In this issue:
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.
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.
- Wave and tidal power are set to receive more funding in the U.K., according to the BBC.
- And New York State is investing $150 million into renewable energy projects to meet their goal of generating 29 per cent of their energy from renewable sources by 2015.
- 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.
- Nova Scotia’s feed-in tariff is also receiving praise, as reported by Reuters.
- Also in Nova Scotia, the first wind towers were shipped from DSTN, a Trenton-based subsidiary of Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering.
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.
- And despite the collapse of Solyndra, the solar energy job base expanded by 6.8% this past year.
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.
- Also in Illinois, Suzlon Wind Energy Corp. opened a training center for wind technicians.
- Elsewhere, the U.K. government set out its plan to address the growing gap in green skills required to transition to a low-carbon economy.
- The Renewables Training Network launched in the UK as a jointly funded initiative of government and business.
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:
- The European Commissioner for the Environment called for a concise road map to a complete green economy for the EU by 2050.
- 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.
- The US Green Building Council, UNEP and WBCSD highlighted the critical role of buildings and cities in the green economy in the lead up to Rio+20.
- November 1 was also the deadline for civil society submissions for the RIO+20 compilation document. In total, nearly 500 such submissions were received.
From Central America and the Caribbean to Africa and Asia, there were a number of notable green economic developments worldwide, including:
- The Green Growth Forum was opened in Copenhagen and attended by 200 world leaders.
- Denmark and the Netharlands set new goals for reducing emissions and ramping up renewable energy.
- The first wind power plant in Honduras begun operations, expected to generate 102 MW by the end of 2011.
- Siemens Financial Services will provide financing for the development of Puerto Rico’s first commercial wind farm.
- Two new projects in North Wales, an eco-park and an off shore wind farm, will create potentially 500 new green energy jobs.
- Scotland has announced a new £18m green energy and energy efficiency fund.
- The tourist city of Anatalya aims to establish itself as the solar power leader of Turkey.
- In South Africa, a $60 million fund has been established to benefit small and medium sized enterprises implementing energy-efficiency and energy–saving projects.
- The Industrial Development Corporation of South Africa plans to invest over $3 billion in growing the green economy in the coming five years, including the installation of 170 000 solar water geysers.
- An investment group in the U.S. has reached an agreement with the Namibian government to build the largest solar PV plant in West Africa.
- China is aiming to dominate the smart grid market by investing $45 billion in smart grid technologies and infrastructure in the coming years.
As always, there were a number of other green economic developments and stories that are not easily categorized. Among the notables from October:
- The annual Greenbuild conference, held in Toronto between October 4 and 7, is estimated to have made a $26 million positive economic impact on Toronto and a $58 million contribution to the local economy.
- 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.
- Facebook announced plans to construct three green data centres in Lulea, Sweden.
- M&Co, a clothing retailer in the UK, unveiled plans to install £20m worth of wind turbines to power their 300 stores.
- The Climate Bonds Standards and Certification, a new certification scheme that will aid institutional investors interested in investing in green bonds, will launch shortly.
- 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.