Exploring the Northern Dimension

Russia’s energy security in the long term: capacity remuneration mechanisms

Russia's capacity market and capacity remuneration mechanisms (CRMs) have not been effective in achieving the so called energy trilemma goals: energy security, sustainability and affordability. This is the finding of a doctoral dissertation at Lappeenranta University of Technology, LUT.

The results show that implemented CRMs can guarantee Russia's energy security in the short term. However, the current capacity market design cannot provide market-based incentives to invest in new power plants, thereby undermining the provision of energy security in the future. CRMs for renewable energy alone will not suffice to achieve the sustainability goals set by the policy makers, at least in the short term. At the same time, CRMs, capacity payments, and challenges faced in the wholesale electricity result in high final consumer electricity cost, incentivising consumers to leave the market.

Capacity remuneration means that power producers receive capacity payments, which should cover their investments in new power plants within 10 to 20 years, while agreeing on building contracted capacity on time. However, the implementation of CRMs, together with overestimation of the demand growth, has resulted in a capacity oversupply in Russia. This has increased the amount of the old capacity that receives capacity payments to stay in the market in order for the system to stay reliable.

"As a result, capacity payments question the design of the capacity market and impact on the final consumer capacity price, and thus, result in an energy affordability issue," explains Evgenia Vanadzina,researcher behind the study.

Read more on LUT website.

 

The coordination of policy priorities among regional institutions from the Baltic Sea to the Arctic: the institutions – coordination dilemma

The article examines the coordination of policy priorities among the Arctic Council, the Barents Euro-Arctic Council, the Council of Baltic Sea States, and the Nordic Council of Ministers. The member states of these groups established these institutions to coordinate their regional cooperation. However, the member states ended up having to coordinate the parallel work of these institutions. This coordination effort influenced their cooperation, creating an institutional coordination dilemma. The article analyzes how interests, leadership, and identity politics influence this dilemma and how negative, problem-solving, and positive forms of coordination can amend its effects regarding the temporal consistency of policy priorities and their sectoral overlap.

Authors: Aalto Pami, Espiritu Aileen A, Kilpeläinen Sarah, Lanko Dmitry A.

The article was published in Journal of Baltic Studies.

EU Commission releases report on the development of the rail market

The European Commission adopted the fifth report on the development of the European rail market. The report shows that EU legislation on rail, which encourages competitiveness and market opening, has led to a more efficient and customer-responsive industry. In Member States where rail markets are opened, competition can result overall in lower fares for customers and better value for taxpayers. After adoption of the 4th Railway Package, the focus of the Commission will be on the implementation of existing legislation to bring about further performance improvement.

Download the full report on Commission webpage.

Study: Quantifying global soil carbon losses in response to warming

The first global study of soil carbon loss due to warming, finds that an additional 55 trillion kilograms of soil carbon could be added to the atmosphere between now and 2050. This is equivalent to as much as 17 per cent of all greenhouse gas emissions during this same period. Most of it would come from Arctic and subarctic soils.

The study was published in Nature and presented in High North News.

Publication: Maritime activity in the High North - current and estimated level up to 2025

The key purpose of the research consortium is to assess the risk of the increased maritime activity in the High North and the challenges this increase may represent for the preparedness institutions in this region.

Project partners include actors from Norway, Greenland, Iceland and Russia (Northern Dimension co-coordinatorNorthern (Arctic) Federal University being one of them.

The report gives a picture of the current commercial and government maritime activity in the sea areas north of the Arctic Circle from the Kara Sea, along the Northwest coast of Russia, the Northern coast of Norway, around Svalbard, Iceland and Greenland up to the Baffin Bay. Furthermore, the report offers estimation of the future maritime activity level in the area up to 2025.

Download the report on the website.

Publication: "Interventions" visualizes environmental change through photography

Global environmental change calls urgently for new perspectives, practices and fresh imaginations. The book Interventions explores new possibilities for visualizing environmental change and introduces innovative ways for communicating environmental change and raising public awareness on environmental issues.

The book was launched on November 26, 2016 at the Oulanka Research Station in Kuusamo, Finland, coinciding with the 50-year anniversary of the station.

Read more on UArctic website.

Publication: Arctic Resilience Assessment

The Arctic Resilience Assessment (ARA) is an Arctic Council project led by the Stockholm Environment Institute and the Stockholm Resilience Centre. It builds on collaboration with Arctic countries and Indigenous Peoples in the region, as well as several Arctic scientific organizations. The ARA (previously Arctic Resilience Report) was approved as an Arctic Council project at the Senior Arctic Officials meeting in November 2011. The ARA was initiated by the Swedish Ministry of the Environment as a priority for the Swedish Chairmanship of the Arctic Council (May 2011 to May 2013) and is being delivered under the US Chairmanship of the Arctic Council.

Download the assessment on Arctic Council website.

Improving wastewater management in the Baltic Sea Region - IWAMA project

IWAMA aims at improving resource efficiency in wastewater management of the region. The project actions are distributed along three main fields: capacity development, smart energy management and smart sludge management.

The intention of IWAMA is working together to improve the state of the Baltic Sea. In the publication, a visualisation of the scope of the project is present on the map, picturing the geographical locations of 17 project partners and 12 associated partners from 10 countries of the Baltic Sea Region. To strengthen the flow of knowledge and experience, the partners of IWAMA are united to provide the region with inspiration through the Baltic Sea Challenge network.

Download the IWAMA infograph leaflet on the UBC Sustainable Citied website.

Health at a Glance: Europe report published

As a first step in the Commission’s State of Health in the EU cycle, the Health at a Glance: Europe 2016 report was published in November 2016. Developed by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) with cooperation from the Commission, this publication provides updated analysis of the health status of EU citizens and the performance of health systems.

Apart from various chapters with statistical indicators of 35 European countries, the 2016 report includes two cross-cutting chapters on political priorities: the labour market impacts of behavioural risk factors and related chronic diseases, and the strengthening of primary care systems.

Download the report and infograph on European Commission website

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