Good Day SuperForest!
I hope you are all having awesome weekends! At some point I’ll probably resist the compulsion to attempt to pun on the inclusion of the word “news” in “renewables” but until then I can offer you only a sheepish apology. I like to follow developments in the renewable energy sector and wanted to offer a small selection of bitesize treats for you – a balanced meal of things we can do in the first person in our own homes with our own resources and a side order of larger scale industry-wide investments:
California regulators have approved a $350 million program to subsidize the installation of solar water heaters to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The program will allocate $250 million for the replacement of hot water heaters fueled by natural gas and $100.8 million for those powered by electricity with solar water heaters (a nifty storage tank and solar array using the sunny sun to warm the water) and “customers of California’s three big investor-owned utilities will receive rebates of up to $1,500, or about 30 percent of the cost of replacing a residential natural-gas hot water heater with a solar system”.
The UK government has announced its plan to provide financial incentives (“Feed in Tariffs”) for small scale adoption of solar power! The Guardian breaks it down here but, in short, “the government has finally agreed to reward households and businesses installing electricity-generating measures with enough of a return to make it a serious financial, as well as an environmental, investment. If you’ve got the money (which is a big “if”) and, crucially, a sunny, south-facing roof, you can earn a 7%-10% tax-free return, an income that will rise in line with inflation. At the same time, you get to do more than your fair share in reducing the UK’s carbon emissions.” The government has also said that it will be giving feed-in tariffs to households installing solar water heaters (like in California!), from April 2011.
Inevitably there’s argument as to whether the plans are too timid, but if want to suggest it to your parents, your landlord, or if you’re a homeowner yourself then now is a great time.
(pretty pics from the Carbon Trust)
The UK Carbon Trust (a not-for-profit company with the mission to accelerate the move to a low carbon economy by providing specialist support to help business and the public sector cut carbon emissions, save energy and commercialise low carbon technologies) announced this week plans for its Marine Proving Fund to provide £22 million (US$35m) funding (money from the Department of Energy and Climate Change) for what it considers to be the six most promising marine (ie wave and tidal) energy technologies under development in the UK. They’ve selected 6 companies to receive the grants to help move from prototypes to commercial projects. This is exciting as research by the Carbon Trust shows that 25% of the world’s wave and tidal technologies are being developed in the UK, but that financial constraints have frequently inhibited progress because they’re not yet considered commercially viable – but if we only ever invested in the technologies that are already successful businesses we’d never move forward.
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