IPS informed us the global carbon trading scheme is close to collapse. Under the 1990 Kyoto protocol, signatory countries are allowed to emit a certain amount of CO2. If a country does not reach its emission limit, it is permitted to sell its surplus capacity under the form of Assigned Amount Units (AAUs). The AAU is an allowance to emit greenhouse gases comprising one metric tonne of carbon dioxide equivalents and can be bought and sold on the carbon market. Now, it appears, by 2020 there will be a huge surplus of capacity which will drive the price of carbon to zero. The price now is at one euro per tonne.  At these low prices market trading in AAUs has essentially stopped.  The surplus resulted from the collapse of the Soviet Union and the recent Great Recession. As a result certain countries hold a vast surplus of AAUs. The largest holders are Russia, Ukraine and Poland followed by Romania, the UK and Germany. Currently the surplus is 13.1 billion tonnes but by 2020 it will exceed 17 billion tonnes.The surplus credits owned by developed countries is one of the key issues to be resolved before countries can agree on a second commitment period for the Kyoto protocol. See also The Economist Complete Disaster in the Making.

The Huffington Post asked: What Is the True Social Cost of Carbon?  While European carbon markets are pricing this gas at one euro per tonne ($1.30), a new study in the Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences contends the true social cost of carbon could range from $55 to $266 per ton.  At the same time The Telegraph said the UK’s new carbon tax will double electricity bills. In 2010, the UK government indicated its intention to impose in April 2013 a “carbon floor price” of £16 on every tonne of CO2 emitted by British industry, rising to £30 a tonne by 2020 and £70 a tonne by 2030. (£70 is about $113.)

The Christian Science Monitor noted the European Union is limiting the use of biofuels in its energy policy. The EU is going to limit crop-based biofuels to only 5% of transport fuel used in the 27 countries making up the Union. The purpose is to reduce the use of food crops (corn, grain etc.) and instead move to “advanced biofuels” made from marginal plants and food waste (e.g corn stalks). The Monitor says: “Despite this hope, industry analysts are adamant that Europe’s biofuel sector will take a hit that it cannot recover from, predicting near-immediate closures of biofuel plants throughout the EU that will lead to thousands of lost jobs. With the industry itself heavily invested in meeting the current energy target dictated by previous EU policy — 10 percent biofuel as transport fuel by the year 2020 — the potential economic impact is severe.” The policy change must be approved by individual nations and the European Parliament before it can be implemented as law. This process is expected to take up to two years to complete. See also Energy Efficiency News EU signals U-turn in biofuels policy and Consumer Energy Report Industry in Peril as EU Limits Use of Food-Based Biofuels.

There will be a disconnect between biofuel demand and EU and US energy policies reported DOMESTIC FUEL. A new study, Global Biofuels Outlook to 2025, from Hart Energy finds a contradiction between US and EU biofuel mandates and actual market demand. Both first generation biofuels, as well as advanced biofuels along with ethyl tertiary butyl ether (ETBE) are included in the analysis. In the US, the motor vehicle market will not be able to absorb the ethanol mandated under the Renewable Fuels Standard while in Europe, the new regulations for biofuel production (see above) will not produce sufficient biofuels to meet vehicle demand.

The Toronto Sun revealed Canada will launch the first ever 100% biojet-fuelled flight. The world’s first flight powered entirely by bio jet fuel made from 100 percent oilseed will take off next month from Ottawa.  A Falcon 20 twin engine jet will be used to test the biojet fuel for engine performance and emissions.

The Stteet suggested in The Next Biomass Revolution that a combination of fuels – algea, ethanol, electricity – coupled with new automobile fuel standards could reduce the US dependence on petroleum by 2025.

CleanBiz Asia let us know that Japan has the world’s 3rd largest solar capacity.  The country accounts for 7% of the world’s total installed PV capacity, with nearly 5-GW. Japan trails Germany and Italy for total capacity.

reve said Morocco will have 2 GW of solar capacity by 2020. The North African country currently imports 97% of its electricity. but is predicted to be a net electricity exporter to Europe in the future.

The UK might also be a net electricity exporter by the end of this decade reported Reuters. As the country increases its supply of wind and biomass energy and builds more interconnectors with its European neighbours, the UK could become a net exporter to the continent by the early 2020s. See also businessGreen National Grid: UK could be free of energy imports by 2020s.

Solar Server told us the U.S. military will increase its investments in renewable energy up to $1.8 billion in 2025. US military renewable energy projects include solar photovoltaics (PV), wind, biomass, geothermal, waste-to-energy, hydrokinetic and ocean energy.

Science Daily wrote about a thermoelectric material which is the best at converting heat waste to electricity. Nearly two-thirds of energy input is lost as waste heat. Northwestern University scientists have developed a thermoelectric material that is expected to convert 15 to 20% of waste heat to useful electricity. The new material, based on the common semiconductor lead telluride, is the most efficient thermoelectric material known.

Meanwhile, Consumer Energy Report told us that data centres waste an immense amount of electricity. “Data centers worldwide use a whopping 30 billion watts of electricity, equivalent to the output of 30 nuclear power plant.”

Earth Times wondered if mining the Moon for Helium-3 is a myth or a reality. Heliuim-3 is used in nuclear fusion, a clean energy source with little nuclear waste.  Earth has very little helium-3 while the Moon appears to be awash in it. ” It is estimated that to power the earth for a year would only take only 100 tonnes, so we have a potential clean power source (on the Moon) for 10,000 years.”

 

 

 

 

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