EU Commissioner Miguel Arias Canēte, in his opening speech at the High Policy Energy Conference on June 16, 2015 to introduce the latest IEA report that came out the day before, referred to the most important indications in this report; global energy-related emissions stayed flat, whereas the world’s economy grew by 3%. In the EU, emissions dropped by more than 6% while the economy grew by around 1.3%. In fact, since 1990, the EU’s GDP has grown by 45%, while our emissions have declined by 19%. This gradual decoupling, according the the Commissioner  is a strong signal ahead of the climate negotiations. The report also pointed to “the urgent need to accelerate the development of emerging technologies that are, ultimately, essential to transforming the global energy system”  into one that is consistent with the world’s climate goals. The report however stopped short at battery technologies….

IEA chief economist Fatih Birol  indicated that IEA analysis has repeatedly shown that the cost and difficulty of mitigating greenhouse-gas emissions increases every year, and that time is of the essence. He presented five measures to anticipate a peak in  emissions already in 2020.  :

  • Progressively reduce the use of the least-efficient coal-fired power plants and banning new builds.
  • Phase out fossil fuel subsidies to end users by 2030.
  • Reduce methane, a more intense global warmer than carbon dioxide, emissions in oil and gas production.
  • Increase energy efficiency in industry, buildings and transport.
  • Increase investment in renewable technologies from $270 billion in 2014 to $400 billion in 2030.

For this to happen the IEA put forward some suggestions to the COP 21

  • Set the conditions to achieve an early peak in global energy-related emissions.
  • Review national climate targets every five years, to test the scope to raise ambition.
  • Translate the world’s climate goal into a collective long-term emissions goal.
  • Establish a process for tracking achievements in the energy sector.

The High level policy conference very much focussed on the energy system integration with presentations on models developed for modelling the EU energy system by Artelys and on integrating policy, socio-economics and financing to achieve energy transition by ETH Zurich. Another session focussed on the role of the electricity system in the energy system and the need to transform this system to host an increasing share of renewables. Terna Storage Srl in Italy presented the challenge TSO’s face in reacting to certain power failures creating the need for another level of solutions that can leverage or anticipate the effects of  larger blackouts and therefore reduce costs of the mobilisation of more expensive large power plants. Good predictions of power flows are difficult. Another already economically viable solution to balance the influx of renewable power was presented by Tobias Mischlau of Eon using hydrogen to be sold to refineries.  This solution is also promoted by EHA national association member DWV.