Asia Report: European Ruling Could Cut Into Palm Oil Exports

A looming decision that threatens to derail Europe’s biofuels industry could reverberate all the way to Asia.

The European Union is working to redefine the impacts that biofuels derived from food crops have on carbon emissions, and among the main target is the palm oil coming into Europe from Indonesia and Malaysia, the world’s leaders in palm oil production.

The move is being hotly debated in Europe because a policy shift would make current fuel emissions targets impossible without restructuring the industry toward the production of advanced biofuels. In Asia, the debate comes as Malaysia considers a tax cut that could help it catch up with export leader Indonesia.


IN THE NEWS

Japan’s Proposed Tariffs: In what may be the most significant renewable energy policy development worldwide in years, Japanese authorities are circulating proposed feed-in tariffs that — if confirmed by the Minister of Trade later this month — could lead to a crash renewables program.

China Dims ‘Golden Sun’ Subsidy: China, the target of criticism and legal action from those who contend it unfairly subsidizes its export market, is now cutting support for some of its own solar generation.

AES to Sell Most of Chinese Assets: Virginia-based AES Corp will sell a majority of its businesses in China for a total of $134 million, as it is unable to pass on higher coal costs in a state-regulated industry.

$32 Million Waste-to-Biofuel Contract in China: China New Energy has signed a letter of intent to develop a facility in northeastern China that will use non-edible plant waste to produce clean fuel.


A CLOSER LOOK

Turning on the Lights for 1.4 Billion People: Ron Pernick of Clean Edge writes about a conference in which Michael Elliott, president and CEO of the poverty-alleviation-focused nonprofit ONE (One.org), asked those in the audience to imagine living after dark in one of the many places in the developing world without access to electricity (the daily reality for about 1.4 billion people globally). Then, he turned off the lights. No video, no music, nothing…and then he kept talking, and said this is what it would be like living in the tens of thousands of villages, favelas, and other outposts that have no, or limited, electricity.

China Solar Firms Fight Back for Survival: Among China’s solar supply chain, about 90 percent of polysilicon firms have suspended operations, reports DigiTimes. Except for tier-one vertically integrated firms such as Suntech, Yingli Solar, Canadian Solar, Trina Solar, JA Solar, and Jinko Solar, most tier-two and tier-three firms have capacity utilization rates below 50 percent. Firms with strong competitive advantages such as producers of mono-crystalline solar products have been running at high utilization rates.

Taiwan Wafer Makers Report Losses: Taiwan-based solar wafer makers have not been able to climb out of losses since second half of 2011 despite the fact that most solar wafer firms have clear order visibility in recent months.

Tour of Sri Lanka Hydro Plant: Japan’s Deputy Prime Minister Katsuya Okada, began his second day in Sri Lanka on Saturday touring the island’s last hydro power plant that is being built with Japanese assistance.


NEW MARKETS

Pig Poo Power in China?: China’s love of pork presents a mountain of a problem for the environment, 1.4 million metric tons (1.5 million tons) of pig poo a year to be precise, but an Australian company believes it has part of the answer. Why not turn the pig poo into power?

First Solar Appoints New Head in India: First Solar, a provider of photovoltaic solar systems, has appointed Sujoy Ghosh as the country head to lead business development in India.

Gamesa to Add Wind Turbine Plant in India: Gamesa, Europe’s second-biggest wind-turbine maker, will open a third factory in India as manufacturing costs fall below those in the larger market of China.

Yingli Sets Up Tokyo Headquarters: Yingli Green Energy announced the establishment of its regional headquarters in Tokyo, Japan, in another sign that global companies are seeing growth potential in the Japanese market.

South Korea Looks to Pakistan: Korean officials have expressed interest to invest in the solar power projects to produce 300 MW of electricity in Pakistan in order to explore the solar potential and provide cheap electricity.


HAVE YOUR SAY

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IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

April 23-30, 2012 Asia Report: U.S., India Strike $125 Million Investment Deal
April 16-23, 2012 Asia Report: Japan Solar FiT Likely In Line With Industry Request
April 9-16, 2012 Asia Report: Are China’s Sinovel, Goldwind Seeking Vestas Takeover
April 2-9, 2012 Asia Report: 200-MW Solar Project Planned in Japan
March 26-April 2, 2012 Asia Report: India Slashes Wind Incentive
March 19-26, 2012 Asia Report: India’s Wind Potential 30 Times Greater Than Believed
March 5-12, 2012 Asia Report: After Quake, Japan Pushes for Asia Supergrid
Feb. 27-March 5, 2012 Asia Report: Decision on Trade Dispute Looming
   

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