Thursday, 14 January 2010

Asia Surpasses Americas in Clean Energy Spending, Says NEF

China’s energy spending pushed Asia-Oceania above the Americas for clean energy asset investment in the last quarter of 2009, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance (who contribute to this edition – see page …). The report found that new investment increased by 25% in Asia-Oceania, whilst falling by 14% in EMEA and 25% in the Americas. Tracking spending by venture capitalists, governments, asset financiers and others, NEF saw $37.3 billion invested in Asia-Oceania as a whole, versus $32 billion for the Americas. “Asia has arrived not just has a big consumer of energy but also as a heavyweight investor in clean energy capacity,” said Michael Liebreich, chief executive of NEF.

The report found that of the $145 billion global clean energy investment last year, $91.9 billion was asset finance for major projects like wind farms, solar parks and biofuels plants. Offshore wind was a particularly prominent area of investment. The report also notes that many commercial banks restricted credit to renewable energy projects as a result of the recession, leading public sector institutions like the European Investment Bank and BNDES of Brazil to pick up the slack. “Clean energy remains a sector with strong long term growth fundamentals even during hard economic times,” said Mr Liebreich.

Google Launches Energy Subsidiary

Internet giant Google has applied for permission to buy and sell wholesale electric power as a marketer. The application was made on 23 December by Google’s new Delaware-registered subsidiary, Google Energy, to the US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the agency that regulates the US power grid.

Niki Fenwick, a Google spokeswoman, said the corporation is not seeking to become an energy trader, but rather wants greater flexibility for buying renewable energy for its electricity-hungry data centres.

Google – which became the world’s largest search engine a decade ago – claimed to be carbon neutral in 2008 (see Table 2), but is heavily dependent on offsets. "Right now, we can't buy affordable, utility-scale, renewable energy in our markets," says Niki Fenwick. Google Energy was formed to “identify and develop opportunities to contain and manage the cost of energy for Google”.

Google’s interest in energy is not purely introspective. Last year it launched Google PowerMeter, a web-based home energy use tool and has partnered General Electric to work on smart grids, energy software and plug-in hybrid technology. Google invests in renewable energy through its philanthropic arm,, and its venture capital units.

Google also recently rented goats to maintain the lawns of its California headquarters in a low carbon (high-methane?) way

Monday, 4 January 2010


First day back at the lathe. Abysmal. Unable to undertake noble work, I have spent the morning padding listlessly around WH Smiths buying new pens and filling in next of kin details in my new diary.