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This Month in Energy – March 2016

8 minutes to read

Here’s what happened in the world of energy this month.



Climate hopes raised as global energy emissions stall for second year

For the second year in a row, the global growth of carbon pollution remained flat even as the economy continued to expand. The International Energy Agency said surging deployment of renewable power; especially wind drove the plateau, with renewables accounting for 90% of new electricity generation in 2015.

IRENA: Doubling Down on Renewables by 2030 Will Save $4.2 Trillion

Doubling the share of renewables in the global energy mix to 36% by 2030 could save the world economy up to $4.2tn a year says new research by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). The report said the cost of doubling the renewable share by 2030 would be $290bn a year, but the annual net savings from reducing pollution and emissions on human health and agriculture would be between $1.2tn and $4.2tn.



China set to surpass its climate targets as renewables soar

China is surging ahead in switching to renewables and away from coal.   2015 saw the country’s solar capacity up 74% and wind energy capacity up 34% per cent compared to 2014.  Meanwhile, its consumption of coal dropped by 3.7 per cent, with imports down by a substantial 30 per cent. China’s lead climate negotiator believes the country will “far surpass” its 2020 target to reduce carbon emissions per unit of national wealth (GDP) by 40 to 45 per cent from 2005 levels.

India Doubles Clean-Energy Tax on Coal, Risking Debt Revamp

India doubled the clean-energy tax on coal to fight environmental pollution, risking higher electricity-generation costs at a time when the government is seeking to revive its ailing power distributors.

Draft Policy to Repower Old Wind Turbines in India

The Indian government is motivating a draft policy seeking to move the renewables industry towards more efficient and larger capacity wind turbines. This is to address the 60GW target of installed wind energy capacity by 2022.



South Africa just opened the continent’s first solar-powered airport

South Africa has opened the continent’s first solar-powered airport in the Western Cape. George Airport, which serves over 600,000 passengers annually, has launched a clean energy project which, during its first phase, will contribute around 40% of the airport’s electricity needs. Once completed, the airport is expected to be totally independent of the national grid.

Mozambique Launches 100MW Floating Power Station

Mozambique and Zambia to receive 100MW through a floating power station from Turkey-based Karadeniz Holding.



U.S. and Canada pledge to cut methane emissions as part of broad climate change agreement

This month, US President Obama and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced a wide range of environmental initiatives to combat climate change, expand renewable energy and protect the Arctic. The most notable commitment, outlined in a joint statement by the leaders, is a plan to reduce potent methane emissions from the oil and gas industry by 40-45% below 2012 levels by 2025.

US Coal Surpluses reach 100M tons despite coal mine bankruptcies

Despite five publicly traded U.S. miners seeking bankruptcy protection coal supply surpluses reached 100 million tons this month.

United Airlines to Fuel LAX to SFO Shuttle With Animal Fats

In a bid to get a jump-start on emissions regulations and reduce price volatility, United Airlines said it will power thousands of commercial flights between Los Angeles and San Francisco with biofuel created from ag-waste such as animal fats.

Study Shows US Could Convert Its Economy To Renewable Energy Without Battery Breakthrough

Deducing that the magnitude of weather patterns positively effects the capabilities of renewables, scientists found emissions could be cut by 80% within 15 years. Additionally, price parity may emerge even without a battery breakthrough.



Floating renewable power projects now appearing in the UK

6.5 MW of floating solar energy consisting of 23,000 solar PV panels was unveil in the United Kingdom located on the Queen Elizabeth II reservoir which is about 20 miles from London.

Germany, Austria call for higher EU 2030 climate ambition

Germany, Austria, Portugal and Luxembourg are leading calls for the EU to increase its 2030 climate targets.

First ever shale gas shipment is about to arrive from U.S. to Europe

INEOS, a Swiss chemicals company, has stated that its ship carrying U.S. shale gas ethane has left a port near Philadelphia and is bound for Rafnes in Norway. This is the first time U.S. shale gas has ever been imported into Europe. In order to receive the gas INEOS has built two big ethane gas storage tanks in Rafnes in Norway and in Grangemouth in Scotland. It is expected that shipments to the latter will begin later this year.

Norway to build Europe’s largest onshore wind farm

The Norwegian company Statkraft AS and its partners plan to invest 1.1. billion euros in a wind power project in mid-Norway, which could become the largest onshore wind farm in Europe. A total of six wind farms are projected to be built and are expected to produce 3.4 terawatt-hours of power a year. This power is enough to provide 170,000 Norwegian houses with electricity and heat.



Losses at Mexico’s Pemex surge to $29B

Pemex, Mexico’s state-owned energy company, saw its net loss last year almost double to 522bn pesos ($28.8bn), up from a 265bn pesos loss in 2014, amid what its chief executive calls a liquidity crunch because of the oil price collapse.



GE Energy Start Up - Current - to expand in Middle East 

GE is expanding its energy start-up, Current, in the Middle East by integrating other platforms to offer cost-effective options for consumers.  GE says it can help businesses cut energy costs by using a combination of LED lighting and solar solutions, energy storage and gas-fired technology options. It will “enable intelligent environments to use sensors that capture usage and consumption data to improve productivity," it said.