The PTC expired at the end of last year but was renewed

The PTC expired at the end of last year but was renewed for Jan. 1 through the end of 2013 as part of the fiscal cliff deal that implemented federal spending cuts but also some new taxes for the wealthiest Americans. Uncertainty about the credit’s renewal in late 2012 led to widespread layoffs.The language establishing the tax credit was changed so that construction on wind projects only had to be in progress by the end of the year rather than being completed in order to qualify for the credit.This has led to a brief resurgence in wind turbine production in Iowa to meet orders like MidAmerican Energy’s recent announcement to build a $1.9 billion, 1,050 megawatt wind farm by 2015.Prior said manufacturers like Trinity Structural Towers and TPI Composites in Newton are scrambling to rehire hundreds of workers laid off last year, and losing valuable production time.However, the PTC renewal didn’t come soon enough to help Cedar Rapids-based Clipper Windpower, which at its peak had more than 700 employees and now has about 70. The company no longer manufactures wind turbines. Instead, it performs maintenance on its existing turbine fleet when required.“When you renew (the PTC) late in the year, you’re not giving anybody time to react,” Cedar Rapids plant manager Rob Lloyd said in an IowaWatch interview this summer.Prior said short-term renewals create a boom-bust cycle, with uncertainty and lost jobs for the wind energy industry.“This is no way to treat a major industry contributor to the economic vitality of this country,” he said. “If we had stable, long term policies we wouldn’t see this happen.”Support is not lacking from Iowa’s congressional delegation. All six members, Democrats and Republicans alike,Latino Politicians Saying ‘Si Se Puede’ to Higher Energy Bills, Less Solar Power  support the tax credit. Rep. Tom Latham, a Republican, said it has been crucial for consumers and development of Iowa’s renewable energy industry.Iowa produces the third most wind power of any state, behind Texas and California, and in 2012 the state got 24.5 percent of its energy from wind, more than any other state.High production means that wind is responsible for about 6,000 to 7,000 jobs in Iowa, the state wind energy association reports, making it a constituency that elected officials do not want to ignore.Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley favors equal treatment when it comes to credits. Grassley spokeswoman Jill Gerber said. His feeling, Gerber said, is “if one is being considered for elimination they should all be considered either for retention or elimination.”Iowa’s other senator, Democrat Tom Harkin, called renewable energy, including wind, “critical for the future of the U.S. economy and to our global competitiveness.”“Progress has not been all that it could be because of uncertainty and delays in extending the PTC,” Harkin wrote in the statement for this story. “To lend predictability that will encourage greater investment in wind power I have urged a long-term or even indefinite extension of the PTC — 10 years at least.”

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Latino Politicians Saying ‘Si Se Puede’ to Higher Energy Bills, Less Solar Power

Consider California Assemblyman Henry Perea, the sponsor of AB 327, which, if passed, will fundamentally alter how — and how much — Latinos and all Californians will pay on their energy bills. Given his Latino-heavy Fresno district, Perea, who ran for Assembly as a pro-union progressive — a man of the people — seems a natural to lead on solar energy and other initiatives that both lower energy bills and reduce climate-disruption carbon emissions.But as the sponsor of AB 327, Perea is actually leading the charge on doing the opposite — restructuring rates to favor Pacific Gas & Electric, Southern California Edison, and San Diego Gas & Electric. AB 327, which was basically written by lobbyists for Big Energy, seeks to lower the amount high-end users pay for kilowatt electricity by increasing the amount the majority of us pay.Perea and the big energy companies want to add a fixed charge on all customers so that the energy companies can make even more money. That means that, before a customer turns on their lights everyday, they will be paying a flat rate of $10 a month. A fixed charge would be a determent to promoting clean energy solutions like rooftop solar and weatherization. The cost to consumers? A billion dollars. This billion-dollar boondoggle will discourage consumers from using clean technology and is simply bad news for the Latino community Perea and the Latino caucus claim to represent.

Rooftop solar is powering middle-class families and helping them save money on their energy bills. Two-thirds of new solar installations are happening in middle or low-income neighborhoods. Not only that, but 70 percent of California Latino voters support the current net metering law that allows owners of rooftop solar panels to receive credit for excess energy they generate.Rooftop solar helps clean our air by reducing the need for dirty natural gas plants. According to American Lung Association, 7 of the 10 cities in the US with the dirtiest air are in California. Often communities of color are the ones that are affected the most by air pollution.But the big utilities don’t see it this way. In fact, a major reason our energy bills may (again) skyrocket if AB 327 passes comes down to money: over the last two political cycles Perea and other members of the Latino Caucus and their controlled PACS have taken millions in political contributions from the big utilities.Though he will deny it while touting his Latino credentials, Henry Perea’s sponsorship of the anti-consumer, anti-Latino AB 327 legislation has everything to do with the tens of thousands of dollars he has taken in campaign contributions from the electric utilities. Is this what Latino and others voters elected Perea for? No. Our community voted for leaders, not for followers of Big Energy.

But what about the other Latino legislators in Sacramento? To date, we have seen very little to no action from members of the Latino Legislative Caucus on AB 327. They’re either not paying attention or worse, paralyzed at having to confront the utility lobby. Either course is unacceptable. The leader of the Latino Caucus, State Senator Ricardo Lara, and State Senator Kevin De Leon, the Chair of the Senate Select Committee on Energy Efficiency, need to step up for the working families the caucus represents. They need to rally other Latino caucus members and either kill or radically amend AB 327 in a way that is friendly to both consumer and public health interests.That’s exactly what we’re asking at the online petition we launched this week. The current silence and a failure to act will condemn Latino and most energy consumers in California to the endless demands of greedy, ruthless polluters for higher and higher profits. That’s why we must demand more than “Si Se Puede”s and other slogans from our elected officials.

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Energy industry must be more transparent, say MPs

Energy price rises coupled with high profits, mis-selling scandals at power firms and a lack of transparency over bills have destroyed consumers’ trust in energy companies, a committee of MPs has said in a report that also criticises the sector’s watchdog for failing to take effective action.The energy and climate change select committee said consumer fears that price rises were out of step with the underlying cost of energy were valid, and the regulator, Ofgem, was not doing enough to ensure companies were open and transparent.They said the complex way companies were structured, with energy trading arms making money from buying and selling supply and operations selling services to business customers meant it required a “forensic accountant” to work out exactly how much profit firms were making on selling energy to consumers.Meanwhile a record number of people are now estimated to be in “fuel poverty”, previously defined as paying 10% or more of their income in energy bills. The government has said it is working to help improve draughty homes through measures such as green deal loans to households and a levy on the energy industry – the energy company obligation – to pay for energy efficiency measures for those on low incomes.The MPs called for greater transparency on bills and competition. Consumer groups such as Which? have questioned whether regulators are ensuring enough competition to keep bills down in a market dominated by six big players.Last year allegations emerged of price-fixing in the gas market, an investigation into which is ongoing. The practice of trying to sign up customers door-to-door has also come in for heavy criticism; several energy companies including SSE, EDF and British Gas suspended the practice after Ofgem handed out fines for malpractice.Energy suppliers including the German giant RWE npower have come under fire for paying little tax on their profits. The industry has said the cost of investing in new energy infrastructure – about £200bn will be needed in the next decade to keep the UK’s lights on and move to a lower-carbon energy supply, according to the government – has reduced companies’ taxable income.Sir Robert Smith, chair of the select committee, said: “At a time when many people are struggling with the rising costs of energy, consumers need reassurance that the profits being made by the big six are not excessive. Unfortunately, the complex vertically integrated structure of these companies means that working out exactly how their profits are made requires forensic accountants.”He called for Ofgem to “shine a brighter light” on the companies, which could involve breaking down their profits to show which come from different activities. The committee accused the watchdog of “failing consumers by not taking all possible steps to improve openness and increase competition” with its “relatively light touch approach”.John Robertson, a member of the committee, said: “Ofgem needs to use its teeth a bit more and force the energy companies to do everything they can to prove that they are squeaky clean when it comes to making and reporting their profits.”The outgoing chief executive of Ofgem, Alistair Buchanan, was criticised for announcing when he quit earlier this year that the UK faced a severe threat of blackouts as ageing power stations were taken off the grid and demand outstripped supply. Industrial consumers have been offered deals to turn off their factories at peak times to safeguard electricity for consumers. Critics said Ofgem should have foreseen this situation earlier and taken steps to ensure there would be no shortfall.Rachel Fletcher, senior partner for markets at Ofgem, said: “We agree with the committee that suppliers have been poor at communicating with their customers.

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Meetings set for O’Brien County wind projects

The main agenda item at the regular Tuesday morning July 30 session of the County Board of Supervisors was the discussion setting the date, time and location for the 500 megawatt, Invenergy Highland Wind Energy Project construction permit application hearing.All Board members were present. Invenergy project developer Erin Brush was present in the supervisor’s chambers. Invenergy’s other project developer Greg Leuchtmann was linked in via a conference call. Northwest Iowa Planning and Development Commission planning director Steven Hallgren was also linked in via conference call. Hallgren assists the county on matters of infrastructure development.The Board was aware that the likely date for the Invenergy hearing could conflict with a joint Iowa Utilities Board/Clean Line Energy public informational meeting at Hartley. Clean Line’s high voltage direct current (HVDC) wind energy transmission line from County to Grundy County, Illinois is steadily moving forward.Board chairman Tom Farnsworth opened the formal discussions when he explained the conflict with the two meetings. Farnsworth said, “Clean Line is meeting over in Hartley on August 20 at 9 a.m.. We’re planning on going over there and showing our support for Clean Line.So, we’re talking about an afternoon hearing August 20 for the Invenergy wind farm construction permit application. Then we’ll go into our regular weekly Board meeting after the public hearing is closed.”After a brief discussion about holding the public hearing at noon or 12:30, everyone concurred that noon was what would fit into everyone’s schedule. Farnsworth then asked for a motion stating that the Invenergy hearing will convene at noon on August 20 in the County Court House assembly room.Interesting Solar Power Facts

Supervisor Jim DeBoom offered that motion which was subsequently seconded. The Board unanimously approved the motion for holding the Invenergy construction permit public hearing after the Board returns from the IUB/Clean Line Energy public information meeting in Hartley.In other matters related to Invenergy’s construction permit application, Hallgren said he was working on a draft of the public hearing notice that’s to be published in all official county newspapers prior to the hearing.Hallgren said he was also working on the letter that’s to be mailed out to all landowners within or near the boundary of the 40,000-acre footprint of the wind farm. Hallgren expressed concern that the list from the abstractor has many parcels where the names of owners are repeatedly duplicated. He suggested that Invenergy clean up the duplicated names on this mailing list and pare the list down to 600 to 700 hundred affected landowners.Another matter to be resolved after the outcome of Invenergy’s construction permit vote is known concerns the de-commissioning agreement between the County and Invenergy.According to the County Wind Energy Device Ordinance, each wind turbine and its associated equipment must be removed and the land restored to its original condition down to four feet below grade, if the wind farm ceases to operate for an extended period of time. Financial assurance of up to $25,000 per turbine must be in place for this removal and restoration.The other issue that needs to be resolved once the construction permit is addressed concerns the complicated road use agreement between the County and Invenergy. Basically, if Invenergy causes damage to any roads or bridges due to the heavy equipment loads anticipated, Invenergy is responsible for making repairs.

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Hope for algae-powered future

First, the bad news: because of climate change and worsening water pollution, algae, the world’s fastest-growing photosynthetic organisms, are proliferating worldwide. A few of these are of the toxic blue-green variety.The good news is that some strains of algae can be converted into an alternative source of renewable energy that is commercially viable.“Newly trialled native species provide real hope,” says Evan Stephens of Queensland University’s Institute for Molecular Bioscience and manager of the Solar Biofuels Research Centre.“There are roughly 350,000 species of algae – more than all higher plants – around the world,” he says. By isolating strains from native Australian waters, and then screening them against a set of criteria for producing fuel, scientists can breed new and improved varieties.“By new strains, we mean algae varieties that have not been previously isolated, characterised and identified for fuels,” Dr Stephens says.Genetic engineering helps scientists determine traits that may improve yields and other qualities. “But in most cases we can go back and rescreen libraries of isolates for these characteristics which are naturally occurring,” he explains.Working with Germany’s Bielefeld University and Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, the Australian scientists have identified fast-growing and hardy algae that could lead to cheaper and more efficiently produced biofuels.Previous research concentrated on finding oil-rich algae. “Usually these are not fast-growing and are tastier to predators – like microscopic scoops of ice-cream,” he says.The resultant bio-crude oil can be processed in existing petroleum oil refineries, with no need for additional infrastructure.

“This is important as new infrastructure is expensive,” Dr Stephens says. “We can make the same things from bio-crude that we make from regular crude – namely petrol, diesel, aviation fuel and plastics.”A new frontier is in the biology and developing of new strains that grow stably, while exhibiting resistance to predators and temperature fluctuations.r Stephens and his team identified hundreds of native species of microscopic algae from freshwater and saltwater environments around Australia. These were tested against thousands of environmental conditions in the laboratory, creating a shortlist of top performers.The researchers are currently trialling the algae at a pilot processing plant at Pinjarra Hills, Queensland, which opened in April.Traditionally, algae have been grown for health foods, aquaculture and waste-water treatment. In recent years, algae oil has become the focus of an emerging biofuel industry. Its production is still expensive, however, and viable commercial production has not yet been achieved in Australia or overseas.“While we know that we can produce algae oil that is even higher quality than standard petroleum sources, we are working to increase the efficiency of production with the ultimate aim being able to compete with fossil fuels dollar for dollar,” Dr Stephens says.Found anywhere from oceans, lakes and swamps to soils, rocks and icy mountain tops, algae harness solar energy to convert greenhouse gas into just about everything we need.Algae accumulate up to 80 per cent of their dry weight in oil. Their biomass can double every eight to 12 hours, and they produce oil year-round, unlike most seasonal crops, says Aidyn Mouradov, a plant biotechnologist at RMIT University in Bundoora.Algae are more productive, he says, than other energy crops such as corn, soy or oil palm. “For example, algae can produce 10 times more than palm oil and require 10 times less land area.” This is important as biofuel crops have occupied valuable arable land that could otherwise be used to grow food.

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Interesting Solar Power Facts

An important fact that almost everyone knows about solar energy is it is free. Once your home or office solar system is paid for you can enjoy free clean renewable energy from the sun. Because more and more people are making the conscious decision to change to solar power, future generations will have a cleaner future. If you are thinking of making the switch to solar power for your home or business, there are a few things you might not know that can help steer you in the right direction. This article will outline a few more positives about solar power.As our supplies of fossil fuels, gas, coal and petroleum, dissipate, it has become a more serious topic to look towards using our energy from the sun. Why not harness the capability of the sun as an alternative means of generating electricity by having a solar system installed. This means you can run all of your creature comforts and necessities requiring electricity without causing further harm to the environment. There are a couple of factors that will affect the amount of energy you can get from your system. Things such as the size and type of the system, where the solar panels are facing and climate such as cloud cover or rain, will all affect this.

There are government rebates available to those eligible to assist in affording solar power installation and also the opportunity to sell excess unused power your system creates. For every megawatt hour of electricity generated by your solar system, you are entitled one REC (Renewable Energy Certificate). These RECs are an electronic type of currency and are a commodity that can be traded. The value can vary depending on the supply and demand and can vary on a daily basis as well as from buyer to buyer.RECs can be surrendered in exchange for cash payment or discount when purchasing a new system from a registered agent. For small scale systems there is the Solar Credits Scheme. These credits come in the form of additional RECs. They apply to the first 1.5kW of capacity Solar energy plants get the green light installed for systems that are connected to a main electricity grid and up to the first 20kW of capacity for off-grid systems. The Solar Homes and Communities Plan rebate that ended June 9 2009 has been replaced by this scheme.Solar power is now taking part of the mainstream in homes and business institutions. Make a smart move today, and be part of the group that makes decisions today for the betterment of the future.

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Solar energy plants get the green light

Australia’s biggest solar energy plants have been given the funding go-ahead, clearing the way for the installation of 2 million solar panels at two sites in the NSW outback.Power company AGL on Wednesday committed to proceeding with the $450 million investment in the plants, which will supply 50,000 homes with electricity and potentially pave the way for more such ventures in the future.Nyngan, north-west of Dubbo, will host the larger of the two plants, with a 102-megawatt capacity, while a 53-megawatt plant will be built near Broken Hill. Both should be supplying power to the eastern Australian grid by the end of 2015. All up, the two sites will cover 375 hectares, or about 185 times the playing surface of the Sydney Cricket Ground.”The scale of it is truly awesome,” said Federal Minister for Climate Change Mark Butler. ”This project is 15 times larger than any other solar power station in Australia.”The project will source more than half its funds from government assistance. The federally-funded Australian Renewable Energy Agency will provide a $166.7 million grant, while the Education Investment Fund will contribute $40.7 million to assist the University of Queensland and University of NSW in developing the technology for deployment elsewhere. The NSW government will provide $64.9 million in grants, with AGL providing the remaining funds of less than $200 million. Some 450 jobs will be created during the construction phase.

The government is committed to retaining the renewable energy target, now set at 41,000 gigawatt-hours a year by 2020. Senator Simon Birmingham last week told the Clean Energy Week conference in Brisbane that the Coalition would also back that goal.However, AGL chief executive Michael Fraser said the Coalition’s plans to review the target in 2014 still leaves a cloud over the industry. AGL has already put plans for a $500 million wind farm near Silverton in NSW’s west on hold.Longer term, the governments and businesses involved say Australia has the scope to capitalise on its abundant solar resources in overseas markets.US-based company First Solar, which has operated the first large-scale solar plant in Australia, in Western Australia, since last October, will provide engineering and construction services for both projects, using its advanced thin-film photovoltaic modules.

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Wind, solar could benefit from Kansas transmission compact

Kansas has more wind energy potential than any state except Texas, but eight states generate more total megawatts of wind power even as Brownback and his legislature have taken steps to boost Kansas wind industry. A key problem: a lack of high-voltage electricity lines to connect the remote areas where turbines churn out power to the bustling regions that demand it.It is not easy to build power lines, particularly those that would have to stretch across several states. A complex and sometimes conflicting patchwork of federal and state rules has delayed the completion of some projects and deterred investment.Now, some lawmakers in Kansas and other states are pitching an interstate compact to streamline that process and add renewable energy to the grid more quickly. A bill to join the compact sailed through the Kansas House this year, and lawmakers in Washington and Missouri have proposed similar legislation.The location of power transmission lines is increasingly important as state renewable energy targets drive investments in wind and solar power. Here is a conscious effort saying, states, here is a chance to work together, said Rep. Tom Sloan, a Kansas Republican and energy expert who helped draft the measure in his state.The nation aging power grid was not designed to meet today demand. For decades, the setup was relatively simple: High-voltage electric lines connected major coal, gas or nuclear plants to nearby communities that needed the power. More than 200,000 miles of transmission lines currently crisscross the country.Now, as government incentives and technological advances spur investments in wind and solar energy, experts see a need for more transmission lines to link scattered turbines and solar panels to the grid especially as the U.S. demand for energy rises again after dipping during the recession.As recently as five years ago, the U.S. was building some 1,000 miles of new transmission lines each year. That rate has since more than doubled, according to the North American Electric Reliability Corporation, and it expected to reach 3,600 miles per year by 2018.As is the case in Kansas, which sits at the center of a wind tunnel stretching from Eastern Montana and North Dakota down to Texas, some of country best resources lie far from the people who need it.

Montana, for instance, touts the nation third best wind resource, according to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. But 20 states including some with a fraction of Montana wind potential outpace it in generation, according to federal data. Nebraska, which has the fourth highest potential, ranks further behind.That really kind of is the missing link in some of these renewable goals, said Brydon Ross, who analyzes energy and environmental policy for the Council of State Governments, the nonpartisan group that organized a taskforce to craft the compact model language. Transmission is one of those issues that often get overlooked in these discussions.For many reasons, its hard to build lines across states. They can draw protests from groups concerned about the use of eminent domain, or the effect on the environment. Even less controversial projects can take years to complete as companies slog through conflicting rules and deadlines in each state a project touches.In one extreme case, American Electric Power spent 14 years getting approval for a 90-mile line that took just 18 months to build, according to a report by the North American Electric Reliability Corporation.

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Energy Efficiency Becomes More Efficient

Energy efficiency is becoming, well, more efficient as building-integrated photovoltaics (BIPV) technology is expanding. BIPV is a solar technology in which solar sensors or panels are built directly into a building’s materials, such as roof tiles or glass. This allows the building’s solar generation to be planned from the start, enabling architects to design the structure to more effectively use solar energy.

Already, several major buildings worldwide are using BIPV technology. Brazil’s stadium, due to host FIFA’s World Cup next year, is adopting the technology as is a new stadium for the San Francisco 49ers. Norman Foster, one of the leading architects using BIPV, designed a bank headquarters in Britain, the Co-operative Group Ltd, to have solar cells built into its vertical surfaces.

With new energy policies being implemented worldwide, there is a need to further enhance energy technology. A European directive is requiring new buildings to produce next to zero emissions after 2020, reducing overall emission about 90% by 2050. The US is also becoming a BIPV supporter with the Department of Energy investing $145 million in the technology. “Building integrated solar in office buildings and factories which generate energy consistently during daylight hours, whilst not requiring additional expensive land space or unsightly installations, is seen as the most obvious energy solution,” Gavin Rezos, principal of Viaticus Capital Ltd, told Bloomberg.

Researchers predict the market for BIPV will greatly increase in the next few years. According to Accenture Plc, the market for solar laid building materials is expected to grow more than $5 billion to $7.5 billion by 2015. They also predict sales of solar glass to reach $4.5 billion and solar tiles and shingles to reach about $1.5 billion by 2015, citing NanoMarkets. Many of these sales are expected to come from residential consumers as Solar Century Holdings Ltd., in the UK, is working to combine solar-generating technology in roof tiles and slates for homes, offices and architectural buildings.

Despite the convenience of BIPV, there are some downfalls. Integrated solar panels are still about 10 percent more expensive than traditional solar panels and they can also be complicated to install. “While the individual cells are discreet and easy to integrate, they require cabling and additional elements that need to be carefully incorporated,” David Nelson, head of design at Foster + Partners told Bloomberg.

However, the cost of solar energy as whole is declining as centrally produced power is predicted to rise. If more people find alternative energy sources off the grid, utilities could need to raise prices for current customers to maintain the same profit. Some companies are working to keep energy costs low, such as BidURenergy (BUE), which works as an energy broker to give consumers low prices. Yet, even with the help from companies like BUE, some consumers may need to lower emissions, especially with new energy regulations.

It’s unclear how soon or how much BIPV will be used in newer building structures. As the need to lower fossil fuel emissions increases and utility prices predicted to rise, more consumers may choose to switch to a different energy source. BIPV might just be that new source and become the standard in construction. Mike Russell, managing director of Accenture’s utilities group in London, said, “We’re approaching a tipping point and at some point in the future building integrated solar would be a must-have in the design of any new and significant building.”

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Science is key to locally adapting the post-2015 agenda

In fact, the document makes an explicit point about technology transfer: “The innovation, diffusion and transfer of technology is critical to realising true transformation. Whether in information, transportation,communications or life-saving medicines, new technologies can help countries leapfrog to new levels of sustainable development“.This is the crux of the matter. Governments will need to make massive investments in these sectors for ST&I to play a part in implementing this new global agenda.But investments will need to be backed up by stronger alliances and serious efforts to adapt the new development objectives to national realities.Although the post-2015 framework is set to be global in nature, the high-level panel has called for goals, targets and indicators based on countries’ own context and priorities. For the developing world, particularly Africa, adopting and adapting the framework cannot be done without due consideration of the level of ST&I input required to adapt the framework.
As a start, each country will need a national consultative process  involving key stakeholders, including scientists, to begin giving this global framework a national character. This could result in several derivative frameworks but the consultative processes should lead to a global roadmap precisely setting out the how of implementation.The African common position on the post-2015 development agenda — developed by the African Union Commission, the UN Economic Commission for Africa, the African Development Bank and the UN Development Programme and finalised in March — specifically identified ST&I as an urgent priority for Africa.

It is during the development of the national roadmaps that an assessment of ST&I resources required for implementation should accompany plans for goals and targets. National roadmaps need to include such ‘ST&I-readiness’ that will provide the basis for measuring the effectiveness of rollout and implementation.How this would work in practice, for Africa, could be the focus of a committee of heads of state and government on the post-2015 development agenda, which was established at the African Union Commission summit in May.Why focus on ST&I? Take the overarching goal of using resources wisely, as set out in the high-level panel report. Achieving this requires better management of resources and, ultimately, better use of technology.In Africa, the lack of transparency in how natural resources are managed has undermined countries’ development progress. Raw materials found on African soil, such as oil and gold, are mainly processed by countries outside the continent — with minimal benefit for African countries themselves.In at least some cases, resource wealth is concentrated in the hands of a few Africans instead of going towards modernisation efforts for the public good, such as funding much-needed infrastructure or structurally transforming the economy to create jobs.While good management of natural resources can generate funding for ST&I, the reverse is also true — that ST&I is needed for good management of natural resources, particularly in creating more valuable products through the processing of raw materials.For instance, valuable products, such as furniture, could be manufactured from logged wood, and revenue from natural resources such as oil and gas could fund local scientists’ work on greener energy.

Recently, Kenya’s president, Uhuru Kenyatta, talked of the country needing a framework to nurture and commercialise inventions, innovations and their end products at both national and county levels.Local innovation will need to be harnessed too — here, the Innovation Prize for Africa springs to mind, which supports African innovation and inventions in various fields.Regardless of scale, across Africa, the industrial-manufacturing pipeline begins and ends with optimal use of ST&I. Investments in education, andresearch and innovation — backed by the appropriate industrial policies — are needed to promote structural transformation, industrialisation and manufacturing to generate employment for the continent’s growing youth population.”Every country that has experienced sustained high growth has done so through absorbing knowledge, technology and ideas from the rest of the world, and adapting them to local conditions”, the report reiterates. “What matters is not just having technology, but understanding how to use it well and locally”.

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