Energy ministers from across the EU are to meet in Brussels today to discuss early plans for a new wave of renewable energy policies, amid calls from a group of leading energy companies for the introduction of a new renewables target for 2030. Under current EU rules, the bloc faces a legally binding target to generate 20 per cent of its energy from renewables by 2020. But growing numbers of clean energy investors are increasingly concerned that without a new target for the post-2020 period confidence in long-term projects and supply chain investments could be undermined.
group of nine leading European energy companies, dubbed the Coalition of Progressive European Energy Companies, issued a statement ahead of today's meeting arguing for the "continuation of targeted and ambitious renewables policies and measures towards 2030, such as new binding targets". The group, which includes SSE, Dong Energy, Acciona, EWE, Eneco and EDP Renewables, called on ministers to invite the European Commission to begin work "on a post-2020 energy strategy, centred on binding and ambitious renewables measures and a strong EU ETS". "It is clear that the binding 2020 renewables target has worked – in the absence of a robust carbon price – driving economic growth and increasing security of energy supply," the group added. "Therefore such an effective policy framework should be extended to 2030, to allow the maturing European renewable industries to continue to become more cost-effective. However, in the absence of a clear renewable policy direction to 2030, the successful development of European renewables industries and the EU decarbonisation agenda is put at risk and exposed to industrial stagnation at a vital point in time." The intervention is likely to be welcomed by renewables developers, but energy firms remain divided on the issue with some arguing that the binding target distorts the market and will prove less effective at curbing greenhouse gas emissions than a properly functioning carbon-pricing scheme. The meeting comes after the price of carbon in the EU ETS hit a record low of €5.89 on Friday, after the European Commission postponed a vote on a new plan to bolster the price of carbon until next year.
A solar cell made entirely of carbon has been developed at Stanford University.
‘Carbon has the potential to deliver high performance at a low cost,’ said study senior author Zhenan Bao, a professor of chemical engineering at Stanford. ‘To the best of our knowledge, this is the first demonstration of a working solar cell that has all of the components made of carbon. This study builds on previous work done in our lab.’. Unlike rigid silicon solar panels, Stanford’s thin-film prototype is made of carbon materials that can be coated from solution.
The global energy map is changing in dramatic fashion, according to the International Energy Agency, and these changes will refashion expectations about the role of countries, regions and fuels in the global energy system over the coming decades. But it is not just shifts in the dominance of regions and traditional fuels that will shape the future.
Rather, what has been dubbed ‘the hidden fuel’, energy efficiency, could have a huge impact on the energy agenda.
“North America is at the forefront of a sweeping transformation in oil and gas production that will affect all regions of the world, yet the potential also exists for a similarly transformative shift in global energy efficiency,” IEA executive director Maria van der Hoeven said at the launch of the 2012 edition of the World Energy Outlook (WEO), considered to be the bible of the energy industry.
“This year’s World Energy Outlook shows that by 2035, we can achieve energy savings equivalent to nearly a fifth of global demand in 2010.
In other words, energy efficiency is just as important as unconstrained energy supply, and increased action on efficiency can serve as a unifying energy policy that brings multiple benefits.”
The IEA has developed an Efficient World Scenario, which shows what energy efficiency improvements can be achieved simply by adopting measures that are justified in economic terms.
It will be presenting this to governments around the globe over the coming months.
Greater efforts on energy efficiency would cut the growth in global energy demand by half.
Global oil demand would peak before 2020 and be almost 13Mb/d lower by 2035, a reduction equal to the current production of Russia and Norway combined.
There is mixed news for the renewable sector.
Although renewables will become the world’s second-largest source of power generation by 2015 this rapid increase hinges critically on continued subsidies.
In 2011, these subsidies amounted to £55bn, but over the period to 2035 need to reach over £3 trillion.
“The main reason for growth in this sector is government subsidies,” said Fatih Birol, chief economist at the IEA.
“Only half the three trillion has been committed, and given the current global economic situation there must be doubts about the required funds being made available: there is a lot of discussion going on about whether to renew these subsidies.”
The case for renewables is further hampered by the continued subsidies for fossil fuels.
The IEA reported that there has been a 30 per cent increase in fossil fuel subsidies to £325bn in 2011.
A scheme to build massive wind farms in Russia's Arctic northwest and sell the resulting electricity to Europe could kick-start the country's renewable energy industry.
he plan, dubbed RUSTEC, would see dozens of onshore wind farms built across the Murmansk region and plugged into a "power bridge" carrying the energy into the European grid via Norway or Finland. It is the brainchild of the International Finance Organization, the branch of the World Bank Group that provides private sector financing for global development. Supporters of the plan argue that low production costs and unusually high winds in the Russian Far North will produce efficiencies that actually make electricity generated there cheaper than renewable energy produced in Europe. "I was inspired by DESERTEC — the plan to build solar stations in the Sahara desert in northwest Africa and transmit electricity to Southern Europe. I thought, why solar power from Africa, why not wind power in Russia?" said Patrick Willems, the project manager of the IFC's program to develop renewable energy in Russia. Willems argued that onshore wind farms in places like the Murmansk region can generate more energy than expensive offshore plants in Europe. He added that, as Europe looks to meet its ambitious energy targets, it will pay handsomely for Russian wind power.
* Energy saving could buy planet five years' grace - IEA* Commission poised to open debate on post-2020 goals
BRUSSELS, Nov 20 (Reuters) - A group of company executivesdemanded a new binding European Union energy efficiency target on Tuesday, stoking a debate on green policy goals for 2030 with the first public call from business leaders.
The European Commission is expected to publish policy documents on the issue over the coming months.
In a letter, dated Tuesday, to Climate Commissioner Connie Hedegaard, the executives argued a mandatory energy savings target for 2030 "can serve the EU in the short term and solidify its long-term position as a competitive player in the world arena".
The signatories included senior management from Philips Lighting, Schneider Electric and building insulation producer Kingspan, as well as the president of the European Alliance to Save Energy, which brings together politicians and energy firms from across Europe.
Other sections of business and some EU member states have objected to a binding savings goal because it requires upfront investment in renovation and more efficient energy systems.
Solar Power: Global Market Attractiveness Model provides a standard framework for analysing the potential and relative attractiveness of national-level solar markets around the World and assessing macro conditions, access to market, national energy policy, growth potential of renewable energy and infrastructure considerations.
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Starenergy, a Portuguese technology based company has unveiled their new innovation: the INTI – Solar Charge Point that will contribute to reduce CO2 emissions and might help in countering the global issues that we have at this moment. Basically, the INTI-Solar Charge Point is a solar-powered charging station that gadget enthusiasts can use to charge their mobile phones, tablets and laptops. In its basic version it comes with Wi-Fi distribution and in upgraded versions it can include video vigilance, street lighting (LED) and support for advertising. The model has autonomy for 2 days without sun, provides Wi-Fi signal distribution 24hours/day in a range of 150 meters and could charge 2000 mobile phones per day, with a 15 minutes charge each."
Unversity of Delaware and Delaware Technical Community College researchers have demonstrated that a huge electrical system will be able to be powered almost exclusively by renewable energy by 2030 affordably and reliably.
Qatar, the Persian Gulf emirate hosting this year’s United Nations climate talks, plans to tender its first solar power project in the first quarter of 2013, the country’s energy minister said.
The project will generate 200 megawatts of power when completed by 2020, Mohammed al-Sada told a press conference in Doha today. The project will produce 2 percent of the nation’s electricity, he said. It’s the first step in a goal to have 1,800 megawatts of solar power by 2020. Qatar, which has no large renewable energy plants, joins Saudi Arabia, Dubai and Abu Dhabi in announcing clean energy plans to reduce reliance on fossil fuels and related emissions. Saudi Arabia aims to meet a third of its electricity with solar power by 2032, while Dubai targets 5 percent of generation by 2030. Abu Dhabi wants 7 percent of its power from renewable sources by 2020. “We want to produce more clean energy to save burning natural gas in power plants, which we can sell at higher prices globally,” al-Sada said. The project will use different solar technologies including solar-thermal, al-Sada said. The country is producing polysilicon in order to produce solar cells that will be used in the project, he said. The nation aims to boost solar power as part of plans to meet 20 percent of its energy demand from renewable sources by 2030, Qatar Solar Technologies said in October. QSTec is a venture between the private charity Qatar Foundation Germany’s SolarWorld AG (SWV) and the Qatar Development Bank.
How times change. Since the mid-'90s everyone and his brother has raved about the energy efficiency of the compact fluorescent light bulb.
When the CFL was introduced it was more energy efficient than any other type of lighting that had previously been used in the home. Where old-fashioned filament style incandescent bulbs were good for 1,200 hours of use, the public clamored to purchase CFLs that burned for 8,000 hours and more, using one-fifth of the energy.
As staunchly as we supported the change from conventional filament lighting to CFL use, we are now in the midst of an even better alternative. We feel that compact fluorescents will be fading away sooner than later.
The reason is simple. The next generation of artificial lighting is equally as cheap to operate, much, much brighter (and oh so much whiter) and longer lasting than CFLs. How about a life span of 25,000 hours for starters.
Where we never saw a key chain size CFL flashlight an LED keychain flashlight is now at every checkout counter.
The LED (light emitting diode) has finally made its way through lighting puberty (and the flashlight circuit) and is now stretching its "I'm the best and cheapest lighting for your home" muscles. Just about every manufacturer of lighting is now offering some sort of household LED alternative.
Big box and independent hardware stores alike offer an assortment of LED lighting.
Don't be fooled by the first generation of solar powered LED path lights that barely offered enough light to be seen on anything but a pitch-black night. We've discovered that LED lighting for the home is literally amazing.
And we are so glad. No mercury, no special handling and, best of all, LEDs are recyclable.
Collecting solar power from Space for use in Earth has been under research since the 1970s. The solar energy available in space is cleaner and a billion times more than what we use now. Thanks to the filtering effects of atmospheric gases, the solar energy transmission from space is not much. Hence, the collection of solar energy in an orbit is nearly 144% more than maximum amount of energy attainable in the surface of the Earth. Unlike solar panels, the orbiting satellites can be exposed to large amount of solar radiation for a longer time. In addition, the solar power collecting satellites reside outside atmospheric gases which eliminates weather concerns like cloud cover, wind, etc. from interrupting the solar power collection.
The space solar power is used in almost all spacecrafts today. The combination of solar power with wireless power transmission technology can serve all our electrical needs on Earth. Moreover, space solar power can offer the required clean power for electric transportation systems in the future.
Listed below are the infrastructure and technologies required to attain solar power from space:
Power transmission - Efforts have to be taken in transmitting the solar power from satellites to the Earth's surface without causing any environmental impact. Inexpensive, environmental-friendly launch vehicles - Launch vehicles used currently are expensive and pose high risk to the atmosphere at high launch rates. Large-scale in-orbit construction and operations - Large solar power satellites are required for gathering huge amount of energy. In addition to the technologies discussed above, a space solar power plant can also be built using materials from space, which will need some investment. The receivers for collecting energy from the power plant can be placed on Earth. With the utilization of materials from near-Earth asteroids and Moon, the solar power plant would be free from environmental impact. With all these promising ideas and increasing demand for clean and eco-friendly energy sources, solar energy will certainly play a major role in the renewable energy sector in the future.
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O grupo alemão Siemens decidiu abandonar a área da energia solar, num momento de elevada concorrência externa e de acentuada queda nos preços.
“Devido a alterações no quadro de condições, fraco crescimento e forte pressão dos preços no mercado do solar, as expectativas da empresa para as suas actividades na área da energia solar não foram cumpridas”, explica um comunicado da empresa.
O sector solar representa uma pequena fatia dos negócios da Siemens na área da energia, somando 300 milhões de euros numa facturação total de quase 25 mil milhões de euros em 2011.
O grupo estava a concentrar-se sobretudo na energia solar térmica, que aproveita a radiação do sol para aquecer um líquido, que depois alimenta a produção eléctrica pela geração de vapor. Mas não só o mercado mundial está dominado pelo solar fotovoltaico – com a produção de electricidade directamente através dos painéis solares – como tem havido uma forte concorrência de produtos chineses.
The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) recently released its first International Energy Efficiency Scorecard, which rates the energy efficiency of the world’s 12 major economies. The UK came on top, followed by Germany and Italy with the U.S. trailing far behind at ninth place.
The 12 countries tracked in this study account for 63 percent of global energy consumption, 62 percent of CO2 equivalent emissions and 78 percent of the world’s GDP. The study looked at the top three energy-consuming sectors for developed countries: industry, buildings and transportation. It also tracked countries’ national energy consumption efforts, which cut across the other three sectors.
The report analyzed policy-related metrics, such as national energy savings targets and energy efficiency standards for appliances, as well as performance metrics that account for quantifiable energy use like a country’s energy consumption relative to GDP and energy consumption per residential sq. ft.