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In the headlines: Global smart meter revenues expected to grow to $7.4bn in the next four years & British government to invest £9 million in rapid charge-points for EVs

Date
03 February 2014
In the headlines: Global smart meter revenues expected to grow to $7.4bn in the next four years & British government to invest £9 million in rapid charge-points for EVs

Clean Revolution news stories you may have missed:

Global

Seventeen foundations controlling nearly $1.8 billion in investments have united to commit to pulling their money out of companies that do business in fossil fuels, the group plans to announce on Thursday. The move is a victory for a developing divestiture campaign that has found success largely among small colleges and environmentally conscious cities, but has not yet won over the wealthiest institutions like Harvard, Brown and Swarthmore. But the participation of the foundations, including the Russell Family Foundation, the Educational Foundation of America and the John Merck Fund, is the largest commitment to the effort, and stems in part from a push among philanthropies to bring their investing in line with their missions. International New York Times, January 29.

Former mayor New York City Michael Bloomberg has been named as the new United Nations (UN) envoy for cities and climate change. The billionaire businessman and philanthropist’s new role was announced on Friday by the UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon. Ban said Bloomberg will assist him in “consultations with mayors and related key stakeholders, in order to raise political will and mobilise action among cities as part of his long-term strategy to advance efforts on climate change”. Blue and Green Tomorrow, February 2.

Asia – Pacific

The recent decline of demand for solar photovoltaic panels would accelerate sharply if the Abbott government scrapped the renewable energy target (RET), potentially halving jobs in the industry, new research finds. The solar PV industry employed about 13,600 as of late 2013, and the number will sink this year to about 12,300 across about 4300 businesses as state-based subsidies are wound back, according to a report for the REC Agents Association, a body representing firms that create and trade in renewable energy certificates. Sydney Morning Herald, January 29.

A mega solar power plant in Tottori Prefecture, jointly run by the SoftBank Corp. group and Mitsui & Co., started selling electricity on Saturday. The plant in Yonago, Tottori Prefecture, is capable of producing about 45.27 million kilowatts of electricity annually, enough to cover the power consumption of 12,000 households. Its maximum output is about 42,900 kilowatts. The Japan News, February 2.

China

China installed a record 12GW of solar power in 2013, doubling its rate of solar installations, according to preliminary figures. This is more than has ever been installed by any country in a single year and means that China installed three times more solar energy in 2013 than the total UK solar capacity. No country has ever added more than 8GW of solar power in one year before, according to an analysis by Li Shuo, a policy and energy analyst at Greenpeace East Asia. It is also more solar than China had installed in all the years prior to 2013 put together, according to Li. The Guardian, January 30.

China’s solar-panel makers are investing more in building their own power projects, expanding sources of revenue and soaking up some of the manufacturing capacity that depressed panel prices. The push is being led by companies such as Yingli Green Energy Holding Co. and Shunfeng Photovoltaic International Ltd. Combined, China’s top five panel producers are planning at least 4.6 gigawatts of projects this year, enough to power 5 million homes in the nation and almost quadruple the capacity completed last year. Bloomberg, January 30.

Europe

A consortium of European companies – including utilities Eon, Alstom and EDF – has set a goal of 100 GW of ocean energy by 2050, up from 10 MW, as the Europe Commission moves to take advantage of the 'blue energy', Energy Post reports. According to the website, the European Commission's Action Plan for Blue Energy (including wave, tidal thermal and salinity gradient power) released on January 20, will see the creation of an Ocean Energy Forum to "unite stakeholders and explore synergies with other marine industries such as offshore wind". Climate Spectator, January 31.

On Tuesday the world’s largest and most powerful wind turbine swung into gear at the Danish National Test Centre for Large Wind Turbines in Østerild. The prototype V164-8.0 MW wind turbine is 720 feet tall, has 260-foot blades, and can generate 8 megawatts of power — enough to supply electricity for 7,500 average European households or about 3,000 American households. Climate Progress, January 28.

India

Amid Centre's ongoing efforts to increase the share of green energy in India's overall electricity mix, a group of MPs from different political parties has requested the government to incentivize states to increase their shares of 'Renewable Purchase Obligation' and introduce tax benefit instruments to mobilize low cost funds for the sector. These MPs on Monday also submitted a memorandum to the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, requesting him to bring out a road-map for gradual replacement of kerosene and LPG with renewable energy for lighting and cooking. The Times of India, January 29.

Energy demands of India and the UAE are expected to soar over the next couple of years, making the share of renewable energy pivotal to meet the increasing demands, according to a global growth consulting firm. With these synergies, both the countries are most likely to benefit mutually and enhance their capabilities significantly, Abhay Bhargava, head, energy and power systems practice, Middle East and North Africa, Frost & Sullivan said in a statement. The Economic Times, January 31.

North America

More than 12,000 megawatts of U.S. wind farms were under construction at the end of 2013, the most ever, as developers raced to qualify for an expiring federal tax credit, according to the American Wind Energy Association. That’s about 11 times the amount of wind power that went into service last year after installations plunged 92 percent to 1,084 megawatts, the Washington-based trade group said today in a statement. Bloomberg New Energy Finance, January 30.

President Obama said the debate over climate change is settled during his State of the Union speech on Tuesday evening. "The shift to a cleaner energy economy won’t happen overnight, and it will require tough choices along the way," Obama said. "But the debate is settled. Climate change is a fact.” The Hill, January 28.

UK

A group of modernising pro-green Tories will today launch a fight-back within the party when they publish a manifesto outlining plans for a £5bn-a-year boost in economic growth, creating 300,000 jobs, by pursuing environmentally friendly policies. In a sign of their determination to challenge Tory climate-change sceptics after a leading minister said that David Cameron was getting rid of "green crap", the modernisers will say that the most successful economies of the future will embrace both the environment and competitiveness. The Guardian, February 3.

Prince Charles has dismissed climate change "deniers" as the "headless chicken brigade". Campaigners who share his long-held green stance faced a "barrage of sheer intimidation" from the powerful anti-climate change lobby, the prince said. He made the remarks at an awards ceremony at Buckingham Palace on Thursday evening. The heir to the throne has previously called on politicians to face down "sceptics and... corporate lobbyists". BBC News, January 31.

Innovation

Smart meter revenues will grow to $7.4bn (£4.5bn) in the next four years from $5.2bn in 2012, according to a report from Telefonica published late last week. Asia and Europe will be major drivers of market growth, the report stated, predicting that more than 800 million smart meter devices will be installed worldwide by 2020. BusinessGreen, February 3.

The global market for ultra-efficient light emitting diode (LED) technologies will reach $25bn by 2023, expanding 12-fold over the course of the next decade. That is the eye-catching prediction from a new report from Lux Research, which predicts that the market will deliver a compound annual growth rate of 25 per cent over the next 10 years. BusinessGreen, January 31.

The UK Government remains committed to electric cars and there is “no date in the diary” for stopping subsidies to make them more affordable. That was the message from Nick Clegg, Deputy Prime Minister, as he helped to launch Go Ultra Low, a £2.5 million campaign to promote the benefits of electric and plug-in hybrid cars to buyers. Clegg was speaking at an event held at the Ace Café in north London, where he also announced the government will invest £9 million to install more rapid charge-points to make motorway journeys by electric car feasible. The Daily Telegraph, January 31.

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