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Global_18

Inbox in Germany in a serious way in the medium term,” he said adding that a rollback of existing regulations was in order. The European Commission recently unveiled a new energy strategy for 2030, which many environmentalists called ‘disappointing’ because it lacked binding national targets on how much power EU countries would have to generate from renewable sources. Critics of the strategy believe Brussels has put economic growth ahead of climate change concerns, adding that the EU has long been the strongest advocate internationally for tough environmental standards and a retreat by Europe on the issue could have major implications for the global debate. Germany’s Minister for the Economy and Energy, Sigmar Gabriel, warned that Germany had reached the limit of what it could ask of its economy in terms of energy prices. Germany provides significant subsidies for its renewable industries and is subject to an EU investigation into special exemptions that have shielded its manufacturers from the full cost of its high energy prices. Scotland drinks up plans to turn whisky waste into green power A plan to use waste from a whisky distillery to generate power has been given the go ahead in Scotland. The anaerobic digestion facility at Glenfiddich Distillery will use malted barley and pot ale from the distilling process to produce biogas that can be cleaned and injected into the gas grid or used to generate electricity. The principal planning officer for the county of Moray where the distillery is housed, Neal MacPherson, said the project would deliver numerous benefits for the area. “This proposal would see the re-use of by-products from the distillation process that would provide and re-use waste and heat, increasing efficiency of the process of the Glenfiddich Distillery, creating four new jobs and also providing either electricity or gas that would feed back into the national grid or gas network,” he said. The plant will be built on site at the distillery and is expected to produce heat and steam for use in the distilling process. Glenfiddich is the latest in a line of distilleries moving towards anaerobic digestion technology to improve production and reduce costs. UN: Energy production uses precious water resources Demands for energy are using up scarce water supplies, particularly in developing countries, according to a report by the UN. The World Water Development Report found that hydropower accounts for 15 per cent of the world’s water usage – but this figure is expected to jump to 35 per cent by 2035. Meanwhile, water requirements will also increase. The main regions set to raise both their power and water consumption are India, China and the Middle East, thanks to changing lifestyles and growing populations. “Demand for fresh water and energy will continue to increase over the coming decades to meet the needs of growing populations and economies, changing lifestyles and evolving consumption patterns, greatly amplifying existing pressures on limited natural resources and on ecosystems,” the report’s authors say. Around 90 per cent of current energy production is water intensive. Liquid air to be used to power turbines A UK-based company has hit upon a new way to use stored energy to create power. Highview Power has been experimenting with using cheap off-peak energy to cool air to -196oC using conventional refrigeration techniques, creating liquid air. When the air returns to normal temperature, it turns back to gas and, as it expands, can be used to turn a turbine and create electricity. The UK government has given Highview an £8 million grant to build a 5 MW demonstration plant in England. Energy giant GE has also signed a deal with Highview, which could see GE’s gas turbines and engines take advantage of the new discovery. Panama powers up with new solar installation Panama’s first utility-scale solar photo-voltaic (PV) installation has been completed. The 2.4 MW joint venture between Greenwood Energy and Biosar is nine miles from the city of Chitré and will provide 30 per cent of power for the surrounding area – equivalent to around 2,600 homes. “Latin America is one of the world’s most dynamic solar power markets,” said Camilo Patrignani, CEO of Greenwood. USA sees rising demand for coal, despite pit closures Rising gas prices and discoveries of cleaner, low sulphur coal are driving a resurgence of coal in US energy markets. The USA’s Energy Information Administration projects that 40 per cent of America’s electricity production will still be coal-based by 2030. For the first 11 months of 2013, the most recent figures available, coal was used to generate 39 per cent of the 3.7 trillion KW hours of electricity used in the USA. Natural gas accounted for 31 per cent of electricity output, while solar and wind power produced just four per cent between them. Ten years ago, coal was used to generate more than half the country’s electricity, but since then more than a quarter of the USA’s coal mines have closed. Financial analyst Paul Forward told CNBC that coal stocks were becoming attractive to investors once again. “Things that can drive coal prices higher – like energy inflation, shortages of natural gas, bad weather, that sort of thing –they can hurt the rest of the economy, but can be a spur for long dormant coal prices.” Geothermal energy market heats up in Indonesia Plans are underway to construct a 320 MW geothermal plant in North Sumatra, Indonesia, which is expected to cut 1.3 million tonnes of carbon emissions per year. In March the Asian Development Bank approved a grant worth $350 million towards the funding of the Sarulla Geothermal Power Development Project, which is scheduled for completion in 2018. The Sarulla Project is being managed by a consortium, including the company responsible for developing the geothermal technology involved in the project, Ormat Technologies. Financing is expected to be finalised by the end of the second quarter 2014. Dita Bronicki, CEO of Ormat Technologies, said the company “will continue the effort to close this financing and, ultimately, supply clean, reliable electricity to the Indonesian market”. The project comes as part of Indonesia’s wider plans to cut greenhouse gas emissions and increase its share of renewable energy from five per cent to 25 per cent by 2025. global second quar ter 2014 www.global -br ief ing.org l 9


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