Cristina Dascălu (CD): What are the priorities you will promote in Brussels, as a Vice-President of the Board of Directors of CEEP, and in regard to energy infrastructure in Central Europe? Rafał Miland (RM): The entire Board of Directors of CEEP and myself, are currently facing a very important challenge - to properly implement the basic objectives behind the foundation of the organisation - namely, fostering the integration processes of the energy sector in Central Europe, within the common policy framework of the European Union, which are rightly associated with ensuring security and diversification of supply within the sector in question. As the Vice-President of the Board of Directors of CEEP, I would like, in particular, to focus on three matters that are especially close to my heart as Vice-President of the Management Board of PERN S.A. Firstly, the development of storage infrastructure, and, above all, facilities designed for maintaining maximum stocks to improve the resistance of the EU to market fluctuations, as well as interruptions in the supply of crude oil and petrochemical products. Secondly, on the provision of EU assets for the construction of oil infrastructure, and thirdly - on the diversification of supply to improve the EU’s independence and resistance to market disturbances. CD: From your professional experience, to what extent is energy policy shaping our future energy system? RM: In my professional career, up till now, whether in Ministries or companies, I frequently observed the significant influence exerted by energy policy upon the future of our power system. The assumptions underlying energy policy, legal regulations, and financial support to selected areas, are of decisive importance, [...]
As Germany is currently falling short of its ambitious plans to cut CO2 emissions, Vice-Chancellor and Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy, Mr. Sigmar Gabriel, announced in early 2015 the intention to impose a climate levy on ageing power plants. As this change in regulation would be highly relevant for the balance sheets of power suppliers, the panel discussion of the 61st Special Energy Dialogue at the Reichstag focused on its possible impact on the future of Germany’s coal sector. Despite Germany being a trailblazer in the field of renewables, it is, at the same time, one of the developed countries with the highest consumption of coal, and this has led to the contradiction that whilst far-ranging measures to protect the climate have already been introduced in Germany, emissions have been rising over the past three years. The nuclear power phase-out, decided upon following the Fukushima catastrophe, increased the reliance on coal-based electricity production, which currently is responsible for a third of all emissions in the country. Consequently, the government feels increasingly compelled to react by tightening environmental regulations on the energy market. Chancellor Merkel has also taken the opportunity of the G7-Summit she hosted at the beginning of June, in the Bavarian Elmau, to firmly put climate protection at the top of the international agenda. As a result, the “decarbonisation of the global economy over the course of this century” and “deep cuts in global greenhouse gas emissions” were agreed. The goal pursued by the Federal Ministry of Economy and Energy through the proposed regulations, is to cut the emissions of coal energy production by 16 million [...]
Increasing energy production from renewables, increased exports, decreased carbon emissions, and decreasing consumer prices: the year 2014, was a memorable one for Germany’s transition to renewable energy. Indeed, for the first time ever, renewables led power production in Germany, generating 27.3% of the country’s electricity. Meanwhile, energy consumption dropped by 3.85%, and the economy grew by 1.4%. Little wonder then that the Berlin think-tank, Agora Energiewende, declared this batch of good news to be: “a sign that investments in energy-saving devices and equipment are paying off.” During 2014, coal-generated power decreased, as did carbon emissions. In the years 2012 and 2013, more coal was used than the 2011 levels, and GHG emissions had grown, slowly but surely. This had been inherently damaging to the reputation of the ‘Energiewende’, both in Germany and abroad, with energy experts questioning the whole purpose of the policy, as emissions were clearly going in the wrong direction. So, last year brought much needed relief for ‘Energiewende’ supporters, as the negative trends reversed, evidenced by the wholesale price for power dropping to a record low of EUR 33 per megawatt hour from EUR 38 in 2013. However, electricity prices for households were at an all-time high of 29.13 EUR cents in 2014 (the second-highest in the EU after Denmark, and 3rd highest, when also including Cyprus). Additionally, about 350,000 households in Germany were not able to pay their electricity bills, which was 23,000 more than in 2012, and 33,000 more than in 2011. Germany also exported more power than ever before. It is, however, important to note that not all exports were voluntary, but rather, [...]
Germany has taken two significant steps regarding the future of its energy sector and climate protection. Firstly, it chose to dispel doubts regarding country`s pledge to reduce CO2 emissions by 40% by 2020 (in comparison to the values of 1990), by renewing its commitment to this goal. Secondly, it decided to phase out nuclear power by 2022 –which was triggered by the Fukushima nuclear disaster. However, a tension arises as nuclear power – currently covering 15% of Germany’s demand – is CO2 neutral and will have to be replaced by other sources of energy. Despite a significant prospective growth in renewables to 47% by 2020, the energy network will continue to rely heavily on the base load capacity of conventional coal and gas power plants. In this context, with two essential documents being published by the German Federal Government in recent weeks, the role of coal power plants has returned to the focus of public debate around the Energiewende. So, it is difficult to imagine that coal, at least in the medium term, will not remain a major part of German power production. [Tweet "the main role of the energy market will remain to find a balance between power generation and consumption "]On October 31st, 2014, the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy published a Green Paper on the future of the electricity market within the framework of the Energiewende. The paper underlines the transition that the German energy market will be going through up to 2022: greater integration into a European energy market, the nuclear phase-out, as well as the continuing expansion of renewables. Even under [...]
In a few words
We represent the widely understood Central Europe energy sector (electricity generation, distribution and transmission, renewables, gas, oil, heat generation and distribution, chemical industries, etc.), universities and scientific institutions.