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Here’s what happened in the world of energy this month.
After more than six years of negotiations, the global aviation industry agreed to the first binding limits on carbon dioxide emissions. The deal is the latest in a series of international efforts to address climate change. Until now, airplanes had not been included in any international climate change deals, like the recent Paris Agreement, or the Montreal Protocol, expected to be completed later this year.
Low oil prices are making low carbon policies are becoming a more difficult sell. China and the US appear committed to battling climate change but with gasoline prices low there is concern it will decrease the incentive to be sustainable
Canada, the United States and Mexico have signed a trilateral agreement that makes important strides towards a continental approach to energy and expands the three country’s relationship in support of an ambitious clean-energy environmental agreement.
In his final budget, President Obama asked Congress to double investment in clean energy research and development to $12.8 billion by 2021. Unfortunately, Republican leaders in Congress have already said they don’t plan to help enact Obama’s budget plan.
China’s new installed wind power capacity reached 30.5 GW in 2015, representing a significant growth of 31.5 percent from a year earlier, according to statistics released by the Chinese Wind Energy Association. The increase was mainly due to a policy lowering the country’s feed-in tariff for wind power in 2016.
Work has begun work on the world’s biggest floating solar farm in Japan. Space-starved Japan began building floating solar farms in an effort to increase renewable energy in the wake of the 2011 Fukushima disaster. The power plant will supply enough electricity for nearly 5,000 households when it is completed in early 2018.
Mobile services provider Bharti Airtel Limited has announced the migration of 40,000 of its telecom towers across India to operate on battery- hybrid, lithium-ion and solar-hybrid technologies. The company has committed to reducing carbon emission by 70% by 2018.
While Asian countries tend to pay more for Middle Eastern crude, with currently low oil prices, energy analysts predict South Korea, China, and Japan will negotiate better deals.
France announced that it will pave 1,000 km of road with photovoltaic panels in the next five years. Once the project is completed, the new roadways will be able to supply electricity to 5 million people, or about 8% of the French population.
The European Commission presented a package of energy security measures aimed at strengthening the EU resilience to energy supply interruptions, especially gas supply disruptions. Some of the proposed measures are decreasing energy demand, expanding renewables, and diversifying energy sources, suppliers and routes.
After the EU sanctions on Iran were lifted in January, Iran started exporting oil to Europe again. On February 14, it delivered the first 4 million barrels of oil to companies in France, Spain and Russia. Iran plans to rebuild its energy relations with Europe, which used to be its number one trading partner before the sanctions were imposed.
The first auction for the electricity sector in Mexico will be on March 31 and has already oversubscribed 15 times the capacity of electricity and clean energy certificates in the initial solicitation.
Royal Dutch Shell expects to make robust investments in Brazil's offshore resources, hoping to quadruple oil and gas output there by the end of the decade,
The New Deal on Energy for Africa was launched at Davos during the World Economic Forum. The plan aims to unite the private sector and local governments on energy capacity building projects to achieve universal energy access in Africa by 2025. The New Deal has four major goals for electricity expansion by 2025: add 160 gigawatts of on-grid generation; create 130 million new on-grid connections; increase off-grid generation to add 75 million connections; and increase access to clean cooking energy for around 130 million households.
The Noor Ouarzazate concentrated solar power plant supported by the African Development Bank (AfDB) among other donors, was launched as a keystone of Morocco's solar program to develop 2 GW by 2020 in Morocco and the region.
Kenya has nearly doubled its electricity exports to Tanzania and Uganda thanks to increased geothermal power generation. Kenya has a direct transmission line connecting it with Uganda, enabling bulk power trade.