Analysis

Ocean thermal energy conversion resources map
April 22, 2014
Southeast Asia’s island nations are especially well placed to benefit from technology that exploits a new potential source of energy from sea water: ocean thermal energy conversion (OTEC), experts have said. The technology uses sea water from the ocean depths to generate electricity, and various pilot projects are already under way in the developing world. For example, US aerospace and defense contractor Lockheed Martin – a pioneer in the OTEC field – is working for China’s Reignwood Group to build a 10-MW pilot plant offshore from a new a “green resort community” that the company is developing on the coast of Southern China.
Taj Mahal at sunset
April 11, 2014
Blessed with bountiful sunshine, particularly in the western states of Gujarat and Rajastan, India is slowly getting its solar power act together despite the many bureaucratic and financial impediments in the way of the industry. For the FY2013-14, which ended this March, the country added almost 950-MW of solar power capacity, bring its total 2.6-GW. Clearly this is not in the same league as Germany’s 36-GW, China’s 21-GW or Japan’s 10-GW of installed capacity. Nonetheless the result should give encouragement to whomever takes the reigns in India after the current general election, to meet and exceed the country’s solar power targets.
Fossil fuel reserve distribution by stock exchange
March 21, 2014
Two years ago the Carbon Tracker Initiative released its ground-breaking Unburnable Carbon report, warning investors of the risks they face in backing huge fossil fuel reserves that can’t be burnt without massively exceeding the world’s rapidly shrinking carbon emissions budget. Now Exxon Mobil, the world’s largest publicly-listed oil company in terms of production and refining capacity, has given into pressure from activist shareholders and, by the end of the month, will publish a Carbon Asset Risk report, which assesses the risk of its oil reserves becoming “stranded” by climate change.
China wind power vs nuclear power prower production - 1995-2013
March 05, 2014
In China, wind power is leaving nuclear behind. Electricity output from China’s wind farms exceeded that from its nuclear plants for the first time in 2012, by a narrow margin. Then in 2013, wind pulled away—outdoing nuclear by 22 percent. The 135 terawatt-hours of Chinese wind-generated electricity in 2013 would be nearly enough to power New York State. Once China’s Renewable Energy Law established the development framework for renewables in 2005, the stage was set for wind’s exponential growth.
Polluted pond in rural China
February 19, 2014
Although China’s air pollution gets more headlines, its problem with water pollution is just as urgent and arguably more severe. One-fifth of the country’s rivers are toxic, while two-fifths are classified as seriously polluted. In 2012 more than half of China’s cities had water that was “poor” or “very poor”. To address this issue the Ministry of Environmental Protection is putting together a CNY2 trillion yuan (USD330 billion) action plan – exceeding the CNY1.7 trillion (USD277 billion) being spent to combat air pollution.
Trans-Pacific Partnership Leak
January 20, 2014
Green groups from around the globe up in arms after WikiLeaks late last week released the secret draft text for the entire TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership) Environment Chapter and the corresponding Chairs' Report. The TPP transnational legal regime would cover 12 countries initially and encompass 40 percent of global GDP and one-third of world trade.
Shnaghai carbon trading
November 28, 2013
This week, China will launch the pilots of its Beijing and Shanghai emmissions trading schemes. But the operating environment for these schemes will be vastly different to those in Australia or the European Union. From 2013 China has introduced seven pilot trading schemes in key cities and provinces, including Beijing, Shanghai and Guangdong. These schemes vary in scale, rules, and coverage: some cover over 50 percent of local greenhouse emissions; some are more lenient to the use of carbon offsets; some are open to the option of auctioning emission permits.
China environmental law
October 22, 2013
A third draft of proposed amendments to China’s Environmental Law was tabled at the bi-monthly meeting of National People's Congress (NPC) Standing Committee yesterday, addressing some of the criticism of the previous draft but opening new areas of controversy. The key criticism of the last draft, that it severely limited the right to bring public interest litigation against polluters, has been reversed but only somewhat.
India's ultra mega green solar power ambition
September 24, 2013
The disconnect between the Indian central government’s solar power ambitions and its on-the-ground policy implementation remains quite alarming. The fact that allocation of the first batch of development projects under the second phase of the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission (JNNSM) continues to be delayed appears to be no impediment to the announcement of grandiose new schemes. At the end of last week the Department of Heavy Industry revealed plans to build the world’s biggest solar photovoltaic power plant.
CDP water risk for the mining sector
August 02, 2013
The importance of Asia's water resources have yet again been highlighted in the most basic of financial terms. Asian mining companies look set to financially under-perform some of their international peers according to new research driven by the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) and Eurizon Capital shows that those taking action on water-risk do better. The new research report, Metals & Mining: a sector under water pressure, calls for a reassessment of current valuation models for the companies in the industry. The study found that the largest companies in the metals and mining sector are significantly under threat from water risks
The great Pakistan flood of 2010
July 31, 2013
In spite of Pakistan both dissolving it's climate change ministry and slashing its development budget by more than 60 percent, a Chinese company has promised to create a solar fund worth USD3 billion for the country. It's the sort of good news story the government is keen to see. But for the country to pin its hopes on such promises, flies in the growing evidence that climate change will hit Pakistan hard. Its current conventional energy policies cannot cope with demand and only lip-service has been given to renewables.
Bloom Energy fuel cell
July 22, 2013
The announcement of Japan's telecom and Internet giant, Softbank, signing up with US-company Bloom Energy to distribute stationary fuel-cell technology belies a cleantech sector that is quietly flourishing in Asia. Softbank and Bloom have created Bloom Energy Japan, a 50/50 partnership in which each is investing USD10 million. While sales of the new venture have not been projected, research from Navigant earlier in the year points to annual revenue from stationary fuel cells to grow from USD1.7 billion in 2013 to USD9 billion in 2022, with Japan and South Korea being seen as particularly healthy markets.
Measuring China's awful water pollution
July 12, 2013
As the debate over revisions to China’s Environmental Law rumbles on, new incidents of groundwater and river pollution pour out of the Chinese media on a near daily basis. New studies are showing the damaging effects of contamination are worse than previously thought and more widespread: only 22 percent of underground water in the densely populated North China Plain qualifies as drinking water. The calls for reform of the way water is managed by the government, and for harsher legal penalties, are growing louder. The reality is the nation's water monitoring and protection is not up to scratch.
What a stink! Everyone notices pollution in China
July 10, 2013
Critics have responded vociferously to new draft amendments to China's Environmental Law, focusing their ire on limiting litigation rights to the All-China Environmental Federation (ACEF). So negative has been the reaction, with one commentator saying it would set the country's cause back 40 years, that one Chinese media outlet after another denounced it as removing rights from the people. It is hard to imagine that any draft bill could be so bad considering the litany of environmental disasters that have befallen the country in the past few years.
A barrel of toxic waste
July 05, 2013
Toxic waste is an under-recognised major global health burden comparable to outdoor air pollution and malaria, according to a study published in Environmental Health Perspectives.   The paper says that people's exposure to industrial pollutants such as lead, asbestos and chromium from toxic waste sites in India, Indonesia, and the Philippines in 2010 resulted in the loss of 829,000 years of good health due to serious diseases or early death. Such a health burden, the researchers say, is comparable to that caused by outdoor air pollution and malaria — both serious problems in developing countries in Asia.
Hokkaido solar farm
May 24, 2013
A statement last month from Hokkaido Electric Power Co, which provides electricity to Japan’s northernmost island, that it won’t be able to accommodate more than 400-MW of utility-scale solar-powered generating capacity appears to be having a cooling effect on the industry. SB Energy, the renewable power arm of Softbank Corp, is reported by the Kyoto News agency to be re-evaluating the feasibility of three solar projects in the prefecture with a total planned capacity of 180-MW.
Protestors outside Primak
May 09, 2013
With the death toll from last month’s collapse of Rana Plaza now past 900, the fall-out from Bangladesh's worst industrial disaster will be felt well beyond Dhaka’s slums and tenements. Karl Borgschulze of Consulting Services International, who has been working on CSR issues within the Bangladeshi garment and textile industry since 2005, shared his views with CleanBiz.Asia.
An Indian solar farm
May 08, 2013
India intends to level the playing field between solar photovoltaic (PV) power modules made from crystalline silicon and those using various thin-film technologies during the country’s next grid-connected solar PV power capacity auction due to start at the end of this month. During the first phase of the country’s Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission (JNNSM) – under which solar PV and solar thermal were each allocated 500-MW of capacity – there was a mandate that 60 per cent of equipment by value was to be locally sourced for solar PV projects and 30 percent for solar thermal projects.
Quenching China's thirst
March 04, 2013
China's inexorable demand for energy has seen it sign a slew of multi-billion deals in the past in the past week or so, reflecting the new complexities of the international energy market. They add to new calculations by analysts that China is set to produce enough crude oil outside its borders to rival OPEC members such as Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates. In a recent interview with the Financial Times International Energy Agency chief economist Fatih Birol said last year's USD35 billion foreign energy company buying spree by Chinese companies will produce the equivalent of Kuwait's output by 2015.
The climate impact of aerosols
January 22, 2013
It is early days yet but the new research that shows that black carbon, more commonly known as soot, could be contributing twice as much to global warming than previously thought, and may have a future impact on climate talks. It has also been found to be affecting rainfall patterns on the Asian monsoon more than previously thought. Particles from diesel engines, wood burners and coal fires, according to the research published in the Journal of Geophysical Research-Atmospheres, have a total warming effect greater than methane and two thirds that of carbon dioxide. That was almost double the effect estimated by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in 2007.