West Africa to get skilled workforce for solar PV
The International Renewable Energy Agency and Arizona State University signed an agreement this week to develop a solar certification program for West Africa. The program aims to develop workforce capacity to accelerate the deployment of solar PV that has excellent potential for providing energy security and economic development in the region. The certification of technicians also improves the confidence of customers in the renewable energy industry.
Wind industry urges EU to set ambitious 2030 target
Over 150 companies representing every aspect of the wind energy sector from power producers to component manufacturers have joined a call on EU governments to set an ambitious renewables target for 2030. The call says for instance: "Given the long investment cycles in the energy sector and the fact that investment decisions in the EU's energy markets strongly depend on reliability, certainty about the regulatory framework of the next 17 years is needed."
Azerbaijan turning to sustainable energy sources
Azerbaijan aims to turn from oil-based economy to the non-oil sector and is developing alternative ways of power production, writes Azernews. The country plans to increase the share of renewables in the total energy production from current two percent to 20 percent by 2020. Azerbaijan offers numerous opportunities for foreign companies interested in investing in green energy or penetrating the local market.
China to toughen environmental protection law
China will toughen its environmental protection laws to target polluters, according to a high-level policy report released on Sunday, paving the way for possibly unlimited penalties for polluting and the suspension or shutdown of polluters, writes Reuters. Almost all Chinese cities monitored for pollution last year failed to meet state standards. On Saturday, Xinhua reported that the government's investment in environmental protection will increase substantially.
Major investors push for stronger climate action
Major institutional investors are pushing for stronger actions from companies in climate-related shareholder resolutions, according to Ceres. The investors request specific actions such as adopting and achieving company-wide goals for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from operations. Many U.S. businesses have reported a higher rate of return on investments in carbon-reduction technologies than on overall corporate capital investments.
UN climate talks' special focus on sustainable energy
UN climate change negotiations kick off in Bonn next week, marking the beginning of an intense year of summits designed to lead to a universal agreement in Paris in late 2015. A central focus will be to identify ways to ramp up cooperative efforts to curb greenhouse gas emissions. Special attention will be given to translating the potential of renewable energy, such as solar and wind, and energy efficiency into concrete, action-oriented outcomes.
Over-regulation slows shift to cheap clean energy
Clean energy technologies are reaching a tipping point where they are competitive with incumbent fossil fuel solutions. However, statist regulatory approaches which mandate their use and stifle competition are keeping their prices unnecessarily high and holding back adoption, says an article published by Bloomberg New Energy Finance. Over-regulation and complex planning requirements add costs, slow down projects, reduce transparency and increase risk.
EBRD continues to invest in Romanian wind
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development Bank (EBRD) will provide a senior loan of EUR49 million towards the construction, commissioning and operation of the 108-megawatt Crucea North Wind Farm in the Black Sea region of Dobrogea. Preliminary construction works on the wind farm began late last year and are to be finalized by mid-2015. The total cost of the project is expected to be approximately EUR200 million. Earlier the bank has co-financed two wind farms in Romania.
Sharing knowledge to tap small hydro potential
Small-scale hydropower is one of the most suitable energy solutions for fostering inclusive sustainable development and industrialization. However, much of the world's small hydropower potential remains untapped. The first step to remedying the situation is through dissemination of reliable data to initiate new small hydropower projects. A new knowledge sharing portal responds to this challenge and features best practices from different regions of the world.
New U.S. fuel standards require major cut in sulfur
The rules unveiled by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on Monday will cut sulfur levels in gasoline by more than 60 percent and will be phased in between 2017 and 2025. By cutting soot, smog and toxic emissions, the standards would provide significant health benefits while adding only an average of 1 cent per gallon to the cost of gasoline, the EPA estimated. People will see immediate benefits in 2017, and the estimated cost of gasoline would not take effect until 2025, when the rule is fully in place.
EU ETS to get a boost, further reforms needed
The European Union's Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) is set to change radically from next week as the EU will start to "backload", or delay, many of its auctions of carbon permits. This has already given a huge vote of confidence to carbon markets but it will only have a temporary impact. According to Bloomberg New Energy Finance, the EU should implement further reforms that would provide investors with long-term confidence.
India on course to meet 2017 solar capacity target
India's Ministry of New and Renewable Energy unveiled in September 2013 plans for expanding solar capacity to 10,000 megawatts by 2017. The Solar Energy Corporation (SECI), a Government of India company, has already signed for a 4,000 MW solar PV park in Rajasthan and will set up a 1,000 megawatts solar PV park on a 5000-acre site in Andhra Pradesh, writes Hindu Business Line. With other initiatives, India is on course to its 2017 target.
EU supports Pacific states to tackle climate change
The EU provides Pacific island countries with EUR35.5 million (USD49 million) for the region's Adapting to Climate Change and Sustainable Energy program, according to a deal signed this week. The program will help the fifteen Pacific countries to address three main challenges common to all of them: adapting to climate change; reducing their reliance on fossil fuels; and capacity building. For implementation, the EU will cooperate with several organizations.
National climate laws create basis for global deal
A new study sets out a series of politically significant findings that will have a direct bearing on success of the international negotiations. Legislators will also consider how national laws can be recognized within a 2015 international climate change agreement. A new major international initiative will help national legislators to develop and implement climate change laws.
EU plan to cut supply of carbon permits into law
A plan to prop up EU carbon prices was published in the official journal of the European Union on Wednesday, enacting into law the so-called backloading measure, writes Reuters. It involves cutting the supply of permits to be sold under the EU Emissions Trading Scheme in an effort to incentivize more investment in low carbon technologies. Exchanges must give at least two weeks notice of any change to their auction calendar.
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