The National Assembly of Panama recently approved two renewable energy incentive laws. The incentive laws include import-tax and other tax exemptions on equipment, as well as a credit equal to 5 per cent of the value of civil works that are considered to be for public use. In a different development, the government announced the start of a process that will award 150 MW of wind energy contracts. This move could open the door for wind turbine installations in Panama. According to the economy minister, Mr Alberto Vallarino, the 150 MW of wind projects could be expanded depending on the capabilities of the participants.
In July, 2010 Senegal adopted the Guidance on Renewable Energy law aimed at promoting renewable energy production in the country. Broadly, the objectives include the target to secure supplies of renewable energy in sufficient quantities at low cost, as well as increase people’s access to modern energy services and reduce vulnerability to exogenous risks.
According to minister of renewable energies, biofuels and aquaculture, Therese Coumba Diop, “Nature has endowed Senegal great potential for solar energy that we can develop“. With the passage of this “law of social orientation”, Senegal might exceed its targets of 15 per cent in 2015 for development of renewable energy.
The Turkish Parliament approved a law regulating the renewable energy market of the country in December, 2010. The new law limits the volume of energy that the State is allowed to buy, besides determining the long-term prices for electricity purchases. However, energy analysts in the country believe that the law will present more obstacles for renewable energy investors than ease the development process. “While Germany is seeking to get 100 per cent of its energy from renewables by 2050 and England aims to reduce carbon emissions to zero, Turkey’s law – a country which has great wind and solar energy potential – should have promoted renewables far more. Instead of support, the law brings limitations to renewable energy production”, observed Prof. Tanay Sidki Uyar, head of the Turkey branch of European Association for Renewables (Eurosolar).
But the investors’ biggest concern is the feed-in tariff set by the Parliament. The law limits the total production of licensed solar energy companies to 600 MW annually until Dec. 31, 2013, and authorises the Cabinet to determine the limits afterwards. In addition, the law guarantees a price of $7.3 cents per kilowatt-hour for energy from waste products and solar energy. These rates are said to be very low for a country that needs to work harder to tap into its vast renewable resources, especially in solar and wind. According to market analysts and solar developers, the solar industry in Turkey could become one of the biggest in the world if the government offered the industry appropriate regulatory and financial support as Germany and Spain have done.
“We have enacted a law that will create jobs and encourage industrialists in new sectors,” said Turkish Energy and Natural Resources Minister Taner Yıldız.
In a bid to encourage growth of renewable energy, the government of Greece introduced a slew of measures in 2010, including simplifying the investment process. Greece is believed to have a high potential for wind power generation. Yet, the country was third last in a study released by the European Wind Energy Association on the average amount of time taken by a nation to approve wind energy projects: A company is said to go through more than 40 different authorities in the process.
Greece has about 1,000 MW of wind energy installations and will need to produce as much as 12,000 MW annually to meet the European Union target for energy from renewable sources by 2020. Hence, in order to achieve this target, the Government wants to attract investment to build renewable energy projects. The Government passed a law aimed at reducing the approval time for renewable energy investments to as little as eight months from three years. It also reduced the time taken to get authorisation from the energy regulator to two months from the previous time period of a year.
Driven by the wind power sector, India continues to make progress in renewable energy capacity. It has added over 2,700 MW of grid-connected renewable capacity during 2010 as compared to the 1,056 MW in 2009. This capacity includes power from wind, biomass, small hydro and solar resources. The wind power sector alone has contributed over 2,000 MW in this. The figures were revealed by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy through an official statement.
Wind turbine supplier Suzlon Energy has opened a new research, development & technology centre in Germany. The company plans to have a total employee strength of 200 in the new centre, which will include over 120 employees of Suzlon Energy GmbH. Suzlon GmbH is a joint venture between Suzlon’s arm Suzlon Wind Energy and Volkswind Bulgaria GmbH, which is a subsidiary of Volkswind GmbH.
Besides, the company plans to expand capacity at its plant in China as it expects to return to profit this financial year. Suzlon will manufacture turbines capable of generating a combined 1,000 MW in China by 2013, Suzlon Chairman Tulsi Tanti said in Tianjin, China. That’s a 67 per cent increase from the current capacity of 600 MW, which Tanti said will be used fully next year.
Indian companies are going a long way in finding alternate sources of energy, and in the process, encashing a new opportunity in carbon credits. As many as 746 Indian companies, representing more than 40 sectors, account for 1,056 projects that have applied for CDM accreditation. According to industry chamber FICCI, as many as 114 firms out of India’s top 500 companies are involved in CDM projects.
A Crisil Research study reveals that the number of CERs in India is expected to increase to 246 million tonnes by December 2012, from 72 million tonnes in November 2009. The green-hued firms are spread across sectors such as steel, power, chemicals and consumer goods.