The Solyndra debacle is no surprise to this cleantech venture capitalist. The inherent conflict between trying to get money out of the U.S. Treasury as quickly as possible to stimulate the economy and, at the same time, have government agencies that are ill-suited at making business decisions do just that was nothing other than a recipe for disaster.
Government subsidies that helped fuel Europe’s most successful solar markets continue to be slashed, raising concerns that the region’s burgeoning renewable sector will be unable to compete with China and the U.S., according to a report on Greenwire.
Germany, the world’s largest market for solar power, will cut the price paid for electricity from roof-mounted panels by 16 percent and electricity from larger solar power stations by 15 percent.
Analysts say the government simply underestimated how quickly the renewable sector would grow. From 2000 to 2008, the production of photovoltaic energy in Germany rose from 32 million kilowatt hours to 4.4 billion kilowatt hours. Government subsidies in Germany now cost nearly €1.5 billion annually.
The Web has been a valuable source of information on the releases of toxic chemicals our communities, and for citizens and environmental action groups to see what companies and facilities are emitting air pollutants, discharging water pollution, and generating hazardous wastes.
Finding the information you were looking for was not always easy, and not always free. Now things are getting a little easier, and more information is obtainable for free.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced that it is providing Web access, free of charge, to the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) Chemical Substance Inventory. This inventory contains a consolidated list of thousands of industrial chemicals maintained by the agency.
The U.S. government has identified 4,100 contaminated industrial sites, covering more than 5 million acres, suitable for building wind, solar, and geothermal power installations.
With concern about renewable energy projects being built on pristine lands, the construction of wind and solar arrays on idle industrial “brownfields” could be an ideal solution, according to federal officials.
The Daily Climate reports that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the National Renewable Energy Lab will begin conducting detailed studies of some sites this month and will hold five workshops with state and local leaders, renewable energy developers, and conservation groups to discuss constructing alternative energy installations on brownfields.
Global emissions of carbon dioxide will drop 3 percent in 2009, including a 5.9 percent decrease in the United States, as a result of the economic recession, according to energy forecasts.
A decrease in industrial activity accounts for three-quarters of the global emissions decline, the International Energy Agency reported at United Nations climate talks in Bangkok. The rest of the decline is the result of nations switching to renewable energy sources and nuclear power.
In the U.S., coal demand will likely drop 9 percent this year as electricity demand slips and more states switch to natural gas in the face of stiffer government oversight of greenhouse gas emissions, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Economic recovery would likely reverse the trend, and the agency predicts a 1.1 percent increase in CO2 emissions in 2010.
With the recent surge in money going towards renewable energy research and implementation, many people are forgetting a key factor in reducing our impact on the environment: energy efficiency.
Utilizing renewable energy in your home or commercial building is great, don’t get me wrong, but before this expensive option is employed, you should first look at the efficiency of your home or building’s energy systems.
If your building wastes energy, you should prioritize improving this aspect and use the money that you had set aside for a renewable project to accomplish the task.
Article by Mridul Chadha appearing courtesy of Celsias.
In yet more positive news for international climate negotiations, India has announced that it is open to international review and reporting of its domestic mitigation measures.
The step is a colossal change in India’s policy and is seen as a major boost to the chances of successful negotiation of new climate deal at Copenhagen this December.
India has long maintained that it is bound to report results of only internationally funded clean energy projects. The issue of reporting and accounting of carbon emission reduced has been a contentious issue for a long time.
Since 2007, the French photovoltaic market has been booming, with close to 500 megawatts of installed capacity expected this year, up from a mere 40 megawatts three years ago.
Most of this growth first stemmed from residential installations that benefited from high feed-in-tariffs for producers and substantial tax rebates for households. Since last year larger installations have also been skyrocketing.
On September 14, the French government released a draft regulation detailing the upcoming changes regarding photovoltaic electricity feed-in-tariffs in France. This draft is pending approval from the Conseil Supérieur de l’Energie (Energy Supreme Council) until late September.
Three-quarters of Americans believe that the government should regulate greenhouse gas emissions, with a majority supporting restrictions on carbon even if they raise the price of goods and lead to higher utility bills, according to a Washington Post-ABC News poll.
The poll, released on the eve of a vote in the U.S. House of Representatives on a carbon cap-and-trade bill, showed that a slim majority — 52 percent — supports that specific legislation. Sixty-two percent of those surveyed said they would support carbon regulation even if it means higher prices for goods, 56 percent expressed support if CO2 regulation leads to a $10 increase in monthly utility bills, and 44 percent said they would back a cap-and-trade program even if it means paying $25 more per month for electricity. Roughly 60 percent said the U.S. should reduce carbon emissions even if other countries do little to confront global warming.