The UN Development Programme (UNDP) and Asian Development Bank (ADB) just released a joint report called Assessment of Sri Lanka’s Power Sector—100 percent Electricity Generation through Renewable Energy by 2050.

Priyantha Wijayatunga, Director, South Asia Energy Division, said: “ADB has expressed its continuous support to low-carbon development of Sri Lanka. Recent proposals including a rooftop solar program and a large-scale wind power project demonstrate ADB’s commitment in this regard. This assessment report can serve as a comprehensive example for future utilities globally on how decentralized clean energy services can be governed.”

According to the report, Sri Lanka’s installed electricity generation capacity needs will increase from 3,700MW to 34,000MW by 2050.

The study projects that most of the electricity generation capacity should be wind and solar energy – with 15,000 MW of wind and 16,000 MW of solar capacity – and the rest will be hydro and biomass energy.

In order to ensure the stability of the country’s electricity grid, UNDP and ADB also note that it will be crucial to increase electricity storage capacity.

Such a shift to renewable sources would allow the country to dramatically decrease its fossil fuel imports and reduce Sri Lanka’s fuel bill by $18 billion cumulatively.

$50 billion of investment will be needed for the country to operate its transition to renewable energy.

Sri Lanka is one of 43 members of the Climate Vulnerable Forum who committed to produce 100 per cent of their electricity through renewables by 2050 last year at the Marrakesh COP negotiations.

Alexandra Soezer, Climate Change Technical Advisor of UNDP added: “UNDP continues to be a pioneering ‘development’ institute. Knowledge products like these are giving valuable inputs to attaining Sustainable Development Goal 7 on ‘Affordable and Clean Energy’. We will continue to expand our activities in this field and pave the way for a better tomorrow.”

Read more: Sri Lanka to achieve 100% renewables by 2050

All business parts of Dutch company Royal Schiphol Group will be powered by sustainable energy from 1 January 2018.

A 200GWh per year clean energy deal has been made between the Group and Rotterdam-based energy provider Eneco for the next 15 years.

Jos Nijhuis, President and CEO of Royal Schiphol Group, said: “For our new energy contract, we wanted nothing but sustainable power generated in the Netherlands. After all, one thing is certain: aviation can and must be made more sustainable. We feel that the most important elements of this collaboration with Eneco are that all the Schiphol Group airports are involved and that additional sustainable energy sources will be developed in the Netherlands. This will allow our airports to increase their sustainability and offer economic benefits.”

The Dutch company will also be using existing Dutch renewable energy sources starting 2018, and all of the new wind farms will be operational within two years after this.

Schiphol, Rotterdam The Hague Airport, Eindhoven Airport and Lelystad Airport will be running on wind energy generated in the Netherlands by 2020.

Form next January, the first new wind farm – Vianen – will start generating energy for Royal Schiphol Group.

Jeroen de Haas, CEO of Eneco Group added: “For the energy transition, it is crucial for the business sector – which is by far the largest energy consumer – to embrace sustainability. Pioneers such as Royal Schiphol Group are consciously choosing new, sustainable forms of production and are therefore setting the tone for others. As a result, they are also helping Eneco Group to invest in wind farms and other sustainable energy sources.”

Read more: Major Dutch aviation group goes for renewable...

Climate Policy Initiative (CPI) Energy Finance just announced their new investment design aiming at facilitating cheaper long-term capital to finance wind and solar energy projects.

Establishing an investment-grade vehicle to hedge long-term liabilities in renewable energy projects, the new investment system – the Clean Energy Investment Trust (CEIT) offers higher returns than with bonds, and it will enable lower management fees.

According to CPI, the new investment design, if adopted more widely in the market, could help reducing the cost of clean energy by 15 to 17 per cent and therefore help unlocking institutional investment in renewables.

If the price of renewables was to drop by 15-17 per cent, CPI thinks that this would also encourage developers to bid less for contracts for new assets – having more certainty about gaining a higher price by selling to a CEIT.

The unlocked capital would also be redirected to high risk and high reward projects, which would considerably help innovation within the sector.

The new design could help the traditional utility model of financing to evolve as it is “no longer fit for purpose in a high-renewables scenario", according to David Nelson, Executive Director of CPI-EF.

Nelson also said: "By unbundling this model and splitting it into three distinct but interdependent cashflows, we can drive capital more efficiently towards a future energy system that is not only low-carbon, but also low-cost - that's the prize. Institutional investors should find that the CEIT overcomes many of their barriers, plus other investors seeking higher returns will have a major opportunity to finance more of the riskier, longer-term capital that will enable us to achieve full decarbonisation. The CEIT has the potential to open up a new major class of investment that can help catalyse finance in a way that accelerates the low-carbon transition."

Read more: CPI announces new design for investment in...

China aims to become a global leader in climate action by setting up the biggest Carbon Trading Scheme (CTS) worldwide as an attempt to meet 2030 peak emissions target.

The second largest emitter in the world, entered the final stage of the scheme’s preparation last July- a project it has been working since 2013 with the help of seven provincial pilot schemes.

The market will be unprecedented in its scale and complexity, and is expected to officially launch by November 2017 the earliest.

The pilot schemes operate in Beijin, Chongqing, Guangdong, Hubei, Shanghai, Shenzhen and Tianjin, which together account for approximately 25% of the national GDP.

In their fourth operational year, these markets show different performance results, according to a research published in ScienceDirect, but have accumulated practical experience in carbon trading markets.

Hubei holds 55,12% of the total carbon market share and is ranked the best in both maturity and performance.

Guangdong holds 16,5% of the share, and comes second in maturity but third in performance.

Last in both maturity and performance comes Chongqing , which holds 1,08% of the market share.

As of June 30, the aggregated carbon turnover was 446m tons- totalling 100,71 billion Yuan in value.

Building on these pilot schemes, China has envisioned setting up a national one, so far only covering three industries- power, cement and aluminium.

Richard Sandor, Chairman and CEO of Environmental Financial Products LLC, named as ‘father of carbon trading’ by Time Magazine, encouraged Hong Kong to contribute towards helping China’s low-carbon development.

“If you marry environmental objectives with its well-developed financial system, I am very optimistic that Hong Kong will, can and should be a laboratory for all of China”, Sandor said.

The big challenge that China faces is how to incorporate these seven pilot schemes into a nationwide regime, considering the carbon price disparity between the pilot schemes, their varying features and different performance results.

In addition, significant challenges lie in terms of proper measurement, reporting and verification of all the emissions data.

Analysts are confident that regulations will be enforced to secure transparency and efficiency since the Chinese leadership has shown strong political will in the country’s transition to a low-carbon economy. 

Read more: China is about to launch the biggest national...

The state government of South Australia has contracted a new solar thermal power plant with SolarReserve in Port Augusta to power its facilities.

The construction of the power plant will start in 2018 and will be ready in 2020, providing energy even when the sun is not shining.

The project will create 650 construction jobs and 50 ongoing positions.

Jay Weatherill, South Australian Premier, said about the power plant that it is “the biggest of its kind in the world. [...] Importantly, this project will deliver more than 700 jobs, with requirements for local workers.”

Gary Rowbottom, Chairperson of Repower Port Augusta, and also former coal-fired power station worker said: “Building solar thermal with storage in Port Augusta will create new jobs, on-demand solar power, reduce emissions and put downward pressure on power bills.”

Last May, the federal government had committed $110m of equity to increasing solar thermal and energy storage in Port Augusta.

The government only needs up to 125MW of energy and the new plant will be able to supply other consumers.

Weatherill said: “This, in addition to our state-owned gas plant, and the world’s largest lithium ion battery, will help to make our energy grid more secure.”

According to energy experts, solar thermal could have a major role in our future energy mix, as it is a more economical way of storing energy than batteries.

Read more: South Australian government to be powered by...

The new pilot programme to make renewable energy available for low-income customers proposed by the utility Con Edison has recently been approved by the New York State Public Service Commission (PSC).

Con Edison will be installing solar arrays on company-owned rooftops and properties in Brooklyn, Queens and Westchester County from 2018.

The utility will have developers bid for the contracts to install the solar arrays on the properties and rooftops.

The panels will generate 3MW of energy, powering 800 to 1,600 of the company’s customers, for no cost to low-income participants, allowing them more than $60 every year.

The company projects that the pilot programme will quickly expand to 11MW – enough to power 6,000 customers.

Con Edison’s project aims at overcoming low-income customers’ difficulty to access solar energy, notably due to the upfront costs of installing solar panels and the lack of control of their rooftops, while living in multi-family buildings.

The utility is looking to involve community organisations to help them involve those low-income customers.

The first phase of the programme is estimated to cost $10 million.

Matthew Ketschke, Vice President of Distributed Resource Integration at Con Edison said: “We thank the state Public Service Commission for its careful review and approval of the first phase of our Shared Solar Pilot Program, which will make renewable energy available to a group of customers who have been largely shut out of the solar market. More customers having access to renewable energy will mean a cleaner environment here in New York City and Westchester County.”

John B. Rhodes, Chair, PSC said:: “This pilot program will not only show how community distributed generation, or CDG, can benefit a low-income neighbourhood; it will also contribute to Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s visionary [50% by 2030] clean energy standard adopted by the commission last year. By serving low-income residents with clean energy, Con Edison is filling a niche that hasn’t been fully served in the state. Furthermore, we believe this project, and the insight gained from this pilot, will lead to market development of other shared solar arrays around the state that will bring the benefits of clean energy to more low-income customers.”

Read more: Utility to launch solar programme for low-income...

China aims to become a global leader in climate action by setting up the biggest Carbon Trading Scheme (CTS) worldwide as an attempt to meet 2030 peak emissions target.

The second largest emitter in the world, entered the final stage of the scheme’s preparation last July- a project it has been working since 2013 with the help of seven provincial pilot schemes.

The market will be unprecedented in its scale and complexity, and is expected to officially launch by November 2017 the earliest.

The pilot schemes operate in Beijin, Chongqing, Guangdong, Hubei, Shanghai, Shenzhen and Tianjin, which together account for approximately 25% of the national GDP.

In their fourth operational year, these markets show different performance results, according to a research published in ScienceDirect, but have accumulated practical experience in carbon trading markets.

Hubei holds 55,12% of the total carbon market share and is ranked the best in both maturity and performance.

Guangdong holds 16,5% of the share, and comes second in maturity but third in performance.

Last in both maturity and performance comes Chongqing , which holds 1,08% of the market share.

As of June 30, the aggregated carbon turnover was 446m tons- totalling 100,71 billion Yuan in value.

Building on these pilot schemes, China has envisioned setting up a national one, so far only covering three industries- power, cement and aluminium.

Richard Sandor, Chairman and CEO of Environmental Financial Products LLC, named as ‘father of carbon trading’ by Time Magazine, encouraged Hong Kong to contribute towards helping China’s low-carbon development.

“If you marry environmental objectives with its well-developed financial system, I am very optimistic that Hong Kong will, can and should be a laboratory for all of China”, Sandor said.

The big challenge that China faces is how to incorporate these seven pilot schemes into a nationwide regime, considering the carbon price disparity between the pilot schemes, their varying features and different performance results.

In addition, significant challenges lie in terms of proper measurement, reporting and verification of all the emissions data.

Analysts are confident that regulations will be enforced to secure transparency and efficiency since the Chinese leadership has shown strong political will in the country’s transition to a low-carbon economy. 

Read more: China is about to launch the biggest national...

US city Orlando has approved on Tuesday the new target of reaching 100 per cent clean and renewable energy by 2050.

Orlando is 40th US city to make the commitment, and the largest city in Florida to join the movement.

Carol Davis, Co-President of the League of Women Voters of Orange County (LWVOC) – which leads the First 50 Coalition – said: “Today, Orlando takes its place on the regional, state and national stage as a forward-thinking city committed to a healthier, sustainable future. This is a first, important step, and we plan to continue to support and encourage the city to follow with concrete measures that solidify this commitment.”

Buddy Dyer, Mayor of Orlando, had already signed the Mayors National Climate Action Agenda a few months ago, and has been involved in various green energy initiatives, including the Sierra Club’s Mayors for 100% Clean Energy campaign.

​Beverlye Colson Neal, President of the NAACP’s local branch – a key member of the First 50 Coalition – said: “We stand in support with the Orlando city commission in realizing the importance of renewable energy to it residents by taking the necessary actions to begin the transformation. We look forward to working with the city to educate the residents of the importance and advantages of renewable energy as we move into the future.”

Phil Compton, Senior Organizing Representative with the Sierra Club’s Ready for 100 Campaign in Florida, and a member of the First 50 Coalition, also said: “All across our state and our nation, cities are committing to a future powered by 100 percent clean and renewable energy for all. Today, Orlando joins this growing movement of cities that are ready for 100 percent clean, renewable energy.

It is hoped that Orlando’s commitment will encourage other cities to do the same.

Read more: Biggest city in Florida, Orlando, commits to...

With a ground-breaking ceremony, Hawaii started the construction of its first public fuelling station for hydrogen vehicles, enabling the state to start selling hydrogen-fuelled cars by 2018. 

The station will be located in Mapunapuna and follows Toyota’s recent release of the Mirai- Toyota landmark hydrogen vehicle.

Honolulu-based Servco Pacific is responsible for the construction works, which are estimated to be completed by early 2018.

The initiative is brought by the collaboration of Servco Pacific with Toyota, with the first supplying Toyota hydrogen-vehicles to Hawaii.

Mark Fukunaga, Chairman and CEO of Servco Pacific Inc. said: “Servco’s construction of Oahu’s first publicly accessible hydrogen station demonstrates our belief in the potential for fuel cell vehicles in Hawaii”, adding “Hydrogen vehicles offer zero carbon emissions and zero compromise on fast refuelling and driving range”.

David Ige, Hawaii’s Governor said: "I really do see today's event as the beginning of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles in Hawaii”.

The cost of the hydro station is not revealed, but Servco Pacific is building the multi-million project without any grants or public funding.

What is revealed though, is that the company considers selling the Mirai for approximately $55,000- a price which will probably include the supply of hydrogen fuel for three years. 

Osserman said:  "I look at this as a huge, watershed event, because if there are no vehicles, you can't get stations, and if there are no stations, you can't get vehicles- Toyota and Servco brought both".

As Fukunaga said, the Toyota Mirai can go for 312 miles before it needs to refuel, which will take five minutes.

“It is about as environmentally friendly as a vehicle can be’, adding: "Sometimes you have to bet on the future and we all know that staying purely with a fossil fuel environment is not something that's responsible or sustainable".

Morry Markowitz, President of the Washington-based Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Energy Association, said that there are approximately 1,600 hydrogen vehicles in the US and 38 fuelling stations, with both mainly located in California- with some in Connecticut and Massachusetts too.

Hawaii aims to meet 100 per cent of its electricity needs with renewable energy by 2045.

However, ground transportation is not included in this target, as a bill aiming to extend the goal to vehicles was unsuccessful in the latest legislation session.

"If we truly are committed to a 100 per cent clean energy future, then transportation is a big challenge," Ige said.

Read more: Hawaii launched construction of its first public...

The Spanish Ministry of Energy awarded a total of 5,037MW after its latest auction, although although the action was initially seeking for 3,000MW. 

Last week, the Spanish Ministry of Energy announced the results of its latest auction, which was launched in May 2017.

Of the total auctioned power, 3,909 MW have been awarded to photovoltaic installations and 1,128 MW to wind farms, distributed among 40 companies.

The high number of applications received confirms the interest of national and international investors in renewable energy in Spain, making the Ministry amend the 3,000MW cap.

The auction was technologically neutral, meaning that it invited all sort of renewable energy technologies with no minimum of maximum limit for each technology.

Thus, the process through competitive bids allowed the Ministry to award contracts in the more cost-effective bids.

The prices were negotiated at the maximum discount, obtaining guarantee that the energy produced will be remunerated exclusively by the market, in the same way as conventional non-renewable technologies, without additional premium by the electricity system in the central scenarios of electric pool prices.

This means that consumers will not be bear any additional cost in their electricity bill.

Together with the auction which ended last May, a total of 8,037 MW of new renewable power have been awarded, distributed among 3,910 MW photovoltaic, 4,107 MW wind energy and 20 MW corresponding to other renewable energy technologies.

This distribution guarantees a balanced mix with participation of all technologies.

The awarded projects will have to be operational before 2020.

In order to guarantee the solvency of the offers received, a system of economic guarantees has been established that, as milestones in the execution of the projects will be fulfilled, will be gradually returned to the promoters.

For the PV development, Spanish companies include Alten el Casar (13MW), Alter Enersun (50MW), Cobra Concesiones (1550MW), Enel Green Power Espana (338MW), Gas Natural Fenosa Renovables (338MW).

For the wind development, Spanish companies include Ibervento Infraestructuras (171MW) and Greenalia Power (133MW).

The biggest international contract was awarded in Saudi Arabia- based Alfanar Group to develop 720MW of wind farms.

Check the full list of awards here

Read more: Spain awarded contracts for more than 5GW of...

Clothing giant Primark just announced the launch of its first sustainable cotton line.

Primark, in order to shift to more ethical trading practices, made a partnership with CottonConnect – agricultural industry experts – and the Self-Employed Women’s Association (SEWA).

Recently, more transparency has started to be asked from consumers on retailers’ supply chains, and Primark is answering this demand by launching its new sustainable cotton line.

As identifying the source of materials such as cotton can be difficult, the clothing giant will, for now, only use the certified sustainable cotton in one line of pyjamas.

Primark plans to increase the use of sustainable fabric in the future.

Katherine Stewart, Ethical Trade and Environmental Sustainability Director, Primark said: “Our long-term ambition is to ensure that all the cotton we use is sustainably sourced.”

Stewart also said: “For us, sustainable cotton is about reducing the environmental impact of cotton production, improving the livelihoods of the farmers, and doing so in a way that means we continue to deliver great value to our customers.”

The price of one pair of those sustainable pyjamas will cost £6, still in line with Primark’s usual low prices.

Read more: Primark launches its first sustainable cotton line

The Scottish Government announced a further £1.5m in the Carbon Trust’s Offshore Wind Accelerator (OWA) department mainly aiming to reduce costs in the offshore wind industry and explore further wind offshore opportunities for the country.

Paul Wheelhouse, Scottish Minister of Energy said: “The decision to invest a further £1.5m in the OWA is a ringing endorsement of the great potential of this programme to help Scotland to utilise the full potential of offshore wind, and to ensure that we make it as affordable as possible”.

He added: “The Carbon Trust has done a fantastic job so far in reducing the costs of offshore wind, as well as encouraging collaboration across the public and private sectors to improve the industry as a whole”.

OWA conducts collaborative research bringing together nine of the largest offshore wind developers in Europe- DONG Energy, EnBW, E.ON, Iberdrola, innogy, SSE, Statkraft, Statoil and Vattenfall.

Jan Matthiesen, Director,  of the Carbon Trust, said: “The Scottish Government’s £1.5m investment into the programme, alongside nine of the biggest developers in Europe, shows there is real confidence in the ability of the OWA to continue to deliver cost reductions. This continuing support and investment into the programme has helped to reduce the costs of offshore wind and helped to pave the way towards a subsidy free energy source”.

Lindsay Roberts, Senior Policy Manager at Scottish Renewables talked about the Scottish achievements in onshore and offshore wind power saying:  “Scotland has huge amounts to gain from offshore wind and it’s an incredibly exciting time for the industry”.

“Our first major offshore wind farm – the Beatrice project in the Moray Firth – is being constructed right now, alongside Statoil’s world-leading floating wind development Hywind, and Vattenfall’s highly innovative European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre”.

Roberts revealed that there is “a number of other exciting schemes are getting ready to progress along our east coast” justifying the importance of the investment in Carbon Trust.

By the first half of 2017, Scotland had 9,309MW installed capacity of renewable electricity- mainly comprised of 6,767MW onshore wind, 187MW offshore wind, 1,632MW hydro, 328MW solar and 196MW plant biomass.

The country has set ambitious targets regarding renewable energy- namely, to meet 100 per cent of gross electricity needs from renewables by 2020 and to satisfy 50 per cent of total energy needs (including heat) with renewables by 2050. 

Read more: Scotland continues R&D investment to cut down...

World Bank announced a partnership with the Gaza Electricity Distribution Company and the Palestinian Authority to launch a $2.5-million solar roof pilot program in Gaza.

In an effort to improve the ongoing energy crisis in Gaza, the World Bank,  in collaboration with a multi-donor trust fund called Development Partners, will contribute in total $11m.

The Solar Rooftop-PV programme aims to install PV systems of 1kW each in more than 1,000 households.

According to the Gaza Ministry of Health and the World Health Organization, another 1MW of additional solar generation could be installed at 34 critical units within 10 hospitals in the region at a cost of $4m.

Sara Badiei, Energy Specialist in World Bank emphasised that the pilot programme is designed to be rapidly scalable, aiming to trigger private investment for further growth.

She added that the solar initiative will offer the most sustainable means of electrification to meet the country’s power needs, which by 2030 are estimated to reach 900MWh daily.

The energy crisis started when the Palestinian Authority announced that it would stop paying for Gaza’s imported electricity from Israel.

Gaza’s energy crisis highlighted the energy security argument in the energy transition discourse, and the role of renewable energy sources play within it.

“The initiative will help ensure lifesaving health treatments, link telecommunication systems, improve water supply, bring adequate sewage treatment, enable business development – and most importantly, ensure consumers remain connected to electricity, even if a subsection of the grid is damaged during armed conflict”, Badiei said.

“Overall, adoption of solar energy should be maximised; not only to improve quality of life, but to put power back into the hands of ordinary Gazans”.

According to a new study by the World Bank, entitled “Securing Energy for Development in the West Bank and Gaza”, more than 150MW of solar power can be produced in the Gaza Strip contrary to the current 60MW of solar installed capacity.

As of May 2017, approximately 310kW of rooftop solar have been already installed in health facilities in Gaza.

Read more: World Bank to fund Solar Rooftop-PV program in...

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