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Renewable energy investment at record high – report

Lindsay Beck, Reuters South Africa
BEIJING – Global investment in renewable energy hit a record $30 billion last year, accounting for 20-25 percent of all investment in the power industry, and with solar power the fastest-growing energy technology, a Worldwatch Institute report released on Sunday said.

The Worldwatch Institute, a Washington-based organisation working for environmental sustainability, said the renewables sector was growing as a result of government support and increasing private sector investment.

“Policies to promote renewables have mushroomed over the past few years. At least 48 countries worldwide now have some type of renewable energy promotion policy, including 14 developing countries,” the report said.
(6 November 2005)
Joel Makower has a comment at WorldChanging: Renewable Energy’s Investment Hockey Stick. His comment has links to the original report.

Palm oil project fuels controversy in Borneo

Ellen Nakashima, Washington Post via Houston Chronicle
Despite the potential for a million jobs, conservationists worry plans for a plantation could destroy Borneo’s rain forest
BETUNG KERIHUN NATIONAL PARK, INDONESIA – A river the color of pale toffee coursed through a valley, carrying several types of rare fish. A young orangutan, a member of a threatened species, dangled merrily by one leg from a tree.

In the heart of Borneo, home to one of the world’s last remaining expanses of intact rain forest, Hermas Rintik Maring, a conservationist who is native to the area, fears this pristine jungle could fall to the whine of chainsaws and the rumble of bulldozers clearing land for what has been billed as the world’s largest palm oil plantation.

The project, brokered by the Indonesian government in Jakarta, could affect as many as 5 million acres of Borneo’s forest — an area slightly smaller than the state of Vermont — near Indonesia’s 1,250-mile-long border with Malaysia. Officials hope China will finance the project on the island, which is divided between Indonesia and Malaysia.

Indonesian officials claim the plantation could bring the area a half-million jobs directly related to the industry and 500,000 more in spin-off jobs in schools, health care and other services.

It could produce more than 10 million tons of crude palm oil a year, they said, worth about $4.6 billion. Chinese officials said a project covering 5 million acres could cost up to $10 billion.

But environmentalists such as Hermas, 28, a field officer for the Worldwide Fund for Nature in Indonesia, worry that without careful planning the project could destroy Borneo’s profusion of plants, insects and animals.

“It would be one of man’s great mistakes,” said Hermas, his eyes sweeping across a panorama of olive-colored forests and blue-gray mountains from a clearing 1,800 feet high. “It would be unforgivable.”

The plan still is in its infancy. It envisions a series of large plantations owned by private companies and linked by roads and palm oil mills.
(5 November 2005)
Peakoil-dot-com has a debate on palm oil.

Abiotic Snake Oil

The Oil Drum
The curious geology of Vietnams White Tiger and Black Lion fields is reviewed, in response to the claims of Craig Smith and fellow abiotic oil fans.
…So, the “mystery” here is that oil is being extracted from porous granite basement rock which has presumably always been deeply buried, not sedimentary (source) rock that was formed by the burial, heating, chemical transformation and compaction of organic matter.

Looking further, I consulted an article from the American Association of Petroleum Geologist’s (AAPG) Explorer series entitled Vietnam Finds Oil in the Basement to find out what was really going on here. …
(4 November 2005)

China lifts target for renewable energy use

Reuters via Planet Ark
BEIJING – China on Monday raised its target for reliance on renewable energy but acknowledged that coal would remain its primary source for electricity for decades to come.
(8 November 2005)

Global energy meet agrees roadmap on renewables

Lindsay Beck, Reuters
BEIJING – Environment officials from around the world agreed in Beijing on Tuesday to work to increase reliance on renewable sources of energy, underscoring a commitment to renewables after oil prices hit record highs.

The draft statement stopped short of setting a firm goal but it recommended the U.N. Commission on Sustainable Development consider the launch of a 10-year framework to “substantially increase the use of renewable energy.”

…The statement also did not set a target for investment in the renewables sector, though it stressed the need for funds for research and development, support for commercialization of new technologies and the transfer of technologies from rich nations to poor.

“Targets and timetables do matter. But there is a dispirited feeling that the U.S. just rejects multilateral target-setting for the time being,” said James Cameron of Climate Change Capital, a UK-based merchant bank that focuses on energy and the environment.

Nonetheless, he said the commitment to renewable forms of energy such as solar and wind power was growing.

“Years ago, there wasn’t the same solidarity about exposure to oil price risk, exposure to climate risk, the manifest air pollution problems. Those are powerful confluences,” he said.
(8 November 2005)