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Welcome to the OPEN Energy Technology Bulletin, which comes to you free of charge from the International Energy Agency (IEA) and its Committee on Energy Research and Technology. It brings regular updates on activities within the IEA's energy technology and R&D community that are contributing to energy security and protection of the environment and climate worldwide.


1.
Reporting to IEA ministers
2. Power sector investment uncertainties & challenges
3. Boosting electricity-grid performance
4. Improving comparability of energy end-use data
5.
Coal-to-liquids - an alternative oil supply?


Large-scale photovoltaics
Storing CO2 underground
Environmental assessment for CCS
Newsletters from IEA programmes
High-temperature superconductors


CO2 allowances & electricity prices
Technology & capital stock turnover
Making energy efficiency happen
Long-term R&D priority setting
2005 World Energy Outlook downloadable


International Workshop on Technology Learning and Deployment, Paris (France), 11-12 June 2007.

Eurelectric Annual Convention and Conference The Next 10 Years, Antwerp (Belgium), 11-12 June 2007.

Workshop on Economic Regulatory and Market Issues Associated with the Incorporation of Variable Generation, Leuven (Belgium), 13-14 June 2007.

IEA/CSLF Assessment Workshop on Near-Term Opportunities for Carbon Capture and Storage, Oslo (Norway), 21-22 June 2007.

International Workshop Fuel Efficiency Policies for Heavy-Duty Vehicles, Paris (France), 21-22 June 2007.

Efficient Electrical End-Use Equipment, 2nd workshop on a proposed new IEA Implementing Agreement, Paris (France), 9 July 2007.

2nd Workshop on Building the Hydrogen Economy: Enabling Infrastructure Development, Paris (France), 10-12 July 2007.

International Workshop Energy Efficient Set-Top Boxes & Digital Networks, Paris (France), 4-6 July 2007.

International Workshop on Degradation Issues of Fuel Cells, Crete (Greece), 19-21 September 2007.

Conference Building Low Energy Cooling and Advanced Ventilation Technologies in the 21st Century, Aghia Pelaghia, Crete (Greece), 27-29 September 2007.

3rd Workshop on Building the Hydrogen Economy: Enabling Infrastructure Development, Shanghai (China) 22-24 October 2007.

9th IEA Heat Pump Conference, Advances and Prospects in Technology, Applications and Markets, Zürich (Switzerland), 20-22 May 2008.


1. Reporting to IEA ministers. The 14-15 May biennial IEA ministerial meeting in Paris concluded with a communiqué highlighting the need to accelerate development and deployment of new technologies; it listed steps that would be taken urgently to bring this about. The ministerial communiqué will provide guidelines for the IEA's future work in the energy technology domain.
The ministerial gathering was the occasion to present a rich array of publications and papers drawing on the work of the Secretariat and its international energy technology network. High on the list of those dealing with energy technology was the just-out 2007 edition of Energy Technologies at the Cutting Edge. This free downloadable book provides profiles of the 41 international “Implementing Agreement” R&D programmes within the IEA’s collaborative network, their current activities, innovations and recent achievements. Generous statistical pages update on membership of individual programmes and the composition of the Implementing Agreement portfolio as a whole, also on by-country representation of both IEA and non-IEA member countries. The ministerial meeting featured a technology fair showcasing the work of these programmes. Other technology-related input to the gathering included: new Energy Technology Essentials briefs on fuel cells and on hydrogen and the information paper Contribution of Renewables to Energy Security. Also presented were a progress report on IEA work in support of the G8, a compendium of Findings of Recent IEA Work and a new overview brochure on the activities of the IEA.

2. Power sector investment uncertainties and challenges. Massive investment will be needed over coming decades to replace ageing power plant units. This creates opportunities to ensure that more of the world's growing electricity needs can be met using more sustainable technologies. But the investment decision-taking process is often mired by uncertainties, notably regarding CO2 constraints. Two studies, just released by IEA and presented at its recent ministerial meeting, investigate the issues and offer policy messages. Tackling Investment Challenges in Power Generation looks at recent investment trends and future prospects, identifying both drivers and barriers. The authors weigh the benefits of market liberalisation, noting the effectiveness of competition to reduce the costs of risk management. They offer policy pointers regarding market design, regulation, competition, environmental policy and licensing arrangements. Climate Policy Uncertainty and Investment Risk focuses specifically on how climate change policy uncertainty may affect investment behaviour in the power sector. Discussing how related risk premiums can ratchet up investment costs, it blends quantitative and qualitative approaches to ascertain possible risks and pinpoint how policy design can reduce both risk and costs. Visit the IEA Online Bookshop.

3. Boosting electricity-grid performance. In many parts of the world, ageing electricity transmission and distribution systems are straining under pressure to carry more diversified input over greater distances. Grid structures designed for carbon-based electricity must now integrate power from widely located alternative sources. Systems shaped for regulated markets must now function under de-regulated conditions. Maintaining system resilience is becoming increasingly challenging and transmission and distribution operators face huge investment requirements. What role can technology play in smoothing transitions in the fast changing electricity landscape? How can it help operators meet customers' needs more easily and help them use electricity more wisely?
The OPEN Bulletin put some basic questions to John Baker, Annex I Operating Agent of the IEA Implementing Agreement on Electricity Networks Analysis, Research and Development (ENARD). This R&D international programme is one of 41 within IEA's collaborative framework. Click to access the interview.

4. Improving comparability of energy end-use data. Which policy instruments promote energy efficiency most effectively? Valuable insight can be gleaned from energy indicators, which track energy performance across sectors, showing how patterns of energy use are shaped by factors like economic structure, lifestyles or climate. In a perfect world, all countries would use similar methodologies when building energy-indicator databases. Comparability of energy-indicator data would enable policy makers to optimise policy packages and investment decisions by drawing on technology and policy experience in other countries. In pursuit of greater data comparability, the World Bank, the IEA and other concerned institutions have initiated a project together with non-IEA partner countries to share the necessary number-crunching expertise. This project - “Energy Efficiency Indicators for G+5 Countries” - aims at a comprehensive, harmonised methodology framework for collecting data and developing the crucial energy indicator tools. IEA economist Peter Taylor is Co-Task Team Leader. His article, co-authored by Cecilia Tam, describes this effort in support of G8 nations' sustainability objectives.

5. Coal-to-liquids - an alternative oil supply? When oil prices are high, coal that is cheap and plentiful has good economic potential for conversion into liquid fuels for road transport. In China and South Africa that potential is already exploited and other countries are considering coal-to-liquids (CTL) projects. It is widely recognised by developers that CO2 capture and storage must be factored in if CTL is to play anything beyond a minor role in the future. Experience has shown that CTL projects call for major inputs of capital and technical expertise. So what role can CTL play in the drive for energy security whilst also meeting climate protection goals? At a Paris workshop last November, leading private- and public-sector stakeholders from numerous countries were able to compare notes on recent developments regarding CTL and review its prospects for the future. The workshop was organised in conjunction with the annual plenary meeting of the IEA Coal Industry Advisory Board (CIAB). A detailed report, containing presentation extracts, is now available on the IEA website.

 

Energy from the Desert - Practical Proposals for Very Large Scale Photovoltaic Systems - This newly released downloadable study from the IEA Photovoltaic Power Systems Programme (IEA PVPS) provides detailed analysis of technical, socio-economical and environmental aspects of very large-scale photovoltaic power generation systems. It features case studies on the Mediterranean, Middle East and Asian regions. Click to download. IEA PVPS one of 41 international energy technology R&D programmes within IEA's collaborative framework.

Storing CO2 Underground - from the IEA Greenhouse Gas R&D Programme (IEA GHG), a downloadable brochure explaining what geological storage of CO2 is all about and answering frequently asked questions. IEA GHG is one of 41 international energy technology R&D programmes within IEA's collaborative framework.

Environmental Assessment for CO2 Capture and Storage - also from the IEA Greenhouse Gas R&D Programme (IEA GHG), this study examines the frameworks for environmental impact assessment in use around the world. It is obtainable in CD format free of charge for readers from countries and sponsor organisations participating in the IEA Greenhouse Gas R&D Programme (IEA GHG) - see: http://www.ieagreen.org.uk/members.html. Requests should be e-mailed to sian@ieaghg.org.

Free technology newsletters from IEA's international collaborative programmes:
- IEA Clean Coal Centre Newsletter, Number 52, March 2007 (IEA Clean Coal Centre).
- Newsletter from ENARD (IEA Implementing Agreement on Electricity Networks Analysis, Research and Development), No. 2, May 2007.
- IEA HIA News, March 2007 issue, from the IEA Hydrogen Implementing Agreement Programme.

High-Temperature Superconductors: Meeting Global Electricity Demands. A briefing document for policy makers and managers, this new downloadable brochure describes the reliability benefits of superconductors in the power industry. It comes from the IEA Implementing Agreement on High-Temperature Superconductivity, one of 41 international energy technology R&D programmes within IEA's collaborative framework.

CO2 Allowance & Electricity Price Interaction - Impact on industry's electricity purchasing strategies in Europe. This 86-page downloadable IEA Information Paper sheds light on the links between CO2 prices, electricity prices and electricity costs to industry. It draws notably on interviews with industrial and electricity stakeholders and provides key messages. Click to access.

Technology Penetration and Capital Stock Turnover: Lessons from IEA Scenario Analysis. Prepared by the OECD and IEA Secretariats, this downloadable paper reflects on the significant differences between the emissions reductions projections in mid-term and long-term scenarios; it explores the policy implications. Click to access.

Presentations from the workshop Scaling-up Energy Efficiency: Bridging the Action Gap, Paris, 2-3 April 2007. This event considered what needs to happen if this action gap is to be bridged. It was organised by IEA, the United Nations Environment Programme, the International Finance Corporation and the Government of Finland. Click to access

Presentations from the workshop Using Long-Term Scenarios for R&D Priority Setting, Paris, 15-16 February 2007. At this event, experts shared experience and key experts from governments, industry, academia and international organisations provided hands-on experience in scenario-aided R&D priority setting. Click to access.

The 2005 edition of the IEA World Energy Outlook is now downloadable free of charge from IEA's website.

Free publications from IEA
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IEA Implementing Agreement participants are entitled to a 30% discount on IEA publications (contact books@iea.org, with your request and identification).

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    International Workshop on Technology Learning and Deployment, Paris (France), 11-12 June 2007. Technology learning is important for energy R&D and for energy investment decisions on emerging new technologies. Experience curves help to clarify potential benefits of deployment programmes and identify technology and policy options which can support the transformation of energy systems. The main focus will be on supply technologies. Invitations to this invitations-only workshop can be requested from Cecilia Tam at IEA. Visit the IEA's website.

    Eurelectric Annual Convention and Conference The Next 10 Years, Antwerp (Belgium), 11-12 June 2007. Against a backdrop of new momentum in European energy policy, 2007 is a critical year for the European electricity industry and the challenge of establishing a competitive, secure and sustainable European energy market. Ten years after the first liberalisation moves, Eurelectric’s 2007 annual convention and conference, for which IEA serves on the Programme Committee, comes at an opportune moment to look ahead to the next 10 years. Visit Eurelectric's website. Download the flyer.

    Workshop on Economic Regulatory and Market Issues Associated with the Incorporation of Variable Generation, Leuven (Belgium), 13-14 June 2007. This workshop is organised jointly by two Implementing Agreement programmes within IEA's collaborative framework: those dealing with Electricity Networks Analysis, Research & Development (see above) and with Renewable Energy Technology Deployment. Consult the workshop programme.

    IEA/CSLF Assessment Workshop on Near-Term Opportunities for Carbon Capture and Storage, Oslo (Norway), 21-22 June 2007. This workshop is the second in a three-workshop series responding to a G8 request and organised by IEA and the Carbon Sequestration Leadership Forum. It will assess the issues raised at the August 2006 San Francisco workshop Near-Term Opportunities for CO2 Capture and Storage in the Fossil Fuel Sector. A third workshop, to be announced, will focus on recommendations to help accelerate development and commercialisation of carbon capture and storage. To learn more about these workshops, contact Jacek Podkanski at IEA.

    International Workshop Fuel Efficiency Policies for Heavy-Duty Vehicles, Paris (France), 21-22 June 2007. Heavy-duty vehicles are responsible for 30% of world-wide fuel use. While vehicle efficiency has improved significantly, large potential savings remain. Hosted by the IEA and the European Conference of Ministers of Transport (ECMT), this workshop will explore measures to achieve those savings. The workshop will welcome policy makers, government officials, researchers, and representatives from non-governmental organisations and industry. Visit IEA's website.

    Efficient Electrical End-Use Equipment, 2nd workshop on a proposed new IEA Implementing Agreement, Paris (France), 9 July 2007. The purpose of this meeting is to take forward the process of creating this new IEA programme. It is open to government representatives interested in becoming members of the Interim Executive Committee. Visit IEA's website.

    2nd Workshop on Building the Hydrogen Economy: Enabling Infrastructure Development, Paris (France), 10-12 July 2007. Workshop objectives: to bring together public and private sector officials in an international strategic process to evaluate transition planning scenarios for the expansion of infrastructure for the hydrogen economy; to inform policymakers on opportunities to accelerate the process. Visit the IEA website.

    International Workshop Energy Efficient Set-Top Boxes & Digital Networks, Paris (France), 4-6 July 2007. Design criteria for these products must embrace low power requirements and now is the time to ensure that the right protocols and standards are in place. Hosted by IEA in conjunction with the International Task Force for Sustainable Products (ITFSP), this workshop will bring together stakeholders to share information on current developments in technologies, standards and policies, and to decide on the key elements for future activities. Visit IEA's website.

    International Workshop on Degradation Issues of Fuel Cells, Crete (Greece), 19-21 September 2007. The IEA Implementing Agreement programme on Advanced Fuel Cells (IEA-AFC) sits on the organising committee for this workshop, which will aim to gain understanding of fundamental degradation issues, pinpoint measures to increase fuel cell lifetime and relatiability, and identify necessary R&D and future activities to evaluate degradation and harmonise test procedures. Click for the first announcement.

    Conference Building Low Energy Cooling and Advanced Ventilation Technologies in the 21st Century, Aghia Pelaghia, Crete (Greece), 27-29 September 2007. Co-organised by IEA's Air Infiltration and Ventilation Centre (AIVC) as its 28th conference, this event aims to cover all aspects of technology and building design dealing with ventilation and passive cooling techniques. AIVC is part of the IEA Programme on Energy Conservation in Buildings & Community Systems (ECBCS). Consult the website.

    3rd Workshop on Building the Hydrogen Economy: Enabling Infrastructure Development, Shanghai (China) 22-24 October 2007. Workshop objectives: to bring together public and private sector officials in an international strategic process to evaluate transition planning scenarios for the expansion of infrastructure for the hydrogen economy; to inform policymakers on opportunities to accelerate the process. Visit the IEA website.

    9th IEA Heat Pump Conference, Advances and Prospects in Technology, Applications and Markets, Zürich (Switzerland), 20-22 May 2008. This event will focus on technology, markets, policy and standards within a context of desired environmental benefits and energy conservation. Heat pumps will be addressed, along with air conditioning and refrigeration equipment, also systems for residential, commercial and industrial applications, together with heat pumping technologies for heating and cooling of low energy houses and systems for district heating and cooling. Visit the website of the IEA Heat Pump Centre and the conference website.