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The wider picture: crunching numbers

The International Energy Agency (IEA) published last week a new forecast for wind and solar growth, more than 25% higher than figures published in November 2020 and 40% above levels predicted in May 2020.

Three messages: IEA has been quite conservative in its forecasts, the “new normal” is to revise forecasts more than once a year (mirroring high uncertainties), forecasts prove that renewables are already way cheaper than expected.

It does not come as surprise that renewables accounted for 90% of new electricity generating capacity added globally last year. That’s huge.

China is playing a central role in this upwards revision. 

Global wind capacity is expected to slow down, after its 2020 boom (it almost doubled last year to 114 GW);  PV additional capacity should stand at over 160 GW in 2022. Solar has been defined the “new king” of global electricity markets.

Nonetheless, the IEA writes: “CO2 emissions are set to rise this year because of a parallel rise in coal use, underscoring the major policy changes and investments in clean energy needed to meet climate goals."

The IEA also published its global oil consumption forecast. Consumption is expected “to rise by 5.4 mb/d in 2021, 270 kb/d lower than in our previous Report. Europe and OECD Americas have been revised down by 320 kb/d and 515 kb/d respectively in 1Q21, while India’s Covid crisis led us to downgrade its demand in 2Q21 by 630 kb/d.”

Last week: EU affairs

“In line with the MSR rules, over a 12-month period – from 1 September 2021 to 31 August 2022 –, a total of 378 905 382 allowances will be placed in the MSR [Market Stability Reserve],” reads the yearly communication from the Commission on the total number of allowances in circulation in 2020. EU carbon prices continued to reach new all-time highs over the last week.

That will automatically increase the interest for a Europan Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism, which the US Administration defined “difficult to implement” last week.

Meanwhile, the European Commission adopted the EU Action Plan “Towards Zero Pollution for Air, Water and Soil”, which sets out an integrated vision for 2050, where pollution is reduced to levels that are no longer harmful to human health and natural ecosystems (special emphasis on how to use digital solutions to tackle pollution).

Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania moved closer to the synchronisation with Western Europe with the arrival of a 164-tonne autotransformer in Klapeida which, as explained by Lithuania’s Minister of Energy, “will be installed in the Lithuania-Poland electric energy connection (LitPolLink)". The move will decrease Russian influence in the region.

“Germany has come under a lot of attack from the Kremlin and dozens of Bundestag representatives have ties with the Kremlin. They are cronies of Mr Putin. The Kremlin probably also has a source close to Angela Merkel,” said Russian philanthropist Mikhail Khodorkovsy during his speech to members of the European Parliament last week from London.

North Macedonia met the necessary conditions to start the accession negotiations and, similarly to Albania, deserves to proceed to the next stage of the process without delays,” said High Representative Josep Borrell after his meeting with Prime Minister Zoran Zaev.

Current week: EU affairs

The Commission is active on several fronts. The vice-president Frans Timmermans will guide the European Commission delegation to the G7 Climate and Environment Ministerial this Thursday and Friday.

Maros Sefcovic participates in the European Battery Alliance stakeholders roundtable and in the launch of the Spain 250 project. The Spanish parliament approved a clean energy bill on Thursday (13 May), banning the sale of fossil fuel vehicles by 2040.

The Commission will present tomorrow two Communications: one on business taxation for the 21st century, laying out actions to be implemented by 2024, and the second on global approach to research and innovation. The European budget is increasingly under the spotlight.

How the EU money will be spent is increasingly clear, where the money comes from remains still a tad unclear.

The European Parliament will debate and vote the European Strategy for Energy System Integration and the European Strategy for Hydrogen. MEPs are also expected to give their final approval to the Just Transition Fund, a €17.5 billion package to help European regions move to a green economy.

At the Parliament discussions on Israel-Palestine, but also Turkey, and Montenegro. 

The High Representative for Foreign Policy Josep Borrell called on Sunday an extraordinary meeting of European foreign ministers on the situation in the Middle East.

This week, on Wednesday, the World Wind Energy Association (WWEA) will organise a webinar on wind permitting.


Global electrolyser capacity should reach 213.5 GW by 2040, a one-thousand-fold increase from current levels, said a report released last week. “Germany remains the most attractive market for low carbon hydrogen investment in Europe, despite promising policies and strategies recently being released by Italy, Poland and the UK,” wrote Aurora Energy Research in its HyMAR Report. The size of individual electrolyzer projects is also booming, more than expected just a few months ago.

Northern Europe continues to register advancements in the hydrogen sector: Norway wants to double its 2021 budget for hydrogen, EU funding has been awarded to the Port of Rotterdam, the German automotive industry is looking into hydrogen options and public subsidies for German hydrogen projects are becoming a reality.

To keep in mind: German research centres continue their work. For instance, the East Bavarian Technical University (OTH) Regensburg is developing a hydrogen map for Germany.

Japanese companies have been quite active, studying hydrogen fuel port cargo handling machineries in Kobe, and hydrogen solutions in a prototype city backed by Toyota.

Meanwhile, emerged plans for a “world-scale clean hydrogen project” in Alberta (Canada), for a green ammonia plant in Chile (2 GW wind farm), an accelerator of hydrogen businesses in New South Wales (Australia), and a green hydrogen plant in the Port of Corpus Christi (the third-largest port in the United States).

Other two pieces of news: the first green hydrogen project in Chile has been officially approved, while Neptune Energy applied to UK’s Oil and Gas Authority for a CO2 appraisal and storage license in the southern North Sea for its proposed DelpHYnus blue hydrogen and CCS project. That proves that the UK will give priority to blue hydrogen, rather than to green hydrogen.

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