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In the headlines: Germany hits 59% renewable peak and US military tipped to drive EV demand

04 November 2013
In the headlines: Germany hits 59% renewable peak and US military tipped to drive EV demand

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Global emissions of carbon dioxide may be showing the first signs of a "permanent slowdown" in the rate of increase. According to a new report, emissions in 2012 increased at less than half the average over the past decade. Key factors included the shift to shale gas for energy in the US while China increased its use of hydropower. The report on trends in global emissions has been produced annually by the Netherlands Environment Assessment Agency and the European Commission's Joint Research Centre. It finds that emissions of carbon dioxide reached a new record in 2012 but the rate of increase in CO2 was 1.4%, despite the global economy growing by 3.5%. BBC News, October 31.

Starvation, poverty, flooding, heat waves, droughts, war and disease already lead to human tragedies. They're likely to worsen as the world warms from man-made climate change, a leaked draft of an international scientific report forecasts. The Nobel Peace Prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change will issue a report next March on how global warming is already affecting the way people live and what will happen in the future, including a worldwide drop in income. A leaked copy of a draft of the summary of the report appeared online Friday on a climate skeptic's website. Governments will spend the next few months making comments about the draft., November 2.

Asia – Pacific

There is a “clear link” between climate change and bushfires, with the current New South Wales fires influenced by a rising frequency of hot, dry days, according to the climate body that had its funding withdrawn by the Coalition government. The Climate Council’s findings offered a rebuke to Tony Abbott’s assertion that there was no correlation between climate change and the NSW fires, which the prime minister renewed on Friday when he dismissed claims of a link as "complete hogwash". The Guardian, October 25.

Three clean energy companies have announced new investments in Singapore on Thursday. The three firms are German solar project developer Saferay, US smart grid technology provider Demansys Energy, and Hanergy, the largest privately owned clean energy firm from China. Hanergy and Saferay will be establishing their international headquarters in Singapore. Hanergy said in a press statement that the global headquarters in Singapore will oversee its sales and investment activities worldwide. Channel NewsAsia, October 31.


Total greenhouse gas emissions by China and other emerging countries since 1850 will surpass those of rich nations this decade, complicating UN talks about who is most to blame for global warming, a study showed on Thursday. Developing countries accounted for 48% of cumulative emissions from 1850 to 2010, according to the study by the PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency, research group Ecofys and the European Commission's Joint Research Centre. The Guardian, November 1.

China State Grid Corp., the nation’s largest power distributor, is boosting efforts to build more electricity networks to enhance the grid’s ability to handle power from new sources such as wind. Preliminary work is accelerating on an ultra-high voltage link to deliver wind power from Jiuquan in the northwestern province of Gansu to southern Hunan, said Zhang Zhengling, deputy director of the development and planning department at China State Grid. Two grid lines are also being built to transmit power from northern Hebei to areas including Beijing and Tianjin city, he said in an interview yesterday. Bloomberg, October 18.


Electricity prices plunge to 2.75 cents per kilowatt-hour as renewable energy dominates on Germany’s Reunification Day. Wind and solar power peaked at 59.1 percent of German power generation earlier this month. It happened at noon on a very windy and sunny October 3, which is the German holiday commemorating reunification. (Germany also hit peaks of 61 percent, a record, and 59 percent earlier this year.) Solar and wind provided 36.4 percent of total electricity generation over the entire day, with PV accounting for 11.2 percent. Breaking Energy, October 30.

A multi-million Euro project has advanced global progress on capturing tidal and wave energy thus bringing the EU closer to its target of generating 20% of its energy consumption from renewable sources by 2020. Co-ordinated by University College Cork, Ireland, the EUR 11 million initiative with the help of EUR 9 million in EU funding - MARINET - provides marine energy development companies, entrepreneurs, start-ups and researchers with free, fully funded access to marine energy experts and the world's leading wave, tidal and offshore-wind test facilities. CORDIS, October 30.


A group led by New Generation Power LLC, a U.S. clean energy developer, has signed contracts to build 315 megawatts of solar plants in India. The group expects to invest $400 million by the end of 2014 to complete installations at various sites across Andhra Pradesh state, Chicago-based New Generation said in a statement. The plants will sell power under 20-year contracts to the local utility. Bloomberg New Energy Finance, October 31.

Demand for renewable-energy credits in India jumped threefold in October as regulators cracked down on companies ignoring government-mandated clean-power targets. Bids to buy wind, hydro and biomass credits numbered 150,640, compared with 49,831 the previous month, according to data from trader REConnect Energy Solutions Pvt. Bloomberg New Energy Finance, October 30.

North America

The US military is set to become one of the world's largest operators of electric vehicles, according to new research which predicts the Department of Defense will buy more than 92,400 electric vehicles between 2013 and 2020. The study from Navigant Consulting argues that with the Department of Defense already investing heavily in a range of low emission vehicles it is now poised to ramp up spending on plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) and hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) that can be used for non-tactical purposes. BusinessGreen, November 4.

President Obama unveiled the latest phase in his climate change strategy late last week, issuing an executive order to create a new cross-government task force to address "climate preparedness and resilience". The new task force, consisting of senior officials from a host of government agencies and departments, will be required to "support regional, state, local, and tribal action to assess climate change related vulnerabilities and cost-effectively increase climate preparedness and resilience of communities, critical economic sectors, natural and built infrastructure, and natural resources". BusinessGreen, November 4.


Keeping old, polluting coal plants open could threaten the country's ability to reduce its carbon dioxide emissions, argue campaigners. The House of Lords is due to vote on a measure on Monday that aims to stop that happening. Coal is still the biggest single source of the UK's electricity. But as the UK shifts to a low-carbon power system, the government assumes our old coal power stations will be phased out. A complex web of different pieces of legislation will interact to make old coal plants uneconomic, the government predicts. But the changing economics of coal may mean power companies decide to keep the coal power stations open, threatening the country's ability to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and hit our carbon budgets. A vote in the House of Lords next week could be about to decide whether old coal keeps going in the UK, or not. The Carbon Brief, November 1.

Shadow Energy Minister Tom Greatrex has challenged the government to clear up once and for all whether renewable energy schemes will be subject to the Prime Minister's "green levy" review following conflicting signals from Ministers. Renewable energy companies were relieved earlier this week when Conservative Energy Minister Baroness Verma declared that "no one is talking about changing support for large-scale renewables or feed-in tariffs", indicating that the Renewables Obligation and upcoming contract for difference schemes would not be cut as a result of the review. Renewable energy trade associations also confirmed this week that they had received assurances from the Department of Energy and Climate Change that Department for Energy and Climate Change that "between now and 2020, the support we give to low carbon electricity will increase year-on-year to £7.6bn - a tripling of the support for renewable energy". BusinessGreen, November 1.


An innovative approach to solar charging revealed in an Apple patent application published today (via Patently Apple) could make it more practical to power both MacBooks and iOS devices from the sun. The voltage and power generated by a solar panel varies with the amount of sunlight. To turn the power supply into something that can safely be used by an electronic device, you need a converter or regulator to deliver the correct specs to the device, adding cost and bulk to the panel. What the Apple patent describes is building the necessary power management circuitry into the MacBook, iPad or iPhone so that it can accept whatever power the panel supplies. This potentially allows for cheaper and more portable panels. 9 to 5 Mac, October 31.

Ford is using big data and analytics to increase fuel economy, reduce vehicle emissions and drive other sustainability advances, the automaker says. John Viera, Ford’s global director of sustainability and vehicle environmental matters, says the company’s investments in big data have continually increased over the last 15 years. Environmental Leader, October 28.

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