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In the headlines: New wind generation records in Ireland and Ban Ki-moon says “Next year is the year for climate action”

16 December 2013
In the headlines: New wind generation records in Ireland and Ban Ki-moon says “Next year is the year for climate action”
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“Next year is the year for climate action,” according to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. In an article for LinkenIN’s ‘Big idea 2014′ series Ban says global ambitions to eradicate poverty and drive development in the world’s poorest countries depend on achieving a comprehensive climate change agreement in two years. “Countries have agreed to finalize an ambitious global legal agreement on climate change by 2015. But there is a steep climb ahead and 2014 is a pivotal year for generating the action and momentum that will propel us forward,” he writes. RTCC, December 11.
Only 5% of the world’s top 250 companies take environmental risks to their operations seriously, according to consulting firm KPMG. It warns that despite 75% of those businesses acknowledging resource scarcity and climate change pose a threat, few seem ready to factor this into their long term strategies. “More and more investors accept that environmental and social megaforces put company value at stake,” said KPMG’s head of climate change Yvo de Boer. RTCC, December 9.
To those of us seemingly surrounded by climate burnout and indifference, it is perhaps comforting that important places in the world are experiencing their first big wave of green consumerism. This is the picture that emerges from GlobeScan's latest 20-country consumer poll that tracks climate concerns and low-carbon behavior. Results show low-carbon consumer behavior is surging in emerging economies such as China, India, Indonesia and Mexico. Asked what, if anything, they have done over the last year to reduce climate change, increasing numbers of consumers in these countries volunteered that they had bought energy-saving light bulbs or low-energy appliances. Green Biz, December 5.
Asia – Pacific
In a welcome piece of good news for the Australian renewable energy industry, efforts to close the $10 billion Clean Energy Finance Corporation have been thwarted in the Senate, and the innovative green investment bank is set to continue at least until next July, when a new Senate will sit. The reprieve means that the CEFC will continue investments in new and enabling technologies and projects for at least another six months. It has around 170 projects it is looking at, but according to recent testimony given to a senate inquiry, the CEFC expects to disburse a total of around $1 billion this financial year, unlocking around a further $3 billion in private capital. Renew Economy, December 11.
The NSW government has called for expressions of interest in the state's renewable energy assets. The assets of Green State Power will be sold to fund much-needed infrastructure. They include hydro generators, a wind farm and 1634 hectares of Mallee trees to be registered with the Clean Energy Regulator for carbon storage. The package has a combined output of 105 megawatts, with long-term contracts in place for a proportion of the output, Treasurer Mike Baird said in a statement on Monday. Sky News, December 9.
The effects of climate change have cost China US$32.9 billion since 1990, according to the National Development and Reform Commission, the country’s leading planning agency. It warns the country is ill-prepared to deal with the consequences of global warming, and has outlined a national adaptation plan to ensure all sectors take the threat seriously. The NDRC recommends further investment in developing resilient infrastructure, warning that 2000 people died in the past two decades as a result of extreme weather events.RTCC, December 10.

The past few weeks have brought new wind generation records in Ireland, the United Kingdom, and Germany, with the last resulting from winter storm Xaver, which blasted northern Europe late last week.The Irish record came November 8, according to the Irish Wind Energy Association (IWEA), which reported that total wind generation at 8 a.m. reached 1,564 MW, enough to power the equivalent of 1 million Irish homes and over 45 percent of system demand at the time. Renew Economy, December 13.
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) will focus on energy efficiency and renewable energy investments over the next five years and slash its funding for coal projects, a managing director at the bank told Reuters. On Tuesday, the board of directors at the EBRD – a multilateral development bank set up in 1991 to help former Soviet countries develop market economies – approved its energy strategy from 2014 to the end of 2018. The Guardian, December 10.
The price of photovoltaic panels is rising in India as a global supply glut eases and a weaker rupee increases the cost of imports, according to Rays Power Experts Pvt., a solar plant contractor. Crystalline silicon modules are selling in India at 35 rupees (57 cents) to 45 rupees a watt, up about 5 percent this year, Rahul Gupta, Rays Power director, said by phone today. Bloomberg New Energy Finance, December 12.
Changing rainfall patterns are slashing bamboo production in northeast India, leading to losses of jobs and businesses. Erratic rainfall and dry spells have led bamboo to flower more frequently, then die back afterward, local people say. That has hurt families who are dependent on the grass for their livelihoods and even for food.Thomson Reuters Foundation, December 9.
North America
Canadian Solar Inc., this year’s second-best performer on the Nasdaq Stock Market, has surged more than sevenfold as a shift toward selling power plants led to its first profitable quarter in more than two years. More than 41 percent of the Guelph, Ontario-based company’s third-quarter revenue came from developing solar farms, especially in Canada, up from 22 percent a year earlier. That led to net income of $27.7 million.Bloomberg New Energy Finance, December 12.
Home Depot is the largest retailer of light bulbs in the world, so it’s got a birds eye view on who’s buying next-generation light bulbs — both LEDs and compact fluorescents — in which cities throughout the U.S. The company took sales data for over 2013 and census data and created this heat map-style data visualization showing off the top 10 and top 50 cities that bought energy-efficient light bulbs per capita. View them map –Gigaom, December 10.
The debate surrounding the viability of the UK's next wave of offshore wind farm development has taken another twist today, as DONG Energy acquired the rights to develop Centrica's Race Bank site at the same time as ScottishPower shelved plans for a major new project in Scotland. DONG Energy announced this morning that it has purchased Centrica's Race Bank offshore wind farm project for £50m as part of the Danish company's plans to build 6.5GW of capacity by the end of the decade. BusinessGreen, December 13.
Renewable energy is the nation's second most popular investment category after property and is number one among young people, according to a new survey released today. When questioned by One Poll on their preferred investment areas, a third of the 2,000 respondents chose renewable energy, while 43 per cent named property. However, these positions were reversed when the question was posed to 18 to 24 year olds, where 39 per cent plumped for green energy and 36 per cent for property. BusinessGreen, December 13.
Predicting weather may be an inexact science, but it can help make wind energy more powerful. IBM researchers are testing an approach that uses sensors, advanced imaging technologies and sophisticated analytics to make forecasts of wind conditions far more accurate, ahead of time. The technology, called Hybrid Renewable Energy Forecasting, or HyRef, is targeted initially at wind farms, where it can be used to monitor wind speed, temperature and direction. In theory, it also could be relevant for solar generating projects. HyRef has its roots in the IBM Deep Thunder research project, begun in 1996 to help provide "hyper-local, short-term forecasting and customized weather modeling for clients". BusinessGreen, December 13.
Global crowd-funding provider has launched a new initiative, dubbed Kiva Labs, designed to make it easier for environmental and development projects to access crowd funding. The new initiative, which was launched yesterday, is backed by a $3m Global Impact Award from IT giant Google and is designed to take's established crowd-funding model and connect it with high impact green and social development projects being pioneered by non-profits and social enterprises that often struggle to gain access to capital.BusinessGreen, December 13.

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