Renew On Line (UK) 60

Extracts from NATTA's journal
, issue160 March-April2006

   Welcome   Archives   Bulletin         


1. Intermittency- not a big issue?

2. Marine renewables- tidal and wave progress

3. Wind power- problems and successes

4. The Energy Review- UK split on nuclear power

5. NFFO fund raided – Treasury helps itself

6. Microgen for all – micro CHP in action

7. LCBP gets £30m  - Skills gap? 

8. UK roundup – local wind and solar projects

9. Global Developments - Clinton Global Initiative

10. Europe - France, Spain, Portugal, Germany

11. Around the World - USA, Canada, China

12. Nuclear News- Chernobyl revisited, US Safety

11 Around the World

‘Wrong way’ in the USA

The USA is at ‘a critical point’ in the transition to renewable energy sources, and further delay will leave the country “even further behind other nations in the development of renewable energy, even more wedded to energy sources that are unsustainable in the long run, and facing an even greater uphill battle in the effort to control global warming emissions”. So says the National Association of State Public Interest Research Groups (PIRGs) in its report, ‘Achieving a New Energy Future: How States Can Lead America to a Clean, Sustainable Economy.’

It claims that ‘Environmentally, our bad energy decisions have made the U.S. the world’s leading contributor to global warming, threatening the health & welfare of future generations, the ecosystems on which life depends, and America’s standing in the global community.’ while ‘Economically, our decisions have left the U.S.- historically a world leader in technological innovation- well behind Europe and Japan in the development and deployment of the energy technologies of the 21st century and have tied our continued prosperity to fluctuations in fossil energy prices over which we have little control’. But it notes that, in contrast to recent the ‘misguided federal energy bill’, over 20 states are leading the way toward energy independence by having passed or actively considering clean energy policies.

* The American Solar Energy Society  has called for a national public education campaign to promote the up-take of renewables. Its policy statement ‘Common Sense: Making the Transition to a Sustainable Energy Economy’ says there’s a need for ‘a better understanding of the need to exchange the nation’s current fossil and nuclear fuel standards for an energy economy based upon clean, available, renewable domestic energy sources such as solar, wind, biomass and geothermal’ noting that ‘consumer choice is as powerful as any mandate, regulation or government program’ and arguing for ‘a public education campaign that outlines for people what they can do as individuals’.

GE  says- ‘copy the EU’

America is the leading consumer of energy. However, we are not the technical leader. Europe today is the major force for environmental innovation. European governments have encouraged their companies to invest (in) and produce clean power technologies...And government policy that encourages this with subsidies and other incentives is giving European companies a leg up. While Europe has been a driver for innovation, China promises to be its market.’

Jeff Immelt, the C.E.O. of General Electric quoted in the New York Times, 21/9/05

Arnie gets tough on PV

Last year, California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger promoted an ambitions Bill calling for 1 million solar PV installations by 2016 - 3GW- at a cost of $2-3bn. However it seems that he was prepared to veto this initiative after Democrats in the state assembly added amendments that would require workers to receive union wages on commercial/industrial installations, which Republicans claimed would increase costs by 30%.  Sadly, the bill failed when it reached its second-to-last stage. This seems tragic.  In ‘Economics of Solar Power for California,’Akeena Solar claims that the costs have to set alongside the $9bn in benefits it says would have been reaped from savings, including $7bn in energy infrastructure, and $525m in environmental savings. It would also match California’s air conditioning demand on hot summer days. 

* The Major of London Ken Livingstone is backing the installation of a PV system on  the GLA’s city hall.  The London Development Agency has received £270,000 from the government towards the £500,000 project, and will mount the system on the roof and integrated into a glass system on the circular ‘eyebrow’ shading. We hope they pay proper wages!

Canada widens support

The government of Canada is to provide an incentive to encourage the installation of 1.5GW of capacity from small hydro & biomass.  The Renewable Power Production Incentive will be funded with C$88m over 15 years, to supplement the Wind Power Production Incentive, which recently was expanded to $1bn for 4,000 MW of capacity. The RPPI incentive will be 1¢ /kWh for a ten-year period, for projects commissioned after March 2006. Other renewables, such as solar, geothermal, wave & tidal, will be considered if they can demonstrate near market-readiness and that the incentive will have a significant impact on their economics.

Australia stalls: Two windfarms in New South Wales could be abandoned because the market for green power is close to saturation, given the unambitious 2% by 2010 national renewables target. 

Shell looks ahead  

‘We believe that 25% to 30% of world energy needs will come from renewables by 2050. We are looking at taking a meaningful stake in that market.’

 Jeremy Bentham, Chief Executive Officer of Shell Hydrogen.

Chinese Wind

China has been rapidly increasing its use of wind power for electricity generation, driven by the new National Renewable Energy Law which  went  into effect on January 2006.  The aim is to get 10% of China’s energy from renewables by 2020- and 15% of it’s electricity.  At the end of 2004, China had installed about 750 MW of wind power capacity. Although still a small player compared with wind energy leaders like Germany, Spain, the US & Denmark, China’s annual growth rates in new wind power capacity have been significant, and there are  plans to develop an offshore wind farm of, eventually, 1GW capacity.

The green power market has also expanded. Last June the Shanghai Economic Commission reported    that 12 local enterprises had voluntarily purchased green electricity at a price 0.53 yuan higher than that of conventional power- marking the establishment and actual operation of China’s first green tariff.  So far, to feed it, Shanghai has established a 3.4 MW wind farm in Fengxian District, and a 20 MW wind plant in Chongming and Nanhui.  The first batch of green power bought by the 12 enterprises will be equal to about 50% of their total output.

China expands

Overall,  China is increasing its use of renewable energy by 25% per year, according Zhang Guobao of the National Development and Reform Commission. He told a conference on Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation that the country’s installed hydro capacity is 110 GW, with 43 windfarms with a capacity of 760,000 kW, 60,000 kW of solar PV, 65 million sqm of solar water collectors (40% of the world’s total) and 11 million household biogas generating pits in rural areas, he is quoted by the People’s Daily. By 2020, China wants to increase its share of renewables from 7% now to 15% by increasing hydro capacity to 300 GW, wind to 30 GW and solar PV to 1 GW. 

Source: ReFocus Weekly

* The EU has signed a deal with China, on the supply of clean coal-fired power stations  with  carbon capture & storage technology.  And four new joint projects have been agreed between Australia and China, supported with over A$1m, under Australia’s Bilateral Climate Change Partnerships Programme. They include a wind project plus training  and business promotion schemes.

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