A swathe of natural disasters topped off by Japan's earthquake and tsunami will undoubtedly see insurance companies hike premiums in a bid to claw back cash after some big payouts, so Fraser McLachlan argues that developers will have to work harder still to cut costs in both Europe and further afield.
It's a good thing ESPN doesn't cover federal energy policy. SportsCenter fans like to tune in to the previous day's 10 most exciting plays: At-the-buzzer half-court shots, walk-off home runs, hail Mary passes. But federal energy policy in 2011 (and 2012 for that matter) may be as exciting as Ohio State football under Woody Hayes: three yards and a cloud of dust. Incremental gains-when they come-will be the norm. There even may be some yardage lost depending on how cranky Congress is when it convenes in January. The renewable energy highlight video for 2011 is likely to be pretty boring.
If you are looking for a powerful solar resource, then the relentless blue skies of the world's desert regions have immediate appeal. As the chairman of the Desertec Foundation's supervisory board said at its launch, the world's desert regions receive more energy from the sun in six hours than humans consume within a year.
In 2009 India's installed renewable energy capacity, excluding large hydroelectric power plants, was about 16 GW. In terms of installed wind capacity it ranked fifth in the world with more than 11 GW.
Policymakers often portray energy sources as nearly at war with one another in an epic struggle of green versus brown, with the winner ultimately powering the world. But in today's real world of grid operation, renewable and fossil fuel resources are treated more as allies, as pieces of a puzzle, which when fit together properly, keep on the lights with minimum impact on prices and the environment.
By 2010, renewable energy had reached a clear tipping point in the context of global energy supply, concludes the 'Renewables 2010 Global Status Report'. With renewables comprising fully one quarter of global power capacity from all sources and delivering 18% of global electricity supply in 2009, the latest release of the definitive assessment of the state of the global renewable energy industry from the Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century (REN21) details the current status and key trends of global markets, investment, industry and policies related to renewable energy.
The policy landscape for UK renewables has been frustratingly ad hoc, but the building blocks are now roughly in place for a dramatic transformation of the industry.
With an increasing number of states and municipalities introducing renewable portfolio standards, and a large number of high-profile companies looking to improve their image and reduce their environmental impact, the market for green tags in the US has never been stronger. Elisa Wood reports on this emerging financial industry.
The European Union wants a secure and low-carbon supply of energy. Renewables and efficiency measures need to be a key element, and that will require a flexible and accommodating grid network. But will the transmission system be able and willing to remodel itself, or will historic conservatism and vested interest dictate what new capacity gets built, asks Jackie Jones?
Despite massive advances, nearly a third of the world's population lacks access to electricity, while for many others, the only sources of power are expensive and environmentally damaging. Ernesto Macias from the Alliance for Rural Electrification explains how the private sector is trying to play its part in promoting renewable energy for rural electrification.