• Morocco poised to become a solar superpower with launch of desert mega-project

    World’s largest concentrated solar power plant, powered by the Saharan sun, set to provide almost half the country’s energy

    The Moroccan city of Ouarzazate is used to big productions. On the edge of the Sahara desert and the centre of the north African country’s “Ouallywood” film industry it has played host to big-budget location shots in Lawrence of Arabia, The Mummy, The Living Daylights and even Game of Thrones.

    Now the trading city, nicknamed the “door of the desert”, is the centre for another blockbuster – a complex of four linked solar mega-plants that, alongside hydro and wind, will help provide nearly half of Morocco’s electricity from renewables by 2020 with, it is hoped, some spare to export to Europe. The project is a key plank in Morocco’s ambitions to use its untapped deserts to become a global solar superpower. Read More...

    Monday 26 October 2015

  • Government admits it is subsidising nuclear - while cutting help for renewables

    The official admission blows a hole in already bewildering UK energy plans.

    The government confirms that it is not continuing the ‘no public subsidy policy’ [for nuclear power] of the previous administration.

    That little footnote, tucked away at the end of the announcement of Wednesday’s French-Chinese deal to build a new nuclear power station at Hinkley point, detonates an atomic bomb under the UK government’s already bewildering energy policy and leaves ministers hunkered down in a nuclear bunker.

    Just the day before, energy minister Andrea Leadsom said: “It is vital that industries over time stand on their own two feet. I don’t think anyone here would advocate an industry that only survives because of a subsidy paid by the billpayer.” She was justifying 87% cuts to subsidies for solar power, just as they are on the verge of becoming cheaper than gas.

    The contradiction does not need spelling out. Nuclear power has had 60 years to stand on its own two feet. The admission it still needs subsidy (after five years of ministers denying precisely that) shows that traditional nuclear power can barely crawl. Whether this admission strengthens the challenge brought by Austria at EU level against the UK that it is providing illegal state aid remains to be seen. Read More...

    Thursday 22 October 2015

  • India unveils climate change plan

    World’s third biggest greenhouse gas emitter says it will source 40% of its electricity from non-fossil fuel sources, ahead of Paris climate summit

    India, the world’s third biggest greenhouse gas emitter, has pledged to source 40% of its electricity from renewable and other low-carbon sources by 2030.

    It is the last major economy, following 140 other countries including China, the US and the EU, to submit a climate change plan to the UN before international talks to reach a deal on tackling global warming in Paris this December.

    Campaigners welcomed the commitment to cut the “emissions intensity” of its economy – a ratio of carbon emissions per unit of GDP – by up to 35% by 2030.

    India’s population of 1.2 billion, about 363 million of whom live in poverty, is projected to grow to 1.5 billion by 2030. “It is estimated that more than half of India of 2030 is yet to be built,” India’s submission claimed.

    The country has previously pledged an emissions intensity cut of up to 25% by 2020.

    Prakash Javadekar, India’s environment minister, said: “Though India is not part of the problem, it wants to be part of the solution. Our historical cumulative emission as of today is below 3%.” Read More...

    Friday 2 October 2015

  • Brazil pledges to cut carbon emissions 37% by 2025

    Brazil becomes first major developing country to pledge an absolute reduction in greenhouse gas emissions ahead of Paris climate talks

    Brazil on Sunday became the first major developing country to pledge an absolute reduction in greenhouse gas emissions for an envisioned global pact against climate change.

    The world’s seventh biggest greenhouse gas polluter said it would cut its emissions by 37% by 2025 from 2005 levels by reducing deforestation and boosting the share of renewable sources in its energy mix. It also indicated an “intended reduction” of 43% by 2030.

    “Our goals are just as ambitious, if not more so, than those set by developed countries,” President Dilma Rousseff said as she announced the targets at the UN in New York.

    Monday 28 September 2015