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Energy transitions - headlines

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Swedish pension funds urged to dump fossil fuel holdings
Caroline Liinanki, Financial Times
Sweden’s cluster of state pension funds face political pressure to divest from all of their fossil fuel holdings...
(8 September 2013)
Link to Unburnable Carbon 2013: Wasted capital and stranded assets


Romantic Germany risks economic decline as green dream spoils

Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, Daily Telegraph
Germany is committing slow economic suicide. It has staked its future on heavy industry and manufacturing, yet has no energy policy to back this up.

Instead, the country has a ruinously expensive green dream, priced at €700bn (£590bn) from now until the late 2030s by environment minister Peter Altmaier if costs are slashed - and €1 trillion if they are not. The Germans are surely the most romantic nation on earth.

The full implications of this may become clear over the next decade, just as Germany’s ageing crisis hits with maximum force and its engineers retire; and just as German voters discover - what they suspect already - that it costs real money to hold a half-baked euro together. The likelihood is that Germany will start to lose its economic halo soon, “de-rated” like others before it..
(11 September 2013)
For a different view on this read The Economic and Political Consequences of the Last 10 Years of Renewable Energy Development


German Energy Storage Plan Could Trigger New Market Boom

Sophie Vorrath, Renew Economy
New research has predicted that the German government’s measures to support energy storage uptake – namely its relatively new solar storage subsidy program – could trigger a boom in the market similar to that once witnessed in the solar PV industry.

The €25 million scheme, established in May this year, covers up to 30 per cent of the cost for residential storage equipment when added as apart of a new residential PV system.

Research analysts IHS say the subsidy could trigger the sort of rapid uptake of solar PV energy storage systems that the government’s feed-in tariff (FiT) system ignited in the PV industry eight years ago...
(12 September 2013)


Buying Local Solar Makes Florida City a World Leader

John Farrell, Renewable Energy World
“It’s the only time I’ve done a rate increase when nobody was opposed,” says Ed Regan of the Gainesville utility’s feed-in tariff for solar power. The program, launched in 2009, has resulted in nearly 15 megawatts of new, local solar energy generation on or near buildings in the northeast Florida town, enough to make it one of the leading communities in per capita solar worldwide. The program is open to participation by anyone in Gainesville, with the utility buying all solar energy in the program on a fixed price, 20-year contract.

It all started about ten years ago, when Pegeen Hanrahan was elected mayor of Gainesville and Ed Regan was serving as the assistant general manager for strategic planning. Intern Wade Underwood and I spoke with them earlier this year...

The utility set up the program, targeting 4 megawatts of solar per year from 2009 through 2016. At the time, Ed recalls thinking to himself, “there’s no way we’ll ever get 4 megawatts of solar.”

He was wrong. The simplicity of the program made it of great interest to residential and commercial customers alike. It simplified a lot of issues for commercial participants in particular, where the utility customer might not be the same as the building owner. It also made life a lot easier for tax exempt entities, like nonprofits and schools. The feed-in tariff “opened the floodgates.”...
(4 September 2013)


Constituency voices: realising the potential of community energy [Report]

Hannah Kyrke-Smith with Paul Blomfield MP, Mike Crockart MP and Tessa Munt MP, Green Alliance UK
Community energy isn’t a new concept, but it is certainly growing. There are established schemes, like the Baywind project in south Cumbria, Westmill wind and solar farms in Oxfordshire, and the Ovesco solar scheme in Sussex; and with a recent groundswell of public support there are now around 50 community renewable energy co-operatives and 2,000 community installations receiving feed-in tariffs across the UK.

As well as generating their own energy, community groups are also investigating the potential for energy efficiency projects, collective purchasing or switching. Beyond immediate economic and environmental benefits, these projects also offer opportunities to finance other local projects, create local jobs, inspire others to start schemes and improve local understanding of energy and climate issues.

The potential capacity of UK community owned renewables is estimated to be around 3.5GW. But, can the existing policy framework enable community energy projects to take advantage of this potential, and make a real contribution to the UK’s climate change targets? Until now, it has been difficult to develop a project. Policies, such as the Green Deal and feed-in tariffs, have not been designed with community level projects in mind. There has been no obvious home for community energy in government, which has been focused on energy markets for large commercial players...
(August 2013)


California's Unusual Plan to Cut Greenhouse Gases

Lee Epstein, Mother Jones
When California's S.B. 375 was passed in 2008, there were many skeptics. The law aimed to get metropolitan regions around the state to cut greenhouse gas emissions through changes to development form and transportation. (If it were a country, California would rank somewhere between the world's tenth and twelfth largest economy, so its effect could be significant.)

In 2011, the California Air Resources Board set GHG emissions reduction targets by metro region for passenger vehicles (passenger vehicles account for almost a third of GHGs in the state). Eighteen Metropolitan Planning Organizations were then to develop "sustainable community strategies," wherein integrated transportation, housing, and community development, working together, could help achieve those specific objectives...
(21 August 2013)

Green planet image via shutterstock. Reproduced at Resilience.org with permission.

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