Japan has been desperately looking for Rare Earth Resources after China used its monopolistic position to embargo the supply of REE to Japan.Sojitz has signed a supply deal with new Australian REE developer Lynas while Toshiba is looking to set up a plant in India to mine Rare Metals from the monazite sands of the defunct REE extraction plant in Orissa.Sumitomo the Japanese trading giant too is rumored to be picking up a stake in US REE company Molycorp which expects to soon start its California mine which was shuttered a decade ago after China’s low prices bankrupted the REE producers all over the world
The biggest problem is that the winners of the Solar PV Projects are mostly unknown small firms who have bid so low that make the returns negative for investors according to the renewable energy ministry officials (MNRE).Bidding has gone as low as 23c/Kwh which is crazily low considering the debt costs in India are as high as 13% annually.Compare that to China where debt is priced as low as 3-4% and the winners are huge utilities.With even India’s Tata Power saying that the projects are not bankable as their is confusion how the electricity tariffs will go to developers,its difficult how these unknown firms could manage the financing .While the companies will lose their bid deposits if they don’t finish the projects,Indian Solar Energy will be the biggest loser as the failure of the Phase 1 of JNNSM of 1000 MW by 2013 will lead to even further delays.Already JNNSM has been criticized by a parliamentary panel for the tardy progress.Note some states have taken the lead in pushing solar energy on their own,namely Gujarat which aims to put up more than 500 MW in the next year or two.
NextEra Energy Resources which was previously known as FPL Energy has bought a number of Solar Energy Generating Assets in the past few months.NextEra is the largest Renewable Energy utility in the USA with around 18 GW of Capacity out of which around 6.5 GW is Gas and 7.5 GW of Wind Powered Capacity plus 2.5 GW of Nuclear Energy.NextEra Energy with its long experience in Green Energy Generation has now decided to expand its Solar Asset Portfolio buying equity stakes in Solar Thermal as well as Solar PV Farms in USA and Canada.NextEra Energy is already the biggest Wind Energy Producer in the United States and on the way to become the biggest Solar Energy Producer as well.While Wind Energy is facing uncertain times in the USA,Solar Energy is growing at a rapid clip driven by the sharp fall in Solar Panel Costs which have more than halved in the last 2 years.
France has halted its solar feed in tariff bubble putting a moratorium on new applications for installing solar panels above for 3 kw installations.This has been done after applications for solar panels exceeded the 500 MW per year target set up by the French ministry.The Prime Minister called the solar feed in tariff subsidies reaching a “veritable speculative bubble”.France has already changed its solar feed in tariffs 2-3 times in 2010 as it tries to fine tune the subsidies so that renewable energy investors earn a decent return.However the fast decrease in solar panel prices has caught the bureaucrats off-guard which is not surprising.Feed in Tariffs in general have been badly designed by most public authorities around the world leading to huge bubbles.Czech has suffered from the biggest solar subsidy bubble on which it recently cracked down through taxes,50% cut in tariffs and other measures as electricity rates increased sharply as subsidies ballooned.Spain and Italy have found their Feed in Tariffs leading to runaway subsidies while Germany which has the most successful FIT program too had to cut FIT by a single ad hoc measure in order to prevent a bubble.
Note China has not passed a solar feed in tariff despite expectations amongst solar companies for a long time.China is a solar equipment leader with 60% of Solar Panel Production taking place in China.However 98% of the panels are exported making trading partners angry.High cost Europeans and Japanese companies have been almost driven away from the global solar market unable to compete with the Chinese solar majors.Solar Energy Demand in China is still minuscule compared to the world.Soaring Coal Prices,insufficient energy supply and carbon emissions have made China think of investing a trillion dollars into green industry.Solar however has not found sufficient love despite 280 MW national auction for solar projects.Wind Energy has grown exponentially in China and now accounts for 50% of the world demand.If the same thing were to happen to Solar Energy,the China’s Solar Demand would grow by 20 times.
USA Big Business is waging war on Wikileaks as one by one,top US Web Companies take measures against the whisteblowing website Wikileaks.Note Wikileaks has uploaded thousands of secret USA government cables in recent days which are making headlines daily.USA Diplomacy has become an open book causing huge headache for the US government.These Cables follow leaks on the Afghanistan and Iraq War.The US Government has said that it might put an espionage charge on Julian Assange the leader of the Wikieaks website and threatening him in myriad ways.Now USA Big Business has joined the government in making it very difficult for Wikileaks to continue under the cover of US Laws.