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In the headlines: record-breaking solar in Germany and more

Date
14 January 2013
In the headlines: record-breaking solar in Germany and more

Here's a global snapshot of some of the biggest clean technology, economy and policy headlines, from the week commencing January 14, 2013.

Clean Revolution news stories you may have missed


Global

Saudi Arabia and Turkey could lead the solar market in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, with the prediction of hitting nearly 3.5GW by 2015. That’s according to a study by GTM Research in collaboration with the Emirates Solar Industry Association (ESIA), which forecasted the annual solar market in MENA countries could represent 8% of total demand globally by 2015. It claims the MENA region has the “greatest technical potential” for renewable energy in the world, mostly in solar. The potential is believed to be driven by rapidly increasing energy usage, a young and empowered workforce and an increasing awareness of the costs of burning natural resources. Energy Live News, January 11.

Australia

Australia’s giant and record heatwave, which is sparking hundreds of bush fires across the land, has forced the country’s meteorologists to redraw their national temperature scales – upwards. In an unprecedented move, the Australian Bureau of Meteorology has extended the temperature range on its charts from the previous cap of 50 degrees Centigrade – 122 degrees Fahrenheit – to 54 degrees C, which is more than 129 degrees in Fahrenheit terms. At the same time, it has added two entirely new colours – deep purple and pink – to show the new extreme range on its interactive weather maps. A patch of purple, indicating 50+, is now visible on one of the temperature charts for next week. The Independent, January 8.

China

Beijing will match a 60,000-yuan ($9,640) central government subsidy for electric vehicles, accelerating efforts to spur sales and reduce smog in one of the most heavily polluted cities in China. The Beijing government will soon announce measures that include the financial aid, which will be on top of the amount offered by the central government, Chen Guiru, deputy head of the local government arm in charge of alternative-energy- vehicle development, said in an interview today at a conference in Hainan, China. Bloomberg, January 10.

China, the world's top energy consumer, will more than double its installed solar power capacity this year from 2012, the government said on Wednesday, driving up shares of U.S.-listed Chinese solar companies. China aims to add 10 gigawatts (GW) of installed solar power capacity this year, up from 7 GW at the end of last year, the government said on its website, citing an annual national energy work conference this week. Reuters, January 9.

Europe

2012 was another record breaking year for solar power in Germany and 2013 is shaping up to be the year home energy storage really takes off in the nation. According to the German Solar Industry Association (BSW-Solar), Germany now boasts 1.3 million solar power systems - with most of those privately owned. These systems generated an estimated 28 billion kilowatt hours of clean electricity last year; representing year on year growth of 45 percent. Energy Matters, January 3.

The EU has reacted coolly to speculation about a potential new direction in US climate policy during President Barack Obama’s second term. EurActiv understands that US State Department officials expect a significant statement on climate change, imminently. This could be made either by Obama in his State of the Union address in early February, or by Secretary of State-nominee John Kerry in his confirmation address shortly before. But a senior EU official's lead reaction was merely that Brussels would be “closely watching what is said in those statements”. EurActiv, January 11.

India

Citigroup has forecast the Indian economy will grow at 5.4% in FY '13, higher than prime minister Manmohan Singh's expectation of a growth of just about 5 per cent, and expects the Reserve Bank of India to cut rates by as much as 75basis points in 2013. Concerns over a further slowdown in the economy grew after a general slowdown in exports and industrial output, reflecting weak consumption demand. The Economic Times, January 14.

North America

The US Navy has announced a pilot program that will bring electric vehicle charging stations to Navy Exchanges in Maryland and California over the next two years. The first store will be NEX Bethesda, Md., at 48 cents per kilowatt hour. Stations will be added at NEX San Diego and NEX North Island this year and NEX Annapolis, Md., in 2014. Pricing may differ but will be competitive with stations in the surrounding area, the release said. The locations were chosen due to a high concentration of electric vehicles. Stars and Stripes, January 9.

UK

International legislators will this week try to set aside political differences at a high-level summit aiming to accelerate the development of effective policies to tackle climate change. The inaugural Globe Climate Legislation Summit (GLOBE) will take place over the next two days in London, giving policy makers from 33 countries a chance to share best practices for driving green growth and curbing greenhouse gas emissions at a national level. GLOBE will today unveil its third "audit" of climate legislation across the world's major developed and emerging economies, in a bid to understand how much progress needs to be made over the next two years. The report reveals that 32 of the 33 countries analysed have progressed or are progressing significant climate and, or, clean energy-related legislation. BusinessGreen, January 14.

Electric Vehicles

Lord Drayson's low carbon racing team has become the first to join the new championship showcasing the world's fastest electric cars. The former Science Minister's Drayson Racing Technologies announced on Wednesday it will enter the FIA's Formula E series, which from 2014 will see electric cars powered by renewable energy race around the streets of 10 cities including Rio, Rome, and possibly London. BusinessGreen, January 11.

Nissan Motor Co. began building its Leaf electric cars for the first time at a plant in the U.S., aiming to lift disappointing sales of the $35,000 vehicle by introducing a less expensive model. Nissan in February will begin selling Leafs made at its Smyrna, Tenn., plant. The Leaf has been assembled at Japanese plant and exported around the globe. Wall Street Journal, January 9.

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