“Norway pledges $300 million/year to green world’s power”
Norway recently announced a new program to fund renewable energy and carbon mitigation programs in developing nations. The Energy+ Partnership unites several developed countries in an effort to provide universal access to energy while cutting emissions from global energy production. Norway has pledged NOK 1.8 billion ($300 million) to the effort, which is set to launch in June of this year. Investments are “results based”: recipient countries are required to demonstrate increasing public access to energy and decreasing overall emissions. Energy+ builds on the success of Norway’s REDD+, an initiative for reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries.
Countries and organizations currently partnered (or committed to becoming partners) include: Kenya, Bhutan, Liberia, Ethiopia, Maldives, United Kingdom, Switzerland, France, the World Bank Group, Asian Development Bank, African Development Bank, United Nations Industrial Development Organisation, United Nations Development Programme, United Nations Environment Programme, International Energy Agency, World Business Council on Sustainable Development, Global Village Energy Partnership, United Nations Foundation. (January 18, 2012)
Nature Magazine: “Pollutants key to climate fix”
This article from Nature Magazine presents a comprehensive review of several recent studies highlighting the importance of mitigating methane and soot emissions. Most recently, Science Magazine commented on the this subject in the article “Simultaneously Mitigating Near-Term Climate Change and Improving Human Health and Food Security.” This article interviews co-author Veerabhadran Ramanathan. “We’re in a gridlock over carbon dioxide, and we’re losing time,” notes Veerabhadran Ramanathan. “This is one way to buy back some of that time, and the co-benefits are huge.”
The article also presents the United Nations Environment Programme’s (UNEP) contributions to this topic. In a publication released last June, the UNEP analyzed hundreds of options for reducing soot (“black carbon”) and ozone emissions, and ranked them according to their potential for total climate impact. For methane, the UNEP targeted 14 measures across the coal, oil, landfill, wastewater, livestock, and rice industries.
Although the benefits of reducing methane and soot emissions are clear, the article highlights the need to remain committed to long-term CO2 reductions. Kevin Trenberth, climate scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado, is quoted as warning against decreased attention to CO2 levels: “The fundamental problem with long-term climate change is CO2, and anything that takes us away from addressing that doesn’t really solve the problem,” he says. “It just puts it off.” (January 17, 2011)
“China set to launch first caps on CO2 emissions”
Beijing has recently asked five cities and two provinces to set emissions caps in anticipation of China’s forthcoming regional carbon trading scheme. The cities of Beijing, Shanghai, Tianjin, Chongqing, and Shenzhen, as well as the provinces of Hubei and Guangdong will participate. The trading scheme will not place a cap on overall carbon emissions, but rather carbon intensity. Carbon intensity refers to the amount of greenhouse gasses emitted per unit of GDP. This relative measure of carbon emissions is considered a more development-friendly approach to curbing emissions. China’s current plan, beginning in 2011 and culminating in 2015, targets overall carbon intensity reductions of 17 percent. (January 17, 2012)
China’s Premier Discusses Energy Plans
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao’s outlined China’s commitments to carbon reductions in a recent speech given at the World Future Energy Summit in Abu Dhabi. The speech drew attention to the rapid rate of urbanization in China, and the energy-demand implications of this development. Jiabao noted that China is expecting vast surges in energy demand as the country continues to urbanize. To prepare for this increase in demand, Jiabao focused on the need for a diversified energy supply, as well as advancements in transmission and efficiency. He also reaffirmed China’s commitment to research and development of advanced clean technologies. (January 20, 2012)
“European Offshore Wind Industry Key 2011 Trends and Statistics”
The European Wind Energy Association recently released its 2011 report The European Offshore Wind Industry Key 2011 Trends and Statistics. The report describes the major developments in European offshore capacity in 2011. The following chart describes the key findings of the report with regard to installed and total capacity in 2011.
|Quantity of turbines (#)||Total output (MW)|
|New 2011 (grid connected)||235||1,371|
In terms of future outlook, the report describes nine projects currently underway that will increase capacity by a further 2,375 MW once completed. The EWEA’s target for installed EU offshore wind power capacity by 2020 is 40,000 MW, producing approximately 4% of the EU’s total electricity consumption.
Justin Wilkes, Policy Director of EWEA, noted that “[d]espite the economy-wide financial squeeze, 2011 saw a 40 per cent increase on the previous year in offshore non-recourse debt financing, up from 1.46 billion Euros in 2010 to 2.05 billion Euros in 2011.” He continued: “[t]he strong project pipeline and financial developments highlight the importance of countries continuing to provide and develop stable long-term frameworks for offshore wind power in order to allow the industry to continue its development.” (January 20, 2011)
For the report, see: http://tinyurl.com/7zc2lbd
“Study: 95% Of All Trips Could Be Made By [Electric Vehicles]”
A recent study by two doctoral students at Columbia University found that electric vehicles could make approximately 95% of all single-destination trips. The study used data from a 2009 National Household Travel survey, and found that only about 1% of all single-destination trips covered distances greater than 70 miles. The data also suggested that about 95% of all such trips were less than 30 miles in length. The authors – Garret Fitzgerald and Rob van Haaren – calculated the average commute of American workers at 13.6 miles. (January 17, 2011)
“Renewables rising – [UK] wind power passes the six gigawatt threshold”
The United Kingdom’s wind sector now has over six gigawatts of installed capacity, or even to supply electricity to 3,354,893 homes. The Chief Executive RenewableUK, the trade association representing the renewable energy industries, commented: “This is a landmark achievement. There’s a great feeling of pride throughout the industry that we’ve reached a record high of 6 gigawatts, and there’s a further 19.5GW of capacity under construction, consented, or in planning.” (January 18, 2012)
“Alstom and SSE Renewables create joint venture to co-develop world’s largest wave farm off the coast of Orkney, Scotland”
Alstom and the leading Scottish marine developer SSE Renewables have signed a joint venture agreement to develop the Costa Head Wave Project. The project will produce up to 200 Megawatts (MW) of wave energy in Scotland. The site will use AWS-III wave energy converters, a technology currently under development by AWS Ocean Energy Ltd. The floating device has a rated power output of 2.5 MW. Each AWS-III will be connected to a central offshore substation via a high-voltage umbilical link. (January 17, 2012)
“Zayed Future Energy Prize Announces Winners”
The winners and runners up of the 2012 Zayed Future Energy Award were recently acknowledged by His Highness General Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces. The Zayed Future Energy Prize is awarded annually to large corporations, individuals and small and medium-sized enterprises, and non-governmental organizations that have significantly impacted global sustainability.
This year’s prize in the small and medium enterprises and non-governmental organizations category went to the Carbon Disclosure Project. Based out of the UK, the Carbon Disclosure Project operates the world’s only global emissions reporting system. The Project compiles and organize vast quantities of data on global emissions, and then make the data available for use by a wide audience including institutional investors, corporations, policymakers and their advisors, public sector organizations, government bodies, academics and the public. They were awarded $3.5 million from the Zayed Future Energy Prize. Orb Energy of India, and the Environmental Defense Fund of the United States were selected as runners up. (January 19, 2012)
“Apps4Africa: Winners In East Africa Contest”
Apps4Africa: Climate Change recently announced the winners of its 2011 East Africa contest. The first place prize went to the Grainy Bunch, from Tanzania. The Grainy Bunch is a national grain supply chain management system that monitors the purchase, storage, distribution, and consumption of grain across Tanzania. It was developed with the idea that selling “the effects of efficiency” to actors in the grain supply chain is much easier than selling “the effects of climate change”.
The second place prize went to Mkulima Bora of Kenya. Mkulima Bora is an application that allows farmers to predict crop yields for a given location and time of year. It does this by cross-referencing the farmer’s input of crop type with meteorological data. Third place went to Agro Universe of Uganda. Agro Universe provides a regional agriculture and livestock marketplace. The mobile and web-based application connects buyers and sellers of agriculture and livestock. (January 23, 2012)
 About RenewableUK: RenewableUK is the trade and professional body for the UK wind and marine renewables industries. Formed in 1978, and with more than 700 corporate members, RenewableUK is the leading renewable energy trade association in the UK. Wind has been the world’s fastest growing renewable energy source for the last seven years, and this trend is expected to continue with falling costs of wind energy and the urgent international need to tackle CO2 emissions to prevent climate change.
 Apps4Africa gives out cash awards to developers who create innovative technological solutions to issues across disciplines. Apps4Africa: Climate Challenge [East Africa], sponsored by the US State Department, awarded $15,000, $7,000, and $3,000 respectively to first, second, and third place contestants this year.