Briefly Noted … Other Energy Issues

– State officials in Hawaii will hold a seminar to encourage more businesses to generate some of their own electricity on site. The state will hold a two day workshop on interconnecting distributed energy next month, on how to connect with the grid. – The Energy Commission of Nigeria has advocated renewed energy technology for energy development in remote areas, and independent mini-grids to improve power supply around the country. ECN has established a number of renewable energy pilot projects and has developed policy recommendations in favour of renewable technologies in the draft national energy policy. Financial assistance to renewable energy developments in Nigeria has come from the U.S. Agency for International Development and its Department of Energy, as well as the Norwegian government, World Bank, African Development Bank and the United Nations Development Programme. – A meeting for stakeholders in Kenya’s energy sector is set for January 10, to determine how to increase the 8 percent of Kenyans who have access to electricity. The Kenya National Chamber says stakeholders want to establish the Kenya Renewable Energy Authority and to licence private companies to compete with the national utility, Kenya Power & Lighting, to supply electricity in rural areas. – Shell (Southeast Asia) Group will increase its investments in China and will promote the use of renewable energy in that country, according to company officials. The oil company will also co-operate with China on coal gasification, petroleum exploration and manufacturing, natural gas and power generation, oil products and chemicals. Shell’s investments on the Chinese mainland exceed US$1.5 billion. – The Power Ministry in India is developing an action plan to increase the use of demand side management in the power sector, and to view conservation as important as generation. A comprehensive action plan on DSM of electricity is expected within two months, and is expected to include a tariff policy. The Ministry estimates that energy efficiency and DSM could reduce demand by 20,000 MW, while also preserving the environment. – The World Bank has approved a US$23 million loan to support an initiative of the government of Ecuador to modernize its electricity and telecommunications services. The project will cost $43 million to reform legal and regulatory frameworks and to ensure that electricity, telephone and internet services are extended to low-income communities in rural and suburban areas. – Friends of the Earth has called on U.S. security secretary, Tom Ridge, to implement a security screen that questions whether a proposed measure makes the energy system more or less vulnerable to terrorism, war, natural disasters and accidents. The U.S. energy proposals “are a terrorist’s delight,” says FoE president Brent Blackwelder, who says U.S. security cannot be secure if politicians “continue to propose and subsidize energy sources that will make us a nation of sitting ducks” with terrorist targets like nuclear reactors and oil pipelines. – A bridge near a key hydroelectric facility in Georgia has been blown up in an area where ethnic Chechens are blamed for a wave of kidnappings. The Chinese-funded hydro station serves an impoverished region on the border with Chechnya, where the administrative building was recently blown up. – The New York Court of Appeals has effectively ruled in favour of environmentalists in their fight with the New York Power Authority over the siting of small gas-fired electricity generators. The Court did not overturn an earlier ruling that requires gas generators to be subject to an environmental review. – The Connecticut Clean Energy Fund will provide US$1.5 million to speed commercial deployment of fuel cells being developed by Proton Energy Systems. The funding is for initial commercial product and market development of power quality and energy storage using Proton’s hydrogen generation technology. Proton will repay CCEF from profits as the products achieve commercial success.

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