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In the headlines: wind power being built in Norway and Sweden and Turkey expects “huge” investments in renewable power

Date
11 February 2013
In the headlines: wind power being built in Norway and Sweden and Turkey expects “huge” investments in renewable power

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Global

Japan’s biggest banks are following Goldman Sachs Group Inc. into domestic solar-power projects, anticipating an eightfold increase for investments in the industry. Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc., Mizuho Financial Group Inc. and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group Inc. expect the market to be worth as much as 1.8 trillion yen ($19 billion) over the next three years. That’s more than eight times the roughly 223 billion yen of investment into Japanese solar installations in 2012, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Bloomberg, February 7.

Turkey expects “huge” investments in renewable power in the next 10 years as growth in energy demand outpaces economic expansion, a government official said. Turkey needs to spend $10 billion on new power generation every year until 2023 to double capacity from the current 55 gigawatts, Deputy Energy Minister Hasan Murat Mercan said. “We expect huge investments in the coming years” to fund projects in wind, solar, hydropower, biomass and geothermal energy, he said. “Investing in renewables is one of the most important aspects” of supporting economic growth, he said. Bloomberg, February 4.


Australia

Wind is now cheaper than fossil fuels in producing electricity in Australia, the world’s biggest coal exporter, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Electricity can be supplied from a new wind farm in Australia at a cost of A$80 ($84) per megawatt hour, compared with A$143 a megawatt hour from a new coal-fired power plant or A$116 from a new station powered by natural gas when the cost of carbon emissions is included, according to a Bloomberg New Energy Finance report. Coal-fired power stations built in the 1970s and 1980s can still produce power at a lower cost than that of wind, the research shows. Bloomberg, February 7.

Read: Clean energy now cheaper than traditional fuels in Australia.

The Greens Party has unveiled an ambitious new document that outlines possible pathways to turn Western Australia – one of the most energy-intensive states in the world – into one where its stationary energy needs are powered 100 per cent by renewable energy sources in less than two decades. The Greens offer two principal scenarios to transform the coal and gas-dependent grid known as the South West Interconnected System (SWIS), which includes the capital Perth and the most populous regions. The first involves a heavier reliance on solar thermal and storage technologies currently deployed in Spain, the US and elsewhere, while the second relies more on currently cheaper technologies such as wind energy and solar PV. Both are supported by bio-mass and pumped hydro. Renew Economy, February 11.

China

China has leapfrogged the US to become the world’s biggest trading nation, bringing an end to the US’s post-war dominance of global commerce. The total value of US exports and imports in 2012 was $3.82 trillion (£2.4 trillion), the US Commerce Department has revealed. China’s customs administration has already announced that the country’s total trade last year was worth $3.87 trillion. The Daily Telegraph, February 10.

China has announced stricter motor fuel standards in a bid to reduce harmful emissions after smog blanketed much of the country last month -- but the measures will not come fully into force for almost five years. "Following the rapid growth in car ownership, automobile emissions are having an increasing impact on air pollution," the central government said in a statement posted on its website late Wednesday. The powerful State Council, or cabinet, mandated that sulphur content for both petrol and diesel would be set at no more than 10 parts per million (ppm) by 2017, a reduction from the current 50 ppm, according to the statement. Channel News Asia, February 7.

Europe

EON SE plans to build hundreds of megawatts of wind power in Norway and Sweden, where costs for developers are lower than other European countries. Germany’s biggest utility has proposals for nine onshore farms in Norway totaling 1,500 megawatts as the country’s low population density and strong winds allow larger and cheaper projects than in Germany or Poland, EON’s Mark Porter said. Bloomberg, February 8.

EU Climate Commissioner Connie Hedegaard has hailed the €960bn EU 2014-2020 budget as ‘important’ for the fight against climate change. The agreement means the EU’s decision to commit 20% of the entire budget to climate-related spending remains, however other related funding has been cut. Specifically international aid received a disproportionately large cut while investment in connecting Europe’s energy infrastructure, a move that would allow better pooling of renewable resources, was cut from €12bn to €5bn. RTCC.org, February 10.

India

India’s Prime Minster says developed countries are primarily responsible for addressing climate change, arguing his government has taken sufficient steps to promote low carbon growth. Speaking at the Delhi Sustainable Development Summit Dr Manmohan Singh said there could be “no progress” on avoiding the 2C target without further ambition from richer countries. “Our country is committed to meeting its domestic mitigation goal of reducing the emissions intensity of our GDP by 20-25 percent by year 2020 compared with 2005 levels,” he said. RTCC.org, February 4.

Tata Power, India’s second-largest generator, is planning to boost clean-energy generation to a fourth of its capacity as coal prices increase and the costs of alternative sources decline. A shortage of fossil fuel used in thermal power projects has prompted India to grant incentives to wind and solar plants to cut chronic blackouts that the government says shaves about 1.2 percentage points off annual economic growth. Bloomberg, February 5.

North America

Mukesh Ambani, the billionaire chairman of Reliance Industries Ltd., said that the U.S.’s development of shale oil and gas will make the country energy independent as early as 2018. “For many decades, we have heard that the U.S. will be independent of foreign imports of energy,” Ambani, whose company operates the largest oil refining complex in the world, said in an interview to be aired today on CNN’s “Fareed Zakaria GPS” program. “Realistically, I can now tell you that it is my judgment this will happen in the next five to seven years.” Bloomberg, February 10.

Greenhouse gas emissions from power plants fell 4.6 percent to 2,221 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent from 2010 to 2011, largely due to an increase in electricity generation from natural gas and renewable energy, according to the EPA’s second annual release of greenhouse gas data. Power plants, the country’s largest stationary source of GHGs, generated roughly two-thirds of total U.S. emissions. Petroleum and natural gas systems, which reported for the first time, were the second-largest sector with emissions of 225 mmt CO2e in 2011. Refineries were the third-largest emitting source with 182 mmt CO2e, a half percent increase over 2010. Environmental Leader, February 7.

UK

One of the UK's leading universities will today launch a new research programme aiming to help investors identify assets that could be left "stranded" by climate change, declining resources and the emergence of new green technologies. Backed by HSBC, Aviva, WWF-UK and Climate Change Capital, the four-year University of Oxford research programme is attempting to flag up high-carbon sectors and assets that could be dramatically devalued or written off by the continuing shift towards a greener economy. BusinessGreen, February 11.

Electric Vehicles

Schindler Elevator Corporation and logistics firm UPS have announced separate initiatives that will add a total of 600 alternative fuel vehicles to their fleets. Schindler is replacing more than 500 internal combustion sedans in its North American vehicle fleet with the Toyota Prius Two. The gas-electric hybrid car is expected to reduce greenhouse gases by 42 percent over the company’s current sedan fleet. UPS has announced the deployment of 100 fully electric commercial vehicles that will deliver packages around California. Environmental Leader, February 8.

LED Lighting

Atlas Box, a Massachusetts-based manufacturer of protective packaging for electronics and heavy equipment has announced a plan to reduce energy consumption by 55 percent in two facilities by installing LED lighting systems. The company received a number of incentives from the local utility National Grid, including a finance program that covers 70 percent of energy efficiency upgrade costs with an option to finance the remaining 30 percent with no interest over the next two years. GreenBiz, February 6.

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