Mixed Greens: Transport fuel use could be halved by 2030, says IEA

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IEA says current technologies, with govt support, could halve vehicle fuel consumption. Plus: US wind credit battle; another China ETS; and another Arctic low.

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The International Energy Agency has predicted that fuel consumption in new vehicles could be slashed by half in the next 20 years, provided governments introduce bold policies to support clean technologies – technologies that the IEA said were already cost-effective, in that fuel savings outweigh additional costs over vehicle life, but were not deployed widely enough. Scientific American reports that the Paris-based agency said on Wednesday that the transport sector, which consumes around one fifth of global primary energy, will account for nearly all the future growth in oil use.

“Strong policies are needed to ensure that the full potential of these technologies is achieved over the next 10 to 20 years,” the IEA said in one of two reports on the fuel economy of road vehicles. “Current technologies for conventional gasoline and diesel vehicles can reduce fuel consumption by half over the next 20 years,” the IEA said. Policies highlighted by the IEA as playing a key role in boosting fuel economy improvements include fuel economy standards, fiscal measures and education programs.

The agency said a reduction on transport energy consumption would have “significant” benefits for energy security, economic development, individual user fuel costs, and climate change – adding it would be key in achieving a maximum temperature rise of 2 degrees Celsius by 2050, even with a rapid rise in sales of EVs.

In other news…

Nineteen US companies have written a letter the the US Senate urging leaders to extend a tax credit for the wind industry that expires at the end of the year. BusinessGreen reports that the companies – including Starbucks, Ben & Jerry’s and Yahoo – argue in a letter that the long-standing 2.2 cent per kWh production tax credit for wind power “lowers prices for all consumers, keeps America competitive in a global marketplace and creates homegrown American jobs”.

Concern over the loss of the US wind tax credit has already caused industry fallout, with Siemens Energy revealing this week it would lay off 615 workers in Kansas and Florida in a decision it attributed, partly, to lack of congressional action on the wind credit and increased use of natural gas-fired power plants. Bloomberg reports that the sackings will leave the company with ~1,000 workers in its wind power business in US.

Meanwhile, US President Barack Obama has final say on whether a Chinese-owned company can build wind farms near a US Navy installation in Oregon. Bloomberg reports that the US Committee on Foreign Investment rejected the wind farm project, but unless Obama rejects it by September 28, China-owned Ralls will be able to go ahead with the Oregon project.

The Chinese city of Shenzhen will next year launch an emissions trading scheme to curb CO2 from over 800 companies, regulating over 40 million tonnes of CO2 per year, the local government announced Wednesday.

Yingli Green Energy Australia – the wholly-owned subsidiary of China’s Yingli Green Energy – has signed an agreement to appoint Solar 360 as its sales partner in Australia. PV Magazine report that the deal will see Solar 360 sell and promote 30MW of Yingli Solar modules in Australia over the next year through a unique accredited dealer network of up to 100 accounts.

Arctic sea ice has hit yet another new low, shrinking to 3.41 million square kilometers on September 16, 18 per cent less than the previous record from 2007, and its smallest ever size in a satellite record stretching back 33 years, according to US National Snow and Ice Data Center.

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