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Councils key to meeting UK’s green energy target, report warns

Staff, Friends of the Earth
Without stronger Government action and a greater focus on community-scale generation, the UK risks missing its EU commitment to produce 15 per cent of energy from renewable sources by 2020, a new report from Friends of the Earth warns today [Tuesday 27 July 2010].

Major policy changes such as better incentives are needed to plug the UK into green power recommends the report, commissioned by environmental campaigning charity and led by sustainable energy expert Dr. Jim Watson.

These recommendations come on the same day [Tuesday 27 July 2010] that Chris Huhne makes a Commons speech on renewable energy and wind power policy.

The report stresses the crucial role local authorities have to play in generating community-scale energy through schemes like hydro plants and wind turbines.

While the UK is making progress on large-scale energy generation such as offshore wind, and small-scale generation such as domestic solar panels, a much greater focus is needed on community-scale schemes to hit the renewables target, the report advises…
(27 July 2010)
The report can be found here.

Property prices soar in the desert

Stephen Duke, BBCNews
“I’m going to open up my own hotel,” says Vijay Singh, a man who has just become $60,000 richer after selling some of his farmland; land that is barren desert.

India’s thirst for solar energy has transformed Mr Singh’s property from a dry, dusty inhospitable environment into a sun-drenched power socket that promises much, both for energy companies and for a country that still suffers black-outs.

The Thar desert spreads 200,000 square kilometres across North West India, and as Dr PC Pande from Rajasthan’s Central Arid Zone Research Institute points out, sun is not in short supply.

“Here in this region we have plenty of solar radiation,” he boasts. “It’s full of sun. Three hundred plus days of sun a year, nine hours a day.”

They will need it.

The government recently launched its National Solar Mission – a $19bn plan to generate 20,000 megawatt of solar electricity by 2022.

At the moment solar power contributes a tiny fraction of that – less than 1% – to the national grid…
(26 July 2010)

Clean Energy and the U.S. Handicap: One Man’s Story

Melinda Burns, Miller-McCune
Jim Dehlsen, America’s most successful wind power innovator and entrepreneur, has been tilting at windmills since the early 1980s.

Back then, he installed one of the largest wind farms in the world in the mountains near Mojave, Calif., where a strong gust could snap a windmill blade in two. He called it his “Victory Garden.”

Today, at 73, Dehlsen is producing one of the most advanced and efficient windmills in the world, employing 300 people at a plant in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. And he is building a plant in England to manufacture the largest offshore windmill in the world, creating 500 green jobs.

Like Don Quixote of La Mancha, the errant knight of windmill fame, Dehlsen is on a life’s quest, propelled by the vision of a moral world — by his definition, a planet that is much less dependent on coal and oil…
(25 July 2010)