‘World Energy Outlook 2010 Special Early Excerpt – Energy Poverty: How to make modern energy access universal (September 2010)’

The World Energy Outlook will be released on 9 November 2010. A special early excerpt of the upcoming report was released last week.  In this excerpt of the upcoming World Energy Outlook report, released specially for the United Nations summit on the Millennium Development Goals, the International Energy Agency states that the goals set to eradicate poverty can never be fully realised without confronting the fact that there are billions of people without access to electricity. This report estimates that investment of $36-billion a year is required in order to ensure that every person benefits from access to electricity and clean cooking facilities.

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‘Western Cape nature reserve installs solar power’

Engineering News, 23 September 2010

Gecko Rock eco adventure nature reserve, near Touws River in the Western Cape, has installed a 1,6 kW solar photovoltaic (PV) array to supply power for a residence on the property and a conference and training facility.

The off-grid renewable energy system, with 8 kWh of average daily solar production, was installed for about the same cost that it would have taken to extend the electricity grid to this point of the property.

Following the initial capital outlay of about R140 000, the running costs are minimal, and no monthly electrical bills are received.

The array comprises one ‘string’ of three panels with three Tenesol PV modules in each panel, generating a total of 1 620 W. The panels are mounted on dual-axis manual trackers and receive about five hours of peak sun a day, on average.

The Tenesol PV modules are manufactured at the company’s facility in Cape Town.

The installation team consisted of My Power Station director and team leader David Lipschitz responsible for sales and design, with welding, dual axis trackers and metal work by Intricate Steel director Steven Mulder, and electrical design by SolarSells director Peter Burden. Continue reading

New Book – ‘Environmental Politics and Deliberative Democracy: Examining the Promise of New Modes of Governance’


Can new modes of governance, such as public–private partnerships, stakeholder consultations and networks, promote effective environmental policy performance as well as increased deliberative and participatory quality? This book argues that in academic inquiry and policy practice there has been a deliberative turn, manifested in a revitalized interest in deliberative democracy coupled with calls for novel forms of public–private governance. By linking theory and practice, the contributors critically examine the legitimacy and effectiveness of new modes of governance, using a range of case studies on climate, forestry, water and food safety policies from local to global levels.

Environmental Politics and Deliberative Democracy will appeal to scholars, both advanced undergraduate and postgraduate, as well as researchers of environmental politics, international relations, environmental studies and political science. It will also interest practitioners involved in the actual design and implementation of new governance modes in areas of sustainable development, food safety, forestry and climate change.

(Full Citation: Bäckstrand, K.,  Khan,J.,  Kronsell,A.,  and Lövbrand,E. (2010). Environmental Politics and Deliberative Democracy: Examining the Promise of New Modes of Governance. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.)

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‘New UNEP Report Released: Green Economy can reduce poverty and help meet Millennium Development Goals’

Investing in clean energy, sustainable transport, forests and environmentally-friendly agriculture is essential, if internationally-agreed goals to reduce poverty are to be achieved.

This is among the central conclusions of A Brief for Policymakers on the Green Economy and the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), launched today as heads of state and ministers meet at the UN Headquarters to review progress to date – five years before the MDG deadline of 2015.

Environmental degradation is making it more difficult for governments to achieve Millennium Development Goals such as improving maternal health, providing safe drinking water and combating hunger and disease.

Conversely some countries and communities are finding that environmental improvements, catalyzed by deliberate policy choices; smart investments and often private sector partnerships can be a big part of the solution, the new study claims.

Achim Steiner, UN Under-Secretary General and Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), said: “There is rapidly growing evidence that accelerating a transition to a low carbon, resource efficient, employment-generating Green Economy may not only be the key to meeting sustainability challenges of the 21st century, but also provide a considerable contribution to meeting other MDGs.

The report – compiled by UNEP’s Green Economy team – cites numerous cases where green strategies are paying multiple dividends in respect to the eight MDGs.

Policies and investments in Costa Rica have triggered an expansion of protected areas and national parks, now covering over 25 per cent of the country’s total land area.

 Since this strategy was adopted there has been a boom in eco-tourism attracting over one million visitors a year and generating USD $5 million annually in entrance fees alone. Studies indicate that communities living in or near national parks have higher wages, employment rates and lower rates of poverty.

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‘IEA says $36bn/yr to eradicate energy poverty’

Engineering News, 22 September 2010

It would cost $36-billion per year to enable the world’s one-billion energy-starved people to access energy supplies at home by 2030, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said on Tuesday.

The IEA said in an excerpt of its 2010 World Energy Outlook that some 1,2-billion people, equivalent to China’s population, would still have no electricity by 2030 if governments made no change to existing policies, down from 1,4-billion currently.

The $36 billion per year only represented 3% of global energy investments projected by the agency to 2030.

“This is peanuts compared to other investments which are made,” Fatih Birol, chief economist at the IEA, said in an interview.

In Nigeria for instance, Africa’s top oil producer, where half the 152-million population has no access to electricity supplies, it would cost the country 0.4 percent of its oil and gas revenues to fix the situation, Birol said.

Achieving universal access to energy supplies would only boost oil demand by less than 1% and carbon dioxide emissions by 0,8%, Birol said, adding this was because most people who lack access to electricity live in rural areas.

“Since they are not connected to the cities, in most cases decentralised systems such as wind, mini-hydro or solar, will be used,” Birol added.

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‘Insurance-Climate Change-Damage Control’

Financial Mail, 16 September 2010

Nero fiddled while Rome burnt, goes the legend. In the case of climate change driven by global warming, a similar scenario is frighteningly true of most of the world’s governments.

This was the message of a joint statement by over 100 insurance companies released in London on September 6.
There is a lot of talk, but little action on cutting greenhouse gas emissions, says Vanessa Otto-Mentz, head of the strategy unit at Santam, a signatory to the statement.

Insurers are warning that there is no time for procrastination, she adds.

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‘World power output must grow quickly to meet demand – EDF’

Engineering News, 16 September 2010

French nuclear power company EDF CEO Henri Proglio said on Thursday that global power generation would have to double by 2030 to meet demand fuelled by Asian economic growth.

“The number of reactors worldwide could more than double from 450 to 1 000,” he said, adding that nuclear power would play a key role in providing electricity to new demand from developing countries.

Proglio said that China had launched the biggest nuclear development programme in history, calling for almost ten new facilities to be built each year.

China National Nuclear Corp said on Tuesday nuclear power generation in that country would increase by ten times over current levels to 70 GW by 2020.

Over 20 nuclear plants were under construction in China, and more than 20 were in the planning phase, Westinghouse Electric Company Americas president Jim Ferland said.

Urbanisation was a key driver to economic growth and demand for energy.

“In the 1950s, there were only two cities with populations of more than ten million. Over the next two decades ten megacities will cross the seven-million threshold each year,”Proglio told delegates at the World Energy Congress in Montreal.

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