Archive for July, 2011

Air of desperation at BP as they seek a big idea.

July 31, 2011

The latest effort to find the big idea that might placate investors is a focus by the trouble-hit company on Iraq. Rumours of a takeover by Shell swirl around, and CEO Dudley does not discount his own break-up of the company, emulating ConocoPhillips and Marathon recently.

“Unusable reserves: it’s hot air, say analysts”.

July 31, 2011

So the headline in the FT reads for an article relaying the responses of analysts and fund managers to the CarbonTracker report. Says one analyst: “I think it’s a bollocks subject. I’m not interested in this kind of subject. I think this is complete hot air.” Says a fund manager: “We apply our own judgment as to what is technically feasible, we don’t look at what is legally feasible. There are no restrictions on companies at the moment in terms of the amount of oil and gas that they can produce.”

Shareholders target BP’s chairman.

July 29, 2011

Top 15 shareholders are complaining amid “lacklustre” returns, that Carl-Henrik Svanberg has not provided enough strategic direction. Note that there was also a strong protest vote against the reappointment of the senior independent director, Sir Bill Castell, at the last AGM.

It will be years before Libyan oil comes back online.

July 29, 2011

Barclays Capital concludes that even if the conflict ends soon, the return of capacity will take years rather than months, because there has been too much damage to infrastructure.

Renewables receive only a tenth the subsidies of fossil fuels.

July 29, 2011

Bloomberg New Energy Finance report that governments last year gave $43 billion to $46 billion of support to renewable energy through tax credits, feed-in tariffs and alternative energy credits. $557 billion went to fossil fuels in 2008, the International Energy Agency said last month.

UK solar grows 18 fold since last year as feed-in tariffs take effect.

July 28, 2011

From April to June this year, nearly 34 MW of new solar generating capacity has been added to the UK grid, bringing the UK’s total capacity to nearly 122MW: more than 14,500 new installations, compared with the UK’s total capacity of only 2,700 PV systems in use by the end of March 2010, according to newly released figures from the Department of Energy and Climate Change.

Willingness of Japan’s citizens to ration energy reduces prospect of blackouts.

July 28, 2011

Regions under conservation mandates appear to be meeting reduction targets and even exceeding them. In the Tokyo area, for example, the government is pushing to cut electricity use by 15 percent between 9 a.m. and 8 p.m. on weekdays in order to prevent blackouts. The Japanese are bringing to the conservation drive, according to the NYT, “a characteristic combination of national fervor, endurance, sloganeering, technology and social coercion.”

RWE abandons UK wave power project.

July 26, 2011

RWE npower renewables withdraws from a planned 4MW scheme on Lewis, the Siadar project, which aims to deploy 10 wave generators made by Voith Hydro Wavegen. The energy giant says it prefers tidal technology.

“Why the UK must choose renewables over nuclear: an answer to Monbiot”.

July 26, 2011

Jonathon Porritt in the Guardian: “Monbiot is fixed in a contrarian crusade to undermine the solar industry and his controversialist instincts have blinded him”. In a detailed look at the economics of nuclear, the former Chairman of the Sustainable Development Commission sets out the challenges for nuclear CFOs, with evidence including the SDC’s own conclusions.

BP oil and gas production falls 11%.

July 26, 2011

A quarter of £3.3 bn profit and 3.43 mbd of oil equivalent production disappoints analysts. Some suggest the company should spin off refining/marketing, like Conoco-Phillips. One says “they are in limboland.”

50 years of Soviet solar research for sale for not much.

July 25, 2011 “Someone with a modestly open checkbook towards Tashkent, as opposed to the costs of replicating the research, could acquire bargain basement unique insights into nearly fifty years of solar energy research from the first nation to launch a man into space.” Well worth a punt, this oil-focussed website opines.

$120 oil by year end becomes the biggest bet on NYMEX.

July 25, 2011

Traders are betting that growth in emerging markets will contervail EU debt and the deadlocked politicians who threaten the US economy.

MPs tell Big 6 energy companies to stop mis-selling and compensate victims.

July 25, 2011

The Commons energy select committee wants to see voluntary reparations to consumers who have been sold needlessly high tariffs on the doorstep as a result of what they call “Del Boy” tactics. Ofgem’s investigations of four of the Big 6 are ongoing.

City pressures Centrica to abandon plans for nuclear power.

July 25, 2011

Investors are spooked by the delays and cost over-runs at Flammanville. One analyst says Centrica should not touch their intended UK joint venture building nuclear plants with EDF “with a barge pole”.

Traders exploit the big spread between Brent and WTI oil.

July 25, 2011

Shares of small US mid-continent oil refiners have risen. They are able to refine the lower cost WTI oil.

EDF’s Flammanville delay puts the end nuclear electricity price up 33-45%

July 22, 2011

So Dr Jim Watson of SPRU calculates for the Guardian. The assumptions, beyond the new cost estimate: a lifetime (the number of years to pay off the capital) of 20 years, a high load factor (the percentage of the time the station will operate) of 85%, a discount rate of 12% (not the 10% the UK’s Committee on Climate Change uses) and a construction period of five years. That ends up with a rough generation cost of 11p per kWh. The CCC range in their Renewable Energy Review was 5p to 10p/kWh. If you assume the same conditions as in the first case above, but put in an earlier construction cost estimate of €4bn, you get a cost of electricity of between 5.5p and 6p/kWh instead. [Hence, the price has risen 33-45%]

Consumer groups call for a 3 month ban on doorstep selling by Big 6 energy groups.

July 22, 2011

Nine out ten consumers who switched accounts as a result of doorstep sales say they would never do so again. Half said they were pressured.

Indonesian coal boom massively enrichs the country’s elite.

July 22, 2011

The number of Indonesian billionaires doubled last year to more than 20 – almost all of them commodities tycoons, the FT reports. Extractive industries – mainly coal, oil and gas – are now about a third of Indonesia’s economy. Tax income from coal mining will reach $7bn in 2011.

Extreme heat in 30 US states as dozens of cities break temperature records.

July 22, 2011

The National Weather Service reports 55 record highs on Wednesday: more than 1% of all temperature records in the country.

Mayor Bloomberg donates $50m to campaign to eliminate coal power plants.

July 21, 2011

The Sierra Club is the beneficiary and will use the money in its Beyond Coal campaign, which has helped block the construction of 153 new coal-fired power plants across the States since 2002. The campaign will expand from 15 to 45 states, plus the District of Columbia. The aim will be to shut a third of the c. 400 US coal plants by 2020.

  • The Winning of The Carbon War

    Humanity is in a race, a kind of civil war. Believers in a safe future fuelled by endless sunlight and related forms of clean energy combat defenders of finite carbon fuels careless of the impact they have on the world by clinging to coal, oil, and gas. Jeremy Leggett fought for the light side for a quarter of a century as it lost battle after battle to the dark side. Then, in 2013, the tide began to turn. By 2015, it was clear the light side could win the war. Leggett’s diary from the front lines tells one person’s story of those turnaround years, and what they can mean for the world.
  • The book in a minute

  • On doing without fossil fuels

    Fossil-fuel companies like to tell people they are being naive to think they can live without them. These young ladies from the UK Youth Climate Coalition seem to have a different view.
  • Introducing The Energy Of Nations

    Download chapter one, read the reviews and find out how to order here.