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In the headlines: China & Brazil lead the world in renewable energy employment & VC funding in the wind sector increased to $455 million in 2013

Date
27 January 2014
In the headlines: China & Brazil lead the world in renewable energy employment & VC funding in the wind sector increased to $455 million in 2013

Clean Revolution news stories you may have missed:

Global

Renewable-energy companies will derive more of their funding from bond markets as banks curb lending to the industry, Citigroup Inc. (C)’s head of environmental finance said. Green-bond sales and initial public offerings will expand after kicking off last year, Michael Eckhart said by telephone. Bonds backing clean-energy and environmental ventures may account for 10 percent to 20 percent of the $7 trillion-a-year market for the securities within a decade, he said. Eckhart’s comments cast a positive light on an industry whose funding is threatened by cuts in support for renewables from governments in the U.S. and Europe. Money managers are seeking investments that highlight their green credentials while offering an alternative to more volatile equities. Bloomberg, January 27.

Global venture capital (VC) funding in the wind sector increased to $455 million in 2013 compared to $315 million in 2012, according to Mercom Capital Group, llc, a global clean energy communications and consulting firm. Total funding into the wind sector reached $28.1 billion in 2013, including VC funding, public market financings, debt financings and announced project funding deals. Mercom Capital said VC funding in Q4 2013 came to $93 million in six deals compared to $135 million in four deals the previous quarter. The Times of India, January 23.

A group of the world's largest investment banks has thrown its weight behind a new set of guidelines aimed at spurring investment in green bonds – a market which reopened this week with the pricing of a €350 million climate awareness bond. Bank of America Merrill Lynch, JP Morgan, Citigroup and Crédit Agricole Corporate and Investment Bank sat on a drafting committee for the voluntary guidelines on the recommended process for the development and issuance of green bonds. Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs and HSBC have given their backing to the principles, which provide issuers, investors and underwriters with a blueprint for how to launch a green bond and details of what information is necessary to evaluate their eventual environment impact. Financial News, January 14.

Asia – Pacific

A world powered by solar energy is inevitable according to two distinguished scientists being honoured this Australia Day. Dr Graham Morrison, Emeritus Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the University of New South Wales and Dr David Mills, formerly a Senior Research Fellow at the University of Sydney, have been awarded Member of the Order of Australia medals for their services to science in the field of applied physics, particularly in the research and development of renewable energy and solar thermal technologies. ABC, January 26.

Australia’s largest energy retailer is predicting that solar rooftop electricity panels will be competitive without subsidies in the next few years, adding to pressure on the federal Coalition to scale back the renewable energy target in this year's review of the scheme. The Weekend Australian can reveal that ahead of the RET review this year, Origin Energy -- which has 4.3 million customers -- thinks photovoltaic panels will be able to compete without subsidy in the next few years and wants this conclusion investigated as part of the review. "The review might examine whether rooftop solar photovoltaics is competitive against retail electricity without subsidy," an Origin spokeswoman said. The Australian, January 25.

China

China and Brazil lead the world in renewable energy employment, hosting nearly half of all green energy jobs, according to a new research report. Worldwide, about 5.7 million people worked in the renewable energy sector in 2012 directly or indirectly, the International Renewable Energy Agency estimates in a report released this week. Of those, nearly one in three is based in China. Another 14 percent are in Brazil. FuelFix, January 23.

The city of Beijing will ban the construction of new oil refining, steel, cement and thermal power plants as well as the expansion of existing projects, the local government said in its latest policy document aimed at tackling air pollution. The document, published on the Beijing government's official website (www.bjrd.gov.cn) on Wednesday, said the ban would take effect from March. The policy document, approved by the local legislature last week, also commits China's capital city to cut total emissions of PM 2.5, a key component of air pollution, by 5 percent this year. Reuters, January 22.

Europe

European industry has maintained its global market position thanks to relatively low energy intensity levels and high renewables penetration, according to a study into the continent’s competitiveness due to be released by the European Commission as part of its clean energy package today (22 January). Renewable energies “help reduce fuel import costs and contribute to improving the energy trade balance,” says the report by the EU’s economic and financial affairs directorate (DG Ecfin), which EurActiv has seen. EurActiv, January 22.

India

With traditional power sector hamstrung by fuel shortage and climate change getting top billing at World Economic Forum summit in Davos, the government has lined up a Rs 5,000-crore, or $800 million, push to promote green energy capacity. The ministry of new and renewable energy proposes to raise the authorized share capital of Ireda (Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency) from Rs 1,000 crore at present to Rs 6,000 crore through this infusion. The Times of India, January 24.

Various options are being studied to reduce the cost of smart grid technologies, which will help in bringing down overall transmission and distribution losses in the power sector, a Planning Commission member said today. Smart grid technologies would help in ensuring efficient power system and pilot projects in this regard have already been identified by the government. Planning Commission Member B K Chaturvedi said that an exercise is underway to reduce the cost of smart grid technologies. The Economic Times, January 15.

North America

In 2007, Austin made the bold decision to use 100 percent renewable resources by 2012 as part of its climate action plan. By October 2011, it had achieved this ambitious goal. Read on to discover how America's most sustainable city did it. TG Daily, January 17.

Honda Manufacturing of America Inc., has announced two newly installed wind turbines at its plant in Russell’s Point Ohio are now operational. The installation of the turbines, in agreement with a subsidiary of ConEdison Solutions of Valhalla, NY, means the plant is the first major automotive manufacturing facility in the United States to obtain a substantial amount of its electricity directly from wind turbines located on its property. The turbines will produce 10,000 megawatt hours (MWh) per year which equates to approximately 10% of the plant’s overall electricity consumption. These turbines are a step toward Honda’s voluntary goal to reduce the environmental impact of its products and manufacturing operations around the world, by 2020. The goal includes a 30% reduction in CO2 emissions from Honda products, and significant CO2 reductions from the company’s plants and other operations, compared with 2000 levels. Automotive World, January 22.

UK

More than half of companies working in the renewable energy sector in Scotland are looking to hire staff this year, according to a survey. The research, commissioned by industry body Scottish Renewables, also suggested a record 11,700 people were working full-time in the sector. That was 5% more than the previous year's study. Scottish Renewables said the results showed "a huge amount of positivity" about the sector's future. BBC News, January 14.

Innovation

The UK's only electric car club has opened a new operation at the University of Hertfordshire, offering low cost zero-emissions driving to students, staff, and the local community. Members of the E-Car Club scheme will be able to hire one of three Renault electric cars - two ZOE superminis and a Fluence Z.E. saloon - for £5.50 per hour. Each car has a range of around 90 miles under real world driving conditions and will be charged in designated parking bays. BusinessGreen, January 27.

Luxury electric car maker Tesla sees China as potentially the company's biggest market for its vehicles, despite a hefty $121,000 sticker price. But that six-figure cost might make the vehicles more attractive to Chinese buyers, according to Tesla's CEO. The Christian Science Monitor, January 24.

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