Power & Energy Solutions

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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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The European wind power industry could replace the automotive sector as the biggest user of steel by 2020, a Green MEP has claimed.Luxemburg MEP Claude Turmes, who helped a report calling for massive investment in renewables reach almost unanimous backing by the industry committee of the European Parliament, said the legislation would lead to massive growth of the renewables industry.{pagebreak}The committee agreed to commit to increasing the share of renewables in energy consumption to 20 per cent by 2020.MEPs in the committee voted for the final report, which included support for a supergrid, by 50 votes to two.Among the 35 amendments was the proposal to ban the installation of windfarms on peat land.Scottish MEP Alyn Smith, who sits on the industry committee, said that the grid proposal would benefit Scotland massively but was dismissive of the ban on peat land amendment proposed by Scottish MEP Conservative Struan Stevenson.Mr Smith said: "Scotland stands to benefit massively from the increased capacity for renewables this grid will enable." 

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Finland is the latest country to approve the development for wind farm parks in key catchment areas close to coastlines and the sea.The Finnish Government has agreed to build a number of wind power plants over the next ten years with the aim of generating about 2000 megawatts of wind power by 2020. In principle about 1,000 wind turbines would be needed to produce that much power.{pagebreak}The proposal calls for development of wind parks in key catchment areas such as coastlines and near the sea, to accommodate the large numbers of turbines needed. The proposal is part of government's climate and energy strategy that is currently being hammered out.Boosting wind power requires other supporting programmes, such as so-called input tariffs, which are expected to be approved in principle during the autumn.Government's climate and energy strategy working group has been divided on the question of Finland's future wind power needs.The amount currently agreed on has failed to meet the expectations of the Green League, but is also more than the quantity proposed by the National Coalition Party.The working group has failed to reach agreement on amping up nuclear-generated power in Finland. 

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A plan by the British government to buy its way out of half its CO2 reduction targets weakens efforts to reverse climate change, a top scientist has claimed.Dr Keith Allott, head of the WWF-UK's climate change programme, said a leaked report which suggested EU nations should be allowed to trade away 50 per cent of their emissions was ‘appalling'.{pagebreak}European nations are currently expected to make around 70 per cent of their carbon reductions on home turf, leaving 30 per cent available for trade. Defra said the details need finalising but the deal would help clean energy projects in developing countries.But reducing that domestic obligation to 50 per cent could allow an extra billion tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere, according to WWF.Dr Allott, head of WWF-UK's climate change programme, said: "This is an appalling proposal from the UK. Already the CO2 targets aren't nearly strict enough to avoid the risk of dangerous climate change as defined by scientists. This would weaken the effort even more."The difference between what the EU are proposing and the UK are proposing is equivalent to 34 extra coal-fired power stations in Europe."The dispute centres on the credibility of the system used for trading international carbon

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A plan to create a government office to give a leg-up to the UK's renewables industry has been welcomed by the British Wind Energy Association (BWEA).Secretary of State John Hutton has announced a proposed Office for Renewable Energy Deployment. The office, which should be up and running in the spring of 2009, pending the outcome of the Renewable Energy Strategy consultation, will address 'barriers to renewables deployment including helping to develop the UK supply chain'. {pagebreak}Launched as part of Government's new framework for UK manufacturers, the initiative will help UK firms take advantage of "opportunities opened up by the move towards a low carbon economy" with the express aim of helping UK's renewables industries 'to become world-leaders in green technologies'.Maria McCaffery, BWEA Chief Executive said: "When it comes to R&D, the UK has been leading the world in areas such as wave and tidal, large turbine testing and small systems. But we have seen delays on deployment and this is where we hope the Government's new initiative will make a difference. We are pleased that the Secretary of State has firmly backed a dedicated task force which will take a lead on this issue."However, in welcoming the initiative BWEA also

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The EU has chosen a more efficient, sustainable and affordable future through its policies to use renewable energy and fight climate change, says a new report.The International Energy Agency says the EU is a world leader in beginning to mitigate the effects of global warming through ambitious proposals on climate change and energy policies. {pagebreak}IEA Executive Director Nobuo Tanaka said the way the EU produces and uses energy will be transformed if the proposed regulations are successfully implemented.The European Wind Energy Association has welcomed the IEA's comments and believes they show how non-polluting, renewable energy sources such as wind power can be an important part of that transformation.Tanaka said the EU must greatly increase its overall R&D funding in order to effectively deal with the environmental and energy problems the world is facing. He called for R&D funding for non-nuclear energy, which includes wind power, to be increased significantly.EWEA says it is pleased that Tanaka fully supports efforts to liberalise energy markets by making access to existing transmission grids easier, more transparent and cheaper for wind-farm operators. Tanaka noted that the European Council has agreed to adopt the proposals by the end of the year. 

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