Japan turns to solar as it overhauls energy system

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Japan: Solar energy is likely to play a huge part in a revamp of the Japanese energy system with a $1.1bn project approved yesterday. The 400MW farm will take advantage of feed in tariffs that can guarantee above market prices.

On Tuesday the Japanese cabinet approved plans to overhaul the country’s electricity grid to accommodate more renewable energy. The country faces severe power shortages after shutting down its nuclear energy program in the aftermath of the Fukushima disaster. (Bloomberg/New York Times)

The Fukushima disaster triggered a shut down of Japanese nuclear power plants leaving the country facing regular blackouts (Source: Flickr/Oldmaison)

EU: The EU has announced the second phase of its NER300 investment programme for Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) and clean energy programmes. The first phase, worth €1.2bn, funded 23 renewable ventures but no CCS projects were backed. The second phase will be funded by the sale of 100m carbon credits, worth around €450m based on yesterday’s prices. Unused funds from round one will be added to the pot. (European Commission)

USA: A new poll by the non-partisan Pew Research Center has found that 66% of Americans back the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. The survey also found that while 69% believe there is solid evidence of climate change, only 42% of those believe the changes are man made. (Yahoo News)

Australia: Australia’s acute vulnerability to climate change has been underlined in a new report by the country’s Climate Commission. It warns emergency services to prepare for increased incidences of bushfires and flooding, and says drought is likely to hit the nation’s most productive farmlands in the coming years. (RTCC)

EU: The debate on the effectiveness of the EU carbon market has reopened. New data showed that emissions from industrial sectors covered by the cap and trade scheme fell 1.4% regardless of the market’s current perilous state. A vote on reforms to boost the low price of carbon will take place in two weeks. (RTCC)

USA: Lord Nicholas Stern, author of the influential Stern Review on the economic impact of climate change has said 2013 is the perfect year to raise political ambition on climate action. Stern told an audience in at the IMF headquarters that French President Francois Hollande was keen to steer through a UN climate deal in France in 2015 while German Chancellor Angela Merkel would be freer to act on climate change once September’s Federal elections are over. The event was organised by the World Resources Institute. (The Australian)

USA: Biofuel targets will lower US greenhouse gas emissions but are likely to increase those overseas. Research by Duke University’s Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions found that clearing land for energy crops overseas would offset any gains from a cut in fossil fuel use. (EarthTechling)



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