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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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Friday, January 26, 2007

German renewable energy sector sets record year, nearing 2010 EU targets

In Germany, the renewable energy sector showed impressive, record growth on all fronts in 2006, reinforcing Germany’s position as the world leader in terms of renewables. According to a report [*.pdf/*German] published by the German federal renewable energy association, Bundesverband Erneuerbare Energie (BEE), the country almost reached the targets set by the EU for 2010.

Biogas and wind
The share of renewable energy in total energy consumed reached 7.7% in 2006 compared to 6.8% in 2005. Renewable electricity generation in Germany grew to 71.5 billion kWh in 2006, which represents 11.6% of total German electricity consumption and an increase of 12% compared to the previous year (see graph, click to enlarge). This 2006 figure is only just below the German renewable electricity target for 2010 of 12%. The main renewable sources for electricity in 2006 were wind and biogas, followed by solar power.

German wind power in terms of installed capacity grew by 23.5% in 2006 and total installed capacity exceeded 20,000 MW, according to the German wind energy institute (DEWI). In 2006, 1,208 wind turbines were built in Germany. Total installed wind capacity amounts to 20,621 MW and accounts for 30.6 GWh (7 per cent) of German electricity consumption. Around €2.9 billion was invested in new wind parks in 2006.

The share of biofuels in the German transport fuel market jumped by 50% between 2006 and 2005. The share of biofuels in German fuel consumption grew to 5.4% from 3.6% in 2005, again already approaching the European target of a 5.75% share by 2010.

Renewable heating
Renewable heat production rose by 10% in Germany in 2006. The contribution of renewable energy sources to heat production increased to 98 billion kWh, from 89 billion kWh in 2005:
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And Germany goes further: the environment ministry announced that it will almost double investments in renewable energy in 2007, to €83 million. Environment Minister Sigmar Gabriel (SPD) announced plans for a draft law to promote and oblige the use of renewable heating, in order to cut dependence on Russian oil and gas:

Commenting on his plans, Gabriel said: "The current conflict on Russian oil deliveries underlines the need for and importance of becoming less dependent on oil and gas imports."

The expanded use of renewable energy sources such as biomass, biogas and solar thermal would also give rise to a dynamic new industry. The support for renewable heating would operate as a feed-in tariff system, with fixed prices for producers:

It is not clear what targets would be set to increase renewable heating. It is also unclear how Gabriel wants to finance the support system. Opposition parties will not back the plans due to the additional costs for consumers.

In 2006, renewable energy in Germany saved 10 million tonnes of CO2 emissions, according to the BEE. The German environment ministry announced that they will increase the subsidies to energy efficient buildings from the current level of €360 million to €1.4 billion per year in 2007.

Jobs, savings, security
In total, renewables in Germany saved the country some €4.2 billion in fossil fuel imports (uranium, oil, gas and coal). These savings were invested in clean energy and created new jobs for 170,000 people.

German public opinion reacted angrily against Russia's unilateral decision to cut oil supplies to Europe, during its recent gas dispute with Belarus. Earlier, a similar row with the Ukraine had already threatened European energy security. These signs of potential insecurity of oil and gas supplies, has brought all main energy players in Germany together in a renewed push towards clean and secure energy.

More information:

Bundesverband Erneuerbare Energie: Erneuerbare Energien für mehr Unabhängigkeit von russischem Öl - Jan. 9, 2007
Bundesverband Erneuerbare Energie: Erneuerbare Energien brechen erneut Rekorde. Jahresrückblick Erneuerbare Energien in 2006 - Jan. 4, 2007
Bundesverband Erneuerbare Energie: Jahr der Rekorde: Erneuerbare Energien in 2006, Jahresrueckblick [*.pdf], Jan. 4, 2007


KM said...

Missing from this report is information on how much less other fuels are being used, if indeed that is in fact occurring.

5:08 PM  

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