space solar
John MacNeil

Top stories

1) UK energy: There’s no money left warns think tank

A report by the center-right think thank, Policy Exchange, will suggest the budget allocated to allow the UK to meet it’s renewable targets – the Levy Control Framework – which limits the cost put on bills to pay for clean energy may already have been met leaving no money at all for further projects.

Interestingly part of the reason is advances in technology with offshore wind which means wind turbines generate more of the time than the government assumed they would – so claiming more subsidy. Falling wholesale power prices – which drive up the differential cost of clean energy – and the cost of the small-scale feed-in-tariff are the other reasons given by the think-tank.

2) Green tech roundup: Efficient solar, space solar, Tesla solar storage and tidal fail

A new solar electricity generation system that developers claim is the most efficient in the world, is being tested in South Africa’s Kalahari desert – reports The Guardian. The world’s first small scale concentrated solar project converts 34% of the Sun’s energy to grid electricity, almost double the average for solar PV. The only snag – it only works in places with lots of sun.

Not to be outdone Reuters reports on a project by scientists in Japan who are developing a spacecraft that will have a square screen of solar panels measuring more than 1.2 miles along each side and use microwaves to beam energy down to Earth.

And in Europe Italian utility, Enel Green Power (EGP), and Tesla have finalised an agreement for the testing of the integration of Tesla’s stationary energy storage systems with Enel Green Power’s solar and wind plants. The – quite small -deal is significant as it follows the annoucement of Tesla’s giant battery plant and could herald the arrival of utility scale battery power storage to Europe.

One tech that isn’t doing so well though is tidal, specifically in the UK. German engineering giant Siemens has announced it is to divest it’s stake in one of the UK’s biggest hopes for tidal power, Marine Current Turbines, hardly suggesting a huge amount of confidence in the technology.

3) China energy: Coal output collapses as wind booms

Reuters reports that China’s coal output in April fell 7.4 percent from a year ago to 298 million tonnes, the country’s statistics bureau said on Wednesday, with the industry hit by declining economic growth and efforts to cut consumption of polluting fossil fuels.

The news comes as Forbes reports on the rise of wind energy in China to become the third largest source of electricity – behind Hydro and coal.

In other news

UK Carbon capture: Documents suggest White Rose project to receive £300m funding from European Investment Bank 

Global climate politics: G7 Energy ministers say positive things about global climate deal in Paris 

Theology: Pope warns environmental sinners to face god’s judgement (no, this is not made up)

US Energy: Guardian investigation finds taxpayers subsidising big fossil fuel firms after same firms made donations to elected taxpayer representatives.

Global coal: Coal, mining giant says global warming will do nothing at all to it’s dividend, can stop mining coal, start mining Uranium.

India solar: India eyes $1.1bn loan from German development bank for solar projects

India coal: Is India trying to ban Greenpeace over it’s opposition to coal?