The Green Economy Review: Volume 12. November, 2011

In this issue:
 
 
 
Green Manufacturing Starts
 
As always, we report on green manufacturing starts. Last month:
  • Eclipsall Energy announced that they signed a supply Agreement with Genesis Solar intended to expand manufacturing capacity. Eclipsall will provide solar PV panels from their Toronto manufacturing plant for up to 400 megawatts (MW) of solar projects.
  • In the U.S., GE announced plans to build the largest U.S. solar factory near Denver, Colorado. Operational in 2012, the factory will produce enough solar panels to generate 400 MW of power annually.
  • Solar PV inverter manufacturer, Solectria, announced they are expanding operations into India and China with 200 MW and 300 MW plants, respectively.
  • Bloomberg reports that Siliken, a Spanish solar panel manufacturer, is planning to build a $300 million solar PV production facility in Mexico. It will be the country’s largest.
   
Green Energy and Green Jobs
 
Governments continue to support the expansion of renewable energy. Some notable announcements this month:
  • Germany announced plans to close all of their 17 nuclear reactors by 2022, replacing them with $130 billion worth of investments in renewable energy and energy efficiency initiatives.
  • The U.S. Department of Defense announced they will invest $10 Billion a year into energy efficiency and renewable energy initiatives.
Here in Canada,
  • Ontario’s Green Energy Act and feed-in tariff will live on, following a provincial election in which renewable energy came to be one of the more hotly-debated issues. Some of the credit may go to Germany’ former minister of the environment who affirmed Ontario’s path and said the province is quickly becoming a North American clean energy leader.
  • With the uncertainty now in the past, the business climate is improving in Ontario, as indicated by this agreement between Deutsche Bank and SkyPower.
Not surprisingly, as solar becomes more common, prices are coming down, and solar PV is actually becoming the cheapest electricity generation option in some areas. It’s also serving as a boon to solar installers in the U.S. and elsewhere.
  • Despite the recession, the top clean tech sectors, especially clean energy, have grown significantly between 2003 and 2010.
 
 
Training and the Skills Gap
 
The International Labour Organization released a comprehensive report examining the experiences of 21 countries, which shows that skills development is critical to unlocking the employment potential of green growth, yet skills shortages are becoming an obstacle in realizing this potential.
 
Some jurisdictions are taking steps to address this shortage:
  • This month, it appears Illinois is at the forefront, where Gov. Pat Quinn announced $16 million for green jobs training.
  • Community colleges in Illinois are partnering to provide consistent and effective green jobs skills training, while the city of Rockford, Illinois is receiving funding to grow their green economy.
 
 
The Road to Rio+20
 
As preparations for the Earth Summit (Rio+20) get underway, a number of reports and calls are being issued for a green economy. Among them: 
  • Members of the European Parliament called on EU colleagues to speak with one voice and take the lead at Rio+20 and push for measures that boost renewable energy and energy efficiency.
  • November 1 was also the deadline for civil society submissions for the RIO+20 compilation document. In total, nearly 500 such submissions were received.
 
 
International Developments
 
From Central America and the Caribbean to Africa and Asia, there were a number of notable green economic developments worldwide, including:
 
  • Scotland has announced a new £18m green energy and energy efficiency fund.
  • In South Africa, a $60 million fund has been established to benefit small and medium sized enterprises implementing energy-efficiency and energy–saving projects.
 
 
Other Developments
 
As always, there were a number of other green economic developments and stories that are not easily categorized. Among the notables from October:

  • McGraw-Hill Construction released a report that shows the green building industry supports 661,000 green jobs in the U.S. By 2014, they expect 45 percent of all design and construction jobs will be green.
  • Constellation Energy will support the Chicago Bears’ environmental awareness initiative by sponsoring the first " Environment Friendly Game" at Iconic Soldier Field.
  • The U.S. Commerce Department’s Economic Development Administration is providing a grant to Michigan State University to help commercialize and launch green chemistry technologies and businesses.
  • Scientific American published an article on vehicle-to-grid technology which allows electric vehicles to feed power back to the grid when not in use.