Thursday, September 20, 2012

Apply for a 2013 Ashden Award

Apply for a 2013 Ashden Award

Are you breaking new ground in increasing access to sustainable energy, saving energy or generating renewable forms of energy supply? Are you encouraging low-carbon living or more sustainable travel? If so, we want to hear from you!

A significant prize - and much more

Next June, up to 13 winners will be presented with a cash prize of £5,000 to £40,000 at a prestigious ceremony in London. But winning an Ashden Award is about more than the prize money. If you are successful we’ll also support you to develop your work further, help you build your profile and gain access to new networks.

What are we looking for?

For our UK and International Awards we are looking for sustainable energy pioneers that are making progress in transforming people's lives through sustainable energy, saving energy, generating renewable energy or promoting behaviour change.

Applications for our School Awards must be able to demonstrate success in making their buildings and grounds more sustainable as well as integrating sustainability into their culture and curriculum.

For our Eurostar Ashden Awards for Sustainable Travel we are looking for schemes that are encouraging more sustainable forms of travel in Belgium, France or the UK.

Follow one of the links below to find out more about the eligibility criteria for each award and how to apply.

> UK Ashden Awards

> International Ashden Awards

> Eurostar Ashden Awards for Sustainable Travel

> Ashden School Awards

> Small Island Developing States Awards


Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Premier: 10% duty reduction for electric cars

Cayman Islands Premier McKeeva Bush said Tuesday he would authorise a 10 per cent import duty reduction for electric cars and motorcycles.

The announcement comes just a few days ahead of the legalisation of certain electric cars for use on all three Islands’ roads when the regulations of the new Traffic Law take effect on Friday.

Mr. Bush said he would ask Cabinet members for a further reduction in import duties for the vehicles, but couldn’t promise anything further immediately. The initial duty reduction means a 32 per cent levy charged on the import of an electric vehicle would drop to 22 per cent.

“We do lose some revenue….but while that happens we gain an improvement to our environment,” Mr. Bush said during a Tuesday press conference.

The Premier was joined Tuesday afternoon by Cayman Automotive CEO John Felder. Mr. Felder has been trying to bring electric vehicles into the country for going on seven years and with the implementation of the Traffic Law Friday will finally see his first road-ready electrics be registered for use.

Mr. Felder said plans were in the works for a network of 14 electric car charging stations with the first four going in at Camana Bay, the Cayman Motor Museum in West Bay, Governors Square and at Kaibo in North Side.

The Cayman Automotive CEO also said the first electric cars in the Caribbean to be available for tourist rentals would be announced in Cayman Brac on Friday.

“It’s important for all the Caribbean,” Mr. Felder said. “This will become the model; there is no one else in the Caribbean doing what you see here today.”

What visitors to the government administration building saw Tuesday were three fully electric powered vehicles that will be transferred to their owners upon being registered Friday. Those included a ‘Think City’ electric car sold to local businessman Joey Hew, a ‘Wheego Electric’ car sold to former Chamber of Commerce President Jim O’Neill and a ‘Zero’ electric motorcycle sold to Shaun Whittaker.

Mr. Whittaker gave a demonstration of his new bike Tuesday afternoon. On-lookers couldn’t tell when he started up the electric bike because it operates in complete silence.

Mr. Felder said he had four other electric cars being shipped in now that had already sold.

“The future is here, and the Cayman Islands are a part of it,” Mr. Bush said. More


Monday, September 17, 2012

Time for the GOP to Get Serious About Climate Change, the New National Security Issue

Mitt Romney's remarks on NBC's Meet the Press earlier this month rankled environmental activists hoping for a bipartisan approach to climate change. "I'm not in this race to slow the rise of the oceans or to heal the planet," the Republican presidential nominee told David Gregory. "I'm in this race to help the American people."

The comment was meant as a dig at some of President Obama's more high-flying rhetoric from the 2008 campaign, but it also laid bare a significant difference in outlook between the parties: When it comes to the issue of climate change, Republicans have taken a decidedly unrealistic tack.

The available evidence overwhelmingly suggests that climate change is real; that extreme weather events are increasing, likely due to climate change; and that this dynamic will have an impact on American national-security interests, if it hasn't already. This year's curiously hot summer was accompanied by the worst drought that the U.S. has experienced in 50 years -- a phenomenon that not only hurts Americans, but is having ripple effects throughout the world as crops wither and food prices increase in nations that can barely afford the price shocks. But the GOP's leading political figures have not been raising the alarm about the connection.

That's unfortunate -- both for the GOP and for America. While the GOP has traditionally held an electoral advantage on national-security issues -- something that apparently will not be the case in this year's election -- its stance on environmental issues also could have a decidedly negative impact on American national security.

Climate change denialism remains a powerful current within the Republican party, and is a stance honored by most of the candidates who sought this year's GOP presidential nomination. Though Romney argued for reductions in carbon emissions when he governed Massachusetts, he changed his tune on the campaign trail. He said at one point that he thought the world was getting hotter, but added, "I don't know that, but I think that it is." As to human contributions, Romney allowed, "It could be a little. It could be a lot." On another occasion, Romney stated outright, "My view is that we don't know what's causing climate change on this planet."

Meanwhile, the evidence that climate change is a real and pressing problem continues to mount. Not only do heat records continue to fall, but the extreme weather events that we have seen with increasing regularity further underscore the problem. As James Hansen, who directs the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, wrote recently about a new analysis he conducted of six decades of temperature data, "our analysis shows that, for the extreme hot weather of the recent past, there is virtually no explanation other than climate change." Events that can be attributed to climate change, according to his research, include the deadly heat wave that gripped Europe in 2003, the heat wave that rocked Russia in 2010 and caused spontaneous fires, and the droughts that have hit Texas and Oklahoma. More


Sunday, September 16, 2012

IRENA Renewables and Islands Global Summit Bulletin



The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) Renewables and Islands Global Summit took place from Thursday, 6 to Friday, 7 September 2012 in Malta. More than 130 representatives from IRENA member states, including ministers from 14 states and participants from international organizations and the private sector participated in the Summit.

The two-day Summit featured panel presentations and general discussions on: the implications of the Rio+20 Outcome Document for island sustainable development and renewable energy; island energy trends and strategies; strategic partnerships; and enabling frameworks for investment. A session on best practices and challenges provided the opportunity for participants to share case-study experiences from different regions.

On the final day, participants discussed and adopted the Malta Communiqué on accelerating renewable energy uptake for islands, which includes proposed actions for future IRENA assistance to islands.

Most islands around the world are dependent on imported fossil fuels for the majority of their energy needs, especially for transport and electricity generation. For reasons of scale and isolation, energy infrastructure costs are higher on islands, and the impact of oil price and supply volatility has been severe, exacerbated by the small size of local markets.

IRENA was established to promote the widespread and increased adoption and sustainable use of all forms of renewable energy. Through the provisions of the IRENA statute, adopted on 26 January 2009, and entered into force on 8 July 2010, and the Assembly decisions to date, the Agency has been requested to focus, as one of its priorities, on the accelerated deployment of renewable energy in islands.


SE4ALL: The UN General Assembly (UNGA) has declared 2012 the “International Year of Sustainable Energy for All.” (SE4ALL). In this context, the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon launched his SE4ALL initiative to identify and mobilize action by stakeholders from across government, business, civil society, academia and the development community.

The SE4ALL Initiative aims to achieve three objectives by 2030: ensuring universal access to modern energy services; doubling the global rate of improvement in energy efficiency; and doubling the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix.

The International Year and the SE4ALL initiative include various activities at different levels, such as: the UN Secretary-General’s High-Level Group; national dialogues to facilitate stakeholder involvement; and policy formulation and evaluation, as well as a public-private partnership of practitioners in the energy community.

To date, many island nations have committed to the SE4ALL partnership.

Rio+20 Outcome Document “The future we want: The United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD, or Rio+20) took place on 20-22 June 2012 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. It marked the 20th anniversary of the 1992 UN Conference on Environment and Development, which resulted in the adoption of the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development, and Agenda 21 (a 40-chapter programme of action). At UNCSD, representatives of 191 UN member states and observers, including 79 Heads of State or Government, adopted the Outcome Document entitled “The Future We Want.”

The agreement calls for the UNGA, at its next session, to take decisions on, inter alia: designating a body to operationalize the 10-year framework of programmes on sustainable consumption and production; determining the modalities for the third international conference on small island developing states (SIDS), which is to convene in 2014; and constituting a working group to develop global sustainable development goals to be agreed by the UNGA.

The Rio+20 Outcome Document contains five paragraphs on energy, which:

  • recognize the critical role that energy plays in the development process, and commits to facilitate support for access to sustainable modern energy services by the 1.4 billion people worldwide currently without them;
  • emphasize the need to address the challenge of access to sustainable modern energy services for all;
  • reaffirm support for the implementation of national and subnational policies and strategies;
  • commit to supporting efforts on electrification and dissemination of sustainable cooking and heating solutions;
  • recognize the need for energy efficiency measures in urban planning, buildings and transportation, and in the production of goods and services and product design;
  • recognize the importance of promoting incentives favoring, and removing disincentives to, energy efficiency and the diversification of the energy mix; and
  • note the SE4All initiative and express determination to make sustainable energy for all a reality, while recognizing that countries set priorities according to their specific challenges, capacities and circumstances, including their energy mix.


On Thursday, 6 September, George Pullicino, Minister for Resources and Rural Affairs, Malta, welcomed participants, noting that island states share a common vision of implementing renewable energy technology amidst limited financial resources and geophysical restrictions. He described Malta’s plans to generate 10% of all consumed energy from alternate sources by 2020, including from solar, offshore wind, biofuels and green energy generated from waste. Pullicino called for island states to lead by example, including by testing renewable energy technology before it is implemented on a larger scale.


Thursday, September 13, 2012

Open Innovation in the Electric Vehicle Marketplace

Last week, GM announced that it would break its monthly sales record for the Chevy Volt, with August sales expected to be “well over” 2,500 vehicles. Sales of plug-in electric vehicles (PHEVs) are doing better in their second year than the Toyota Prius hybrid after it hit the market in 2000. But PHEVs still occupy a niche market when compared to overall vehicle sales, and plugging in represents a cultural shift in the way American consumers use their vehicles compared to the gasoline-powered cars we have driven for over a century.

How does the technology work? How far can I drive on a single charge? Will fuel savings make up for the additional up-front cost of the car? Where will I charge?

These are just a few of the questions consumers ask about electric vehicles, and they reflect the key barriers to adoption that commonly trouble advanced technologies such as technical challenges (batteries), complex systems (transportation infrastructure), and head-on competition with existing technologies (internal combustion engines).

Alone, automakers can only do so much to alleviate customer uncertainty—and can do even less to overcome the cultural and systemic challenges that EVs face. However, through collaboration with governments, utilities, financiers, tech-companies, charging station providers, and even other automakers, the entire industry can better position themselves to “win” in a growing market.

One way that collaboration can help move EVs closer to a tipping point is through open innovation. This approach is described by Henry Chesbrough as the use of purposeful exchanges of knowledge to accelerate internal innovation, and expand the markets for external use of innovation.

With participants from 30 cities across North America, RMI’s Project Get Ready acts as a platform for open innovation and information exchange. By enabling the flow of information across this network of cities, Project Get Ready helps identify best practices for overcoming challenges to vehicle electrification. More

The Cayman Islands are in the perfect position to take full advantage of electric, hybrid and alternativly powered vehicles. Thanks to the forward thinking of the Cayman Isands Government (CIG), the members of the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service (who drafted the new traffic law) and the long standing efforts of John Felder of Cayman Automotive Leasing, the residents of these islands can now purchase and drive an electric vehicle. The CIG has mandated a extremely attractive rate of duty on alternativly powered vehicles (and I might add to Renewable Energy equipment which is duty free) making the purchase of these cars comparable with those with internal combustion (gas / diesel) engines. As gas and diesel prices escalate the benefits of owning one of these vehicles will become greater. You will find merchants installing charging stations in their parking lots, which they may cover with solar panels to power the charging stations as well as to power their businesses.

For the Cayman Islands it is imperative that the country get off fossil fuel. The Brent Crude prices today are $116.60 per barrel and the these will only continue to rise in future. A recent report predicts that by 2030 Saudi Arabia will no longer have oil to export as their entire prduction will be used internally. The other hallf of this equation is that their production has flatlined and world demand is rising. Traditionally these islands have imported their oil from South America, however, in a oil constrained world the major comsuming stateds will take the lion's share leaving small island states to take what remains at whatever price the market will bear. Editor

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Fossil Fuel Genocide: Destroying Life Support -Plan B 4

Lester Brown President Earth Policy Institute. Fossil Fuel Genocide: Destroying Life Support -Plan B 4


Monday, September 3, 2012

Electric Cars Are Here To Stay

To say that John Felder has been on an emotional roll coaster for the past few years is putting it mildly.

So it’s no surprise that he was wrought with emotion last Thursday night when it was announced at the first Caribbean International Electric Car Show at the Cayman Motor Museum that regulations allowing electric cars to be registered in the Cayman Islands had been approved.

Mr. Felder has been pushing his dream for seven long years reeling from emotional highs when government obstacles were cleared to allow for importation and use and debilitating lows when those rules and regulations became roadblocks essentially stopping any progress.

At the heart of the highs and lows were the Traffic Law and the need for new regulations governing the use of electrical cars on the roadways of the Cayman Islands.

Premier McKeeva Bush, via a note read at the invitation-only affair on Thursday, assured Mr. Felder that the regulations have indeed been written and signed off on by Cabinet, promising the regulations will actually become effective in a matter of two weeks. More

This is excellent news for the Cayman Islands, and while long overdue, is very welcome none the less. Given that gasoline is almost six dollars per gallon and shows no signs going down motorists now have the choice of going electric and reducing their costs.

Cabinet has recently approved Net Metering, and with the islands having been able to import renewable energy equipment duty free for the last two years, residents of Cayman Islands are in a position to produce their own energy to recharge their electric vehicles and make considerable savings on transport costs. Editor