Briefly speaking . . .

China increase in energy consumption

Bloomberg News reports that China’s energy use rose at the fastest pace in four years in 2011, according to the National Bureau of Statistics. Consumption climbed 7 % to 3.48 billion metric tons of standard coal equivalent. That was the fastest rate since 2007, when it grew 7.8 %.

However, energy intensity (energy consumption per unit of GDP), fell 2.0 % from 2010, the statistics bureau said. The government wants to cut energy intensity by 16% in the five years through 2015.

Demand for coal, rose 9.7 % year-on-year in 2011, which was the highest growth rate since 2005.

French streetlighting

It was announced this week that communities in France of less than 2,000 inhabitants will be supported to modernise their street lighting in order to reduce the electricity bills.  Support will be provided to 31,900 communes that represent over 25 % of the French population.

There is € 20 million in subsidies and the measure is expected to reduce by 50 % the electricity used for lighting, which should help these small communities save a quarter of their lighting bill.

Half of the current equipment of these communes, representing 9 million lamps, consists of obsolete materials and energy, the ministry said. 40 % of lights in use are over 25 years old and one third of the lighting are mercury vapor lamps which need to be phased out.

German cut in solar subsidies

The Financial Times reported that the German government is planning to cut subsidies for solar power by up to 30 per cent to reform a price regime that has left consumers with an unacceptably high energy bill.

The guaranteed price for their electricity is expected to fall by 30 per cent to 13.5 cents per kilowatt hour, and the feed-in tariffs for small new plants by 20 per cent to 19.5 cents.

The FT report states that, according to the OECD, Germans pay 0.25 per cent of gross domestic product to generate about 20 per cent of electricity from renewable sources, while Danish subsidies run at about half that rate to generate 30 per cent of electricity.  The government prefers to provide more subsidies to more promising renewable energy sources, such as wind power.  But there has been a disagreement between the Economics Minister, Philipp Rösler, who has wanted to support wind power, and the Environment Minister, Norbert Röttgen, who warned that any radical shift could severally affect the solar industry, threatening thousands of jobs.

Renewables Down Under

Graham Armstrong of Saturn Corporate Resources Pty Limited in Australia recently published a report reviewing Australian renewable energy policies and programmes, excluding R&D programmes and renewable initiatives under the Clean Energy Futures Act.  The report, Renewable Energy in Australia:  The Renewable Energy Target (RET), Feed-in Tariffs (FIT), Green Power, Solar Hot Water:  Status in 2011, Trends to 2030, is available for download ArmstrongRenewables.

More on Financing Energy Efficiency

The European Alliance to Save Energy (EU-ASE), referred to in a February 5th post, together with the Danish Presidency of the European Council and the Danish Ministry of Climate, Energy and Building, held a workshop on February 13,2012 in Brussels to discuss ‘How to mobilise private sector finance for energy efficiency.”  The overall the message was clear: money matters and investors are ready to mobilize energy efficiency investments if they have certainty on their return of investment.  The workshop report is available here: EUASE WORKSHOP REPORT 13 Feb 2012.

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