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In the headlines: DOI approves 3 of the largest renewable energy projects in US history & first EV rapid charging station opens in Spain

Date
18 March 2013
In the headlines: DOI approves 3 of the largest renewable energy projects in US history & first EV rapid charging station opens in Spain

Clean Revolution news stories you may have missed:

Global 

Building a new, ambitious global climate agreement by 2015 will require drawing in China and the United States, and boosting financial help for poor nations so they feel “energised” to act, South Africa’s climate change ambassador has said. With China’s new leadership under domestic pressure to tackle worsening pollution, and U.S. President Barack Obama promising action on climate change after his re-election, now is the moment to press the world’s two biggest greenhouse gas emitters, said Nozipho Mxakato-Diseko, South Africa’s ambassador-at-large for climate change. It is vital to reach a deal by 2015 so Obama can help ratify it during his final term, she said. “If we miss that point, we revert,” she warned. Alertnet, March 13.

Australia

Australia has now firmly established itself as a reliable supplier of the resources that sustain China's growth, Minister for Resources and Energy Martin Ferguson said in a speech on Tuesday, the Australia China Business Council's (ACBC) Canberra Networking Day. In clean energy sector, Ferguson said China is a huge source of potential investment in Australia's growing clean energy sector. "In the longer term, both China and Australia are aware we need to develop renewable sources of energy that can take the place of fossil fuels." he said. "Both China and Australia understand the potential of developing renewable sources of energy." Xinhua, March 12.

Sickness being attributed to wind turbines is more likely to have been caused by people getting alarmed at the health warnings circulated by activists, an Australian study has found. Complaints of illness were far more prevalent in communities targeted by anti-windfarm groups, said the report's author, Simon Chapman, professor of public health at Sydney University. His report concludes that illnesses being blamed on windfarms are more than likely caused by the psychological effect of suggestions that the turbines make people ill, rather than by the turbines themselves. The Guardian, March 15.

China

China is expected to overtake Germany as the largest solar photovoltaic, or PV, consumer in the world in 2013, according to a report from market research institute NPD Solarbuzz. The report released by the California-based institute on Wednesday said global solar PV demand will increase from 29 gigawatts to 31 gW in 2013, up 7 percent year-on-year. Demand from China will be a strong driving force for the growth. China Daily, March 14.

China has called for businesses to take environmental and social issues into account when investing at both domestic and international levels. The country’s commerce and environmental protection ministries have issued guidelines that they say will help firms take such things as pollution into account – as well as the impact that each investment has on the local community. They add that religion, workers’ rights and international environmental standards should also be considered. Blue & Green Tomorrow, March 1.

Europe

Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government wants to speed up the modernization of Germany’s power grid to protect supplies as Europe’s biggest economy shifts its generation mix away from nuclear energy. The government identified 36 high-voltage power- transmission projects costing an estimated 10 billion euros ($13 billion) as “high-priority” in a draft bill to be debated March 14 in the Bundestag, the lower house of parliament. Bloomberg, March 12.

The next twist in European renewables policy could well be a push toward more cross-border cooperation as slimming budgets pressure governments to tap billions of euros in savings between now and 2020. European Commission guidelines due this summer are expected to include a renewed call for such cooperation, yet analysts say it will be a challenge to steer nations away from projects that create local jobs. Reuters, March 14.

India

India, which plans to raise solar capacity eightfold by 2017, will probably auction more megawatts than planned this fiscal year in a bid to cut chronic power shortages in the world’s second most-populous nation. The government will tender 750 megawatts of capacity in the first week of May, kicking off the second phase of its National Solar Mission, said Tarun Kapoor, joint secretary at the New and Renewable Energy Ministry. India expects to auction more than the 1,650 megawatts targeted for the year through March 2014. Bloomberg, March 14.

The European Investment Bank and Exim Bank have signed a €150 million ($195 million) loan to support climate mitigation projects in India. The loan will help to finance renewable energy projects such as wind, solar geothermal, hydro and biomass. It will also support energy efficiency projects like cogeneration and district heating. Climate Action, March 11.

North America

The US Department of Interior (DOI) granted approval to three of the largest renewable energy projects in the country's history, firing the starting pistol on developments in the south east of the country that together will provide 1.1GW of new clean energy capacity. Officials authorised plans for the 750MW McCoy Solar Energy Project and the 150MW Desert Harvest Solar Farm in California, as well as the 200MW Searchlight Wind Energy Project in Nevada. The DOI said the projects would create more than 1,000 new jobs during construction and deliver enough power to the grid to supply 340,000 homes. BusinessGreen, March 15.

The head of the US Navy’s Pacific fleet has declared climate change as the biggest long-term security threat in the region. Anticipating severe typhoons and rising sea levels that will displace nations, he emphasized a weather crisis few had foreseen. Fallout from the shifting global temperature is “probably the most likely thing that is going to happen... that will cripple the security environment, probably more likely than the other scenarios we all often talk about,” said Navy Admiral Samuel J. Locklear III in an interview with the Boston Globe. RT, March 13.

UK

RBS has retained its title as the biggest financer of UK renewables projects for a second year, according to the latest Infrastructure Journal league table. The company said its first place position was secured after it lent or arranged finance worth $258.3m for renewable energy projects. Most notably, the bank was one of four commercial lenders to the giant 367MW Walney wind farm off the coast of Cumbria. But it has also emerged as a major lender to smaller scale renewable energy and efficiency projects, after launching both a dedicated £50m fund to support renewables projects on farms in 2011 and a £200m Carbon Reduction Fund late last year offering financing for corporate energy efficiency projects. BusinessGreen, March 14.

Electric Vehicles

President Barack Obama warned that American cars and trucks must be weaned off oil for good if drivers are to avoid spikes in gas prices. Touting a $200m-a-year funding boost for research into clean fuel cars, the president used his weekly radio address to reaffirm his belief in an "all-of-the-above" strategy if the US is to become energy self-sufficient. The Guardian, March 16.

The drive to get more electric cars on the roads of Spain has gathered pace. City hall bosses in Malaga are the first in the province to introduce 20 municipal vehicles that are 100 per cent electric. As well as the new cars, the Mayor of Fuengirola, Esperanza Ona, recently opened the first rapid charging station for electric vehicles in Spain. The Olive Press, March 14.

LED Lighting

The €11.8million pan-European NEWLED project is aiming to develop a new generation of 50-60% energy efficient white light-emitting LED lights, which would be more than twice as efficient as existing LED-based bulbs. The project leaders based at the University of Dundee, Scotland, say that the higher efficiency white-light LEDs, if widely implemented, could have a significant effect on reducing global energy consumption and CO2 emissions. Optics, March 13.

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