Power & Energy Solutions

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Almost all businesses in the UK are unaware of an incentive scheme to help improve energy efficiency, according to new industry research.The survey involving 1,300 businesses across offices, retail and leisure, conducted by Daikin UK, revealed that 92 per cent companies are currently unaware of the Government's Enhanced Capital Allowance (ECA) scheme set up to aid investment in modern energy efficient technology. {pagebreak}Daikin warns that this lack of awareness may be slowing the adoption rate by businesses in new technology that would help bring both significant energy efficiency savings and also lower operational costs."In the face of rising energy costs and the need to reduce carbon emissions, businesses are being forced to become more energy efficient," said Mark Dyer, marketing manager for Daikin UK. "Yet it seems we could clearly be doing more to encourage investment in new energy saving technology by raising awareness of the ECA. It was certainly staggering to see that such a large percentage of businesses are still not aware of the financial support that is available through the ECA scheme."Daikin's survey also revealed that modern heating and cooling technology is one important area where businesses could be failing to improve efficiency.

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A senior Chinese climate change advisor has broken ranks to criticise his country's stance on global warming as its economy develops.Hu Angang, a public policy professor at Tsinghua University in Beijing, has urged China to act on cutting greenhouse gas emissions, even as the government says it should not assume international obligations to curb carbon dioxide and other pollutants stoking global warming.{pagebreak}Hu said global climate talks culminating in Copenhagen late next year could be a final opportunity for the planet to avoid calamitous damage from more extreme storms, droughts and floods."I think the Copenhagen summit is a last chance not only for China but also for the world," he said. "Don't think that if China does not participate and assume obligations then it can avoid disaster."China should act even if rich nations drag their feet, because its geography leaves it especially vulnerable to drought, rising seas and other ravages of a changing climate, he added.Hu, 55, has long helped shape Chinese development policy, submitting advice to top leaders.But his advocacy of steep, mandatory cuts to its emissions by as soon as 2010 puts him at odds with his government's insistence that poorer countries should not take on such caps any

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A government survey of energy trends in the UK has revealed that Scotland generates twice as much wind energy as England.The quarterly survey, published by the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform throws up a number of interesting statistics in relation to renewables in the UK.{pagebreak}And while Scotland has greater renewables generating capacity than England, England actually generates more electricity from renewables than Scotland. This is because biofuels based capacity (the most common source in England) is used more intensively than hydro and wind (which predominate in Scotland).In Wales generation from wind was three times the generation from natural flow hydro, and Wales generates more electricity from wind than any English region. In 2007 Scotland generated almost twice as much electricity from wind as England did, and three times as much as WalesIn England the regions with the largest generation from wind in 2007 (including offshore wind with landfall in that region) were the North West, the East, and the South East, while the same three regions also had the largest generation from landfill gas. 

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Shares in a Scottish wind farm have exceeded market expectations, raising more than £1.25 million of investment.The Great Glen Wind Farm Co-op share offer closed recently, and delighted investors by surpassing its target by more than five times. The scheme is being run by Energy4All, a not-for-profit company set up to spearhead community-owned renewable energy schemes.{pagebreak}The company's latest offering is an investment opportunity in Scotland's largest wind farm co-op. The Kilbraur Wind Energy Co-op share offer has now launched and will remain open until the 24th October.Energy4All's launch of the new arm of its organization; Energy4All Scotland has been initiated to develop community ownership of renewable energy projects from a uniquely Scottish perspective.A key project to be progressed by Energy4All Scotland will be the Caledonia Renewable Energy Co-operative. Caledonia, a Scotland-wide Co-op will enable anyone in Scotland to invest in a portfolio of renewable projects - from wind to hydro and biomass. Energy4All Scotland has launched a ‘call for projects' where landowners, communities and developers are invited to add their project to the Caledonia portfolio. By joining this initiative, individual developers can receive an ethical investment from within Scotland and extend the opportunity for local people to create a Co-op.

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Search engine leader Google has outlined a plan for the United States to cut its reliance on fossil fuels by 2030.The California-based company has called for a big push in wind, solar and geothermal power to largely replace fossil fuels. Hybrid and electric cars would also get a major boost. {pagebreak}Eric Schmidt, Google's chief executive, recently outlined the company's ideas at a series of seminarsHe told the gatherings that Google would like to see the reduction of the energy industry's reliance on coal (currently the source of 50 percent of electricity), natural gas (20 percent) and nuclear energy (20 percent).In addition, wind power should grow to 29 percent of U.S. electricity production. Geothermal should grow to 15 percent, while solar should increase to 12 per cent. Natural gas, hydroelectric power and nuclear energy would account for the rest.Google has estimated that if the transformation takes place, and electricity consumption remains flat, fossil fuel use would be cut by 88 percent and carbon emissions would be reduced by 95 percent by 2030.Getting consumers to buy hybrid and electric cars is the central theme of Google's plan. Sales should ramp up from 100,000 in 2010 to 22 million in 2030. If coupled

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The World Bank Group's funding for renewable energy and energy efficiency programmes has increased by a massive 87% in the last year, it has recently been revealed. A statement by the Bank said $2.7b was used to fund renewable energy and energy efficiency commitments for the year ending 30 June 2008.{pagebreak}The funding includes carbon finance operations and co-financing from the global environment facility. A total of US$1.192b was used for energy efficiency, US$476m for renewable energy projects such as wind, solar, biomass, geothermal and hydro-power. Another US$1.007b was invested in hydro-power projects with capacities of producing over 10MW per facility.The renewable energy and energy efficient investments made up 35% of the group's total energy commitments during the year, up from 13% per year in the early 1990s.The group funded 95 projects in 51 countries and two cross-border projects."Concerns about energy security, climate change and increasing energy prices make renewable energy and energy efficiency measures and applications attractive in a number of different settings," Jamal Saghir, the bank's energy director, said."This is reflected in the increased demand for investment and technical assistance to strengthen regulatory frameworks and providing incentives to climate change-friendly applications," Saghir added.The bank promised to increase financial support

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Senior bankers have warned the renewable energy sector of a €21 billion shortfall in debt finance by 2020 following the credit crisis and a brake on lending.European wind and solar power projects drew 18 billion euros investment in 2007 and needed about 85 billion euros annually by 2020 to meet EU targets, said Tanja Cuppen, a renewable investing executive at Rabobank.{pagebreak}However, the pace in growth of the sector, coupled with less appetite for long-term lending, would contribute to a 21 billion euros debt finance shortfall, she added."The credit crunch will have a major impact on the renewable energy sector," Cuppen said. "I think we haven't had the worst yet."The sector has become more competitive recently due to high oil, gas and power prices but energy infrastructure projects are hurting because the banks, faced with the threat of more loan defaults, are limiting lending."Debt markets are much tighter than 12 months ago and are set to get tighter," said Ian Simm, chief executive of Impax Asset Management, which invests in clean energy, water and waste.The result has been "the worst liquidity crisis in recent memory", said Andrew Marsden, managing director for Europe at GE Capital, which has a US$4 billion portfolio

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Only central government commitment to renewable energy adoption will prevent a UK-wide energy crisis, a top managements consultant has said.David Hughes, utilities practice director at ABeam Consulting, said the skyrocketing price of oil means it is 'not feasible' to rely on fossil fuels in the long term.{pagebreak}"Global warming makes matters worse, pushing the Government to do whatever it can to reduce our carbon footprint," he said. "Educating consumers about their own usage patterns and the costs of using energy at peak times will be part of the solution. Some energy suppliers are already trying to educate the public about the need to ‘go green'. Campaigns that get people to turn off and turn down will eventually help to reduce overall usage levels. "As the first step towards reducing our dependency on fossil fuels, the Government must put in place a detailed strategic framework for renewable energy provision.Yet, the lack of an appropriate access infrastructure represents a major barrier for wide-spread renewable energy adoption. The current state of the access network should be carefully examined to determine how it should be amended to allow the Government to optimise the use of renewable energy."The Government recently called for

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Photovoltaic energy could provide 12% of European electricity demand by 2020, a conference has heard.More than 4,000 scientists and 750 companies gathered in Valencia recently to present significant innovations in the field of solar photovoltaic energy to EPIA, the European Photovoltaic Industry Association. {pagebreak}The industry unanimously agreed that the evolution of solar photovoltaic technology will be quicker than previously announced. Grid parity (competitiveness with retail electricity prices) will be reached progressively from 2010 onwards in several European markets. Countries with the highest solar irradiation and higherelectricity prices, such as Italy and Spain have the potential to reach grid parity starting in 2010 and 2012, respectively. Grid parity will be reached in Germany in 2015 and cover progressively most other EU countries up until 2020.Grid parity means that, for consumers, photovoltaic electricity will be cheaper than the expected retail electricity price. The industry is committed to increasing investment levels to accelerate cost reductions, provided that the appropriate political framework is in place:• Appropriate Feed-in Tariffs bridging the crucial period until grid parity is reached• Simplified administrative environment• Priority access to the grid• Implementation of the ambitious Strategic Energy Technology plan (SET Plan) at European level to boost Research, Development and Deployment efforts.•EPIA will initiate consultation

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Despite calls for more investment in renewables and clean energy, UK business minister John Hutton has pledged ‘maximum support' for new nuclear power stations in the UK.At the first meeting of the Government's new Nuclear Development Forum Mr Hutton said that energy from new nuclear generators is indispensable for keeping the UK's lights on, reducing dependency on foreign oil and gas, and cutting carbon emissions.{pagebreak}Hutton said: "I'm determined to press all the buttons to get nuclear built in this country at the earliest opportunity - not only because it's a no-brainer for our energy security, but also because it's good for jobs and our economy."We're facing stiff competition for this investment and for the equipment we'll need to build these power stations which is why I'm determined to ensure Britain remains a competitive environment for nuclear investment."I know many manufacturers across the country already have the skills and expertise needed to build power stations - but more needs to be done to create and support a globally competitive UK supply chain, focussing on high value added activities to take advantage of the UK and global nuclear renaissance."On the same day as Hutton's call, the UK government was due to publish

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