‘Gene editing can bring clear benefits to UK food and farming industry’

Gene editing can bring clear benefits to the UK food and farming industry as UK agricultural moves through its fourth revolution.

But confusing gene editing with genetic modification was dangerous, speakers at both the Oxford Farming Conference (OFC) and the Oxford Real Farming Conference (ORFC) heard.

US-based communication specialist Julie Borlaug, whose grandfather Norman Borlaug was a Nobel prize winning plant breeder, said: “Firstly we have to make sure GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms) and gene editing are not in the same playbook.

“They are very different and should not be conflated in debate. If we want to make progress we have to embrace gene editing and we have to take it to the farmer or it will not work.”

Sir Mark Walport, chief executive of UK Research and Innovation, said Roslin Institute researchers were already using gene editing to breed pigs resistant to Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome and academics at John Innes were developing key traits for wheat as part of their Designing Future Wheat programme. Continue reading “‘Gene editing can bring clear benefits to UK food and farming industry’”

Renewable energy shift ‘could change global distribution of power’

The Mohammed bin Rashid Solar Park in Dubai is the largest single-site concentrated solar power project in the world. Source: Reuters

A new age of energy will alter the global distribution of power, a report from the International Renewable Energy Agency says.

The report states the effect of the rapid growth in renewable energy on geopolitics and socio-economics may be as significant as the impact of fossil fuels two centuries ago.

This could mean the redistribution of global power, the formation of new global alliances and lead to the emergence of new energy leaders. The transformation, the report says, will “change energy statecraft as we know it”.

“Fundamental changes are taking place in the global energy system that will affect almost all countries and will have wide-ranging geopolitical consequences,” the report says. Continue reading “Renewable energy shift ‘could change global distribution of power’”

6 Renewable Energy Trends To Watch In 2019

2019 promises to be an exciting year for clean tech. An increasing number of countries, companies and regions are embracing sustainable energy generation and the landscape is rapidly evolving.

Here are Forbes’ 6 renewable energy trends to watch in the coming year.

1. Energy Storage

Energy storage plays an important role in balancing power supply and demand, and is key to tackling the intermittency issues of renewable energy. Pairing a storage system with a renewable energy source ensures a smooth and steady power supply, even when weather conditions are not optimal for energy generation.

Batteries are the most common storage devices used in renewable energy systems and their use is increasing on both the residential and grid-wide scale. Energy storage technologies are expected to continue to improve, making their use more viable and affordable. It is projected that storage will represent a core component of all new energy technologies moving into the future, as both utility-scale and domestic energy storage solutions become more price competitive, eroding the advantages of traditional energy sources.

On the Caribbean island of Barbados, old electric car batteries are being reused to provide grid energy storage and extend their useful lifespan. Continue reading “6 Renewable Energy Trends To Watch In 2019”

Forestry ‘will yield the second highest level of returns’ for farmers

The importance of forestry is recognised by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine in terms of its commercial, environmental and social values, according to the newly-established Forest Industries Ireland (FII).

Speaking at the launch of the Ibec group for the national sector yesterday (Wednesday, January 9), the director of FII Mark McAuley noted that the department recognises the sector as yielding the second highest-yielding level of returns for the average farmer over the lifetime of the commodity.

The director explained: “We met not that long ago with the department; we’re meeting with the ministers this afternoon (January 9).

“And the department has a pretty clear view of where forestry stands with farmers in Ireland. Obviously it’s providing over €100 million a year into the forestry programme, and most of that is spent with farmers clearly in the forestry premiums that they get the first 15 years after establishment.

“It will outperform beef; it will outperform sheep; it will outperform arable – that’s where it stands.” Continue reading “Forestry ‘will yield the second highest level of returns’ for farmers”

EDF Renewables & Shell form joint venture & invest in New Jersey offshore wind

EDF Renewables North America and Shell New Energies US LLC announced that the companies have formed a 50/50 joint venture, Atlantic Shores Offshore Wind, LLC to co-develop OCS-0499 lease area within the New Jersey Wind Energy Area (WEA). The lease area holds the potential to produce approximately 2,500 MW of offshore wind energy – enough to power close to one million homes.

This transaction is subject to regulatory approvals. Construction is subject to positive final investment decision.

The lease comprises 183,353 acres about eight miles off the coast of Atlantic City on the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf (OCS). The area offers strong and steady wind resources in relatively shallow water, close to large population centers with associated electricity demand.

“Shell has bold ambitions to grow our renewable power business and we see great potential in U.S. offshore wind,” said Dorine Bosman, VP Shell Wind Development. “Gaining access to this acreage in New Jersey complements our successful entry to Massachusetts and our existing renewable generation business. Building on the strength of our brand and global presence allows us to continue providing our customers with more and cleaner energy.” Continue reading “EDF Renewables & Shell form joint venture & invest in New Jersey offshore wind”

New report makes case for U.S. investment in collaborative offshore wind R&D

The U.S. could tap into a vast offshore wind energy resource and better steward its marine environment by galvanizing large-scale research and fostering public-private partnerships, according to a report by the Partnership for Offshore Wind Energy Research (POWER-US).

The new report draws lessons from past industry-transforming initiatives and concludes that similar approaches can be taken to greatly expand the ability of the wind energy industry to generate power and jobs for the U.S. economy. The report, “Reaching Convergence in U.S. Offshore Wind Energy Research: A Multidisciplinary Framework for Innovation,” is the result of a two-year initiative convened by the Massachusetts Research Partnership in Offshore Wind (MRP) — a partnership of several academic and research institutions.

The initiative included nine major workshops and numerous discussions with industry leaders and university researchers across the U.S. and globally. The POWER-US initiative and other efforts across the country are precursors to the collaborative approach needed to transform the wind energy industry.

“We have the potential to become a world leader in offshore wind energy generation and innovation if we put our resources behind the effort and work together to make it happen,” said Fara Courtney, strategic advisor for POWER-US. Continue reading “New report makes case for U.S. investment in collaborative offshore wind R&D”

Ecolab to Support Clearway’s US Renewable Energy Projects

US-based water, hygiene, energy technologies and services provider Ecolab has agreed to provide support for Clearway Energy Group’s US renewable energy projects, including a 419MW wind farm, Mesquite Star, located in Fisher County, Texas.

Under a virtual power purchase agreement (VPPA), Ecolab will support the construction of 100MW of new renewable electricity capacity within the Mesquite Star wind farm.

In 2015, Ecolab signed 5MW of community solar subscriptions with Clearway in Minnesota.

Ecolab corporate sustainability vice-president Emilio Tenuta said: “We continually work to improve the sustainability footprint of our customers’ and our own operations, and the renewable electricity generated from the Mesquite Star wind farm will help us reduce our greenhouse gas emissions 25% by 2020 versus a 2015 baseline.” Continue reading “Ecolab to Support Clearway’s US Renewable Energy Projects”

Top Trends To Watch In Renewable Energy In 2019

This year has seen several major policy changes in renewable energy, especially in solar.

China surprised everyone in June by announcing that it would not issue approvals for any new solar power installations in 2018 and would also cut the feed-in tariff subsidy. In February, the U.S. imposed tariffs on imported solar cells and modules, creating uncertainty in the U.S. solar market.

The solar market globally is set to adapt to those industry disruptions next year. Together with continued declines in solar and wind costs, 2019 could be a brighter year for the U.S. solar and renewable energy markets, analysts and industry professionals say.

Scott Cramer, president of solar company Go Solar Group—which operates in Reno, Nevada; Salt Lake City, Utah; and San Antonio, Texas—sees several trends that will shape and shake the U.S. solar market next year. Continue reading “Top Trends To Watch In Renewable Energy In 2019”

More Than 680 Gigawatts Of New Wind Power To Come Online By 2027

More than 680 gigawatts (GW) of new wind power is expected to come online around the globe in the next decade, according to new research from Wood Mackenzie Power & Renewables.

Wood Mackenzie announced this week that it had upgraded its Global Wind Power Market Outlook Update: Q4 2018 by 2% compared to only a quarter ago, with the majority of the expected growth to occur in the medium-term, boosting annual capacity additions from 2020 to 2023 by an average of 2.7 GW.

However, it is the long-term outlook which is most impressive, with Wood Mackenzie analysts forecasting that more than 680 GW worth of new wind power — both onshore and offshore — will be brought online through 2027.

In Europe, Wood Mackenzie expects the maturation of the region’s offshore wind sector will act as a strong driver of growth, while both Japan and South Korea are expected to boast an offshore base of over 2 GW each — not bad, considering neither country has more than 100 megawatts worth of offshore capacity. Continue reading “More Than 680 Gigawatts Of New Wind Power To Come Online By 2027”

More French wind will mean cheaper electricity

Large-scale deployment of wind and solar capacity, combined with progressive closures of nuclear plants, is the best way to reduce the cost of electricity, according to a new report by the French Environment and Energy Management Agency (Ademe).

The report compares seven scenarios for the evolution of France’s electricity mix 2020-2060 from a purely economic standpoint.

It concludes that the optimum is for renewables to supply around 85% of demand in 2050 and at least 95% in 2060. This compares to roughly 20% today.

The report will feed into the debate now taking place on France’s recently announced draft energy plan, or PPE.

Importantly, Ademe takes a long-term perspective, looking forward to 2060. Continue reading “More French wind will mean cheaper electricity”