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In the headlines: world's first lagoon project moves a step closer & U.S. solar industry has more workers than the coal mining industry

Date
22 April 2013
In the headlines: world's first lagoon project moves a step closer & U.S. solar industry has more workers than the coal mining industry

Clean Revolution news stories you may have missed:

Global

The world could be heading for a major economic crisis as stock markets inflate an investment bubble in fossil fuels to the tune of trillions of dollars, according to leading economists. "The financial crisis has shown what happens when risks accumulate unnoticed," said Lord (Nicholas) Stern, a professor at the London School of Economics. He said the risk was "very big indeed" and that almost all investors and regulators were failing to address it. The so-called "carbon bubble" is the result of an over-valuation of oil, coal and gas reserves held by fossil fuel companies. The Guardian, April 19.

Worldwide spending on industrial energy management systems and services, including software components, will grow from $11.3 billion in 2013 to $22.4 billion in 2020, according to a study from Navigant Research. That amounts to a compound annual growth rate of 10.3 percent, according to the report, titled Industrial Energy Management Systems. The North American market is the largest global region for IEMS revenues, but only by a slim margin over Europe. Energy Manager Today, April 17.

Australia

The gap between the country's best performing state or territory economy, Western Australia, and the worst, Tasmania, appears to be widening. CommSec's quarterly State of the States report ranks the Northern Territory in second place, suggesting the resource-rich regions are continuing to dominate. The report analyses eight key economic areas comprising economic growth, retail spending, equipment investment, unemployment, completed construction work, population growth, housing finance and dwelling commencements. Radio Australia, April 22.

The coalition will consider ramping up the national target for reduced emissions as part of its Direct Action policy, The Australian Financial Review reports. According to the newspaper, Opposition environment spokesman Greg Hunt told an audience in Canberra last night Australia would "easily meet" the already set target of reducing emissions by five per cent by 2020. Mr Hunt conceded his confidence was rooted in a future coalition government's willingness to consider raising the emissions reduction target as early as 2015. Business Spectator, April 19.

China

The crisis facing the European carbon market will not deter China from plans to establish its own emissions trading platform or its other climate pledges, the senior official responsible for climate change said on Thursday. Xie Zhenhua, vice-director of the National Development and Reform Commission in charge of climate policies, said efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions were a "domestic requirement". They were, he said, designed to address longstanding inefficiency and environmental problems, and did not depend on other nations, or on the state of the economy. AlertNet, April 18.

California has reopened a trade office in Shanghai after a 10-year hiatus as the US state tries to attract more investment from China and find opportunities in the world's second-biggest economy. "We have much to contribute to China, including banking, high-tech, environmental products, and we have much to collaborate on with China in another way, as China is developing rapidly with a great amount of capital available," Governor Jerry Brown said at Friday's official dedication of the California-China Office of Trade and Investment in Shanghai. "I want to promote climate-change technologies, renewable energy, building and plants efficiency, low-carbon fuel from California to China with more collaborations in the future," Brown said. China Daily, April 15.

Europe

Europe's climate chief vowed on Wednesday to fight on to save the EU's flagship environmental policy, the emissions trading system (ETS), after a serious blow on Tuesday when MEPs rejected reforms aimed at repairing the ailing system. MEPs voted 334 against to 315 in favour of "backloading" the market – a proposal aimed to reverse the plummeting price of carbon that has resulted from a surplus of permits in the ETS market – leading the price of carbon to fall by almost half to under €3 on Tuesday. The Guardian, April 17. 

Production of renewable energy in Germany reached a record high for one day on Thursday, a spring day with plenty of sunshine and wind. The nation‘s wind turbines and solar panels produced 35,902 megawatts of electricity, the Leipzig-based European Energy Exchange said Friday. The previous record had been almost 33,000 megawatts. Europe Online, April 19.

North America

According to The Solar Foundation's (TSF) recently released interactive map, California has more solar workers than actors; more Texans work in solar than ranching; and the U.S. solar industry has more workers than the coal mining industry. The top ten states for solar jobs in 2012 were: California, Arizona, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Colorado, New York, Texas, Michigan, and Ohio. Power Engineering, April 18.

The US could deliver a major new energy efficiency drive in the coming years, if a bipartisan group of Senators manage to steer a new energy efficiency bill through Congress at the second time of asking. Democrat Senator Jeanne Shaheen and Republican Senator Rob Portman unveiled a modified version of the energy bill that they first launched last year, only to see the legislative package shot down by Republican concerns over costs and regulatory impacts. Senator Portman said that the new bill had responded to Republican concerns and had been scaled back in an attempt to secure sufficient support to pass through both the Senate and the GOP-controlled House of Representatives. BusinessGreen, April 19.

UK

Plans to develop the world's first lagoon project that will generate predictable renewable energy from tidal flow in the UK are moving a step forward with the appointment of a plant design team. Leading UK consultancy, KGAL, has been appointed as the M&E design specialist for the proposed £650m Swansea Bay tidal lagoon the first of its kind in the world. Construction could begin as early as 2015 and, if it goes ahead, the proposed power plant should harness enough energy to generate over 400GW per year, enough to power over 100,000 homes, the population of Swansea, with low carbon, renewable electricity for up to 100 years, by 2017. Link2, April.

Electric Vehicles

A research project involving several of the UK's leading technology companies has delivered a major breakthrough in the development of fuel cell systems, raising the prospect of significant improvements in the power and performance of zero emission vehicles. The Enhanced Fuel Cell Systems project - led by Intelligent Energy and supported by Dyson Technology, engineering firm Ricardo, consultancy TRW Conekt, logistics giant DHL, and the government and industry-backed Technology Strategy Board - announced that it has successfully demonstrated a new fuel cell design that delivers an improvement of more than 30 per cent on the power density of previous systems. BusinessGreen, April 18.

LED Lighting

Electronics giant Panasonic is planning to donate up to 100,000 of its solar LED lanterns to people without electricity in several countries in Africa and Asia by 2018, the 100th anniversary of the company's founding. The initiative, dubbed the 100 Thousand Solar Lantern Project, will see Panasonic donating its solar technology to electricity-deprived communities in developing countries, mainly in Asia and Africa. In February, the company donated 3,000 of its compact solar lights to NGOs working in Burma in south-east Asia. Silicon Republic , April 16.

Belfast City Hall has become the first building in Europe to install a new 'intelligent' lighting system. The new LED floodlighting at the famous Belfast landmark is also the biggest single building project of its kind in Europe. The Council says it will help reduce both the energy bill and CO2 emissions. 4NI.co.uk, April 12.

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