The international ITER project to build a prototype nuclear fusion reactor will be delayed by more than a decade and faces another 4 billion euros of cost overruns, its director told the French daily Les Echos. (ITER stands for the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor currently under construction in the south of France.) ITER chief Bernard Bigot said the experimental fusion reactor would not see the first test of its super-heated plasma before 2025 and its first full-power fusion not before 2035. He also said he expected the new delay to add 4 billion euros ($4.6 billion) of cost overruns to the 14 billion to 15 billion euros estimated so far. Moreover, the extra money needed is unlikely to be available soon given global economic conditions. The project was launched 10 years ago by its seven partners –  Europe, the US, China, India, Japan, Russia, and South Korea. See MIT Technology Review, Why the World’s Largest Nuclear Fusion Project May Never Succeed

The California city of San Diego announced it plans to run on 100% renewable energy (solar and wind) by the year 2035. Other targets include cutting automobile trips by half by that year. To reduce private automobile use, the city would make major investments in public transportation and bicycling infrastructure. The city would also make half of its vehicles electric.

In India, renewable energy (including hydropower) represents 5.7% of the south Asian country’s total energy mix, according to data released by the Central Electricity Authority. The country has set a target of 8% renewables (excluding hydro) by 2022. Natural Resources Defense Council this week said that over US$140 billion of investment is required in the next six years to reach India’s solar, wind and efficiency targets.

European Union laws requiring member states to use “at least 10%” renewable energy in transport will be done away with after 2020. The mandate has drawn criticism in the UK, where reaching the 10% target will require a doubling of the current biofuel supply. First generation biofuels – those derived from food crops – have been at the centre of an intense controversy in Europe regarding their effects on the environment, with scientists warning they contribute to deforestation and food scarcity.

Denmark has immediately ended receiving applications for a solar installation subsidy scheme after it received over 9,000 applications for a combined 4.5 gigawatts.   The “60/40” scheme offered solar power producers a fixed power purchase price of DKK 0.60 ($US 0.094/Euro 0.081) per kilowatt-hours for 10 years and then DKK 0.40/kWh for another 10 years. This compares to a power price of some DKK 0.18/kWh at present. The subsidy would be paid by billing consumers with higher electricity costs.

A study by IHS Automotive says that about 17 models of hydrogen vehicles will be available over the next decade.  Most will be in Japan and South Korea with a few in Europe.  By 2027 IHS predicts the production of fuel cell vehicles will reach 70,000 units, yet this will represent less than 0.01% of all vehicles produced. This year there are 3 hydrogen vehicles for sale. They are produced by Toyota, Hyundai and Honda and sales are confined to Japan and the US state of California.  The major barrier facing fuel cell vehicles is hydrogen fuel infrastructure.  There are only about 100 public refueling stations in the world right now and cost about $3 million each. IHS comments that if fuel cells don’t move past the early adopter phase in the next 20-25 years, they probably will remain as a niche product.

Brazil produced produced slightly more than 1 billion gallons of biodiesel in 2015, up from 898 million gallons the year before. Recently the country enacted legislation to increase the amount of biodiesel in diesel from 7% to 8% with plans to increase this number to to 9% by 2018 and 10% by 2019. The new law provides for further increasing biodiesel content in diesel fuel to 15% beyond 2019 after successful engine testing is completed and the results are approved by the country’s National Energy Policy Council.

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