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This Month in Energy - October 2016

14 minutes to read


Here’s what happened in the world of energy in October 2016.


Wind Energy Could Supply 20% Of Global Electricity By 2030, According To GWEC

Global Wind Energy Council published its Global Wind Energy Outlook report this week, outlining scenarios which show how wind energy could supply 20% of global electricity by 2030.

Specifically, the report outlined ways in which wind power could reach 2,110 GW by 2030, supplying up to 20% of global electricity while simultaneously creating 2.4 million new jobs, reducing carbon emissions by more than 3.3 billion tons per year, and attracting annual investments of €200 billion

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Aviation industry agrees on deal to cut CO2 emissions

The first deal limiting greenhouse gases from international aviation has been sealed after years of wrangling. From 2020, any increase in airline CO2 emissions will be offset by activities like tree planting, which soak up CO2. The deal comes in a momentous week for climate policy when the Paris agreement to stabilise climate change passed a key threshold for becoming law. Scientists applauded both commitments but warned that plans to cut emissions are far too weak.

The aviation deal was agreed in Montreal by national representatives at the International Civil Aviation Organisation, ICAO. Attempts have been made for nearly two decades to include aviation and shipping in the UN's climate agreements, but both sectors have managed to avoid firm targets. The amount of emissions from aviation worldwide are roughly the same as those produced by the whole of Germany - and they are growing fast. They are projected to consume approximately a quarter of the world's remaining carbon budget by 2050.

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African Renewable energy development with the BNEF Summit London

All the necessary for renewable energy growth in Africa are currently in place, Joao Duarte Cunha, chief climate officer at the Africa Development Bank, told the BNEF Summit. These include the continuous growth of all African economies for the last ten years, the slow emergence of a middle class - and the energy needs that come with it -, and great natural resources, with renewable power technologies now on par with those of fossil fuels, added Duarte Cunha. However, "the reality is that very few [large-scale renewable energy] projects see the light of the day," he concluded

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South Africa to export its IPP Renewable Energy Program in collaboration with 11 African Nations

As South Africa's DOE and IPP Office prepares to export the success of its IPP Renewable Energy program to 11 other governments at the 'Africa Renewable Energy Forum' in Marrakech next month, leaders of over USD19bln of investment capital gather with private sector developers and banks to prescribe 'success breeds success' for the energy sector.

Joining the forum, 300 market leading investors, 105 speakers, 17 Government Ministers and Senior Government Representatives, 14 Heads of Utilities and Regulatory Authorities from across the continent, the government of Morocco, Egypt and South Africa will discuss a 'North-South Renewable Energy Corridor' and the importance of a balanced procurement program drawing on the challenges and success of investors in South Africa.

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Collaborating for greater energy access in the Asia-Pacific region

The emergence of new ideas, technological advancements and innovative market-driven financing solutions has lent confidence to the idea that universal access to energy services is attainable. This is particularly good news in the Asia and the Pacific region, where, despite making significant contributions to global growth and poverty reduction since 2000, nearly half a billion citizens still have no access to modern energy, principally in rural and far-flung areas. Three-quarters of these people live in South Asia alone. Some 70 percent of the Pacific Island households are un-electrified, a level similar to sub-Saharan Africa. The lack of electricity and clean cooking options marginalizes predominantly remote and slum communities who are trapped in energy poverty, preventing them from stepping on the first rung of the ladder to prosperity

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Renewable Energy for the Philippines through second-gen biomass

With a population of more than 100 million scattered across more than 7,100 islands, the Philippines faces the challenge of extending power to everyone, according to Mr. Elmar Villota, who is a doctoral student in biological systems engineering from Washington State University (WSU) Tri-Cities in the US. “A simple light bulb could make a world of difference,” Villota said. “Without a sustainable source of electricity, students can’t have light or read comfortably at night. Imagine how much knowledge they would miss.” Villota noted that in the Philippines, historically, citizens are end users in terms of technology, purchasing it rather than making or innovating it. Renewable energy, he added, could help address the nation’s sustainable energy concerns and stimulate technological growth.

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With EU backing, Paris climate deal clears the last hurdle to take effect

The European Parliament approved the Paris accord to fight climate change on Tuesday, tipping it over the threshold needed for the global deal to enter into force, in what U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon hailed as a historic vote.

The Paris Agreement reached by nearly 200 nations nearly one year ago will help guide a radical shift of the world economy away from fossil fuels to limit heat waves, floods, droughts and rising sea levels.

European Union approval, expected to be signed off on by the bloc's 28 Nations this week, will lift the deal over the required level of nations representing at least 55 percent of global emissions to enter into force.

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The EU is reviewing the policy that makes its appliances so energy efficient

Earlier this year David Coburn, who sits in the European Parliament for the UK Independence Party, came up with a rather unusual argument for leaving the European Union: the quality of his morning toast. He claimed that EU regulation meant toasters had only “the power of one candle or something”, leaving his bread “all peely-wally” rather than nicely roasted. Proponents of Brexit latched on to the story as yet another example of continental meddling messing with time-honoured British traditions.

In fact, the EU does not yet regulate the energy consumption of toasters. But they are among the products currently being considered by the European Commission for inclusion in the Ecodesign Directive, the main EU policy instrument for improving the energy efficiency of products such as fridges, ovens, and televisions. The directive compels manufacturers to improve efficiency and gradually phase out products that no longer meet the requirements. Ecodesign standards are complemented by energy labels to help consumers buy more efficient products that are cheaper to run. Between them, the products covered by the policy account for more than half of gross energy consumption in the EU.

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Latin America

Costa Rica Used 100% Renewable Energy for 299 Days

You probably didn’t think it was possible, but it’s true.  For 75 days straight in 2015, Costa Rica ran on 100% renewable energy and then did it again this year for 76 days straight.

But that isn’t the only thing they’re doing in this field. Costa Rica is pioneering the future of running on renewable energy and may be the model for other countries to follow suit in the future.  By the year 2021, Costa Rica plans to be completely carbon neutral.  This isn’t far-fetched.   According to the Costa Rican Government, in 2015 Costa Rica ran on 99% renewable energy and only 1% fossil fuels.

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Mexico Awards Contracts to Secure Renewable Energy

Mexico’s government, following the launch this year of an indiscriminate electricity marketplace under an eccentric element operator, this year hold initial auctions in that company made bids to sell renewable appetite underneath long-term contracts to state-owned application Comisión Federal de Electricidad, or CFE, starting in 2018.

In October, squeeze contracts were awarded for 8.9 million megawatt hours a year of electricity from mostly solar and breeze generating plants—equivalent to about 3% of Mexico’s stream electricity use. A megawatt is an adequate appetite to run about 1,000 homes.

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Middle East

Dubai is Most Sustainable City in the Middle East

Possessing a desert climate and relying heavily on fossil fuels, oil-rich Dubai, one of the seven units of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), was recently named the most sustainable city in the Middle East by the design and consultancy firm, Arcadis. Historically, Dubai has been more concerned with development than sustainability, but with increasing energy usage, the government has unveiled a plan to make Dubai one of the “cleanest” cities by the year 2050.

“A city like Dubai that is growing at the speed that it is growing is very difficult to be sustainable,” Anita Nouri, CEO of Green Energy Solutions in Dubai, told The Media Line. “They always want to be the biggest and the best and the fastest, and doing that is not always sustainable, but they are trying to make it sustainable.”

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How Renewable Energy is Helping the Middle East's Oil and Gas Industry

Dr. Chiaki Treynor, Vice President of Technology at GlassPoint, recently spoke at the SolarPACES conference in Abu Dhabi about how the oil and gas industries are making use of renewable energy.

GlassPoint’s innovations include enclosed trough technology, which is being deployed at gigawatt scale on an oilfield in the Oman desert and a first-of-its-kind solar thermal solution that brings the solar collectors indoors to reduce costs and overcome operating challenges.

“GlassPoint’s innovation was to bring the solar collectors inside a commercial greenhouse, the kind used by the agricultural industry. The greenhouse structure isolates the mirrors and other solar components from the elements, which leads to significant cost and performance advantages,” explained Dr. Treynor.

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North America

New York City Sets the First Citywide Energy Storage Target

Only two U.S. states, California and Massachusetts, have set targets for energy storage deployments. Now, New York City has joined them.

The city government unveiled a storage goal of 100 megawatt-hours by 2020 last week, along with an expanded solar target of 1,000 megawatts by 2030. Storage, with its capacity to integrate variable wind and solar power sources into the grid, is expected to play a critical role in meeting the city's plans to cut greenhouse gasses by 80 percent by 2050.

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Canada's Carbon Tax: A Model For the Future

Prime Minister Trudeau "outsmarts opponents of carbon pricing" -- that's how the John Ivison of the National Post described it. Bloomberg said, "Trudeau’s national carbon tax is a model that should be ‘widely copied’ around the world." In the last few years, the complexities of cap and trade have conservative economists, environmentalists, and even Fortune 500 companies coming together enthusiastically to align themselves around a carbon tax. As Ronald Reagan himself said, “If you want more of something, subsidize it; if you want less of something, tax it.”

The bad messaging from the environmental groups has already started. Organizations such as Smart Prosperity and Canadians for Clean Prosperity claim a carbon price will enlist the “free market” to reduce carbon emissions “with only modest economic costs.” Name a point in time where unleashing pent up innovation had “modest economic costs”? Since the 1970s, many nations around the world have poured billions of dollars into R&D only to see the fruits of their research gather dust on the shelf. Natural Resources Canada has supported hundreds of climate change solutions that have been deployed in pilots, unable to scale under the current rules of the game. This does not mean that they cost more, but simply that consumers are not aligned to create a more efficient low carbon future.

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