Welcome to the National Energy Research Network newsletter, which is published weekly and aims to provide relevant information to energy researchers. Extra content is always welcome - if you would like something added please contact the editor, Dr Mike Weston. You can view previous NERN newsletters in the archive.
Researchers say this year's ecological footprint has already been exceeded - It has taken less than eight months for humanity to use up nature’s entire budget for the year and go into ecological overshoot, according to data from Global Footprint Network, an international sustainability think tank.
Global Footprint Network tracks humanity’s demand on the planet (Ecological Footprint) against nature’s biocapacity, i.e., its ability to replenish the planet’s resources and absorb waste, including CO2. Earth Overshoot Day marks the date when humanity’s Footprint in a given year exceeds what Earth can regenerate in that year. Since 2000, overshoot has grown, according to Global Footprint Network’s calculations. Consequently, Earth Overshoot Day has moved from early October in 2000 to August 19th this year.
In 1961, humanity used just about three-quarters of the capacity Earth had available for generating food, fiber, timber, fish stock and absorbing greenhouse gases. Most countries had biocapacities larger than their own respective Footprints. By the early 1970s, global economic and demographic growth had increased humanity’s Footprint beyond what the planet could renewably produce. We went into ecological overshoot.
Today, 86 percent of the world population lives in countries that demand more from nature than their own ecosystems can renew. According to Global Footprint Network’s calculations, it would take 1.5 Earths to produce the renewable ecological resources necessary to support humanity’s current Footprint. Moderate population, energy and food projections suggest that humanity would require the biocapacity of three planets well before mid-century. This may be physically unfeasible.
UK's warmest period record sparks call for greater climate action - An expert on climate change policy has called for more action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions as it emerged the country saw the warmest period from January to July since records began in 1910. So far, not including 2014, seven of the UK’s warmest years on record, and four of the five wettest years on record, have all occurred since 2000. Bob Ward, policy and communications director of the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at LSE, who had analysed the figures which the Met Office confirmed, said: “These figures are further evidence of the impact of climate change on the UK. This should increase the urgency of UK politicians to join international efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and take measures to make us more resilient, such as boosting flood defences.”
Egypt looks to secure LNG production and supply - With its significant reserves of natural gas, Egypt has been a key exporter for regional consumers over the past decade but with growing domestic consumption and a number of fiscal constraints, the country has been looking to secure additional supplies by expanding LNG capacity.
In May the Egyptian government signed a letter of intent with the Norwegian shipping company Höegh LNG for the use of a floating storage regasification unit (FSRU), to be located on the port of Ain Sokhna for a period of five years. FRSUs regasify liquefied natural gas, a key step for expanding Egypt’s capacity to process imports.It had also lined up LNG shipments from Algeria’s Sonatrach, Russia’s Gazprom, and France’s EDF.
By mid-July, however, the deal with Höegh had stalled, according to Reuters, prompting Egypt to reopen talks with the US-based FSRU operator Excelerate Energy. Experts say it will take about six months after a deal has been struck for the facility to come onstream, which will likely mean further gas shortages this year.
Greece asks EU to develop LNG backup plan - Greece has asked the European Commission to set up a backup plan to ensure liquefied natural gas (LNG) is available for Balkan countries in the event of potential disruptions to Russian gas supplies stemming from the crisis in Ukraine.
In a letter sent to European Energy Commissioner Günther Oettinger, Greek Energy Minister Yannis Maniatis has proposed an EU emergency mechanism to ensure that surplus amounts of lower-priced LNG are reserved for EU member states with gas shortages instead of being sent to other destinations.
Russia cut off natural gas supplies to Ukraine on 16 June in a dispute over unpaid bills, prompting concerns about possible disruptions to flows of gas which transits Ukraine en route to Europe. Greece imports about 60% of its natural gas from Russia via Ukraine. It also imports gas from Azerbaijan through Turkey and from a domestic LNG storage facility.
Maniatis warned on Wednesday that a serious disruption in supplies to Europe was possible during the coming winter and that Greece and other Balkan countries could be hit harder that other EU markets. The risk is that surplus LNG might be sent to Asia, Energy Ministry officials have said.
Iran wants to develop mini-LNG plants - According to UPI reports an Iranian official has indicated to expect a call to investors to help back the development of small-scale liquefied natural gas facilities in two months. Hamid Reza Araqi, managing director of the National Iranian Gas Co., said the government is considering as many as four small-scale LNG facilities for domestic use. Storage facilities associated with the plants could store 3.1 billion cubic feet of natural gas.
Iran said it's producing enough natural gas that imports are on the decline. The director said using LNG in some parts of the country may be easier than building pipelines.
The LNG plants would require at least $100 million in investments. Such investments in Iran may be limited by economic sanctions targeting Iran's energy sector, imposed by Western governments wary of Iran's nuclear ambitions.
Strategy and policy statement - The Energy Act 2013 provides powers for the Secretary of State to designate a Strategy and Policy Statement (SPS) in which he would set out the Government’s strategic priorities and other main considerations of its energy policy, the policy outcomes to be achieved as a result of the implementation of that policy, and the roles and responsibilities of those who are involved in implementation of that policy. The Act and imposed new duties on Ofgem to have regard to the strategic priorities when carrying out its regulatory functions and to carry out those functions in the way it considers is best calculated to further the delivery of the specified policy outcomes.
Ofgem will be required to report each year in its forward work programme on its strategy for furthering the delivery of the policy outcomes and to report annually on the extent to which it has achieved its plans and the ways in which it has complied with its SPS duties under the Act. This consultation invites comments on the draft SPS. The consultation will close on 17th October 2014
Consultation on amendments to UK Regulations relating to the Aviation EU Emissions Trading System - DECC, Department for Transport and the Devolved Administrations are consulting on proposed amendments to the UK regulations which cover the EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) aviation. These amendments reflect the changes which came into force across the European Union on 30 April 2014. The key changes are:
They welcome views from any organisation or individual on both the draft statutory instrument and accompanying consultation-stage Impact Assessment. The consultation will be of particular interest to aircraft operators, aerodrome operators, verifiers, other participants in the EU ETS and environmental groups. The consultation will close on 22nd September 2014.
Consultation and Amendments to Capacity Market Rules 2014 - This consultation seeks views on proposed amendments to the Capacity Market Rules 2014 (“the Rules”) which are intended to clarify eligibility for fifteen-year capacity agreements. For the purposes of illustrating the policy proposals underpinning the amendments a draft of the proposed amendments will shortly be published in a separate document alongside this consultation.
Alongside this consultation, Government will shortly bring into force an amended set of Rules, ‘The Capacity Market (Amendment No.1) Rules 2014’ (“the Amended Rules”) containing a number of technical amendments which correct drafting errors in the Rules. These amendments are summarised in Chapter 3 of the consultation document. The consultation will close on 9th September 2014.
The Low Carbon Future Showcase is being jointly hosted by the Energy Technologies Institute and the Midlands Energy Consortium. The objectives of the event are to:
This event is designed to provide maximum opportunities for networking and discussion. There will be an open exhibition and modelling zone running from 10.00 until 16.00. Attendees are welcome to visit the exhibition at any time during the day. Jim Skea the RCUK Energy Strategy Fellow and Professor of Sustainable Energy Centre for Environmental Policy will provide the Keynote Lecture
There will be stands from:
The main audience for this event will be the UK academic community. The organisers are inviting senior academics from across the countries who work in the energy sector to attend and there will also be a significant number of ETI staff and member organisations present.
For more information please go here.
‘Balancing Competing Energy Policy Goals: Can we find an affordable solution to delivering secure sustainable energy?’ - BIEE’s Academic conference will consider the difficulties of balancing the three main objectives of energy policy – security of supply, sustainability and affordability – and, in particular, the cost of mitigating climate change and its impact on household and industry energy costs. It will look at both at global energy markets, and European and UK energy policy.
This is a unique event in the energy industry, bringing together a multiplicity of stakeholders including government, academia and industry. In this setting, policymakers, industry and academic experts are able to engage in conversation with each other to share expertise and develop their understanding of on the energy issues that most concern them.
The full programme is available online. Speakers include:
For more information please go here. Registration closes on the 11th September.
E3G on behalf of Climate Briefing Service (CBS) seeks a Diplomatic Analyst to contribute to a new, innovative, unbranded initiative to raise ambition in the lead up to the Paris climate negotiations in 2015. The overarching objective of CBS is to create a highly professional diplomatic informal service to support a range of actors in the achievement of an ambitious 2015 climate agreement coupled with stronger national ambition for the post-2020 time period. To do so, CBS will provide a series of communications and briefing products so that a diverse set of allies and constituencies can effectively intervene for greater ambition in the coming two years.
This objective will be achieved through a supporting service to synthesize and analyse information and intelligence from national and international networks to resource allies enabling tactical interventions at the national and international level for a series of events over the coming two years including the Paris 2015 meeting. The Diplomatic Analyst / Writer will lead strategic and political thinking to help develop tactical intervention for our clients.
For more information please go here. Applicants are encouraged to apply as soon as possible.
An opportunity has arisen for one Research Fellow in Low Carbon Technologies to strengthen Cranfield University’s successful Centre for Combustion, Carbon Capture & Storage. The Centre has a strong record in applied research in the academic and industrial sectors. Its research areas include advanced carbon capture systems for conventional fossil fuel and biomass/waste fired technologies, CO2 transport through pipelines, offshore oil and gas and renewable energy systems. These are applied to the power generation, cement and steel industries. This post is connected with a range of activities within the Centre, with particular emphasis on one major project funded by EU Research Fund for Coal and Steel (RFCS) evaluating process performance under improved version of calcium looping CO2 capture technology.
The post will support the delivery of other research contracts for clients on a range of low carbon technologies including pipeline transport systems. The Centre has a diverse range of facilities, from fuel pre-treatment and handling to combustion and gasification pilot plants.
The successful candidate will join a successful multi-disciplinary team and will play an active role in this environment, adapting to changing work patterns and needs.
Cranfield University offers excellent career opportunities for early career researchers to extend their academic profile and help grow our business, a supportive professional environment and enjoys superb relationships with industry and Government agencies.
Applicants should have a relevant PhD or equivalent experience in chemical or process engineering materials science, chemistry, renewable and industrial engineering or related disciplines.
For more information please go here. The closing date is the 16th September 2014.
The University of Sussex are seeking to appoint a Professor of Innovation and Evolutionary Economics at SPRU (Science Policy Research Unit). Founded in 1966, SPRU is internationally recognised as a leading centre of research on science, technology and innovation policy. Today, with over 50 faculty members, SPRU is proudly at the forefront of new ideas, problem-orientated research, inspiring teaching, and creative, high impact engagement with decision-makers across government, business and civil society.
As SPRU looks ahead to its 50th anniversary in 2016, it is embarking on an ambitious, new research strategy, focused on long-term transformative change and innovation. As part of this strategy, they are looking for a number of dynamic, innovative and highly respected academic leaders to join their team and to help shape the next stage of SPRU’s development.
The successful candidate will have:
The successful candidate will be co-responsible for the development and implementation of and fundraising for a new research program on long-term Transformative Change and innovation. This new research program is a crucial part of the new SPRU strategy. They will collaborate with the newly appointed SPRU Director Prof. Johan Schot, Prof. Mariana Mazzucato, Prof. Paul Nightingale and other researchers within and outside SPRU, BMEC and the University of Sussex.
For more information please go here. The closing date is the 3rd November 2014.
Imperial College are seeking to appoint a Part-time Project Coordinator to coordinate the delivery of the EPSRC-funded research project Multi-scale Energy Systems Modelling Encompassing Renewable, Intermittent, Stored Energy and Carbon Capture and Storage (MESMERISE-CCS) and to provide administrative support to the Energy Policy option on the MSc in Environmental Technology.
The post is available for up to four years, expected hours are 14 per week.
MESMERISE Project Coordinator - The post holder will coordinate the MESMERISE-CCS research project. Responsibilities for this project will include the organisation, preparation and delivery of quarterly meetings of the academic stakeholders, biannual meetings between the academics and project collaborators. They will also be responsible for the management of the web and social media presence of the project, in addition to contributing to the general public engagement aspect of the project.
Energy Option Coordinator – The successful candidate will also perform administration duties on the Energy Policy Option of CEP’s MSc in Environmental Technology. This is a multidisciplinary role and as such has a wide range of stakeholders which require a methodical, yet creative approach to be managed at their most effective, whilst operating within the College’s systems and procedures. The post holder will support the Energy Policy Option from recruitment to graduation, acting as first point of contact for students throughout the cycle.
The main responsibilities for the Option will include assisting the Option Convenors in the student recruitment process, including advertising the course and preparing material for the printed and on-line postgraduate prospectus and departmental websites; ensuring that the College’s selection and admissions policies are followed in all matters including advertisement and interviews; and implementing the Equal Opportunities Policy in the allocation of studentships. Attend the PG Open Day and any relevant CEP Open Days, assisting with the organisation of such events where necessary, as well as responsibility of timetabling the option term.
Applicants must have relevant academic or vocational qualifications plus considerable and recent work experience in a relevant role. A degree in an environmental related discipline is desirable. Experience in office-based administration and support services, ideally, within Higher Education or similar large organisation is essential. Experience in organising meetings, workshops and events and client-facing roles is also essential.
For more information please go here. The closing date for applications is the 10th September 2014.
SSE is one of the largest and most diverse energy companies in the UK and Ireland with around 9 million customers and over 20,000 staff. SSE's Corporate Affairs (Retail) team is responsible for all external relations that impact upon the retail business.
The policy area of the team engages with government and other key stakeholders to understand and influence retail energy policy and help to ensure the implications of policy changes are effectively communicated to and acted upon by the business. An exciting opportunity has arisen for a Policy Manager based in London.
Working with the Head of Corporate Affairs (Retail), the successful candidate will develop and manage relationships with key policy influencers to support the process of policy development. They will establish and maintain strong relationships with internal colleagues and work across the SSE business to develop common policy positions.
The role’s responsibilities will extend to gathering and analysing up to date information on political, governmental and key influencer activities to provide policy and strategy support to different parts of the SSE business. Drafting policy responses to government consultations, the Policy Manager will ensure that SSE views are represented in policy development.
To be successful in this role, applicants should have a proven track record of managing and influencing in a policy development environment, combined with a detailed understanding of the political, regulatory and business landscape in which SSE operates.
The successful candidate will display excellent communication skills which will assist them in communicating complex policy ideas and concepts. A minimum 2:1 degree and a relevant MSc qualification or equivalent, along with three years' relevant work experience, would be desirable.
For more information please go here. The closing date is the 1st September 2014.
ENERGIA, the International Network on Gender & Energy invites Expressions of Interests (EOIs) from qualified research teams to participate in its Gender and Energy Research programme. In line with its commitment to the Sustainable Energy for All Initiative and with the financial assistance of the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID), the ENERGIA International Network on Gender and Sustainable Energy has established a five-year research programme to generate and analyse empirical evidence on the links between gender, energy and poverty, and to translate this evidence into recommendations for energy policy and programmes.
For the nearly twenty years since its foundation, ENERGIA has worked with governments, donors, civil society and public and private sector energy organisations to incorporate a gender approach in policy and practice. It is against this background that ENERGIA seeks to commission research to generate empirical evidence that is rigorous, has scientific legitimacy, buy-in by policymakers in the energy sector and yields generalisable and policy-relevant findings that have a good likelihood of being replicable and scalable.
The aim of the proposed research is to have a gender approach incorporated in energy access programmes and energy sector interventions through the generation and dissemination of high quality research and evidence.
The programme aims to achieve its objective by focusing on five research areas that have been identified where there is a need to generate new knowledge and fill gaps:
ENERGIA Gender & Energy Research programme aims commission research to 1 research team per research area up to a maximum of GBP 450,000 per research area for the entire period.
For more information please go here. The closing date for expression of interest is the 25th August 2014.
Eurostat is a Directorate-General of the European Commission (“Commission”). Its mission is to provide the European Union with a high quality statistical information service. Eurostat carries out some of its activities by awarding contracts for the provision of services relating to the various fields of the Community statistical programme.
Eurostat collects statistical information from Member States, EFTA and Candidate Countries. Data is processed by Eurostat and then released to the dissemination database Eurobase/COMEXT. This applies also for energy and environmentally related data.
More specifically, energy statistics are delivered to Eurostat by the national authorities (=national statistical institutes, national ministries or other national authorities) on an annual, monthly and semestrial basis.
Monthly energy statistics cover the main energy carriers (oil and petroleum products, natural gas, electricity & heat, solid fuels and to a certain extent renewables and waste). The ongoing monthly data collections are made via seven dedicated questionnaires.
The present tender focuses on the monthly statistics and seeks a contractor to provide support with the following tasks -
For more information please go here. The closing date is the 2nd October 2014.
Analysis of the submission of the National Renewable Energy Action Plans (NREAPS) indicates that biodiesel will be the predominant biofuel in the EU in the foreseeable future. Furthermore the EU industry has been investing billions of Euros in building large FAME production capacity in several EU Member States.
The Green House Gas (GHG) balances of FAME from various resources have been set in Annex V of the RED. However due to technology and scientific progress it seems technically feasible that there are several ways to improve the GHG balances of FAME. In this context, this Supporting Action aims at analysing the various options available in improving the GHG balance of FAME from various resources.
The proposed study shall address the following options in view of improved GHG balances for FAME:
The study shall also contain a critical discussion on the relative strengths and weaknesses of the different options analysed, including indications regarding their costs with a comparison between the relevant options.
For more information please go here. The closing date is the 12th September 2014.
The Technology Strategy Board is to invest up to £3.5m in collaborative R&D projects to stimulate new ways of reducing energy consumption in computer systems.
They are looking to encourage innovative approaches in hardware and/or software across all computer systems, including the internet of things (IoT) – and embedded systems.
The aim of this competition is to accelerate the development of emerging technologies and to strengthen the focus of UK industry on the issue of energy consumption in computer systems.
They are seeking proposals that show companies working together – particularly large with small – to scale up innovations in this area. Proposals must be collaborative and business-led. They expect to fund mainly industrial research projects in which a business partner will generally attract up to 50% public funding for their project costs (60% for SMEs).
They expect projects to range in size from total costs of £300k to £800k, although may consider projects outside this range.
This is a two-stage competition that opens for applicants on 1 September 2014. A briefing event for potential applicants will be held in London on 3 September 2014. The briefing will also be made available live as a webinar, which will be recorded for viewing subsequently. Consortium-building workshops will also be arranged.
For more information please go here. The deadline for expressions of interest is 15th October 2014.
Labour Market Intelligence: Skills and performance challenges in the energy sector, UK commission for employment and skillsPublished At: Fri 22 August 2014 09:00 BST - Expires At: Mon 15 September 2014 11:37 BST - (26 Reads)
The UK Commission for Employment and Skills is a social partnership, led by Commissioners from large and small employers, trade unions and the voluntary sector. Their vision is to create the best opportunities for the talents and skills of people to drive competitiveness, enterprise and growth in a global economy. Their ambition over the next three years is to create more opportunities for all young people to get in and on in work; improve the skills, productivity and progression of those in work; and build stronger vocational pathways into higher level skills and jobs.
They invite proposals for an investigation into skills issues in the energy sector. The aim of the project is to examine the skills and performance challenges in the energy sector, with an emphasis on the mix of skills needed in identified key occupations in the sector. The project will also assess current and potential future engagement with occupational standards within the sector.
The objectives of the project are to:
For more information please go here. The closing date is 15th September 2014.
22-23rd September 2014, Barcelona, Spain
15-18th September, Helsinki, Finland
16-19th September 2014, Rhone-Alpes, France
23rd September 2014, New York City, US
24th September 2014, Discovery Centre, Winchester
22-26th September 2014, Amsterdam, Netherlands
29th September 2014, London
6-7th November 2014, British Library, London
My previous blog managed the not insignificant accolade of being blocked by a number of corporate mail filters which had flagged it as potentially obscene. I’d like to take this opportunity to stress that this isn’t part of a ploy to improve the circulation of the newsletter by sexing it up and appealing to a broader, if less discerning, audience but it is with a heavy heart that I’ve therefore shelved plans to visit Scunthorpe or Essex in the near future.
You may have noticed in the previous paragraph my thinly veiled attempts to cock a snook at these automated language police. I appreciate this baiting is unfair as they serve an invaluable purpose in protecting us from ourselves (or at least other’s automated spam and the perils of the rapidly written and poorly proofed email) but my ire stems from two key and inexcusable complaints.
The first is that despite it being 2014 we’re not living in the future yet. As a child I expected the early decades of the 21st Century to be filled with jetpacks, hover-cars, fully autonomous robots and smart, fully automated homes. While we’ve seen progress on most fronts we’re still a long way off where it counts with my particular disappointment being vacuum cleaners. Vacuuming was my least favourite chore probably not helped by undiagnosed asthma and a pet dog who believed the process was a personal attack. When I eventually got a place of my own I experimented with not vacuuming, which proved unsuccessful (both in terms of the asthma and impressing potential partners), before purchasing a robot vacuum cleaner.
The device proved worse than useless by not only failing to pick up dust effectively but by generally being noisy and an excellent trip hazard. I eventually resorted to investing in a high powered cleaner with all sorts of filters which makes the job almost effortless. I was therefore interested to note that due to the new EU directive on energy efficiency this makes me the vacuum cleaner equivalent of a muscle car enthusiast (I’d considered some suitable terms but thought they might get me in trouble with the mail filters again) and I’ll be forced to trade down to a less powerful model. As my existing cleaner is on its last legs I had a quick look for replacements before the ban is implemented where upon I discovered that the terminology had evolved and I had to start thinking in terms of Air-watts.
This neatly leads me to my second source of ire which is expecting technology to keep pace with the rate of evolution of language. As an engineer I love technology but as my Mum was an English teacher I developed an equal, if not greater, love of language (which I imagine frequent readers of the blog may find surprising given these weekly acts of verbal vandalism). Language constantly shifts, changes and mutates in a way that I can’t see machines keeping up with particularly when I struggle to keep abreast of the latest usage. In that vein said I recently came across a new definition for ‘streamers’, where unfortunate birds interact with CSP facilities, which while descriptive didn’t do a lot for me and I’m beginning to suffer from over exposure to – ageddon (see solar & cyber).
Have a totes amazeballs weekend,