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This week’s 10 biggest climate innovation stories — 6 April

EU climate leadership board
via Carbon Market Watch, Transport & Environment

Flexible prices proposed to encourage renewables consumption. Why Sweden is winning at climate change, and could the tide be turning to make this renewable energy viable? This and more, in this week’s ten biggest climate innovation stories.

1.

Sweden leads EU’s climate change fight

Sweden is leading the fight against climate change with the greatest commitment and action to fulfilling the Paris Agreement, according to the EU Climate Leader Board ranking.

NGO network Carbon Market Watch and NGO Transport & Environment released the “EU Climate Leader Board” ranking this week to coincide with negotiations over the EU’s legislation on climate action.

The ranking reflects how seriously nations take the Paris agreement and comprises five Paris-related goals contained in a European Commission proposal, including moves to close loopholes on land use and emissions trading, governance, and climate ambition.

Sweden is the only country rated excellent, with Germany and France the only countries rated moderate. The remaining 25 countries are rated insufficient, poor or very poor. EU Member States are currently negotiating the legislation which covers 60 per cent of the EU’s greenhouse gas emissions.

Read more on New Europe

2.

New EU rules aim to make power cheaper when the sun shines

Utilities in the European Union may have to offer more flexible prices from 2020 to encourage consumers to use more electricity when supplies are abundant and cheap, according to proposed new rules. Most European utilities sell at fixed prices, regardless of price swings on wholesale markets, which makes sense when most power comes from coal and nuclear plants that are always on. More flexible price structures would be responsive to the ebbs and flows of renewables and would help align consumer behaviour.

Read more on Reuters

3.

Northern Irish energy storage cave project secures €90m grant

A project that plans to use renewable energy to compress and store air in naturally occurring salt caverns deep underground has won a €90m EU grant. Once compressed, the air could then be released to power generators, providing up to 330MW for periods of between six and eight hours.

Read more on Business Green

4.

Renewables cut Europe’s carbon emissions by 10 per cent in 2015, says EEA

Increasing wind and solar use meant Europe’s greenhouse gas emissions fell about 10 per cent in 2015. Renewables use rose to 16.7 per cent of Europe’s total energy use.

Read more on the Guardian

5.

Paris and London mayors announce scheme to gauge car emissions

The mayors said a scoring system would identify real-life emissions from cars, providing consumers with more accurate information. The scheme will rely on road and “real world” testing and allocate car models a score based on the air pollutants emitted.

Read more on Reuters

6.

European Investment Bank & BPER provide €50 million for Italian energy efficiency projects

The banks committed €50 million for energy efficiency projects in Italy, for implementation by businesses of all sizes. It is the first project in Italy to receive assistance from the EU’s Private Finance For Energy Efficiency (PF4EE) instrument.

Read more on CleanTechnica

7.

Tidal turbine maker bids for government contracts to generate electricity

British tidal power company Atlantis Resources Ltd is one of a number of companies vying for around €250 million of government contracts to generate electricity. Atlantis is bidding to build power turbines under the sea in Scotland and is looking to show that tidal power is now commercially viable. 

Read more on Bloomberg New Energy Finance

8.

Airline food and why so much of it ends up in landfill

Airlines generated 5.2m tonnes of waste in 2016, most of which went to landfill or incineration – and it cost them almost €400 million. Setting a better example is Madrid’s Barajas airport, aiming to recover 80 per cent of cabin rubbish. Barajas airport is looking to encourage separation, low-packaging meals, reusable cutlery, and data-led solutions to anticipate meal preferences.

Read more on Guardian Sustainable Business

9.

London gets giant coffee cups to recycle five million small ones

London’s financial district is using giant coffee cup shaped bins to persuade drinkers to recycle. Only 1 per cent of coffee cups are recycled, with 5 million going to landfill or incineration. 

Read more on Bloomberg

10.

Huge leap forward at biotech business

Salmon will soon be fed using leftover protein from Scotland’s whisky fermentation process with a biotech firm close to completing its first such processing facility.

The whisky leftovers, a barley protein extract will replace food made from fish and brought from South America. By 2020, the first operating plant should produce enough protein to feed about 15 per cent of the Scotland’s farmed salmon.

Read more at Herald Scotland

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