Google is reportedly in talks to back the largest wind power project in Africa

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Google is in talks to invest in the largest wind power project in Africa.

According to CNBC, Google wants to back Kenya’s Lake Turkana Wind Power Project, a massive undertaking that will require more than $700 million.

The project will span 40,000 acres, raise Kenya’s energy capacity by 20 percent, and be an enormous boon to a country where less than 25% of the population has access to power.

Though most of Google’s green energy investments have been within the United States, it has invested in Africa before — most notably in 2013 when it poured $12 million into a South African solar project, one of the largest on the continent.

Kwame Parker, Standard Bank’s head of power and infrastructure for East Africa, told CNBC that Google’s global profile would send ripples beyond Turkana itself. Google’s investment would be “a significant vote of confidence for investors considering African power market entry,” he said.

But that’s not the only impact this investment could have. It could also help secure a $250 million investment based on President Barack Obama’s Power Africa initiative. To receive the government investment, the Turkana project would require “meaningful involvement of the U.S. private sector,” which Google’s investment would likely satisfy.

Google also has significant interest in wind power on the technology side. Its innovative arm, Google X, is currently developing the potential next phase in wind energy production. Google’s Makani wind turbines fly in the air like kites to utilize the strong winds available at higher altitudes.

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Beyond The Pale There is Tony Abbott

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With a 22,300-mile coastline, offshore winds and almost perpetual sunshine, Australia could be leading the world in replacing carbon-spewing fossil fuels with renewable-energy sources.

That is unlikely to happen, though, under Tony Abbott, who has proclaimed coal to be “good for humanity” – and who revealed that he detests wind farms, calling them noisy and “visually awful”.

To the dismay of the multi-billion-dollar clean-energy sector, and to the mortification of many Australians, Mr Abbott bragged that he had halted the spread of wind farms by slashing the amount of energy to be generated by renewable sources by 2020.

Explaining a compromise which he reached with opposition parties in the Senate last month to cut the target by 20 per cent, he told a right-wing radio host, Alan Jones: “What we did recently in the Senate was to reduce… the number of these things [wind farms] we are going to get in the future.”

He added: “I frankly would have liked to have reduced the number a lot more. But we got the best deal we could, and if we hadn’t had a deal, we would have been stuck with even more of these things… I’ve been up close to these wind farms, there’s no doubt that not only are they visually awful but they make a lot of noise.”

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Not that Mr Abbott is the only member of the global elite to utter those thoughts, American business tycoon Donald Trump has attacked Alex Salmond, saying the former First Minister should be “ashamed of himself” for backing plans to build offshore windfarms near a golf course owned by the flamboyant US billionaire.

Mr Trump is battling to halt the development of an 11-turbine scheme off the Aberdeenshire coast, which he says will spoil the views of golfers playing at his nearby Trump International Golf Links.

Last week the US businessman lost his latest legal challenge against the windfarm, which was approved by the Scottish government in 2013.

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However, Mr Trump went on the offensive at a press conference yesterday saying: “We will be appealing. Windmills are littering Scotland, they are destroying the magnificent landscape of Scotland.

“There is nothing like [this landscape] in the world and they are destroying it.”

The billionaire, who was in Scotland to launch a $10m clubhouse at the Turnberry golf club in Ayrshire which he bought last year, said he expected to be successful in his legal battle, though it could take up to five years.

“[Windmills] are bad for what I have [as in, his business interests)] and bad for Scotland….Alex [Salmond] should be ashamed of himself because he is ruining one of the great landscapes in the world,” he said. Whilst we’re talking of ruined landscapes the Navitus Windfarm Project intended for the Dorset coast deserves a mention.

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Bournemouth Borough Council has launched a fresh campaign urging the government not to go ahead with the Navitus Bay offshore wind farm proposal.

The excuse is that the council wants to save England’s only natural World Heritage Site the Jurassic Coast, as well as Poole Bay (oh please!).

Their real motivation is £1 billion worth of annual tourism which they claim would be adversely impacted by the wind farm which would be situated off the Dorset coast.

In a letter to Prime Minister David Cameron, Leader of Bournemouth Council, John Beesley said:

“Navitus Bay offshore wind farm would be highly visible from land and dramatically alter and damage the intrinsic appeal and beauty of what is currently a natural and untouched seascape. The industrial-scale turbines would be classed as permanent structures and fall into the highest category of harm in terms of visual assessment…Our natural coastline is the main reason why 6.7 million tourists from across Great Britain and overseas flock here every year. Bournemouth is “Britain’s premier resort” which competes with “the best in Europe” and damaging its progress would be madness”. As mad as doing nothing to encourage the widespread use of sustainable forms of energy? I doubt it. 

May 22, 2013

Tim Yeo: I ‘thought’ humans were to blame for global warming….err…….

Tim Yeo

The chairman of the Commons Energy and Climate Change committee said he accepts the earth’s temperature is increasing but said “natural phases” may be to blame. Such a suggestion sits at odds with the scientific consensus. One recent survey of 12,000 academic papers on climate change found 97 per cent agree human activities are causing the planet to warm.

Mr Yeo, an environment minister under John Major, is one of the Conservative Party’s strongest advocates of radical action to cut carbon emissions. Or at least he was one of the strongest advocates of radical change to cut carbon emissions until this. His comments are significant as he was one of the first senior figures to urge the party to take the issue of environmental change seriously. He insisted that the action to cut carbon emissions is “prudent” given the threat climate change poses to living standards worldwide. But, he said, human action is merely a “possible cause”.

Asked on Tuesday night whether it was better to take action to mitigate the effects of climate change than to prevent it in the first place, he said: “The first thing to say is it does not represent any threat to the survival of the planet. None at all. The planet has survived much bigger changes than any climate change that is happening now.

He went on: “Although I think the evidence that the climate is changing is now overwhelming, the causes are not absolutely clear. There could be natural causes, natural phases that are taking place.”

“But there is at least a risk that the increased concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere is a possible cause. We’ve just gone through the 400 parts per million [a measure of the atmospheric concentration of CO2] this year. I think a prudent policy would say if we can do things about that which are no-regrets polices like being efficient in the use of energy, looking at none-fossil fuel sources, I think that’s prudent to do so.”

Mr Yeo has previously spoken with great certainty about the science of climate change. He said in 2009: “A significant number of core Conservative voters – mostly among older people – are reluctant to accept the evidence. I don’t think they [doubting Tory MPs] will be a significant influence in the next parliament and will gradually diminish in the population.

“The dying gasps of the deniers will be put to bed. In five years time, no one will argue about a man-made contribution to climate change.”

Mr Yeo, who was speaking to an audience of energy industry representatives and diplomats at the Westminster Russia Forum, renewed his call for the Government to build a third runway at Heathrow. Now to any political outsider this would constitute a massive about face, whereas to Mr Yeo this is probably nothing more than an ingratiating tug of his forelock, towards the luminous moneys of global corporatism.

(based on a Telegraph article)

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