Articles filed under Energy Policy from Asia
The nation seems to be sticking with nuclear power, at least for now. Unlike Germany, which accelerated plans to phase out atomic energy after Fukushima, Japan shows no signs of doing so. In recent days, utilities began newly mandated earthquake and tsunami stress tests, a first step toward restarting reactors idled for maintenance.
Green energy used to be Germany's great hope for its economic future. But now the German solar industry is in trouble amid huge losses, job cuts and the threat of bankruptcies. Chinese firms are gaining an ever greater share of the German market -- and are benefiting from German subsidies for renewable energy.
"The bills are half-baked. The investment plan is there but financing is lacking ...There is risk that stocks of solar and wind power plants will build up but won't be utilized effectively," he added. That would not hurt new suppliers given a preset return for a preset period but possibly clinch economic growth by boosting electricity bills for the sake of un-connected new facilities.
China is not an obvious environmental leader. It is beleaguered by severe pollution and generates more carbon emissions than any other nation. Yet many have trumpeted it as an emerging "green giant" for its non-carbon-based energy production and its aggressive promises to cut carbon ...the facts do not support this "green" success story.
As exciting as alternatives may seem, the answer to Japan's future energy needs is likely to come from more traditional sources, according to Ivo Bozon, a leading energy analyst at McKinsey & Company. "It takes a long-term commitment to get the scale necessary in renewables to produce meaningful amounts of the power ...There are physical limits on renewable energy."
The green agenda is still moving forward, but it is clear that in Europe it has become more challenging because of fiscal constraints," he told the Financial Times. Growth in new wind energy installations in Europe is forecast to shrink from 14 per cent in 2010 to 1 per cent this year, according to analysts at Citigroup. ...Vestas warned that, while 2010 was set to finish stronger than previously expected, revenues and profits were likely to be flat this year.
The United States has requested the consultations concerning China's program known as the Special Fund for Wind Power Manufacturing. Under this program, China appears to provide subsidies that are prohibited under WTO rules because the grants awarded seem to be contingent on Chinese wind power equipment manufacturers using parts and components made in China rather than foreign-made parts and components.
While Friedman and others bally-hoo China's investments in green energy, Beijing is rapidly expanding its investment in fossil fuels. Michael Economides, an energy expert at the University of Houston, wrote recently on Forbes's website of the "utterly massive level of spending that the Chinese have embarked upon in pursuit of expanding their traditional energy portfolio."
Hours after the Office of the United States Trade Representative announced an investigation into China's support for makers of wind and solar energy products, advanced batteries and energy-efficient vehicles, the Treasury Department said it would delay its semiannual report on foreign-exchange rates.
A new law blamed for soaring hydro rates in Ontario is causing consternation abroad, as Japanese officials announced Monday they are launching a trade challenge of the controversial Green Energy Act. The Japanese say the law unfairly shuts them out of the market because it includes rigid domestic content rules.
A fast expansion in wind power generation projects is not in accordance with China's reality, as sandstorms always go with wind, which would cause serious damage to the wind power equipment, said Miao Wei, vice minister of Industry and Information Technology
A group of Chinese power firms has expressed shock at a UN decision to reject 10 wind farm projects amid claims that Beijing fudged figures to qualify for financing under a UN carbon trading scheme. ...The Executive Board overseeing CDM projects refused to back the Chinese wind farms, saying they did not clearly show "additionality".
Some of China's leading large-scale wind power businesses have been lobbying the government to slow the growth of the industry because of alleged over-capacity They appeared to have won the debate in September when the State Council, China's Cabinet, approved a document from the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) and nine other ministries, stipulating the NDRC would hold back funding or approval for projects in industries with production overcapacity. Wind energy was among the industries listed.
However, several years ago, a utility company that owns the grids started limiting acceptance of wind electricity from the wind farm. Council officials were told that the large influxes of wind-generated power in the grids had caused "fluctuations in output and frequency," and "lowered the quality of the electricity supply." In supplying electricity nationwide, the major utility companies meticulously balance output with demand to stabilize the voltage and frequency supplied by their networks.
He says that by 2020, the US, Europe, China and India will want to have 20% of their power supply from renewables. The issue is about making wind power "cost competitive" with carbon sources, especially coal, which fuels 65% of India's electricity and costs at least a quarter less. "Today wind power is just 1% of supply. It can grow to 7% by 2020. That is the maximum because industry has to find resources, material and execute projects. With greater volumes the price [of wind power] will drop ... and [governments] will ask what is the cost for pollution from carbon fuels. You will need a carbon tax. "
Experts complain that the established power utilities require producers to generate an overly high quality of electricity, further hindering the expansion of wind power. Given the difficult geographic conditions, plans to build offshore wind stations are drawing more attention as such facilities increase in Europe. Although the continental shelf surrounding Japan is not wide, the potential is there, experts said. "Since Japan doesn't have much space left on land, offshore farms will be promising in the next stage," Imamura said.
China promised today to develop renewable energy for its fast-growing economy but warned that coal consumption will grow dramatically and avoided embracing binding limits on its greenhouse gas emissions. In a report on its energy plans, the government announced no new initiatives but said it wants to curb reliance on oil and gas to drive an economy that is the world's second-biggest energy consumer after the United States. ...Beijing has rejected such limits, arguing that developing countries such as China are not to blame for current pollution levels and need to increase energy production to fight poverty. The report said China will expand measures to exploit its abundant coal reserves - a step that will help to reduce reliance on imported fuel but could sharply raise greenhouse gas outputs.
A strong bias toward local producers and rigid price controls hinder European investors from making significant inroads into China's vast energy sector ... "Energy is sometimes also a national battlefield in Europe. But China is even more so." This nationalism, Wuttke said, was reinforced by an antitrust law passed last week that set rules to protect big state power firms from foreign acquisitions and to require potential international investors to meet strict national security criteria. Beijing also requires investors to use 70 percent Chinese equipment in foreign-invested wind farms, and a similar local content requirement was recently slapped on the booming petrochemical sector, which Wuttke said went against China's commitments in 2001 when it joined the World Trade Organisation.
The new India has urgent energy needs to sustain its economic boom, and great potential for wind energy. Today it accounts for less than 5 per cent of total generation. To meet its electricity generation target of 400,000MW by 2030 it will rely not on renewable energy but on large-scale coal-fired power plants, which are the cheapest to operate. Today Today 62 per cent of India's electricity is powered by coal. Wind energy makes little sense for private investors without the big tax breaks offered by the Government. According to Ameen Ahmed, a wildlife campaigner in Karnataka, they are "not worth the environmental damage" that they cause. The turbines "have devastated large tracts of forest and many villagers complain about the noise pollution". There have also been reports of the whirring driving bears from their natural habitat.
"India has a wind power potential of 20,000 Mw for immediate exploitation and you don't have to import wind from the West Asia because it is freely available," he added. So can wind power help solve India's power crisis? "Absolutely not,"said a senior MNRE official adding that it could be supplementary but would never replace the conventional energy sources. Wind energy is called ‘infirm power' because it is subject to nature's vagaries, which affects its availability. According to a senior Central Electricity Authority (CEA) official, wind is abundantly available only during monsoons and is also temperature dependent, which does not allow for planned addition of wind energy to the grid. This means it cannot be used for meeting the peak demand.