but also policy design and evaluation efforts. Drawing on these findings, we introduce future research streams of government capacity in combining behavioral insights and data, the compatibility of this information with existing policy instruments and how this affects policy change.
[en] Highlights: • LCOE of wind and solar PV in Russia may be comparable to conventional power LCOE. • Wind energy in Russia may be the second cheapest energy source after natural gas. • Lower values of WACC dramatically improve economic performance of renewables. • WACC may be decreased by strong guarantees for RES investors and subsidized loans. - Abstract: While the evidence mounts that renewable energy sources (RES) are becoming increasingly cost-effective, they have been slow to penetrate the Russian energy market. This is even more surprising since Russia was an early leader in RES deployment. Moreover, it raises the question whether renewables may be competitive in Russia, and if they may, how should the legal framework for their integration in the energy system evolve. Thus, the goals of this paper are twofold. Fist, the authors explore the potential competitiveness of wind and solar PV against new conventional power generation capacities. They find that international capital and operation costs put into Russian climatic (solar radiation, wind speed) and economic (discount rate, domestic fuel prices) conditions give levelized costs of wind and solar PV, which are comparable to these of new conventional power generation, and wind may be the second cheapest energy source after natural gas. Second, the authors give an overall review of the Russian RES regulation and its new developments to show that Russia has started to recognize its need to gain core competencies in renewable energy technologies. Still, Russia has much room to improve its regulation and to narrow the existing gap between policies and their implementation.
[en] Highlights: • Quantifying the lifecycle GHG emissions of cross-border energy trade poses methodological challenges. • The climate impacts of US exports to China, Japan, India, and South Korea could vary significantly. • More robust consideration of the climate impacts of LNG exports are needed. - Abstract: While the United States is poised to become a major exporter of liquefied natural gas (LNG), relatively little attention has been paid to greenhouse gas emission impacts from exporting US natural gas to Asia, a key likely destination. Using bounding scenarios of attributional lifecycle analysis, this study finds that the climate impacts of United States exports to China, Japan, India, or South Korea could vary significantly, with annual global lifecycle emissions ranging from −88,000 metric tons CO2e to + 170,000 metric tons CO2e per Bcf of exports. Exact emissions will depend on factors such as (a) the final end-use of the LNG, (b) domestic market impacts from increased natural gas prices in the United States, (c) induced additional energy consumption in importing countries, and (d) methane leakage rates. Country specific greenhouse gas outcomes can differ from global outcomes, with major implications for extraction and consumption based emissions accounting. The study's results indicate the need for more robust consideration of the climate impacts of all energy exports in terms of country specific energy analyses, global climate regulations, and market uncertainty. Thus, how gas is governed becomes of critical importance, for it will determine whether LNG is a net sink or source of additional emissions.