Category: Policy Watch

German Coalition Agreement sets a clear focus on climate protection and digitalization: Clifford Chance

Clifford Chance has released “Snapshot of the German Coalition Agreement – Impact on Energy and Infrastructure in Germany”. On November 25, 2021, the coalition of Social-Democrats (SPD), Greens (Bündnis 90/Die Grünen) and Liberals (FDP) presented its Draft Coalition Agreement to the public. The new coalition will especially focus on climate protection as well as on the modernisation and digitalisation of Germany.

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Hydrogen Vision and Strategy in Belgium

The Belgian Hydrogen Vision and Strategy (the “Belgian Strategy”) was approved by the Council of Ministers on 29 October 2021 in the broader context of government-focused ambitions to promote the development of a hydrogen market in Belgium, as well as its 2030/2050 energy and climate objectives. The Belgian Strategy assumes that the current demand in Belgium for both hydrogen and its derivatives will reach between 125 and 175 TWh/year by 2050.

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EV Incentives in the US Build Back Better Act

According to Energy Innovation modeling, EV incentives in the Build Back Better Act (BBB) would have a critical impact on climate and air pollution by inducing rapid market transformation, which will also benefit those most impacted by transportation pollution. Strong incentives would reduce purchase costs for consumers, while meeting President Biden’s goal of reducing 2030 passenger vehicle emissions 60 percent from 2020 levels.

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New mandatory climate-related financial disclosures for large UK businesses — a first for the G20

From 6 April 2022, over 1,300 of the UK’s largest companies and financial institutions will be required to disclose climate-related risks and opportunities in line with the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) recommendations. The UK will be the first G20 country to introduce these requirements into law. This important announcement comes hot on the heels of the publication of the UK’s Net Zero Strategy.

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United States: One Simple Tax Change Could Unlock Critical Clean Energy Infrastructure

The proposed Build Back Better Act can be a transformative climate package—thanks in large part to efficient tax incentives that can rapidly accelerate the clean energy transition to meet climate targets and reduce electricity rates. The draft text with a multi-year extension for clean energy tax credits is a vast improvement over a previous policy of short-term renewals that created uncertainty in the renewable energy market.

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UK’s path to net zero set out in landmark strategy

A landmark Net Zero Strategy setting out how the UK will secure 440,000 well-paid jobs and unlock £90 billion in investment in 2030 on its path to ending its contribution to climate change by 2050 has been unveiled by the UK government on October 19, 2021. Building on the Prime Minister’s 10 Point Plan, the UK Net Zero Strategy sets out a comprehensive economy-wide plan for how British businesses and consumers will be supported in making the transition to clean energy and green technology.

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African NDCs: Recommendations for Decision-Makers

Africa also has the potential to leapfrog traditional, expensive energy systems and move to a climate-smart and renewable energy future. The submission of revised National Determined Contributions (NDCs) ahead of COP26 is an opportunity to signal ambition and inform the international community of the priorities for finance, capacity building and technology transfer needs in the region. The international community should stand ready to support action through many programmes and instruments and this support will be most effective when aligned with country priorities.

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California Approves New Rules to Support EV Charging Infrastructure

The California Public Utilities Commission broke new ground recently, approving new rules that will ensure utilities provide “utility-side make-ready” infrastructure (illustrated below) to support electric vehicle (EV) charging at no cost to the typical customer. This will reduce the costs of installing charging stations for cars, trucks, and buses by about 25 percent, fundamentally improving the economics of electrifying the transportation sector.

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The UK Clean Power Plan

The Government’s recent enshrining in law of a 78% reduction in UK greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2035 (compared to 1990 levels) will lead to a major shift in the UK’s energy system in the coming decade. The Government now needs to strengthen its strategy for meeting that target. Key to that will be the phase-out of unabated gas-fired electricity generation in the UK, effectively removing the last major source of power sector emissions.

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Offshore Wind Development in Europe: ENTSO-E’s position paper highlights key recommendations

The European Network of Transmission System Operators (ENTSO-E) published a series of papers to assess the possible solutions to help realise the European Commission’s offshore strategy. It evaluated the key areas of system development, system operation, interoperability and market design in which TSOs have an essential and active role in enabling the achievement of the EU offshore goals. Global Transmission Report presents the key highlights of ENTSO-E’s views and recommendations on offshore grid development.

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China Kicks off its Green Electricity Trading

On 7 September 2021, China launched its green power trading pilot – a remarkable step towards energy sector low-carbon transition and moreover, a milestone towards its 2060 carbon-neutral pledge to the world. It is reported more than 250 domestic and international companies participated in the trade on the first day with a trading volume of 7.9 TWh of green power, accounting for over 1% of the total amount of green power China generated in 2020.

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Greening the African Continental Free Trade Area

Recently, the Africa Growth Initiative at Brookings has published a policy brief titled “Greening the AfCFTA: It is not too late.” Environmental sustainability is a key component of Africa’s Agenda 2063: The Africa We Want. Yet, the recently launched African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) contains only minimal references to the environment. The policy brief, thus, highlights various ways in which State Parties can strengthen the linkages between the AfCFTA and the environment, with a focus on concrete approaches and strategies.

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Biofuel Development Policy in Indonesia: A critical review

Indonesia is one of the world’s biggest energy consumers, with the country’s energy sector accounting for almost 35 per cent  of the total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The report published by the Institute for Essential Services Reform (IESR) called “Critical review on the biofuel development policy in Indonesia” aims to assess the Government’s efforts and policies towards accelerating the development of biofuel, its economic, environmental, and social impact on the country and its potential in the coming years.

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House Proposes Strong Clean Electricity Performance Program

The ambitious Clean Electricity Performance Program (CEPP) will drive investment that reduces emissions, creates jobs and grows the economy. The Congress and the President now need to ensure it remains strong through final passage to deliver a transformed power sector. The Clean Electricity Performance Program is designed to help support and accelerate this broad shift, by making a $150 billion public investment over the coming decade in power companies that meet annual targets for expanding clean electricity.

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How businesses need to navigate environmental incentives and penalties

With environmental issues high on the global agenda, governments are directly targeting businesses in their drive to sustainability. Incentives and penalties are being introduced on a regional and domestic basis, creating a challenging landscape with which businesses must contend. The tax and finance function can play a major strategic role to the broader business by helping reduce risk and make the most of opportunity.

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Redesigning the national electricity market in Australia

The Energy Security Board (ESB) in Australia released its recommendations for the redesign of the national electricity market on August 26, 2021. These were submitted to energy ministers on the Energy National Cabinet Reform Committee (ENCRC) at the end of July 2021. The ESB is recommending four key pathways for reform to manage both the orderly exit of old technologies (especially ageing coal fuelled generation) and pave the way for new technologies.

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UK plans for a hydrogen economy

Tens of thousands of jobs, billions of pounds in investment and new export opportunities will be unlocked through government plans to create a thriving low carbon hydrogen sector in the UK over the next decade and beyond.

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Vietnam’s Future Transition: Offshore Wind Auctions

REGlobal provides a brief extract of Global Wind Energy Council’s (GWEC) report titled, “Vietnam’s Future Transition to Offshore Wind Auctions: International best Practices and Lessons Learned”. The article reviews auction in 6 offshore wind markets, Best practices for offshore wind growth in Vietnam, recommendations for policy support and auction design.

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Recent Policy Initiatives in the US: Prioritising climate-compatible investments

The US is fast transitioning to the use of clean energy sources. Recent months have witnessed the introduction of various new policies to push for energy transition at an accelerated rate. The initiatives introduced appear to be promising, with a focus on various key sectors of the economy. The investments are targeted towards improvement of power infrastructure, public transit, EV, water services and broadband infrastructure. The recent announcements are a big leap towards prioritising and enabling climate-compatible, clean infrastructure across the US.

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