Archive for Renewable Energy
e360.yale.edu 1st April 2011
Quoted from source:
‘Five major U.S. companies, including shipping giants FedEx and United Parcel Service, have committed to partner with the Obama administration in support of a national effort to reduce fossil fuel consumption. As charter members of the so-called National Clean Fleets Partnership, the companies — along with AT&T, PepsiCo, and Verizon — have pledged to reduce their combined petroleum consumption by more than 7 million gallons annually through an increased commitment to renewable energy and electric vehicles. The announcement comes days after President Obama called for a one-third reduction in U.S. oil imports by 2025. The five participating companies operate some of the largest vehicle fleets in the nation, with a total of more than 275,000 trucks and vans. As part of the commitment, the companies have pledged to deploy 20,000 vehicles that use fossil fuel alternatives, including electric power and biofuels.’
www.guardian.co.uk 14th February 2011
In his 2012 Budget Report, US President Barak Obama has proposed opening up funding for clean energy by reducing subsidies for fossil fuels. The report would see the Department of Energy receiving a budget of $29.5 billion for the fiscal year, which is a mark up of 4.2% from the proposed 2011 budget. Of this, around $8 billion would go towards renewable energy such as wind and solar. To help make up this amount, Obama has asked Congress to take away $3.6 billion in oil and gas subsidies in addition to cut government funding for oil and gas research and hydrogen fuel programmes. Predictably, most of the Republican party, who now have the majority in the House of Representatives, oppose the budget claiming that the cuts would cost jobs in a time of economic uncertainty. The party has also vocalised its intention to reduce funding for the Environmental Protection Agency’s programme to regulate greenhouse has emissions claiming that ‘Congress should be the one to decide whether to fight Climate Change, not the administration.’ Obama’s budget already slashes $1.3 billion of the EPA by reducing funds aimed at the Great Lakes Restoration and a clean diesel programme. According to analysts, the most likely condition in the budget to make it into law is extra funding for electric cars, as this could be paired with an opposing bill to increase money for natural gas fuelled cars.
www.telegraph.co.uk 10th February 2011
The 280ft wind turbine in a business park near Reading has received £600,000 from the government in subsidies since it began producing electricity in 2005. However, since then it has been running on an average of 17% capacity. Last year, the turbine produced £100,000 worth of energy put received £130,000 in subsidies (£48 for every MWh generated). A spokesman for the wind turbines owner Ecotricity said: ”The turbine is designed to power the business park and has been doing a good job. They are happy with it and we are happy with it.” The news comes amid an effort in government to make sure wind farms are only built in areas with enough wind for them to make economic sense.
e360.yale.edu 4th January 2011
Quoted from source:
‘The European Union will exceed its target of meeting 20 percent of its energy needs from renewable sources by 2020, according to a new report. Twenty-five of the 27 EU nations will meet or exceed their national targets, according to the analysis by the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA). About 14 percent of the total energy demand will be met through wind energy, more than any other renewable source, with Ireland projected to generate 36.4 percent of its energy from wind by 2020 and Denmark producing 31 percent, according to the analysis. The other top sources of renewable energy are hydropower (10.5 percent), biomass (6.6 percent), and solar photovoltaic (2.7 percent). Italy and Luxembourg, the only nations projected to not meet their national standards, plan to import renewable energy to make up for the shortfall.’
www.nytimes.com 10th December 2010
Ten years ago the city of Kristiangrad in Sweden vowed to shove off its dependence on fossil fuels completely. Today, with a population of 80,000, the city and its surrounding county effectively uses no oil, gas, or coal for heating and electricity, even during the chilly winters. This has not been achieved by renewable energies such as solar or wind though, but through the burning of bio-gas generated from waste. Everything from food waste to manure, cooking oil, and wood waste is converted to a form of methane in a plant outside of the city, which can then be used to generate energy, whether it be for heating or bio-fuels for cars. Gas is also collected from sewage ponds and old landfills. Although bio-gas generators are not uncommon in Europe, with 5,000 in Germany alone, most are used on a small-scale, particularly on farms. Kristiangrad is one of the first efforts for an ‘across-the-board regional energy makeover’ and it has succeeded on reducing CO2 emissions by a quarter in a decade.
www.telegraph.co.uk 19th November 2010
Quoted from source:
‘Andrew Mitchell, the International Development Secretary, said aid money will be used in a new way to tackle climate change, as well as funding health and education. In a controversial move, the Coalition Government will be using tax-payer’s money to encourage private investors to put further funds towards ‘green’ development projects. However aid agencies and charities argue it is dangerous to involve big business in aid because they will only help people while there is the potential for profit. Mr Mitchell announced two public-private partnership projects in Africa and Asia to stimulate investment in renewable energy schemes. The UK Government has already put aside £2.9 billion of the aid budget to tackle climate change over the next four years. From this grants will be put in a central pot and then matched by private investors, renewable energy projects can then dip into the fund to develop hydro-electric plants and other schemes. Once the money is flowing private investors will see that there is profit to be made from investing in solar panels and other technologies for poor people. A ‘green market’ will be created for the first time in some of the most ‘energy poor’ areas of the world. Initial modelling of the fund estimates £9 of private investment could be raised for every £1 put in by the UK Government. DfID estimates that, over 25 years, the project could generate energy for millions of rural homes, create 60,000 jobs and save 150 million tonnes of carbon dioxide. The project is all part of international efforts to fight climate change by making sure that developing countries, which will produce the most carbon in the future, grow in a green way.’
9th November 2010
LMV director has just had an article published in Garten Rothkopf, an international energy advisory firm that helps business and national leaders ‘capitalise on transformational trends energy, climate, risk, and the global economy.’ The article, titled ‘A New Era of US-Indian Energy Cooperation’, discusses the future energy demands on India and how it will tackle them. Two main outcomes are likely. The first is to pursue a more aggressive fossil fuel based strategy focussed on resources abroad and the second is to develop its domestic renewable energy sources. The first will bring it together in a closer relationship with China and the second with the USA.
Although the original article is restricted to Garten Rothkopf clients, a copy can be found on the Henry Jackson Society website.
e360.yale.edu 5th November 2010
Quoted from source:
‘A U.S. startup is working on a plan to install hundreds of 40-kilowatt hydrokinetic turbines, each the size of a large jet engine, along the bottom of the Mississippi River, an ambitious renewable energy project developers say could someday produce more than one gigawatt of electricity — enough to power 250,000 homes. While the technology remains relatively unproven, the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission recently granted the company, Free Flow Power, preliminary rights to explore the potential for dozens of turbine locations along the 2,320-mile river. Although most efforts to develop hydrokinetic energy projects so far have focused on tidal or wave energy, the company says river installations have significant advantages. “The water flows in one direction, it doesn’t have salt in it, and, in the case of the Mississippi, people have spent 100 years tracking water flows and velocities,” said Henry Dormitzer, the company’s chief financial officer. The challenges, however, will be to show that the turbines will not impact marine life or the massive volume of traffic on the river. The only commercial hydrokinetic river project currently in use is a single turbine installed on the Mississippi by Texas-based Hydro Green Energy near Hastings, Minn.’
www.telegraph.co.uk 2nd November 2010
Quoted from source:
‘Chris Huhne, the Energy and Climate Change Secretary, will set out radical plans to upgrade all 26 million homes in the country over the next decade. Under the ‘New Green Deal’, households will be able to take out ‘pay-as-you-save loans’ from the local council , supermarket or chain store like B&Q. The loans of up to £10,000 will pay for double glazing, solar panels or other energy efficiency measures and will be paid pack over time through savings on fuel bills. Mr Huhne said the initiative will create more than 100,000 jobs over the next five years as home owners demand ‘green makeovers’. However there is little incentive for private landlords to take advantage of the scheme because they are not paying the bills. As a consequence many privately rented homes are badly insulated. At the moment about 670,000 homes, more than a fifth of the total 3.2 million in the private rented sector, are rated G or F, meaning they have some of the worst efficiency ratings in the country. To force landlords to act the new legislation will “create powers allowing any tenant asking for reasonable energy efficiency improvements to receive them from 2015 onwards”. It will also allow local authorities to insist that landlords improve the worst performing homes by installing insulation. Let Insurance Services, a specialist insurance provider to the private rented sector, said it could cause problems for landlords and tenants. “Anything that uses less energy and improves running costs for tenants is to be welcomed but the danger is that unneccessary costs of installations can be passed onto tenants and end up costing them more,” said a spokesman.’
1st November 2010
La Mode Verte’s director, Edward Scott-Clarke, has just had his first article published for the Henry Jackson Society, a UK foreign policy government think tank. The article discusses the future energy needs of armed forces and how this will have a knock-on effect in the way the world as a whole views renewable resources. The military, in the US in particular, has been at the fore-front of changing human energy use patterns: from sail to coal in the 19th century, from coal to oil and then from oil to nuclear power. The current interest of the US military in renewable energy could be what the world needs to shift away from its reliance on fossil fuels.
Read the article: ‘The Army of the Sun: the US military’s move away from Fossil Fuels’.
e360.yale.edu 29th October 2010
Quoted from source:
‘The Chinese auto industry will make development and production of electric and hybrid vehicles its top priority over the next five years, according to its latest Five-year Plan. By 2015, China aims to sell 1 million “new-energy” automobiles, according to a report in People’s Daily. China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology has already announced that the government will invest more than 100 billion yuan ($14.5 billion) over the next decade to make China the world leader in green car production. Meanwhile, in the UK, where a government subsidy next year will shave £5,000 ($7,960) off the cost of new electric cars, a company predicts that the next generation of green cars could be charged wirelessly with the same technology that charges electric toothbrushes. The company, HaloIPT, this week demonstrated how electric cars can be charged wirelessly by parking over a transmitter pad, and predicted that one day vehicles might be able to re-charge by using roads outfitted with electrical systems that charge cars as they travel.’
www.nytimes.com 25th October 2010
The native American group of the Navajo have announced their intention to move away from their reliance on coal power and align themselves with technology that is more suited to their traditional values. The Navajo Nation spreads for 17million acres across the states of Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah and is they are the largest native American group in the States today. Coal mining and power plants currently make up about a third of the group’s annual operating budget but only employs around 1,500 of the 300,000 Navajos in the area. The fundamental reasons behind the decision seems to be the environmental degradation and health problems caused by coal mining. Navajo tradition, as explained by local medicine men, regards the extraction of natural resources such as coal and uranium (mined until health issues caused a ban in 2005) as tantamount to cutting through skin. Furthermore, the decision to make the most of solar and wind power in the Nation is an economic one. Income from coal has dwindled 15-20% in the past years and this is partly due to coal companies shutting down factories rather than paying hefty refurbishment fees to meet reduced pollution targets imposed on them by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Earlier this month the EPA told one company to install $717million in emission controls, labelling the factory in question the worst emitter of nitrous oxide in the country. Although progress is slow in the change, the Navajo have already given the go ahead for one wind farm that will generate power for 20,000 homes and have set up the ‘Navajo Green Economy Commission’ to help with the process.
www.nytimes.com 4th October 2010
The United States military is experimenting with renewable energies due to the vulnerability of fossil fuel transportation on the battlefield. With the military frequently in operation in remote parts of the world with limited access to fuel, military officials have come to see a reliance on fossil fuels as a liability to combat effectiveness. As a result, whereas many businesses in the USA have put renewable energy projects on hold due to the recession, the US army has pushed ahead with energy reform. Current fuel convoys have drawn the attention of insurgent attacks and new statistics show that for every 24 convoys that set out, one soldier or civilian engaged in fuel transport is killed. No where in the problem more acute than in the Khyber Pass in Afghanistan where parked convoys are regularly attacked and torched by Taliban fighters. However, the change in attitude to fossil fuels is not just for increased fuel reliability. It would also free up troops set aside to guard fuel depots and convoys and make units more mobile and independent. The US navy alone (including the marines) intends to have 50% of its energy needs met by renewables by 2020 including power for military bases and electric transport. An electric vessel called USS Makin Island is already in use and saved 900,000 gallons of fuel on its maiden voyage from Mississippi to San Diego. The US airforce has also stated that its entire fleet will be able to run on bio-fuels by 2011 allowing the military to grow crops wherever their airfields are.
www.telegraph.co.uk 27th September 2010
A report by the United Kingdom Energy Research Centre (UKERC) has revealed that due to the spiralling costs of steel as well as the decline in the value of the pound, off-shore wind power farms are now almost twice as expensive as fossil fuels in producing electricity. It is also 50% more expensive than nuclear power. Considering Britain is now the biggest off-shore producer of wind energy in the world, creating more power than the rest of the world put together, some will ask why the government is determined to drive ahead with its plans to use wind power as a way of achieving 30% of the state’s electrcity needs by renewables energies by 2020. The news coincides with the opening of the world’s biggest wind farm off the Kentish coast. The Thanet windfarm, created by Swedish company Vattenfall, cost £780 million to construct 100 turbines of 300 feet. It will power 200,000 homes. The farm takes the UK total to 436 off shore turbines and 2,640 on-land. The government hopes to increase these numbers to 4,000 off-shore and 6,000 on-shore. One major factor in the soaring prices of the off-shore funds is using external contracts. By creating the wind-turbines in the UK not only would costs be reduced to a similar level with on-shore development (which is equal to fossil fuels), but will also create new industry within the UK.
www.nytimes.com 26th September 2010
Many countries in Asia are increasingly turning towards solar power. India and Bangladesh are at the forefront of the drive with more certain to follow as the Asian Development Bank announced in May a major drive to promote solar energy. Previously, a lack of political will and money has prevented renewable energy from taking off in Asia but this seems to be changing. One of the biggest problems was allowing banks to make small loans to low-income families so that they could erect solar panels on their homes. Certain companies, such as Orb Energy set up by Anglo-American Damien Miller, have managed to convince smaller banks to change their loan policies. Even then though, a poor family in India or Sri Lanka buying a solar panel is roughly equivalent to a western family buying a car: around 20% of the average annual income. In the long-term, these costs are easily recouped as these families spend large amounts on kerosene and candles but in the short term it is expensive. On a grander scale, Asian governments and companies are investing more in solar power due to the reduced price of new models of solar panels. China has become a large producer of solar energy technology although it has failed to generate any significant amounts of solar power itself.
www.independent.co.uk 17th September 2010
The Cavendish Laboratory of Cambridge University has teamed up with the environmental group Carbon Trust to develop a new kind of organic solar photovoltaic technology. The technology is based on the same principle as photosynthesis in plants and will be produced on a flexible transparent material that will be simple to fit and more versatile. The two institutions have established a company called Eight19 to produce the technology for the mass market. It will be a lot cheaper than conventional solar energy producers and it is hoped that it will revolutionise the renewable energy market.
www.independent.co.uk 16th September 2010
Yesterday the Italian police seized what is thought to be the largest haul of mob assets ever. Around £1.25 billion (€1.5 billion) was seized from the Sicilian businessman Vito Nicastri of which a large amount was tied up in alternative energy. Mr. Nicastri, also known as the ‘Lord of the Winds’, is believed to be linked to the mafia’s ‘boss of bosses’ Matteo Messina Denaro. Although the mafia are usually linked with environmental degradation, mainly by illegally dumping toxic waste in the Mediterranean, Senator Costantino Garraffa of the parliamentary anti-Mafia committee has stated that organised crime is trying to break into the renewable energy market to launder money. Government subsidies have resulted in a rapid expansion in wind power particularly, which is seen as essential in the poorer south of the country.
www.lemonde.fr 14th September 2010
The French Secretary of State for the Environment, Chantal Jouanno, has announced her favour for a tax on nuclear energy production in France. The measure, which has already been adopted in Germany, aims to raise additional funds for the renewable energy sector in France. The country has pledged to have 23% of its energy by renewable means by 2020. EDF Energy, one of the largest energy producing companies in France, is already obliged to purchase renewable energy prior to fossil fuel energy in an attempt to steer away from a reliance in more polluting power production.
Sources: http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment 10th September 2010
The President of the United States of America, Barack Obama, has declined to renew solar panels on the roof of the White House that were installed in during Jimmy Carter’s term in office (1977-1981). The campaign by the environmental group 350.org to replace the aging renewable energy source, which weigh in at 55kg and are 2m long, was turned down possibly due to concerns that it would relate President Obama’s presidency to the single term one of President Carter’s not one month before the mid-term elections. The original solar panels were not a spectacular success as they were removed 4 years after President Carter left office. They were originally installed as a demonstration about withdrawing the United States’ dependence on foreign oil.