Wind blows away fossil power in the Nordics
Wind power is blowing gas and coal-fired turbines out of business in the Nordic countries, and the effects will be felt across the Baltic region as the renewable glut erodes utility margins for thermal power stations. Pushing fossil-fueled power stations out of the Nordic generation park is part of government plans across the region and these plans are beginning to bear results. The transition in the Nordic countries will affect utilities in the Baltic states as their grids get more integrated.
Smart cities drive change across energy sector
Support for renewable generation by cities is increasing the pressure on utilities to modernize their infrastructure, according to a white paper published by Navigant Research. In addition to being the focus of extensive smart grid pilots, cities are becoming increasingly proactive in terms of the targets they are setting for their utilities to shift from fossil fuel to renewable energy, and are encouraging local generation on both the residential and commercial level.
European countries to adapt to climate change
Adapting to climate change has reached the political agenda in most European countries, according to a EEA analysis that aims to share experiences, lessons learned and good practice in adaptation. Despite a widespread awareness among politicians concrete action is still at an early stage in many countries. Extreme weather events and EU policies were the most common reasons for beginning to address adaptation. Water management was the most commonly prioritized sector for adaptation.
Policy toolkit to accelerate rural electrification
Mini-grids provide an affordable and cost-effective option to expand crucial electricity services. But putting in place the right policy for mini-grid deployment requires considerable effort. A new toolkit documents, step-by-step, the basics of rural electrification through the use of mini-grids. It provides information on mini-grid operator models; the economics of mini-grids; necessary policy and regulations needed for successful implementation.
Capitalization of climate fund vital for progress
The United States may make a major contribution in November to the Green Climate Fund to help poor countries combat climate change, according to the foreign minister of Peru, the country hosting climate talks in December, writes Reuters. So far, ten countries have pledged USD2.3 billion to the fund - falling well short of the USD10 billion needed. A substantial capitalization before negotiations “will be a very important signal for the entire negotiation process,” Minister Gonzalo Gutierrez said.
Europe gears up to make fusion energy a reality
A European joint program that will ensure significant progress along the path towards the realization of fusion energy has been launched by the European Commission and the European fusion research laboratories. The main focus during 2014-2018 will be scientific and technical support to the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) currently under construction in France, and ensuring Europe is in a position to capitalize on the success of this pioneering project.
Energy efficiency becoming own market segment
The global energy efficiency market is worth at least USD310 billion a year and growing, according to a new IEA report that shows investments in energy efficiency are helping to improve energy productivity - the amount of energy needed to produce a unit of GDP. The report also finds that energy efficiency finance is becoming an established market segment, with innovative new products and standards helping to overcome risks and bringing stability and confidence to the market.
Grid parity to drive renewables mass deployment
Grid parity has long been considered the 'holy grail' for renewables as it will usher in a new era of unsubsidized renewables. A system where wind and solar become competitive with wholesale market prices will mark a massive shift in the evolution of these technologies, says a new Pöyry report. But investors must ensure their revenue projections post-subsidy period take into account the impact of increasing amounts of unsubsidized renewables. The report explores where and when grid parity might happen first and its implication.
Clean energy investment continues momentum
About USD175 billion was spent globally on renewable energy projects during the first three quarters, up 16 percent from the same period last year, with Chinese solar investment at a record, according to a Bloomberg New Energy Finance report. Other parts of Asia are also coming on strong, particularly Japan. In the U.S. investment increased but in Europe tumbled. In 2011 or 2012, Europe accounted for a major share of the total investment.
Improving gender equality in energy decisions
Gender equality in the energy decision making process could benefit climate change activities. While we "know" that men and women often use energy services differently - and frequently make different types of decisions - there is scarce quantitative data to support these statements, says a reegle blog article. Tracking how gender contributes to low emission and clean development would be necessary to begin an iterative data collection process.
India sets ambitious target for wind and solar
India has 20 gigawatts of wind and solar. Now, the country has set a target of reaching 100 gigawatts generation capacity for the sector in the next five years, writes The Hindu Business Line. The target would include both off grid and on grid generation of wind and solar energy. To attract investments, the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy will host a global investor meeting in February 2015. The ministry is also urging banks to demarcate 10 percent of their credit for the renewable energy sector.
World solar power calls for credible policies
The sun could be the world's largest source of electricity by 2050, ahead of fossil fuels, wind, hydro and nuclear, according to a pair of IEA reports. But clear, credible and consistent signals from policy makers are needed to lower deployment risks to investors and inspire confidence. Solar PV and CSP are very capital intensive thus lowering the cost of capital is of primary importance. Each publication offers a set of key actions for policy makers for the next five years.
Interaction - an opportunity for solar PV actors
The retail price of PV electricity is now the same or lower than the retail price of traditional electricity price for 79 percent of the EU population. This gives the PV industry an opportunity to broaden the scope of its research and production activities linked to energy storage, smart grids and building integration, according to a JRC analysis presented during a major solar PV conference in Netherlands. Speakers emphasized the importance of interaction that also brings together policy, finance as well as social aspects.
Biomass plays major role in doubling renewables
Biomass makes up 10 percent of world's primary energy supply today. A IRENA report says that it also has an auspicious future in the supply of renewable energy. Modern, sustainable biomass technologies play a major role in efforts to double the share of renewables in the global energy mix. If all the technology options are deployed, total biomass demand could reach a 20 percent share of the total primary energy supply and 60 percent of total global renewable energy use.
German offshore wind attracts new investment
Germany's offshore wind parks are attracting fresh money after laws were passed to ensure ambitious renewables targets are met, writes Reuters. Offshore wind start-up costs are high, but thanks to guaranteed feed-in tariffs over a period of eight years returns are better than for solar and onshore wind power. However, risks include construction process at sea and also output is a worry. But falling costs and a stable regulatory could persuade risk-averse players to enter the sector.
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