The week in brief
USA left standing in the rush for the sun
Clean Technica report China aims to install 3 GW (a gigawatt is about the output of a large nuclear reactor) of solar capacity in 2012 - part of a program that will see 15GW installed capacity by 2015 while Stephen Lacey, writing in Renewable Energy World compares Germany's installation of 3 GW of solar in December alone and 7.5 GW in 2012 to the USA, who installed only 1.7 GW in the whole of 2011.
Flipping out over new technology for offshore wind turbines
Windflip a Norwegian company have launched a prospectus for new technology for installing off shore wind turbines. They hope to develop a barge that can deliver the assembled turbine, blades and towers in a horizontal position allows turbines to be assembled onshore and towed into relatively shallow water sites. The barge can be flooded at one end forcing the whole assembly to rotate through 90o allowing the upright turbine to be fastened toit's foundations
UN declares 2012 "Year of Sustainable Energy for All by 2030"
In his keynote address at the World Future Energy Summit in Abu Dhabi UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon called on governments, private and civil society to make significant commitments to his Sustainable Energy for All initiative. The summit is serving as the global launch of the “International Year of Sustainable Energy for All” mandated by the UN General Assembly.
World economic forum say "business as usual no longer works"
A new report to be discussed at the World Economic Forum at Davros this month. "More with Less: Scaling Sustainable Consumption and Resource Efficiency" identifies 2 trillion dollars of savings in the major economies' carbon steel and iron sectors from resource efficiency measures. It emphasises that change is a business imperative rather than a luxury:
“Current trends clearly show that business as usual no longer works. Unless the present link between growth and consumption of scarce resources is severed our resource base, governance and policy structures are unlikely to sustain the standard of living societies have grown accustomed and aspire to”
“that effectively weave resource efficiency into their core strategy and operations can drive revenue growth, cost reduction, better risk management and improve brand and reputation”
Keystone XL Pipeline to be refused by President Obama
President Obama is to refuse permission for the Keystone XL pipeline, proposed to deliver highly pollution tar sand oil to US refineries on the Gulf of Mexico. The pipeline has been to object of mass protests in the USA and is seen as a gateway for the wholesale exploitation of tar sand oil – the dirtiest and most polluting oil on the planet. The president has not refused the application on principle but because Congress tried to rail-road permission by imposing a deadline that did not allow proper investigation of health and environmental risks and TransCanada can reapply for a pipeline with an alternate route – full report in Climate Progress
IEA concerned that Phasing out of nuclear power will cause a surge in coal emissions
Business Green report that the IEA's chief economist, Faith Birol, speaking in Abu Dhabi, expressed concern that plans to shut down nuclear plant in the wake of Fukushima would see an big rise in carbon emissions from coal fired plant. Birol's message was:
“Any boost to renewable energy sparked by countries abandoning nuclear power in the wake of the Fukushima disaster is likely to be overshadowed by a massive increase in coal use that could have devastating consequences for the fight against climate change.”
Policy changes by countries like Germany, Japan, France and China meant the IEA's 2035 carbon forcast would be 6.2% higher, the world's coal demand could equate to double Australia's current exports and gas demand increase by 2/3's Russia's current net exports.
Opening of Ormonde off-shore wind farm brings UK wind capacity to 6 gigawatts
RenewableUK - the renewable energy industry's trade association announced the landmark 6GW capacity, enough power to supply more than 3.3 million homes, at it's Annual Parliamentary Reception on wednesday night.
The keynote political speaker was the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, the Rt Hon Danny Alexander MP who said:
"This is a significant milestone for the wind industry which demonstrates the increasingly important role that renewable energy is playing in the UK's energy mix.
"Working together, we can reach even greater heights. We are eager to ensure that the UK becomes the natural home for the most innovative, ambitious and inspiring renewable energy companies in the world, and we will continue to work with the industry to drive down costs and encourage even stronger growth in the years to come".