This week the World Trade Organization (WTO) found that India’s subsidies for solar power contravene WTO trade rules. India must now remove these subsidies or face trade sanctions. The US filed the WTO complaint in 2013 alleging that India’s subsidies for the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission (NSM) discriminated against foreign suppliers of solar components. NSM’s goal is to generate 100 gigawatts of electricity annually from solar power by 2022.  India mandates that a specific proportion of specified materials used in the NSM must be manufactured in India, including thin film technologies. US exports of thin film technologies dominated the Indian market and led to the US challenge before the WTO.

A new wind energy electricity generation record has been set in Brazil, with more than 2,9 gigawattt-hours of electricity generated from wind energy projects in the South American country on the day of July 20, 2015. That is enough energy to power 13 million homes. Wind electrical generation capacity now represents about 3.5% of that country’s total electricity generation mix.

About half of the electric trains in The Netherlands will run on wind power by early 2015, and the entire Dutch rail network is expected to run solely on wind power by 2018. Wind farms within the country and also in Belgium, and nearby Scandinavian countries will generate the energy for the electric trains.

The US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission reports 18% of the electricity used by that country in June of this year came from renewable sources. In May the number was 15%.

The world’s first plant to use both geothermal energy and biomass went into operation in Tuscany, Italy by electricity producer Enel Green Power. The facility uses locally sourced forest biomass to heat steam, generated from geothermal energy that enters the plant, to a temperature of over 200° Celsius. The integration of the two renewable energy sources enhances cycle efficiency and the volume of steam generated at the plant will improve production capacity by 5 megawatts (MW) to 18 MW.

German automaker Audi announced that within the next few years it is planning to produce a fully electric SUV with 311 miles (500 kilometers) of range. So far only Tesla and General Motors have plans to market a long-range all-electric vehicle.

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology announced plans to build a compact nuclear fusion reactor called ARC for the purpose of both researching and producing practical fusion power. New, commercially available superconductors make the project possible, as they are capable of producing stronger magnetic field coils. This allows for the fusion process to work effectively in a smaller, less expensive reactor than ever before. In theory, ARC should be able to produce three times the amount of energy it takes to keep it running and could be in operation by the end of this decade.

 

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