RELP 4/2013



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Issue 4/2013

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Dominic Marcellino
Editorial
Renewable Energy Law and Policy Review 4/2013: pp. 243-244 [Editorial]
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When deploying certain generation technologies in particular settings, renewables appear already to have achieved grid parity. Confirmation of this comes from Texas, of all places. Austin Energy, the municipal electric utility for the City of Austin, signed a 25-year power purchase agreement for 150MWof solar power at less than $0.05/kWh. Of PPAs in the US for renewable energy, this is the lowest cost per kilowatt hour ever achieved. Analysts have assessed the SunEdison bid, and it will turn a small profit; more importantly, it was selected due to the fact that it was the lowest, competitive bid. SunEdison’s main competitors were other solar projects; this bid was substantially below new natural gas, coal, and nuclear bids.

Christian Held and Jan Ole Voss
Legal Limits for Electricity Capacity Markets in the EU and Germany
Renewable Energy Law and Policy Review 4/2013: pp. 245-253 [Article]
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The article examines the major legal questions which arise from the introduction of electricity capacity markets in the EU and especially Germany. As central capacity markets generally might qualify as state aid under EU law, the conditions for services of general economic interest could become crucial when it comes to the design of such markets. The relevant criteria have been laid down by the European Commission in a 2003 decision on the Irish capacity market and recent guidelines on generation adequacy. Demand-driven or “decentral” capacity markets, by contrast, do not appear to fall within the scope of state aid law. The constitutional guarantee of freedomof competition and the protection of feed-in tariff claims against retroactive amendments are the main issues at stake concerning constitutional law.

Ulf Roßegger
New Debate About the Harmonization of the EU’s Support Instruments for Renewables and Binding targets’ Relevance?
Renewable Energy Law and Policy Review 4/2013: pp. 254-267 [Article]
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How to support renewables is a subject of constant discussion at European level. The first initiatives to promote renewables at the European level goes back to the 1990s. In 2001, the European Union (EU) adopted a framework – Directive 2001/77/EC – for the promotion of electricity from renewable energy sources (RES). That former scheme has been replaced by Directive 2009/32/EC. As a new feature, the latter Directive contains for the first time binding targets in the share of renewable energies. The requirement for binding targets is derived by empirical results. Significantly, in 2010, when renewable energy national action plans were submitted, only 18% of the electricity was renewable, while 21% represented the achievable EU-wide target.With regard to implementing the political programs for supporting renewables, the EU has put forward the criteria of “harmonization” and “binding targets”. Currently, the main focus is already on the period beyond 2020, which leads to the significance of harmonization in combination with binding targets.

Penelope Crossley
Defining the Greatest Legal and Policy Obstacle to “Energy Storage”
Renewable Energy Law and Policy Review 4/2013: pp. 268-281 [Article]
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With the increasing penetration of renewable energy generation into the transmission and distribution networks, the problem of managing growing volumes of variable generation needs to be addressed. Energy storage has the potential to help address this problemby storing commercially useful amounts of energy to be discharged as electricity when required. However, energy storage does not have a universally accepted legal definition because it is provided by somany different technologies, operates on different scales and provides a range of functions. This article argues that the lack of a consistent legal definition poses a challenge for legislators who are trying to pick “winners” to receive legislative support and subsidies or other financial incentives. The failure to support one emerging storage technology, while giving preference to another, will almost inevitably have a “chilling” effect on the research and development and any subsequent commercialisation of that technology. This article further argues that the choice of legal definition also affects the ability of multifunctional energy storage technologies to fully participate in an unbundled electricity market structure.

Evgenia Pavlovskaia
Controlling the Fulfillment of the EU Sustainability Criteria for Transport Biofuels (on the basis of Directive 2009/28/EC)
Renewable Energy Law and Policy Review 4/2013: pp. 282-291 [Article]
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The present article researches the mechanisms suggested for controlling the fulfillment of the EU sustainability criteria for transport biofuels that have been presented in the central legal framework in this area, which is Directive 2009/28/EC. The analysis is extended to the related EU policy documents of a non-binding explanatory and recommendatory character. Judging from the content of Directive 2009/28/EC, two main levels of the EU control can be distinguished. The first one is exercised by the EU internal bodies on how the sustainability criteria are fulfilled by the Member States. This level of control is primarily characterized by the scheduled reporting obligations of the Member States. The second level of control is aimed to take place within the Member States. The implication of Directive 2009/28/EC is that theMember States shall organize national systems, which control and are able to prove that biofuels, counted for the achievement of the national binding target in the transport sector, fulfill the legislated sustainability criteria. According to the suggested classification, the second level of control also includesmeeting bilateral andmultilateral agreements.What is more, the sustainability criteria in Directive 2009/28/EC can be counted as fulfilled, when similar sustainability criteria in voluntary sustainability standards benchmarked by the EU Commission are fulfilled. The opinion expressed in the article is that the EU approach to controlling the fulfillment of the sustainability criteria is unduly complicated. It requires further reflections, elaborations and possibly simplifications. Suggestions are made that certain elements of the EU approach to control can be efficiently borrowed by other industries with similar challenging issues.


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