22 September 2010

Energy poverty, solar integration, Australian uncertainty, and other green business news

Top Stories

"Energy Access Seen as Vital to Abolishing Worst Poverty"reliability high.
The International Energy Agency presented a special report on the importance of energy access in reducing poverty to the Millennium Development Goals meeting in New York. It says more than $36 billion a year is needed to ensure that the world’s population benefits from access to electricity and clean-burning cooking facilities by 2030, according to this New York Times story. The Times quotes IEA chief economist Fatih Birol: "Without electricity, social and economic development is much more difficult. ... Addressing sanitation, clean water, hunger — these goals can’t be met without providing access to energy." More on energy poverty and biomass cooking issues. See The New York Times. Access IEA "Energy Poverty: How to make modern energy access universal" special excerpt here.

"Recurrent Energy Acquired by Sharp for $305 Million"reliability high.
"The deal will effectively bring together two companies in need of strong allies. Sharp is one of the largest and historically strongest solar module makers in the world and Recurrent is one of the largest independent solar power project developers. With Recurrent, Sharp has a group that can bid on solar power projects, and then build them with Sharp modules. Recurrent has a 2 gigawatt product pipeline: that could soak up a lot of modules." More on developments in the solar sector. From Greentech Media. [Forward integration of module makers into project development seems to be the way to go.]

Companies, Industries, Markets and Supply Chains

"BHP anticipates global carbon price"reliability high.
Marius Kloppers, chief executive officer of BHP Billiton, told the Australian British Chamber of Commerce: "we need to anticipate the global price for carbon when we take on decisions with a long-dated impact. The decisions we take now on our production will still be with us long after a global price for carbon is finally in place." More remarks on what governments will have to do and how companies will have to respond. See Financial Standard. [And see next two items.]

"Australian miner backs case for carbon tax"reliability high.
Fortescue Metals Group chief Andrew Forrest said, "I think a carbon tax is better than an emissions-trading system. I'm not getting in the road of a carbon tax. ... There is a need sooner rather than later to resolve the issue of a price on carbon that creates the investment certainty, and will bring on investment in energy in Australia." More on industry attitudes to carbon pricing in Australia. See Reuters. [Australian carbon emitters don't want to see reductions, but they are willing to accept carbon taxes and a price on carbon. They seem especially uncomfortable with the continuing uncertainty about whether, when and how a price on carbon will be imposed.]

"Australia companies face scrutiny on carbon disclosure"reliability high.
"The Investor Group on Climate Change said it wanted all of Australia's top 200 listed companies to reveal data under the global Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) to allow investors to adequately assess carbon risks. ... In a bid to increase corporate clarity on carbon, the Australian Ethical Investment Fund teamed up with Australia's Climate Institute think tank to pressure companies to provide more information on carbon risks at annual general meetings." More shareholder activist comments. From Reuters story.

"Central America taps volcanoes for electricity"reliability high.
Story about efforts in notoriously volcano-rich Central America to increase use of geothermal energy. "Guatemala, Central America's biggest country, aims to produces 60 percent of its energy from geothermal and hydroelectric power by 2022. The government is offering tax breaks on equipment to set up geothermal plants and electricity regulators are requiring distributors buy greater proportions of clean energy." More on activities in various countries in the region. From Reuters.

"Japan's Chubu plans 8MW solar plant to cut emissions"reliability high.
Chubu Electric Power Co plans to build an 8-megawatt solar power plant, to come on line in 2014. It will try to obtain government subsidies to help with construction. See Reuters. [This would represent a couple of thousandths of one percent of Chubu's total capacity, and less than one percent the capacity of Chubu's smallest thermal generating station. No significant effect on greenhouse gas emissions. But maybe a start.]

Government and Regulation

EPA Kicks Off 'Green Power Community Challenge'reliability high.
"The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has launched its national 'Green Power Community Challenge,' a year-long campaign to encourage cities, towns, villages, and Native American tribes to use renewable energy to help prevent greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and to accelerate the development of renewable energy capacity across the Unites States." The challenge will rank and recognize communities which use the most renewable energy. More on the program. See Environmental Leader. More at EPA Green Power Partnership site.

"France Cuts Solar PV Feed In Tariffs by 12 Percent"reliability medium.
Edouard Stenger posts that "Feed-in tariffs  for industrial installations in France decreased by 12 percent beginning on September 1st. This move was done to prevent overheating in the sector. According to the French Minister for Ecology, Energy, Sustainable Development and Town, Mr. Jean-Louis Borloo, the objective of having 5,400 MW of solar PV capacity may be reached in 2013 instead of 2020." More at Cleantechies blog.