1. Electric vehicles: stepping up the pace. With persistently high oil prices and recently tightened road vehicle fuel economy and emissions standards in the United States, Europe, China and elsewhere, electric vehicles are an increasingly hot topic. The IEA estimates that one billion electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles must be on the world's roads by 2050 if carbon dioxide emissions are to be halved.
To give some international impetus to the drive for development and deployment of the technology, nine countries and the IEA recently cemented their Electric Vehicles Initiative (EVI). Bringing together China, France, Germany, Japan, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, the United States and the IEA, this EVI partnership was a key focus at the IEA's Advanced Vehicle Leadership Forum, held at the Paris Motor Show early in October. The mandate of the EVI includes increased co-ordination in three areas: information and data collection/sharing; RD&D; and city-level planning for electric vehicles. Lew Fulton is in charge of the IEA's involvement in this project. The OPEN Bulletin questioned Dr. Fulton on advances and challenges in the fast-moving world of electrically driven and other advanced-technology vehicles. Click to access the interview.
2. Do renewables hold the key? This is the weighty question addressed by the IEA programme on Renewable Energy Technology Deployment (RETD) in its report Achieving Climate Stabilization in an Insecure World: Does Renewable Energy Hold the Key? RETD's downloadable 59-page study notes that transitioning to low-carbon energy is technically feasible, that there is urgency and that renewables plus energy efficiency constitute the major routes to climate-change mitigation objectives. The authors point compellingly to the message that aggressive climate change mitigation saves money in the long term. The RETD publication, which takes account of non-energy sector emissions, is the fruit of almost three years of modelling work on renewable energy in global energy scenarios, in collaboration with the IEA Energy Technology Systems Analysis Programme (ETSAP).
The study’s analysis and conclusions are based on the RETD ACES Scenario model (Achieving Climate and Energy Security), which targets atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases at 400 parts per million of carbon dioxide-equivalent, rather than the customary 450 parts per million, which is estimated to offer only a 50% probability of limiting the global average temperature rise to 2oC. Download the report and the flyer. RETD is one of 41 IEA international energy technology collaborations.
3. How to design an energy technology roadmap. If the world’s energy future is to be clean, clever and competitive, wide-ranging technologies for innovative energy infrastructure and end-use must be rolled out. But effects of the global economic crisis have slowed urgently needed research, development and deployment in many countries. As they strive for global energy sustainability, government and corporate planners face tough strategic choices. Guidance from the IEA’s Energy Technology Roadmaps has proved its worth here. These roadmaps show how sustainable development and deployment milestones for individual technologies can be reached between now and 2050 by addressing technical, regulatory, policy, financial and public-acceptance barriers, and by involving all stakeholders in concerted action.
To enable users to plot roadmaps tailored to specific national, regional or sectoral needs, the IEA has just published Energy Technology Roadmaps – A Guide to Development and Implementation. This downloadable 30-page publication explains how to create a roadmap and how to manage, monitor and adjust the roadmap process to reach defined goals. Download here. See below for the newly launched first phase of the IEA Smart Grid Technology Roadmap.
4. Energy efficiency policies that deliver. If the IEA’s 25 energy-efficiency policy recommendations were applied globally, carbon dioxide emissions equal to 200% of those currently emitted by the European Union could be saved each year. Why is this not happening? Reasons vary according to sector. In the case of electrical appliances, for example, perfectly good standards and labelling policies may fail to bite because technical capacity and know-how for compliance testing are lacking. This is among the important barriers addressed in the first of the IEA’s new energy efficiency Policy Pathways brochures: Monitoring, Verification and Enforcement - Improving Compliance within Equipment Energy Efficiency Programmes. Like others to come in the Policy Pathways series, this 56-page downloadable guide goes a major step beyond recommendations by providing policy makers and other stakeholders with “how-to” guidance for hands-on action to capitalise better on energy-efficiency policies.
The second IEA Policy Pathways brochure, focusing on a sector claiming 40% of energy in most countries, can also be downloaded: Energy Performance Certification of Buildings - A Policy Tool to Improve Energy Efficiency. The next Policy Pathways guide will deal with energy management in industry. Consult the Policy Pathways: Q&A Fact Sheet.
5. Televisions and energy performance. When shaping sustainability policies that will affect electrical appliances and consumer choice, policy makers need to be well informed. Credible, reliable and timely information needs to be available about likely effects of this or that policy approach in relation to products entering the market. Experience gained in other countries can be beneficial. To generate technical insight in support of the policy-making process, an exercise mapping television performance standards in six countries has been carried out by the Mapping and Benchmarking project within the IEA programme on Efficient Electrical End-Use Equipment (4E). Its conclusions can be downloaded in the report Benchmarking Energy Efficiency of New Televisions, which focuses on various key energy performance indicators for LCD, plasma and CRT television. The authors identify differences in performance between countries and discuss such issues as demographics and the evolving nature and use of products. Encouragingly, they point to broadly improving energy efficiency levels. The 4E Mapping and Benchmarking Annex webpages tell more about its work, notably on domestic cold appliances. Findings on washing machines, laundry dryers, air conditioners, lamps and lighting are in the pipeline. See also below for the 4E Mapping and Benchmarking Annex Newsletter. 4E is an IEA international collaboration.
6. New IEA international R&D projects, new participants. The portfolios of IEA Implementing Agreement collaborations evolve constantly to meet new challenges. New participants join their teams.
• Energy & Greenhouse Gas Optimised Building Renovation is the focus of a new project within the IEA Energy Conservation in Buildings and Community Systems Programme (ECBCS). This Annex 56 will aim at developing rules and procedures, as the basis for future standards enabling cost-effective refurbishment of existing buildings.
• Two new projects launched by the IEA programme on Industrial Energy-Related Technologies and Systems (IETS) will focus on process integration in the iron and steel industry (Annex XIIII) and on industrial excess heat recovery (Annex XV). See also the IETS website's Ongoing Tasks page (scroll down).
• Australia has become a Contracting Party to the Implementing Agreement for Solar Power and Chemical Energy Systems (SolarPACES).
• China has become a Contracting Party to the Implementing Agreement for a Co-operative Programme of Research and Development on Advanced Materials for Transportation Applications (IA-AMT).
• The Republic of Korea has become a Contracting Party to the Implementing Agreement for a Programme of Research and Development on Radiation Damage in Fusion Materials and to the Implementing Agreement on a Co-operative Programme on Nuclear Technology of Fusion Reactors.
• India has become a Contracting Party to the Implementing Agreement for a Programme of Research and Development on Radiation Damage in Fusion Materials.
• Portugal has become a Contracting Party to the Implementing Agreement for Co-operation on Hybrid and Electric Vehicle Technologies and Programmes (IA-HEV).
• The Chinese Wind Energy Association (CWEA) has become a Sponsor in the Implementing Agreement for Co-operation in the Research, Development and Deployment of Wind Energy Systems (IEA Wind).
• Doosan Power Systems Limited has become a Sponsor in the Implementing Agreement for a Co-operative Programme on Technologies Relating to Greenhouse Gases Derived from Fossil Fuel Use (IEAGHG).
• Vattenfall AB has become a Sponsor in the Implementing Agreement for the IEA Clean Coal Centre (IEA CCC).