Water Deregulation in Select European Countries

In Austria, the assets are owned by the municipalities and regional governments, and operations are either conducted directly or by management companies.

In Belgium, 6 large provincial inter-municipally owned water companies’ supply 90% of the water; municipalities and communes own small companies. Water management is mostly public, but waste is sub-contracted. The arrangements differ in the two regions and Brussels city.

In Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden municipalities own assets, or in some cases have “corporatised” them. A high proportion of water mains leak and 60% of sewers more information. Water loss is high.

In France, municipalities own the water and waste assets and the responsibility lies with the municipalities to manage or have the services managed. There is some direct municipal management but three large private water companies Suez, Veolia and SAUR account for 92% of the private water market. They are the largest water companies in the world.

In Germany, over 12,000 different municipally owned management units provide water and sanitation services. Water and sanitation services are predominantly run by the public sector. The municipal authorities have the choice of how their region’s water services will be managed. There is a mix of direct management and contract management by large water companies. The level of private management is about 30% in the water supply sector and 10% in wastewater.

In Greece, 142 Municipal Enterprises of Water Supply & Sewerage (DEYA) are public corporations which carry out the WS and WWS functions of municipalities, communes or associations, which have been reduced from 227 as part of recent reform of the sector. 1,500 water associations serve villages, communities and towns. The two leading companies, EYDAP in Athens and EYATH in Thessaloniki have been privatised as part of recent austerity measures.

In Ireland, direct responsibility for water supply and sewerage is divested locally to 36 sanitation and water departments of 52 local and county councils. 5,500 group schemes operate in rural areas.

In Italy, with 20 regions, 103 provinces and 8,101 municipalities, the Italian water and waste sector is in transition, both in ownership and management. The Galli Law was enacted in 1994 and the highly fragmented system of over 7,000 local supply companies, Aziendi, are being rationalised into about 100 consolidated authorities, based on natural catchment areas.

In the Netherlands, the public water supply is the responsibility of 11 water supply companies’ majority owned by individual provinces and municipalities. There is an official ban on privatisation of water supply companies, enacted in 2004.

Benefits of Bioenergy

An Introduction to the US Solar PV Manufacturing Market

In 2009 the installed base of solar PV capacity reached 1,642 MW. The USA was the original pioneer of the solar industry, which developed from the NASA space programmes, with the need to invent generating capability of low weight and no fuel. The USA was the first country to develop solar PV seriously and by 1992 had an installed base of 44 MW, which had risen to 275.2 MW in 2002, the third largest in the world, after Japan and Germany. Progress stalled in recent years, in common with the development of wind power, in which the USA was also a pioneer.rpk-tramplin

As a large country, with many isolated load centres, the USA does not have such a preponderance of grid-connected usage as does Japan. At the end of 2006, 51% of the installed base was grid-connected. Off-grid usage has been spurred on by the national Million Solar Roofs programme, the California $3.50/W buy-down (to keep costs below $3.50/W to the consumer), the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power renewable energy programme and other state subsidies in Illinois, New York and North Carolina.

The US solar industry was hit by the bankruptcy of Astropower, its largest solar company, in 2003. The company’s assets were acquired by GE Energy, which has quickly established a major presence in the wind power sector and is now expanding its position in the solar PV industry . BP Solar has its headquarters in Linthicum, MD, and is one of the biggest PV companies with various factories world-wide. However, BP Solar recently announced its intention to close its American production facilities. Shell Solar subsequently integrated its business with the acquisition of Siemens Solar, a long time market leader in solar cell production. However, Shell announced its intention of concentrating on the thin film market and sold itsthe silicon business to SolarWorld of Germany early in 2006. It has also announced a partnership with St Gobain, the French glass specialist, to manufacture thin film.

Biodiesel Fuels

Soy Beans
Soy bean is a legume native to East Asia but can be grown in most warm climates. Only 45% of all soy is grown in this region. The rest is grown in the US, Brazil, Ar-gentina and other parts of the world. There have been reports that areas of the rainforest in Brazil have been cleared for soy plantations.kahovka-service

As well as being a biodiesel feedstock, soya is a major food crop used to make tofu, soya milk and animal feed. The main animal feed sold worldwide is soya meal. Sales of soya meal alone probably would not make economic sense for manufacturers because the price of soya beans is currently higher than soya meal. This is also an incentive for local manufacturing of soy bean oil.
Like palm oil, biodiesel from soy beans will also not meet the 2010 EU sustainability criteria for transport fuels. Unless soy feedstocks are mixed with other feedstocks, sales of biodiesel derived from soy bean may be down over the next few years.

Soy bean prices in the US are projected to fall from an average of US $9.53 per bushel (US $373.58 per tonne) for the 2009/2010 crop year to US $9.10 per bushel (US $356.72 per tonne) for the 2010/2011 crop year. This is should result in a fall in biodiesel prices, providing subsidies for biodiesel remains the same or increase. Overall global soybean production is expected to be up 1.4 million tons.

Rapeseed grows across Europe, the US, Australia, India and Canada; in Canada a hybrid variety is grown called Canola. The plant is grown for animal feed, vegetable oil for human consumption, a fertiliser and as a feedstock for biodiesel. It is the number two animal feed feedstock worldwide, behind soy. If production of either rapeseed or soy beans declines, second generation feedstocks may become major sources of animal feed.

The advantages of rapeseed are its natural oil content, 50%, which can be increased via hybridisation. It is also a winter cover crop and thus can be used as fodder for livestock over the winter months. There have been concerns over the use of rape seed as a biodiesel feedstock because of the high levels of fertiliser being used in the growing process.
Of all of the feedstocks for biodiesel, palm oil is the cheapest then soy bean then rapeseed. Although some of the prices quoted below may be more for non-biofuel applications.

Share of wind in meeting energy demand in Spain – Historical Data

Wind energy is in a position to make a significant contribution to Spain’s electricity supply. Its supply of 16.4% of the power demand in 2010 is up from 14.4% in 2009, placing it behind only combined cycle gas and nuclear power. The share of renewable, nuclear and gas in meeting energy demand has been increasing in the country and fossil fuels have been declining.Разведение животных

At one point, on 9 November 2010, wind accounted for 45% of the country’s power demand. To balance demand and supply, 1,498 MW of power was exported and 1,951 MW was stored in pumped storage.

Wind power has grown much more rapidly than expected. When the first renewable energy plan was enacted in the late 1990s, energy demand was predicted to increase by 1.2% per year, but demand has exceeded that growth running at around 3 to 4%.
A 2008 analysis by Maria Isabel Blanco of the University of Alcalá estimated the industry provided 20,500 jobs in Spain, some 3,500 more than in Denmark. The European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) estimates that in 2009 more than 41,000 people were employed in the sector, with wind contributing EUR 3.5 billion towards the country’s GDP. This is in contrast to figures by the AEE that 35,719 people were employed in the sector at the end of 2009, down 5,000 from 2008.

The fast growth experienced to date was triggered by a federal requirement that utilities pay a premium price for electricity from wind over the first five years of the project, an incentive similar to the feed-in tariff that spurred the German wind energy market. Local governments have also required that a large share of investments, such as manufacturing and construction, remain in the local economy.

Targets for wind power in Spain have been set both by the central government and each region. The country’s current National Renewable Energy Action Plan (NREAP) expects wind to provide 19.5% of electricity demand in 2020, placing it behind natural gas, which will have a 35.4% market share. Installed wind capacity is expected to be 38 GW, comprising 35 GW onshore capacity and 3 GW offshore.

The targets of the regions amount to double the national target, with 39,000 MW installed between 2010 and 2012. As of early 2011, discussions were taking place to establish where the national and regional targets would converge.

The History of the US Natural Gas Market from 1978 – 1989

Natural Gas Policy Act
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) was created out of the old FPC and directed to reform natural gas pricing. Essentially this was a reversal of the Phillip’s decision as it allowed the deregulation of wellhead gas prices.
Production increased dramatically in response to pent-up demand which led to a gas surplus in the 1980s. However, a competitive market failed to develop, mainly due to the role pipelines played in the market. Since pipelines charged consumers enough to cover the cost of what they had to pay producers, there was no incentive for them to select the most competitively priced gas produced.

FERC Order 436
This required pipelines to provide open access to transportation services allowing consumers to negotiate prices directly with producers and contract separately with the pipelines for transportation.

FERC Order 500
Order 500 implemented shared contract costs on take-or-pay (TOP) contracts. Take-or-pay contracts leave the buyer responsible for some portion of the cost even if the product is not provided.

The combination of Orders 436 and 500 allowed producers to balance supplies of gas across production regions, if volume was lacking in one area, but plentiful in another, the producer could arrange to transport the surplus to where it was needed. The transportation system became a mechanism owned by one party but it could be accessed by other parties on an equal basis, hence the concept of open-access. Differences between contract gas shipments and actual consumption left pipelines to make up the difference (balancing) and FERC made balancing a competitive service.

The establishment of gas market companies was also a feature of the 1980s, a direct result of deregulation. These firms, often with no ties to any one gas company, provided an intermediary service between a gas buyer and all other industry segments.

The Big Dam period in the USA

The Depression in the United States, floods and drastic droughts in the 1930s inspired a “big dam” period that included construction of the Grand Coulee Dam on the Colombia River in Washington, the Central Valley Project in California, and the Hoover Dam on the Colorado River. The Grand Coulee Dam is the largest hydro facility in the US, with capacity of 6,480 MW and plans to increase output to 10,800 MW. In 1933 Franklin Roosevelt signed the Tennessee Valley Authority Act (TVA). Through creating a series of dams, TVA aimed to improve navigation on the Tennessee River, provide flood control, plan reforestation and improve marginal farm lands by creating government nitrate and phosphorus manufacturing facilities at Muscle Shoals.

The US’s demand for energy increased to fuel World War II because the Axis nations had three times more available power than the US. Shipyards, steel mills, aircraft and automobile manufacturers, and chemical companies all required vast amounts of energy. Additional dams made it possible for the US to expand its energy production quickly for war and civilian needs. After the Second World War, hydropower was pumped into peacetime industries, especially farming, with the additional benefit of providing land irrigation.

Early hydro-electric power plants were much more reliable and efficient than the fossil fuel fired plants of the day. This resulted in a proliferation of small to medium sized hydro-electric generating stations distributed wherever there was an adequate supply of moving water and a need for electricity. As electricity demand soared in the middle years of the last century, and the efficiency of coal and oil fuelled power plants increased, small hydro plants fell out of favour. Most new hydro-electric development was focused on huge “mega-projects”. The majority of these power plants involved large dams which flooded vast areas of land to provide water storage and therefore a constant supply of electricity.

In recent years, the environmental impacts of such large hydro projects are being identified as a cause for concern. It is becoming increasingly difficult for developers to build new dams because of opposition from environmentalists and people living on the land to be flooded.

Smart Meter Security

In the wrong hands, technology exists whereby on a small scale, a neighbour could turn off another neighbour’s power supply. Moving up rogue groups could cause widespread power outages or co-ordinate power outages to attack sensitive facilities. At the largest scale governments could remotely shut down smart meters to meet energy saving targets or to control national dissent.

It has been reported that only 300,000 or 12% of Pacific Gas & Electric’s 2.5 million installed smart meters have their remote disconnect function disabled. Therefore these meters in Northern California could be disabled remotely. This could result in the utility disabling meters for minor infractions such as missing a one bill payment.

Alternately, a computer worm could be used to move from meter to meter. Then control all the meters in the grid by remotely shutting down the meters or affecting communication between the utility and the consumer. Or hackers could impersonate meters to inflate bills, lower bills (energy theft) or get into the utility’s network and steal data or commit a large scale attack.

Inguardians and Industrial Defender have identified numerous attack sites for the smart grid. Therefore, a cyber security solution for the grid must be able to prevent and resolve attacks quickly before several attacks collectively disable a system. A multi-layered approach to security is needed using several anti-attack strategies. As it is inevitable that some smart meters will become compromised, this is not an area for utilities to scrimp on and make cuts.

Calculations to determine reserve values

There are two primary ways to determine reserve quantities: the volumetric method and decline curve analysis.

The volumetric method

This calculation is derived from the formulae –

Gas-in-Place = 43,560 * A * H * f * Sg * Bg

Reserves = (Recovery Factor) * (Gas-in-Place)

This method may appear to be fairly ironclad until we consider the uncertainties that are inherent in each of the measurements required as inputs to the equations. It relies on the accuracy of the maps made by the geologist and geophysicist, which are derived from interpretations of complex data that, for the most part, are derived from physical parameters beneath the surface. These parameters are the inputs for the areal extent of the hydrocarbon accumulation (A), the thickness of the pay zone (H), the porosity of the rock (f), the gas or oil saturation (Sg or So) and fluid composition (Bg). Interestingly, but also a mathematical reality, is that if each variable is off by only 10%, then the gas-in-place will be off by approximately 40% and the reserves could be off by approximately 50%.

Decline curve analysis

Decline curve analysis is widely accepted as the more accurate method for reserve determination, presuming ample production history is available to make the predictions. This is a little bit like trying to determine what a child will look like once he grows to maturity. When he is an infant, we might look at the size of his feet or hands to estimate his mature weight or height, or by analogy consider the height and weight of his mother and father. As he reaches the teenage years, we can be more exact in our prediction, but ultimately we only really know once he is fully grown.

An example using a tight gas sand producing well may help to understand the hazards in this method:

Stage 1

Based on decline curve analysis, after the first 100 days of actual production with output measured in thousand cubic feet per day (Mcfpd), this well would only show an expected ultimate recovery of about 230 million cubic feet (MMcf).

Stage 2

As time goes by, more production data is obtained, and decline curve analysis would predict that the well is capable of recovering more gas.

Stage 3

After about five years, a much clearer picture appears of what the well will actually produce.

This example helps explain the uncertainties in extrapolating decline curves to a well’s ultimate recovery or reserve quantity. In this case, the reserve prediction continued to increase with time. It is not uncommon, however, to have the opposite occur in instances such as a well prematurely ‘watering out,’ having mechanical failures resulting in early abandonment or any number of unexpected problems.

Talking Energy

Periodically, NRG Expert releases its Talking Energy Newsletter. Taking Energy takes a look at the energy stories making the news. Presented as a digest, information from around the world and around the internet is shown together with the full links to the articles’ original source. Fit into a number of broad categories, Talking Energy always starts with a look at selected energy stocks listed on various stock exchanges around the world. The close price from the day before is presented alongside the difference in price of the stock three weeks ago. This allows you to see the direction in which the stock is headed and the trends going on in the industry.

Political Developments and National Trends

Articles listed in this category show government incentives, and regulatory news of note to the energy industry. A recent big news story was of course the Paris Climate Change Conference. Governments and leaders from around the world have reached a far-reaching deal to combat and tackle climate change. This is the type of article that would feature in this section. Beyond government announcements and political stories this section also looks at national trends such as stories that influence the Energy Mix in that country.

Green Vehicles

Always an interesting sector aof the energy industry, Talking Energy looks at the latest headlines in the Electric Vehichle (EV) and other green vehicle markets. From Tesla to Nissan, to Cheverolet; Startups to traditional auto manufacturers, Talking Energy will give you the information you need to know.

Renewable Energy

Green vheicles aren’t the only green topics we discuss. Talking Energy looks at the state of the markets for Wind, Solar, and other Renewable Energy Technologies. Whether it be turbine blade manufacturers announcing results; or the next breakthrough in clean energy technology; we have you covered.

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