Saturday, December 27, 2014

Malaysia is number 1 for mobile Internet access

This would give you an indication of mobile device usage in this country.

A study conducted by TNS which includes more than 150,000 interviews across 56 countries on consumers' online behaviour shows that Malaysia is 1 out of only 5 places in the world where smartphone usage has outstripped computers.

The 5 countries where smartphone usage has outstripped computers are:

The study found that in Malaysia, 35% of the users surveyed said that they exclusively use their smartphones and no other device to access the Internet, making Malaysia the #1 country in the world when it comes to smartphone Internet access exclusivity.

The same high smartphone adoption pattern stretched across the rest of the Asia Pacific region with many of the countries above the 50% adoption mark. Even countries that traditionally have lagged behind have registered significant growth like Vietnam at 36%, up 16 percent from 2013.

Apart from Malaysia, the only smartphone-only Internet access was true for other Asian countries:

Vietnam: 24%
Singapore: 16%
South Korea: 14%
Hong Kong: 14%

In the Western world this trend is a single-digit one, e.g. Germany is at 7%, and the UK at 6%.

Search engines

Using search engines on smartphones is ubiquitous. 72% of Malaysians do this at least once a month, and the figures are even higher in the rest of Asia  - Singapore: 88%, Vietnam: 92%, Korea: 99%, Japan: 91%. This is a global trend with the UK, France and Germany all reporting figures of 88%.

On internet penetration 

Malaysians have at least 1.2 Internet-enabled devices, which underlines the importance of the multi-screen trend: using more than one device to achieve a task, or using devices simultaneously.

"This research clearly shows that Asian consumers have taken charge of the internet, and are shaping it in their own image - Malaysians are at the forefront of this trend, using their mobile devices to access news, look for local businesses and watch videos." - Sajith Sivanandan, MD, Google Malaysia.

- Source: CW Malaysia

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Japan toughens rules for Renewable Energy incentive payments

Just 2 years after introducing Renewable Energy incentive program, Japan is now setting stricter rules for production and sales of energy generated from renewable sources.

Reason: To speed up development of projects and ensure stable power supply.

Windmills on the tip of the Nemuro Peninsula in eastern Hokkaido. Image from The Japan Times

The new renewable rules

As in many other renewable energy projects around the world, similar projects here haven’t started even years after winning approval.

  • The new rules allow utilities to strip a renewable energy provider of grid access if they miss the start date.
  • The same can happen if they fail to pay for access within a month of signing a contract.
  • The rule allows utilities to reduce or stop intake of renewable energy (wind and solar power) for up to 30 days a year without compensating the suppliers.  Applicable for when supply exceeds demand, this is for producers with capacity of 500 kW and above.

In essence 

Under new rules, it will apply to solar and wind projects of any size — including residential rooftops — according to a separate ministry document. In addition, the maximum period for no compensation will be calculated by hour not daily to better reflect demand and supply.

The measures come after at least five of the country’s utilities began restricting the access of new solar farms to their grids earlier this year and examined how much more clean energy their grids can add.

Grid capacity in Japan is tight and it is said that renewable energy providers will only receive grid access from a utility when they agree not to be compensated for reducing output.

The Green Mechanics: 
It seem that Japan (not only us) is also not bothered to upgrade their grid either. But some say it's more than that; a reader blamed some corrupt interested parties trying to ward off RE emergence:

"This is the corrupt Japanese electricity industry fighting against solar, duh. This is the same industry that has split Japan into two incompatible grids that creates massive overbuilding and interconnect. Nationalize the electricity industry, reorganize it into municipal control of the distribution substations and grids, and let the greater grid ISO, run a fair and open gov regulated market. The distributions substation entities then buy and sell electricity on the great grid market." - B. Donovan, REW Magazine 

Well, in order to have a better idea of what's happening there, one has to examine closer the situation in Japan. We can't read an article from one part of the globe and draw conclusion/comment/opinion.

- Source: Bloomberg via Renewable Energy World 

Saturday, December 13, 2014

World's first Solar-powered bike lane in the Netherlands

Here is some pedal power. You've heard about the idea of solar roadways which has been around for some time, but how about solar bike paths?

That is an idea that the Dutch are already putting into use with the 70-metre SolaRoad, billed as a world's first. RenewableEnergyWorld highlights the €3 million ($3.74 mil) path, which powers street lights and houses and features solar cells under a layer of tempered glass.

70-metre solar path that costs €3 mil (RM13 mil) to build

The surface of the road has been treated with a special non-adhesive coating

If you ask me, I'd say this is not a showcase of energy or resources efficiency, but this is an idea that might bring about some interesting results; we'll see.

An insightful comment from a reader read as follow:
"2000 cyclists over crystalline silicon panels? Let me get this right. Its more or less the same as 2000 leaves of shade over a rooftop panel? Am I right? I think your road's angle is not the only obstacle. Hope you also got some good termo conduction underneath those panels, for my guess is that they will run hotter, further dropping output. You should rather have roofed the pathway with the panels, shade for the cyclists, as well as an umbrella for rain." - PJ Van Staden, REW magazine.

The trees, when fully grown, could reduce the energy production further.

The bike road would be very useful to commuters and school children and could be a cool part of their daily commute. Approximately 2,000 cyclists are expected to use it on an average day.

The road, named by the Netherlands Organization for Applied Scientific Research (TNO) as SolaRoad, is made up of rows of crystalline silicon solar cells, which were embedded into the concrete of the path and covered with a translucent layer of tempered glass.

Since the path cannot be adjusted to the position of the sun, the panels will generate approximately 30% less energy than those placed on roofs. However, the road is tilted slightly to aid water run-off and achieve a better angle to the sun and its creators expect to generate more energy as the path is extended to 100 metres in 2016.

You can read further here - REW and SolaRoad

Credit: Photos are from SolaRoad and REW websites.