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Our last weekly global news round-up of 2012

Date
17 December 2012
Our last weekly global news round-up of 2012

This is the very last weekly news round-up for 2012. As well as the usual clean tech and climate mitigation related news, we have included some interesting year-end multimedia links. We hope you enjoy them, and join us for more clean revolution news in the new year.

Big ideas: The world's top thought leaders weigh in on the concept, controversy, or events that will matter most in 2013. Read more at LinkedIn.

Foretelling: In Greek mythology, Cassandra was cursed by Apollo to make prophecies that were accurate, but disbelieved. She is still around, blogging for The Economist. Useful insights for years past and future.

The year in pictures: by Reuters and National Geographic.

UK

Household energy bills will be about £600 higher per year in the coming decades if the UK relies increasingly on gas, the government's climate advisers warned on Thursday. But the Committee on Climate Change found that bills would only be £100 higher than today's average dual fuel bill of about £1,300, if the country concentrated on renewable power generation, such as wind power. The Guardian, December 13.

The government has given the go-ahead for shale gas exploration to resume, subject to strict controls to prevent earthquakes caused by the process of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Davey also launched a study into how the development of shale gas could impact on the UK's greenhouse gas emissions. Davey made a statement in the House of Commons confirming the ban had been lifted on fracking, after studies showed the risk of earthquakes could be controlled. BusinessGreen, December 13.

Companies and public sector organisations can now get energy-efficient LED lighting systems fitted for free under a new £5m investment scheme. An Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) company set up by London-based Goldfield Partners will install a fully-tested LED system with no upfront cost, earning revenue by way of a five year maintenance agreement that companies can pay using the resulting energy savings. Goldfield expects to generate returns of £1.17 for every £0.70 invested. BusinessGreen, December 13.

Australia

A new joint Australian-US research institute led by the University of New South Wales (UNSW) will foster rapid development of "over the horizon" photovoltaic technology and establish Australia as the solar cell research and education hub of the Asia-Pacific region. Federal Minister for Resources and Energy Martin Ferguson announced the $35 million US-Australia Institute for Advanced Photovoltaics (USAIAP) as part of a raft of new programs and projects through the United States-Australia Solar Energy Collaboration. The funding is part of an $83 million commitment, one of Australia's biggest solar research investments. AZoCleanTech, December 14.

Australian and Vietnamese scientists are collaborating to help Vietnam cope with the effects of climate change. The work will develop detailed weather and sea level projections for one of the countries most vulnerable to rising sea levels. These will be used by the government for action plans for different regions. Radio Australia, December 11.

China

China needs to strengthen efforts in five aspects to reach the goal of building a modernized country with ecological progress, Vice-Premier Li Keqiang said on Wednesday. The five aspects are green development, establishing people-centered policies, enlarging the market for renewable resources, deepening reform and enhancing international cooperation. Li was speaking at the opening ceremony of the 2012 annual general meeting of the China Council for International Cooperation on Environment and Development. China Daily, December 13.

Europe

Berlin to buy back grid and go 100 percent renewable: The German capital has resolved to buy back its power supply. The grand coalition that governs the city-state passed a resolution to buy back its grid and switch to renewables. Renewables International, December 7.

India

India is developing its first "green township" in Electronic City in Bangalore. Being developed by Patel Realty India Ltd., an infrastructure developer, Neotown, spread across 120 acres, features an integrated rainwater harvesting system, a sewage treatment plant, solid waste management, solar water heating, an in-house nursery and long-term tree planning. EcoSeed, December 13.

North America

The U.S. Department of Energy announced it will invest $29 million in solar projects in an effort to boost the nation's renewable energy sector. In a December 10 statement, the DOE said $21 million would be spent over the next five years on designing plug-and-play photovoltaic systems that would make the process of purchasing and installing solar technologies quicker and less expensive. Another $8 million would be invested into two projects that will help utilities and grid operators better forecast the amount of electricity that could be produced at U.S. solar energy plants. Renewable Energy World, December 12.

Propel Fuels recently grabbed headlines because it's making algae biofuels commercially available for the first time - people can fill up their tank at several of their "Renewable Fuel" stations. Now, Propel Fuels has closed $11 million in equity capital and $10 million in debt financing to expand its 29-station network to hundreds in California in the next two years. Alongside conventional gasoline, Propel's Renewable Fuel stations sell Flex Fuel E85 and biodiesel blends. During this month's pilot of algae biofuel, the biofuel blend costs the same as filling up with conventional gas. Sustainable Business, December 12.

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