Brief stories from around the world.– More than 300 sets of solar PV equipment have been presented to Tibet which has 3,000 hours of sunshine each year. The presentation from the Beijing Solar Energy Research Institute doubles the number of solar energy devices already given by China to Tibet where, apart from a claimed 100,000 small solar furnaces, Tibet has also built a number of houses equipped with heating systems using solar power. Statistics show that the solar facilities now in operation in Tibet can save the use of 120,000 tons of coal annually. Beijing has now donated more than 600 solar energy devices to Tibet and is seeking international assistance to help Tibet spread solar energy usage. – Member states of the European Union and the European Parliament have given final approval to a directive to promote the use of renewable energy for generation of electricity. The directive requires member states to set their own targets for renewable energy use, based on their ability to produce electricity from hydro or wind plants. The directive aims to double the use of renewable energy to 12 percent by 2010, from the present 6 percent, in order to contribute to the EU’s commitments to meet the Kyoto protocol on climate change. – The forecasts for wind power production expected in 2010 may have to go up by another 25 percent to 75,000 MW, and the forecast for 2020 may be raised by one third to 200,000 MW, according to Arthorous Zervos of the European Wind Energy Association. The association’s forecasts have been exceeded a number of times, he adds. – Approval to construct nearly 300 wind plants is envisaged by an agreement between Nordanvind, the Swedish family-owned energy company, and Windforce Energy Development, the British wind development company. Nordanvind has spent seven years developing turbine parks with total capacity of 600 MW in Sweden and it wants to start construction of a 10 MW wind park this autumn. Banks and financial institutions are expected to fund 80 per cent of the project, which has a total value of 6 billion Swedish kroner, but Nordanvind will apply for 15 percent investment contribution from the Swedish government. – The Brazilian subsidiary of Canada’s Brascan company, Brascan Energetica, will invest US$80 million this year to construct small hydroelectric plants of up to 80 MW capacity. Brascan hopes to install a total of 500 to 800 MW of capacity by 2004 from at least ten hydro plants. Two plants in the south of Brazil have begun construction and a third will begin before the end of the year and, combined, these facilities will require $50 million of this year’s $80 million investment. Difficulty in resolving environmental questions means the remaining $30 million has not been assigned but the company expects a 12 percent return on investment.