Foreign investors get serious about renewables in India
Japan’s SoftBank is teaming up with India’s Bharti Enterprises and Taiwan’s Foxconn Technology to invest $20 billion in renewable energy in India, according to the Wall Street Journal (WSJ). The announcement was made on Monday.
This joint venture, in which all three stakeholders will invest, will be called SBG Cleantech Ltd. (SBG) said SoftBank in a news release, according to the WSJ.
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SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son and Bharti CEO Sunil Bharti Mittal announced in New Dehli that SBG will attempt to generate 20 gigawatts of electricity, roughly equal to a $20 billion investment. Currently, India generates 3 gigawatts of solar power.
The goal for the Indian government is to generate 100 gigawatts of solar energy by 2022. Recently, India’s Adani Group announced, similarly, that it would spend $9.45 billion to build a 10-gigawatt solar power plant in Rajasthan—in western India. Additionally, Adani announced that, together with SunEdison Inc., it would build a $4 billion solar-panel plant, says the WSJ.
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This is not the first tech investment SoftBank has made in India. “The Japanese telecommunications and Internet giant has made a string of tech investments in India, including $627 million in online-retailing marketplace Snapdeal and leading a $210 million funding round in taxi-hailing app Ola Cabs. Mr. Son has said he would like to invest as much as $10 billion in India in the coming years,” writes the WSJ.
“With this partnership, our goal is to create a market-leading clean-energy company, to fuel India’s growth with clean and renewable sources of energy,” Mr. Son said in the release.
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“SoftBank said the new venture will focus on solar and wind energy, and invest in and develop renewable energy plants across India,” concludes the WSJ.
All but two UK regions failing on school energy efficiency
Most schools are still "treading water" on implementing energy efficient technology, according to new analysis of Government data from eLight.
Yorkshire & the Humber and the North East are the only regions where schools have collectively reduced how much they spend on energy per pupil, cutting expenditure by 4.4% and 0.9% respectively. Every other region of England increased its average energy expenditure per pupil, with schools in Inner London doing so by as much as 23.5%.
According to The Carbon Trust, energy bills in UK schools amount to £543 million per year, with 50% of a school’s total electricity cost being lighting. If every school in the UK implemented any type of energy efficient technology, over £100 million could be saved each year.
Harvey Sinclair, CEO of eEnergy, eLight’s parent company, said the figures demonstrate an uncomfortable truth for the education sector – namely that most schools are still treading water on the implementation of energy efficient technology. Energy efficiency could make a huge difference to meeting net zero ambitions, but most schools are still lagging behind.
“The solutions exist, but they are not being deployed fast enough," he said. "For example, we’ve made great progress in upgrading schools to energy-efficient LED lighting, but with 80% of schools yet to make the switch, there’s an enormous opportunity to make a collective reduction in carbon footprint and save a lot of money on energy bills. Our model means the entire project is financed, doesn’t require any upfront expenditure, and repayments are more than covered by the energy savings made."
He said while it has worked with over 300 schools, most are still far too slow to commit. "We are urging them to act with greater urgency because climate change won’t wait, and the need for action gets more pressing every year. The education sector has an important part to play in that and pupils around the country expect their schools to do so – there is still a huge job to be done."
North Yorkshire County Council is benefiting from the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme, which has so far awarded nearly £1bn for energy efficiency and heat decarbonisation projects around the country, and Craven schools has reportedly made a successful £2m bid (click here).
The Department for Education has issued 13 tips for reducing energy and water use in schools.