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In the headlines: LED street lights save Las Vegas $2 million per year & Japan shuts its last functioning nuclear reactor

16 September 2013
In the headlines: LED street lights save Las Vegas $2 million per year & Japan shuts its last functioning nuclear reactor

Clean Revolution news stories you may have missed:


One of Britain’s leading astronomers has said that if plans to curb carbon dioxide emissions fail, the only way to buy time and stop climate change would be to ‘hack the planet’ through geoengineering. Astronomer royal Lord Rees of Ludlow said during the annual British Science Festival in Newcastle that geoengineering, although controversial, might help save the planet. He is pessimistic that measures to tackle climate change will be effective within the next 20 years, as carbon dioxide levels have reached 400 parts per million (ppm) and are set to increase even more, amplifying global warming. Blue and Green Tomorrow, September 13.


Japan is shutting down its last functioning nuclear reactor, with no timetable for a restart. Reactor 4 at Ohi in western Japan will stop generating electricity in the early hours of Monday. Analysts say Japan will be without nuclear power until December at the earliest, the longest shut-down since the 1960s. The Japanese public turned against nuclear power after the meltdowns at the Fukushima plant in 2011. BBC News, September 15.

The new Australian Cabinet will be the first in six years to not have a ministerial role for climate change issues, merging instead global warming with the wider environment portfolio. Announcing his Cabinet on Monday, incoming Prime Minister Tony Abbott appointed Greg Hunt, the Liberal-National Coalition’s spokesman on climate change issues since 2009, as the new Minister for the Environment. Reuters Point Carbon, September 16.


Economists have warned that China has a choice between a short-term growth economy and one that grows sustainably. Commentators will be watching closely as government officials, academics and multi-national business leaders from 90 countries across Asia meet at the Summer Davos Forum in Dalian on Wednesday to discuss solutions to global issues and risks. Writing in the Financial Times, China’s premier Li Keqiang said, “[The Chinese] economy will maintain its sustained and healthy growth and China will stay on the path of reform and opening up”, stimulated by an economic-slowdown. Blue and Green Tomorrow, September 10.


The European Parliament has backed proposals to limit the amount of food crops used to produce biofuel. MEPs say "first-generation" biofuels - from crops like corn - should not exceed 6% of fuel used in transport by 2020, amending the target from 10%.They want "advanced biofuels" - sourced from seaweed or certain types of waste - to make up at least 2.5%.Biofuels have been seen as a way to cut fossil fuel use, but using food crops can displace food production. MEPs vote by 356 votes to 327 to support a legislative report by Corinne Lepage, a French liberal MEP, which puts a limit on the proportion of food-based biofuels that should make up the fuel mix. BBC News, September 11.


A group of MPs working on climate issues have asked the ministries of New and Renewable Energy and Finance to constitute an exclusive committee to fast track their recommendations on wind energy. Parliamentarians belonging to the Climate Parliament India Group made this demand while submitting the 'MPs Key Recommendations on Wind Energy' to New and Renewable Energy Minister Farooq Abdullah and Finance Minister P Chidambaram. "The key recommendations of the Parliamentarians from wind rich states need to be taken up as immediate measures by the government, for mitigating the various issues of wind energy sector and for reviving a sustainable growth of the sector," group convener Sanjay Jaiswal said. Z News, September 10.

North America

During a visit to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in Golden, Colo., Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz dedicated the new Energy Systems Integration Facility (ESIF), which will help manufacturers, utilities, and public and private sector researchers integrate renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies into the nation’s energy infrastructure. Speaking at the event, Moniz also laid out the mission of DOE, under his reign. “There’s no question our script comes from the President’s Climate Action Plan,” said the Energy Secretary, who highlighted four key technologies to save energy and reduce carbon emissions: wind, photovoltaic solar, LED lighting, and batteries for EVs. Energy Manager Today, September 12.

California lawmakers sent legislation to Governor Jerry Brown that would give regulators the ability to authorize a $10 monthly fee on power bills and expand a program requiring utilities buy excess solar electricity from customers. The State Assembly today gave final approval to the bill, which amends restrictions put in place during the 2000-2001 power crisis that limited the California Public Utilities Commission’s ability to raise rates for certain customers. The regulator would be able to approve fixed charges of no more than $10 a month to customer bills starting in 2016. Bloomberg, September 12.


Ed Davey has said significant shale gas production in the UK will require other areas of the economy to make "extra efforts" to decarbonise, if the country is to meet its mandatory climate change targets. The Energy and Climate Change Secretary was responding to a new report by his department's chief scientific adviser, Professor David Mackay, and Dr Timothy Stone, senior adviser to the secretary of state, assessing how potential greenhouse emissions from UK shale gas could fit within the country's legally binding carbon budgets. BusinessGreen, September 9.


Carbon capture and storage (CCS) is a proposed route to mitigate fossil-fuel greenhouse gases' impact on Earth's atmosphere, oceans and climate. In CCS, CO2 is captured from fuel burning at the power station, and pumped back down into the very rocks that maybe once yielded that fuel.Likely storage sites for CO2 will be depleted gas and oil fields one to two km down, with many candidates in the old oil and gas fields of the North Sea. BBC News, September 13.

LED lighting

Las Vegas has installed 42,000 new LED streetlights and is saving $2 million a year on reduced electricity bills and maintenance costs. The new LEDs cut the city’s electricity bill for streetlights in half, and the new bulbs last almost three times as long as the old bulbs before they must be replaced, reducing the city’s maintenance costs. Energy Manager Today, September 11.

Human-centric lighting, generally tunable solid-state lighting (SSL) that increases our comfort or wellbeing, can become a significant segment of the overall LED-based lighting market, according to LightingEurope. A joint study by LightingEurope, the German Electrical and Electronic Manufacturers’ Association (ZVEI), and consulting firm A.T. Kearney projects human-centric lighting as a multibillion-Euro business that could hit EUR 1.4B (billion) in 2020. LEDs Magazine, September 11.#

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