Renew On Line (UK) 69

Extracts from NATTA's journal
Renew, Issue 169 Sept-Oct 2007
   Welcome   Archives   Bulletin         


1. UK takes a lead on offshore wind  

2. Biofuels – good or bad?  

3. Tidal Surges - and wave too 

4. After the Energy White Paper 

5. Energy Policy developments 

6. Domestic Energy plans go awry 

7. New Waste Recycling plan 

8. World Developments  

9. EU Developments  

10. Around the world  

11. Nuclear developments 

8. World Developments  

The UN Global Trends in Sustainable Development annual review noted that over £35bn was injected into wind, solar and biofuels in 2006, 43% more than in 2005.  It claimed that green energy could provide almost a quarter of the world’s electricity by 2030.

IPCC calls for action  

The third part of the Fourth Report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), emerged back in May. The report, ‘Mitigation of Climate Change’ says ‘there is substantial economic potential for the mitigation of global GHG emissions over the coming decades, that could offset the projected growth of global emissions’. It suggests more efficient and cleaner use of fossil fuels, including CCS, shifts to renewables and/or nuclear power and better management of forestry and farming.  But action is urgent. ‘Mitigation efforts over the next two to three decades will have a large impact on opportunities to achieve lower stabilization levels’. It said that renewables could  have ‘a 30-35% share of the total electricity supply in 2030 at carbon prices up to 50 $/tCO2-eq’ while nuclear’s share could be 18%, although ‘safety, weapons proliferation and waste remain as constraints’. The US representative saw the emphasis on clean energy technologies as ‘consistent with our approach,’ telling AP that ‘the US leads the world in deploying a range of technologies that scientific and economic experts have now agreed can provide a global solution to reduce emissions and sustain economic growth’.

 IPCC’s Working Group III draft report had included a scenario based on stabilising greenhouse gases at 650 parts per million (ppm) by 2030, which they estimated would lead a 0.2% loss in GDP in 2030 and a rise of 3.2-4.0 degrees Celsius over pre-industrial times.The most stringent scenario, costing 3% of GDP, would limit greenhouse gases to 445-535 ppm by 2030, and might result in a 2-2.4 C rise.  The final agreed Summary for Policy makers evidently managed to overcome resistance from China on long term costs & benefits, and concluded that ‘in 2050, global average macro-economic costs for multi-gas mitigation towards stabilization between 710 and 445 ppm CO2-eq, are between a 1% gain to a 5.5% decrease of global GDP’.  (More in Reviews)

However when in June the G8 group came to deliberate on action, there were problems, as ever, getting agreement. First Bush proposed a ‘spoiler’- a meeting of the 15 key countries in 18 months time. Then the US team wouldn’t back the ‘keep under 2 degrees’ target, but it did seem to agree that if China and India were on board, the US could consider substantial emission cuts. 

Geothermal around the world  

* The US administration wants to reduce federal funding for geothermal research in order to save $25m in the 2008 budget. It argues that geothermal is a mature technology that does not require additional research, with nearly 3MW of electricity generation capacity already in place in the US.  The White House wants to spend only $5m in 2007 and none in 2008 for geothermal. But two Republican senators from Alaska  have called for  $22.7m  for geothermal for 2007 and $50 m for FY2008.

* The UK retailer Tesco is to use ‘geothermal’ heat pumps to heat and cool its new 1,000 sq.m supermarket in Hungary. The supermarket in Dorog near Budapest is the second Tesco outlet to use green energy; the first, opened last November in Sátoraljaújhely, uses solar panels. 

* The government of Australia believes that geothermal could supply 10% of Australia’s electricity by 2050: it’s invested A$27m since 2000. 

* Residents in the Philippines are opposing a proposed geothermal project because it would undermine their ancestral domain and may cause a tribal war because of boundary disputes. 

* Plans by the city of Los Angeles for geothermal energy extraction near the Salton Sea were criticised by green groups, concerned that  transmission towers will be built along corridors through the San Bernardino National Forest, parks, nature preserves and sensitive areas.

* National Energy of Italy (ENEL) may develop two geothermal projects in the north and south of Chile. In 2005, ENEL signed an agreement with Chile’s National Oil Company (ENAP) to exploit geothermal resources and, earlier this year, the government announced US$5.5m investment into renewables & energy-saving.  

Source: ReFocus Weekly   See

Solar Boom?  

‘Venture capitalists in Silicon Valley have been searching for the next big thing in high-tech for years, but now many have switched to greener pursuits- finding technology to help cut global warming’, says Rueters correspondent Leonard Anderson, quoting top Silicon Valley venture capitalists Vinod Khosla: ‘It is under-researched. There are easy pluckings. Oil companies spend no money on research, especially outside of how you discover more oil. All their efforts are token or nominal. The same is true of the coal business.’

The Reuters article claimed that over two-thirds of clean technology investments last year were made by US investors.  Amongst the largest investments were $75m in solar cell maker NanoSolar of Palo Alto, and $50m for LA-based biofuels producer Altra Inc. Biofuels, wind, PV and fuel cells are seen as the leaders, according to research and consulting firm Clean Edge.

While wind remains the leader in Europe, its PV industry is also booming: it could install 8,713 MW by 2010. According to a EU Barometer survey, the EU had installed 3,418 MW by the end of 2006, led by Germany (1,150MW in 2006), helped by the REFIT system, with total capacity there now being  3,063 MW. Spain had 118 MW, Italy 57.9, Netherlands 51.2, France 32.6, Austria 29, Luxembourg 23.6, UK 13.6, Greece 6.7, Sweden 4.9 MW. Of the total EU PV, 3,311MW is grid-linked.

*A fourfold rise in annual revenues is predicted for the global solar industry, to $90bn in 2010- Financial Times 

Sea Power gets going    

The US House of Representatives Science & Technology Committee has backed legislation that would invest approx $200m in federal funds for RD&D on wave energy over the next four years. Representative Darlene Hooley (Dem-OR), commented ‘Similar to how we helped the wind energy industry get off the ground by providing production tax credits. Congress today made the first significant investment in what is projected to be a promising nonpolluting energy source.’ 

* US-based Finavera Renewables Inc. has completed the preliminary site evaluation and selection process for a 20 MW wave energy project in South Africa- the result of a commitment made by Finavera at the 2006 Clinton Global Initiative. Estimated construction cost is $40m. Finaveras patented ‘AquaBuOY’ converter is also being used in the US & Portugal.

* The state of New York and Verdant Power of Virginia are to install six tidal turbines in New York City’s East River near Roosevelt Island as part of a 10MW $7m project. The first turbine was installed last Dec. 

* New Zealands government is providing $8m to deploy marine generation devices, with the grants to be matched by commercial investment. Small-scale deployment near remote islands or coastal communities, which currently rely on diesel power, get priority, as well as locations with ‘cost-effective grid connections at close hand.’  

* Swedish energy giant Vattenfall (which is having trouble with its German nuclear plants) is investing €1.4m in wave  R&D.  For more examples see Technology.


‘Carbon Capture and Storage  has the potential to reduce CO2 emissions from fossil fuel power stations by up to 90% and contribute 20% of global C02 mitigation by 2050.’  The DTI’s Alistair Darling at an Oil and Gas conference in Aberdeen

REFIT best 

Miguel Mendonca from the World Future Council has  written a book ‘Feed-in tariffs: Accelerating the Deployment of Renewable Energy’ which says that REFIT is the best & fastest way to spread renewables  round the globe. See Groups

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