Monthly Archives: April 2013

Clean energy progress too slow to limit global warming

With governments failing to promote green energy, top scientists say the drive to keep temperature rise below 2C has stalled

The development of low-carbon energy is progressing too slowly to limit global warming, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said on Wednesday.

With power generation still dominated by coal and governments failing to increase investment in clean energy, top climate scientists have said that the target of keeping the global temperature rise to less than 2C this century is slipping out of reach.

“The drive to clean up the world’s energy system has stalled,” said Maria van der Hoeven, the IEA’s executive director, at the launch of the agency’s  report on clean energy progress.

“Despite much talk by world leaders, and a boom in  renewable energy over the past decade, the average unit of energy produced today is basically as dirty as it was 20 years ago.”

Global clean energy investment in the first quarter fell to its lowest level in four years, driven by cuts in tax incentives at a time of austerity, according to a seperate report  by Bloomberg New Energy Finance this week.

The IEA said that coal-fired generation grew by 45% between 2000 and 2010, far outpacing the 25% growth in non-fossil fuel generation over the same period.

A revolution in shale gas technology has triggered a switch from coal to cleaner natural gas in the United States. Elsewhere, however, coal use has soared, particularly in Europe, where its share of the power generation mix increased at the expense of gas.

With the world still reliant on fossil fuels, the deployment of carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology is critical, but there are no commercial plants in operation, the report said.

The IEA has envisaged that CCS, which buries and traps CO2 underground, should play a major role in cutting global emissions and had forecast 63% of coal power plants should be equipped with the technology by 2050.

However, there are only 13 large-scale demonstration projects in operation or being built, with the capacity to store about 65m tonnes of CO2 a year. This represents only a quarter of the storage capacity needed by 2020.

New nuclear plant construction is also well behind target and global biofuel production stalled in 2012.

Government policies and the EU’s emissions trading scheme need to be strengthened to enable more energy efficiency and clean technology uptake, the IEA said.

“Unless we get (carbon emissions) prices and policies right, a cost-effective clean-energy transition just will not happen,” the report said.

The IEA did see some positive developments, however. From 2011 to 2012, the more mature renewable energy technologies of solar photovoltaic and wind power grew by an impressive 42% and 19% respectively.

Tesla model S named World Green Car of the year

Tesla Model S named World Green Car of the Year

The all-electric Tesla Model S has been hailed as the 2013 World Green Car of the Year at the New York International Auto Show.

The Model S won over the all-electric Renault Zoe and the Volvo V60 plug-in hybrid who were tough contenders for the prestigious award. Three finalists emerged from an initial entry list of 21 new vehicles worldwide.

“The success of Model S is a critical step towards the widespread adoption of sustainable transport and we are grateful to the World Car of the Year Jury for the recognition,” said Elon Musk, Tesla Motors co-founder and chief executive officer.

“Winning the 2013 World Green Car award is great acknowledgment of what Tesla has accomplished with Model S in the last four years.”

Eligible cars for the sought-after award must be all-new or substantially revised in production and are currently available to the public in quantities of no less than 10 in at least one major market from January 1, 2012 and to May 30 this year.

In a bid to increase environmental sustainability among vehicles, criteria including tailpipe emissions, fuel consumption and use of a major advanced power plant technology apart from engine componentry were also considered.

Presented by Japan’s Bridgestone Corporation, the Green Car of the Year was awarded during the World Car of the Year awards which also named the World Car Design of the Year and the World Performance Car of the Year.

Tesla Model S comes with a sleek design and can accommodate up to seven passengers. It offers three battery options – 40 kilowatt hours, 60 kWh and 85 kWh – each delivering unprecedented capacity. On its 85 kWh battery pack, the Model S can travel for as up to 285 miles on a single charge without any tailpipe emissions.

Last November 2012, the Model S was also named Motor Trend’s 2013 Car of the Year. – EcoSeed Staff


Scotland’s power to be 100 pct generated from renewables by 2020

  The Scottish Government on Thursday said it aimed to meet the equivalent of 100 percent of gross annual electricity demand from renewables by 2020.

The amount of renewable electricity generated in 2012 rose almost 7 percent on 2011 to more than 14,600 Gigawatt hours (GWh), and the total renewable generation in Scotland is enough to power the equivalent of every home in Scotland, statistics published on Thursday showed.

This will mean that the equivalent of almost 39 percent of Scotland’s total electricity needs came from renewables in 2012 with electricity demand last year assumed to be similar to 2011. The Scottish Government aims to improve that percentage to 50 percent by 2015 and 100 percent by 2020, said a government press release.

The data also showed that electricity generated via wind power in 2012 was at a record high level of 8,296 GWh, up 19 percent from 2011 and is more than four times the level of wind generation in 2006, while Scottish renewable generation made up approximately 35 percent of total UK renewable generation in 2012.

At the end of 2012, there was 5,883 Megawatt (MW) of installed renewable electricity capacity in Scotland, an increase of 22 percent (1,041 MW) from the end of 2011, according to the statistics.

Scottish Energy Minister Fergus Ewing hailed the new figures, noting that 2012 was another record year for renewables in Scotland, which contributed more than a third of the entire Britain’s renewables output.

Scotland’s renewables sector has a projected investment of 9.4 billion pounds (14.23 billion U.S. dollars), according to figures published by the Department of Energy and Climate Change in July 2012. Industry figures published last year estimate that renewable energy supports over 11,000 jobs in Scotland.