Only 60% of China’s coal is used for electric power plants, compared with 90% in the US. The rest is burned in toxic home boilers or in small workshops. But not for long.  To deal with its pollution problems, the city of Beijing is phasing out coal boilers within the city limits. Greenpeace says China has shut down 18 gigawatts (GW) of old coal plants and is likely to shut down another 60 GW by 2020. Currently coal thermal plants are already running at below 50%  of their capacity.

The LED lightbulb cuts power use by 85% compared with incandescent lights. Investment banker Goldman Sachs expects it to win 95% of the global lightbulb market by 2025.

Chinese consumers are expected to purchase 220,000 and 250,000 electric cars this year, making the country the world’s largest market for the EV. The China Association of Automobile Manufacturers says that US sales are expected to reach 180,000 this year, which will enable China’s electric car sales to overtake the US’s for the first time. These EVs include “battery electric vehicles” and “plug-in hybrid electric vehicles”. China’s central government has set a goal of having 5 million “green cars” on the road by 2020, which include battery powered, plug-in hybrid and hydrogen fuel cell models.

80% of New Zealand’s electricity and 38% of its total energy comes from renewable sources.

Inside EV has a video on the 20 year history of the electric car in Norway.

The European Union has opened the first European Interoperability Center for Electric Vehicles and Smart Grids to ensure all these cars have a standard plug and equipment that can work anywhere. The new center in Ispra, Italy, is part of the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre and is a sister location to the US. The goal for both centers is to help write codes and standards and to create and demonstrate equipment to ease the transition as electric vehicles become more popular globally. The ultimate goal is to have a completely interoperable charging structure across the world. For example, all EVs will be able to talk to a charging station for identification, authorization and billing and to determine how much energy the battery needs and how fast it can be charged.

Hyundai’s IONIQ will be the first single-bodied production vehicle to be available as a pure electric, a plug-in hybrid and a regular hybrid. The car will available for purchase in 2016.

Hyundai announced it will begin testing self-driving or autonomous cars on highways in the US state of Nevada. The South Korean car manufacturer will be testing four autonomous vehicles ― two Tucson hydrogen fuel cell vehicles and two Soul electric cars.  The Tucson cars will be the world’s first hydrogen fuel cell cars mounting autonomous driving technologies. Following the highway test, the company will expand its test drives into urban streets with traffic lights, crosswalks and passengers sometime next year. Hyundai hopes to have fully autonomous cars by 2030.

Meanwhile, Ford Motor Company will begin testing self-driving cars in the US state of California in 2o16. Ford’s CEO thinks self-driving vehicles could be on US roads by 2020.  Currently Google, Audi, Mercedes, Lexus, Tesla and BMW are testing these vehicles in California.

Sewage is now being used to power a heating system at a college campus in Scotland. This is the first time that sewage has been used to produce heat in the UK. Located at the Scottish Borders Campus in Galashiels, the heat recovery system intercepts waste water from a sewer close to the local treatment works. A heat pump amplifies the natural warmth of the waste water and the heat produced is sold to Borders College under a 20-year purchase agreement. The system now provides around 95% of the heat needed by the campus and does not impact on the normal operation of the local waste water network.

The European Commission has agreed to demands from local solar panel manufacturers to extend restrictions on Chinese solar panel imports. The restrictions set a minimum sale price and cap the number of Chinese solar panels that may be sold in the European Union. The restrictions, including two tariffs, were originally introduced in 2013 following a complaint from the European manufacturers alleging China was selling its solar panels below cost. The anti-dumping and anti-subsidy duties were due to expire this month but will now stay in place for at least another year.



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