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In the headlines: India's green spending to hit $29.2 billion and UK solar likely to top records this year

Date
23 October 2013
In the headlines: India's green spending to hit $29.2 billion and UK solar likely to top records this year

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The cost of onshore wind and hydroelectricity is already matching coal and gas, and prices are expected to fall further among other renewable energy technologies as deployment increases. Research by the World Energy Council (WEC) and Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) has found that while electricity from fossil fuel makes up almost two-thirds of global power production, net investment in renewable power capacity is outpacing traditional generation, resulting in economies of scale and technical improvements that are putting downward pressure on clean energy costs. BusinessGreen, October 17.

The 26 countries of Latin America and the Caribbean are accounting for a rising share of global clean energy investment as governments in the region strengthen policy support and local supply chains expand, according to Climatescope 2013, a new report from the Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF), member of the Inter-American Development Bank Group and Bloomberg New Energy Finance. Bloomberg New Energy Finance, October 16.

A survey of CEOs has found that whilst business leaders are committed to reorienting their companies to be more sustainable, they feel constrained by current market structures, incentives and expectations. Just 38% of CEOs felt that they are currently able to accurately quantify the business value of their consumer’s sustainability initiatives. The UN Global Compact-Accenture CEO Survey 2013 is based on insights from over 1,000 CEOs across 103 countries and 27 industries. Encouragingly, 84% of survey participants believe that business should lead the efforts to define and deliver sustainable business goals. However, only a third report that business is making sufficient efforts to address global sustainability challenges. Blue & Green Tomorrow, October 16.

Asia – Pacific

Climate change will lead to more flooding and drought in East Asia and could chop 5.3 percent off annual gross domestic product by the year 2100 if measures aren’t adopted to tackle it, according to the Asian Development Bank. Rising temperatures in China, Japan, Mongolia and South Korea will spur more flooding and tropical storms in coastal areas and make northern agricultural regions more prone to drought, the ADB said today in its “Economics of Climate Change in East Asia” report. Bloomberg, October 17.

Two Japanese clean energy funds plan to raise about 1 billion yen ($10 million) from the public and urge regional financial institutions to provide loans for wind and solar projects to boost the local economy. Ohisama Energy Fund Co. and Japan Green Fund Co. will help regional power producers raise money, they said in a statement yesterday. The Institute for Sustainable Energy Policies will help developers set up business plans. The group is raising 350 million yen for a solar and biomass project in Nagano prefecture and plans to raise money for other developments in Hokkaido, Fukushima, Kanagawa and Yamaguchi prefectures by early next year. Bloomberg New Energy Finance, October 18.

China

China could play an instrumental role in Britain's future nuclear power generation after George Osborne said companies in the world's second largest economy would be allowed to buy into the sector. The decision would pave the way for Chinese companies to take a stake in or own 100% of new British nuclear power stations. The chancellor made the announcement at the Taishan nuclear power plant on the final day of his trade visit to China, which was aimed at strengthening the UK's business ties with the country. The Guardian, October 17.

A deal signed with London this week to help tackle air pollution in Beijing is the latest in a string of moves to solve pollution problems through international cooperation. Beijing Mayor Wang Anshun and his counterpart in London, Boris Johnson, signed a special memorandum of understanding between the two cities on Sunday, agreeing to exchange information on science, technology and environmental issues. Shared areas of interest include greener electric bus fleets, energy efficiency programs and measures to improve air quality, according to a news release from the London government. China Daily, October 18.

Europe

The European Union's Energy Commissioner has been accused of attempting to conceal information on the full scale of the subsidies enjoyed by fossil fuels, in a move that has angered supporters of renewable energy. German news site Sueddeutsche this week reported that Commissioner Gunther Oettinger crossed out controversial figures estimating subsidies for fossil fuels in a draft of an upcoming communication on the EU electricity market. BusinessGreen, October 18.

A coalition of business, politicians and NGOs have published a ‘National Energy Agreement’ to scale up renewable energy generation and energy efficiency measures to meet Holland’s 2020 targets. The policy looks to increase the proportion of energy generated from renewable sources from 4.4% to 14% in 2020 with an investment of €375 million, together with proposals to shut down five coal power plants by 2017. The authors say this will help the country to achieve a 60% reduction in CO2 emissions by 2050 compared to 1990 levels. RTCC, October 15.

India

India's spending on green IT and sustainability initiatives will reach USD 29.2 billion in 2013 a 17.6 percent increase from USD 24.8 billion that was spent in 2012, according to Gartner, Inc. In the Gartner report “Hype Cycle for Green IT and Sustainability in India, 2013,” analysts said while businesses and investors in India are slowly waking up to green and sustainability issues, policymakers in the government are clearly pushing for changes that will likely set the tone for green and sustainable, low-carbon economic growth in the country in the coming years. Information Week, October 16.

India's energy sector will need USD 2.3 trillion in investments by 2035, accounting for bulk of the energy share in South Asia, according to the Asian Development Bank. In its 'Energy Outlook for Asia and the Pacific' report released on Monday, ADB also said that energy pricing is a "core problem" in India. "South Asia's investment needs are the second largest at USD 2.4 trillion (or 20.6 per cent of total investment requirements in Asia and the Pacific)," said the report. The Times of India, October 14.

North America

In a closely watched new solar project called Solana, the energy is gathered in a three-square-mile patch of desert bulldozed flat near Gila Bend, about 50 miles southwest of Phoenix. A sprawling network of parabolic mirrors focuses the sun’s energy on black-painted pipes, which carry the heat to huge tanks of molten salt. When the sun has set, the plant can draw heat back out of the molten salt to continue making steam and electricity. The emerging technology is one way that the utility industry is trying to make electricity from the sun available even when it is not shining, overcoming one of the major shortcomings of solar power. The New York Times, October 17.

The eastern US state of Maryland has completed construction of its first commercial solar microgrid – one of the first for the nation: a 402kW system combining grid-interactive energy storage and a 1,368 panel solar PV canopy array. The milestone microgrid project was developed by Standard Solar and Solar Grid Storage for Konterra Realty corporate headquarters in Laurel, Maryland. Renew Economy, October 16.

UK

The UK has installed around 3,743 small and medium wind turbines totaling 37.52MW capacity in 2012, representing an increase of 71% compared to 3,086 turbines totaling 21.92MW at the end of 2011, according to a report by RenewableUK. In its report titled, 'Small and Medium Wind Market Report 2013', RenewableUK has revealed that 2012 figures represent an all-time high in turbine installation rate across all scales of the small and medium wind sector. Energy Business Review, October 18.

Installations of solar power in the UK are likely to top records this year, and could offset some of the expensive dependence on gas, research has found, but the global outlook for green energy is still gloomy. Investment in clean energy around the world fell to $45.9bn (£29bn) in the third quarter of 2013, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance, a 14% drop on the second quarter and a reduction of a fifth compared with the same period last year. While investment in clean technology for the UK has risen, from $1.6bn (£1bn) to $2.6bn (£1.6bn), the sector is under threat as rising energy bills have prompted calls for green subsidies to be scrapped. The Guardian, October 14.  

Innovation

The second quarter of 2013 saw US solar patents outnumber fuel cell patents for the first time, according to research by Heslin Rothenberg Farley & Mesiti. The number of solar patents jumped 29 to 246 relative to the first quarter and were up 35 compared to a year prior, Clean Energy Patent Growth Index. Toyota – the company with the most clean energy patents in 2012 –  retook the quarterly crown from first quarter winner GM. Toyota boasted 48 clean energy patents in the second quarter thanks to its 34 fuel cell and 13 hybrid/electric vehicle patents. Toyota has more hybrid/electric vehicle patents than any other company. Energy Manager Today, October 17.

ABB has launched a new electric vehicle fast charging station. The Terra 23 multistandard DC fast charger can charge EVs in 30 to 60 minutes, the company says. ABB says the Terra 23 is designed for areas where EV drivers plan to stay 30 to 60 minutes, such as retail locations, commercial office environments and EV auto dealerships. Its 20 kW design allows for quick and easy installation on widely available 3 x 32A low-cost grid connections. If in the future charging needs change, installed Terra 23 charging stations can be field upgraded to support the full 50 kW power level, the company says. Environmental Leader, October 16.

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