Rare Earth Metals promise to be a continuing geopolitical drama for the coming few years as Chinese monopoly over these crucial raw materials continues.Japan has already been at the receiving end of a Chinese exports embargo once and has its companies scattering to secure rare earth mineral resources in varied places like India,Mongolia, Kazakhstan, Vietnam.Hitachi is looking to increase recycling of rare earth minerals while other companies too are looking to optimize and reuse these metals.USA is currently less susceptible to rare earth disruptions as its requirements are quite low and anyway it imports most of the products using rare earth in finished form.
Germany is almost certain to cut the solar feed in tariff in 2011 on top of the regular 13% decrease.Note Germany is the largest solar market in the world by far and installed an astounding 8 GW of solar panels in 2010.With almost 18 GW of total solar installations,the German solar energy capacity is almost half of the world’s capacity despite bad conditions for solar energy.Germany had set a target of around 4-5 GW of solar energy this year in the upper case and this has been vastly exceeded as solar module price cuts have made it attractive to install solar panels.
USA has opposed India’s Local Content Requirements for the Federal Solar Energy JNNSM program.Note according to the JNNSM rules,solar panels will have to be produced in India for the first year and solar cells will also have to produced from the second year.There is also a proposal that the local content requirements may be extended […]
Posco,one of world’s largest steel producers has been trying to enter the solar market like its other Korean brethren.Note South Korea has been really pushing the Green Industry in the country giving all sorts of incentives to Wind Energy,Electric Vehicles,Solar Energy etc.Korean conglomerates have responded by making huge investments into all sorts of Green Sectors.LG and Samsung have already established crystalline solar cells lines alongwith Hyundai.Hanwha has made a big bang acquisition of the 4th largest Chinese module producer Solarfun while OCI Polysilicon is on its way to become the 2nd largest producer of polysilicon in the world.Posco made its intention known about entering the solar market when it made a play for the Norwegian poly producer Elkem.This was a surprising decision considering that Posco’s core strenght of steel making has little to do with production of polysilicon.
Marubeni on the other hand is looking to focus its energy on the crucial Water Service Sector be expanding its footprint in emerging markets.Water Service is a great growth sector due to numerous demand drivers like increasing population,larger per capita requirements,decreased supply.There is already a lot of theories floating around that the next big wars in the 21st century will be due to water shortages.Marubeni has plans to spend around $300 million in acquisitions in foreign markets as it looks to increase its customer base to 10 million.Note Marubeni will be helped by the Japanese government which gives considerable aid and soft loan for water infrastructure projects in developing countries.Note French companies Suez and Veolia are the biggest water service companies in the world.
Using the same logic,I had questioned the massive amount of USA taxpayer money being given as a cash grant to build almost 4-5 GW of Solar Thermal Plants in California.Most of these solar thermal projects were approved in the last 6 months of 2010 so that they could be eligible for the Treasury Cash Grant under Rule 1603.I seem to have been vindicated quite early with 2 of these giant solar thermal projects being developed by Tessera Solar have run into trouble.The CEO of the company has already left and many of the employees have been fired.Strange for a company that has won multi billion projects in hand.The parent Irish company NTR is reportedly looking to shelve the plants as it does not have enough money for 5% of the total project costs required before 2010 end.