Posted on June 13, 2008
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After experiencing some elation at Rudd’s first months in government, its been pretty lacklustre recently. The budget’s cut in solar panel rebates and the recent announcement of a deal with Toyota to “develop” a car they have already developed shows the kind of imagination that has made Australia the world leader in digging shit out of the ground and selling it cheaply to anyone that wants it. The following story is a good example of what Rudd could have done with the $20 billion dollar surplus. The kind of action that would mean I could sleep at night knowing that in fifteen years time our culture will not collapse when it loses the cheap energy that supports it, turning us into a society of looting zombies desperately trying to find enough to eat. Oh well, back to stockpiling lentils…

from the Guardian

He expects Portugal to generate 31% of all its energy from clean sources by 2020. This means lifting its renewable electricity share from 20% in 2005 to 60% in 2020, compared with Britain’s target of 15% of all energy by 2020. Having passed its target for 2010 it could soon top the EU renewables league.

In less than three years, Portugal has trebled its hydropower capacity, quadrupled its wind power, and is investing in flagship wave and photovoltaic plants. Encouraged by long-term guarantees of prices by the state, and not delayed by planning laws or government indecision, it has proved a success. Firms are expected to invest £10bn in renewables by 2012 and up to £100bn by 2020.

However, Portugal says it wants to develop a renewables industry to rival Denmark or Japan. When the government invited companies for tenders to supply wind, solar and wave power, it demanded they work with manufacturing companies to establish clusters of industries.

This is a great success, say regional governments. In northern Portugal, where the world’s biggest wind farm, with more than 130 turbines, is now being strung across the mountainous Spanish border, a German firm employs more than 1,200 people building 600 40-metre-long fibreglass wind turbine blades a year.

The turbines are earmarked for Portuguese farms first, but orders are being taken from Britain and other countries. Half the workforce are women who once worked in the declining textile industry.

It is Portuguese plans for wave power that are prompting the most interest in Europe. The world’s first commercial wave farm is being assembled near Porto. Three “sea snakes”, developed by the Edinburgh-based company Pelamis, will shortly be towed out to sea and will start pumping modest amounts of electricity into the grid later this year.


One Response to “Soleil”

  1. Allen Taylor on June 13th, 2008 3:34 pm

    Nice writing. You are on my RSS reader now so I can read more from you down the road.

    Allen Taylor

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