Tag Archive | "Spain"

Kazakhstan rises in the index of energy sustainability

Kazakhstan ranks 58th among 129 world countries in the index of energy sustainability, the World Energy Council’s (WEC) report said.

WEC index is assigned on the basis of comparative analysis of the energy situation in the country and is based on three factors: energy security, availability of electricity for population and ecological compatibility of the energy industry.

“Kazakhstan’s rating rose, and the country has achieved significant successes in the energy security field,” WEC said.

Thus, the performance of energy security has been improved by reducing accidents, losses and compliance with the standards of various electricity norms. Kazakhstan for the first time entered the top ten and finished in sixth place among 129 countries in the world, leaving behind the United Kingdom (11th), the United States (12th), China (18th), Switzerland (19th), Spain (22nd), Sweden (24th) Germany (31st) United Arab Emirates (49th), Georgia (106th).

Aside from that, international authors indicate a significantly higher rating in the environmental performance of Kazakhstan’s energy sector as a result of social responsibility on conserving resources and reducing wastes.

Implementation of new technologies, among other measures aimed at minimal detrimental impact on the environment, brought the country up by three positions in the world ranking.

This year three countries received AAA rating with the highest scores in all three directions: Switzerland, Denmark, Sweden, the UK and Spain.

The 22nd World Energy Congress WEC Daegu 2013 was held from October 13 to 17, 2013 in the South Korean city of Daegu under the theme ‘Securing Tomorrow’s Energy Today’. The Congress is held every three years in different cities around the world. The WEC Congress marked its 90th anniversary this year. It was attended by over 6,000 delegates from 113 countries.

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Agricultural engineer says tobacco could be used to produce biofuels

Good news this week for tobacco growers, especially in emerging nations, worried that the health risks from smoking might one day affect their business following the revelation that their plants could help power the next generation of motor cars.

Research from the Public University of Navarre in Spain has reportedly shown that genetically modified tobacco plants are viable as raw material for producing biofuels.

Ruth Sanz-Barrio, an agricultural engineer at the university and a researcher at the Institute of Biotechnology, revealed this month that specific tobacco proteins – known as thioredoxins – as biotechnological tools in plants, which can be used to produce biofuels.

Specifically, she has managed to increase the amount of starch produced in the tobacco leaves by 700% and fermentable sugars by 500%.

“We believe these genetically modified plants could be a good alternative for producing biofuels,”Sanz-Barrio told European journalists .

“With these sugars, according to the theoretical calculation provided by the National Centre for Renewable Energies, one could obtain up to 40 litres of bioethanol per tonnes of fresh leaves.”

China is the world’s largest tobacco grower producing four times more than the second biggest India with Brazil and the USA in third and fourth place.

Thirteen countries in Europe grow tobacco including Spain, home to the university, the largest producer Italy and neighboring France, which has produced its unique dark tobacco cigarettes for more than a century. Tobacco production in the EU has fallen dramatically in the past two decades as farming subsidies were withdrawn and fewer people took up smoking and now accounts for just 4% of world production.

 

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Water scarcity increasingly threatens global security

Brahma Chellaney is a geostrategist and an author, most recently, of Water, Peace, and War: Confronting the Global Water Crisis. 

According to his research, water shortages in the densely populated parts of Asia, the Middle East and North Africa could create large numbers of “water refugees” and overwhelm some states’ institutional capacity to contain the effects. The struggle for water is already escalating political tensions in certain parts of the world.

Downstream Egypt, for example, uses the bulk of the Nile River’s water, yet it is now threatening unspecified reprisals against Ethiopia’s continuing construction of the Grand Renaissance Dam.

China, already the world’s most-dammed nation, has approved the construction of 54 new dams – many of them on rivers that are the lifeblood of neighbouring countries. Turkey is accelerating an ambitious dam-building programme, which threatens to diminish cross-border flows into Syria and Iraq.

Meanwhile, intrastate water-sharing disputes have become common. Water conflicts within culturally diverse nations, such as Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen and Sudan, often assume ethnic dimensions, thereby accentuating internal-security challenges.

But as illustrated by the disputes within, for example, the United States, Spain and Australia, intra-country water conflict is not restricted to the developing world.

Water conflicts in America have spread from the arid west to the east. Violent water struggles, however, occur mostly in developing nations, with resource scarcity often promoting environmental degradation and perpetuating poverty. Adequate access to natural resources, historically, has been a key factor in peace and war.

Countries can import fossil fuels, mineral ores and resources originating in the biosphere, such as fish and timber. But they cannot import water, or at least not in a major or sustainable manner. Water is essentially local and very expensive to ship.

Potable water supplies will come under strain if oceans rise. Rapid economic and demographic expansion has already turned potable water into a major issue across large parts of the world. Lifestyle changes have increased per capita water consumption.

It is against this background that water wars (in a political and economic sense) are already being waged between competing states, including by building dams on international rivers or by resorting to coercive diplomacy to prevent such construction.

US intelligence has warned that such water disputes could turn violent.

According to a report reflecting the joint judgement of US intelligence agencies, the use of water as a weapon of war or a tool of terrorism could become more likely in the next decade in some regions.

The InterAction Council, comprising more than 30 former heads of state or government, meanwhile, has called for urgent action, saying some countries battling severe water shortages risk failing. Water stress is adding to socio-economic costs.

The World Bank has estimated the economic cost of China’s water problems at 2.3% of its GDP. China, however, is not as yet under water stress – a term internationally defined as the availability of less than 1,700 cubic metres of water per person per year. By contrast, the already water-stressed economies, stretching from South Korea and India to Egypt and Morocco, are paying a higher price for their problems.

Nature’s fixed water-replenishment capacity limits the world’s freshwater resources to nearly 43 trillion cubic metres per year. But the human population has almost doubled since 1970.

Growth in consumption has become the single biggest driver of water stress. Rising incomes, for example, have promoted changing diets, especially a greater intake of meat, the production of which is notoriously water-intensive. It is about 10 times more water-intensive to produce meat than plant-based calories and proteins.

As a result, water could become the world’s next major security and economic challenge.

Bottled water at the supermarket is already more expensive than crude oil on the spot market. More people today own or use a mobile phone than have access to water-sanitation services. Unclean water is the greatest killer on the globe, yet a fifth of humankind still lacks easy access to potable water. More than half of the global population currently lives under water stress – a figure projected to increase dramatically during the next decade.

Although no modern war has been fought just over water, this resource has been an underlying factor in several armed conflicts.

With the era of cheap, bountiful water now gone, to be replaced by increasing constraints on supply and quality, the risks of overt water wars are increasing.

Avoiding conflict over water demands international cooperation. But there is still no international water law in force, and most regional water agreements are toothless, lacking monitoring and enforcement rules and provisions formally dividing water among users. Worse still, unilateralism is endemic in the parched world.

The international community thus confronts a problem more pressing than peak oil, economic slowdown and other oft-cited challenges.

Addressing this core problem holds the key to dealing with other challenges because of the nexus of water with global warming, energy shortages, stresses on food supply, population pressures, pollution, environmental degradation, global epidemics and natural disasters.

 

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Availon wins full maintenance contract for Vattenfall’s wind farm

Availon, a leading wind farm service provider, announced today that it was awarded a complete maintenance contract for Vattenfall’s 12MW Jänschwalde wind farm, located near Cottbus in the German federal state of Brandenburg.

Availon was already in charge of maintaining three of the turbines since 2012, and it has now taken over the responsibility for all of the wind farm’s 2MW Vestas V90 turbines, through a full maintenance service agreement known as WindKeeper Complete. In addition to comprehensive maintenance services and the provision of numerous upgrades, the WindKeeper Complete maintenance package developed by Availon also includes the replacement of major components, and an availability guarantee.

“We have worked with Vattenfall on this project since 2012. The partnership resulted in great success, and we are very pleased that Vattenfall has decided to hand us over the responsibility for servicing their entire 12 MW wind farm”, commented Markus Spitzer, Managing Director of Availon.

Since its founding in 2007, today’s Availon GmbH has established itself as a leading provider of multi-brand wind turbine services. In addition to focussing on its core market of Germany, the company is also steadily expanding its global strategic position. This Rheine-based company currently employs a workforce of around 290 employees in Germany, Spain, Italy and the US. Availon GmbH looks after more than 1,800 MW on an international level. Its proactive, all-inclusive service for wind turbines covers the entire operational value creation chain, ranging from remote monitoring, maintenance and spare part supply through to troubleshooting and turbine optimization. Availon GmbH is the first independent wind turbine service provider which has been fully certified by Germanischer Lloyd for all processes required for service provision.

 

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$500m Morocco solar project to be led by ACWA

Saudi-based developer, owner and operator of utility-scale water and power projects company, ACWA Power International, is set to lead the consortium with Morocco’s solar energy agency MASEN in a $500m project.

The energy contract is set to include the building of a 160MW CSP plant in the south of Morocco, which will include a team-up with Spanish engineering firm Aries Ingenieria Y Sistemas and TSK Electronica y Electricidad to construct, design, finance, operate and maintain the facility.

Originally, a fossil energy company, ACWA has emerged as a global leader in CSP projects driven by steam to create solar power, specifically gaining from the company’s background in fossil energy expertise to adapt to this form of renewable energy.

This bid follows last month’s success in winning a contract to build the Bokpoort CSP project in South Africa.

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