"Germany's agressive and reckless expansion of wind and solar power has come with a hefty pricetag for consumers, and the costs often fall disproportionately on the poor. Government advisors are calling for a completely new start."
....."For society as a whole, the costs have reached levels comparable only to the euro-zone bailouts. This year, German consumers will be forced to pay €20 billion ($26 billion) for electricity from solar, wind and biogas plants -- electricity with a market price of just over €3 billion. Even the figure of €20 billion is disputable if you include all the unintended costs and collateral damage associated with the project. Solar panels and wind turbines at times generate huge amounts of electricity, and sometimes none at all. Depending on the weather and the time of day, the country can face absurd states of energy surplus or deficit.
If there is too much power coming from the grid, wind turbines have to be shut down. Nevertheless, consumers are still paying for the "phantom electricity" the turbines are theoretically generating. Occasionally, Germany has to pay fees to dump already subsidized green energy, creating what experts refer to as "negative electricity prices."
On the other hand, when the wind suddenly stops blowing, and in particular during the cold season, supply becomes scarce. That's when heavy oil and coal power plants have to be fired up to close the gap, which is why Germany's energy producers in 2012 actually released more climate-damaging carbon dioxide into the atmosphere than in 2011." Source: Spiegel
Keywords: Energy Policy, Energiewende, Solar Power, Wind Power, Nuclear Power
The beauty of owning energy transmission infrastructure are big barries to entry once the lines are established. Investment is tremendous. Only big players and governments so far play an important role:
..."Simply put, the world is going to need more transmission capabilities. The Energy Information Administration estimates that electricity demand will grow 93 percent over the next 27 years, rising from 20.2 trillion kilowatt hours in 2010 to 39 trillion kilowatt hours by 2040. Most of the growth will occur in emerging nations, where transmission and distribution networks are often inadequate, rickety and subject to failure.
While decentralized power delivered through microgrids and energy storage will likely play a fundamental role in meeting the demand for electricity in these countries, it’s a good bet that centralized power plants linking to long-distance transmission lines will be there too..
...The latest technology, meanwhile, provides distinct advantages. An HVDC transmission line carrying thousands of megawatts might lose 6 to 8 percent of its power over 1,000 miles. A similar AC line can lose 12 to 25 percent. DC lines can also better manage the variable output from renewable power plants. South Korea, China, Japan and the Scandinavian nations were early adopters of HVDC: the U.S. has projects underway as well"...
Keywords: Smart Grid, Energy Transmission
Profound ESG analysis could be a next important element in the investment field.
Fulton, Mark, Kahn, Bruce M. and Sharples, Camilla, Sustainable Investing: Establishing Long-Term Value and Performance (June 12, 2012). Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2222740 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2222740
"The evidence is compelling: Sustainable Investing can be a clear win for investors and for companies. However, many SRI fund managers, who have tended to use exclusionary screens, have historically struggled to capture this. We believe that ESG analysis should be built into the investment processes of every serious investor, and into the corporate strategy of every company that cares about shareholder value. ESG best-in-class focused funds should be able to capture superior risk-adjusted returns if well executed.
This is the key finding of our report in which we looked at more than 100 academic studies of sustainable investing around the world, and then closely examined and categorized 56 research papers, as well as 2 literature reviews and 4 meta studies - we believe this is one of the most comprehensive reviews of the literature ever undertaken.
Frequently, Sustainable Investing is stated to yield "mixed results." However, by breaking down our analysis into different categories (SRI, CSR, and ESG) we have identified exactly where in the sprawling, diverse universe of so-called Sustainable Investment, value has been found.
By applying what we believe to be a unique methodology, we show that "Corporate Social Responsibility" (CSR) and most importantly, "Environmental, Social and Governance" (ESG) factors are correlated with superior risk-adjusted returns at a securities level. In conducting this analysis, it became evident that CSR has essentially evolved into ESG. At the same time, we are able to show that studies of fund performance - which have been classified "Socially Responsible Investing" (SRI) in the academic literature and have tended to rely on exclusionary screens - show SRI adds little upside, although it does not underperform either. Exclusion, in many senses, is essentially a values-based or ethical consideration for investors.
We were surprised by the clarity of the results we uncovered: 100% of the academic studies agree that companies with high ratings for CSR and ESG factors have a lower cost of capital in terms of debt (loans and bonds) and equity. In effect, the market recognizes that these companies are lower risk than other companies and rewards them accordingly. This finding alone should put the issue of Sustainability squarely into the office of the Chief Financial Officer, if not the board, of every company. 89% of the studies we examined show that companies with high ratings for ESG factors exhibit market-based outperformance, while 85% of the studies show these types of company's exhibit accounting-based outperformance. Here again, the market is showing correlation between financial performance of companies and what it perceives as advantageous ESG strategies, at least over the medium (3-5 years) to long term (5-10 years).
The single most important of these factors, and the most looked at by academics to date, is Governance (G), with 20 studies focusing in on this component of ESG (relative to 10 studies focusing on E and 8 studies on S). In other words, any company that thinks it does not need to bother with improving its systems of corporate governance is, in effect, thumbing its nose at the market and hurting its own performance all at the same time. In the hierarchy of factors that count with investors and the markets in general, Environment is the next most important, followed closely by Social factors.Most importantly, when we turn to fund returns, it is notable that these are all clustered into the SRI category. Here, 88% of studies of actual SRI fund returns show neutral or mixed results. Looking at the compositions of the fund universes included in the academic studies we see a lot of exclusionary screens being used. However, that is not to say that SRI funds have generally underperformed. In other words, we have found that SRI fund managers have struggled to capture outperformance in the broad SRI category but they have, at least, not lost money in the attempt."
Keywords: ESG, SRI, Sustainable Investing
Contrary to common belief, many of the world’s most powerful nations promote the manufacture and sale of electric vehicles primarily for reasons of economic development – notably job creation – not because of their potential to improve the environment through decreased air pollution and oil consumption.
This is among the main findings of a study by researchers at the Indiana University Bloomington School of Public and Environmental (SPEA) and University of Kansas that analyzed policies related to electric vehicles (EVs) in California, China, the European Union, France, Germany, and the United States – political jurisdictions with significant automotive industries and markets for EVs. read more on the page of the School of Public and Environmental Affairs, Indiana University
Keywords: Environmental Policy, Industrial Policy, Electric Cars
Keywords: Traffic, Tesla
..."people working and thinking about these technologies are starting to ask what these autos could mean for the city of the future. The short answer is “a lot.”
..."Imagine a city where you don’t drive in loops looking for a parking spot because your car drops you off and scoots off to some location to wait, sort of like taxi holding pens at airports."
..."Inner-city parking lots could become parks. Traffic lights could be less common because hidden sensors in cars and streets coordinate traffic."
..."That city of the future could have narrower streets because parking spots would no longer be necessary. And the air would be cleaner because people would drive less."
..."Harvard University researchers note that as much as one-third of the land in some cities is devoted to parking spots. Some city planners expect that the cost of homes will fall as more space will become available in cities. If parking on city streets is reduced and other vehicles on roadways become smaller, homes and offices will take up that space."
..."the Artificial Intelligence Laboratory at the University of Texas at Austin, imagines cities where traffic lights no longer exist but sensors direct the flow of traffic."
..."A spokesman for Audi said a fully automated car would not be available until the end of the decade. And the regulatory issues to be addressed before much of this could come true are, to put it mildly, forbidding."
..."But the pieces are starting to fall into place, at least enough to excite future-minded thinkers. Last year, Jerry Brown, the governor of California, signed legislation paving the way for driverless cars in California, making it the third state to explicitly allow the cars on the road."... Source: New York Times
Keywords: Pollution, Sensors
High tech measuring to make optimal use of resources such as copper:
Keywords: Swiss High Tech, Swiss Measuring
Gary does not neglect that government can give the impetus but private investors normally have to take the lead to industrialization:
The early progress in fracking techniques was very much aided by federal support and the work of engineers in the Energy Department. However, fracking was made into a profitable technique mainly through the ingenuity of people like George Mitchell in search of financial gains from finding ways to expand domestic production of gas and oil.
Keywords: Energy, Oil, Gas, Fracking Techniques
AESA Cortaillod is a leader in providing measuring products and solutions for such optimizations:
The raw material costs associated with cable manufacture are continuously reaching unexpected peaks. Typically, a cable manufacturer today pays around EUR 5,500.00 for a ton of copper and EUR 1,930.00 for a ton of aluminium.
To remain competitive in the market, cable manufacturers need to control their raw material consumption very accurately to conserve their sales margins. Moreover, due the limited amount of raw material stocks available worldwide, the supply chains needed to be adapted to avoid any problem with the delivery of those raw materials. In other words, today's cable manufacturer needs more than one supplier from whom to buy copper and aluminium. The obligation to work with different suppliers means that different material qualities will be purchased and consequently different material specifications, which requires a lot of attention when working to achieve optimum material consumption.
The only way to save raw material is very strict and consistent control of the resistance of each manufactured product, thus reducing the extra material margin to its absolute minimum. To do so, highly accurate resistance bridges, with high measurement repeatability, are required.
Keywords: Energy Cable Testing, Raw Material Savings
The chairman of the UK Atomic Energy Authority, the chief scientist of Greenpeace, an energy and environmental policy expert, and an environmental activist/politician talk about nuclear energy:
Keywords: Energy, Nuclear Energy
Do you know why oil and prices are moving sharply higher? Some blame the oil companies, charging they are manipulating prices. Others cite U.S. sanctions on Iran and the threat of a military encounter that would disrupt the flow of oil from the Middle East.
Speculators, too are blamed for ostensibly bidding up the price of oil. In the political arena, President Obama is taking credit for increased domestic oil production even as his critics point out the slow pace of drilling permits issued by his Administration soon will hamper additional increases in the U.S. oil production.
Yet, the basic reason for higher energy prices is being overlooked, even though it is right before our eyes: Oil prices are up because the value of the dollar is down. read more on Forbes
Keywords: US Dollar, Oil Prices
One of the world’s biggest green-energy public-policy experiments is coming to a bitter end in Germany, with important lessons for policymakers elsewhere.
Germany once prided itself on being the “photovoltaic world champion”, doling out generous subsidies – totaling more than $130 billion, according to research from Germany’s Ruhr University – to citizens to invest in solar energy. But now the German government is vowing to cut the subsidies sooner than planned, and to phase out support over the next five years. What went wrong? read more on Project Syndicate
Keywords: Subsidizing "Clean Energy", Solar Technology
Book about the environment, efficiency and the real path to sustainability. Provoking and mind-changing thoughts:
Keywords: Environment, Environmental Initiatives
Keywords: Energy Consumption, GDP Growth
Keywords: Solyndra, Government Loans to Private Cleantech Companies
Earth2Tech (latest news about green technologies and companies)
MIT Environment News
New York Times Environment
Cleantech Group News
CNET Greentech News
Inhabitat (Sustainable Architecture)
Sept. 26, 2011
Keywords: Gold, Gold Price, Asset Bubbles
VARIOUS ENVIRONMENTAL LINKS:
ENVIRONMENT AND INDUSTRY:
COMPANY'S SUSTAINA- BILITY REPORTING:
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