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This Month in Energy - June 2016

15 minutes to read

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

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GLOBAL

Renewable energy jobs total 9.4 million: IRENA

The renewable energy industry employs a total 9.4 million people around the world, the latest report from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) states.  Excluding large hydropower, which counts 1.3 million direct jobs worldwide, today the renewables sector employs more than 8.1 million people – a rise of 5% compared to 7.7 million last year.

Clean Energy for Poorest Starved of Investment

Only a tiny fraction of climate change funding is going into small-scale solar, biogas and other off-grid systems that may be the best way to get power to the world's poorest, researchers say.

Bloomberg New Energy Finance releases their 2016 New Energy Outlook

Focused on the electricity system, NEO combines the expertise of over 65 country and technology specialists in 11 countries to provide a unique view of how the market will evolve.  Key insights include: Cheaper coal and cheaper gas will not derail the transformation and decarbonisation of the world’s power systems. By 2040, zero-emission energy sources will make up 60% of installed capacity. Wind and solar will account for 64% of the 8.6TW of new power generating capacity added worldwide over the next 25 years, and for almost 60% of the $11.4 trillion invested.

Energy storage's role in decarbonization will depend on duration, cost cuts

Energy storage has been hailed as the missing link and even an essential ingredient to higher levels of wind and solar power, but a new paper from Argonne National Laboratory and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology questions that premise.  The authors of the report, “The value of energy storage in decarbonizing the electricity sector,” conclude that the value of shorter-duration storage technologies, up to about two hours, is only justified by generation cost savings under the most stringent carbon emissions limits, and even then, only at low storage penetration levels. Hence, continued innovation and cost declines for lithium-ion batteries and other electrochemical energy storage technologies will be necessary to economically justify large-scale deployment in future low-carbon power systems.

Patricia Espinosa confirmed as new head of UN climate convention

Appointment of Mexican diplomat to replace outgoing climate chief Christiana Figueres has been officially approved by the Bureau of the UNFCCC.

NORTH AMERICA

World's First 24/7 Solar Power Plant Powers 75,000 Homes

SolarReserve’s Crescent Dunes Project in Tonopah, Nevada is quietly providing clean, green solar energy to 75,000 homes in the Silver State even when the sun isn’t shining.

Harvard Scientist Engineers Bacterium That Inhales CO2, Produces Energy -- A 'Bionic Leaf'

The chemist who gave us the artificial leaf has genetically engineered bacteria to absorb hydrogen and carbon dioxide and convert them into alcohol fuel.

ASIA

China to Generate a Quarter of Electricity from Wind Power by 2030

Different reports show China is on the track of boosting renewable energy and could supply 25% of power demand by wind energy.

OCEANIA

Why Battery Storage Costs In Australia May Fall 40% In Two Years

Investment bank Morgan Stanley has added some more fuel for thought with its predictions that battery storage costs could fall 40 per cent in two years, largely as a result of an increase in scale in global manufacturing and the local industry.

EUROPE

5 ways Brexit will transform energy and climate

Britain’s departure from the EU will force broad changes to the bloc’s energy and climate policies, and remove a crucial ally for Central Europeans — but it will also give London far more freedom to pursue nuclear projects.

Germany Plans to Introduce New Taxes for Clean Energy Consumers

The German government is considering changing the energy tax system. The German Ministry of Finance wants clean energy consumers to pay taxes of $0.02 per kilowatt-hour consumed from their own solar installations. The German Solar Industry Association warns that the new regulation might have heavy consequences for the industry.

Norway brings forward carbon neutrality goal to 2030

Norway's parliament has agreed on a goal to cut the country's net greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2030, moving the target forward by 20 year. To achieve this goal, oil and gas producing Norway will have to lower its carbon output or purchase carbon credits to offset its emissions.

France becomes first major nation to ratify UN climate deal

President François Hollande on June 15 finalised ratification of the Paris climate accord reached in December 2015, making France the first industrialised country to do so. “Signing is good, ratifying is better,” Hollande quipped.He noted that the deal will not come into force unless at least 55 countries responsible for at least 55% of global greenhouse gas emissions ratify it.

France opens deep geothermal power plant

On June 7, French Ecology Minister Segolene Royal inaugurated France's first deep geothermal power plant that will deliver heat for the industry.

EU is to Invest €10 million in Algeria’s Renewable Energy Program

The European Union plans to finance Renewable Energy Program and the program of Energy Efficiency in Algeria. The financing proposal still needs to be approved by the European Commission.

AFRICA

Ghana to Become a Power Hub

President John Mahama says that the government is making strenuous efforts to making Ghana a power hub. He indicated that as part of measures to solving the energy crisis, the country will be made a major power exporter.

Morocco Testing Green Technologies in Farming

Morocco has been chosen to participate in a project to spread the use of green technologies in farming and food processing. The project, launched in 2015 at the initiative of the Food and Agriculture Organization, the EBRD and the International Energy Agency to promote the use of green technologies in farming, is primarily destined to the countries of the southern Mediterranean and Eastern Europe.

African Renewable Energy Gains Attention

The potential for renewable energy development in Africa is experiencing an increase in attention lately as investors and world leaders seek a new clean energy frontier.  The continent could become a gold mine for renewable energy due to abundant solar and wind resources. But roadblocks to renewables worldwide are amplified throughout the troubled regions of Africa - financial resources are thin and infrastructure is often unreliable.

MIDDLE EAST

Dubai Plans $545m to Convert Waste into Energy

Dubai is planning to build the largest plant to convert waste to energy in the Middle East. This plant will be the first of the four projects to produce green energy, according to Dubai Municipality deputy director Essa Al Maidoor and forms part of the city's plan to reduce landfill by 75 percent by 2021, while protecting the environment from methane gas emitted by landfill.

The Sustainable City in Dubai Starts Generating Solar Energy

The Sustainable City in Dubai has begun producing clean energy using its solar modules. The renewable energy project and the application of energy-saving solutions are part of wider efforts to ensure a sustainable lifestyle for more than 100 families already living in the City. The Sustainable City is in line with the Dubai Clean Energy Strategy, which aims to satisfy 7% of Dubai’s energy consumption with clean energy sources by 2020.

LATIN AMERICA

Oil Dip Forces Brazil to Declare Financial Disaster Before Olympic Games

The acting governor of Rio de Janeiro state has declared a state of financial disaster so he has more leeway to manage the state’s scarce resources less than two months before Brazil hosts the Olympic Games. His office said in a statement that the decision was made because a dip in revenues from taxes and oil royalties was “stopping the state of Rio de Janeiro from honouring its commitment to the organisation of the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

German, Mexican State Banks Sign MOU to Promote Renewable Energy

Mexico and Germany had their first strategic energy alliance meeting to explore joint opportunities and growth in renewable energy and energy efficiency projects.