Wednesday, December 26, 2012

CNN - Watch rocket land vertically

SpaceX tests a new rocket that takes off and lands vertically. CNN's Alina
Cho reports.

Sent from my mobile.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

(BN) China Foreign Exchange Manager Calls U.S. Global ‘Bright Spot’

Bloomberg News, sent from my Android phone

The U.S. may be a "bright spot" for the global economy in 2013, with Europe and Japan "not optimistic," said the official who oversees day-to-day management of China's $3.3 trillion foreign exchange reserves.

Credit expansion and the development of the alternative energy industry will help make the U.S. "the major power promoting global economic growth in the future," said Huang Guobo, director of the foreign exchange reserves management department at China's State Administration of Foreign Ex [...]

Read the full story at

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Friday, December 21, 2012

WTO confirms that Ontario's local content requirement violates trade rules

WTO confirms that Ontario's local content requirement violates trade rules

21.12.2012: The World Trade Organization (WTO) has officially confirmed its ruling that the local content requirement embedded within Ontario’s feed-in-tariff (FIT) program violates WTO rules. The ruling supports claims made by Japan and the EU that the FIT program’s local content requirement unfairly discriminates against foreign companies. The WTO, however, did not agree with Japan and Europe’s argument that Ontario’s FIT program should be viewed as an illegal subsidy. Ontario’s local content requirement ensures that renewable energy installations only receive a FIT if 50 to 60 percent of the project’s equipment and services come from Ontario-based companies. Source: World Trade Organization

The complete press release can be viewed in PHOTON's archive using the following link:



Monty Bannerman

ArcStar Energy


Friday, December 14, 2012

Fwd: Solar Power Prices to Continue Falling Through 2025 | News | Product Design & Development

Solar Power Prices to Continue Falling Through 2025
Fri, 12/14/2012 - 9:37am
Near Zero
Get today's design engineering headlines and news - Sign up now!

As the total amount of solar modules produced has increased over the past few decades (from left to right), the price per watt has also fallen. Prices 1975-2009 are from Nemet (2009), and prices for 2010 and 2011 are based on data from Navigant and Bloomberg New Energy Finance. Red circles indicate the expectations from Near Zero's survey, for solar module prices at 300 GW and 600 GW of total installations (also called cumulative capacity). Also shown for reference in blue is the module price target of the Department of Energy's SunShot Program. Credit: Near Zero
A new survey of experts argues that solar power will become much cheaper through 2025, while expanding greatly—but for these trends to continue for the long term, will require a commitment to funding research.

Prices for solar modules—the part of solar panels that produce electricity—will continue to fall, in line with the long-term trend since 1980, according to a survey of experts by Near Zero, , a nonprofit energy research organization. However, for prices to keep falling for the long term will require continued committment to research, such as on materials used for making solar modules.

To get a sense of what future prices for solar power are likely to be, as well as other challenges and bottlenecks that the industry faces, Near Zero conducted a formal, quantitative survey (an "expert elicitation") that drew on from industry, universities, and national labs. Such surveys are a means of formally collecting expert judgments on a topic. By aggregating forecasts made independently by a variety of experts, the results reflect the collective wisdom of the group about how the solar power industry is most likely to develop, and also help to characterize the range of uncertainty about the future.

The survey asked experts for their expectations about future prices for modules as well as the expenditures for other parts of solar power systems, known as "balance of system" expenses. The experts were also asked how much solar power they expected would be installed in the coming years.

The experts expected the price of solar power systems will fall sufficiently that it will be far more competitive than it is today. The experts forecast a large expansion of the amount of installed solar power, increasing more than 10 times over the decade from 2010 to 2020, an expansion that will continue at a similar rate until at least 2025.

However, this success story is dependent on solar power prices continuing to fall, which will require continued and possibly increased levels of spending on research and development, the experts said. If solar power prices continue to fall as expected in the survey, then the large expansion of installed solar power could be achieved while requiring spending less each year than the world currently is spending on solar power installations. But if prices were to hold steady rather than falling, then the same expansion of solar power, over the period 2012 to 2025, would cost at least 50% more—adding up to several hundred billion dolla
Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

Monty Bannerman
ArcStar Energy

Fwd: Statement by Minister Bentley on Final Report from the Ontario Distribution Sector Review Panel

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Ontario News <>
Date: Thu, Dec 13, 2012 at 11:33 AM
Subject: Statement by Minister Bentley on Final Report from the Ontario Distribution Sector Review Panel

Ontario Newsroom Ontario Newsroom


Statement by Minister Bentley on Final Report from the Ontario Distribution Sector Review Panel

December 13, 2012

Today, Chris Bentley, Minister of Energy, issued the following statement:

"In April, the McGuinty government launched a comprehensive, independent review of the province's electricity distribution sector to explore options to improve efficiencies that would benefit electricity consumers. The three member panel was comprised of former Members of Provincial Parliament representing each of the parties in the Legislature and different regions of the province - Murray Elston, David McFadden and Floyd Laughren.

The Ontario Distribution Sector Review Panel has delivered its report, Renewing Ontario's Electricity Distribution Sector: Putting the Consumer First, following an extensive consultation process with municipalities, local distribution companies, the Electricity Distributors Association, consumer groups and other energy experts. The report provides a number of recommendations to help provide greater efficiencies, improve customer service and enable economic growth.

I would like to thank the panel for the work they have done to develop the report.

We look forward to reviewing the report and assessing the recommendations. Our government's focus continues to be ensuring our energy system remains strong while delivering savings and efficiencies for ratepayers."



For media inquiries call:
Nauman Khan, Minister's Office

For media inquiries call:
Kirby Dier, Communications Branch

For public inquiries call:
TTY: 1-800-239-4224

Ministry of Energy

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© Queen's Printer for Ontario, 2008 - 2012


Monty Bannerman
ArcStar Energy

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Fwd: NYTimes: Altered Immune Cells Beat Leukemia

NYTimes: In Girl's Last Hope, Altered Immune Cells Beat Leukemia

Monty Bannerman
ArcStar Energy

Friday, December 7, 2012

FW: US jobless rate at four-year low

From: Monty Bannerman []
Sent: Friday, December 07, 2012 3:26 PM
To: Monty Bannerman
Subject: US jobless rate at four-year low

Renewables Account for 46% New US Electrical Generating Capacity Since January | Renewable Energy News Article

retroactive taxes on solar and state financial issues have consequences

No bids on PPC tender for 200 MW PV plant in Greece

06.12.2012: Renewable energy project developer PPC Renewables SA (PPCR), a subsidiary of Greek utility Public Power Corporation SA, told PHOTON that it did not receive any bids in response to a 200 MW call for tender that closed on November 30. A PPCR spokeswoman told PHOTON that the company is still interested in developing the project despite the lack of tenders: "We are still examining the legal and financial arrangements for the implementation of the project." The photovoltaic (PV) project was to be built in Kozani, in the Western Macedonia region of Greece, at a cost of €500 million ($654 million). Twenty-one consortia had submitted preliminary proposals to develop, construct and operate the 200 MW project during an earlier stage of the tendering process, but none of these consortia followed up with an actual bid. The deadline for bids was originally scheduled for early 2012 but was postponed to November 30 at the request of the 21 consortia, who needed more time to secure project financing. There is a severe lack of liquidity in Greece due to the financial crisis, which has made it difficult for project developers to finance solar projects. On top of that, the Greek government recently introduced a retroactive tax on revenue generated by photovoltaic installations. Source: PPC Renewables



Monty Bannerman

ArcStar Energy


Thursday, December 6, 2012

Image of Earth at night from NASA Suomi satellite

The market favors those positioned before the program

Sky Solar obtains authorization for 48 MW solar project in Brazil

06.12.2012: Environmental authorities for the Brazilian state of Tocatins have authorized a 48 MW photovoltaic (PV) project proposed by Chinese renewable energy company Sky Solar Holdings Co. Ltd. The project still needs a power purchase agreement, however, and has not yet obtained approval from the Brazilian Electricity Regulatory Agency (ANEEL). According to local newspaper Surgiu, the project has a required investment of $78 million. Sources: Surgiu



Monty Bannerman

ArcStar Energy


US Department of Energy seeks to increase renewable energy production on American Indian lands

US Department of Energy seeks to increase renewable energy production on American Indian lands

06.12.2012: During the recent White House Tribal Nations Conference, the US Department of Energy (DOE) announced two new initiatives aimed at increasing renewable energy production and sustainable economic development on American Indian tribal lands. Under the first initiative, DOE facilities, when purchasing power, will give preferential treatment to renewable energy projects that are majority owned by tribal nations. This means that DOE facilities will purchase power and renewable energy certificates from tribal-owned renewable energy projects before they purchase power from other commercial projects as long as the cost is no more than the prevailing market rate. This procurement policy, along with recent regulations that cut red tape for tribal energy development, are expected to spur development of wind and solar energy projects on American Indian land. Under the second initiative, the DOE will create new training and education resources to help American Indian tribal nations develop local renewable energy projects. This initiative will also help tribal nations find financing for renewable energy projects. Source: US Department of Energy



Monty Bannerman

ArcStar Energy


Wednesday, December 5, 2012

NREL publishes reports on US solar pricing trends, PV system soft costs

NREL publishes reports on US solar pricing trends, PV system soft costs

05.12.2012: The US Department of Energy’s (DOE) National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBL) have jointly released two reports examining photovoltaic (PV) pricing in the US. The first report, “PV Pricing Trends: Historical, Recent, and Near-Term Projections,” examines progress in PV price reductions to help the DOE and other PV stakeholders manage the transition to a market-driven PV industry and to provide clarity surrounding the wide variety of potentially conflicting data available about PV system prices. By examining progress in PV price reductions, the report will also help the DOE track progress toward the SunShot goals of reducing the installed cost of solar energy systems by 75% between 2010 and 2020. The joint report concludes that PV system prices will continue to decline rapidly through at least early 2013. The second report, “Benchmarking Non-Hardware Balance of System (Soft) Costs for US PV Systems Using a Data-Driven Analysis from PV Installer Survey Results,” presents results from the first DOE-sponsored data collection and analysis of non-hardware balance-of-system costs. The report concludes that in 2010, total soft costs made up 40% to 50% of a typical PV system’s price. Soft costs generally increase as the system size decreases. Source: National Renewable Energy Laboratory



Monty Bannerman

ArcStar Energy


Module prices will continue to decline despite increased demand from emerging markets

Module prices will continue to decline despite increased demand from emerging markets

05.12.2012: US market research company IHS iSuppli predicts that demand for crystalline silicon (c-Si) photovoltaic (PV) modules will rebound in 2013 thanks to an increase in orders from emerging markets. Module prices, however, will continue to decline through at least early 2013 because these emerging markets will demand cheaper modules. IHS found that c-Si module prices fell in nearly every market worldwide in October because of weak demand in key markets, especially Germany. The average per Watt price of c-Si PV modules fell by 1.9% to 3.5% from September to October in every major market except Canada, where module prices actually grew by 5.5%. Much of this price decline was due to plunging costs among third-tier Chinese suppliers. Module prices for these suppliers dropped by nearly 5% in October. Source: IHS iSuppli

The complete press release can be viewed in PHOTON's archive using the following link:



Monty Bannerman

ArcStar Energy


Tuesday, December 4, 2012

IEA calls for "urgent action" on climate change: pv-magazine

Canadian Solar secures $139 million to finance construction of 49 MW in Ontario

Canadian Solar secures $139 million to finance construction of 49 MW in Ontario

04.12.2012: Chinese-Canadian solar company Canadian Solar Inc. has signed a financing agreement with Deutsche Bank worth $139 million. Canadian Solar will use the short-term construction financing loan to build five large-scale photovoltaic (PV) power plants in Ontario, Canada. The five projects have a combined capacity of 49 MW (AC) and are all due to come online by the end of 2013. Each of the projects has secured a 20-year power purchase agreement with the Ontario Power Authority, which runs Ontario’s feed-in-tariff (FIT) program. Once completed, the five projects will be acquired by energy company TransCanada Corp. Source: Canadian Solar Inc.

The complete press release can be viewed in PHOTON's archive using the following link:



Monty Bannerman

ArcStar Energy


Monday, December 3, 2012

FW: (BN) France Sexy No More for Entrepreneurs Escaping Hollande: Taxes

Lefties never know when to stop.



Bloomberg News, sent from my Android phone

Jean-Emile Rosenblum, a 34-year-old e-commerce businessman, is quitting France.

With President Francois Hollande’s government readying a vote this month on its first annual budget law that seeks to raise 24.4 billion euros ($31.7 billion) in additional taxes, some of France’s entrepreneurs and wealthy are heading for the door. Hollande’s hitting businesses and individuals with at least a dozen new measures, including a 75 percent levy on income of more than 1 million euros, to narrow the budget gap.

“France is no longer a sexy place to be,” said Rosenblum, founder and former owner of Pixmania, an online seller of computers. “To attract and keep business and jobs you have to put on your best face, especially in tough economic times. With all the costs, the taxes and the social pressure, France looks more like an old maid to me.”

Rosenblum -- who says he’s leaving France with his wife and two little children this month to open a new business in a country he won’t disclose -- is among people fleeing a slew of levies announced by Hollande since the Socialist president was elected in May. The 75 percent millionaire tax was followed by new levies on capital gains, an increased tax on income and wealth, a boost to inheritance charges and an exit tax for entrepreneurs selling their companies.

The weight of the levies is prompting a wave of departures, said Philippe Kenel, Geneva-based tax lawyer at Python, Schifferli, Peter & Associates.

Doubled Relocations

“It’s impossible to measure yet how many people are leaving or have left as no one wants to go public,” Kenel said. “But frankly, I’ve doubled the number of relocations this year with a sharp increase since Hollande unveiled his new fiscal rules in September. Retirees go to Switzerland. Entrepreneurs go to Belgium or to London.”

The government is seeking to bolster revenue through taxes on large companies, Internet startups and private fortunes to make its budget-deficit target of 3 percent of gross domestic product next year. Hollande, the first Socialist president in France since 1995, has called on those “with the most to show patriotism” in tough economic times.

C’est trop, some Frenchmen are saying.

“Those leaving will save so much in taxes that it’s impossible to refuse to go,” said Francois de la Villardiere, a former local politician and businessman, who sold his stake in an advertising company he co-founded to Publicis SA. (PUB) He is disposing of his Paris residence and his vacation home near the Rambouillet forest outside the French capital, before moving to somewhere in Europe or the Americas.

Law Breaker

“The new tax system is a call from the government to break the law,” de la Villardiere said. “I have nothing against paying my share of the burden or being ‘patriotic’ as Hollande calls it, but when all you do is pay taxes, you hit a ceiling.”

While the trickling out of French people began when former President Nicolas Sarkozy started increasing levies and went back on a measure that capped all taxes at 50 percent of income, it’s Hollande’s fiscal regime that has accelerated departures. [bn:URL=]

Didier Delmer [], who helps French entrepreneurs relocate and create companies in London, says his business has skyrocketed, from five transfers a month to an average 80 since May 2012.

U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron promised in June to roll out the “red carpet” for fleeing French people. Unlike France, the U.K. has no wealth tax. Also, while Hollande is creating a new 45 percent income tax for earnings above 150,000 euros a year to add about 700 million euros to the government’s coffers, the U.K. cut the 50 percent tax rate for income over 150,000 pounds ($242,500) to 45 percent from April.

Old Recipes

Delmer, who founded Business Booster Ltd. 12 years ago, said his clients include only about two or three millionaires a month. Most of them are young French entrepreneurs who want to get away from their country’s stifling business climate, he said.

“They want to escape France’s tax red-tape, escape the crappy attitude toward those who are successful, get lower corporate taxes and be in a place with a better reputation than Paris,” he said.

They are the kind of people France needs at home to create jobs as it grapples with an unemployment rate that’s at a 14- year high.

“Hollande has created a system where profits, wealth and most of the money gets sucked up by the state to fund bottomless public finances,” de la Villardiere said. “Instead of looking for creative, new options to spur growth, they went with old recipes that have reached their limit.”

‘Les Pigeons’

Rosenblum, who sold the last of his shares in Pixmania to Dixons Retail Plc (DXNS) in July, says most of the 250 jobs his new business will create will be outside France.

“And that’s unfortunate,” he said.

Hollande’s plan to double the top capital-gains tax to about 64 percent for entrepreneurs selling their business, provoked an outcry. It also spawned in October an entrepreneurs’ group dubbed “Les Pigeons,” who used the bird’s role in French slang as the “sucker” to show they were being made the fall guys for France’s economic woes.

As the group rallied thousands of protesters, Finance Minister Pierre Moscovici met with them, and less than two weeks after unveiling the bill, Hollande watered down the plan and maintained an “exit tax” determined by the period of time a stake is held and whether proceeds from a sale are reinvested.

“The measure on capital gains was a direct attack on the motors of entrepreneurship, the aspiration to make money in case of success, which is necessary for taking risks,” said Philippe Marini, the Senate Finance Committee president and member of the opposition Union for Popular Movement party.

‘Very Stressful’

Exactly how the new capital-gains tax will work remains unclear. The 75 percent tax was also modified. After first leaving it open-ended, Hollande said the tax would only last two years. The tax, which was supposed to include bonuses and dividends, is now limited to the base salary.

Some of the details on the levies will be clearer after the budget law is voted in. It will be debated and voted on in the Senate until Dec. 11 and in the National Assembly by Dec. 20.

“The uncertainty surrounding Hollande’s first budget law, the moving target with changing tax rates on capital gains, and the general signal that it sends: ‘if you make money we’ll take it’ is very stressful,” said Charles-Marie Jottras who heads the luxury real estate company Daniel Feau in Paris. “Instead of waiting to get slapped, they leave.”

The 75 percent tax, announced primarily to appease Hollande’s political base during the election campaign, may raise only a few dozen million euros.

Selling Property

“The rate is so outrageous and we see so many top earners leaving that I doubt there will be many left to pay it,” said Jottras. “It’s the Laffer curve: too much taxation kills taxes.”

Jottras, who also works with the Christie’s real estate network, says he already has evidence of people leaving in the top-end property market. He has 30 percent more high-end homes for sale in France now than in March, when Hollande first mentioned the new levy on the campaign trail. Jottras sells homes that cost 1.5 million euros or more.

Nathalie Garcin, daughter of Emile Garcin, the founder of the eponymous luxury property firm, said she has seen a doubling of Paris homes valued at between 3 million euros and 15 million euros being put up for sale.

“The first thing lawyers tell those who want to leave France is to sell their primary residence, ” she said in an interview. “My clients tell me they’re fed up and don’t want to work for the state. All this is temporary, I hope.”

Some Staying

To be sure, not all wealthy people are planning to leave. Matthieu Pigasse, deputy chief executive officer of investment bank Lazard Ltd. (LAZ), told French magazine Challenges that he’s not going anywhere.

“They’re exceptional measures for an exceptional crisis,” he told the magazine. “I’m showing solidarity.”

Also, only half those who get in touch with tax lawyers or relocation consultants actually make the final move, Python, Schifferli’s Kenel said. Language barriers, homesickness, food, family and social life are often strong incentives to abandon a move, he said.

Additionally, the stigma attached to leaving for tax reasons also keeps people from acting.

A decision by France’s richest man, LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton SA (MC) Chief Executive Officer Bernard Arnault, to seek Belgian citizenship created a media frenzy over tax exiles, prompting the newspaper Liberation to run a front-page headline that read: “Get lost, rich bastard.”

Golden Goose

Arnault had to quickly come out and say that he plans to retain his local residence and will continue to pay French taxes.

French citizens aren’t the only ones seeking to escape the country’s new tax regime. Steve Horton, who runs an eponymous tax service company in Paris to advise Americans in France, says the state has lost 7 million euros in receipts for next year from such taxpayers. First Sarkozy and now Hollande have taken tax decisions that create collateral damage, he said.

“France can hardly compete now with Moscow, New York and other capital cities for elite workers,” Horton said. “They are skilled, speak many languages and are mobile. They were sad to leave but they are gone now. France has killed the goose that laid golden eggs.”

To contact the reporters on this story: Helene Fouquet in Paris at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Vidya Root at

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FW: (BN) Diamonds Dug in Gusty Arctic Too Remote for Diesel Fuel



Bloomberg News, sent from my Android phone

The four windmills dug into northern Canada’s tundra that power Rio Tinto Group (RIO)’s $5.2 billion Diavik diamond mine are the world’s first designed to work in gusts as cold as 40 degrees below zero.

The mining company has sunk $30 million into wind energy because roads are frozen and closed to diesel fuel deliveries for 10 months a year. Near the opposite pole, in Argentina, Barrick Gold Corp. (ABX) is testing the highest wind turbine at 4,100 meters (13,450 feet), an altitude almost halfway up Mt. Everest. The machine was designed for low air density and provides 20 percent of a Barrick gold mine’s power on windy days.

“All the big mining companies are studying different types of renewables,” Gil Forer, Ernst & Young LLP’s clean-tech head in New York, said in an interview. They are “very strategic” for an energy-intensive industry, he said.

Gold and diamonds often are found where no power cables exist, particularly at the planet’s extremes where winds are stronger. Mining companies are investing in renewable energy faster than other industries and will account for 1.8 percent of global clean-power spending this year, double the 0.9 percent rate in 2010, according to data compiled by Ernst & Young and Bloomberg. At the same time, they’re risking more production on weather, as cloud cover and still days can kill power supply.

The companies say it’s mostly driven by costs. Still, the gamble can improve a corporate image tarnished over decades by worker accidents, fouled rivers and toxic tailings in an industry that extracts gems and metals formed over millions of years.

‘Convincing Trend’

“What makes this trend much more convincing is that it’s not a broader altruistic corporate motive” driving investment, said John Drexhage, climate change director at the International Council on Mining and Metals, whose 22 members include Anglo American Plc, BHP Billiton Ltd. (BHP) and Barrick. Instead, it’s regulatory pressures “and also the simple bottom line that renewables are helping to actually work as an effective means of helping to cut down both exposure and costs.”

Clean power provides about a third of the energy consumed by London-based Rio Tinto, the world’s second-biggest mining company. Rio, like most competitors, backs up the projects with fossil-fuel generation for when winds die and skies cloud over.

Anglo American, which owns 85 percent of De Beers, the biggest diamond producer, invested about $180 million in low- carbon technologies and gets 23 percent of its energy from clean sources. Newmont Mining Corp. (NEM), having spent about $171 million on hydropower, biodiesel and geothermal power in 2011, uses clean energy at 10 of its 14 mines, spokesman Omar Jabara said.

Grizzlies, Wolves

Explorers will invest about $5 billion in remote alternative-power projects this year and at least $8.4 billion by 2016, compared with $1.88 billion in 2010, Ernst & Young estimated, based on Pike Research data.

Rio Tinto’s Diavik mine, estimated to hold 60 million carats of diamonds, lies 220 kilometers (137 miles) south of the Arctic Circle in land that’s home to grizzly bears and wolves. Using wind energy there has cut its diesel use 10 percent and the number of tanker trucks braving frozen lakes and ponds by 100 a year, company spokesman David Outhwaite said. The economic payback time is about eight years, he said.

Energy used for crushing, grinding and hauling ores is usually one of the top three operating costs for mines, according to Mike Elliott, global mining and metals leader at Ernst & Young. For gold mines such as those controlled by Barrick and Goldcorp Inc. (G), it could be the largest single expense, he said.

Enter Solar

Barrick last year got about 14 percent of its electricity from low-carbon sources. Energy accounts for about a quarter of its operating costs. The company owns a solar farm in Nevada and a 20-megawatt wind park in Chile that cost $50 million to build and provides enough energy to supply 10,000 homes. It’s also introducing solar panels at its mine facilities to power kitchens and other camp amenities.

“Competition for secure energy in areas where there is a rising standard of living in the population and therefore rising energy demand, means mining companies may find they aren’t able to access energy,” Elliott said. “In these situations they would be looking at a partial or fully self-sufficient energy supply from renewables.” Remote mines also provide the biggest opportunity for clean power, he said.

Countries such as South Africa and Chile, where energy grids are stretched to the limit, lend themselves to look at other options, Drexhage said. In the Republic of Congo, one of the largest diamond-producing countries, and in the Canadian Arctic where Rio operates as well as BHP and De Beers, diesel is relatively expensive, so biofuels are being considered.

Making Biodiesel

Anglo American (AAL), Newmont and Barrick are investigating the potential of cleaner fuel. Anglo owns a minority stake in MBD Energy Ltd., an Australian company developing technology that uses algae to absorb flue gases from power stations to make products such as biofuel. Newmont uses biodiesel at its mines in Peru and to run its trucks and cut costs in Nevada. Barrick is experimenting with biodiesel in Africa and South America.

Newmont’s projects in Ghana are almost exclusively powered from hydroelectric facilities that are more cost-effective than gas-fired or diesel plants. For Anglo, hydro is a “major” part of its electricity mix in Brazil, where more than 80 percent of the power used at its operations comes from renewable sources. The company has also replaced charcoal with woodchips to account for 30 percent of its energy use at the Codemin plant in Brazil.

Total’s SunPower

As the costs of solar energy come down, large mines present one of the biggest opportunities for solar-panel makers because they use diesel generators on-site, said Tom Werner, president and chief executive officer of SunPower Corp. It’s just the beginning of a market for the solar-panel maker majority owned by Total SA, which expects close to 100 megawatts a year of demand once the market ramps up, he said.

Rio Tinto has installed 20 solar-power plants across the world to study their potential, and Newmont is looking “very seriously” at using solar to cut costs and power its mines in the remote Australian desert. Goldcorp too is working on a feasibility study for a solar project in Nevada.

As much as 5 percent to 10 percent of SunPower’s business in the future could be for off-grid mine applications, Werner said. It’s technologically low risk and may be the “Trojan horse” for larger developments in countries where solar isn’t yet being used, he said.

While Rio Tinto hasn’t made direct investments in clean technology makers, it said it had a role to play in building a low-carbon infrastructure. The iron it mines is used in the production of wind turbines, and borates, a mineral mined in California, Europe and China, is used in turbine blades.

“The demand for natural resources is growing across the world so we need to develop new mines and be more efficient with existing mines, and future energy is one of the key issues,” Ernst & Young’s Forer said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Louise Downing in London at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Reed Landberg at

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