After nuclear phase-out, Germany debates scrapping coal, Yahoo 7 By Mathilde Richter | AFP – Sun, Nov 23, 2014 After deciding to scrap nuclear power, Germany is pondering saying goodbye to coal, its biggest energy source but also its top polluter and main threat to ambitious climate goals.
Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government is split on the issue, which pits a vocal environmental movement against energy giants and coal mining regions, with only weeks until her cabinet is set to present its next climate action plan.
Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks has said that if Europe’s biggest economy doesn’t reduce coal use, it has no chance of meeting its 2020 target of cutting Earth-warming carbon emissions by 40 percent from three decades earlier. Hendricks’ cabinet colleague in charge of the economy and energy, Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel, sees things differently and has argued that coal is here to stay, citing energy security, cost and many thousands of jobs.
“We can’t simultaneously get out of nuclear and coal,” Gabriel, the leader of the centre-left Social Democrats (SPD) who co-govern with Merkel’s conservatives, has said.
Merkel decided after Japan’s 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster to shutter all atomic reactors by 2022. By mid-century Germany aims to meet 80 percent of its power needs with renewables such as wind, solar and biogas, which now generate around a quarter.
But an unintended consequence of the “Energiewende”, or energy transition has been a rise in the use of coal, which now generates 46 percent of electricity.
The coal boom in Germany is in part an echo of US shale gas boom.
Cheap natural gas in the United States means coal is being exported to Europe where it undercuts expensive Russian gas, making cleaner and more flexible modern gas plants unprofitable, and several have shut down.
Another factor has been the collapse of the European emissions market, a system meant to factor in the environmental cost of burning fossil fuels. As the penalty for carbon emissions has dropped in price, coal plants have become more lucrative.
- Two birds, one stone -
Environmental pressure groups have campaigned to shut down Germany’s coal plants, and the opposition Greens party, deprived of its signature anti-nuclear crusade, has been at the forefront of the fight, backed by some research institutes………https://au.finance.yahoo.com/news/nuclear-phase-germany-debates-scrapping-201640616.html
Portugal switching to greener energy with more than 50 per cent from renewable sources http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-11-20/portugals-rise-in-renewable-energy-market/5906758 By Emily Stewart Portugal has a population of just 11 million people but it is punching above its weight in renewable energy industries.
Almost 60 per cent of its energy needs came from renewable sources last year, a 20 per cent increase from 2012.
Carlos Pimenta is considered the country’s renewable guru. The former Portuguese and European Parliament member was a negotiator for the Kyoto protocol and with Al Gore a founder of the GLOBE organisation.
He said the energy market has changed dramatically since its liberalisation. “If you go back 10 years you have centralised gas, oil and electricity with big utilities on top and consumers on bottom paying the bill,” he said.”Nowadays you have thousands of families that produce part of their own electricity… hundreds of small wind farms, solar farms, small biomass that feed-in to the grid.”
Official Portuguese figures show the annual fossil fuel bill has been slashed by 800 million euros through the rise of renewables.
Former state energy company triples renewable energy output Continue reading
Nuclear fixation shafts renewables, Mail &Guardian, Africa 21 NOV 2014 00:00 SIPHO KINGS The third window is waiting to be signed off but the energy department is preoccupied elsewhere Within two years, South Africa could have a further 1 200 megawatts (MW) of renewable energy entering the grid. The bidders have been selected and the companies are waiting for financial sign-off so they can start building.
But policy uncertainty and a new focus on nuclear energy are responsible for a nearly 18-month delay in the government giving them the go-ahead, industry insiders say.
In the wake of the 2009 energy crisis, the energy department set out an ambitious renewable energy programme: independent power producers (IPPs) would build the capacity to produce 3 725MW of electricity. This was split into three bidding opportunities, or windows, with companies bidding for a certain allocation in each.
The first two were hailed as great successes and, for the past three years, South Africa has been listed as one of the top five destinations for investment in renewable energy. Wind energy is already producing 660MW. Updated plans envision 9?800MW of solar, 3 300MW of concentrated solar and 4 400MW of wind energy by 2030.
But the third window has been delayed repeatedly. Several concerned individuals, working for renewable companies and unwilling to disclose their names for fear of jeopardising their relationship with the government, said political considerations were to blame.
“We have been told that the new minister’s [Tina Joemat-Pettersson] mandate is strongly towards nuclear energy,” said one………..
The renewable energy companies, the majority of which provide wind and photovoltaic power, are incurring costs all the time. These include leasing the land on which the power stations will be built, which is spread out across the Eastern, Western and Northern Cape.
If the delays continued, the sources said, there would be a point beyond which companies would be unable to recoup their costs, even if they started producing power soon. “We are not far from that point,” warned one renewable company employee. ………
A chance to reindustrialise
Groups such as Cosatu have hailed renewable energy as a chance to “reindustrialise” the country and companies are required to spend up to 70% of their budgets locally. Hundreds of millions of rands have been spent building factories to produce parts locally, such as the R300-million wind tower factory in Atlantis outside Cape Town. Solar panel factories alone have created 500 jobs.
This week the South Africa Renewable Energy Council said delaying the third window would have “extremely adverse consequences” for the industry and could also jeopardise the planned fourth renewable window.
Unlike South Africa’s centralised and state-owned power plants, renewables are financed by the private sector. The government, through Eskom, signs an agreement to buy their electricity at the rate presented in their bid. But they carry the risk.
The owner of one solar company said: “The worst thing for investors is uncertainty. The first two windows attracted so much investment and goodwill because the government was decisive. That is being thrown out of the window.”
If the third window was delayed, and there was another window to come, companies would hesitate to gamble with their money, they said………
Twenty-six renewable energy projects have already been connected to the grid. The more than 60 projects have brought in R120-billion in foreign direct investment. Many of these are ahead of schedule, such as the 96MW Jasper solar plant near Upington in the Northern Cape.
It is the continent’s largest solar photovoltaic power plant. It has been built in the time that costs of the coal-fired Medupi and Kusile power stations, which are currently five years behind schedule, have nearly tripled.
But industry insiders are adamant that, if the policy uncertainty is not cleared up, the initial promise shown by the renewable programme will falter.
The department of energy was not available to respond to questions. http://mg.co.za/article/2014-11-20-nuclear-fixation-shafts-renewables
SunEdison To Be World’s Largest Renewable Energy Developer http://www.energymatters.com.au/renewable-news/sunedison-first-wind-em4596/ November 19, 2014 SunEdison, Inc. (NYSE: SUNE) and TerraForm Power, Inc. (Nasdaq: TERP) have announced the signing of a USD $2.4 billion agreement to acquire First Wind, one of the USA’s leading developers, owners and operators of wind farms.
SunEdison says it will purchase over 1.6 GW of First Wind pipeline and backlog projects for Terraform Power, which are expected to be operational in 2016-2017. Also included in the transaction is an additional 6.4 GW of project development opportunities.
SunEdison’s portion of the total transaction is $1.5 billion, with Terraform Power acquiring First Wind’s operating portfolio for an enterprise value of $862 million. TerraForm Power is a yieldco* that is majority owned by SunEdison.
“The acquisition of First Wind transforms both SunEdison and TerraForm Power into diversified renewable energy companies and will make SunEdison the leading renewable power plant developer in the world,” said Ahmad Chatila, President and Chief Executive Officer of SunEdison.
First Wind is understandably quite chuffed about the acquisition as well.
“We are excited to become part of the SunEdison team,” said Paul Gaynor, Chief Executive Officer of First Wind. “This new strategic organization will allow us to join with SunEdison to develop and invest in new, long-term-contracted, well-sited and well-run renewable energy projects that deliver clean energy to homes and businesses across the country and internationally.”
Announcements of major milestones, projects, deals and technology advancements from SunEdison have rapidly flowed in 2014. Just since the beginning of October this year, SunEdison has announced:
- new polysilicon technology.
- zero white space solar panels.
- its Renewable Operations Center portfolio surpassing 3 gigawatts.
- a joint venture in China.
- several major solar projects in California.
- signing of an MoU to develop 5GW of solar projects in India.
- the closing of $130 million in financing for one of the largest solar power plants in Latin America.
- awarded 150 megawatts of solar projects in Karnataka India .
- completed 3 more school installations in California.
- a partnership to develop up to 300 megawatts of utility scale solar in the Philippines.
SunEdison has solar installations, manufacturing plants, and 39 offices located throughout North America, Europe and Asia
* A yieldco is a publicly traded company formed to own operating assets that produce a predictable cash flow.
Biopower, also known as biomass power or bioenergy, is the use of any organic material to generate electricity. The U.S. has long been the global leader, but the report suggests outdated infrastructure and a bloated existing capacity that has saturated the market will lead to Americans being overtaken in four years’ time……http://www.ibtimes.com/brazil-overtake-us-leading-market-renewable-energy-metric-1724500
Denmark Aims for 100 Percent Renewable Energy, Justin Gillis, NYT, NOV. 10, 2014 COPENHAGEN — Denmark, a tiny country on the northern fringe of Europe, is pursuing the world’s most ambitious policy against climate change. It aims to end the burning of fossil fuels in any form by 2050 — not just in electricity production, as some other countries hope to do, but in transportation as well.
Now a question is coming into focus: Can Denmark keep the lights on as it chases that lofty goal?
Lest anyone consider such a sweeping transition to be impossible in principle, the Danes beg to differ. They essentially invented the modern wind-power industry, and have pursued it more avidly than any country. They are above 40 percent renewable power on their electric grid, aiming toward 50 percent by 2020. The political consensus here to keep pushing is all but unanimous……….
The trouble, if it can be called that, is that renewable power sources like wind and solar cost nothing to run, once installed. That is potentially a huge benefit in the long run………
Throughout Europe, governments have come to the realization that electricity markets are going to have to be redesigned for the new age, but they are not pursuing this task with urgency. ……..http://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/11/science/earth/denmark-aims-for-100-percent-renewable-energy.html?_r=0
India Eyes $100 Billion Investment In Renewable Energy Clean Technica, November 9th, 2014 by Smiti Mittal The new Indian government is taking serious initiatives to boost the power sector, which is in dire need of financial and structural reforms. A large number of these reforms will be implemented in the renewable energy sector.
India’s minister for coal, power, and renewable energy last week announced that his government would push for an unprecedented $100 billion investment in the renewable energy sector over the next few years. With this plan, he also announced seemingly impossible solar energy capacity addition targets for the next five years………http://cleantechnica.com/2014/11/09/india-eyes-100-billion-investment-renewable-energy/
While this new political landscape will have an impact on energy legislation, environmental groups have pointed out that it may not have as large an impact on clean energy policies, many of which are being pursued directly by the Obama Administration without congress.
A key area of concern for the solar industry has been the 30% solar investment tax credit (ITC), which is set to reduce at the end of 2016. The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) announced an effort to extend the ITC at the Solar Power International trade show in Las Vegas in October, and Friends of the Earth (FOE) says that this changing landscape complicates that task.
“Obviously formerly Majority Leader (Harry) Reed was very supportive of tax credits for renewable energy,” FOE Climate and Energy Program Director Benjamin Schreiber told pv magazine. “I don’t think this is a death knell for the ITC, but it makes it more difficult for sure.”
Schreiber notes that past extensions of renewable energy tax credits were part of bundled changes to the tax code, which makes it harder to read any individual politician’s support for specific policies. However, he also notes that many House Republicans have been vocal in their opposition to renewable energy subsidies………
“Anything that Congress is going to do to undermine that rule from moving forward is going to have to be signed off on by the president,” explains Schreiber. He describes past efforts to derail the policy as “political theater”.
Additionally, a Republican majority in the Senate gives the party greater control over budget issues, and Schreiber expects them to use this to reduce funding for clean energy programs both at the Department of Energy and the Department of Defense.
Perhaps the greatest concern is that a Republican majority will further tilt the playing field against renewables by increasing support for fossil fuel production. …….
40% Renewable Energy Integration No Trouble For Midwest Clean Technica November 7th, 2014 by Joshua S Hill A new study conducted by the Minnesota Department of Commerce in coordination with the Midwest regional independent grid operator Mid-continent Independent System Operator (MISO) has found that the state of Minnesota could obtain 40% or more of its electricity from wind and solar energy without suffering any grid reliability issues.
The report, which builds on real-world situations like the states of Iowa and South Dakota generating more than 25% of their energy from wind during 2013, is another splash of cold water in the faces of those who attempt to dismiss renewable energy as being somehow impractical.
Minnesota currently derives 16% of its electricity from wind and solar energy, which means an increase to 40% would not only be a boost to the renewable energy industry, but would push the state towards 70% of its emissions reductions required from existing power plants under the EPA’s Clean Power Plan.
The primary finding from the report (PDF) is that “the addition of wind and solar (variable renewable) generation to supply 40 percent of Minnesota’s annual electric retail sales can be reliably accommodated by the electric power system.”
The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) made the following statement in the wake of the report:……. http://cleantechnica.com/2014/11/07/renewable-energy-integration-trouble-midwest/
MOU signed for the first ever Indian offshore wind project, Renewable Energy Magazine Robin WhitlockThursday, 06 November 2014 A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) has been signed to establish a Joint Venture Company for India’s first demonstration offshore wind power project along the Gujarat coast…….Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi’s message in the US was loud and clear that renewable energy is the way to go, it dovetails world’s concerns about climate change and it clearly enhances India’s energy security. Considering the country’s 7600 km long coastal line , Shri Goyal added that the opportunities for scaling up are humongous. The Minister also suggested for building partnership with Defence, Coast guard and Shipping to ensure seamless and time bound approval process…….Onshore wind power development is the fastest growing renewable energy option in India and has now reached a commercial stage with more than 22 GW of installed cap acity supported by funding from private investment. The country has around 7,600 kilometres of coastline, offering a huge potential for offshore wind power development. To this end, the Ministry has now taken the initiative by announcing a Draft National Offshore Wind Energy Policy as well as preparing a Draft Cabinet note on National Offshore Wind Energy Policy which will be circulated for inter-ministerial comments.http://www.renewableenergymagazine.com/article/mou-signed-for-the-first-ever-indian-20141106
renewable sources generate up to 65 percent of Canada’s electricity. Solar and wind are the country’s two fastest growing sources.According to him, Solar photovoltaic capacity reached 1,210 megawatts of cumulative installed capacity in 2013. The Canadian Solar Industry Association forecasts that annual capacity will increase three folds by 2025. By then, the Canadian solar industry will support more than 35,000 jobs, displacing 15 to 31 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions per year.
Canada has two of the largest solar farms in the world
Saudi Arabia, Canada to hold renewable energy seminar http://www.arabnews.com/economy/news/651686 29 Oct 14, A Canadian trade delegation, headed by Canada’s Deputy Minister of International Trade Simon Kennedy arrived in Saudi Arabia on Monday to meet several Saudi officials and major firms with a special focus on renewable energy in Saudi Arabia.
Canadian Ambassador Thomas MacDonald said Canada’s first renewable energy mission, which is focused on solar technology, will visit the King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy (KACARE), the Saudi Electricity Company (SEC), ACWA Power and other industry leaders. Continue reading
Nanyang Technological University Singapore leads te way with a hybrid micro grid for renewable energy
NTU to build region’s first renewable energy integration demonstration micro-grid Phys Org 29 Oct 14 Nanyang Technological University Singapore (NTU Singapore) will be building a hybrid micro-grid which will integrate multiple large-scale renewable energy sources. The first in the region, the hybrid micro-grid will test and demonstrate the integration of solar, wind, tidal-current, diesel, storage and power-to-gas technologies, and ensure these energy sources operate well together.
To be built under the new Renewable Energy Integration Demonstrator- Singapore (REIDS) initiative, the hybrid micro-grid will be located offshore at Semakau Landfill and is expected to produce power in the megawatt (MW) range, which will be suitable for small islands, isolated villages, and emergency power supplies. This will be able to power around 250 HDB 4-room apartments, which together consume a peak of 1 MW.
This initiative is supported by the Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB), and the National Environment Agency (NEA). The S$8 million initial micro-grid infrastructure will also facilitate the development and commercialisation of energy technologies suited for tropical conditions to be developed by NTU Singapore together with 10 world leading companies…….http://phys.org/news/2014-10-ntu-region-renewable-energy-micro-grid.html
EU on track to meet 2020 renewable energy targets, Hydroworld, BRUSSELS 10/28/2014 By Michael Harris Online Editor Greenhouse gas emissions within the European Union fell by almost 2% between 2012 and 2013, putting the EU close to its 2020 reduction target, according to data released this week by the European Environment Agency.
“According to latest estimates, EU greenhouse gas emissions in 2013 fell by 1.8% compared to 2012 and reached the lowest levels since 1990,” an EU statement said. “So not only is the EU well on track to reach the 2020 target, it is also well on track to overachieve it.”
Hydroelectric power has been an integral component of the EU’s efforts in cutting its greenhouse gas emissions and producing 20% of its power with renewable sources.
The EEA’s analysis of member states’ own projections show the EU is likely to cut its greenhouse gas emissions by at least 21% of 1990 levels by 2020, surpassing its 20% target. Meanwhile, the report shows 14% of the EU’s energy was generated by renewable sources in 2012, which is ahead of its projections to hit the 20% mark by the end of the decade.
“Our analysis shows that Europe is on track towards its 2020 targets,” EEA executive director Hans Bruyinickx said. “Even against the backdrop of economic recession in recent years, we can see that policies and measures are working and have played a key role in reaching this interim result.”…….The EU has said that it’s longer-term objectives include decarbonizing Europe’s greenhouse gas emissions by between 80% and 95% by 2050. http://www.hydroworld.com/articles/2014/10/eu-on-track-to-meet-2020-renewable-energy-targets.html
“……..Last year, renewables accounted for 24 per cent of the country’s electricity.The German government introduced generous subsidies to kick-start the sector, amounting to 16 billion euros last year. But the government claims the program has already saved billions in fuel costs for the heavily import-reliant country.
“We have created new businesses worth 40 billion euros per year,” Ecologic Institute analyst Andreas Kraemer said.”We have created additional employment for up to 400,000 people. They all pay taxes, they all pay social security charges.”
German households and small business pay the largest share for the renewable turnaround.They pay around 29 euro cents per kilowatt hour and much of that goes towards a renewable energy surcharge.
Big industrial users are exempt from the surcharge and pay just 3.5 cents per kilowatt hour……..
A new-look energy market The energy turnaround has clouded the future for the dominant utility companies in Germany.Germany’s big four, Vattenfall, E.on, RWE and EnBW, have enjoyed an oligopoly driven by nuclear power and fossil fuels………
Investors look for exposure to renewables market The makeup of the German energy market already looks very different, with hundreds of companies and cooperatives being formed in a decentralised industry.
While banks, industry, and project developers own 40 per cent of renewable installations, farmers and private investors own half.A number of new investment vehicles have formed to take advantage of the new industry. Crowd funding start up Bettervest has financed 14 projects since its inception a year ago.
Company spokesman Julien Schroder-Gianoncelli said investors are attracted by the projects and the returns,\. “We are offering 5-10 per cent in interest, which is pretty good at the moment,” he said.
Ceramic Fuel Cells believes Germany’s regulations, incentives and market make it the place to be. Mr Obernitz said that, for the time being at least, there are no incentives available in Australia.
“I’m not sure if that is going to change,” he said.
“We would favour that because we have invented the technology in Australia, and it’s something that will change the world.”……… https://au.news.yahoo.com/vic/a/25372077/germanys-renewable-energy-incentives-and-regulations-attracting-australian-companies/
Wind farms outstrip nuclear power BBC News, By Roger Harrabin, 21 Oct 14 BBC environment analyst The UK’s wind farms generated more power than its nuclear power stations on Tuesday, the National Grid says.
The energy network operator said it was caused by a combination of high winds and faults in nuclear plants………Wind made up 14.2% of all generation and nuclear offered 13.2%.
It follows another milestone on Saturday, when wind generated a record amount of power – 6,372 MW, according to National Grid.
This formed nearly 20% of the the UK’s electricity, albeit at a time at the weekend when demand is relatively low………The government is offering more generous subsidies to nuclear than wind in the long term.
But Jennifer Webber, a spokeswoman for RenewableUK, the trade body, said: “Wind power is often used as a convenient whipping boy by political opponents and vested interests.
“All the while, it’s been quietly powering millions of homes across the UK and providing a robust response to its vocal detractors.” http://www.bbc.com/news/business-29715796
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