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Bosch opens Southeast Asian office for green technologies

German industrial group Bosch on Wednesday opened its Southeast Asian headquarters in Singapore focusing on environmentally clean technologies.

Bosch opens Southeast Asian office for green technologies
A file picture of the Bosch HQ in Gerlingen. Photo: DPA

The office will be the new location for Bosch’s solar energy operations in Southeast Asia, Japan and South Korea, the company said.

“Within five years, we will invest a good €15 million ($19 million) here, studying how this technology can be used to generate electricity from solar radiation in the future,” Bosch chairman Franz Fehrenbach told a news conference.

The Singapore office will also house Bosch’s business divisions providing resource-saving and environmentally friendly innovations and technologies for the region, the company said.

Fehrenbach said the Singapore base will help Bosch strengthen its expansion into the Asia Pacific market, its second largest next to Europe.

The Asia Pacific last year accounted for 20 percent of the firm’s global sales, or €7.7 billion, which for the first time surpassed revenues from the Americas. Bosch aims to increase the region’s share to 30 percent by 2015.

Fehrenbach said worldwide sales fell 15 percent, or €38.2 billion, last year due to a drop in automotive and consumer goods production as a result of the economic crisis. The company will use this year for “catching up, especially as the global economy is continuing to recover,” he added.

Bosch’s $66.4-million headquarters is a showcase for green technology and has an energy consumption that is 32 percent less than that of comparable industrial buildings.

This is in line with the company’s aims to cut its carbon dioxide emissions worldwide by at least 20 percent by 2020.

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ENERGY

Sweden to stop local governments blocking wind parks in final stages

Sweden's government has proposed a new law which will remove local municipalities' power to block wind parks in the final stages of the planning process, as part of a four-point plan to speed up the expansion of wind power.

Sweden to stop local governments blocking wind parks in final stages

“We are doing this to meet the increased need for electricity which is going to come as a result of our green industrial revolution,” Strandhäll said at a press conference. 

“It is important to strengthen Sweden by rapidly breaking our dependence on fossil fuels, building out our energy production and restructuring our industry. The Swedish people should not be dependent on countries like Russia to drive their cars or warm their homes.”

“We are going to make sure that municipalities who say “yes” to wind power get increased benefits,” she added in a press statement. “In addition, we are going to increase the speed with which wind power is built far offshore, which can generally neither be seen or heard from land.” 

While municipalities will retain a veto over wind power projects on their territory under the proposed new law, they will have to take their decision earlier in the planning process to prevent wind power developers wasting time and effort obtaining approvals only for the local government to block projects at the final stags. 

“For the local area, it’s mostly about making sure that those who feel that new wind parks noticeably affect their living environment also feel that they see positive impacts on their surroundings as a result of their establishment,” Strandhäll said.  “That might be a new sports field, an improved community hall, or other measures that might make live easier and better in places where wind power is established.” 

According to a report from the Swedish Energy Agency, about half of the wind projects planned since 2014 have managed to get approval. But in recent years opposition has been growing, with the opposition Moderate, Swedish Democrats, and Christian Democrat parties increasingly opposing projects at a municipal level. 

Municipalities frequently block wind park projects right at the end of the planning process following grassroots local campaigns. 

The government a month ago sent a committee report, or remiss, to the Council on Legislation, asking them to develop a law which will limit municipal vetoes to the early stages of the planning process. 

At the same time, the government is launching two inquiries. 

The first will look into what incentives could be given to municipalities to encourage them to allow wind farms on their land, which will deliver its recommendations at the end of March next year. In March, Strandhäll said that municipalities which approve wind farm projects should be given economic incentives to encourage them to accept projects on their land. 

The second will look into how to give the government more power over the approvals process for wind projects under Sweden’s environmental code. This will deliver its recommendations at the end of June next year. 

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