Canadian advisory group to broaden understanding of GHG emissions trading; proposal for ‘pebble bed’ nuclear reactor in South Africa draws criticism from environmental groups; Medis Technologies receives purchase order from Israeli military to design ethanol/methanol fuel cell for energy pack on infantry soldiers; report says electric choice in Ohio has been positive but there is substantial room for improvement; Chinese cities plan incineration power plants to handle 1,000 tonne of garbage a day; Aneel to call for bids to construct transmission lines and hydroelectric projects; British industrial gas prices rise 20 percent due to the climate change levy to curb GHG emissions; electricity industry in Vietnam to invest US$1.5 billion each year for a decade; Shanghai’s first fuel cell car can travel at 113 km/h.– Canada’s National Round Table on the Environment & the Economy will launch an initiative to broaden understanding of the concept of greenhouse gas emissions trading among opinion leaders. Working with the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, Pollution Probe and the Centre patronal de l’environnement du Québec, the project will prepare national discussions on the role that emissions trading may play in Canada’s response to climate change under the Kyoto Protocol. It will feature a series of public seminars during January, paid advertising and a web site where information and background papers about domestic greenhouse gas emission trading are posted. NRTEE is an independent agency of the Canadian government, with a mandate to provide objective views on environmental and economic issues. – A proposal for a ‘pebble bed’ nuclear reactor in South Africa is drawing criticism from environmental groups who are arguing that it could affect tourism. Power utility, Eskom, said it wants to build the ‘safe’ nuclear reactor at Pelindaba, near Pretoria, and is in the scoping phase to canvas views and concerns of affected parties. Environmental groups accuse Eskom of a biased questionnaire and failing to inform respondents of associated dangers, and want a focus on renewable energies instead. – Medis Technologies has received a US$75,000 purchase order under an Israeli military development program, to conduct the preliminary design of a direct liquid ethanol/methanol fuel cell for an energy pack for infantry soldiers. Medis says soldiers carry increasingly sophisticated equipment and that fuel cells have the potential to offer a cost effective solution for necessary power output while meeting restrictive requirements of weight and space. – The first year of electric choice in Ohio has been generally positive for the state’s residential consumers, but there is substantial room for improvement, according to a report issued by the Ohio Consumers’ Council. Most residential customers are better off than they were before electric choice took effect, partly due to interim price regulations and controls, but the report says it will take time for the competitive electric market to develop and a state plan is needed to spur competition. Rules are needed for the competitive bidding process that utilities must offer at the end of their three and five-year market development periods. – At least three Chinese cities are planning incineration power plants capable of handling 1,000 tonne of garbage a day. Last month, the Pudong waste incineration plant went on grid at a cost of US$85 million, with two 8,500 kW generators. Construction has started on a $55 million garbage-to-power plant for Guanshan, and Wuhan is planning a 1,000 tonne a day waste incineration power plant. – Brazil’s electricity regulator Aneel expects to call for bids this year from private companies to construct 15 transmission lines over 4,500 km, plus 11 hydroelectric projects with total capacity of 3,938 MW. There is a timetable for bidding on the power lines, but Aneel must set a launch dates for the hydro projects, two of which exceed 1,000 MW. – UQM Technologies will explain how combat vehicles can use batteries, engine generators or fuel cells instead of fuel. The U.S. company will present at a conference on the advantages of electric propulsion for military vehicles, the issues associated with electromagnetic interference, and detail advances in the capability of permanent magnet brush-less electric motors. – British industrial gas prices rose by 20 percent last year, mainly due to the government’s climate change levy that was introduced to curb GHG emissions. The increase was among the lowest in Europe, according to a survey by NUS Consulting Group. Gas demand in Britain has doubled over the last ten years, with industrial, commercial and domestic use rising 16 percent while gas use in power generation has grown from almost nothing in 1990 to 30 percent last year. – The electricity industry in Vietnam will invest US$1.5 billion each year for the next decade. A new strategic development plan from Electricity of Vietnam comes after the company increased generation by 15 percent last year, producing 26.6 billion kWh of electricity. The proposal is to expand capacity to 50 billion kWh by 2005 and 80 billion kWh by 2010, by increasing the capacity of hydro sites by 5,000 MW; gas by 5,000 MW; and coal by 2,000 MW. – Shanghai’s first fuel cell car has been nicknamed the Pheonix and can travel at 113 km/h. China wants to market fuel cell cars before the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, and the car was developed by Pan Asia Automobile Technology Centre and Jiaotong University in Shanghai. The vehicle’s development was financed by the Shanghai Automobile Group which also includes Shanghai Volkswagen.