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15 October 2012

Here's a global snapshot of some of the biggest clean technology, economy and policy headlines, from the week commencing October 15, 2012.


Australia switched on its first utility-scale solar farm on Wednesday, bringing the country a small step closer to achieving ambitious renewable energy use targets that traditional coal and gas power producers are now fighting to soften. The Greenough River Solar project, just outside the small town of Walkaway in Western Australia state, is a joint-venture between Western Australian state-owned Verve Energy and US conglomerate General Electric. It is expected to generate 10 megawatts, enough to power 3,000 homes. The Daily Telegraph, October 10.

Designs have been released for the award winning Cape Paterson Ecovillage, Australia's first zero carbon housing development. Thirty-eight of 220 lots are available in the first section of the development. The project takes sustainable house design, sustainable living and communities to an unprecedented level. Climate Spectator, October 12.


China's forthcoming carbon trading pilot scheme could dovetail with other global platforms, paving the way for a global climate change agreement coming into force in 2020, according to a new report. Australian research organisation The Climate Institute unveiled a report prepared by project developer Climate Bridge examining the potential impact of China's future emissions trading scheme. China is to launch seven pilot emissions trading schemes in cities and provinces from 2013, covering 700 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent. The pilots will create the second-largest emissions trading scheme in the world after the European Union Emissions Trading System (EU ETS), and are expected to lead to a nationwide system in 2015-2016 that would be the largest in the world. BusinessGreen, October 12.

France looks to strengthen dynamic economic and trade cooperation with China, with the focus on green economy, French ambassador to China Sylvie Bermann said Thursday. "Our relations are good in political field because we have the same security concerns, so we have a very close conversation on that," she added. Bermann mentioned that French exports to China grew by 22 percentage points last year, but "we want to have more exports to China". "I would insist on green economy and sustainable development," she said. China Daily, October 12.


EU governments could raise up to €128bn by 2017 through additional income and corporate taxes and lower social costs from renovation programmes aimed at improving buildings' energy efficiency, a new study has found. In addition, up to €75bn could be saved on energy bills in the public sector by 2020, according to the Copenhagen Economics study commissioned by the European Alliance of Companies for Energy Efficiency in Buildings (EuroACE). ENDS Europe, October 12.

Mexican President-elect Enrique Pena Nieto sought advice on Thursday on how to develop his country's renewable energy sector from Germany, a world pioneer in the sector. Pena Nieto, who takes office in December, kicked off a tour of European capitals by discussing clean energy production, the euro zone crisis and other issues with Chancellor Angela Merkel. Chicago Tribune, October 11.


New investments in renewable energy and fuels reached $ 257 billion worldwide last year, with India logging the sharpest surge and China attracting the largest amount at $52.2 billion, says a report. In 2010, the total global investment in the renewable power and fuel was $220 billion, according to the latest report of Worldwatch Institute. “Investment in India grew 62 per cent - the highest growth rate for any single country over 2010 totals,” the report said. Business Line, October 11.

To make Indian skies more environment friendly, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation has for the first time come up with a detailed aviation carbon footprint report. The report states that Indian and foreign airlines in India account for less than one per cent of the country’s total carbon dioxide emissions. From now on, all airlines and airports will have to submit air turbine fuel consumption, electricity usage and information about the movements of passenger, cargo and aircraft to the DGCA. Indian Express, October 15.

North America

Full-time jobs in North Carolina’s clean-energy sector grew 3 percent in the past year to more than 15,200, the N.C. Sustainability Energy Association said Thursday, but companies fret about unpredictable public policies. The association released its annual jobs census on the second day of its Making Energy Work conference in Charlotte. The survey said the 1,100 energy-efficiency or renewable energy companies working in the state generated at least $3.7 billion in N.C. revenues. Charlotte Observer, October 12.


First Minister Alex Salmond has launched a £103m fund for Scottish renewable energy projects. The Renewable Energy Investment Fund (REIF) aims to attract more private investment to the sector. Its priorities include wave and tidal energy, and renewable district heating. Mr Salmond also announced plans to set up an advisory group to support those seeking finance from the new UK Green Investment Bank and £4.3m funding for SSE's offshore turbine test facility. He said the Scottish government would invest the cash in the firm's Hunterston offshore wind turbine test facility. BBC News, October 10.

The director general of the CBI, John Cridland, said it was "crucial" to avoid too much reliance on one energy source, particularly if, as in the case of gas, much would have to be imported. In a clear warning to the chancellor, who has made no secret of his support for greater use of gas and less government support for renewable energy, Cridland said: "Gas has a big part to play in the UK's energy mix in the years to come, but we cannot become dependent on any one source of energy. Over-reliance on new gas would leave us exposed to global price and supply fluctuations and jeopardise our carbon targets, so we need to build more of everything, including renewables, nuclear and CCS." The Guardian, October 14.

Electric Vehicles

The California Energy Commission voted this week to grant 10 million to Tesla Motors, Inc., to help produce an electric-powered vehicle at its Fremont plant. The project is expected to create more than 500 new manufacturing jobs at the plant, said Assemblyman Bob Wieckowski, D-Fremont., October 14.

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