Green

A surprise announcement by the International Energy Agency (IEA) last week could be good news for energy intensive industries worldwide.

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Firms have been investing billions in energy efficiency and emissions reduction technology yet the targets seem to be ever ratcheted lower in spite of gains made, but a report to be published on June 15 will show that for the first time in 40 years emissions of carbon dioxide did not rise last year.

According to a Financial Times article after growing at an average of 2.4% over the last decade in 2014 the global economy grew 3%, while the amount of CO2 pumped out remained at the 2013 level of 32.3 billion tons. There have only been three times in four decades when emissions fell or stopped rising, the FT quotes the EIA as saying. After the oil price shock and US recession in the early 1980s; in 1992 after the collapse of the former Soviet Union; and in 2009 during the global financial crisis.

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California and the federal government will move forward on less than half the California desert land initially designated for renewable energy plants, officials said Tuesday, leaving millions of acres in limbo as local governments decide how they want to handle large-scale solar, wind and geothermal projects.

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Regulators will initially focus on about 10 million acres of federal land overseen by the Bureau of Land Management in the Mojave and other Southern California deserts. Their initial plan, unveiled in September, designated 22.5 million acres across seven counties.

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While the US steel plate price on the MetalMiner IndX dropped and crude oil prices continue their historic dwindle, the monthly Renewables MMI® fell to 61 in March as more national solar and wind projects ran into major problems. That's a 1.6% drop from February's reading – and a new 12-month low.

The two most widely used and applied renewable energy technologies in the US, wind turbines and photovoltaic solar panels, saw no changes in the prices of their input materials, nor in their supply-and-demand equations this month. Silicon for solar and cobalt, molybdenum and copper for wind have been hovering in their relatively stagnant market niches for the entire year just as they did for all of last year.

The decline in oil prices certainly has not helped renewables, sure, but the markets for solar power generation are not developing as green energy advocates predicted and wind is even further away from mass adoption. Giving homeowners the ability to generate their own solar power has not been the boon to utilities and energy buyers as some thought it would be.

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Solar use in Japan has exploded over the last two years due to an ambitious national effort to promote renewable energy. But the technology’s future role is now in doubt.

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Utilities say their infrastructure cannot handle the swelling army of solar entrepreneurs intent on selling their power. And their willingness to invest more money depends heavily on whether the government remains committed to clean energy.

“It’s upsetting,” Junji Akagi, a real estate developer on Ukushima, a tiny island near Nagasaki, told the New York Times. Mr. Akagi said he hoped to turn a quarter of the island’s 10-square-mile area into a “mega-solar” generating station, and has already lined up investors and secured the necessary land.

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Renewable energy consulting firm “Bridge to India” recently listed investments likely to be completed by active private Indian solar developers. The major ones which indicated plans including domestic players such as Essel Infra Projects, Azure Power and global ones including SunEdison (10 gigawatts), and Canada-based Sky Power Global which has committed to 9.9 GW.

Raj Prabhu, CEO and Co-Founder of Mercom Capital Group, said in a written statement to the government-sponsored RE-Invest 2015 solar conference that most of the industry was confused as it was constantly bombarded with new policies, goals, drafts and revisions.

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The Modi government’s extreme focus on renewable energy, however, may start bearing fruit this year.

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India wants more solar power. On Feb 25, in pursuance of its stated goals, the Indian government sanctioned groundbreaking on 15,000 megawatts (MW) of grid-connected solar projects, to be completed in three stages.

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While this is welcome news for proponents of clean energy, coming especially on the back of a research report that showed that India’s rate of solar installation in 2014 was 883 MW, down 12% compared to 1,004 MW installed in 2013.

A lot of churn has happened on the renewable energy front in India in the last nine months after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced his government’s commitment to the sector. India relies overwhelmingly on coal for its energy needs, but the falling cost of solar power has refocused interest in its use for both grid-connected solar parks and home applicati

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Production of wind turbines and solar panels soared in 2014, according to FTI Consulting, a global business advisory group. Increased demand from China fueled a turnaround for renewable energy manufacturers that had struggled with overcapacity and a sharp slowdown in demand from developed countries in recent years.

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Denmark's Vestas cemented its position as the world's leading wind turbine maker, while Trina Solar of China displaced Yingli Green Energy, also of China, as top panel maker.

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It is one of the neglected metals sectors in India. The metals recycling business suffers from government apathy and to some extent, even a lack of awareness on part of the various participants within the metals ecosystem. How else can one explain that India’s recycling rate is just about 25%, putting it at the bottom of the global list of recycling nations. In the US metals are recycled at a rate of 90%.

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Slowly, though, realization is creeping in that recycling metal scrap is a must in the modern world since the nation’s carbon footprint reduction has become imperative.

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Although coal and oil will decline relative to other energy sources the three carbon fuels will still dominate the supply market down from 86% now to 81% by 2035 – not exactly a low carbon future.

Power generation is expected to account for an ever-increasing share of primary energy consumption BP says as the world continues on a long-term trend of electrification: even if the share rises from 42% today to only 47% by 2035. While coal is set to fall as a percentage of the whole and renewables are projected to rise by 2035, BP does not expect to see wind or solar farms on every open space. They will contribute only 8% by 2035 up from 3% today.

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Although predictions by other bodies such as the US Energy Information Administration vary, they all show an increase in total carbon emissions from energy consumption of a similar nature. BP’s and the EIA are two of the closest showing an increase of around 25% between 2013 and 2035 (1% p.a.), with the rate of growth declining from 2.5% over the past decade to 0.7% in the final decade of the Outlook.

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With base metal prices down and oil, while recovering a bit, still far below its 2014 highs, more trucks and SUVs are being purchased and the cost savings of even the most proven renewable technologies, such as roof-mounted solar panels, isn’t the savings it was just a few months ago.

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Yet, much of our coverage was devoted to renewables this week. BP released its Energy Outlook 2035 and the predictions were, well, not good.

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