Clean Energy News Vol. 12, Number 7, March 21, 2012
|Clean Energy News
Vol. 12, Number 7, March 21, 2012
|CE News is a free weekly e-mail publications that features news, information and events related to clean energy, clean air and climate change. CE News is published by Clean Energy Nepal. For more information on our campaign please visit www.cen.org.np|
|• MOE Fears Three Gorges May Pull Out
• West Seti Probe Panel Deadline Extended
• House Panel Undecided on West Seti
• Govt Hikes Public Transportation Fares
• Three Gorges May Scrap $1.6 Billion Nepal Hydro Plan, WSJ Says
• No Break in Demolition Drive
• Possibilities to Import Crude Oil from Third Countries Open
• Solar Roadway: Energy and Transportation Solution in One
• Airline CO2 Friction is Hint of New Climate Politics
• Visions for the Car-Free City
• U.S. Sets "Surprisingly Low" China Solar Panel Duties
• History of Climate Change Re-Written with Release of Russian Data
• Link Of The Week
• Did You Know?
• Media Watch
• QUIZ Of The Week # 510
• Answer Of Quiz Of The Week # 509
MOE Fears Three Gorges May Pull Out
The Ministry of Energy (MOE) fears that China Three Gorges Corporation (CTGC) will unilaterally pull out of the 750 MW West Seti Project if the parliament does not give clearance within this week.
The MOE is planning to respond Monday to CTGC´s letter, asking the ministry to clarify its position about the project, assuring the Chinese that the project will go ahead. Joint Secretary Arjun Karki, who had signed the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Executive Vice-chairman of CTGC Wang Shofeng on February 29, revealed the Chinese had expressws surprise over the parliamentary committee´s instructions to stop all works related to the project. “They have written that they had readied a team to visit Nepal after signing the MoU and cannot keep its team waiting for long,” Karki revealed. CTGC will conduct technical and financial evaluation of the project to fix the project cost, estimated at around US$ 1.6 billion, in coordination with Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) by the end of May, 2012, as per the tentative schedule. The CTGC has stated that it has taken West Seti, according to Karki, leaving other projects elsewhere after the Nepali government made the project a national priority and can leave the agreement if Nepal so wishes. “They said that they had talked with leaders of all major political parties before signing the MoU and expressed surprise at the parliamentary committee´s decision,” he explained. The Committee on Natural Resources and Means of the parliament on March 9 had formed an 11-member sub-committee to probe the signing of MoU with CTGC without competitive bidding on Feb 29 after revoking the MOE´s working procedure of opting for competitive bidding on the same day. “We will write to them conveying our conviction that the parliamentary committee will ultimately give clearance to the project, but I fear that they may unilaterally pull out if the clearance does not come by the end of this week,” he added. The probe committee was given 10 days to submit its report to the parliamentary committee and the deadline is set to expire on Wednesday. Karki revealed that the probe committee has written to the ministry seeking clarification in 16 points and the response would be sent soon. The probe committee, on its part, refused to divulge details about the investigations. “The MOE has been going to the press about this issue and you better ask the ministry,” lawmaker Laxman Ghimire, who is an invited member of the probe committee, quipped when asked about the investigations. “We are trying to maintain dignity in the issue and are conducting investigations without any bias.” Lawmaker Ghimire assured that the probe committee is trying to complete its investigations within the deadline. “We understand the gravity of the project and don´t want to bear the burden for long,” he stated.
Source: http://myrepublica.com March 19, 2012
House Panel Undecided on West Seti
The parliamentary committee on Natural Resources and Means is finding it hard to take a final decision on 750-MW West Seti Hydro Project.
At a meeting, most of the members of the committee today tried to prove that they wanted implementation of the project and said their decision taken 10 days ago wasn’t meant to create hurdles. Constituent Assembly member Laxman Ghimire dominated the meeting, giving the impression that he was chairing it. Sitting on the side of the chair of the meet Shanta Chaudnary, Ghimire took hold of the mike and tried to defend opinions of other lawmakers. Ghimire was against the government’s decision to let China’s Three Gorges International Corporation develop West Seti and said the joint secretary at the Ministry of Energy, Arjun Karki, is presenting himself as a local agent of the company giving rise to the suspicion of irregularities. However, some other members said, “Our decision to stop the work was wrong. We could have investigated the project without halting the regular work mentioned in the MoU signed three months ago,” said another member Dharma Raj BK. As per the MoU, the Chinese firm was to carry out a field study by the end of March and register the company by the end of April. However, Ghimire said there would not be a problem if the project was delayed about a week or a month. “We waited for 16 years and a delay of a few more days will not make any difference,” he said. The committee decided to provide 10 more days to the sub-committee formed to study the project to submit its report while some participants said five days should suffice. But, Ghimire, who is also a member of the sub-panel, said they needed at least 10 more days. “It is not possible to complete the study before 10 days,” he said. The sub-committee blamed the Ministry of Energy for the delay. “The ministry has not provided documents to us on time. We sent 16 questions to the ministry yesterday and the study will be completed after getting reply,” said Shanta Chaudhary.
Source: http://thehimalayantimes.com March 19, 2012
Govt Hikes Public Transportation Fares after Relenting to Transport Entrepreneurs' Pressure
The government has hiked the fares of public transportation including buses, trucks, and taxis citing recent spike in prices of petroleum products effective from Tuesday.
A meeting between government representatives and transport entrepreneurs at the Department of Transport Management (DoTM) on Monday had decided to increase the public transport fares by 4.5 percent to 8 percent. According to the Department of Transport Management (DoTM), the government has raised the public transportation fare by 4.54 percent and meter taxi by 8.19 percent while 5.26 percent and 5.29 percent has been raised in trucks and tankers operating in Terai and Hilly routes, respectively. This is the second time in four months that the government has increased the transportation fares citing the hike in the price of the petroleum products. Following the revision of public transportation fares, one should pay minimum of Rs. 14 for the shortest travel in public transportation. The transportation entrepreneurs had putting pressure on the government to raise the public transportation fares by at least 5 percent since late February this year citing hike in the fuel prices.
Source: http://www.nepalnews.com March 20, 2012
No Break in Demolition Drive
Illegal structures demolished in Balaju‚ Gairidhara stretches
Government authorities today bulldozed illegal structures alongside the Sunrise Bank-Ganesh Temple stretch in Gairidhara and the Machhpokhari-Balaju Bypass stretch, expanding the Gairidhara section and the bypass section by up to seven metres and 11 metres from the centre of the road on either side. Officials said they chose Saturday to bulldoze illegal structures this time as well because roads are not much congested on the public holiday, making the demolition work easier. DIG Ganesh Raj Rai, in-charge of the Metropolitan Traffic Police Division, said authorities had no option but to pull down the illegal structures after the owners paid no heed to repeated warnings and public notices to clear the encroachment on their own. While locals accused the government of demolishing structures without providing compensation and adequate time to vacate the properties, authorities said they razed illegal structures as per a notice published in the Nepal Gazette on July 4, 1977. The demolition, carried out amid tight security, caused inconveniences to people as police personnel barred vehicles from the stretches. As part of its plan launched three months ago to widen a 400-km stretch of the 1,594.67-km road within the Kathmandu Valley, the Kathmandu Valley Town Development Enforcement Committee has so far expanded roads with a total length of 21-km. Minister for Physical Planning and Works Hridayesh Tripathi warned on Thursday that the government will not halt the road expansion initiative under any pretext after Nepali Congress leaders allegedly tried to disrupt the process last week.
Source: http://thehimalayantimes.com March 18, 2012
Possibilities to Import Crude Oil from Third Countries Open
Different government agencies today decided to look at the possibilities of importing crude oil from third countries during a meeting among the stakeholders organised by National Planning Commission (NPC) here in the capital.
NPC asked the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to direct the ambassadors of concerned Arabian countries to look at the possibilities of importing crude oil, said spokesperson at the Ministry of Commerce and Supplies Deepak Subedi. “Participants at the meeting agreed to carry out a study to import crude oil from third countries and refine it in India.” Similarly, the meeting also suggested the government to look for options other than Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) only. “Nepal can import petroleum products from other Indian oil companies too,” Subedi quoted participants as saying. “The government should hold discussions with Bharat Petroleum, Hindustan Petroleum and other Indian oil companies.” The meeting directed Nepal Oil Corporation to complete all preparatory work within three to four days, according to Subedi. Participants also suggested NOC to sort out crucial issues like marketing margin, export parity price and price adjustment factor through a dialogue. NPC organised the meeting today because the agreement on petroleum supply will end on April 1 and NOC and IOC are gearing to revise the agreement.
Source: http://thehimalayantimes.com March 20, 2012
Solar Roadway: Energy and Transportation Solution in One
By Debra Atlas
There are 28,000 square miles of roadways spread across the 48 continental states. With the cost of traditional paving materials going up and their availability going down, innovator Scott Brusaw sees solar highways as the solution to several energy and transportation problems.
Brusaw is an electrical engineer (MSEE) with over 20 years of industry experience, and is the co-founder of Idaho-based Solar Roadways Incorporated. His solar roadway concept won a $50,000 Community Award from the 2010 GE Ecomagination Challenge, and also received the most community votes in the 2011 event. Brusaw's 12 x12 ft solar road prototype incorporates an array of solar panels. Each panel includes three yellow and three white LEDs, with just over 6,000 LEDs in the whole prototype. The system's internal microprocessor determines which LEDs light up, allowing the mechanism to spell out almost any message. Once the first phase of the Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) contract was completed, the Federal Highway Administration awarded Brusaw's company a $750,000 Phase II SBIR contract in July 2011. That equals roughly two years' worth of funding for solar streets, according to Brusaw. Phase II involves building a parking lot paved with embedded solar panels outside of the company's electronics lab in Sandpoint, Idaho. The plan is to break ground for the parking lot next month, but that’s only if Mother Nature cooperates. "Right now, there's snow and ice on the ground," explains Brusaw.
Source: http://www.enn.com March 16, 2012
Airline CO2 Friction is Hint of New Climate Politics
By Gerard Wynn
Threats of retaliation by China and India against a European Union plan to charge airlines for their carbon emissions is misplaced, given their weak legal case and a drift towards more such unilateral climate action.
Countries in Durban at the end of last year topped off years of lumbering U.N. talks by agreeing that a new climate protocol should come into force by 2020, with more vagueness about exactly what that should be, leaving a vacuum in national action in the meantime. That slow rate of progress underscores how multilateral climate action has faded over the past decade. It also underlines why it would be madness to expect the U.N. body, the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), to galvanize global action to curb carbon emissions from passenger jets, as countries asked them to do 15 years ago. It also explains why the European Union has grasped unilateral action to curb rapidly rising carbon emissions from aviation, and makes a nonsense of the central argument advanced by China, India, Russia and the United States, that ICAO should be given more time. The broader failure of U.N. climate talks only makes such unilateral action more likely, if other countries - possibly including Australia, Japan, South Korea and Mexico - join the European Union in choosing to take firmer carbon curbs than those agreed internationally (if any). In that sense, the airline dispute is an experiment in an alternative climate politics. The possible alternative to an international climate protocol is a forging of emissions curbs by willing countries, which in turn take punitive, border action against the rest, to protect their own industry.
Source: http://www.reuters.com March 20, 2012
Visions for the Car-Free City
By David A Gabel
It is the dream of many urban planners to remove all the cars clogging the city streets. Who wants fast-moving, loud, heavy chunks of steel polluting the air and endangering people crossing the street? Some cities, such as London, have implemented a congestion toll on any vehicles entering the city center. Now there is a new group in the United Kingdom that wants to take it even further. Organized by the universities of Leeds, Oxford, East Anglia, Salford, and Manchester, along with local walkers and cyclers, the group "Visions 2030" want to transform four key UK cities.
The goal is to make automobiles obsolete by 2030 in future UK cities, to the point where up to 80% of all travel is done by bike or on foot. The team will be submitting their visions to city planners, discussing how this goal might be achieved. Computer 3D modeling and animation will be the dominant feature of the visions which they intend to bring to reality. They will use realistic behavioral rules to determine how people will act on the roads within their virtual models. To move to a new car-free paradigm, the visionaries must make the case to urban planners to encourage citizens to walk and ride their bikes more. Arguments for doing so include improvement of public health and wellbeing, reduce vehicle emissions into the environment, and reduce levels of congestion. They have calculated that two thirds of all trips in the UK are under 8 kms (5 miles) in length, and 42% are under 3 kms (1.86 miles), which is a good walking distance and easily within biking distance. In many European cities such as Amsterdam, walking and biking make up around half of all trips, but in the UK, the number has been dropping. Total bike traffic declined from 23 to 5 billion passenger kms between 1952 and 2006. The visions laid out by Visions 2030 will show the selected UK cities as becoming more walkable and bikable. The project commenced in October 2008, and is being funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).
Source: http://www.enn.com March 20, 2012
U.S. Sets "Surprisingly Low" China Solar Panel Duties
By Doug Palmer and Matt Daily
The United States on Tuesday dealt a blow to U.S. manufacturers of solar panels and boosted shares in their Chinese rivals when it imposed preliminary punitive duties of less than 5 percent on imports from China.
Nonetheless, the action adds to trade tensions between the world's two largest economies and threatens cooperation in the burgeoning clean-energy sector, which both countries say they want to promote. President Barack Obama, running for re-election in November, has promised to crack down on unfair Chinese trade practices and last week challenged China's export restrictions on critical "rare earth" industrial materials in a case filed with the European Union and Japan at the World Trade Organization. Energy analysts had expected Chinese imports of solar panels to be hit with preliminary duties of 20 percent to 30 percent, but the rates announced on Tuesday ranged from just 2.90 percent to 4.73 percent. Tuesday's trade move is the latest salvo from Washington in its efforts to help the nascent U.S. clean energy industry compete against China's fast-growing companies, which are the leading suppliers to the global solar market. Rapid expansion by those Chinese companies has created a glut of solar panels that drove prices down sharply last year, pushing some weaker U.S. companies, including Solyndra, into bankruptcy. Shares in the leading Chinese solar companies erased early losses to rally on the New York Stock Exchange on the news, with Suntech Power Holdings closing 14 percent higher, Yingli Green Energy gaining 12 percent and Trina Solar climbing 8 percent. The Coalition for American Solar Manufacturing, a U.S. industry group that has complained that massive Chinese subsidies were driving them out of business, tried to put the best face on the news. It said it believed the U.S. Commerce Department would uncover more subsidies and unfair pricing practices as it continues its probe in the coming months, which would result in higher final duties. "Today's announcement affirms what U.S. manufacturers have long known: Chinese manufacturers have received unfair and WTO-illegal subsidies," said Steve Ostrenga, chief executive officer of Helios Solar Works in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Senator Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat who has been a driving force behind the case, also said he expected duties to "significantly swell" as the case proceeds. An attorney representing SolarWorld Industries America and other U.S. manufacturers said Commerce Department officials have only just begun to investigate some of the group's subsidy charges, providing hope duties would increase. China accounts for 114 of the 283 anti-dumping and countervailing duty orders the United States has on foreign goods. The Obama administration has imposed more than 50 anti-dumping and countervailing duty orders since taking office in January 2009, including about 40 against Chinese goods. The United States imported $2.8 billion worth of solar cells and panels from China in 2011, up sharply from about $1.2 billion just a year earlier, according to industry estimates. The Commerce Department will announce preliminary anti-dumping duties in May to address a separate set of charges that Chinese producers are selling solar panels in the U.S. market at unfairly low prices.
Source: http://www.reuters.com March 20, 2012
History of Climate Change Re-Written with Release of Russian Data
The history of a changing climate has been officially re-written following the release of new data from Russia and bases within the Arctic Circle. Scientists have now calculated that 2010 has overtaken 1998 to now be the warmest year on record, followed in second place by 2005 as 1998 is pushed into third place. The recalculation of the annual global mean temperature records follows the release of weather data from more than 600 locations around the Arctic Circle.
The dataset is compiled by the Met Office and the University of East Anglia's Climatic Research Unit, who today announced the update. Compiled from temperature observations obtained over land and sea, HadCRUT is used as a basis for a global temperature record going back to 1850. The latest version of the dataset, called HadCRUT4, includes the newly available data, which now contains information from the All Russian Research Institute adding more records from the sparsely observed northern higher latitude region. Differences in the way sea surface temperature observations have been collected have been taken account of and the new version also provides much more detail on uncertainty.
Source: http://www.enn.com March 19, 2012
|Link of the Week|
Greenhouse Gas Can Find a Home Underground
Please Visit: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/
|Did you Know ?|
According to the Alternative Energy Promotion Centre (AEPC) under the Ministry of Environment, the executive board of UNFCCC has approved 40,602 biogas plants so far. Nepal received $2.1million for about 20,000 biogas plants in 2006 where the World Bank bought carbon dioxide at $7 per tonne reduced due to the use of biogas.
|Media and Event Watch|
|Every Monday 8:30 pm on Nepal FM 91.8 MHZ “Climate Change Mero Bhawisya Mero Chaso”
Every Sunday at 7:30 am on Radio Sagarmatha 102.4 MHz "Batabaran Dabali"
Every Monday at 5:30 pm (re-telecast every Tuesday 11 am) on ABC Television “Climate Change
Every Alternate Friday at 2 PM on ENPHO Hall – “Green Discussion” Organized by Clean Energy Nepal, Nepalese Youth for Climate Action anGrnd Green Youth Network
Every Friday on The Himalayan Times “THT Green Plus”
Environment Cycle Radio F.M.104.2Mhz (ECR FM)
|QUIZ of the Week # 510|
According to MIT research, air pollution cost the Chinese economy ……………………… billion in 2005. This is compared to $22 billion in similar damages in 1975.
While sending your answer please mention “Quiz of the week#” in the subject line and please send your answer in firstname.lastname@example.org
One lucky winner will get a T-shirt with an Environmental Message from Clean Energy Nepal.
|Answer of the week # 496|
Tropical rainforests store some ………………………… billion tons of carbon in their vegetation about 20 percent more than previously estimated finds a new satellite-based assessment published in the journal Nature Climate Change.
Congratulation to the Winner and thanks to all participants.
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