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Briefly Noted … Worldwide Renewable Energy News

– Canada, the European Union, Russia and Japan are meeting in Toronto to select a host country for a Cdn$12 billion nuclear fusion research centre. Ontario has 12 fission reactors, and wants the fusion centre to be constructed next to the Darlington nuclear reactor east of Toronto. – Residents of the United States have turned their attention from energy issues as a result of September 11, according to a survey by International Consumer Research of Pennsylvania for Deloitte & Touche LLP. The survey of 600 respondents indicates consumers have increased concern about fuel price, security and reliability, with fewer respondents (39.7%) being aware of changes in the electric industry this year compared to last (50.5%). This reverses a five-year trend of increasing consumer awareness of changes in the electric industry. More respondents expect that electric rates will increase under deregulation, rather than decrease. Respondents were “overwhelmingly” for increasing domestic energy production, but evenly split on the issue of resuming nuclear power plant construction. – The courier company, UPS, is testing the industry’s first hybrid electric delivery vehicle, which currently is used to pick up and deliver packages at 158 locations on a 31-mile route in Huntsville, Alabama. UPS already has a total alternative fuel fleet of 1,800 vehicles, including all-electric vans, LNG tractors and propane delivery vehicles. – The United Nations Environment Programme met with 50 industry associations in Paris last month to explain the World Summit on Sustainable Development that will be staged next September in Johannesburg, South Africa. Representatives came from Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth, E7 (power utilities), Int’l Association of Oil & Gas Producers, Int’l Chamber of Commerce, Int’l Energy Agency, Int’l Institute for Sustainable Development, North American Insulation Manufacturers Assn, Organisation for Economic Co-operation & Development, World Business Council for Sustainable Development, World Coal Institute and World LPG Association. – Two environmental groups have launched a legal challenge against Britain’s decision to allow a plant to manufacture nuclear fuel. Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth have gone to London’s High Court to argue that the government acted unlawfully in October when it allowed state-owned British Nuclear Fuels to launch the Sellafield MOX plant in northwest England. They claim the plant is an environmental threat and potential terrorist target, and does not make business sense. British law says government must show sufficient economic justification for the US$690 million cost. – DG Energy Communications has launched of OnSite Power, a magazine for distributed generation. A special preview edition has been released, and eight issues will be published next year. – A fund of Cdn$5 million has been created in Ontario to sponsor research and to finance energy innovation for local distribution companies as the province deregulates its power sector. The Electricity Distributors Association and Ontario Power Generation have created the ‘LDC Tomorrow Fund.’ – British Energy has threatened to abandon its core nuclear generation business in Britain, in favour of North America, if the government does not support nuclear power in its pending energy policy review. The “contingency plan” will be launched if London decides against a “nuclear renaissance”, says executive chairman Robin Jeffrey, who says the company is ready to invest £100 million in either the U.K. or North America. British Energy wants government to assume responsibility for its £3.4 billion of pre-privatization decommissioning liabilities. The government will publish its energy review findings by the end of the year and rumours suggest the policy will be a compromise between assistance for nuclear and outright rejection of nuclear power. – China’s primary energy consumption will rise three-fold in the next 40 years, to an equivalent of 3.86 billion tons of coal, according to senior economic planning officials. China’s long-term consumption, mainly coal and petroleum, would outstrip domestic production capability, which will reach a maximum 3.2 billion tons of coal by 2050. China should trim energy consumption, holding the growth rate to 2.5 percent a year and reducing to zero growth by 2040. – The Alliance to Save Energy is praising the high level of support from the U.S. government for its energy efficiency efforts. “We don’t hesitate to criticize the Administration when we think they’re wrong and it’s just as important to cheer them when they do the right thing,” says ASE president David Nemtzow. “Energy efficiency is the quickest, cheapest, cleanest way to extend our nation’s energy supply and help increase our energy security.” Three years ago, ASE detailed energy waste of US$1 billion annually in the U.S. federal government.