In the headlines: Major milestones reached on renewable energy investments, UN reports

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29 March 2016

Your weekly news briefing. Please click the links to read the articles in full.

The Climate Group in the news

Global clean-tech summit in Beijing, CCTV
The global clean-tech summit 2016 is underway in Beijing. The two-day event serves as a platform that connects policy makers, businesses, financiers and think-tank to accelerate cleantech development in China. “We could deal with the problems of deforestation, lack of energy efficiency—not only possible but a exciting opportunity for everyone,” said CEO of The Climate Group Mark Kenber.

Sky & Bloomberg Join #RE100, Pledge 100% Renewable Electricity, CleanTechnica
Two of the larger media companies out there currently, Sky and Bloomberg, have both pledged to go “100% renewable” as part of the RE100 initiative, according to recent statements. The exact commitments revealed by the companies are: that Sky will source 100% renewable electricity by the year 2020 “where available;” and that Bloomberg will purchase only renewable electricity by the year 2025.

China reveals plan to continue wind and solar energy surge, Business Green
The Climate Group today kicked off its annual Global Cleantech Summit in Beijing, with the launch of a new initiative to speed up the roll out of clean technologies dubbed the 'Accelerator 100' project. "Following on from the historic Paris Agreement that clearly set out our low carbon future, the Global Cleantech Summit has a vision of continuing this innovation and creating partnerships needed to allow the global cleantech market to continue to flourish," said Mark Kenber, CEO of The Climate Group. 

Global

Major milestones reached on renewable energy investments, UN reports, UN News Centre
Coal and gas-fired electricity generation last year drew less than half the record investment made in solar, wind and other renewables capacity - one of several important firsts for green energy recently announced in a United Nations-backed report. Annual global investment in new renewables capacity, at $266 billion, was more than double the estimated $130 billion invested in coal and gas power stations in 2015.

Rockefeller Family Fund hits Exxon, divests from fossil fuels, Reuters
The Rockefeller Family Fund said on Wednesday it would divest from fossil fuels as quickly as possible and "eliminate holdings" of Exxon Mobil Corp (XOM.N), saying the oil company associated with the family fortune has misled the public about climate change risks.

Asia – Pacific

Australia announces A$1 billion clean energy fund, in break with past, Reuters
Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull on Wednesday said the country would establish a $1 billion ($761.60 million) clean-energy innovation fund, in a major departure from his predecessor's much maligned approach to combating climate change.

Public-private council launched to turn Fukushima into green energy hub, The Japan Times
A public-private council tasked with devising measures to turn Fukushima Prefecture into a renewable energy hub has been set up in the city of Fukushima. The council, established on Sunday, will draw up an action plan this summer to supply electricity generated by wind power facilities in Fukushima to the Tokyo metropolitan area and to produce hydrogen for fuel cell vehicles.

China

China’s largest bank to screen loans for environmental risk, Climate Home
China’s largest bank is to start screening new loans for environmental risks, its vice president told finance leaders in London on Wednesday. The world’s top bank, based on assets totalling US$3.6 trillion, it holds significant investments in coal, steel, cement and shipbuilding industries. It is the first time any Chinese financial institution has instigated a ‘bottom-up’ review of risk, one financial analyst told Climate Home.

China is on an epic solar power binge, MIT Technology Review
In 2015, China added more than 15 gigawatts of new solar capacity, surpassing Germany as the world’s largest solar power market. China now has 43.2 gigawatts of solar capacity, compared with38.4 gigawatts in Germany and 27.8 in the United States. According to new projections, it seems that trend is going to continue. Under its 13th Five Year Plan, China will nearly triple solar capacity by 2020, adding 15 to 20 gigawatts of solar capacity each year for the next five years, according to Nur Bekri, director of the National Energy Administration.

India

India aims to become 100% e-vehicle nation by 2030: Piyush Goyal, The Economic Times
The government is working on a scheme to provide electric cars on zero down payment for which people can pay out of their savings on expensive fossil fuels, for becoming 100 per cent electric vehicle nation by 2030. The government had started Domestic Efficient Lighting Programme last year under which it has already provided over 8.32 crore LED bulbs to families through power distribution companies at an installment of Rs 10 per month for each bulb. 

Europe

Germany and Austria call for higher EU 2030 climate ambition, The Guardian
Germany, Austria, Portugal and Luxembourg are leading calls for the EU to increase its 2030 climate targets in light of December’s Paris agreement. Several others spoke of the need to fully participate in the five-yearly reviews of national climate plans set out in the UN text.

North America

DOE approves critical transmission project to deliver energy bill savings to more Americans, American Wind Energy Association
More low-cost, clean wind energy will soon be available to American homes and business as the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today approved America’s largest clean energy infrastructure project this century.

FACT SHEET: United States – Argentina Relationship, The White House
The United States and Argentina are committed to signing and joining the Paris Agreement as soon as feasible and will work together to support efforts toward early entry-into-force of the Agreement.  Argentina has also announced plans to enhance its Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC), and the two governments will share experiences to support this effort. As part of this effort, the two governments will cooperate on scaling up renewables, including through U.S. assistance on market reform, system optimization, and integrating renewable energy in the power grid.

UK

After 115 Years, Scotland Is Coal-Free, ThinkProgress
The Longannet power station, the last and largest coal-fired power plant in Scotland, ceased operations Thursday. What once was the largest coal plant in Europe shut down after 46 years before the eyes of workers and journalists, who gathered in the main control room.

Analysts Reaction to the UK 2016 Budget, Bloomberg New Energy Finance
The Budget, presented on 16 March by Chancellor George Osborne, gave with one hand to clean energy and took away with the other. The government will hold Contract-for-Difference auctions by 2020 allocating up to GBP 730m of subsidies for offshore wind and other “less established” technologies. But onshore wind and PV developers remain in the dark about future support, as the Conservatives unveiled tax breaks for oil and gas, and backing for small modular reactors. 

Innovation

New material increases the lifetime of solar-powered electrons, Science Daily
An entire airport pays nothing for electricity thanks to solar power, Yahoo! Tech
Apple Operating At 93% Renewable Electricity Worldwide, CleanTechnica

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