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In the headlines: UK sets new wind energy record & US electric vehicle sales pass 150,000

Date
02 December 2013
In the headlines: UK sets new wind energy record & US electric vehicle sales pass 150,000

Clean Revolution news stories you may have missed:

Global

Prolonged slowdowns in global warming could occur as frequently as 3-4.5 times a century, according to new analysis published by the UK Met Office. The findings were printed in a document distributed to delegates at the UN climate summit in Warsaw, which ended last weekend. “For simulated warming rates of 0.15 °C and 0.1 °C per decade (the observed long-term rate of warming from 1951–2012 is around 0.12 °C), 15-year slowdowns would be expected around 3 and 4.5 times respectively per century,” it reads. A recent slowdown in warming has been the subject of intense speculation by climate sceptics, who have cited it as proof that fears over climate change and temperature rises are unfounded. RTCC, November 27.

The World Bank and United Nations today appealed for billions of dollars to provide electricity for the poorest nations but said there would be no investment in nuclear power. "We don't do nuclear energy," said World Bank president Jim Yong Kim as he and UN leader Ban Ki-moon outlined efforts to make sure all people have access to electricity by 2030. Kim said $600-$800 billion a year will be needed to meet the campaign target of universal access to electricity, doubling energy efficiency and doubling the share of renewable energy by 2030. Business Standard, November 28.

Asia – Pacific

Japan’s domestic shipments of solar cells and modules rose more than threefold in the fiscal second quarter amid a push to expand energy supplies. Local shipments totaled 2,075 megawatts in the three months ended Sept. 30, compared with 627 megawatts in the same quarter last year, according to a statement from the Japan Photovoltaic Energy Association today. Exports fell to 53 megawatts from 153 megawatts a year ago. Bloomberg New Energy Finance, December 1.

Operators of a wind farm in waters off Fukushima prefecture, site of the March 2011 nuclear disaster, aim to cut the cost of setting up the floating turbines by half as they push to commercialize the technology. The pilot project, funded by the government and led by trading house Marubeni Corp., began operations on Nov. 11 with a 2-megawatt turbine connected to a substation. Both are about 20 kilometers (12 miles) off the coast of Fukushima. The project’s second phase will see the installation of two more turbines from Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. with 7 megawatts capacity each. Bloomberg New Energy Finance, November 28.

China

Beijing on Thursday became the third Chinese city to launch a carbon trading scheme to regulate soaring CO2 emissions from its main power generators and manufacturers, with first trades reported to have gone through at 50 yuan ($8.20) per permit. The capital followed newly established markets in Shenzhen and Shanghai, with Guangdong province set to open one in December that will be the second-biggest in the world after the European Union. Reuters, November 28.

Twenty-eight Chinese cities and city clusters that will promote the use of new energy vehicles were announced on Tuesday. Government subsidies will be provided for users and manufacturers from 2013 to 2015. The list includes Beijing, Tianjin, Taiyuan, Jincheng, Dalian, Shanghai, Ningbo, Hefei, Wuhu, Qingdao, Zhengzhou, Xinxiang, Wuhan, Xiangyang, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Haikou, Chengdu, Chongqing, Kunming, Xi'an and Lanzhou, as well as the three-city region of Changsha, Zhuzhou and Xiangtan in Hunan Province. It also consists of city clusters each comprising four to 10 cities in five provinces -- Hebei, Zhejiang, Fujian, Jiangxi and Guangdong. China.org.cn, November 26.

India

Demand for renewable-energy credits in India doubled in November as regulators enforce clean-power targets for companies and state-run utilities. There were 308,928 bids to buy wind, hydro and biomass credits, after 150,640 the previous month, according to data from trader REConnect Energy Solutions Pvt. The government requires electricity distributors and large industrial companies such as Coal India Ltd. and Tata Power Co. to get as much as 10 percent of their energy from renewables. Those unable to source enough locally must comply with the regulation by purchasing credits from clean-power plants. Bloomberg, November 28.

Bhutan has drawn up ambitious plans to replace its taxis and government vehicles with electric cars in a bid to make the national capital Thimpu an electric vehicles hotspot and emerge as a global centre for development of green technology. It will replace the 2,500 taxis in Thimphu with electric cars and also phase out fuel-powered government vehicles used by senior cabinet ministers and officials. The government has held talks with Japanese car maker Nissan and leading United States electric vehicle manufacturer Tesla. The Times of India, November 23.

North America

Duke Energy Corp., the largest U.S. utility owner, is developing three solar farms with 30 megawatts of capacity in eastern North Carolina. The 20-megawatt Dogwood Solar Power Project in Halifax County and two 5-megawatt plants, Windsor Cooper Hill Solar in Bertie County and Bethel Price Solar in Pitt County, will all be completed this year, the company said today in a statement. Bloomberg, November 25.

The United States currently has in excess of 43 GW currently waiting in its solar PV project pipeline awaiting completion, up 7% during the past 12 months and — upon completion — enough to power 6 million US homes. Furthermore, where previously it was large projects sized over 100 MW that dominated the US PV pipeline, that has shifted, according to research done by NPD Solarbuzz, shifting to smaller projects up to 30 MW in size. Renew Economy, November 27.

UK

David Cameron has reached out to modernising Tories by saying in private that he will argue in favour of the economic benefits of renewable energy in the New Year after George Osborne has "cauterised" public angst over green levies in his autumn statement. As the chancellor prepares to announce on Thursday that he will fund some of the green charges through general taxation, allowing for cuts to energy bills, the prime minister has told Tory modernisers that he will happily talk about green jobs once "public angst" has been addressed. The Guardian, November 29.

The UK's wind energy industry has set a new record today, delivering more than 6GW of power to the grid for the first time. National Grid confirmed the half-hour average output from the UK's wind farms reached 6,004MW between 2:30 and 3pm, providing 13.5 per cent of the UK's total electricity demand – equivalent to the demand from more than 3.4 million homes. BusinessGreen, November 29.

Innovation

The current conventional wisdom is that plug-in electric vehicles will be the clean, sleek cars of tomorrow. Think of Tesla's Model S or Chevrolet's Volt. These cars get most of the media attention, and policymakers tend to toss tax breaks their way. Not all automakers, however, are persuaded that plug-ins are the only way to go. This month, Honda, Toyota and Hyundai all announced plans to produce hydrogen fuel-cell passenger vehicles in the next few years. These cars will run on compressed hydrogen — and emit only water vapor as exhaust. The Washington Post, November 27.

In May, US plug-in electric vehicle sales hit the 100,000 marker, with an Alabama Mitsubishi i owner purchasing the 100,000 plug-in electric vehicle (more or less). Just about 6 months later, US plug-in electric vehicle (PEV) sales have passed the 150,000 marker, according to Plug In America’s PEV sales counter. No word on who bought the 150,000th PEV or what the model was — maybe we should check with Plug In America. Clean Technica, November 27.

Space-based solar power has been a futuristic fantasy since the 1970s but the advent of 21st century 3-D printing may bring it a step closer to reality. “The overall vision is to create a ‘satellite chrysalis’ with compact, durable ‘software DNA’ assembly instructions, and the ability to fabricate space system components on-orbit instead of building them on the ground,” explained Rob Hoyt, CEO and Chief Scientist of startup Tethers Unlimited, Inc. TUI has won two rounds of funding for its SpiderFab 3-D robotic printer from the NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) program. A $100,000 award allowed proving of the technical feasibility and value proposition of the technologies and won TUI a $500,000 award to continue development. Greentech, November 27.

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