04 October 2010

Cleantech investment soars in China, Asia, plummets in California; grease rustling, food waste, Brazil supply chains and other green news

Top Stories

"New nuclear plants needed to reach [UK] green goals"reliability high.
UK Foreign Minister William Hague says that new nuclear plants will be needed in Britain to meet climate goals. "We have decided in Britain to build a new generation of nuclear power stations." "I really see no alternative to that except excessive dependence on oil and gas, and imported liquefied natural gas." "So after quite a long gap in which we haven't built any nuclear power plants, we are opening the door to doing so again. They have to justify themselves economically." See Fox News story from AP. Speech in full at BusinessGreen. ["When I became Foreign Secretary in May, I said the core goals of our foreign policy were to guarantee Britain’s security and prosperity. Robust global action on climate change is essential to that agenda."]

"India says is now third highest carbon emitter"reliability high.
Environment minister Jairam Ramesh said that India is now the third-largest carbon emitter after China and the USA. He also said, "We will unilaterally, voluntarily, move on a low-carbon growth path. We can't have 8-9 percent GDP growth and high-carbon growth. It has to be low-carbon 8 percent, 9 percent growth and that is the objective that we have set for ourselves." See Reuters story. [Ramesh gets to be point man on such statements. The government may lag some distance behind.]

"Green-Tech Investment Plummets"reliability medium.
Todd Woody posts: "Global venture capital investment in green technology companies fell 30 percent, to $1.53 billion, in the third quarter of 2010, according to a preliminary report issued Friday by the Cleantech Group". The decline was blamed on uncertainty caused by the slow economic recovery. In California investment fell 61%, possibly due to concern that Proposition 23 might reverse some of the state's environmental initiatives. "Even so, investors put $452 million into California companies in the third quarter, versus $126 million for second-place Texas." Investment in China, and Asia in general, rose substantially in the 3rd quarter compared to the 2nd quarter, up 400% in China and 200% in Asia. See New York Times Green blog.

Companies, Industries, Markets and Supply Chains

"First Morocco solar unit to be thermal: agency chief"reliability high.
Reuters reports that Morocco has opted for solar thermal technology for the first unit of its big solar energy project. Agency for Solar Energy Chief Executive Officer Mustapha Bakoury told Reuters, "The first stage of the $9 billion solar project will be achieved to satisfy the needs of the country's electricity operator ONE which required the storage of power. That why we opted for technology of thermal solar for this stage involving the building of a solar power unit to produce at least 125 megawatts." This first unit is expected to be completed by 2015. The Ourzazate solar complex is to have capacity of 500 megawatts. See Reuters story.

"Booming Car Sales in China May Bypass Diesels"reliability high.
BMW’s head of sales and marketing says Chinese consumers may take a different path to efficient autos compared to Europeans. Diesel fuel is restricted to trucks in China, while hybrid technology is being widely developed by Asian carmakers. China is already BMW's third-largest market. From The New York Times. [Another possible factor: the technologies needed to reduce particulate emissions from diesels make them significantly more expensive than gasoline engines. China has massive problem with particulates already from diesel trucks, with significant public health effects. Also, Chinese want cheap cars (although BMW/Mini/Rolls Royce are aiming at high end). Also, I don't know how petrol subsidies may affect this picture.]

"M&S takes care of old plastic bottles"reliability high.
"The British retailer confirmed today that 300 million garments annually will carry polyester care labels made from recycled PET1 drinks bottles instead of virgin polyester," according to BusinessGreen. The plastic from about two million used bottles will be used. More on the program. See BusinessGreen.

"Unsure of domestic wood origin, some Brazilian furniture makers begin importing U.S. timber"reliability medium.
"Export-oriented Brazilian furniture manufacturers are importing certified timber from the United States rather than using wood of questionable origin produced domestically, reports the International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO) in its bimonthly update." More on timber certification in Brazil. From Mongabay. [Shows that regulations in rich-country markets can significantly affect supply chains to developing-country exporters. Green works back up the supply chain; trumps local regulations.]

Science and Economics

"Food Wasted in the U.S. Leads to Massive Amounts of Wasted Energy"reliability medium.
A recent research report says the energy embedded in food Americans throw out every year "represents the energy equivalent of 350 million barrels of oil, or about 2 percent of the nation’s annual energy consumption". "The energy embedded in wasted food represents a substantial target for decreasing energy consumption in the U.S." From Yale Environment 360. See the full research paper at Environmental Science & Technology.

The Grey Side of Green

"Restaurants' used grease a hot item for thieves"reliability high.
Grease rustlers are stealing used cooking oil and other valuable "yellow grease" used in animal feed and to make chemicals and biodiesel. "Virtually all of our members who are in the business of picking up used cooking oils are experiencing grease theft to some degree or another, in some cases, pretty significantly," says Tom Cook, president of the National Renderers Association, according to this USA Today story. Because of biofuel demand renderers pay some restaurants and food processing firms for the used grease, which runs about $1.90 a gallon. More on the grease economy. See story at USA Today. [Markets work.]


"Green Business Blog Carnival #17"reliability medium.
If you haven't seen the Green Business Blog Carnival, which appears every Friday with a roundup of favorite posts from leading green business blogs, here is a link to last Friday's issue at CleanTechnica. Links to current and past issues appear in the sidebar at Doc's Green Blog.