IWEA says Ireland's over-complicated regulatory framework is choking the renewables sector inister for Environment, Community and Local Government Phil Hogan with, from left: Kenneth Mathews, CEO, IWEA, David Gunning, CEO, Coillte and Stephen Wheeler, chairman, IWEA, at the WInd Energy (IWEA) conference in the INEC, Killarney

At the start of its autumn conference yesterday, the IWEA shared some alarming statistics on Ireland’s renewables portfolio for 2011. We are the worst performers in Europe night now, despite having some of the best wave and wind resources on the planet waiting to be capitalised on, both to reduce our extremely high reliance on imported fossil fuels (over 80pc) and to engage in green energy exporting in future with countries such as the UK. According to the IWEA, Ireland is only meeting 68pc of its 2010 targets for 2010, with competing European nations now gleaning a critical edge in the green stakes, snapping up opportunities before the country. The…

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Angel Gurria, secretary-general, Angel Gurria.

Removing inefficient subsidies for the production and consumption of fossil fuels – which are estimated to have cost over US$400bn last year – would raise national revenues and reduce greenhouse-gas emissions, according to OECD and International Energy Agency (IEA) data. The two organisations said their data and analysis are actively following up on the G20 leaders’ commitment in 2009 to phase out subsidies that “encourage wasteful consumption, reduce our energy security, impede investment in clean energy sources and undermine efforts to deal with the threat of climate change”. “Both developing and developed countries need to phase out inefficient fossil fuel subsidies,” said OECD secretary-general Angel Gurria. “As they look for…

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Business and Leadership Ltd.

The number of smart meters installed around the world will reach 535m units by 2015, while smart meters are set to comprise the majority of all installed electrical meters by 2018, according to a new report from Pike Research. This represents a significant upgrade from the market research and consulting firm’s prediction in the fourth quarter of 2009 that the installed base would be 251m units by 2015. Pike Research said the largest contributor to the upgraded forecast is the strong adoption of smart meters in the Asia Pacific region, particularly in China. The company believes that the smart meter installed base will continue to see robust growth beyond 2015 and will…

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Business and Leadership Ltd.

Butte College in California has become the first US college to go ‘grid positive,’ generating more electricity from its solar arrays than it consumes, and deliverering power back to the electric grid. Located 75 miles from Sacramento and located on a 928-acre wildlife refuge, Butte College will see significant cost savings from its solar arrays. The college estimates it will save between US$50m and US$75m million over 15 years, even after accounting for project costs and interest. It says this will be achieved by eliminating its electricity bill, getting paid for excess electricity production, and avoiding future electricity rate increases. “Butte College has had a longstanding commitment to sustainability,” said…

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Business and Leadership Ltd.

Germany’s lower house of parliament, the Bundestag, has today voted comprehensively to abandon nuclear energy by 2022. Representatives from the Social Democrats and the Green Party voted with Chancellor Angela Merkel’s center-right coalition to support the motion, with the vote splitting 513 in favor and 79 against. The bill will still have to be passed in the Bundesrat, the upper house of parliament, next month. Germany’s decision to scrap nuclear power was prompted by the Fukushima disaster in Japan in March. It represented a significant change in policy for Merkel, who last year approved plans to expand the use of nuclear power. The country currently has 17 nuclear power plants.…

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Business and Leadership Ltd.

Ireland’s bioenergy sector could have the potential to create thousands of green jobs across the country, particularly in the biogas area, according to speakers at a bioenergy conference held in Dublin today. The Business of Bio-Energy conference, which was hosted by Byrne Wallace and RSM Farrell Grant Sparks in Dublin, looked specifically at Ireland’s biogas sector. Sean Wallace, a partner at Byrne Wallace, compared Ireland’s “underdeveloped” biogas sector with that of Germany, which has 4,700 biogas plants in operation and over 350,000 employed in the sector. He argued that Ireland could aspire to have at least 1,000 small anaerobic digestion units in operation. Anaerobic digestion is a natural process of…

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valerie lawlor master1

The regulatory environment is a key consideration for investors in green assets. Ann O’Dea speaks to Valerie Lawlor, partner at McCann FitzGerald, about the challenges for Ireland Valerie Lawlor is a partner at McCann FitzGerald, with a long track record in the energy sector, advising significant energy industry players on energy market projects, transactions and regulatory issues. She too believes the so-called green economy can indeed present opportunities for economic renewal and growth. “The Government has identified six separate areas of the economy in which they see opportunities for both job creation and economic revival generally, which include areas such as building efficiency and the national retrofit scheme that’s being…

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Business and Leadership Ltd.

Solar panel maker Suntech Power Holdings will sell half its production of solar panels in Europe in 2011 despite a withdrawal in government incentives in key markets, reports Reuters. Chief executive Zhengrong Shi said the company sold more than 50pc of its 2010 production of solar panels to customers in Europe, and that figure will drop only slightly this year. Shi said that about 10pc of Suntech’s production will be sold in Italy which will be the same amount as last year, even though investors have expressed fear about an expected revision of solar subsidies in Italy after explosive growth in the solar power market there in 2010. Investors in…

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Business and Leadership Ltd.

The Environmental Investment Organisation (EIO) has ranked insurance groups Amlin and Aviva at the top of its UK 100 Carbon Ranking list. The ET UK 100 Carbon Ranking list highlights the best and worst businesses regarding greenhouse gas emissions and levels of transparency. Amlin comes out as the best performer with carbon intensities of 1.21, while Aviva is a close second, with carbon intensities of 1.36. Man Group is ranked in third place (6.29), BskyB takes fourth place (6.69), followed by energy services company AMEC (8.31). Imperial Tobacco, Lloyds Banking Group Plc, Experian Plc, BT Group and the Royal Bank of Scotland Group round out the top 10 of the…

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Intel

Intel, Kohl’s, Whole Foods Market and Starbucks are just some of the organisations that are taking a lead in the green energy push by using renewable electricity to lower their carbon footprint, as the US Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Green Power Partnership list of its top 50 partner entities reveals. The EPA says Intel, which has almost doubled its annual green power usage to reach more than 2.5 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh), has achieved the largest green power purchase to date in the partnership, the equivalent to avoiding (CO2) emissions from the electricity use of more than 218,000 average American homes. EPA’s Green Power Partnership  works with more than 1,300 partner organisations to voluntarily purchase…

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