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    Spanish company Ferry Group is to invest €42/US$55.2 million in a project for the production of biomass fuel pellets in Bulgaria. The 3-year project consists of establishing plantations of paulownia trees near the city of Tran. Paulownia is a fast-growing tree used for the commercial production of fuel pellets. Dnevnik - Feb. 20, 2007.

    Hungary's BHD Hõerõmû Zrt. is to build a 35 billion Forint (€138/US$182 million) commercial biomass-fired power plant with a maximum output of 49.9 MW in Szerencs (northeast Hungary). Portfolio.hu - Feb. 20, 2007.

    Tonight at 9pm, BBC Two will be showing a program on geo-engineering techniques to 'save' the planet from global warming. Five of the world's top scientists propose five radical scientific inventions which could stop climate change dead in its tracks. The ideas include: a giant sunshade in space to filter out the sun's rays and help cool us down; forests of artificial trees that would breath in carbon dioxide and stop the green house effect and a fleet futuristic yachts that will shoot salt water into the clouds thickening them and cooling the planet. BBC News - Feb. 19, 2007.

    Archer Daniels Midland, the largest U.S. ethanol producer, is planning to open a biodiesel plant in Indonesia with Wilmar International Ltd. this year and a wholly owned biodiesel plant in Brazil before July, the Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday. The Brazil plant is expected to be the nation's largest, the paper said. Worldwide, the company projects a fourfold rise in biodiesel production over the next five years. ADM was not immediately available to comment. Reuters - Feb. 16, 2007.

    Finnish engineering firm Pöyry Oyj has been awarded contracts by San Carlos Bioenergy Inc. to provide services for the first bioethanol plant in the Philippines. The aggregate contract value is EUR 10 million. The plant is to be build in the Province of San Carlos on the north-eastern tip of Negros Island. The plant is expected to deliver 120,000 liters/day of bioethanol and 4 MW of excess power to the grid. Kauppalehti Online - Feb. 15, 2007.

    In order to reduce fuel costs, a Mukono-based flower farm which exports to Europe, is building its own biodiesel plant, based on using Jatropha curcas seeds. It estimates the fuel will cut production costs by up to 20%. New Vision (Kampala, Uganda) - Feb. 12, 2007.

    The Tokyo Metropolitan Government has decided to use 10% biodiesel in its fleet of public buses. The world's largest city is served by the Toei Bus System, which is used by some 570,000 people daily. Digital World Tokyo - Feb. 12, 2007.

    Fearing lack of electricity supply in South Africa and a price tag on CO2, WSP Group SA is investing in a biomass power plant that will replace coal in the Letaba Citrus juicing plant which is located in Tzaneen. Mining Weekly - Feb. 8, 2007.

    In what it calls an important addition to its global R&D capabilities, Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) is to build a new bioenergy research center in Hamburg, Germany. World Grain - Feb. 5, 2007.

    EthaBlog's Henrique Oliveira interviews leading Brazilian biofuels consultant Marcelo Coelho who offers insights into the (foreign) investment dynamics in the sector, the history of Brazilian ethanol and the relationship between oil price trends and biofuels. EthaBlog - Feb. 2, 2007.

    The government of Taiwan has announced its renewable energy target: 12% of all energy should come from renewables by 2020. The plan is expected to revitalise Taiwan's agricultural sector and to boost its nascent biomass industry. China Post - Feb. 2, 2007.

    Production at Cantarell, the world's second biggest oil field, declined by 500,000 barrels or 25% last year. This virtual collapse is unfolding much faster than projections from Mexico's state-run oil giant Petroleos Mexicanos. Wall Street Journal - Jan. 30, 2007.

    Dubai-based and AIM listed Teejori Ltd. has entered into an agreement to invest €6 million to acquire a 16.7% interest in Bekon, which developed two proprietary technologies enabling dry-fermentation of biomass. Both technologies allow it to design, establish and operate biogas plants in a highly efficient way. Dry-Fermentation offers significant advantages to the existing widely used wet fermentation process of converting biomass to biogas. Ame Info - Jan. 22, 2007.

    Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited is to build a biofuel production plant in the tribal belt of Banswara, Rajasthan, India. The petroleum company has acquired 20,000 hectares of low value land in the district, which it plans to commit to growing jatropha and other biofuel crops. The company's chairman said HPCL was also looking for similar wasteland in the state of Chhattisgarh. Zee News - Jan. 15, 2007.

    The Zimbabwean national police begins planting jatropha for a pilot project that must result in a daily production of 1000 liters of biodiesel. The Herald (Harare), Via AllAfrica - Jan. 12, 2007.

    In order to meet its Kyoto obligations and to cut dependence on oil, Japan has started importing biofuels from Brazil and elsewhere. And even though the country has limited local bioenergy potential, its Agriculture Ministry will begin a search for natural resources, including farm products and their residues, that can be used to make biofuels in Japan. To this end, studies will be conducted at 900 locations nationwide over a three-year period. The Japan Times - Jan. 12, 2007.

    Chrysler's chief economist Van Jolissaint has launched an arrogant attack on "quasi-hysterical Europeans" and their attitudes to global warming, calling the Stern Review 'dubious'. The remarks illustrate the yawning gap between opinions on climate change among Europeans and Americans, but they also strengthen the view that announcements by US car makers and legislators about the development of green vehicles are nothing more than window dressing. Today, the EU announced its comprehensive energy policy for the 21st century, with climate change at the center of it. BBC News - Jan. 10, 2007.

    The new Canadian government is investing $840,000 into BioMatera Inc. a biotech company that develops industrial biopolymers (such as PHA) that have wide-scale applications in the plastics, farmaceutical and cosmetics industries. Plant-based biopolymers such as PHA are biodegradable and renewable. Government of Canada - Jan. 9, 2007.

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Saturday, October 07, 2006

European Union to establish global energy fund to boost investment in poor nations

The European Union's executive arm, the European Commission, proposes to establish a global fund for poor countries to help attract as much as €1 billion ($1.3 billion) for environmentally friendly energy projects in the South. Being the world's largest economy, the 25-nation block is the world's largest donor of international development aid and the largest contributor to the budget of international organisations like the UN and its development agencies. The EU has also been leading the fight against climate change.

The European Commission itself is now taking the initiative to blending these issues by creating a 100 million-euro global risk-capital fund to boost energy efficiency and renewable energy sources in developing nations. The Commission pledged to contribute four-fifths of the sum in the next four years. "This fund can mobilise private investments," the Brussels-based Commission said in a statement.

The Global Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Fund or GEEREF will accelerate the transfer, development and deployment of environmentally sound technologies and thereby help to bring secure energy supplies to people in poorer regions of the world. These projects will also combat climate change and air pollution. The Commission intends to kick-start the fund with a contribution of up to €80 million over the next four years, and expects that financing from other public and private sources will take funding to at least €100 million. This means that it will contribute to the financing of investment projects of a value up to 1 billion euro.

The Commissioner for the Environment, Stavros Dimas, and his collegue, Commissioner for Development Louis Michel are the driving force behind GEEREF:
“This is an innovative mechanism. It underlines the Commission’s commitment to help developing countries invest in renewable energy and energy efficiency. It will contribute to bringing clean, secure and affordable energy supplies to the 1.6 billion people around the world who have no access to electricity.” - Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas
“The lack of access to energy is a major obstacle for regions that already experience problems in accessing to capitals. This Fund can mobilize private investments and become a real source of development, especially in Africa.” - Development Commissioner Louis Michel
Need for action
One of the the EU's goals is to ensure that the global temperature rises no more than 2ºC above pre-industrial levels, since beyond this level the impacts of climate change are forecast to be far more severe. Business-as usual energy scenarios for the coming decades predict high growth in both energy use and greenhouse gas emissions. ‘Accelerated technology’ scenarios demonstrate that it is possible to reduce global electricity demand by one third simply by improving overall energy efficiency. In addition, the growth of oil demand could be halved by raising the share of renewable energy for global electricity generation from today’s 13 per cent to 34 per cent in 2050. This will decrease the impacts on the environment and will in particular bring future carbon dioxide (CO2) emission levels back down to current levels the International Energy Agency says.

While the main responsibility for triggering these changes lies with industrialised countries, scaling up energy efficiency and renewable energy initiatives will greatly benefit developing countries by providing clean and secure energy supplies to people who currently have no access to reliable energy sources:

Overcoming investment barriers
Despite improving prospects, energy efficiency and renewable energy projects face significant difficulties in raising commercial funding. The problems are complex but mainly concern a lack of risk capital, which provides important collateral for lenders. The need for risk capital in developing countries and transition economies is estimated at over €9 billion, far above current levels. Mobilising private sector finance is therefore essential:
:: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: ::

How GEEREF will work
GEEREF aims to help overcome these barriers by providing new risk-sharing and co-financing options to mobilise international and domestic commercial investments. It will invest in a broad mix of energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies. Priority will be given to deploying environmentally sound technologies with a proven technical track record.

GEEREF will stimulate the creation of regional sub-funds tailored to regional needs and conditions, rather than investing in projects directly. Sub-funds are envisaged for the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) region, North Africa, non-EU Eastern Europe, Latin America and Asia. The focus will be on investments below €10 million as these are mostly ignored by commercial investors and international finance institutions. Corporate finance will be offered to support small and medium-sized enterprises as well as project finance

The Commission intends to put €80 million into GEEREF in 2007-2010, with a first contribution of €15 million next year to kick-start the initiative. Total initial funding from public and commercial sources of €100 million is anticipated, and this is expected to mobilise additional risk capital of at least €300 million and possibly up to €1 billion in the longer term.

Investment amounts at the top end of this range could bring almost 1 Gigawatt of environmentally sound energy capacity to third country markets, serving 1-3 million people with sustainable energy services and saving 1-2 million tonnes of CO2 emissions per year. It would also bring substantial benefits in terms of improved indoor and outdoor air quality and creation of local enterprises, jobs and income.

Next steps
The Commission has appointed Triodos International Fund Management b.v. in conjunction with E+Co, to facilitate the implemention of the GEEREF in close co-operation with the European Investment Bank, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, and other interested parties.

The Council, European Parliament and other stakeholders are invited to comment on the GEEREF initiative[1] and to endorse the Commission’s aim of reaching the initial funding target by mid-2007.

More information:
EU Commission: Commission proposes €100 million global risk capital fund for developing countries to boost energy efficiency and renewables - Oct. 6, 2007


Salil said...

Nice write up. This is indeed a great step towards promiting clean energy in Poor countries with infrastructural problems. I feel Africa could be a great source for utilizing renewable sources especially solar power, seeing the high amounts solar energy present there. I found a similar post 100 Million Euro Fund to Boost Renewable Energy & Energy Efficiency also discussing the obstructions that could come in EU's way and found it quite interesting.

11:42 AM  

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