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Asia Report: After Quake, Japan Pushes for Asia Supergrid

Japan this week marks the one year anniversary of the devastating earthquake and tsunami that has since forced it to re-evaluate its nuclear strategy. In doing so, it also unveiled a plan that could have big implications for renewable energy across the continent.

The Japan Renewable Energy Foundation and the Desertec Foundation are teaming up for a shared vision of an Asia Supergrid that would connect the national grids of Japan, Korea, China, Mongolia and Russia. Conceivably, this could open up opportunities for renewable energy development in which the power produced could be moved to where it is needed most. That means places like Japan, with fewer areas in which to build renewable developments, could benefit from wind power produced in placed like Inner Mongolia, where potential capacity far exceeds demand.

“The aim (of the Asian Super Grid) is to accelerate the deployment of renewable energy to provide secure and sustainable alternatives to fossil and nuclear energies,” JREF and Desertec said in a shared statement.

If built, it could also help redraw the map on both electrical power and political power.


IN THE NEWS

U.S. Solar Trade Surplus With China Turns Into Deficit: A coalition of American manufacturers just released a report showing that the U.S., which previously held a trade surplus with China, lost that surplus in 2011.

Second of Two Tariff Rulings Delayed: The U.S. Department of Commerce has delayed its preliminary determination for anti-dumping tariffs on Chinese panels until May 17. The counterveiling duty tariff determination is still expected to be made on March 19.

Suntech Efficiency Mark: Using its Pluto technology, Suntech says it has achieved 20.3 percent efficiency on a photovoltaic cell, and that an efficiency increase to 21 percent is expected in the next six to 12 months.

Chinese Company to Export Ingredient for Biofuel: Twenty tons of oil refined from leftover cooking oil will be exported from China to the Netherlands to be processed into aviation fuel, a Chinese company has said.

Myanmar Urged to Restart Hydro Project: Some senior Chinese political consultants on Saturday called for the Myanmar government to resume the suspended Myitsone hydropower plant, stressing that it' is a legitimate project that is in the interest of both countries, as well as local residents.


A LOOK AHEAD

Planning for Solar in India: The Indian state of Tamil Nadu is planning to introduce a solar energy policy to fulfill its aim of becoming a power surplus state in three years by utilizing new and renewable energies.

Is the End of Renewables Nigh as Fukushima Anniversay Nears?: In the run-up to the 11 March anniversary of the Fukushima reactor meltdown, the steady drip of anti-renewables articles in the mainstream media will become a torrent as the nuclear lobby cranks up its public relations machine. And they're taking aim at European feed-in tariffs, no doubt because of their success. Germany is particularly in their cross-hairs because of its massive development of renewable energy over the past two decades and its plan to close all its reactors for good.

Palm Oil Biomass a Huge Potential for Malaysia: Malaysia has not optimised fully the potential of its palm oil industry, although it is the world's second largest producer of crude palm oil. So far, palm oil has been seen as the provider of vegetable oil, but with more and more environment-friendly steps being taken, palm oil biomass could well become the source of renewable energy.


QUOTE OF THE WEEK

Waiting for a Ruling

“The impact of the ruling will be very severe, if not devastating. Those small domestic producers who are manufacturing products under another company's brand are more vulnerable to the impact [of the ruling]."

Nan Cunhui, chairman of Chinese solar panel manufacturer Chint on effects of U.S. tariff


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IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

Feb. 27-March 5, 2012 Asia Report: Decision on Trade Dispute Looming
Feb. 20-27, 2012 Asia Report: China Launches Renewable Energy Think Tank
Feb 6-13, 2012 Asia Report: India Sees 52 Percent Rise in Investments
Jan. 23-30, 2012 Asia Report: DOC Extends Solar Trade Case Deadline
Jan. 16-23, 2012 Asia Report: China Has Strong Words Over U.S. Wind Investigation
Jan. 9-16, 2012 Asia Report: China, South Korea Leaders at World Energy Summit
Jan. 2-9, 2012 Asia Report: SolarWorld Plans to File European Complaint
Dec. 26, 2011 to Jan. 2, 2012 Asia Report: Wind Tower Trade Case Sparks New Questions

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