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Growth | Green and Alternative Energy Information

Renewable energy investments – US behind China

According to the latest Ernst & Young ranking China has overtook the United States to lead a quarterly index as the most attractive country for renewable energy projects. To some people this may come as a surprise but to those who follow global energy market more thoroughly this shouldn’t be at all surprising.

There are several different reasons why China is currently an ideal destination for renewable energy investments and new renewable energy projects. Unlike United States China has national renewable energy policy, and China is definitely putting serious efforts to achieve its goal of generating 15 percent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2020.

China is well aware that this goal can only be achieved by rapidly developing renewable energy market for its own manufacturers. China is world’s largest manufacturer of wind turbines and solar panels, and this is something that will likely last for many years to come.

China not only has enough capital to achieve its renewable energy goal but it also has strong government will, and large enough market to support more investments.

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Americans making more use of renewable energy

Fossil fuels are still dominant energy sources in United States, and their dominance doesn’t look like being decently challenged by renewables in years to come. But this doesn’t mean that everything looks negative for renewable energy sector in United States, on the contrary, the latest data shows that Americans used significantly more renewable energy resources in 2009 compared to previous years (especially wind energy).

According to the US Department of Energy  Americans were using less energy in general in 2009 compared to previous years. There are two factors mainly responsible for this: recession and improved efficiency. Recession is connected with lower economic activity and thus decreased demand for energy, and higher efficiency appliances and vehicles were able to reduce energy demand even further.

Coal and petroleum are still heavily used in United States but recent data shows that Uncle Sam used significantly less coal and petroleum in 2009 than in 2008. Wind energy was the most popular renewable energy source in 2009, and Americans were using significantly more wind power in 2009 compared to 2008.

Other renewable energy sources such as solar, geothermal, and hydropower also experienced increase in use though this increase is significantly smaller compared to wind energy.

The estimated U.S. energy use in 2009 was 94.6 quadrillion BTUs, down from 99.2 quadrillion BTUs in 2008, and domestic energy use experienced decline in all important sectors (residential, commercial, industrial and transportation).

The significant increase of totally installed US wind power capacity in 2009 was mostly due to the more than acceptable incentives, and technological advancement of wind power technologies. To put it in other words, in 2009, the wind power technology got better and the incentives remained relatively stable (despite the financial crisis).

This has resulted in less CO2 emissions compared to previous years because Americans were burning less fossil fuels. It will be very interesting to see whether this trend will continue once energy demand starts to grow again, or will coal and petroleum, once again, grow in popularity.

Posted byNed Haluzan

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Offshore wind sector set to create 60 times more jobs in ten years

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Scotland’s offshore wind industry could create 28,000 jobs by 2020, contributing £7.1billion of investment to the economy, according to a report commissioned by Scottish Renewables and Scottish Enterprise.

The first comprehensive study of the potential impact of offshore wind on the Scottish economy suggests this new industry could create as many as 48,000 jobs – 28,000 directly, supported by a further 20,000 through related industries.

The Scottish Offshore Wind: Creating an Industry report also highlights that Scotland already has major strengths in the supply chain to this new industry in areas such as cable laying and subsea structures, with a number of Scottish-based businesses already generating significant revenues from offshore wind development.

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Green Light For €200M Co Clare Wind Farm

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A wind energy development co-operative in County Clare has received planning permission from Clare County Council to construct the largest community owned wind farm development in Ireland.

West Clare Renewable Energy Ltd. (WCRE) plans to construct 28 3MW wind turbines on the western slopes of Mount Callan, a 391-metre high mountain located between Ennis and Miltown Malbay.

The company says the EUR200 million project will be capable of generating enough electricity to power every home and business in County Clare, as well as meeting the Limerick Clare Energy Agency’s 2010 targets for emissions reductions and renewable energy production. .The Scheme is predicted to reduce carbon emissions over its life time by a massive 4,400,000 tonnes of carbon.  The community-based scheme is also expected to provide up to 300 jobs during the construction phase.

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Feed-in tariffs boost growth of UK solar panels

The feed-in tariff is expected to boost growth of solar panels on British roofs fivefold this year, and 30 times over by 2015 according to a report from Price Waterhouse Coopers.

By 2015, the researchers estimate that 1,000 MW of electricity will be generated by solar photovoltaic (PV) panels. Even with this rapid growth, Britain will not catch up with the levels of solar electricity generated in Germany today until 2020.

Most existing UK solar PV installations are small domestic panels, which is similar to Germany (DECC forecasts that by 202 98% of total solar PV installations in the UK will be domestic). However, growth in other European countries has led to annual increases of more than 300% during the first year of feed-in tariffs. This may not happen in the UK, as respondents to PWC’s survey expressed concern that there are too few certified installers to meet potential demand.

The analysis found that growth of solar photovoltaic panel installations in the UK to date has been slow because of the lack of incentives for domestic installations, complexity of funding, and planning restrictions. The feed-in tariff should remove these barriers to entry.

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