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In the headlines: latest IPCC report is published and UK and China to work together on carbon capture and utilisation and storage

30 September 2013
In the headlines: latest IPCC report is published and UK and China to work together on carbon capture and utilisation and storage

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Global warming is “unequivocal” and humans are turning up the heat — but more slowly since 1998, according to a report from the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released today. Each of the last three decades has been warmer at the Earth’s surface than any previous decade since 1850, says the 36-pageSummary for Policymakers of the IPCC Working Group’s assessment report, approved today by IPCC member governments in Stockholm. In the Northern Hemisphere, 1983–2012 was “likely” the warmest 30-year period of the last 1400 years. Environmental Leader, September 27.

The world's largest concentrated solar power plant began producing electricity this week, after one of its units synchronised with the power grid for the first time. Ivanpah, a 392MW plant built by BrightSource Energy and NRG Solar, fed energy from one of three units onto the power grid, delivering it to PacificGas and Electric (PG&E), which has a power purchase agreement with the system. BusinessGreen, September 26.


TrustPower Australia Holdings has proposed the development of the Palmer Wind Farm, which is now before the Mid Murray Council in South Australia. The wind farm, to be located on the Eastern Mount Lofty ranges between Palmer, Tungkillo and Sanderston in South Australia, would comprise 130 turbines. TrustPower have completed preliminary investigations and are commencing detailed planning application studies as well as community and stakeholder engagement for the development. Ecogeneration, September 26.

JinkoSolar has entered into agreements for the supply of 274 MW of PV modules with ACCIONA, of which 24 MW will be used for the Royalla Solar Plant in the Australian Capital Territory. According to the agreement JinkoSolar will supply modules starting from October 2013 for the project, which will be built by Acciona Energy Oceania. JinkoSolar will also supply Oakleaf Investment Holdings 86, a joint-venture by ACCIONA and its South African local partner, with 94 MW of PV modules for a solar farm located in Northern Cape Province, South Africa . Ecogeneration, September 26.


The UK and China are set to work together to develop low-carbon technologies, in a ground-breaking collaboration on carbon capture and utilisation and storage (CCUS). Scientists from both countries will today sign in London a 10-year memorandum of understanding that aims to advance knowledge around the emerging technology. Progress on the development of CCS has been painfully slow, with no countries yet operating a demonstration project. The new collaboration will aim to launch CCUS demonstration in technologies in China, within three to five years. BusinessGreen, September 27.

China has offered tax rebates to manufacturers of solar power products in an attempt to prop up the struggling sector and also cut pollution levels. Manufacturers will be refunded 50% of the value added tax from 1 October 2013 to 31 December 2015, the state-owned Xinhua news agency has reported. Chinese firms emerged as key players in the solar power sector in recent years. BBC News, September 30.


A handful of European governments have thrown the U.N.’s main market to cut greenhouse gas emissions a lifeline by pledging to finance emission reduction projects that are viewed by the private sector as unprofitable. Great Britain, Germany, Sweden, Norway and Belgium plan to pay more than current market prices for carbon credits known as Certified Emission Reductions (CERs) from emission reductions projects registered under the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) in the world's least developed countries. Thomson Reuters Foundation, September 26.

The French government has said a carbon tax will be introduced in the country next year that is expected to generate some €4 billion (£3.3 billion) for renewables projects and energy efficiency schemes. Fossil fuels firms will be taxed in proportion to the amount of greenhouse gas emissions they generate. The government said it would have a minor impact on consumers, at least in its first year. Blue and Green Tomorrow, September 27.


India’s government has unveiled plans to build an “ultra mega” 4 GW solar power plant in the northwestern state of Rajasthan. According to the government, the plant will be built on a 23,000-acre (9308 ha) site close to Sambhar Lake, about 75 km from Jaipur, the state capitol. “Being the first project of this scale anywhere in the world this project is expected to set a trend for large scale solar power development in the world,” the government said in a statement. The plant’s proposed capacity is around three times India’s current total solar power production. Renewable Energy World, September 25.

North America

The U.S. can reduce its emissions of greenhouse gases 17 percent by 2020 if it enacts proposed rules to cut pollution from power plants and curbs methane leaks, the U.S. State Department said in a report today. In order for the nation to meet the goal laid out by President Barack Obama for cutting reductions relative to 2005 levels, the country will need to follow through with proposals to curb carbon-dioxide emissions from power plants, spur use of high-efficiency light bulbs, and policies to boost solar and wind deployment, said the draft report, which will be submitted to the United Nations. Bloomberg, September 26.

Starting October 1, California's Safer Consumer Products law (also called the Green Chemistry Initiative) goes into effect, with the goal of making hundreds of commonplace consumer items safer - from shampoos and cosmetics, to cleaning supplies and food packaging. Using the muscle of the biggest consumer market in the US, California wants to reduce toxic chemicals in consumer products, create new business opportunities in green chemistry, and reduce the burden on individuals and businesses in having to struggle to identify what's in the products they buy for their families and customers. Sustainable Business, September 27.


The UK is one of only five countries regarded as having the most sustainable national energy systems in a new ranking by the World Energy Council (WEC). The London-based forum gives the UK a AAA rating alongside Denmark, Sweden, Switzerland and Spain in terms of how the countries balance the "energy trilemma" of energy security, energy equity, and environmental sustainability. While the UK is behind the other four countries, it ranks well in terms of the sustainability of its energy system, providing a welcome fillip for the government, which has overseen a huge expansion of offshore wind, but has also been criticised for stalling investment in renewable energy by failing to push through the Energy Bill fast enough and delaying key policy details. BusinessGreen, September 25.

Gym bunnies have another reason to feel smug: the energy they use to burn fat is being used to keep the lights on. The Cadbury House gym in Congresbury near Bristol is thought to be the first in the world to install equipment that powers itself as well as the building. It has spent around £600,000 on 42 new pieces of ARTIS Technogym equipment such as bikes, cross trainers and 'vario' machines that are hooked up to its own energy supply.Once the user begins to exercise the equipment powers up and, after generating enough electricity to switch on the devices' displays, feeds the surplus into the building's energy supply. BusinessGreen, September 30.


Researchers at the German Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems have achieved a new world record for the conversion of sunlight into electricity using a new solar cell structure with four solar subcells. It took three years of research on this particular solar technology to hit the new world record of 44.7 percent, an efficiency that is getting the world of solar tech tantalizingly close to 50 percent. Treehugger, September 25.

LED lighting

Philips Lumileds has announced the Luxeon Q family of phosphor-converted white LEDs in a 3.5×3.5-mm package, based on the blue die that the company announced last February. The company said that the epitaxy technology combined with light extraction and conversion enhancements at the die, phosphor, and package level deliver industry-leading efficacy for solid-state lighting (SSL) products. LEDs Magazine, September 24.

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