News Roundup: Countries Discuss Long-Term Climate Finance, Frontrunner Alliances, German Solar Industry and More

Lots of interesting news this week. Countries discuss long-term climate finance, drought leads to declaration of natural disaster in 26 US states, Ernst Ulrich von Weizsäcker pleads for frontrunner alliances after the failed Rio summit (in German), Craig Morris argues that the crisis in the German solar industry will only be temporary and shows that the share of German domestic content in rooftop arrays is actually increasing, Murray Ward gives an interesting overview of the South African Renewables Initiative, a biologist calls farming in the US Midwestern drought to “farming in hell”, Brazil has a record number of wind energy projects in the pipeline, the costs of German grid expansion are lower than at first estimated (in German).

Countries discuss long-term climate finance

And Responding to Climate Change did a nice summary: Day 1, day 2, day 3, conclusions.

“Familiar divides, long-running arguments and little agreement.”

Drought leads to declaration of natural disaster in 26 US states

Decision means farmers who have lost crops in more than 1,000 counties are eligible for assistance from government

Nach dem Umweltgipfel Rio+20 – Wer mitmacht, gewinnt 

Eine Außenansicht von Ernst Ulrich von Weizsäcker

Mit zwei Wochen Abstand zum Nachhaltigkeitsgipfel in Rio muss man klar sagen: die USA und die Entwicklungsländer haben ihn scheitern lassen. Jetzt ist Zeit für Allianzen der Willigen, die die ökologischen Pioniere zu Gewinnern machen.

– Er reiht sich ein in andere Stimmen, die einen mehrspurigen Ansatz fordern.

German solar bubble? Look again!

By Craig Morris

A string of bankruptcies among German solar panel producers has led many to question the wisdom of Germany’s renewable energy policies. However, according to energy journalist Craig Morris, the financial problems are part of a normal consolidation process taking place in the sector. He argues that a broader look at the entire value chain of the solar sector reveals that the German economy will continue to benefit from the country’s role as a first mover in solar energy: “In the middle of the value chain, cell and panel manufacturers are suffering everywhere. Further down the value chain, things look much brighter.”

– And remember – Don’t Believe Renewable Energy Projections – They Are Usually Much Too Pessimistic

Making renewable energy affordable: the South African Renewables Initiative

By Murray Ward

South Africa is a country with a predominantly coal-fired electricity system and ever-growing energy needs. Use of renewable energy resources for electricity generation is currently almost non-existent, but the potential is great. Through its new Integrated Resource Plan (2010) calling for 19 gigawatts (GW) of renewable electricity by 2030, its newly launched South Africa Renewables Initiative (SARi), and the announcement of the first tranche of accepted tenders of over 1,000 megawatts (MW) of renewable energy from independent power producers (IPPs), South Africa is heralding a commitment to meet both its future energy needs and its climate change objectives. But the country is also clearly signalling its need for help from the international community to achieve these twin objectives.

Biologist On The Midwestern Drought: ‘It’s Like Farming In Hell’

by Max Frankel

As intense heat and drought conditions continue across much of the Midwest, they are starting to take a toll on crop yields. According to a university plant biologist, operating in such conditions is “like farming in hell.”

Brazil’s BNDES set to finance record number of wind projects

In 2011, it approved nearly three times more than it had the previous year. Despite the upheaval as BNDES audits wind equipment manufacturers that appear to have failed to comply with its 60% minimum national-content levels, “the sector is ­doing very well”, according to Antonio Tovar, chief of the bank’s renewables department.

Netzausbau billiger als gedacht

Die Bundesnetzagentur hat nach FTD-Informationen die Kosten für den Ausbau der Stromtrassen im Zuge der Energiewende zu hoch veranschlagt. In einer Neuberechnung nimmt die Behörden Posten heraus, die auch ohne Atomausstieg abgefallen werden – das reduziert die Rechnung deutlich.

– Wenn das stimmt, ist das ja wohl ein schlechter Scherz

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