Monday, June 25, 2007

European Clean Energy Investment Tops €1.9 Billion in Just 3 Years: Carbon Trust Report

Enviro-solutions report:

Clean energy investment accounts for ten per cent of all European venture capital investments, according to new research released by the Carbon Trust.

The report shows that investment in clean energy reached a total of just under €2 billion in 2003-2006 - putting clean energy on a par with European IT, biotech and semiconductor venture capital investment levels.

UK clean energy companies are proving the most attractive investment to date, accounting for more than 40 per cent of all European clean energy deals.

The Carbon Trust report also shows that, if growth continues at the current rate, investment in clean energy could reach around €3.5 billion in 2007-2010 - an increase of 75 per cent. Clean energy companies are those operating within the energy system or supply chain with the potential to reduce CO2 - or other greenhouse gas emissions.

Analysis of the technology types that are attracting investment in Europe highlights an interesting trend - significantly more capital was raised in Europe for energy consumption and efficiency technologies, than in North America. This indicates an emerging energy efficiency specialisation for Europe that could further develop in the next few years.

Geographical trends are also appearing. Fifteen per cent of deals involved companies based in Scandinavia - with France and Germany also performing well, with seven and fourteen per cent, respectively. Regional clusters of clean energy companies have also appeared, with examples including London, Oxford, Munich, Paris and Berlin.

The Carbon Trust's research looks in detail at trends in venture capital investing in European clean energy companies between 2003 and 2006. Other findings include:

Although renewable energy generation technologies are as popular as technologies aimed at energy conservation and energy efficiency in commercial buildings and industrial settings, significantly more capital was raised for consumption and efficiency technologies in Europe than in North America - could this be an emerging specialisation for Europe?

The IPO market is becoming increasingly important for clean energy investments - during 2003-2006, 45 venture capital backed clean energy businesses based in Europe, raised more than €2.5 billion from the quoted markets;

The North American clean energy market remains larger than that in Europe - European clean energy markets raised, on average, 60 per cent of their North American equivalents by number of investment rounds made and 40 per cent by amount invested;

Investment growth in Europe was strong during the period, but did not accelerate at the same rate as North America - in part, owing to the IPO market displacing venture capital investment that could normally be sought by businesses raising growth finance;

New markets for clean technologies are emerging - such as the portable power electronics industry - which demand ever more power and put pressure on existing battery technology;

Clean energy companies in the dataset averaged €4.4 million invested per round;
Upstream technologies accounted for 23 fundraising rounds during 2003-2006, infrastructure for 36 rounds, energy generation for 165 rounds, services for 17 rounds and consumption/energy efficiency for 203 rounds;

There are still very few funds specialising in the clean energy sector - and, with the exception of the Carbon Trust, CDC Ixis and Emerald Venture Partners, few clean energy funds have demonstrated a consistent track record in the sector.

To download the Investment trends in European clean energy 2003-2006 report - Click Here.

Renewable Energy Experiences Rapid Growth: U.N. Report

June 21 -- The amount of money invested in renewable energy projects worldwide is growing quickly, fueled by worries about climate change, high oil prices, and energy security, according to a recently released United Nations report.
The report says investment capital flowing into renewable energy climbed from $80 billion in 2005 to $100 billion in 2006. And while the renewable energy sector´s growth is volatile, it "is showing no sign of abating."

While renewable sources today produce about 2 percent of the world´s energy, they now account for about 18 percent of the world investment in power generation, with wind at the forefront. Solar and bio-fuel technologies grew even more quickly than wind, but from a smaller base, according to the trend analysis from the U.N. Environment Program.

And renewable energy projects are no longer limited to developed countries, with projects taking place in countries like China with rapidly growing energy demands.

Looking at a trajectory of growth, the U.N. report concludes that by 2030, renewable energy could account for between 9 percent and 23 percent of installed energy capacity.

[Broken Link Removed.]

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Saturday, June 23, 2007

UK Government Needs to Get Serious and Provide Proper Funding

There is stark and disappointingly vast contrast between the government's stated desire to create a low carbon economy for the UK and its financial commitment finding the solutions.

For all the concern and apocalyptic talk setting out the need "to make real progress now" by Alastair Darling in last month's 'Meeting the Energy Challenge', White Paper, it seems government still expects the private sector lead the nation's war against climate change.

One example close to our hearts at is research into low carbon energy technology. This is essential in Anaerobic Digestion technology and is the next task to be tackled if we are going to comply with the recent Stern Review's demand for action to support innovation and develop low carbon technologies.

If the UK is serious about its stated aim of leading the field in low carbon technology then it must get sensibl realistic about the amount of public money it spends on finding the solution.

Meanwhile, government continues to push forward measures to assist nuclear power as part of this solution but even here states that "it would be for the private sector to fund, develop, and build new nuclear power stations in the UK, including meeting the full costs of decommissioning and take their full share of waste management costs".

Tackling the nation's growing energy supply and carbon reduction challenges is vitally important to our economy, and the environment. Our government must come clean on its real intentions.

Is it really going to start investing serious public cash in finding the right solutions, or are all the fine words all that they are going to give us?

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Anerobic Digestion Bins Trial Starts for Food Waste in Domestic Gardens

Food waste trial to cut bin waste by 30%

Council chiefs in Wiltshire are providing around 2,000 homes with food waste digesters in a bid to cut household waste by 30%.

Wiltshire County Council has signed a one-year contract with food waste digestion company Green Cone to supply two types of technology to residents - both of which can be used in gardens.

Wiltshire residents are trialling Green Cone food digestersBoth digesters can deal with raw waste and cooked waste included cooked fruit and vegetable waste, bones and meat, including poultry and fish.

The first called the Green Cone does not produce any compost but through anaerobic digestion converts the waste into water, carbon dioxide and a small amount of residue.

The second type of food waste digester is called the Green Johanna. This is larger than the Green Cone but produces compost.

Waste reduction
Wiltshire food waste is presently sent to landfill and council estimates that digesters can reduce the average household's waste by up to 180 kilos a year or 30%.
Toby Sturgis, the council's cabinet member for planning and waste, said: "People in Wiltshire are keen to be green, that is why we already recycle nearly 40 per cent of our household waste - but we know people want to do more.

"I was appalled to find out that surveys show the average Wiltshire household throws £400-worth of food away a year. It's not sustainable to keep on burying this rubbish in the ground. It is expensive and it produces green house gases.

"This initiative tackles the last major element of the household bin for which there is no green alternative. With the rise in fines for dealing with biodegradable waste we can't afford not to take action."
  • Mr Sturgis said that other authorities in the UK have used the technology include:
  • West Sussex which saw a reduction in waste per household of 184 kilos
  • Moray which saw a reduction of 151 kilos
  • Oxford which saw a reduction of 120 kilos.
The Green Cone normally costs £79.95 including delivery and Wiltshire residents taking part in the trial can pick one up for £15. The Green Johanna is usually £108.94 including delivery and this can be picked up by householders for £20.

More here...

Friday, June 08, 2007

Anerobic Digestion Also to be Helped by Redefinition of Waste

Classifying a host of waste products as raw materials could break down the administrative barriers that currently make them difficult to reuse.

Cutting red tape will make it easier to turn millions of tonnes of industrial and commercial waste into usable materials, according to the Environment Agency and Government-funded recycling champion WRAP (the Waste & Resources Action Programme). The initiative, the Waste Protocols Project, follows in the footsteps of a successful trial in this area which redefined composted waste that met certain standards as a Non-waste product.

The second round of the project will focus on five major waste streams:
  1. Steel slag from steel manufacture, which can be reused in construction and building materials and as an agricultural fertiliser.
  2. Gypsum from waste plasterboard which can be used to make new plasterboard and in cement products.
  3. Incinerator bottom ash which is made up from glass, porcelain, brick, gravel, sand, slag and ash from household waste that is burnt in incinerators, and can be used as aggregate in construction materials.
  4. Paper mill ash which is produced when sludge from paper making is burnt for energy recovery and the ash can be used as an aggregate.
  5. Uncontaminated top soil from greenfields and development sites can be reused on a wide range of horticultural and leisure sites such as parks, golf courses and football pitches.

In addition the protocol will also look at the status of the by-products of anaerobic digestion, the technique of disposing of food waste favoured in the recently published Waste Strategy.

The project will set standards that the by-products must meet and, should they do so, will do away with the need for costly licensing to dispose of or transport waste.

Friday, June 01, 2007

UK Environment Agency to Develop Quality Protocol for Anaerobic Digestion

The Environment Agency has confirmed its intention to develop a quality protocol for residues from the treatment of waste through anaerobic digestion.

The announcement yesterday also said five further materials - steel slag, incinerator bottom ash, uncontaminated topsoil, gypsum and paper mill ash – would have protocols developed.
The Agency wants to cut red tape for anaerobic digestion plants Once finalised, the protocols could mean the materials gain the status of "products", rather than being treated as "wastes", which means they are subject to the restrictive legal controls for managing, storing, transporting and using waste as a resource.

The move to produce a protocol for anaerobic digestion – the treatment of organic wastes by bacteria in controlled conditions – fits in with the government's new waste strategy, which seeks to encourage use of the technology (see story).

The Agency believes the new protocols – being developed under the second year of its Waste Protocols project – could save around £150 million a year by helping to increase the amount of material diverted from landfill.