New Hampshire, U.S.A. — Even as renewable capacity surges ahead despite a down global economy, this past weekend brought a sobering reminder that market forces continue to pull the world toward carbon emissions — and not away from them.
At the annual U.N. climate talks in Durban, South Africa, the Global Carbon Project released a study that shows that in 2010, emissions actually rose by 5.9 percent. This, despite a recession that many believed would have the unintended (and beneficial) consequence of reducing our carbon emissions. The top emitters include China, India, the United States and Europe — the very areas where much of the world’s renewable capacity has been installed or is being developed.
In a potential development that could signal the inevitability of a true global pact on climate change, a top China scientist talked about capping carbon emissions by 2020. The announcement, confirmed in Durban, could bring it in line with Western nations that have signed onto the Kyoto Protocol, and may pressure the United States into rethinking its “Wait for China” approach.
China and Renewable Energy: China is signaling that it’s ready to get serious about carbon emission, and the question remains, “Will the U.S. even try to keep up.”
CHINA SOLAR TRADE DISPUTE
Probe Moves Forward: America’s investigation into solar trade violations took a big step forward late last week as the U.S. International Trade Commission determined that U.S. domestic manufacturing industry has already suffered harm or has the potential to suffer harm from the prices of panels being imported from China.
Solar Perspectives, Part 1: A Suntech executive and a former importer of Chinese panels discuss the implications of the solar trade dispute.
Solar Perspectives, Part 2: SolarWorld talks about why China should not be able to dominate the industry and Jigar Shah of the Carbon War Room discusses the need to allow prices to drop.
IN THE NEWS
A Chinese Buyer: Evergreen Solar, which announced the bankruptcy filing back in August, has sold its core assets for $6 million and some shares of the buyer, China Private Equity Investment Holdings.
Protesters Block Hydro Turbines in India: Anti-dam protesters blocked a truck carrying turbines and other dam construction material at several places in an effort to halt construction in an ongoing dispute.
South Korea Fuel Cell Plant: A Q&A with a FuelCell Energy executive about the technology behind the world’s largest fuel cell power plant recently completed in South Korea.
Lessons From Germany: Fukushima residents tour a German village to get a better sense of how to build a life around renewable energy.
A Drive for Energy: South Korea is a relative late-comer to renewable energy, but the nation is working to build a strong base for manufacturing and project development despite some significant hurdles.
Solar in Asia-Pacific Region: Most of the global solar growth — particularly in the second half of 2011 — is being driven by China and India. These countries hold the most promise due to their sheer size. But they are also very immature markets, with major regulatory hurdles and a limited downstream installation network, according to SolarBuzz.
Solar Bids Drop to Record Lows in India: India drew record-low prices for solar power in an auction of permits to build about $700 million of plants as a supply glut in the industry drives down equipment costs.
BY THE NUMBERS
25 gigawatts: Annual global demand for solar panels.
10 gigawatts: Current glut of solar panels.
330: Number of Chinse solar panel manufacturers in 2008. The number may have increased “multifold” since then.
15: Number predicted to be in China within five years.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
“We aim to bag orders worth $1 billion every quarter, every year.”
Suzlon Chairman and Managing Director Tulsi R. Tanti about plans fueled by new technology
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IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
Nov. 21-228, 2011 Asia Report: China Strikes Back
Nov. 14-21, 2011 Asia Report: Solar Dispute Is Just Part of the Friction
Nov. 7-14, 2011 Asia Report: Fearing ‘Protectionism,’ China May Expand Domestic Market
Nov. 1-7, 2011 Asia Report: China Developer Puts U.S. Plans on Hold
Oct. 24-31, 2011 Asia Report: Energy Solutions from Hong Kong
Oct. 17-24, 2011 Asia Report: China Responds to Solar Complaint
Oct. 10-17, 2011 Asia Report: Intensity Increases Over China Pricing
Oct. 3-10, 2011 Asia Report: In Japan, the Search for Energy Solutions