URBN to create China’s next green hotel

Fuente: www.breakingtravelnews.com

Autor: Staff

Fecha: 17/11/2010
URBN to create China’s next green hotel

URBN Hotels & Resorts is collaborating with Vanke, China’s largest residential real estate developer, to construct and operate what will be the most forward-thinking, sustainably-built and green-operated hotel in Asia. The 20,000 square metre boutique hotel is part of a larger project which will become a 200,000 square metre commercial, retail and residential development in the Sanlin district of Pudong in Shanghai, China. URBN’s RMB 312 million project will include 55 unique hotel rooms, 50 URBN serviced residences, and 4,500 square metres of dining, wellness and art spaces.

Vanke has engaged URBN Hotels & Resorts to bring its philosophy of inspiration, sustainability and connection to Vanke’s first hotel project. “We are delighted to be cooperating with such an experienced and forward-thinking developer”, says Amina Belouizdad, Director of URBN Hotels & Resorts.

URBN Hotels & Resorts is renowned for its award-winning first property in Shanghai’s Jingan district. The boutique hotel brand has been recognized as one of China’s leading edge hotels. In addition to being China’s first carbon-neutral hotel, the property has won numerous accolades for its commitment to environmentally-friendly operational practices, use of recycled and reclaimed materials in construction, and support of the green movement through events such as the annual Eco Fair.

Vanke and URBN are working together with Fumihiko Maki, the world-acclaimed Japanese architect currently working on the United Nations building and World Trade Centre Tower 4 in New York City, to design an innovative project with a strong commitment to sustainability throughout.

“The aim is to make this hotel go beyond sustainability … it will be the first positive-impact hotel in China”, says Jules Kwan, Managing Director of URBN Hotels & Resorts. There are several ideas being developed which will be revealed over the course of the 18-month construction period. “The hotel will increase the biodiversity of the site, and will discharge water that is cleaner than the water from the city’s water supply”, says Jules Kwan. The hotel will also be carbon-neutral, and will aim for LEED and China Green Star certifications. In addition, URBN Hotel Pudong will continue its green operations legacy by aiming to surpass the 35% energy savings target hit by the first URBN Hotel.

URBN Hotel Pudong will open in Spring 2012.

About Vanke:
Established in May 1984, China Vanke Co., Ltd. is currently the largest residential property developer in the People’s Republic of China (“PRC”). Since the Company’s listing on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange in 1991, the compound annual growth rate of its revenue from core operations was 28.3% and that of its net profit was 34.1%. China Vanke also enjoyed the longest period of sustained profit growth after listing in the PRC. Named twice as one of the “International Best Small Companies” by Forbes, the Company received the awards of “Best Corporate Governance” and “Best Investor Relations” from internationally renowned media such as Investor Relations Magazine, and Asiamoney. Thanks to its excellent corporate governance and high ethics codes, the Company was selected as one of “China’s Most Respected Enterprises” for five consecutive years and received the award of “China’s Best Corporate Citizen” for three consecutive years.
Website: http://www.vanke.com/docs/Portal/_vanke_master_linggongli.aspx

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Indian passengers lead the world in online carbon off-setting

Fuente: www.breakingtravelnews.com

Autor: Staff

Fecha: 19/11/2010

Indian passengers lead the world in online carbon off-setting

The SITA/Air Transport World Passenger Self-Service survey of the world’s leading airports reveals that India’s air travellers lead the world in using airline websites for carbon emissions offsetting with 44% of survey respondents at Mumbai International Airport claiming to do so. By comparison, only 6% did so among those surveyed at Frankfurt.

Mumbai International Airport’s reputation for self-service technology was further enhanced by this year’s survey which also found that they are in the top three alongside Atlanta and Beijing when it comes to usage of online booking: when possible, 83% of Indian travellers will book online. After flight schedule, online booking is the second most important consideration now for the Indian traveller.

Self-service check-in rates are also high among passengers interviewed in Mumbai with 36% of surveyed passengers using it on the day. But usage could be higher among those who checked in at a counter as 67% did so because they had a bag to check-in and not all airlines allow online check-in for these passengers.

Baggage is regarded as a challenge even among the 74% of respondents who did check-in online and 83% of Mumbai respondents are enthusiastic about free airport bag drop. At the same time 76% have a positive attitude towards using baggage claim kiosks. Indian travellers have a marked preference for online check-in compared to kiosk check-in.

Indian travellers are also keen to see automation introduced at other points along the passenger journey. At least 54% would prefer an electronic boarding pass to a paper one compared to just 35% globally. There is also considerable support for automated border control and security processing (73%) and a majority would also use automatic boarding gates.

“Passengers in Mumbai are very sophisticated in how they manage their travel plans and this is borne out by their strong embrace of self-service technology. We expect to see further growth in the use of airline websites to book hotels, rent cars, purchase travel insurance and other ancillary services,” said Maneesh Jaikrishna, SITA Director for India. “Indian travellers already see the potential of mobile phones as travel accessories and we expect a significant rise in demand for mobile check-in and SMS notifications in the coming years as well as for airline ticket purchasing, modifying bookings to mention a few.”

The survey data is extracted from interviews with 2,490 passengers travelling on 106 airlines, conducted at the departure gates earlier this year. Main nationalities interviewed were American, 17%; Indian, 12%; Chinese, 12%; Brazilian, 11%; German, 8%; South African, 8%  Russian, 7%; and others, 25%.

The survey covered: Beijing International Airport; Frankfurt; Hartsfield-Jackson, Atlanta; Moscow Domodedovo; OR Tambo Airport, Johannesburg; and Sao Paulo Guarulhos, Brazil.

Nueve Áreas Naturales Protegidas del Perú Celebrarán Día Internacional de los Humedales

Fuente: http://www.trafficnews.ec

Autor: andina.com.pe

Fecha: 01/02/2011

Lima, (andina.com.pe). El Perú celebrará este miércoles 2 de febrero el Día Internacional de los Humedales, fecha en la que se conmemora la adopción de la Convención Ramsar, tratado intergubernamental que busca la conservación y el uso racional de los humedales y sus recursos.

El Perú cuenta con 13 humedales, de los cuales nueve son áreas naturales protegidas: el refugio de vida silvestre Los Pantanos de Villa (Lima), los santuarios nacionales Manglares de Tumbes y Lagunas de Mejía (Arequipa).

Asimismo, las reservas nacionales de Junín, Paracas (Ica), Pacaya Samiria (Loreto), Titicaca (Puno), Salinas y Aguada Blanca (Arequipa), así como la zona reservada Humedales de Puerto Viejo (Lima).

Por ello, las nueve áreas protegidas del país realizarán diversas actividades orientadas a que la población de las zonas aledañas tomen conciencia sobre la importancia de conservar estos ecosistemas únicos que sirven para mitigar el cambio climático y el control de las inundaciones.

Además, son paraderos de aves migratorias y garantizan la seguridad hídrica para la agricultura, la industria y consumo humano. Son, asimismo, hábitat de numerosas especies de flora y fauna, muchas de ellas en peligro de extinción como el zambullidor de Junín, el suri y el zambullidor del Titicaca.

El Servicio Nacional de Áreas Naturales Protegidas por el Estado (Sernanp) indicó que la reserva nacional de Junín ha organizado un campamento ecológico para la población infantil y la formación de miniguardaparques.

También habrá una “Caminata por la conservación del lago Chinchaycocha”, un concurso de reciclaje, cine ambiental y otras actividades.

La jefatura de la reserva nacional Pacaya Samiria, en tanto, dictará charlas de sensibilización en las comunidades que habitan al interior del área.

FITUR 2011 Recibió Más de 209.000 Visitantes

Fuente: http://www.trafficnews.ec

Autor: prensa.ifema.es

Fecha: 17/02/2011

Madrid, (prensa.ifema.es).- La trigésima primera edición de la Feria Internacional de Turismo, FITUR, cerró el pasado 23 de enero confirmando la tendencia de recuperación de esta industria, y con unos resultados en consonancia con los datos de crecimiento facilitados por la Organización Mundial de Turismo, que en 2010 ha registrado un incremento de las llegadas internacionales de un 6,7%.

En este contexto, FITUR 2011 ha mantenido las cifras de participación respecto a la edición precedente con la presencia de 10.434 empresas, procedentes de 166 países y/o regiones. En cuanto a la afluencia, 209.260 visitantes, entre profesionales y público, han acudido a FITUR para promover el negocio turístico o conocer nuevas ofertas y destinos para sus próximos viajes. Asimismo, entre los datos de participación hay que destacar la presencia de 7.726 periodistas, procedentes de 59 países, una expectación que evidencia la importancia de este FITUR, como el primer evento del año en el circuito internacional de Ferias del sector, y su importancia como plataforma para que los medios de comunicación conozcan las novedades del turismo.

La convocatoria 2011 ha estado marcada por el regreso con espacio expositivo de IBERIA, la aerolínea de referencia para el mercado español y latinoamericano, que ha participado con su socio British Airways y que también ha impulsado la Feria asumiendo la presidencia del Comité Organizador de FITUR. Además de la aerolínea, han vuelto otras compañías de trascendencia para el sector como ACCOR, AMADEUS y NATIONAL ATESA, entre otras. El retorno de estas firmas, ha contribuido, entre otros factores, al incremento del 3% en el área empresarial, un crecimiento que ha reforzado el carácter y perfil profesional de la convocatoria.

OBJETIVOS CUMPLIDOS

La capacidad de FITUR para actuar como plataforma comercial y el perfil altamente profesional de sus visitantes abren nuevas oportunidades para los protagonistas del negocio turístico: “Nuestro balance de la Feria es positivo, de hecho se han superado nuestras expectativas. Tras dos años de ausencia como expositores, esperábamos alcanzar un número de encuentros profesionales similar al de 2008, y nos hemos encontrado con una grata sorpresa al haberlos superado en un 35%. Más allá de la intensa actividad en nuestro stand, hemos detectado la afluencia a la Feria de un profesional con objetivos muy claros y con una agenda marcada y, en definitiva, dispuesto a sacar el máximo partido a su visita” ha comentado Iñigo García-Aranda, director de marketing de AMADEUS ESPAÑA. Por su parte, Antonio Catalán, presidente y fundador de AC Hotels ha subrayado la capacidad del certamen como marco de promoción y presentación de sus novedades: “En AC Hotels estamos muy satisfechos con nuestra participación en esta edición de FITUR, que hemos elegido como escenario para la presentación oficial de nuestro acuerdo con Marriott International y nuestra nueva marca AC Hotels by Marriott, que comenzará a operar como tal en mayo de este año. Para este ejercicio somos especialmente optimistas porque vemos muy buenas oportunidades de crecimiento para nuestra nueva marca, estamos muy ilusionados con nuestros planes de crecimiento y expansión internacional”.

Otros empresarios también confirman la utilidad de FITUR para su compañía, como asegura José María Belaunde, socio-director de Ruralka: “En FITUR la notoriedad de Ruralka va en aumento año tras año, ya que es cada vez mayor la afluencia de clientes y usuarios potenciales que acuden a nuestro stand buscando ampliar información o fórmulas de colaboración. El año que viene volveremos a FITUR porque representa un escaparate ideal para un empresa como Ruralka, ya que se trata del entorno ideal para la desvirtualización con el público, del reencuentro con y entre los clientes, de la presentación del proyecto y sus novedades tanto a la prensa como a nuestro entorno profesional y es además un evento ideal para captar tendencia, conocer novedades tecnológicas o abrir nuevos canales.”

PROMOCIÓN ANTE EL PROFESIONAL Y EL PÚBLICO

Como Ruralka, y según las encuestas realizadas tras la Feria, otros muchos expositores han manifestado ya su intención de acudir a la convocatoria 2012, en total, un 93,4% de los participantes. Una voluntad que confirma al certamen, una convocatoria más, su posición como referente en el circuito ferial internacional, y foro indiscutible como puerta de unión entre el mercado latinoamericano y el europeo. En definitiva, un escenario fundamental tanto para promocionar los destinos ante el público, como para entablar provechosas relaciones que deriven en intercambios comerciales: “FITUR es y ha sido durante años la cita de turismo más importante para nosotros, hemos incrementado en todo este tiempo los metros cuadrados de nuestro stand para mostrar de la mejor manera a Argentina, sus servicios y destinos. Es fundamental para nosotros la participación en FITUR, ya que continúa reuniendo no sólo a una gran cantidad de público, sino también a las empresas y destinos mas importantes del mundo”, asegura Carlos Enrique Meyer, ministro de turismo de Argentina.

En la edición 2011, se han puesto en marcha algunas iniciativas destinadas a reflejar el dinamismo del turismo y la capacidad de FITUR para responder a las nuevas necesidades  que se plantean en el sector. Con este objetivo, se ha organizado FITUR LGBT, un espacio dedicado a los programas destinados a lesbianas, gays, bisexuales y transexuales, uno de los mercados con mayor potencial de desarrollo. El resultado de esta  primera convocatoria ha sido satisfactorio para los participantes “la experiencia ha sido muy positiva, nuestro objetivo: posicionamiento de destino, imagen en el contexto de cara a los comercializadores, y posicionamiento mediático para generar conocimiento del destino entre la demanda potencial, ha sido cubierto “, comenta Raúl Cabrera, responsable de Promoción Exterior del patronato de Turismo de Fuerteventura.

PUNTO DE ENCUENTRO Y NEGOCIO

Asimismo, este año también se ha inaugurado el I Workshop de FITUR 2011, una propuesta que pretende ser un espacio de encuentro para promover el networking entre profesionales y los intercambios de negocio. En total, sólo en una mañana se agendaron 360 citas entre compradores internacionales y expositores. La promoción de los encuentros B2B también se ha fomentado en FITUR MEETINGS & EVENTS que, durante una jornada de trabajo, convocó a 115 vendedores de la oferta española de incentivos, con 68 compradores internacionales de 30 países. En total, 1.573 citas establecidas que fueron asignadas en un 56% con la coincidencia de interés por parte de comprador y vendedor, subrayando las altas posibilidades de estos encuentros de desembocar en provechosas relaciones para ambos.

Junto a estos programas, en esta trigésima primera edición de FITUR, se ha continuado con otras iniciativas que ya lograron una extraordinaria acogida el pasado año y que se han convocado de nuevo con la intención de contribuir activamente a que el turismo actúe como motor de desarrollo en zonas desfavorecidas y a implantar un modelo más sostenible y respetuoso con el entorno. En este contexto, se ha celebrado, por segundo año consecutivo INVESTOUR, organizado por FITUR, Casa África y la OMT, para promover los contactos cualificados entre inversores españoles y responsables del turismo en África. En estos encuentros B2B, se han presentado proyectos de 33 países africanos que favorecen las alianzas internacionales, a la vez que construyen un modelo turístico sostenible: “INVESTOUR es una iniciativa que pretende contribuir al desarrollo del sector turístico en África. También creemos que para los empresarios españoles es importante diversificar y tener en su oferta turística productos de la calidad y la exclusividad que ofrecen muchos espacios en este continente y por ello ofrecemos este espacio de encuentro para fomentar el partenariado, principalmente poniendo en contacto a los operadores públicos y privados en un marco como FITUR, que además permite que la agenda esté abierta al encuentro con profesionales durante todos los días de la Feria.”, destaca Luis Padilla Macabeo, secretario general de Casa África.

SUBRAYAR LA COMPETITIVIDAD

Sin duda, En FITUR 2011 también ha tenido importancia el compromiso de la industria turística con el medio ambiente y que, entre otras propuestas, se ha escenificado en el foro FITUR GREEN, que tiene el objetivo de dar a conocer y favorecer la implementación de soluciones destinadas a la eficiencia energética, la sostenibilidad, así como la optimización de costes, unos factores que también benefician al usuario final.

Otro programa que pretende potenciar la competitividad turística, y que suma seguidores en cada edición, es FITURTECH. El foro, promovido en colaboración con el Instituto Tecnológico Hotelero (ITH), revela la pretensión de la Feria de que los profesionales obtengan el máximo beneficio de las nuevas tecnologías para su negocio. Un interés, que según los organizadores, crece convocatoria tras convocatoria, donde, además, se revela una tendencia creciente de los profesionales a “escuchar las opiniones de colegas de éxito reconocido que están haciendo las cosas de forma diferente”. Las jornadas de 2011 se centraron en el análisis de la innovación y movilidad en el turismo del s. XXI y han atraído a más de 1.000 personas hasta la sala de FITURTECH, como confirma Álvaro Carrillo de Albornoz, director general de ITH “ha habido más gente todos los días, y sobre todo, otra sensación. Ya hemos tocado fondo, y ahora todos los comentarios van enfocados al futuro, al crecimiento de este año, a recuperar clientes y rentabilidades, a crecer. Y eso es ilusionante”.

POR EL FUTURO DEL SECTOR

A la presentación de la oferta, las novedades, la promoción de los encuentros comerciales entre profesionales y la formación, se suma la pretensión de FITUR de promover la investigación en el sector como medio para buscar la excelencia del mercado. Para ello se creó, hace ya XVII ediciones, el premio Tribuna FITUR/Jorge Vila Fradera que este año ha registrado un considerable aumento del número de trabajos presentados hasta contar con 14. El ganador ha sido Análisis del turismo enológico en España: efectos de la denominación de origen en la elección de un destino, elaborado por María del Mar Gómez Rico. Una investigación que profundiza en la influencia de la imagen de marca de las denominaciones de origen españolas y que revela el interés de los turistas por productos cada vez más especializados: “El premio Tribuna FITUR/Vila Fradera 2011 representa un sello de garantía en las investigaciones de turismo en España y, como tal, valida el estudio realizado. Por tanto, este premio aportará un valor añadido a mi trayectoria de investigación en el sector enoturístico”, subraya María del Mar Gómez Rico,  autora del trabajo seleccionado.

EL PÚBLICO MÁS PROTAGONISTA QUE NUNCA

En los días dedicados al público general, FITUR 2011 ha pretendido responder a una demanda clara de los turistas: ser cada vez más protagonistas de sus viajes, de su preparación, de sus actividades… Con este objetivo, el tradicional Festival folclórico de los pueblos del mundo se ha convertido en el I Maratón de Folklore Interactivo donde los aficionados al baile y a la artesanía han podido aprender salsa con los pentacampeones del mundo llegados desde Colombia; conocer los secretos de los bordados al aire que en Galicia utilizan para adornar sus trajes típicos o conocer los angklung, unos instrumentos indonesios de bambú. A continuación, el público ha podido compartir escenario con los expertos: “Fue una oportunidad única bailar con los campeones del mundo de salsa. Una experiencia inolvidable que nos ofreció FITUR”, agradece Vera Villegas, una de las participantes en el taller de salsa de Folclorearte con nosotros.

También en las actividades organizadas en colaboración con la red social de viajeros minube.com el público ha sido el principal actor y ha podido conocer nuevos destinos en FITUR y compartir sus experiencias recorriendo mundo, como recuerda Raúl Jiménez, CEO y fundador de Minube.com: “La Quedada viajera, a la que acudieron cerca de 1.000 personas, fue un acto multitudinario en el que, además, los asistentes nos aseguraron haber pasado un gran rato. Por su parte, la Gymkana viajera y el Speaker’s Corner consiguieron dar el protagonismo al viajero y los puntos de información orientaron a los visitantes para llegar a los expositores mucho más segmentados. Sobre todo, creo que se ha ayudado al viajero a sentirse importante y a que disfrute de lo que más le gusta: los viajes. Por lo que nuestros objetivos se han cumplido con creces”.

La participación de los visitantes también se ha visto reflejada en la interacción en las redes sociales donde, sólo en facebook, FITUR ha casi alcanzado los 10.300 seguidores,  que se suman a los de Twitter, Linked In y a los que han comentado el blog de FITUR, así como las personas que se han interesado por los vídeos y fotografías de la Feria en Flickr y Youtube.

Las buenas impresiones transmitidas por representantes de diversas áreas de la Feria, junto a la satisfacción manifestada por profesionales y público permiten mirar con entusiasmo e ilusión a la próxima convocatoria de FITUR,  que se celebrará entre el 18 y el 22 de enero de 2012.

Skiing Your Way to ‘Hedonistic Sustainability’

Fuente: green.blogs.nytimes.com

Autor: Jim Witkin

Fecha: 16/02/2011

An artist’s rendering of a proposed waste-to-energy plant in Copenhagen that would also function as a skiing park.
Bjarke Ingels GroupAn artist’s rendering of a proposed waste-to-energy plant in Copenhagen that would also function as a ski park.

If you’re itching to visit the new advanced waste management plant that will open in 2016 in Copenhagen, be sure to bring your skis. An urban ski park will cover the plant, which will incinerate the waste from five municipalities to generate heat and electricity for 140,000 homes. While their trash is burning inside, locals will be able to take an elevator to the top of the building, then ski down one of three different slopes, graded by difficulty, that jointly run about 5,000 feet.

The new plant will replace a 40-year old incinerator operated byAmagerforbrænding, a waste and energy company. Construction will begin next year. The idea for the ski slope comes from the Bjarke Ingels Group, the Danish architectural firm that took first prize in a design competition for the new plant.

Alongside the ski slope, the plant’s smokestack will blow smoke rings each time it fills with 440 pounds of carbon dioxide from flue gas. In a recent interview with National Public Radio, Bjarke Ingels, the founder of the design firm, said the smoke rings would turn “the symbol of pollution into something playful,” while reminding residents of the impact of their consumption.

Mr. Ingels, whose firm is also at work on a project in New York, said the plant’s unique design made the point that sustainability did not have to be about sacrifice. “We try to look at some different approaches where sustainable cities and sustainable buildings actually increase the quality of life,” he said. “We call this ‘hedonistic sustainability’.”

The new plant continues the European practice of fashioning waste incineration plants as highly designed works of urban architecture rather than dull industrial sites.

Because the plants typically provide heat in addition to electricity for district heating systems, they are best located in dense urban areas. The plants often take on decorative coverings to overcome any negative public perceptions, as Elisabeth Rosenthal reported last year; the new incinerator planned for Copenhagen, however, will be the first one that will engage the public in a sport.

While waste-to-energy plants are widespread in Europe, especially in Denmark, Sweden and Germany, their use in the United States is still limited. The Energy Department and 24 states recognize waste as a renewable energy source, making such projects eligible for various incentives. But only 87 municipal waste power generation plants are operating, generating less than 1 percent of the nation’s power.

High capital costs, plentiful open space for landfills and groups that advocate recycling rather than incineration have been the major barriers. The recent fiscal problems in Harrisburg, Pa., haven’t helped: the city may be facing bankruptcy because it cannot make the debt payments on its waste-to-energy plant.

Nickolas J. Themelis of the Earth Engineering Center at Columbia University, who was featured in Ms. Rosenthal’s Times’ article last April, said that not much had changed here since then. He indicated in an e-mail that only three new facilities have been built in recent years and all were expansions of existing facilities. One new plant has been approved in Frederick County, Md., however.

Sorry, it won’t have a ski slope.

Porsche Unveils The 2012 Panamera S Hybrid Before The Geneva Auto Show

Fuente: inhabitat.com

Autor: Ami Cholia

Fecha: 17/02/2011

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As a way to meet the new fuel economy standards set by the Obama administration, requiring fleets to have an average of 35.5 mpg by 2016, Porsche unveiled the 2012 Panamera S hybrid before the Geneva Auto Show. The car should get about 34.5 mpg, which is pretty great considering the car produces 380 horsepower and can go from 0 to 60 mph in 5.7 seconds. Clearly the most fuel efficient Porsche, the Panamera S hybrid has a top speed of 167 mph, and rides in purely electric mode for approximately one mile (which is obviously not very impressive!)

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The new hybrid uses the same gasoline engine/electric motor combination found in the Cayenne S Hybrid and has a regenerative braking system that recharges the cells during braking. According to a statement from Porsche:

The Porsche parallel full hybrid system also reduces consumption at high speeds thanks to its ‘sailing’ or coasting mode. When the driver lifts off the accelerator at normal highway cruising speeds, the gasoline engine is completely switched off and disengaged from the drivetrain by a decoupling clutch. This eliminates the combustion engine’s drag forces and braking effect in the interest of lower resistance, fuel consumption and emissions. As soon as the driver presses the accelerator, to pass another vehicle for example, the gasoline engine smoothly starts within fractions of a second and engine rpms are increased to match the current vehicle speed. It does this seamlessly thanks to the Hybrid Manager, which also helps the Panamera S Hybrid accelerate dynamically in gears at higher speeds much like a conventional Panamera.

For those of you who have the need for speed, with an eco twist, the Panamera S Hybrid will go on sale in the United States later in 2011 for about $95,000 (excluding destination).

Special Report – The California Carbon Rush (Hold the Eureka!)

Fuente: uk.news.yahoo.com

Autor: Staff

Fecha: 17/02/2011

Under California’s new carbon trading system, big polluters will be paying through the nose for the privilege.

And so will everyone else in the state.

The basic premise is “no pain, no gain” — when the price starts to pinch, that will spur innovation and California will lead the world in green technology. Or at least that’s the plan.

The Carbon Rush officially gets underway next year. Power plants, factories and other companies will have to obtain an “allowance” permit for every ton of carbon dioxide they produce. Allowances will be sold at state auctions and on an open market.

Most of the financial sting is being backloaded. The program begins with a big giveaway, with the state handing out most permits free — a “soft start,” is how state officials term it.

This new market will rapidly expand, beginning at just under $2 billion (1.2 billion pounds) and rising to nearly $10 billion in 2016, according to estimates from Point Carbon, a Thomson Reuters company focussing on carbon markets.

The state is expected to reap billions of dollars in revenues, but the side-effects are hardly trifling. And it is only part of an array of programs to combat climate change. Cap and trade is guaranteed to push up gas prices for consumers and, critics say, some businesses may be driven away by the additional costs in an already high-cost state.

And that’s assuming it will work. The world’s biggest existing carbon market, the Emissions Trading Scheme in Europe, has been plagued by problems, from mispricing to theft, and provides no clear model for success.

Moreover, California has its own unique obstacles to overcome — not the least of which is that its companies are already greener than most.

The plan will have an impact that extends well beyond the state’s borders. If the carbon market can create jobs, cut emissions and operate efficiently, other states would be more likely to give it a whirl. If it flops, they won’t.

CARBON TRADING HERE WE COME

California aims to cut greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020, which is no small feat. Higher prices, say the plan’s backers, will help. As the theory goes, if gasoline costs more, people will get high-mileage cars; if electricity prices rise, business and homeowners will buy energy-efficient light bulbs; if there is a financial penalty to burning coal, power plants will be more inclined to use natural gas or build a wind farm.

The cap-and-trade plan will put a limit on total emissions of greenhouse gases, and year by year decrease that limit, which is expressed in carbon allowances. Each metric ton of emissions will have to be covered with an allowance, which may be given away by the state, or sold directly by the state or on a secondary market — that is, an exchange. Big polluters must account for their own emissions. Small polluters — such as cars — will see the effect in prices they pay for fuel and electricity.

By 2016 California’s market will be about a fifth the size of Europe’s, making it the second largest market in the world, Point Carbon estimates. And the state may have company: Three Canadian provinces — Ontario, Quebec, and British Columbia — as well as the U.S. state of New Mexico, aim to join California under the auspices of a group called the Western Climate Initiative.

The state will hand out free carbon permits, or allowances, to companies that face out-of-state competition, such as cement makers. Others will have to buy them in state auctions and on the open market.

Prices are expected to start off low, at about $13 a ton — not high enough to spark much change. But California companies, already among the cleanest and most efficient in the country, will be hard pressed to find cheap, easy ways to cut emissions.

Once giveaways from the state dry up, market prices will spike to $75 a metric ton in 2020, Point Carbon forecasts in a new report (www.pointcarbon.com). A price this hefty, say the plan’s champions, could act as a spur for innovation by companies eager to cuts costs.

EUROPEAN MODEL

The United States invented the concept of allowing power plants to trade rights to pollute in 1990. The target then was acid rain. Private industry scrambled to find the cheapest way to clean up the environment — and succeeded, with the most efficient companies selling permits to the least.

“Some say there was no innovation at all. All the power plants did was switch to lower sulphur coals. And others say there was incredible innovation — the power plants switched to lower sulphur coals,” joked economist Jamie Fine of the Environmental Defence Fund, a major advocate of California’s carbon market.

Europe took the next big step with a cap-and-trade carbon market in 2005, but it has stumbled from one failure to the next. Nervous governments with no clear idea of how much greenhouse gases their economies produced flooded their companies with free permits when the plan started.

Factories could not pollute enough to keep up with the supply. Once that became known, in 2007, the price of carbon fell to nearly zero. But power plants managed to profit from the handouts by jacking up rates and selling free permits.

By the time regulators had worked the kinks out of the ETS, or Emissions Trading Scheme, the global economy had gone into a tailspin. That did the carbon scheme’s work for it: an idle factory does not pollute.

Maarten Neelis, an analyst at carbon consultancy Ecofys, said the European system will ultimately work. “Starting in 2013, it should also become successful in terms of abatement,” he said. Since some companies stored up carbon credits when the economy forced them to scale back production, many won’t need to do anything until 2014 or 2015, he said.

Indeed, a poll by Point Carbon published early last year showed the carbon market gaining credibility in Europe. A majority of participants for the first time said that the system had caused reductions at their company.

“Simply starting captrade, and having some certainty that carbon will be priced, automatically changes the system” in California said clean energy banker Jim Butcher of Southern California’s Renewable Advisors.

Learning from Europe’s missteps, California has a clear inventory of carbon emissions and has designed its giveaways to prevent power plants from profiting from them, analysts agree.

With a U.S. federal effort on hold and a U.S. northeast carbon trading scheme trading at almost laughably low prices, California is the U.S. standard bearer.

LOW-HANGING FRUIT

U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu likes to say that the low-hanging fruit of a low-carbon economy is energy efficiency, and that the fruit is so low it’s lying on the ground for most of the nation.

But California ate all that stuff in the 1970s. It has been writing regulations to encourage conservation since then. Practically speaking, that means some of the cheapest ways to cut the carbon footprint of California have already been done.

The first few years will be easy for polluters, because of all the free permits. Prices for contracts to be settled next year are a few dollars per ton higher than the $10 floor set by the state, but nothing that will cause major strain on anybody.

“I don’t think the market is expecting pricing to instantaneously rocket up,” said Lenny Hochschild, a trader and managing director of Evolution Markets in New York, which trades in Europe and the United States.

But the rocket may be lit with a slow-burning fuse, even if many companies haven’t realized it yet — after all, the regulatory plan was approved in December, with some details still to come.

The state projects that 2017 will be the first year in which the supply of credits will be less than demand. The market will begin to force change at that point. Point Carbon forecasts this day of reckoning a little sooner, sometime in 2016. No one disputes it’s coming.

When it does, the changes likely won’t be cheap. European power plants often can cut their carbon bills by switching from coal to gas. But California utilities have already done that at most in-state plants.

And other forms of clean technology may not be ready in time to help. Major mandated efforts to build vast solar plants and windmill farms in the deserts and mountains also are behind schedule. (See special report “With solar power, it’s Green vs. Green” at: http://link.reuters.com/vuj84r )

Finally, the cap-and-trade market offers a safety valve in the form of credits for projects that offset carbon emissions, such as managing timber lands to cut trees less frequently, thus soaking up carbon, and capturing methane at dairy farms. But there will not be enough in place in time, either.

That’s why Point Carbon is forecasting that prices will jump to between $69 and $87 per ton in 2020, sufficient to tap a containment reserve of credits that the state had hoped would be an unofficial ceiling on the market.

“A lot of power plants and industrial facilities have already reduced their emissions. They burn clean fuels, they have changed their boilers. So for them it’s going to be hard to cut further — unless new technology emerges. For the market what this means is that there are few low-cost abatement options available. That will push prices up all the way to the containment reserve,” said Emilie Mazzacurati, head of Carbon Research for North America at Point Carbon.

Barclays Capital commodities analyst Trevor Sikorski sees the same trend, with the price of carbon rising from $16 per ton in the first three years of the program, 2012-2014, to an average of $40 per ton in the second period and $73 per ton in the third period, 2018-2020.

“You could see some quite sticky times for the market,” he said.

MARKET MECHANICS

It could be worse than sticky, argues Gary Stern, a power utility executive. Stern lived through the disastrous deregulation of the California power market a decade ago and fears the carbon market will be small and open to manipulation. The state refuses to set a limit for prices. Traders could learn how to corner the market (think Enron) and then hold hostage utilities and factories with no option but to buy sky-high permits on the open market.

State officials say they are working on new safeguards to stop just such efforts and will unveil them in July. California also plans to hire an external monitor to watch the markets — a key recommendation of Stern. “I’m not saying we would expect the same thing to occur in the emissions markets,” he said. “However, we didn’t expect that to occur in the electricity markets.”

Even if all goes well, nine years of carbon trade won’t be enough to end worries about climate change, especially if other states and nations don’t pitch in.

“The ambition doesn’t add up in terms of what the science is calling for. In fact it doesn’t get close,” said Greenpeace forest campaigner Rolf Skar, who derides the decision to give away any pollution permits at all. He also turns up his nose at California’s plans to let industry pay for “offsets” — projects to soak up carbon, such as forest management.

Offsets are seen as an important price safety valve — letting a redwood grow bigger to capture carbon in its wood is cheaper than building a carbon-free power plant, and a substantial portion of California’s emissions reductions could come from such schemes.

Owners typically pay contractors to verify such projects — which is not dissimilar to a bond issuer paying a credit agency to rate it — but designers say the offset program avoids conflicts of interest and project standards are extremely strict.

To make a serious dent in emissions, regulators will target transportation. Cars, trucks and planes spew out 40 percent of the state’s carbon, more than utilities or industry.

The state’s climate change law could have been called the “California Petroleum Use Reduction Act,” Mary Nichols, California’s top climate change regulator, joked last year.

The state is the third biggest user of gasoline in the world, after the U.S. as a whole and China, but drivers can change emissions very quickly — by leaving the car in the garage or buying a new, more efficient, car.

“You are just trying to get people to drive less, effectively, which is probably going to be quite expensive,” said Sikorski of Barclays.

Auto fuels are pulled into the cap-and-trade system in 2015. Gasoline prices are sure to rise as distributors are forced to buy carbon permits.

Gas prices rise almost 1 cent per gallon for every dollar of carbon cost. So a $50 carbon price would add 44 cents to a gallon, Point Carbon estimates.

“Californians already pay the highest gasoline price in the country because of their environmental rules, and this is going to drive them higher,” said Bill Day of refiner Valero, which eventually will have to buy permits for the greenhouse gases released during refining.

“The refineries at Valero, at least, are about as energy efficient as they can be. There is no carbon scrubber. It doesn’t exist,” he added.

IT’S THE ECONOMY, STUPID

California may be the bluest of blue states, but that does not make it immune to the nationwide backlash against public spending. Dan Logue, a Republican state Assemblyman, derides carbon markets as a Ponzi scheme of sorts that will attract investment and loans for questionable clean energy projects.

“The problem with the green economy is when you see green, you see subsidized,” said Logue, one of the authors of a rejected November ballot measure to derail the climate law. His prime example of subsidies gone awry is San Francisco Bay area solar panel maker Solyndra, which has received $535 million in federal loans but has shelved expansion plans in the face of competition from China.

It is unclear that California’s green dream will change the economics of building the factories of the future. Critics fear companies may simply choose to bolt to less costly states.

California is the U.S. home of startups, fed by Silicon Valley venture capitalists who give a million dollars here, a million dollars there, hoping to defy the odds and find the next Google. For those young companies, a sharp rise in energy prices from the carbon market make it worthwhile to invent something new.

“Oh wow. That’s way more than what renewable energy needs to be competitive,” said Stephanie Rosenthal, president of southern California’s Pyron Solar, at the prospect of double digit rises in energy prices from the carbon market.

“The rise of carbon prices, that’s exactly what these new technologies need,” she said. “It gets way more interesting for people to invest in these technologies.”

(Editing by Claudia Parsons and Jim Impoco)

Firma ligada a clan Walker invierte en energía eólica

Fuente: sustentable.cl

Autor: Staff

Fecha: 17/02/2011

La empresa además prepara una cartera de proyectos por 500 MW.
Una cartera de proyectos eólicos por cerca de 500 MW es la que ya prepara Wind Service, la compañía vinculada al empresario Juan Walker, uno de los siete hermanos del clan. Y ya en 2011, la firma planea ingresar este mes la declaración de impacto ambiental (DIA) por un nuevo parque eólico en la localidad de Llay Llay, en la Región de Valparaíso, en una movida que requerirá US$ 110 millones.
El mismo Walker lo confirmó y explicó que en la zona ya llevan midiendo el viento hace unos 10 años, lo que ha permitido hacer comparaciones año a año y “concluir que en el caso de Llay Llay el viento no cambia, por lo que el proyecto tiene una certeza muy alta para generar la energía eléctrica que está proyectada”.
Esto es 150 mil MWh por año, con una capacidad instalada de 56 MW –con 28 aerogeneradores de 2 MW cada uno- y con un factor de planta de un 30%. El parque -que tendrá un mínimo de 20 años de vida útil y cuya construcción se contempla para el primer semestre de 2012- inyectará energía a la subestación Las Vegas, ubicada a un kilómetro de las instalaciones, conectada al Sistema Interconectado Central (SIC).
En esta línea, la firma ya ha participado en otros proyectos similares desde hace varios años, entre los que se cuentan la central Alto Baguales, de 2 MW y ubicada en Aysén; y el parque eólico Totoral, en la IV Región. “Trajimos la energía eólica a Chile y nos vamos a quedar por muchos años más desarrollando parques eólicos”, dijo Walker.
Esto, en base a la misma meta 20/20 del Gobierno, que busca que el 20% de matriz eléctrica esté basada en energías renovables hacia el año 2020. Al mismo tiempo, Walker explicó que para poder cumplirla se requerirán entre 4.000 MW y 5.000 MW de este tipo de generación.
Por lo mismo, el empresario ya prepara un proyecto hidroeléctrico cuya presentación también llegaría este año. La central -que estaría ubicada en Aysén- consistiría en 15 MW de capacidad instalada, con una inversión que ascendería los US$ 40. En este sentido, Atacama Solar -otra firma vinculada a Walker- ya había ingresado a la autoridad ambiental un proyecto para una planta fotovoltaica de 250 MW, por US$ 773 millones, en Pica, I Región.

Viticultura ecológica en Lanzarote

Fuente: www.ecoticias.com

Autor: Staff

Fecha: 17/02/2011

Unas 60 personas asistieron este martes a la convocatoria realizada por la Cámara de Comercio, Industria y Navegación de Lanzarote para analizar nuevas oportunidades de negocio. En este caso la cita era para ahondar en la práctica de la viticultura ecológica, informó la Institución cameral en un comunicado.

“En los últimos años el cultivo de vid ecológica ha pasado en Lanzarote de tener 4 hectáreas a 25 hectáreas y ya son dos las bodegas que producen vino ecológico”, así lo expresó Javier Betancort, presidente del Consejo Regulador de la Denominación de Origen Vinos de Lanzarote, ente colaboradora del acto celebrado ayer.

Durante la apertura del acto, el vicepresidente de la Cámara, Neftalí Acosta, destacó la importancia que tiene para la innovación de nuestras empresas el Programa de Innovación y Transferencia del Conocimiento, en el que se enmarcan estos encuentros. “Es importante que la experiencia de las empresas cuente con el conocimiento de los centros de investigación y las universidades”.

Así, bodegueros, agricultores y emprendedores interesados en el negocio del vino y sus derivados atendieron a las explicaciones de Tomás Alcoverro Pedrosa, Investigador del Instituto Canario de Investigaciones Agrarias, sobre cómo reconvertir una finca a ecológica, la importancia de conocer las propiedades de los suelos, la elección de los cultivos o lo fundamental que es saber hacer un buen compost. De los suelos de Lanzarote destacó el problema existente ante la escasez de fertilización y apuntó a que se necesita un plan de urgencia en este sentido.

Think Biomass, Not Natural Gas

Fuente: www.miller-mccune.com

Autor: Joan Melcher

Fecha: 17/02/2011

But there are people doing it: going to work each day, considering myriad energy sources, conjuring up possible configurations for the future. It’s an undertaking many might find intriguing, but … understanding all the technologies, constantly crunching the numbers, seeing a big picture that is as complex and immutable as a monotone jigsaw puzzle, butting up against obstacles and being ready to accept new information that may topple the apple cart — that’s another thing.

Jeffrey Greenblatt, project scientist at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, is one of the people in these trenches. He’d like to “electrify the economy” to limit atmospheric carbon dioxide.

He and colleagues, a team of 50 scientists, engineering and utility professionals led by Jane Long of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, are nearing the end of a study titled California’s Energy Future. Their task: determine if and how California could reduce its carbon emissions 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050, in line with an executive order issued by then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. It’s a goal so ambitious as to elicit “ah, sure” groans, but reductions at this level will likely be required to keep atmospheric CO2 in the 350 to 450 parts per million range in 2050, what most climate scientists say is needed to prevent runaway global warming. The latest measure of CO2 in the atmosphere recorded at the Mauna Loa Observatory was about 391 ppm, taken at the end of January.

They are imagining what is possible and yet what may well be an impossibility, given a variety of limitations — political will, cost, the messiness of a free society. They do not expect their findings to be implemented quickly or in toto, and they’re not recommending a course of action. What they are doing is providing scenarios that could reach the 80 percent reduction.

“Our conclusion is certainly not that all we have to do is push renewables, push efficiency or push nuclear,” Greenblatt said. “You’ve got to push them all.”

The team placed a cap of carbon emissions at 80 million metric tons of carbon dioxide per year by 2050 — in 2008, the state currently belched forth 474 million metric tons — and developed several scenarios for various energy sources. They assumed a 2.75 percent rate of growth, consistent with long-term historical growth in the state. Although the study addresses California and its economy, Greenblatt said findings will be apropos to “any developed nation.”

Others have addressed the issue on a global level. The World Wildlife Fund and Ecofys (a Netherlands-based think tank focused on sustainable energy solutions) recently released an international study titled The Energy Report: 100% Renewable Energy by 2050. The authors believe the world could run almost entirely on renewable energy by that year, after paring down energy demand through intense energy efficiency measures and lifestyle changes (among them less air travel and a halving of meat consumption in developed countries).

At last year’s Society of Environmental Journalists’ annual conference, Greenblatt talked of electrifying the energy sector by relying heavily on renewable energy, of including nuclear and carbon sequestration with coal generation and of limiting other fossil fuel use to areas where only those fuels could do the task or were needed to supplement the supply of biofuels. He talked of heating buildings with electricity with the aid of heat pumps and using natural gas “like an expensive perfume.”

That’s when the ears of so-many journalists perked up. Few had heard or considered the idea that electricity could better heat homes than natural gas — labeled a “clean” fossil fuel and used widely to heat homes and offices because of its efficiency.

In a later interview, Greenblatt took on the skeptics.

“You have to think beyond the current paradigm,” he said. “ [In the future] we’re not burning fossil fuels to make our electricity anymore. That energy is coming from the sun, wind, waves, biomass and geothermal. You’re getting all this energy that is very low carbon and then you’re using electricity to move heat into homes at something like the efficiency of two and a half to three times the efficiency of a furnace. In other words, for every unit of energy consumed by the heat pump, you can get two to three units of heat actually in your house.”

Interviewing Greenblatt and Max Wei, a senior research associate and part of the team, is an eye-opening experience. One learns that certain industrial processes — making glass and cement, for example — are likely never going to be feasible with heat pumps and electricity because to date only fossil fuels can attain the required temperatures. One also learns that trains and buses can be fairly easily electrified and that we may be able to convert biomass starter materials directly to fuels using engineered microbes.

The paper is being organized around four scenarios: options that are heavy renewable, nuclear, biomass and fossil fuels (coal and natural gas are used for generation with carbon sequestration).

We can get this much wind, but can we get the transmission for it and at what cost? Nuclear is a dependable base-load electrical provider, but will there be a way to solve the waste disposal problem? Will there be a breakthrough that makes hydrogen fuel cells more cost effective for use in vehicles? We could grow biomass for fuel, but we need fossil fuels to do it. Would it be better to burn the biomass for electricity if we could sequester the carbon?

“Basically, we have four possible pathways that are low-enough carbon they’re worth considering,” he said. “One, which is not worth considering, is burning more natural gas. It’s not going to save enough carbon. It doesn’t get us far enough.”

But there are problems with all the scenarios. “Technically you could build a lot of your power with nuclear,” he said. “But with nuclear there’s a fuel-waste disposal issue and a public acceptance issue that’s huge.

“There is enough renewable energy (mainly solar, wind and geothermal) to run most of our energy system. The challenge there is transmission, land-use impacts and the 800-pound gorilla — load balancing — the fact that these are mostly intermittent, and you’re going to have unpredictability in your energy grid,” he said.

Originally, biomass had been relegated to a smaller role, but several colleagues at the laboratory called for considering such a scenario even though providing massive amounts of electricity from biomass would seem, at this point, to be something more easily done on paper than in a real economy.

The biomass option relies on California securing about 15 percent of available biomass in the country (which is also the percentage of U.S. population California will likely have in 2050). It could include agricultural waste, forest residue, municipal wastes, construction debris, organic effluent from sewage, organic compostable material now going to landfills, second-generation biofuels and some energy crops such as corn and perennial grasses grown on marginal lands. Some biomass might be imported internationally.

The biomass would be transported and burned in integrated gasification-combined cycle generators (possibly modified coal plants), built or retrofitted to release a relatively clean stream of CO2. That carbon dioxide could be sequestered, resulting in a net decrease in CO2 in the atmosphere. (Unlike coal or natural gas, new biomass grows, sequestering carbon.)

Asked if there were other environmental concerns from burning biomass, Greenblatt said it will produce “tars and other gunky stuff you have to deal with” but added those problems fall outside the purview of this study.

The net decrease in carbon emissions realized with biomass/sequestration gives the transportation scenario some breathing room, he said. It adds another option to the puzzle. The study considers a future where much of the small-vehicle fleet is electrified, but aviation and long-haul trucking still require liquid fuels, a good part of which will be fossil fuels.

“Getting enough biomass to run the energy system is a challenge,” Greenblatt said. “It comes with an assumption that we’re pushing aggressively on both efficiency and electrification — keeping the demand for transportation fuels way down compared to what it would have been if we continued business as usual.”

Even with increased efficiency and electric plug-ins, the transportation sector, which now consumes more than a third of the nation’s fossil fuels, remains a difficult nut to crack. “We try to squeeze as much liquid fuel demand out of the transportation sector as possible to start with,” he said.

Plug-in electrics have a limited range and battery technology, at least to date, which precludes long-range travel, or, as Greenblatt phrased it, cars are “mobile power plants” that have “an energy density constraint.” The team is looking at hydrogen-powered cars as a way of providing long-range transportation options.

Carbon sequestration is often linked with coal power and is not considered a proven technology, but that hasn’t deterred Greenblatt. “If we only looked at the technologies you can go out and buy today we wouldn’t get very far. The caveat here is we have to make sure it works at large scale. If it does, then these options become available to us.”

The study team has looked at sequestration for a broad range of fuels. “Sequestration is a technology that is in demonstration in multiple locations around the world,” Greenblatt said. “Many pieces of the technology are well understood. There’s still a lot of work to be done before it becomes a viable large-scale technology. But we felt the promise of it was so great it was worth considering as a possibility.”

Questions that emerge from this discussion often relate to numbers, but the authors aren’t releasing their data prior to release of the study on Friday.

Greenblatt was the author of the study Clean Energy 2030 prepared for Google, Inc. in 2008. It looked at ending use of coal and oil for electricity generation and cutting petroleum use in cars by 44 percent by 2030 nationwide.

That study, which calls for reducing energy demand by 33 percent through aggressive efficiency measures, adding 710 gigawatts of power from renewables, and transferring 41 percent of the nation’s vehicle fleet to plug-ins, estimated the cost of the suggested course of action at $3.86 trillion in 2008 dollars and a savings of $4.68 trillion for a net savings of more than $820 billion over the plans’ 22 years.

When asked about costs for the California study, Greenblatt said they have cost estimates, but extrapolating to 2050 won’t be a part of the study, other than projected estimates of increases and decreases in costs of various technologies. He said authors will discuss cost as one of many issues, including policy, resource and infrastructure constraints.

“What we wind up showing the reader is that there are a number of choices that could approximately meet our goal,” Greenblatt said. “They all have challenges; the challenges differ. They’re all difficult, but it’s hard to say ahead of time which one will be a show-stopper and which one won’t, so we wind up presenting a portfolio of which you can choose one or some sort of hybrid of them.”

The study will present the scenarios and various options, creating what could be an intriguing tool for contemplating our energy future. If only making energy choices and implementing change were as easy as putting a puzzle together.