Tag Archive for: energy transition

Nuclear Energy - Power Plant

The possible return to nuclear power in Italy

As we start the year, Europe finds itself in yet another crisis – this time one surrounding energy. In this article, submitted to us by Giulia Esposito, we shine a spotlight on the latest developments in Italy, and the possible shifts in the energy transition that the country may be voting on in the near future. The article appeared originally on the Pronto Bolleta website.

The possible return to nuclear power in Italy

After the closure of nuclear power plants in 1990, and some 10 years after the 2011 referendum, when 94% of Italians buried the idea of a return to nuclear power, a new referendum is being considered in Italy to promote new nuclear power plants. Today, polls show a return of interest in this technology in the country.

In fact, while the European Commission is considering recognising nuclear energy and natural gas as green sources for energy production, in Italy the idea is being promoted that a return to nuclear power could also be a solution to the issue of high energy bills.

The reality is that, even today, there are still many doubts about the risks involved in reintroducing nuclear power plants in Italy: from the dangers of radioactivity to the absence of a national repository. In fact, the high cost of storage still weighs on the pockets of Italians – which could reach more than €60 million a year. We discuss this in this article.

Nuclear Energy 1

The EU nuclear proposal and the new referendum in Italy

In 2021 the issue of nuclear energy has come up in Italy, particularly following Roberto Cingolani’s – who is the Minister for Ecological Transition – expressed support for the return of nuclear power in Italy. This was then followed by a consensual agreement voiced by Matteo Salvini, Giorgia Meloni and Confindustria president Carlo Bonomi.

The year 2022 began with a draft by the European Commission on the recognition of nuclear power and natural gas as ‘green’ renewable energy sources – which they declared as sustainable and capable of accelerating the achievement of zero CO2 emissions in Europe.

Salvini’s support for this controversial energy source was slow. Riding on the wave of high energy bills that is sweeping the nation, the Italian Senator stated that he would like to call for a third referendum on nuclear power in Italy for an “independent, safe and clean” future. The last time a referendum on nuclear energy was called in Italy was 2011, when almost all voters (over 94%) voted against a return to nuclear power. At the time this was partly explained by the then recent aftermath of the tragic tsunami that had occurred a few months earlier in Fukushima (Japan), which caused several explosions and the destruction of a nuclear power plant.

With no such recent crises to fall back on, it will be interesting to see whether Italians today embrace the energy source or stay true to the sentiments voiced a decade ago.

The current state of nuclear energy in Europe

Today, there are around 128 active nuclear power plants in Europe, with France leading the way with 58 plants in operation, followed by the Russian Federation (32) and the United Kingdom (19).

Nuclear Energy Plans in Europe

The nuclear proposals, if supported by the 27 member states, would come into force in 2023. With this in mind, it will be interesting to follow the developments of the European Commission’s plan in the coming months, and to find out what the positions of countries such as Germany and Belgium are – countries that are famous for progressively abandoning nuclear power in favour of renewable energy sources.

 

The pros and cons of returning to nuclear power in Italy in 2022

Nuclear power is certainly a sensitive issue. Although a country may benefit from certain advantages, including production capacity, one cannot help but consider the risks linked to radioactivity and safety. Today, thanks to the evolution of the Internet infrastructure, it would be easier to monitor power stations. Nevertheless, with more than 60 nuclear accidents over the years, we have learned that even a small error could have catastrophic consequences – largely due to the radioactivity produced by nuclear power for an entire nation.

Nevertheless, polls in Italy seem to show an inclination towards a return to the construction of nuclear power plants and the production of nuclear energy. Possibly explained by rising energy bills, the numbers show that 51% of Italians would favour a return to nuclear power, despite the fact that in 2011 over 94% rejected the idea. But will Italy be able to bear the costs of storing radioactive waste?

The production of nuclear energy in Italy between 1963 and 1990 resulted in the production of atomic waste which, in the absence of a national repository, was mainly sent to France and the United Kingdom. Not only that, but even today we do not have a national repository. The only solution then, and now, is to store it abroad, which would cost the state about EUR 60 million a year.

In addition, this backlog costs between 1 and 4 million euros per year at each site in Italy. According to Sogin, we are talking about temporary small deposits all over Italy, including at hospitals who may have the facilities in place safe enough to store such waste. Today, Piedmont has the highest presence of radioactivity from nuclear waste, while Lazio has the highest quantity of toxic waste.

It would be imperative to determine how the waste would be managed if new nuclear power plants were to be built.

 

The possible benefits for the transport sector

The supply of fossil fuels is becoming increasingly difficult, resulting in higher costs for all transport actors. A limited resource is, for example, oil: the cost of supplying it is increasing, and can be seen through the rising prices of diesel and petrol. Fossil fuels also release a huge amount of carbon dioxide and greenhouse gases, resulting in the well-known greenhouse effect that the European nations are trying to minimise.

Despite the fact that the ‘electric’ alternative is becoming increasingly important, most transport in Italy is still powered by petrol and diesel. In fact, this is not only the case in a few cities but also in many of the main Italian provinces. This reliance on traditional energy sources results in both more pollution and high financial costs of fuelling large vehicles (including trucks, buses, etc). And while the adoption of new electric vehicles would be beneficial in the short term, the eventual adoption of nuclear power would be the missing piece to complete this “ecological” transition.

In fact, both electric and fuel cell vehicles could be more efficient due to the advantages of nuclear energy production. Electric vehicle batteries need energy to recharge, whereas fuel cell vehicles need hydrogen, which is itself produced from energy. If this energy were produced from nuclear power, the environmental impact would be minimal and the cost of energy would be much lower than with the traditional combustion engines that we are familiar with.

Overall, it can be said that the topic of nuclear power is incredibly complex, and though there are both advantages and disadvantages to this energy source, it will surely prove to be a multifaceted issue for Italians in the coming months. Europe, for sure, will be watching.

This article originally appeared on the Pronto Bolletta website. Source:  https://www.prontobolletta.it/news/nucleare-italia-2022/

Clean fuels, electrification, water and hydrogen – How are ports handling energy transitions?

Written by Lidia Slawinska

Written by: Lidia Slawinska, Consultant

Over the past few months, a lot of our articles have focused on sustainable solutions in intermodal transport – whether they were connected to port operations, maritime transport or port-railway solutions. Focusing on alternative and clean energy solutions is vital, in particular in light of this summer’s heat waves, floods, and other weather phenomena which are gaining in strength every year. The European Union has recently renewed its dedication to the Green Deal, committing itself to substantially lowering the carbon emissions of the EU by an extremely ambitious 55% by 2030, and to eliminate net emissions by 2050. Taken together, all of this suggests that sustainability needs to take centre stage in all of our transport operations if we are to meet those goals and help protect our Blue planet.

The Escola is committed to promoting sustainable transport and incorporates its principles to all of its courses – and this is why this month we wanted to touch upon one of those. The upcoming course on Energy Transitions in Ports will take place in October of this year, and will aim to raise awareness and provide information to the management and technical staff of port authorities that are part of the MEDPorts Association on specific aspects related to energy transition in ports. However, when we talk about said “energy transition”, what do we mean?

The current climate

According to some scientific estimates (2019: The Atlantic), it is likely that sea levels will rise considerably by the end of this century, therewith putting 14% of the earth’s major ports susceptible to flooding and erosion. This is near-universally explained by the rising global temperatures, which contribute to a faster melting of the ice caps.

Maritime transport currently is responsible for about 80% of freight transported globally (by volume). As such, nearly 3% of CO2 emissions are sent into the atmosphere alone – a percentage that has increased by more than 30% in the last two decades. This characteristic of the current “golden age of oil” has had a detrimental effect on our climate already. Continuing on this same trajectory will increase this number to nearly 17% of all global emissions by the middle of our century – therewith further hastening the rise of the sea levels.

All of this suggest that leading ports need to take action now and adapt their infrastructures to offset any threats that may arise from the rising sea.

Clean fuels

When thinking about the prospect of energy transition in ports, the fuel used by the visiting vessels is central. Ships – whether they are cruises or container-carriers – need to stay in the ports they visit – to load and unload, and to re-supply. This requires the ships to stay powered whilst these operations are taking place, and ports have had to design alternative electrical systems of On-Shore Power Supplies (OPS) to lower their emissions in-port. Many ships have already started to run on new alternative fuels that have considerably smaller carbon footprints – including LNG (Liquefied Natural Gas), hydrogen, ammonia and ethanol.

The vessels that operate within a port – the ones transporting the pilots or tugging the larger vessels entering the harbour – would also need to be modified. Some ports have already taken initiative such zero-emission crafts – one example being the Hydrotug boat under construction in the Port of Antwerp.

This transformation of the vessels, which also includes the capacity to be powered by the on-shore electrical or gas-powered systems, would need to be accelerated for the industry to become greener.

Electrification

As hinted in the previous section, electrification is a vital process in the energy transition of ports. Making sure that the modern ports have adequate electric facilities and technologies in place, be it through either OPS, electrified wharfs, or electric ferries or vessels that perform other port operations.

Energy production

Trying to make sure that the energy transition in ports is not a double-edged sword, which then puts increasing pressures on existing power infrastructures in their hinterlands (and therewith continue to leave a significant carbon footprint), ports also need to think about using their vicinities to generate their own power. Turning seawalls into energy producers, or having offshore wind turbines can significantly increase the Gigawatts that the ports will depend on – therewith limiting the strain on the traditional infrastructures. It is vital that ports transform their mindset and develop new technologies that can create electricity from solar power, marine power, or bioenergy. Ports will need to become electricity producers that depend on a multitude of sources to supply their operations, whilst making sure that they are doing so with limited or no emissions to comply with the emerging global regulations.

In fact, some estimates now say that by the middle of this century, industrial ports will have the capacities to generate ten times more than today. This data was presented in the DNV GL’s study on Ports: Green Gateways to Europe. The report also stated that the energy transition methods that many ports are either considering or already implementing could easily account for the increase in port activities – traffic has been consistently increasing as globalisation has driven the economies forward. In order for this to take place consistently, the report recommends 10 specific transitions that would need to take place:

  1. Electrification of port-related activities
  2. Fuel switch for maritime transport
  3. Electrification of industry
  4. Integration of offshore wind
  5. Energy system integration
  6. Hydrogen as a feedstock and energy vector
  7. Phase-out of fossil-fuelled power plants
  8. Carbon capture and storage
  9. New regulations
  10. A circular and bio-based economy

(Source: Offshore Energy)

Final thoughts

Transforming our current energy infrastructure has taken centre stage is both our political and social dimensions. The transport sector has also taken note, and many private and public entities have already taken (sometimes) drastic steps to try to lower the carbon footprint of transport. Ports, in particular, have taken note – knowing that they represent the connection between the sea and the land, and therefore need to lead in the sustainable revolution and guide both land, rail and sea transport operators on the path towards decarbonisation.

Automation and innovative technologies already exist that can help ports become energy-efficient. With new laws and guidelines already in place, including the Paris Climate Agreement, the European Green Deal, and the latest EU 2030 Climate and Energy Framework, the path ahead for ports is doubtlessly difficult and winding, but righteous. Smart Ports and Green Ports are now becoming synonymous with the Ports of Tomorrow. The journey forward is green, and to survive, ports need to make sure that they on it.

Sources:

Tag Archive for: energy transition

Energy transition: Hydrogen

Energy Transition: hydrogen

A unique vision of energy transition to hydrogen as a new sustainable energy source on ports


7th-11th of November 2022


GENERAL INFORMATION


OBJECTIVES


HOW?


PARTICIPANT’S PROFILE


PROGRAMME


QUESTIONS

PARTICIPANT’S PROFILE


Operation managers

Environmental managers

Terminal managers

Vehicle fleet managers

Mobility managers

Safety managers

Ship fleet managers

Energy transition managers

Infrastructure managers

Port space managers

*Among others…


*Please note that even though the course is dedicated mainly to MedPorts members, it is not exclusively so. Other companies can sign their employees up if they are interested in the energy transition activities in ports.

GENERAL INFORMATION


7th – 11th of November 2022


Barcelona


English

OBJECTIVES

The general objective of the course is to raise awareness and provide technical  information to the management and technical staff of port–logistics communities and transport operators on the following specific aspects related to energy transition:

  • Port-Logistics Communities in new economy and a new world
  • Energy transition to hydrogen and new sustainable energy sources
  • How to manage energy transition in Port-logistics communities
  • Hydrogen economy
  • Port operations based on hydrogen (land and sea)
  • Port infrastructures and equipment for hydrogen

HOW?

  • Analyzing the current situation

    • Knowing first-hand the infrastructures, equipment, operators and stakeholders involved in the hydrogen ecosystem.
    • Obtaining knowledge about the current situation in ports-logistics communities and how they face the future through lectures and debates with industry experts.
  • Technical Training

    Providing training and information to people who will manage and make decisions in sustainable transport solutions.

  • Practical Workshops

    Learning and experiencing how to design, plan and manage the resources to make the transition to a decarbonized port-logistics community.

Based on an experiential learning method, the course combines:

Lectures 

Theoretical  classes on topics of interest in port operations, conducted by experts and academics in the sector.


Workshops

Specific visits and activities with different companies collaborators, experts of the sector and a case study to design a Green Port.


Hydrogen

Collaborators:


 

PROGRAMME


TUITION FEES

General fee: 2.800€/participant

First registration of MedPorts Associate: 2.500€/participant

Second registration of MedPorts Association: 15% OFF

The UfM Secretariat will cover travel expenses to Barcelona (airplane) for participants from MEDports member organizations from non-EU UfM Member States. One per organization and up to the maximum number of participants foreseen. Grants are awarded based on the date of application and provided that the above requirements are met.

Letters of invitation to the course will be issued to those who have applied for the grants offered by UfM and who meet the above-mentioned requirements, and to those who provide proof of purchase of a return flight ticket for the dates of the course.

*Course subsidized by Fundae (formerly Fundación Tripartita) in case of Spanish companies

For more information…. contact us!


Organizations that participated in previous courses

 
Logo of the MEDPorts Association