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Global

Inbox Energy watch Trends around the world Global wind power to double by 2020 Wind power capacity is expected to double by the end of the decade, due in part to increased wind power investment in China, according to a new report. Research by consultancy GlobalData predicts an overall rise in wind power capacity from 319.6 GW at the end of 2013 to 678.5 GW by 2020. The world’s leading investor in wind power, China contributed 45 per cent of global wind investment last year and is expected to have a wind capacity of 239.7 GW by 2020. New technology produces coloured solar glass panels The world’s first coloured solar glass panels have been launched at a German trade show by Emirates Insolaire, a joint venture between Swiss solar engineers INSO and Dubai-based glass manufacturer Dubai Investments. The panels, which can be manufactured in virtually any colour, operate like conventional photovoltaic panels using cells to convert solar radiation into electricity. However, they are ten per cent less efficient than their clear glass counterparts. The photovoltaic market has been growing at 40 per cent year-on-year. It is currently predicted that 2015 will see installations reach 160 GW, utilising an estimated 800 million square metres of glass. EU project to bring power to rural African areas The European Union has announced plans to fund a series of projects for energy provision across many rural African regions as part of the its new rural electrification programme. The project aims to supply sustainable and cost-effective energy to undersupplied areas. It currently covers the provision of 16 new energy projects across nine African countries that will create energy from hydro, solar, wind and biomass resources, and will be awarded an initial €95 million in funding. Speaking of the benefits of the programme, EU Development Commissioner Andris Piebalgs said that connecting rural areas to clean energy would “improve health care, education and opportunities to make a living in the area”. Finland to cut greenhouse emissions The government of Finland has agreed to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 80 per cent by 2050. The plan is part of the nation’s first official Climate Change Act and includes a long-term plan to decarbonise the country’s economy. Google to change the world of power Internet search engine operator Google Inc is rumoured to be considering a move into the utilities sector in a bid to improve the supply of electricity to homes and businesses. A source close to Google has revealed that the company is investing in tools to improve the delivery of electricity, with Google’s Energy Access said to be in the initial stages of developing software and hardware packages to manage energy infrastructure. Steven Chu, former secretary of the US Department of Energy, has said that Google appears to have recognised a gap in energy infrastructure. Scotland makes waves with marine energy tank Marine researchers in Scotland have unveiled a large-scale marine testing tank that will recreate waves and currents from coastlines across the UK and Europe. The £9.5 million FloWave Ocean Energy Research Facility at the University of Edinburgh is the first of its kind. The circular shape of the facility means that waves come from multiple directions, allowing researchers to simulate the swell of waves during storms. Professor Philip Nelson, chief executive of the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, said that the “facility will help keep the UK at the forefront of marine energy technology research and development”. New nanoparticles pave way for solar paint A research team at the University of Toronto has developed a new form of solid nanoparticles called colloidal quantum dots, which could lead to the development of cheaper, lighter and more flexible solar cells. The team was able to solve a problem whereby certain semiconductors lose electrons upon exposure to the air. The new material created by the Toronto scientists is without this issue, remaining rich in electrons even when in the open. The breakthrough could lead to the development of new devices for solar conduction. According to the researchers, led by post-doctoral researcher Zhijun Ning and Professor Ted Sargent, there is even potential to add the dots to inks or paints. Nigeria partners with UN on developing clean energy The Nigerian government is to work with the United Nations Sustainable Energy for All Initiative (SE4ALL) to develop clean energy resources. Minister of State for Power Alhaji Mohammed Wakil says that the SE4ALL objectives are in line with President Goodluck Jonathan’s Transformation Agenda, and that the government is committed to investing in renewable energy as part of its power sector roadmap. Romania receives EU wind power investment The renewable energy market in Romania has been granted a €57 million loan from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development for the development of a new wind power initiative. The loan will go towards the construction of the Topolog-Dorobantu wind farm located in the southeast of the country. www.global global four th quar ter 2014 -br ief ing.org l 7


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