Jul 21, 2015

Is crowdsourcing the key to funding renewable energy in Asia?

China
Australia
Asia
Admin
3 min
Throughout the Australasia region, government agencies are looking for new ways to stay ahead of the threat of an energy deficit and stave off the il...

Throughout the Australasia region, government agencies are looking for new ways to stay ahead of the threat of an energy deficit and stave off the ill effects of climate change. One important way to solve these issues is through renewable energy sources, from solar farms to wind turbines. But while these alternatives are on their way toward mainstream acceptance, they do still have a long way to go. Until then, fundraising options like crowdsourcing could turn out to be an effective way to fund renewable energy pursuits and prove their importance to solving energy issues within the region.

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As CNBC reports, some entities like the government of South Australia have helped investors come onboard with the idea of renewable exploration by reframing it from a matter of environmental imperative to a matter of potential economic promise in the long run:

"We flipped it over to make it an investment proposition. Rather than focusing on the obvious and important question of climate change here, [we asked] is this a new economic driver? And it turns out that it is," said Dr. Paul Heithersay, deputy chief executive at the South Australian government's Department of State Development. "It's a very high-tech industry."

 

Meanwhile China is looking to the public to help fund renewable energy projects—with already some significant success. According to reports, last year Hong Kong-based company United Photovoltaics successfully raised 10 billion yuan (around $1.6 million) in China from a pool of 100 investors through crowdfunding, using those funds to build a 1 MW off-grid solar farm.

RELATED CONTENT: [INFOGRAPHIC] Is China Crawling Toward Peak Coal?

Unived Photovoltaics already has plans to use crowdfunding again in the near future, and other Australasian businesses are as well—especially given the added bonus that crowdfunding has of showing quite clearly where the public’s interests lie by allowing them to vote with their wallets:

"Crowd-funding and community-funding are attractive for smaller scale distributed solar projects in China," advisory firm EY said in a report last year. "Investors can invest small amounts of capital for specific projects. Since financing is provided to individual projects, it provides developers a strong incentive to design and implement quality projects which in turn ensures an efficient use of capital."

 

The early success of crowdsourcing not only proves that it is a viable method for fundraising—it also proves where the public interest lies, which could prompt officials and private investors to give greater thought to providing their own funding in the future:

"The force of public opinion can't be ignored and the financial markets are dictating it," Australia's Heithersay said […] “Clearly, [there's]a very strong movement among the general populace that we want to invest in clean energy and they're all there out in force backing these companies that were probably a little bit before their time," he said.

 

Disruption and grassroots efforts are the way of the future, in the energy industry as much as any other. In this case, it could pave the way for a more sustainable and efficient energy system for Asia and Australia.

[SOURCE: CNBC]

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Jun 25, 2021

UK must stop blundering into high carbon choices warns CCC

climatechange
Energy
Netzero
UK
Dominic Ellis
5 min
The UK must put an end to a year of climate contradictions and stop blundering on high carbon choices warns the Climate Change Committee

The UK Government must end a year of climate contradictions and stop blundering on high carbon choices, according to the Climate Change Committee as it released 200 policy recommendations in a progress to Parliament update.

While the rigour of the Climate Change Act helped bring COP26 to the UK, it is not enough for Ministers to point to the Glasgow summit and hope that this will carry the day with the public, the Committee warns. Leadership is required, detail on the steps the UK will take in the coming years, clarity on tax changes and public spending commitments, as well as active engagement with people and businesses across the country.

"It it is hard to discern any comprehensive strategy in the climate plans we have seen in the last 12 months. There are gaps and ambiguities. Climate resilience remains a second-order issue, if it is considered at all. We continue to blunder into high-carbon choices. Our Planning system and other fundamental structures have not been recast to meet our legal and international climate commitments," the update states. "Our message to Government is simple: act quickly – be bold and decisive."

The UK’s record to date is strong in parts, but it has fallen behind on adapting to the changing climate and not yet provided a coherent plan to reduce emissions in the critical decade ahead, according to the Committee.

  • Statutory framework for climate The UK has a strong climate framework under the Climate Change Act (2008), with legally-binding emissions targets, a process to integrate climate risks into policy, and a central role for independent evidence-based advice and monitoring. This model has inspired similarclimate legislation across the world.
     
  • Emissions targets The UK has adopted ambitious territorial emissions targets aligned to the Paris Agreement: the Sixth Carbon Budget requires an emissions reduction of 63% from 2019 to 2035, on the way to Net Zero by 2050. These are comprehensive targets covering all greenhouse gases and all sectors, including international aviation and shipping.
     
  • Emissions reduction The UK has a leading record in reducing its own emissions: down by 40% from 1990 to 2019, the largest reduction in the G20, while growing the economy (GDP increased by 78% from 1990 to 2019). The rate of reductions since 2012 (of around 20 MtCO2e annually) is comparable to that needed in the future.
     
  • Climate Risk and Adaptation The UK has undertaken three comprehensive assessments of the climate risks it faces, and the Government has published plans for adapting to those risks. There have been some actions in response, notably in tackling flooding and water scarcity, but overall progress in planning and delivering adaptation is not keeping up with increasing risk. The UK is less prepared for the changing climate now than it was when the previous risk assessment was published five years ago.
     
  • Climate finance The UK has been a strong contributor to international climate finance, having recently doubled its commitment to £11.6 billion in aggregate over 2021/22 to 2025/26. This spend is split between support for cutting emissions and support for adaptation, which is important given significant underfunding of adaptation globally. However, recent cuts to the UK’s overseas aid are undermining these commitments.

In a separate comment, it said the Prime Minister’s Ten-Point Plan was an important statement of ambition, but it has yet to be backed with firm policies. 

Baroness Brown, Chair of the Adaptation Committee said: “The UK is leading in diagnosis but lagging in policy and action. This cannot be put off further. We cannot deliver Net Zero without serious action on adaptation. We need action now, followed by a National Adaptation Programme that must be more ambitious; more comprehensive; and better focussed on implementation than its predecessors, to improve national resilience to climate change.”

Priority recommendations for 2021 include setting out capacity and usage requirements for Energy from Waste consistent with plans to improve recycling and waste prevention, and issue guidance to align local authority waste contracts and planning policy to these targets; develop (with DIT) the option of applying either border carbon tariffs or minimum standards to imports of selected embedded-emission-intense industrial and agricultural products and fuels; and implement a public engagement programme about national adaptation objectives, acceptable levels of risk, desired resilience standards, how to address inequalities, and responsibilities across society. 

Drax Group CEO Will Gardiner said the report is another reminder that if the UK is to meet its ambitious climate targets there is an urgent need to scale up bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS).

"As the world’s leading generator and supplier of sustainable bioenergy there is no better place to deliver BECCS at scale than at Drax in the UK. We are ready to invest in and deliver this world-leading green technology, which would support clean growth in the north of England, create tens of thousands of jobs and put the UK at the forefront of combatting climate change."

Drax Group is kickstarting the planning process to build a new underground pumped hydro storage power station – more than doubling the electricity generating capacity at its iconic Cruachan facility in Scotland. The 600MW power station will be located inside Ben Cruachan – Argyll’s highest mountain – and increase the site’s total capacity to 1.04GW (click here).

Lockdown measures led to a record decrease in UK emissions in 2020 of 13% from the previous year. The largest falls were in aviation (-60%), shipping (-24%) and surface transport (-18%). While some of this change could persist (e.g. business travellers accounted for 15-25% of UK air passengers before the pandemic), much is already rebounding with HGV and van travel back to pre-pandemic levels, while car use, which at one point was down by two-thirds, only 20% below pre-pandemic levels.

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