The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) broke a record in the Bank’s history in financing clean energy projects, financing well over 1GW of new renewable capacity in 2017.

These renewable energy projects will help reduce carbon emissions by 2 million tonnes per year.

EBRD has set a target of dedicating at least 40 percent of its total annual investments to green finance by 2020, to go in line with the Paris Agreement goals, and according to a statement from the bank it may reach and exceed this goal by the end of 2017.

Up to date, EBRD has invested more than €4 billion directly in renewable energy, supporting projects in over 20 countries and funding more than 6.5 GW of capacity.

Some of the most important projects that received financing from EBRD during 2017 are the proposed 1.8GW Benban Solar in Egypt, where the bank has been involved in all three phases that have been announced so far.

Under the $500 million Framework for Renewable Energy in Egypt programme, EBRD is currently financing 16 new solar power plants which will be the first private utility-scale renewable energy projects, after the bank collaborated with the Egyptian Government to create conditions for private sector investment in the renewable energy sector.

It has also financed green power projects in Mongolia, Greece, Jordan, Serbia and Turkey; countries heavily dependent on fossil fuels with electricity systems locked-in coal and lignite.  

On March 2017, EBRD launched the Greek Renewable Energy Framework Programme, an investment framework to finance Greek renewable energy projects and electricity grid modernisation and expansion to enable renewables integration with total investment €300 million.

Nandita Pashad, EBRD’s Managing Director for Energy and Natural Resources said: “Renewables is a sector where the EBRD is making a major contribution”.

“It plays to our strengths of galvanising private sector expertise in combination with support for reforms that incentivise investments in new green technology”. 

Read more: EBRD set a new milestone in renewable energy...

The first utility-scale clean energy project, combining solar and wind power with storage will be built by Vestas and Tesla and will be located in Flinders Shire, in north-central Queensland.

The Kennedy Energy Park will comprise 12 Vesta’s V136 wind turbines of 3.6MW installed capacity each, 15MW of photovoltaic solar, and 4MWh Tesla lithium-ion batteries, all managed by Vesta’s control system and will be connected to the grid through a single connection point.

The project will be owned by Kennedy Energy Park Holdings Pty Ltd, a joint venture between Windlab and Eurus Energy Holdings Corporation of Japan.

The hybrid power project will cost $160 million, and as announced by a statement from WindLab Ltd, it reached financial close on Thursday, enabling construction to begin soon.

Clean Energy Finance Corporation will provide $93.5 million, the Australian Renewable Energy Agency $18 million and developers Windlab and Eurus Energy Holdings Corp will cover the rest of the costs with equity.

The 60.2MW project is estimated to be commissioned by the end of 2018 offering a viable solution to the intermitted nature of renewable energy sources.

Clive Turton, president of Vestas Asia Pacific said to Bloomberg Markets: “Renewables are often seen as not so reliable because we can’t control what we produce; Control is what we are addressing here”.

After completion, the wind farm is expected to generate approximately 210,000MWh per year, enough to power more than 35,000 Australian homes.

Roger Price, Windlab’s Executive Chairman and CEO said: “We believe Kennedy Energy Park will demonstrate how effectively wind, solar and storage can be combined to provide low cost, reliable and clean energy for Australia’s future”.

He added: “The broader adoption of projects like Kennedy can address the recommendations of the Finkel review and ensure that Australia can more than meet its Paris Commitments while putting downward pressure on energy prices”.

If successful, the project has the potential to scale-up since Queensland offers exceptional but rare wind resources which perform very well in tandem with solar.

Roger Price stated: “The second phase of Kennedy, phase II or “Big Kennedy” as we like to call it, is 100 percent owned by Windlab and will provide up to 1,200MW of wind energy, critical in balancing the large amounts of solar generation that will be connected to the Queensland grid as it moves toward 50 percent renewable energy capacity”.

“The fact that wind generation in Queensland is biased towards the late afternoon, evening and night make it ideal for matching large amounts of solar generation, thereby reducing the need for storage and another peaking capacity across the network”.

“This is why Big Kennedy is a central component of the Queensland Government’s Powering North Queensland Plan”. 

Read more: Vestas and Tesla are building the first...

Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon inaugurated the world’s first floating offshore wind farm, another first for the Scottish dynamic offshore wind potential.

The 30MW project is located 15 miles (25km) off the shore of Peterhead, Aberdeenshire.

The power project developer is the Norwegian state-owned Statoil, which has been working on the Hywind project for more than 15 years, in partnership with Masdar.

The pilot floating wind farm comprises four 172- meters turbines positioned in water depths of up to 129 meters.

Another innovative element of the Hywind Scotland project is that it will be linked to 1MWh Lithium battery storage solution for offshore wind energy.

The innovative floating approach will allow wind farms to be developed in much deeper waters than conventional offshore wind farms, which are usually placed in water depths of up to 50 meters.

According to the developers, part of the project’s success was the ability to leverage existing infrastructure and supply chain capabilities from the Scottish offshore and Oil & Gas industry.

For example, the onshore operation and maintenance base will be located in Peterhead drawing on resources from Statoil’s existing office in Aberdeen.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “Scotland has developed an international reputation for modern, renewable energy technologies and Hywind Scotland – the world’s first floating wind farm – is a testament to that”.

She added: “Last month I set out our Programme for Government which made firm commitments to create a cleaner and greener Scotland, and the development of renewable energy is vital to achieving this”.

Paul Wheelhouse, Scottish Minister for Business, Innovation & Energy twitted that the power project, as a world first, will play a critical role in demonstrating the potential of floating wind in Scotland’s deep waters.

Irene Rummelhoff, Executive Vice President of the New Energy Solutions business area in Statoil drew attention to the cost of floating wind farms by stating:

“Statoil has an ambition to reduce the costs of energy from the Hywind floating wind farm to € 40-60 €/MWh by 2030”.

“Knowing that up to 80% of the offshore wind resources are in deep waters (+60 meters) where traditional bottom fixed installations are not suitable, floating offshore wind is expected to play a significant role in the growth of offshore wind going forward”.

The project has been welcomed by environmental groups too.

Gina Hanrahan, Acting Head of Policy at WWF Scotland commented: “With around a quarter of Europe’s offshore wind resource in Scotland, it’s great to see the world’s first floating wind farm inaugurated off our coast”.

She stated that with the UK already being a leader in offshore wind actively driving down costs, it can do the same with this niche technology.

“By demonstrating the commercial viability of floating wind, Scotland can help to develop the industry in new frontiers and deeper waters”.

Gina Hanrahan added: “With this kind of innovation and investment and continued political support, Scotland will continue to power towards our target of securing half of all our energy needs from renewable sources by 2030”.

The pilot project followed the successful operation of a prototype installed off the island of Karmøy in Norway.

Watch the video with the whole development process of the landmark Hywind Scotland project here

Nicola Sturgeon, First Minister of Scotland and leader of the Scottish National Party, will be contributing to the panel discussion on Accelerating the Energy Transition and showcasing the Country’s commitment to a sustainable future during the 8th Sustainable Innovation Forum. The Forum, organised in partnership with the UN Environment, is the largest business-focused event taking place during COP23, 13 – 14 November in Bonn and brings together 600+ Ministers, CEOs, Mayors, Responsible Investors and many more for two days of capacity building, networking, collaboration and deal making that will galvanise and fast track the green economy. For more information and to register, please visit: http://www.cop-23.org

Read more: The world’s first floating wind farm...

Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon inaugurated the world’s first floating offshore wind farm, another first for the Scottish dynamic offshore wind potential.

The 30MW project is located 15 miles (25km) off the shore of Peterhead, Aberdeenshire.

The power project developer is the Norwegian state-owned Statoil, which has been working on the Hywind project for more than 15 years, in partnership with Masdar.

The pilot floating wind farm comprises four 172- meters turbines positioned in water depths of up to 129 meters.

Another innovative element of the Hywind Scotland project is that it will be linked to 1MWh Lithium battery storage solution for offshore wind energy.

The innovative floating approach will allow wind farms to be developed in much deeper waters than conventional offshore wind farms, which are usually placed in water depths of up to 50 meters.

According to the developers, part of the project’s success was the ability to leverage existing infrastructure and supply chain capabilities from the Scottish offshore and Oil & Gas industry.

For example, the onshore operation and maintenance base will be located in Peterhead drawing on resources from Statoil’s existing office in Aberdeen.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “Scotland has developed an international reputation for modern, renewable energy technologies and Hywind Scotland – the world’s first floating wind farm – is a testament to that”.

She added: “Last month I set out our Programme for Government which made firm commitments to create a cleaner and greener Scotland, and the development of renewable energy is vital to achieving this”.

Paul Wheelhouse, Scottish Minister for Business, Innovation & Energy twitted that the power project, as a world first, will play a critical role in demonstrating the potential of floating wind in Scotland’s deep waters.

Irene Rummelhoff, Executive Vice President of the New Energy Solutions business area in Statoil drew attention to the cost of floating wind farms by stating:

“Statoil has an ambition to reduce the costs of energy from the Hywind floating wind farm to € 40-60 €/MWh by 2030”.

“Knowing that up to 80% of the offshore wind resources are in deep waters (+60 meters) where traditional bottom fixed installations are not suitable, floating offshore wind is expected to play a significant role in the growth of offshore wind going forward”.

The project has been welcomed by environmental groups too.

Gina Hanrahan, Acting Head of Policy at WWF Scotland commented: “With around a quarter of Europe’s offshore wind resource in Scotland, it’s great to see the world’s first floating wind farm inaugurated off our coast”.

She stated that with the UK already being a leader in offshore wind actively driving down costs, it can do the same with this niche technology.

“By demonstrating the commercial viability of floating wind, Scotland can help to develop the industry in new frontiers and deeper waters”.

Gina Hanrahan added: “With this kind of innovation and investment and continued political support, Scotland will continue to power towards our target of securing half of all our energy needs from renewable sources by 2030”.

The pilot project followed the successful operation of a prototype installed off the island of Karmøy in Norway.

Watch the video with the whole development process of the landmark Hywind Scotland project here

Nicola Sturgeon, First Minister of Scotland and leader of the Scottish National Party, will be contributing to the panel discussion on Accelerating the Energy Transition and showcasing the Country’s commitment to a sustainable future during the 8th Sustainable Innovation Forum. The Forum, organised in partnership with the UN Environment, is the largest business-focused event taking place during COP23, 13 – 14 November in Bonn and brings together 600+ Ministers, CEOs, Mayors, Responsible Investors and many more for two days of capacity building, networking, collaboration and deal making that will galvanise and fast track the green economy. For more information and to register, please visit: http://www.cop-23.org

Read more: The world’s first floating wind farm commissioned

According to a newly published report from the International Energy Agency (IEA), solar is boosting the growth of renewables in global capacity, with China leading the way as the dominant global player. 

More specifically, “Renewables 2017” revealed that photovoltaics grew faster than any other fuel in 2016 due to increasing cost reductions and policy support.

Renewables accounted for an impressive 65 percent of new net electricity capacity additions, with approximately 165GW clean energy capacity coming online in 2016. 

                                                                                   Source IEA

Solar capacity grew by 50 percent in comparison to 2015, reaching over 74GW; half of it attributed to China.

In a projection for the period between 2017- 2022, IEA predicts that global renewable electricity capacity will expand by over 920GW, an increase of 43 percent from 2016.

The prediction is more optimistic than last year's one, as IEA formed the bedrock of the forecast based on China’s impressive performance in 2016.

China alone accounted for 40 percent of the global growth of renewables, mainly driven by policies to tackle the county’s air pollution problem and ambitious capacity targets outlined in the 13th five-year plan to 2020. 

                                                                                            Source IEA

The county has already reached and surpassed the solar targets for 2020 and is expected to reach the wind targets by 2019.

China is also considered a critical actor in the market development and decreasing costs of solar PV worldwide.

Currently, the country represents half of global solar PV demand, while Chinese companies account for around 60% of total annual solar cell manufacturing capacity globally.

This means that any market and policy developments in the country will have implications for demand, supply and prices all over the world.

Two important challenges that China will have to address are the growing cost of renewable subsidies and the issue of grid integration.

China is already moving away from its Feed-in Tariff programme to a quota system and green certificates, and new transmission lines and the expansion of distributed generation are expected to facilitate the integration of renewables in the electricity regime. 

The United States remains the second-largest growth market for renewables, with growth driven by multiyear federal tax incentives combined with renewable portfolio standards and state-level policies for distributed solar PV, like California and Hawaii.

Nevertheless, political uncertainty over proposed tax reforms, international trade, and energy policies could have implications for the future growth.

In the European Union, the forecast for 2022 is 40 percent lower compared to the previous 5 year period, due to weaker electricity demand and overcapacity.

Hope remains for the Renewable Energy Directive covering the post-2020 period to address this challenge, improving market predictability for investors. 

You can access the Executive Summary of the “Renewables 2017: Analysis and Forecasts to 2022” report here

Read more: China leads the way to the global renewable...

Former Mayor of New York City, billionaire, and philanthropist Michael Bloomberg has announced a new commitment of $64 million to support Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Campaign; one day after President Donald Trump repealed the Clean Power Plan.

Up to date, Bloomberg has invested over $100 million in environmental protection and public health initiatives through his support to the Beyond Coal Campaign and through his open support to the environmental community over the years.

The partnership with Sierra Club has contributed to the retirement of nearly 50 percent of US’s coal-fired plants and, as a result, deaths related to coal pollution have decreased by 42 percent in the country. 

The new round of funding will be dedicated to maintaining progress, especially in the wake of proposed rollbacks from the Trump administration of public health and environmental regulations, including the repeal of the Clean Power Plan, a move that is expected to abolish carbon pollution standards for domestic power plants.

According to the latest stats from Sierra Club, 259 coal power plants have retired since the beginning of the campaign across 45 states after enforcing state and federal environmental laws and managing grass root campaigns. 

After President Trump announced its intentions to revive the coal industry to increase domestic energy production, Michael Bloomberg called the idea one of “the worst ideas that have ever come out of Washington”.

He had commented: "Coal jobs aren’t coming back. Trying to force taxpayers to subsidize them back into existence will only lead to more death and disease”.

Regarding its new funding initiative, Michael Bloomberg said: “The Trump administration has yet to realize that the war on coal was never led by Washington -and Washington cannot end it”.

“It was started and continues to be led by communities in both red and blue states who are tired of having their air and water poisoned when there are cleaner and cheaper alternatives available, cities and states that are determined to clean their air and reduce their costs, and businesses seeking to lower their energy bills while also doing their part for the climate”.

He added: “Without any federal regulations on carbon emissions, those groups have combined with market forces to close half the nation's coal-fired power plants over the past six years -and with this new grant, we aim to reach 60 percent by the end of 2020."

Michael Brune, Executive Director of the Sierra Club commented: "Mike Bloomberg’s partnership with the Sierra Club and our more than 3 million members and supporters has put our country on a path to cleaner air and cleaner water, good-paying clean energy jobs, and healthier communities that are safe from toxic coal pollution”.

The strategy for the new planning will support engagement directly with the private sector, mayors, governors, legislators, utility commissioners, and local officials to trigger policies such as air quality standards and rules that will enable the competitiveness of solar and wind power.

Carol M. Browner, former Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency and Board Chair of the League of Conservation Voters said: “By building victories in different states and on multiple policies, we can demonstrate strong public support for climate action, demonstrate success that others will want to replicate, and drive down the costs of clean energy”.

“Aggressive state and local action to remove the barriers that block a clean energy future can help the US move far closer to our goals”.

Read more about the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Campaign here

Read more: Michael Bloomberg donates $64 million to...

Serbia’s 158MW Čibuk 1 wind farm will receive €215 million in syndicated loans from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and International Finance Corporation (IFC), as announced on Tuesday through a press release.  

The power project will be located 50 km northeast of Belgrade, in the municipality of Kovin, on the territory of the Autonomous Province (AP) of Vojvodina, and its total cost is estimated at €300 million.

EBRD is providing a €107.7 million syndicated loan, of which €55 million is syndicated to Erste Bank, the Green for Growth Fund, UniCredit, and Banca Intesa under an A/B loan structure.

World Bank’s IFC is providing €107.7, partially through its Managed Co-Lending Portfolio Programme and partially through syndicated B loans.

Čibuk 1 will comprise 57 wind turbines supplied by General Electric which will cover about 40 square meters.

It is being developed by Vetroelektrane Balkana, a joint venture between Abu Dhabi-based renewable energy developer Masdar and Cibuk Wind Holding, a subsidiary of the U.S. - based Continental Wind Partners.

The whole venture is owned by Tesla Wind.

Yousif Al Ai, Chairman of Tesla Wind said: “We would like to thank the government of Serbia, Mubadala Investment Company, as well as the lenders, advisors, and all the other parties involved in reaching this critical milestone”.

“The development of the largest wind farm in the Western Balkans is a pivotal moment for the expansion of renewables in the region and positions Serbia at the forefront of Europe’s fastest-growing alternative energy sector”.

Mohamed Al Ramahi, CEO of Masdar, added: “This project highlights the attractiveness of the Serbian market for renewable energy investment and has the potential to be a hub for additional projects in the region”.

Harry Boyd-Carpenter, EBRD Director of Power and Energy Utilities, called the project a ‘breakthrough’ for Serbia’s efforts to produce 27 percent of its energy needs from renewable energy sources by 2020.

He said: “The EBRD has worked closely with the government to develop and refine the regulatory framework for the sector and these efforts have now unlocked job-generating foreign investment and the first wave of renewable-energy projects”.

Currently, Serbia produces 70 percent of its power needs from coal, with renewable energy accounting for approximately 17 percent of its total primary energy production. 

Read more: EBRD is financing the biggest wind farm in Serbia

Norwegian solar panel maker Saga Energy signed a deal worth $2.9 billion with Iran's state-owned company Amin Energy Developers to develop solar farms around the country totaling 2GW of installed capacity.

Reportedly, Gaute Steinkopf, a Saga Energy consultant who took part in the negotiations, the deal was signed on Tuesday at the Tehran residence of Norway's Ambassador to Iran, Lars Nordrum, after 7 months of negotiations.

The solar farms will be located in multiple sites across the central desert region, and it will take Saga Energy around 5 years to complete.

The announcement came nearly one week after US President Donald Trump refused to re-certify the global nuclear deal that Germany, France, US, UK, China, and Russia had signed with Iran after years of negotiations in 2015, lifting long-standing UN-imposed sanctions that had isolated Iran from the international community for years.

Lars Nordrum, Norwegian ambassador told AFP News: “Norway is fully committed to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, - the nuclear deal, and this is proof that we have taken the opening very seriously, and we will see more investment very soon”.

Last July, US imposed new sanctions on Iran over missile tests and invited European allies to halt their financial dealings with the country.

However, the new solar deal is being financed by a consortium of European private and state investors and is backed by a sovereign guarantee from the Government of Iran, most likely from most likely from Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Organization, as reported by PV Magazine.

Gaute Steinkopf, Saga’s Development Manager also revealed the company’s intentions to deepen business relations with the country by saying: “We hope to build a factory in Iran to build the panels so that we are also generating jobs”.

Saeid Zakeri, Head of International Affairs for Amin Energy Developers said: “I’d like to thank Norway, which has always been one of the best friends to Iran, for this exciting opportunity”.

In 2014, Iran set an ambitious goal to install 5GW of renewables by 2022 and has set significantly attractive Feed-in Tariffs to attract investment for large-scale solar.

Since the lift of the sanctions in January 2016, Iran has increased its international business activity, with solar playing an important role in the attraction of foreign investment due to the country’s high solar potential.

British investment firm Quercus has embarked on the development of a 600MW solar plant is, with multiple global investors galvanising Iran’s solar momentum

Read more: Norwegian firm signs $2.9 billion deal to...

Kroger Field, the home of the Kentucky football team has been awarded the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver certification for its high environmental performance and its sustainable and innovative design.

The LEED is a rating system developed by the U.S Green Building Council (USGBC) for buildings, homes and communities that are designed, constructed, maintained and operated for improved environmental and human health performance.

Kroger Field is the first LEED-certified competition venue in the Southeastern Conference in any sport.

Mitch Barnhart, Athletics Director said: “In both the design and construction process, we were committed to transforming the long-time home of Kentucky football in a way that would be sustainable for years to come”.

He added: “We are proud Kroger Field has joined exclusive company in becoming LEED-certified for exactly that reason and thankful for the work of our partners in the renovation”.

The renovation and expansion of the old Commonwealth Stadium was commissioned by the University of Kentucky in 2013, and was completed in 2015 after a $126 million renovation.

Responsible for its sustainability transformation were the RossTarrant Architects and associate architect HNTB.

Kevin Locke of RossTarrant Architects said: “We knew from the beginning that sustainability was critical to the success of this project”.

The stadium has implemented practical and measurable strategies and solutions aiming to achieve high performance in sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection and indoor environmental quality.

67 percent of the old infrastructure was reused to minimise construction waste and the need to manufacture and transport new materials.

Low-flow water fixtures are saving approximately 204,000 gallons of water annually.

In addition, the stadium achieves more than 30 percent energy savings in comparison to a typical stadium.

All the sustainability features result in 694 metric tons less of greenhouse gasses every year—equivalent to the annual energy consumption of 75 homes.

Kevin Locke added: “Achieving LEED Silver is a real testament to the university’s commitment to the environment. Knowing how well this stadium performs makes the experience they have created for Wildcat fans even more special”.

Mahesh Ramanujam, President and CEO of USGBC said: “Kroger Field’s LEED Silver certification demonstrates tremendous green building leadership”.

“Kroger Field serves as a prime example of how the work of innovative building projects can use local solutions to make a global impact on the environment”. 

Read more: Kroger Field in Kentucky was rewarded for its...

Through a new partnership between Toyota, Mazda, and Denso, the three automobile companies will jointly establish a new company to develop zero-emission electric cars.

Japan-based Toyota and Mazda haven’t incorporated electric vehicles in their production yet, so they teamed up to develop stronger capabilities in this new technology, improving their response time to an increasingly changing automobile market.

The newly established company will be called EV Common Architecture Spirit Co Ltd., and will leverage each company’s strong capabilities; i.e. Mazda’s product planning and computer modeling-based expertise, Denso’s electronics technologies and Toyota’s New Global Architecture platform.

Toyota will be the principal shareholder, holding 90 percent of the company, with Mazda and Denso, Toyota's biggest supplier holding a share of 5 percent each.

The EV joint venture will cover a wide range of models, from mini and passenger vehicles to SUVs and light trucks.

Despite Toyota having wide expertise on hybrid powertrains, with the company releasing the landmark full hybrid Prius in 1997, and Mazda making increasing efforts to improve the internal combustion engine, the two companies are considered to have fallen behind most of other automakers in the race of adapting to the new market trends.

Toyota has been also dedicated to trying to bring hydrogen fuel cell vehicles in the market, and it was only last year that it set up a division to develop electric cars.

Through a statement, the three companies said: “Through this joint technological development project, by dedicating an equal amount of development resources, ensuring efficient development processes, and taking advantage of existing production facilities, Mazda and Toyota intend to focus their resources on fundamental vehicle values to enable the creation of appealing EVs that embody the unique identities of each brand and avoid the commoditization of EVs”.

The plans for the EV venture were announced back in August when Toyota bought 5 percent of Mazda.

The joint venture has announced that it is open to the participation of other car makers and parts suppliers. 

Read more: Toyota embarks on electric vehicles production...

UN Environment partnered with Dutch financial institution Rabobank to establish a $1 billion fund offering grants and loans to businesses interesting in investing in sustainable farming practices.

The initiative was announced at the World Business Council for Sustainable Development plenary session, on Tuesday 17 October in Mexico City and was named Kickstart Food.

According to UN Environment, halting climate change along with an increasing agricultural footprint while ensuring growth in agricultural production to feed an estimated 9 billion people by 2050 will be among the biggest challenges of the 21st century.

The new scheme will be a $1 billion facility that aims to provide grants, loans and other forms of credit to agricultural producers that value sustainability.

Kickstart Food will run for 3 years focusing on 4 areas; earth, waste, stability, and nutrition.

According to the press release,  the initiative will kick off with projects in Brazil and Indonesia.

In Brazil, the coalition will promote and, where feasible, finance integrated crop, livestock and forestry (ICLF) farming practices on the 17 million hectares of existing arable land under the management of Brazilian farmers financed by Rabobank, as part of the WWF-Rabobank partnership.

In Indonesia, the programme will finance replanting schemes for smallholders in partnership with corporate clients, including forest and biodiversity protection, restoration, and certification of oil palm. 

Wiebe Draijer, Rabobank CEO said: “As the leading global food and agriculture bank, Rabobank recognizes its responsibility to combine the long-term stability of food production for the growing global population and the transition to sustainable land use”.

“We welcome other major global players in the primary production, food industry, and financial institutions to work together with us”.

Erik Solheim, Head of UN Environment stressed the importance of support from other industry leaders and financial institutions.

He said: “We want the entire finance industry to change their agricultural lending, away from deforestation and towards integrated landscapes, which provide good jobs, protect biodiversity, and are good for the climate”.

“Sustainable land use and landscape restoration is also fundamentally about sound investments and good business. We want to speed up this trend so that it becomes the 'new normal' for the finance industry”.

Agriculture is considered the second largest driver of human-activity driven climate change, and currently, represents almost 25 percent of total greenhouse gas emissions.

Meantime, there are more than 800 million people not having regular access to food, and more people will need to be fed in the future.

Wiebe Draijer added: “It is clear that a different way of agricultural practices is needed that includes incentives and provisions to protect forest ecosystems and restore degraded lands if we are to meet the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals as well as keep global temperature rises to below 2˚C as agreed in the Paris Climate Agreement”.

Erik Solheim, Executive Director, UN Environment will give the Opening Keynote of the 8th Sustainable Innovation Forum, taking place in Bonn Germany, 13-14 November alongside COP23, addressing adaptation, mitigation, climate finance and measureable global action. Learn more about the high level event by visiting http://www.cop-23.org. ;

Read more: UN Environment launches $1 billion fund for...

Vattenfall, the Swedish power company that develops the 1.8GW giant offshore wind project announced the details of the progress being made in the mega-project, aimed to power more than 1.3 million UK households.

The Norfolk Vanguard Offshore Wind Farm was first announced in March 2016, when the company revealed its plans to develop two 1.8GW each offshore wind farms within the northern half of the East Anglia Offshore Wind Farm development zone; the Norfolk Vanguard and the Norfolk Boreas, located 47 kilometers off the Norfolk Coast.

Through a press release last week, the company announced that it launched its official autumn consultation on the anticipated environmental impact assessment and that it also initiated a consultation process with around 30,000 Norfolk households.

The statutory consultation will run from 7 November until 11 December 2017.

Vattenfall confirmed that no house will be affected from the 60-kilometre export cable, as it will not run under any of the existing houses.   

The Norfolk Vanguard alone is expected to generate electricity equivalent of the demand of 1.3 million UK households, 5 percent of total UK homes.

So far, Vattenfall predicts that the project will comprise between 90 and 257 wind turbines with a generation capacity between 7MW and 20MW each and up to 350 meters tall.

The project is expected to be developed in two sites, as showed in the map below. 

                                                                           Source Vattenfall

The electricity generated will be transferred to the national grid through the existing Necton 400kV, which will be extended to fit the project’s needs.

Ruari Lean, Vattenfall’s Norfolk Vanguard Project Manager said: “What we are setting out in detail in our statement of community consultation is our engagement plan to discuss and get feedback on what is called Preliminary Environmental Information (PEI)”.

“The PEI report sets out our latest layout of the offshore and onshore parts of the project, what we think will be the impacts and how we will go about minimising them”.

Mr. Lean invited everyone who is interested to share his thoughts on the configuration of the project.

“We have already received a high volume of detailed feedback on residents’ concerns but also how people think Norfolk can benefit from what will be a significant inward investment in the region”.

“The quality of feedback so far has been excellent and we thank those that have taken the time to engage in this process for nationally significant infrastructure projects”.

According to the company’s statement, Norfork Boreas is in an earlier phase of development, with its environmental impact assessment still ongoing.

Local residents and interested parties can get involved here

You can learn more about the Norfork Vanguard Offshore Wind Project here

Read more: Progress on the 1.8GW Norfolk Vanguard Offshore...

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