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$46 Million in Loans Announced for Four Renewable Energy Projects in Africa, Caribbean

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The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) and the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD) yesterday announced USD 46 million in concessional loans for four renewable energy projects in developing countries. The loans will fund a wind and solar project in Antigua and Barbuda, a solar project in Burkina Faso, a solar and wind project in Cabo Verde and a solar project in Senegal. The four projects will result in nearly 12 megawatts of new renewable energy capacity, reduce emissions, create jobs, and electrify rural communities without access to modern energy services.

“Accelerating the energy transition to renewables requires all countries to take action to develop their own local renewable energy sources,” said IRENA Director-General Adnan Z. Amin at a press conference today on the sidelines of IRENA’s sixth Assembly. “While renewable energy resources are abundant in many developing countries, adequate finance can still be a barrier to deployment. IRENA and ADFD’s pioneering partnership contributes to overcoming this challenge, by selecting innovative projects for concessional funding.”

“Increased availability of clean, affordable and reliable energy is an important priority for ADFD to drive sustainable development and positive societal changes across developing countries,” said Mohammed Saif Al Suwaidi, Director General of ADFD. “Our collaboration with IRENA has significantly contributed to narrowing the energy divide that has long hindered development projects in developing countries due to the lack of reliable power infrastructure. Through this collaboration, we have ensured the availability of necessary financial resources to move the sustainable development agenda forward. At ADFD, we are committed to continuing to collaborate with international agencies to spur economic growth, ensure environmental protection and create jobs across the developing world.”

About the funded projects:

  • Antigua and Barbuda: A 4 megawatt wind and solar project will receive USD 15 million to provide energy to desalinate water and increase climate resilience. The project will avoid 8,275 tonnes of CO2 per year.
  • Burkina Faso: A 3.6 megawatt solar PV mini-grid project will receive USD 10 million to provide modern energy services to more than 12,000 local families. The project will avoid 2,500 tonnes of CO2 per year.
  • Cabo Verde: A 2 megawatt hybrid grid-connected solar PV and wind project will receive USD 8 million to provide a 100 per cent renewable energy solution for the Island of Brava. The project will avoid 4,665 tonnes of CO2 per year.
  • Senegal: A 2 megawatt solar PV mini-grid project will receive USD 13 million to supply electricity to rural villages. The project will avoid 3,200 tons of CO2 per year.“Renewable energy plays a major role in sustainable development and, for many developing countries, is the most economically viable energy source,” said Dr. Thani Al Zeyoudi, UAE Permanent Representative to IRENA and Director of Energy and Climate Change at the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs. “The ADFD and IRENA partnership enables developing countries to leverage clean energy innovation and reinforces the UAE’s commitment to advance renewable energy development globally.”The fourth funding cycle of the Project Facility is now open for project proposals until 15 February 2016, with concessional loan interest rates of 1-2 per cent provided by ADFD. These low rates will support a broad range of renewable energy projects for the remaining four loan cycles.
  • For more information visit: www.irena.org/adfd
  • These projects are funded through the IRENA/ADFD Project Facility, which commits USD 350 million to increase the deployment of renewable energy in developing countries. To date, the facility has allocated USD 144 million in project funding over its first three cycles. Loans are provided to finance up to 50 per cent of each project, attracting co-financing from banks, international financial institutions and other development partners. This mobilizes enough funds to more than double the original investment and helps build local financial markets to create valuable know-how for the future.
  • Selected projects represent a mix of renewable energy sources, are all innovative, potentially replicable or scalable, and will improve energy access. Previous projects approved for funding in cycles one and two include solar, hydropower, geothermal, biomass, wind and hybrid projects in Argentina, Ecuador, Cuba, Iran, Maldives, Mali, Mauritania, Samoa, Sierra Leone and St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

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Energy

Is Wood Burning Sustainable For Your Home?

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sustainable wood burning ideas

Wood is a classic heat source, whether we think about people gathered around a campfire or wood stoves in old cabins, but is it a sustainable source of heat in modern society? The answer is an ambivalent one. In certain settings, wood heat is an ideal solution, but for the majority of homes, it isn’t especially suitable. So what’s the tipping point?

Wood heat is ideal for small homes on large properties, for individuals who can gather their own wood, and who have modern wood burning ovens. A green approach to wood heat is one of biofuel on the smallest of scales.

Is Biofuel Green?

One of the reasons that wood heat is a source of so much divide in the eco-friendly community is that it’s a renewable resource and renewable has become synonymous with green. What wood heat isn’t, though, is clean or healthy. It lets off a significant amount of carbon and particulates, and trees certainly don’t grow as quickly as it’s consumed for heat.

Of course, wood is a much less harmful source of heat than coal, but for scientists interested in developing green energy sources, it makes more sense to focus on solar and wind power. Why, then, would they invest in improved wood burning technology?

Homegrown Technology

Solar and wind technology are good large-scale energy solutions, but when it comes to small-space heating, wood has its own advantages. First, wood heat is in keeping with the DIY spirit of homesteaders and tiny house enthusiasts. These individuals are more likely to be driven to gather their own wood and live in small spaces that can be effectively heated as such.

Wood heat is also very effective on an individual scale because it requires very little infrastructure. Modern wood stoves made of steel rather than cast iron are built to EPA specifications, and the only additional necessary tools include a quality axe, somewhere to store the wood, and an appropriate covering to keep it dry. And all the wood can come from your own land.

Wood heat is also ideal for people living off the grid or in cold areas prone to frequent power outages, as it’s constantly reliable. Even if the power goes out, you know that you’ll be able to turn up the heat. That’s important if you live somewhere like Maine where the winters can get exceedingly cold. People have even successfully heated a 40’x34’ home with a single stove.

Benefits Of Biomass

The ultimate question regarding wood heat is whether any energy source that’s dangerous on the large scale is acceptable on a smaller one. For now, the best answer is that with a growing population and limited progress towards “pure” green energy, wood should remain a viable option, specifically because it’s used on a limited scale. Biomass heat is even included in the UK’s Renewable Heat Initiative and minor modifications can make it even more sustainable.

Wood stoves, when embraced in conjunction with pellet stoves, geothermal heating, and masonry heaters, all more efficient forms of sustainable heat, should be part of a modern energy strategy. Ultimately, we’re headed in the direction of diversified energy – all of it cleaner – and wood has a place in the big picture, serving small homes and off-the-grid structures, while solar, wind, and other large-scale initiatives fuel our cities.

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Environment

New Climate Change Report Emphasizes Urgent Need for Airline Emission Regulations

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In less than two months, the United States has grappled with some of the worst natural disasters in its history. Hurricanes battered the south central United States. Fires destroyed homes throughout Northern California. Puerto Rico experienced some of the worst storms ever. A massive windstorm caused more damage to the northeastern United States then any other storm on record before winter even struck.

These recent incidents have spurred discussion on the dangers of climate change. A recent report from the University of London has shed some light on the discussion. The new report suggests that new regulations are needed, including stricter EPA regulations on Airlines.

Review of the new report

The new report was published in the British medical Journal, Lancet. The report concluded that climate change is a “threat multiplier” for a variety of social problems, including diseases and natural disasters. While numerous studies have processed the risk that climate change plays with creating natural disasters, University of London report is among the first to explore the relationship between climate change and disease.

The authors warned that the problems are becoming irreversible. They will continue to get worse if risk factors are not adequately addressed.

The most concerning part of the report is that these problems are having the most serious impact on the most vulnerable communities in the world. Countries that depend on agriculture and other issues will suffer the most if climate change escalates.

“The answer is, most of our indicators are headed in the wrong direction,”said Nick Watts, a fellow at University College London’s Institute for Global Health and executive director of the Lancet Countdown, one of the lead researchers of the paper. “Broadly, the world has not responded to climate change, and that lack of response has put lives at risk. … The impacts we’re experiencing today are already pretty bad. The things we’re talking about in the future are potentially catastrophic.”

Airline industry discovers climate change is a two-way Street

The airline industry is coping with the problems of climate change, while also coming to terms with the fact that it has helped accelerate the problem. Earlier this year, American Airlines was forced to cancel four dozen flights near Phoenix. Cancellations were called due to excessive temperatures. The air was over 120 degrees, which is too hot for some smaller jet planes to get off the ground.

One anonymous airline executive privately admitted that their business model has facilitated climate change. They warned that the problem may become twice as bad in the next few years if proper safeguards aren’t implemented. Representatives from Goindigo have echoed these concerns.

The EPA has stated that airplanes account for 11% of all emissions. They are expected to increase over 50% within the next 30 years. This could have serious repurcussions if newer, greener airplane models don’t become the new standard in the very near future.

This is driving discussion about the need for new policies.The EPA has been discussing the need for new airline regulations for nearly two years. An EPA ruling made in July 2016 set the tone for new regulations, which could be introduced in the next year.

The new policies may be delayed, due to the new president’s position on climate change. He hired an EPA chief that has sued the organization about a dozen times. However, the Trump Administration may not be able to oppose climate change indefinitely, because a growing number of people are pressing for reforms. Even younger conservatives primarily believe climate change is a threat and are demanding answers. This may force the EPA to follow through on its plans to introduce new solutions.

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