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The UK’s biofuels watchdog has fined three companies for failures to comply with environmental legislation designed to reduce sector carbon emissions. The Renewable Fuels Agency fined Yorkshire Petroleum Company with a £50,000 civil penalty after it failed to meet require- ments under the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligations Order. Aral Direkt and Total Additifs et Carburants Speciaux both received £5,000 civil penalties for non- compliance with the order. The RTFO requires compa- nies supplying over 450,000 litres of petrol or diesel for use in road transport to match the fossil fuel they supply with a set percentage of biodiesel and report to the RFA on the carbon inten- sity and sustainability cre- dentials of the biofuel it sells.

Fast-track green patents pay off

Green technology applications given the go-ahead

Fast-track green patent appli- cations are benefiting green UK businesses,

according to

the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.

On average, it takes a company eight months compared with 32 months for standard applications to obtain a patent. Since May 2010 when the scheme came in, 329 patent applications have been, or are being, fast-tracked. The Intellectual Property Office’s Green Channel service offers accelerated processing for patent applications where the invention has an environmental benefit. The Green Channel ser- vice has attracted interest from other countries with the US, Australia and South Korea all introducing similar schemes. One third of the applications received so far by the service

One third of the applications received so far relate to energy saving

relate to energy saving. Green Channel applications have also been made for technologies ranging from harnessing natural sources of power, such as wind wave and solar energy, to recy- cling and transport.

Intellectual Property minister, Baroness Wilcox, said: “Putting the UK at the forefront of the green technology industry will deliver benefits to this country.

“It will provide economic growth and new jobs as well as improving our environment. Fast-tracking green patents pro- vides businesses with help in developing green technology and bringing it to the consumer as quickly as possible.”

Requests for fast-tracking can be refused if the invention does not have an environmental benefit.

China drives record investment in clean energy

European offshore wind and rooftop solar add to figure

New investment in clean energy reached £1,553B last year, driven by soaring activity in China, off- shore wind and European rooftop photovoltaics.


Data from Bloomberg New Finance reveals that

investments smashed through the previous level of £119B in 2009 – up 30% – making 2010 the strongest year so far for invest- ment in clean energy. The amount is also double the figure recorded in 2006 (£72.4B) and nearly five times that from 2004 (£33.1B). The analysis claims that the main drivers of

the growth in

investment were China, European offshore wind, European rooftop solar, and research and develop-

ment. Investment in small-scale systems surged by 91% last year to £38.2B, notably in Germany but also in the US, the Czech Republic and Italy.

Investment in China was up 30% to £32.7B in 2010, by far the largest figure for any country. In 2009 Asia and Oceania overtook the Americas, and in 2010 it nar- rowed the gap further on Europe, Middle East and Africa as the leading region of the world for clean energy investment. Offshore wind finance had another good year in 2010, led by a £1.09B package to fund the next, 295MW phases of the Thornton Bank offshore wind farm off the coast of Belgium, and a £640M deal to finance the Borkum West II project in German waters. Research and development

SOLAR PERFORMANCE The Bloomberg New Energy Finance data shows that, in terms of sector, the most notable feature of 2010 was the 49% growth in invest- ment in solar power to $57B, driven largely by distrib- uted generation projects in Europe, where investment grew 91% last year to £38.2B. It estimates that 86% of investment in small-scale solar took place in markets where feed-in tariffs have been introduced. Investment in wind gained 31% to reach £61.5B – 38% of which was accounted for either by China or by European off- shore wind farms.

spending on clean energy tech- nologies by companies and gov- ernments grew to a record level in 2010, according to the data. Venture capital

and private

equity investment had a strong year – up 28% on 2009 to £5.6B, though failing to match 2008’s record figure of £7.5B. Among the private equity deals of 2010 were a £256M financing for US wind project developer Pattern Energy Group, and £224M for Better Place, the US-based electric vehi- cle charging network specialist. Public market investment bounced back from its recession- driven lows in 2008 and 2009, up 18% to £11.1B in 2010. This was not a record figure – it fell short of the £15.7B clean energy com- panies raised on stock markets in 2007.


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