EWG Newsletter 6 - June 2016
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Brexit and EU Nuclear Energy | Divestment Newcomers 
| 100% Renewables in MENA 

Dear Colleagues and Friends!  

With the dust settling down after the shock UK vote on the EU membership, dozens of tough questions arise over climate and energy prospects on the continent. The good news is: Brexit offers a chance to put an end to the EURATOM treaty, writes EWG President Hans-Josef Fell. Meanwhile, major cities Berlin and Stockholm join the global divestment movement, as the biggest western banks invested $ billions in climate damaging sectors in the last two years. This, as well as new studies on 100% renewables in MENA and an assessment of the German Energiewende in the context of the Paris Agreement in our latest newsletter.
Energy Watch Group (EWG) is an international network 
of scientists and parliamentarians. We commission research projects and publish independent studies on global energy developments. Our mission is to provide energy policy - and you via this newsletter - with objective information on global energy developments!

Global Energy News

Brexit Offers Chance to Put End to EURATOM Treaty

The British vote to leave the European Union has one positive side-effect, writes Energy Watch Group President Hans-Josef Fell in his op-ed for Energy Post. The UK would have to withdraw from all the EU establishing treaties, including the less known European Atomic Energy Community (EURATOM), which promotes the development of nuclear industry in the EU. This offers a unique chance to finally dissolve the EURATOM and leaves no excuse for the German government not to withdraw from this treaty. 
Australian Church, Berlin and Stockholm Divest 
As the global divestment movement is on the rise, four Australian Catholic orders have announced they are completely divesting from coal, oil and gas, in what they say is the first joint Catholic divestment anywhere in the world, The Guardian reports

Meanwhile, Berlin’s parliament voted to fully divest from the fossil fuel companies on June, 23. The announcement comes a week after a similar statement from Stockholm. Berlin is the seventh major Western city to join a divestment movement that already includes Paris, Copenhagen, Oslo, Seattle, Portland and Melbourne. Worldwide more than 500 institutions, collectively representing $3.4 trillion, have committed to stop investing in fossil fuels.


                                                                                                                                                         Source: Huffington Post

Western Banks Fund Climate-Damaging Sectors

Western banks, incl. Citigroup, Bank of America and Deutsche Bank, invested some $800 billion in coal mining, generation, oil and LNG from 2013 to 2015, a new report “Shorting the Climate” by NGOs shows. These practices are “deeply at odds with the global climate agreement reached at COP21 last December” and its 2°C upper warming limit, says the report. Among the biggest funders are Deutsche Bank and HSBC, which act as partners to the Green Climate Fund, writes Climate Home. LNG was included due to its widely underestimated methane leakage. Methan’s climate effect is 25 times higher compared to CO2, therefore LNG comes out even “worse than coal”.
Renewable Energy Costs Will Keep Falling
Costs for renewable energy will keep falling sharply in the coming 10 years, the latest IRENA report “Power to change” shows. By 2025, the global weighted average levelised cost of electricity (LCOE) for solar PV could fall by 59%. Onshore and offshore wind could see declines of 26% and 35% respectively. According to IRENA, cost reductions will be driven by increasing economies of scale, more competitive supply chains and technology improvements. The dramatic fall of solar PV costs worldwide would become even more evident, if IRENA would update its LCOE figures. IRENA currently takes US 13 cents/kWh as a basis for its solar PV projections, whereas it currently lies well below US 10 cents/kWh on average (see the figure by International Finance Corporation below). This May, a solar project in Dubai received a record bid of US 2,99 cents/kWh

Meanwhile, Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) has also revised its projections in its New Energy Outlook 2016. According to BNEF, LCOE for solar PV will drop by 60% by 2040, and for onshore wind by 41%. The lion’s share of the projected $7.8 trillion investments in green energy will come from Asia-Pacific, which will add as much capacity in the next 25 years as the rest of the world combined. 

Selected PV auction results 2015-2016

                                                                                                 Source: International Finance Corporation

Air Pollution To Kill Millions Without Change in Energy Policy

Around 6.5 million deaths globally are attributed each year to poor air quality, according to a new study by the International Energy Agency (IEA). This makes the world's fourth-largest threat to human health, behind high blood pressure, dietary risks and smoking, Reuters reports. The IEA warns that premature deaths will continue to rise to 2040, unless changes are made in way the world uses and produces energy.

Science Update

100% Renewable Energy in MENA Feasible
In the Middle East and Northern Africa (MENA), energy system based on 100% renewable energy by 2030 is economically feasible, a new study by Dr. Christian Breyer, co-chairman of the EWG scientific board and professor for Solar Economy at Lappeenranta University of Technology shows. Regional trade is reducing the need for battery storage und cutting electricity costs by 10%. Due to the ideal weather conditions, the MENA region would have one of the lowest costs for electricity generation worldwide.

Germany's Renewable Energy Targets Fall Short of Paris Agreement
Current plans of the German government on renewable energy and energy efficiency fall short of meeting the Paris Agreement targets, a new study by Dr. Volker Quaschning, the EWG member and Professor for Renewable Energy Systems at the Berlin University of Applied Sciences shows. In order to meet the Paris Agreement targets and its national energy transition plans, Germany needs to double its annual deployment of onshore wind and to accelerate solar PV by 25 times than in the latest revision of the Renewable Energy Sources Act, Dr. Quaschning argues. 

EWG News

Energy Watch Group Keeps On Growing
As our international network of scientists and parliamentarians is growing, we are happy to announce our new members:
  • Prof. Dr.-Ing. Volker Quaschning, Professor at the University of Applied Sciences, Berlin
  • Dr. Dionysia-Theodora Avgerinopoulou, Director of the European Institute of Law, Science and Technology and Chairperson of the Circle of the Mediterranean Parliamentarians on Sustainable Development
Welcome on board!
EWG at the European Responsible Investment Network 2016
On June 9-10, Energy Watch Group participated at the Launch Conference of the European Responsible Investment Network (ERIN) in Berlin. The conference was organized by ShareAction and the Heinrich-Böll-Foundation. Currently, the network unites some 25 think-tanks, campaign groups, NGOs, trade unions and faith groups - among them Greenpeace, WWF and Carbon Tracker - collaborating to promote responsible and sustainable investment in Europe.

EWG in the Media

EU "Crazy" Policies Are Killing Renewables
The current EU climate and energy policies are lacking ambition and setting brakes on the urgently needed transition to an emission-free global economy, argues EWG President Hans-Josef Fell in his interview for Recharge Magazine. “In 10 to 20 years, conventional energy will play only a marginal role. We are on the edge of a transition to an emission-free economy”, says Fell in his latest interview for The Beam.
Fracking: Energy Miracle or Environmental Sin?
Co-chairman of the EWG scientific board and senior energy expert at the Ludwig Bölkow Systemtechnik Werner Zittel discusses his book “Fracking: Energy Miracle or Environmental Sin” in an interview to WiWo Green (in German). Zittel argues that fracking is a desperate attempt of the fossil fuel industry to keep the status quo, despite all the risks to health and environment and the commitments made in the Paris Agreement. On June 21, the German Bundestag has voted to ban commercial fracking until 2021. 
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