01 October 2010

China's growing emissions, fossil fuel subsidies, U.S. home energy use, web vs. cleantech VC and other green business news

Top Stories

"South Korea firms jump onto solar bandwagon"reliability high.
Reuters reports that "South Korea's technology giants are behind the pace in getting on the $35 billion global solar energy bandwagon, but are now making up for lost time, snapping up assets overseas." Cites deals and plans of major South Korean companies. See Reuters.

"Analysis: Soaring Chinese economy at odds with climate goals"reliability high.
Last year the IEA hopefully suggested that China could grow its emissions to 8.4 billion tonnes of CO2 per year by 2020, then peak and reduce them, which would help keep the globe below the level of emissions that would cause 2 degrees of global warming. But more recent figures show China will blow past that rate of emissions next year as its economy continues to boom. More about the implications of China's growth. See Reuters article. [No one blames China for wanting to grow and lift its masses out of poverty. And its growth is helping the world economy get out of its slump. But the consequences, even with aggressive energy efficiency programs, are grave for the planet's climate, especially as the second-greatest emitter, the U.S., is unwilling to act.]

"Energy Leaders Blame Oil and Gas Subsidies for Weak Prospects"reliability high.
"Senior financiers and the leaders of powerful energy companies on Thursday blamed subsidies to oil and natural gas companies for damaging the ability of the clean-energy industry to recover from the economic slowdown and take advantage of growing power markets worldwide," reports the NYT. Quotes from various renewable energy industry participants. See The New York Times. [Tulsi Tanti of Suzlon says, "The banks are full of cash. We don’t see any difficulty with project financing in India and China." But the credit crunch in North America still hurts.]

Companies, Industries, Markets and Supply Chains

"Tesla supplies Toyota on electric Rav4"reliability high.
"Electric carmaker Tesla Motors will serve as a key supplier to Toyota Motor Corp under its agreement with the Japanese automaker to build an electric Rav4 SUV,"  according to Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk, Reuters reports. Musk said, "Toyota engineering and Tesla engineering are working very closely together" and that he thought the first thousand electric Rav4s might be built at the former NUMMI plant in Fremont, California. More on Tesla plans. See Reuters.

"First forestry credits issued under Voluntary Carbon Standard"reliability high.
"Credits from the Uchindile-Mapanda reforestation project in Tanzania were issued on the VCS registry system hosted by APX in a move that experts predict will further stimulate growing investor interest in forestry protection projects. ... The Uchindile-Mapanda project takes degraded grassland and converts it into sustainably harvested forests that sequester carbon emissions from the atmosphere and generate carbon credits. Some 40 per cent of the credits have been set aside – a world first – to mitigate against the risk of 'non-permanence', such as the forest burning down." The UN hopes to establish its REDD forestry offset system at Cancun, which could provide the structure for a regulated market in forestry-related credits. Story at BusinessGreen.

"A Tale Of Two VC Industries: The Web Versus Cleantech"reliability medium.
Erick Schonfeld posts about the differences between two major segments of the venture capital industry. "We ran some numbers through CrunchBase to compare funding rounds for consumer Web and ecommerce startups versus cleantech companies. ... So far this year through the end of August, CrunchBase tracked $1.87 billion in cleantech venture financings versus $1.35 billion for consumer Web and ecommerce startups. But CrrunchBase captured four times as many deals for Web startups than it did for cleantech." So the cleantech deal size is bigger, as might be expected since web companies are less capital intensive than cleantech companies. See TechCrunch GreenTech.

"New York can safely boost wind power sixfold by 2018"reliability high.
A report from the New York state grid operator says that the grid could absorb 8 GW of wind capacity by 2018. "Energy companies have submitted proposals to the New York ISO to build more than 7,000 MW of wind projects in the state." "In addition to reducing carbon emissions, the study also found more wind power would lower total energy production costs and significantly decrease the emission of sulfur, nitrogen and other pollutants." From Reuters.

"Failure to measure carbon could cost businesses dear"reliability high.
"Firms that fail to measure their carbon emissions are in danger of losing their competitive advantage and looking like 'they don't know what they're doing', the chief operating officer of the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) warned". He said, "From a business and investment perspective, climate change is really the first ever predictable industrial revolution. We know that we have to change [but] we don't know when, how fast, which technologies. The people who can predict that are going to be the winners in a changing economy. And the people who fail to predict it and fail to understand it are going to be the losers." More remarks from the BusinessGreen.com Sustainable Business Lecture on Carbon and the Future of Business Management. See BusinessGreen.

Government and Regulation

"EU climate chief insists coal aid to end 2014"reliability high.
Environment Commissioner Connie Hedegaard says there is no possibility the European Commission will further extend allowing state subsidies for loss-making coal mines beyond 2014, in spite of Germany's pressure for a later cut-off. "European taxpayers cannot continue to pay a lot of state aid to unprofitable mines," she told Reuters.

Science and Economics

"Are American homes more energy efficient? Not exactly."reliability high.
Feature article about how America's per-capita home energy consumption has remained level since the 70s even as home appliances have become much more efficient. Larger homes and  more electronic devices account for this. "The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that 5 to 10 percent of a home's energy use comes from 'vampire losses'" in devices that didn't exist in the 70s. More about home energy use trends. See The Washington Post.