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In the headlines: Australia installs over 1 million rooftop solar systems and Japan to become the second largest solar market in the world

Date
08 April 2013
In the headlines: Australia installs over 1 million rooftop solar systems and Japan to become the second largest solar market in the world

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Global

The Bloomberg Markets third annual ranking of the world's greenest banks evaluates the efforts of financial institutions to invest in clean energy and reduce their own waste and carbon footprints. Green-banking performance in 2012 was influenced in part by expiring U.S. wind-energy tax credits and cuts in European investment. External investments accounted for 70 percent of the scores, while internal sustainability efforts accounted for 30 percent. Full list of The World's Top 20 Green Banks in 2012: Bloomberg, April 3.

Japan will probably become the largest solar market in the world after China this year, boosted by an incentive program that offers above-market rates for energy from renewable sources. Commercial and utility-scale projects will boost solar installations to a range of 6.1 gigawatts to 9.4 gigawatts in 2013, exceeding an earlier forecast of 3.2 gigawatts to 4 gigawatts, Bloomberg New Energy Finance said in a research note. Bloomberg, April 4.

Australia

Australia has reached 1 million rooftop solar systems on homes and businesses, capping off a massive rise over the past decade on the back of federal and state incentives. The 1-million mark was passed quietly on March 12, with an analysis of government data by solar industry consultants SunWiz finding 1,011,478 systems installed at the end of last month. The growth in rooftop solar has been rapid, with installations growing from less than 900 in 2006 to well over 300,000 last year on the back of generous concessions offered by government and falling system costs. Sydney Morning Herald , April 5.

The share of coal in eastern Australia's electricity generation network has continued to recede, along with carbon emissions, despite a March heatwave that lifted power demand for the first time in 16 months. Although coal-fired power plants raised output to meet the extra load on the peak day, March 12, their proportion of total generation eased a further 0.2 percentage points to 74.6 per cent for the month. In February, their share of the electricity market fell below 75 per cent for the first time. Sydney Morning Herald, April 5.

China

Shenzhen, a Special Economic Zone designed to promote market policies in China, will start emissions trading on June 17, the first announced start date among the country's regional carbon exchanges. Mayor Qin Xu announced the schedule in an interview with the Shenzhen Daily newspaper. While Beijing and Shanghai may also start their carbon markets in June, Shenzhen is the first to set a specific date, according to analysts at Bloomberg New Energy Finance. Sydney Morning Herald, April 5.

The cost of environmental degradation in China was about $230 billion in 2010, or 3.5 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product — three times that in 2004, in local currency terms, an official Chinese news report said. The statistic came from a study by the Chinese Academy of Environmental Planning, which is part of the Ministry of Environmental Protection. The figure of $230 billion, or 1.54 trillion renminbi, is based on costs arising from pollution and damage to the ecosystem, the price that China is paying for its rapid industrialization. New York Times, March 29.

Europe

Renewable energy and carbon capture and storage (CCS) projects have a second chance to apply for millions of pounds of European funding, after the EU opened a new call for applications under its NER300 programme. Member states now have three months to gather proposals for funding from interested companies and submit them to the European Investment Bank for consideration. BusinessGreen, March 4.

India

Giriraj Enterprises Ltd. of India completed 33 megawatts of solar-power capacity, the most to be built under the nation’s Renewable Energy Credits mechanism. Companies such as Giriraj, a tobacco trader, are building solar generators to benefit from renewable-energy incentives. Producers of clean power can earn certificates for the output they send to the grid. They can then sell the credits to state power distributors that are obliged to buy a portion of their electricity from clean sources such as wind, solar and water. Bloomberg, April 4.

North America

President Obama used a fund-raising trip to California to call on his supporters to redouble efforts to make the economic case for environmental policies, arguing that they needed to make it clearer how green initiatives will benefit low and middle income Americans. Speaking at an event hosted by venture capitalist and environmental campaigner Thomas Steyer, Obama reiterated his view that "this notion that there's a contradiction between our economy and our environment is a false choice". BusinessGreen, April 4.

A record-high 71 percent of Americans consider the environment when they shop, up from 66 percent in 2008, according to research from Cone Communications. Some 7 percent consider the environment every time they shop while 20 percent consider it regularly. Forty-four percent consider it sometimes, according to the 2013 Cone Communications Green Gap Trend Tracker. Environmental Leader, April 3.

UK

Ofgem has kicked off a long-awaited new regulatory regime for the UK's energy networks which should enable more than £31bn of infrastructure investment designed to support the transition to a low-carbon energy mix. The new system of price controls, known as RIIO or Revenue = Incentives + Innovation + Outputs, determines the amount network companies such as National Grid can charge for many of their services through to 2021. BusinessGreen, April 5.

Wind-power generation in Scotland surged 19 percent to a record in 2012 as energy from clean sources contributed 39 percent of the region’s total electricity needs. Electricity generated from renewables rose 7 percent from 2011 to more than 14,600 gigawatt-hours, the Scottish government said. Nearly 39 percent of the region’s total electricity needs came from renewables in 2012, enough to power every home in Scotland. Bloomberg, March 28.

Electric Vehicles

Indian car maker Mahindra & Mahindra plans to extend their electric vehicle product line beyond the small Reva E-20, an executive told the Press Trust of India. “After we launched the e2o in March, now we have just started developing a new electric vehicle platform. This will be for higher powered vehicles,” M&M President for Automotive Sales, Pawan Goenka, was quoted saying on Sunday. Forbes, April 7.

Nissan has reported a record month for US sales of its trail-blazing LEAF electric car in March, vindicating its recent decision to cut the price tag for its new 2013 model. The performance marks a 286 per cent increase on the same month last year, as well as drastic improvement on the previous record month of 1,708 units, recorded in June 2011. BusinessGreen, April 5.

LED Lighting

The city of Santa Cruz, Calif,. wastewater treatment facility, which processes an average daily flow of 10 million gallons, has reduced its lighting energy use and cost by more than 50 percent. The facility recently upgraded its exterior and site lighting from high-pressure sodium (HPS) and mercury vapor (MV) fixtures to Dialight LED fixtures in an effort to reduce energy use and improve visibility. Energy Manager Today, March 22.

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