22 July 2014

New technique to lower cost of advanced biofuels

Swiss scientists have developed a method for streamlining advanced biofuel production. Instead of using genetic engineering to create superior micro-organisms that enhance fermentation, they have managed to achieve analogous results purely through chemical engineering. Yields are around 80 percent converting pure cellulose into ethanol. The researchers anticipate that the new process will be compatible with existing facilities and aim within 3-5 years to establish an industrial pilot.

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21 July 2014

India to speed up wind power capacity addition

In a move that will boost the wind power market in India, finance minister Arun Jaitley has said that the Accelerated Depreciation Scheme would be restored for the wind industry, writes The Times of India. Under the scheme, companies which put up windmills can write off 80 percent of the project costs as depreciation in the first year of putting up the windmill, and thus save taxes. The scheme was withdrawn in 2012, leading to a major fall in capacity additions.

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18 July 2014

Germany wins "World Cup" of energy efficiency

Germany comes in first in a new energy efficiency ranking of the world's major economies, followed by Italy, the European Union as a whole, China, and France, according to a report published by the nonprofit American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE). The U.S. places 13th out of 16 economies. The report asks: how can the U.S. compete in a global economy? The report gives recommendations for the U.S. to increase energy efficiency.

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17 July 2014

China lags behind its offshore wind target

In 2011, China set out an ambitious plan to build 5 gigawatts (GW) of offshore wind capacity in four years. With less than 10 percent of that capacity in place, officials say they won't meet that goal, writes Bloomberg. China is cautious on offshore wind because it is more risky and costly than onshore that rivals the cost of coal or natural-gas fired plants. Offshore wind also is insignificant compared to China's onshore wind capacity of 77 GW and the plan to install an additional 18 GW this year.

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16 July 2014

UK gives consent to large offshore wind farm

The British government on Wednesday approved the construction of utility E.ON's 700-megawatt offshore wind farm off the coast of Sussex. Construction will start next year and the 2 billion pound (USD3.4 billion) project is expected to start producing electricity in 2018/2019. It could generate more than 2,100 gigawatt hours of electricity each year - enough to power around 450,000 homes. To go ahead, developers will need to make a final investment decision.

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15 July 2014

Clean energy investment gaining momentum

Global investment in clean energy increased to USD63.6 billion in the second quarter of 2014, swelling 9 percent from a year earlier, and 33 percent from the first quarter, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance. The investments were driven by a combination of big financings for large wind and solar projects and the installation of small-scale rooftop photovoltaics. BNEF expects this year will show a clear rebound in global investment in clean energy.

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14 July 2014

German energy act - a basis for future transition

German revamped legislation on funding renewable energy cleared final hurdle as Germany's upper house of parliament, the Bundesrat, approved it on Friday, clearing the way for the law to come into force on 1 August 2014, writes Reuters. The far-reaching renewable energy act (EEG) seeks to cap support payments for renewables without jeopardizing the country's shift towards a low carbon economy. The EEG reform gives framework for long-term energy transition plan.

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12 July 2014

China to boost foreign cooperation in environment

China has designated ecological and environmental protection as a key area in opening up to the outside world, said Chinese Premier Li Keqiang in a message to the Eco Forum Global 2014, writes Xinhua. The country will continue to strengthen environmental cooperation with all other countries and international organizations by pressing for implementation of the international environmental pact and jointly addressing climate change. It also sticks to a protective approach in development.

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11 July 2014

Global biofuel output expansion to slow by 2023

Global biofuel output should expand in the period to 2023, mostly boosted by increasing demand, higher crude oil prices and government policies, but the rise should be lower than in the past decade, according to the FAO and OECD, writes Reuters. The debate has heightened over the benefits of conventional biofuels in recent years. For example, the U.S. requires increasing blending of advanced biofuels made from sources such as grasses, trees and crop waste.

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10 July 2014

India to upgrade grids, build new solar plants

Indian government plans to spend 15 billion rupees (USD250 million) on programs to boost solar power and reform electricity supply to farmers, writes Bloomberg. The proposed budget set aside 10 billion rupees (USD166 million) for building modern solar power plants in three states and installing 100,000 photovoltaic-powered farm irrigation pumps. Five billion rupees (USD83 million) were earmarked to improve power lines to farmers in the state of Gujarat.

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9 July 2014

EU funds 19 clean energy demonstration projects

The European Commission on Tuesday awarded EUR1 billion funding to 19 projects to fight climate change under the second call of the so-called NER300 funding program. The funding is expected to leverage some additional EUR900 million of private investment. The funding will be used to demonstrate technologies that will subsequently help to scale-up production from renewable energy sources across the EU as well as those that can remove and store carbon emissions.

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8 July 2014

Making German energy transition transparent

Online electrical energy database launched by the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE makes German energy transformation transparent for all and free-of-charge. The interactive data charts, which can be tailored by the user, display the power produced from all conventional and renewable sources as well as import and export data on weekly basis. One of the main intents is to promote transparent and objective discussions regarding energy transformation.

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7 July 2014

Small producers rush in Japan's power market

The number of companies registered to sell electricity in Japan has more than doubled to 274 from 106 in September, writes Bloomberg. The list includes everything from restaurants to homebuilder. The rush comes ahead of reforms that promise to open up by 2016 electricity market for small and residential users previously shut out of the market by Japan's utilities. The incentives promise healthy returns for small-sized producers. The market is estimated to be worth 7.5 trillion yen (USD74 billion).

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7 July 2014

CSP - a competitive alternative to natural gas

Since the U.S. found new natural gas reserves on their ground, renewable energies seem to have been pushed back to the second row, says a reegle blog article. However, the latest studies show that Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) could be a cost-competitive and more climate-friendly alternative in some regions – at least in Europe, South Africa, and Mediterranean region where CSP could produce 70-80 percent of the electricity demand at the same price as gas-driven power.

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5 July 2014

Strides in Africa's clean energy, still challenges

Estimates show that the African continent has considerable potential for renewable energies. Yet market penetration of renewable energy and clean technologies in many countries remains low. A review of three clean energy projects supported by CDKN shows that the projects have made significant contributions to improving the adoption rates of renewable energy technologies. "While we have made considerable strides, there is still much work to be done," the review says.

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