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US$100 billion in new renewable investments power Indian energy transition

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Investments worth over US$100 billion in the past eight months alone are driving an unprecedented shift to renewable energy in India, according to a major new report from the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA).

The report – Global Capacity Building: India’s Electricity Sector Transformation – charts the accelerating influx of global capital and capacity into India as the country strides towards its goal of installing 175GW of renewable energy by 2022 – over seven times more renewable capacity than is currently used in the UK.

“In India’s so-called ‘seven horses of energy’ electricity sector transformation, renewable energy is ahead of the pack and rapidly gathering pace,” said Tim Buckley, Director of Energy Finance Studies at IEEFA.

“In early 2015, global financial markets were sceptical about whether good intentions and big promises could be turned into concrete actions. But today the figures speak for themselves, with well over US$100bn of firm commitments signed and sealed. This include deals with state owned enterprises, leading Indian power companies, a number of Indian billionaires new to the power sector, plus leading global renewable energy firms and global utilities.”

Leading consultancy, Bridge to India, calculates that the Indian solar project pipeline is over 8GW, with another 4GW of tenders underway currently, up from less than 1GW annually in the previous three years.

Significant moves in 2015 have included:

– Four of the world’s largest solar manufacturers advancing plans to build Indian solar manufacturing capacity (Trina Solar, JA Solar, Hanwha Q CELLS, LONGi);

– Three of the world’s top renewable energy utilities acquiring top Indian renewable project development firms (EDF Energies Nouvelles, ENEL Green Power, ENGIE);

– Four of North America’s top solar development companies accelerating project development in India (Sky Power of Canada, First Solar, SunEdison and SunPower);

– Leading Asian innovators and utilities targeting Indian renewables (Foxconn of Taiwan, SoftBank of Japan, Sembcorp of Singapore, CLP Group of HK);

– Major Indian energy sector conglomerates initiating multiple new investment programs in renewables (Adani Power, Tata Power and Reliance Power);

– Several of India’s wealthiest companies entering the power markets to invest in renewables (Aditya Birla Group, the Dilip family, Bharti Enterprises, Jindal Steel and Power);

– Global development banks and leading equity investors providing innovative green finance (International Finance Corp, the World Bank, KfW of Germany, Asia Development Bank, Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, GE, Goldman Sachs, Actis Capital);

October 2015 alone saw more than a dozen major deals in the renewable energy sector, most notably Sany Group, China, announcing plans to invest US$3bn in Indian renewables by 2020, Chint Group, China, announcing plans to invest US$2bn of Indian renewables by 2020, the new SoftBank/Foxconn/Bharti joint venture signing its first US$2bn memorandum of understanding (MoU) in Andhra Pradesh for 3GW of renewables and the German government pledging €1.5 billion over five years to support India’s solar energy expansion through a German-Indian solar partnership.

The November 2015 SunEdison solar auction win of 500MW at Rs4.63/kWh (US7.1c) sets a record low solar price, 10% lower than the previous record low set just two months ago. The deflationary benefit of solar is stark – declining installation costs and real price annual declines locked in for 25 years.

The consequences for imported thermal coal are stark.

In line with Energy Minister Piyush Goyal’s repeated assertion that India’s reliance on thermal coal imports is not sustainable for the economy, rate payers, nor commercially viable for the coal-fired power plants involved, in the six months to September 2015, Indian coal imports have declined 6% year-on-year, culminating in a 27% collapse in the month of September 2015.

“The sharp, unexpected fall in India’s coal imports reinforces the fact that seaborne thermal coal is in structural decline,” said Buckley. “Coal India Ltd’s production and dispatch growth continued to accelerate in the seven months to October 2015, up 10% year-on-year, a gain forecast by no one just one year ago.”

“While there is quite simply no rational economic case for imported coal, the speed of renewable developments is now undercutting domestic fossil fuels.”

As a case in point, Reliance Power, one of the major private electricity generators in India, is reported to be exiting almost its entire coal and gas fired generation plant expansion plans that totalled 10GW at the start of 2015/16. Reliance Power has even gone so far as to seek to sell its 4GW Sasan coal-fired Ultra-Mega Power Plant, a project was only fully commissioned at the start of this year.

Reliance Power is now focused on profitable growth, which in India almost entirely revolves around its 6GW solar and 5.2GW hydro electricity expansion plans.

“Smart money is backing renewable energy,” concluded Buckley. “India is executing one of the most radical energy sector transformations ever undertaken and this year has shown that the flow of finance is matching the ambition.”

The report is available here.

Energy

7 New Technologies That Could Radically Change Our Energy Consumption

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Energy Consumption
Shutterstock Licensed Photo - By Syda Productions | https://www.shutterstock.com/g/dolgachov

Most of our focus on technological development to lessen our environmental impact has been focused on cleaner, more efficient methods of generating electricity. The cost of solar energy production, for example, is slated to fall more than 75 percent between 2010 and 2020.

This is a massive step forward, and it’s good that engineers and researchers are working for even more advancements in this area. But what about technologies that reduce the amount of energy we demand in the first place?

Though it doesn’t get as much attention in the press, we’re making tremendous progress in this area, too.

New Technologies to Watch

These are some of the top emerging technologies that have the power to reduce our energy demands:

  1. Self-driving cars. Self-driving cars are still in development, but they’re already being hailed as potential ways to eliminate a number of problems on the road, including the epidemic of distracted driving ironically driven by other new technologies. However, even autonomous vehicle proponents often miss the tremendous energy savings that self-driving cars could have on the world. With a fleet of autonomous vehicles at our beck and call, consumers will spend less time driving themselves and more time carpooling, dramatically reducing overall fuel consumption once it’s fully adopted.
  2. Magnetocaloric tech. The magnetocaloric effect isn’t exactly new—it was actually discovered in 1881—but it’s only recently being studied and applied to commercial appliances. Essentially, this technology relies on changing magnetic fields to produce a cooling effect, which could be used in refrigerators and air conditioners to significantly reduce the amount of electricity required.
  3. New types of insulation. Insulation is the best asset we have to keep our homes thermoregulated; they keep cold or warm air in (depending on the season) and keep warm or cold air out (again, depending on the season). New insulation technology has the power to improve this efficiency many times over, decreasing our need for heating and cooling entirely. For example, some new automated sealing technologies can seal gaps between 0.5 inches wide and the width of a human hair.
  4. Better lights. Fluorescent bulbs were a dramatic improvement over incandescent bulbs, and LEDs were a dramatic improvement over fluorescent bulbs—but the improvements may not end there. Scientists are currently researching even better types of light bulbs, and more efficient applications of LEDs while they’re at it.
  5. Better heat pumps. Heat pumps are built to transfer heat from one location to another, and can be used to efficiently manage temperatures—keeping homes warm while requiring less energy expenditure. For example, some heat pumps are built for residential heating and cooling, while others are being used to make more efficient appliances, like dryers.
  6. The internet of things. The internet of things and “smart” devices is another development that can significantly reduce our energy demands. For example, “smart” windows may be able to respond dynamically to changing light conditions to heat or cool the house more efficiently, and “smart” refrigerators may be able to respond dynamically to new conditions. There are several reasons for this improvement. First, smart devices automate things, so it’s easier to control your energy consumption. Second, they track your consumption patterns, so it’s easier to conceptualize your impact. Third, they’re often designed with efficiency in mind from the beginning, reducing energy demands, even without the high-tech interfaces.
  7. Machine learning. Machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) technologies have the power to improve almost every other item on this list. By studying consumer patterns and recommending new strategies, or automatically controlling certain features, machine learning algorithms have the power to fundamentally change how we use energy in our homes and businesses.

Making the Investment

All technologies need time, money, and consumer acceptance to be developed. Fortunately, a growing number of consumers are becoming enthusiastic about finding new ways to reduce their energy consumption and overall environmental impact. As long as we keep making the investment, our tools to create cleaner energy and demand less energy in the first place should have a massive positive effect on our environment—and even our daily lives.

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Energy

Responsible Energy Investments Could Solve Retirement Funding Crisis

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Energy Investments
Shutterstock / By Sergey Nivens | https://www.shutterstock.com/g/nivens

Retiring baby-boomers are facing a retirement cliff, at the same time as mother nature unleashes her fury with devastating storms tied to the impact of global warming. There could be a unique solution to the challenges associated with climate change – investments in clean energy from retirement funds.

Financial savings play a very important role in everyone’s life and one must start planning for it as soon as possible. It’s shocking how quickly seniors can burn through their nest egg – leaving many wondering, “How long your retirement savings will last?

Let’s take a closer look at how seniors can take baby steps on the path to retiring with dignity, while helping to clean up our environment.

Tip #1: Focus & Determination

Like in other work, it is very important to focus and be determined. If retirement is around the corner, then make sure to start putting some money away for retirement. No one can ever achieve anything without dedication and focus – whether it’s saving the planet, or saving for retirement.

Tip #2: Minimize Spending

One of the most important things that you need to do is to minimize your expenditures. Reducing consumption is good for the planet too!

Tip #3: Visualize Your Goal

You can achieve more if you have a clearly defined goal in life. This about how your money can be used to better the planet – imagine cleaner air, water and a healthier environment to leave to your grandchildren.

Investing in Clean Energy

One of the hottest and most popular industries for investment today is the energy market – the trading of energy commodities. Clean energy commodities are traded alongside dirty energy supplies. You might be surprised to learn that clean energy is becoming much more competitive.

With green biz becoming more popular, it is quickly becoming a powerful tool for diversified retirement investing.

The Future of Green Biz

As far as the future is concerned, energy businesses are going to continue getting bigger and better. There are many leading energy companies in the market that already have very high stock prices, yet people are continuing to investing in them.

Green initiatives are impacting every industry. Go Green campaigns are a PR staple of every modern brand. For the energy-sector in the US, solar energy investments are considered to be the most accessible form of clean energy investment. Though investing in any energy business comes with some risks, the demand for energy isn’t going anywhere.

In conclusion, if you want to start saving for your retirement, then clean energy stocks and commodity trading are some of the best options for wallets and the planet. Investing in clean energy products, like solar power, is a more long-term investment. It’s quite stable and comes with a significant profit margin. And it’s amazing for the planet!

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