Ford to cut water use by 30pc per vehicle

Ford has pledged to reduce the amount of water used to make each of its vehicles by 30pc globally by 2015, compared with the amount used in 2009. The company is also developing year-over-year efficiency targets as part of its annual environmental business planning process and has established a cross-functional team spanning several divisions to review water usage more holistically. “Water remains one of our top environmental priorities and our aggressive reduction target helps ensure continued focus on this critical resource,” said Sue Cischke, group vice president, sustainability, environment and safety engineering. The company said its latest water reduction initiatives are designed to build on the success the company has…

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Hyper Island launches 72 Hours for Peace initiative

A 72-hour social initiative, which kicked off today in Sweden, is aiming to come up with at least 60 well-formed ideas for world peace over the next three days. The ‘Create for Change’ programme, which promotes projects dedicated to global positive change, was devised by communications, business management and leadership company Hyper Island, and ad agencyCrispin Porter + Bogusky (CP+B). During the “72-Hours for Peace” event, the companies’ creatives and strategists will guide 300 digital creative students at Hyper Island’s Stockholm and Karlskrona campuses as they explore ways to use technology to encourage peace within their communities, resulting in complete and viable concepts that will be free and available for…

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UK’s ‘Cut Don’t Kill’ campaign calls for lower cuts to solar subsidies

The ‘Cut Don’t Kill’ campaign, a coalition of British solar power companies and NGOs including Friends of the Earth has responded to the UK government’s proposals to cut the feed-in tariff on domestic solar electricity production by 52pc by saying that such a reduction would kill the industry, destroying 4,000 companies and 25,000 jobs. On Monday, Climate Change and Energy Minister Greg Barker revealed plans to cut subsidies as part of “an urgent effort to keep the FITs (feed-in tariff) scheme budget under control and reflect the plummeting costs of the technology”. Barker is proposing to introduce a new tariff for schemes up to 4kW of 21p per kilowatt hour,…

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IEA and OECD call for end to fossil fuel subsidies

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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Smart Meters to Dominate Installed Electrical Meter Base by 2018

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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US College scores a first as it becomes ‘grid-positive’

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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German Parliament Approves Motion – Nuclear Free by 2022

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 opportunities for Ireland’s bioenergy sector

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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Green assets

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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Suntech says low prices will combat oversupply issue

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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