Belgium announces a conditional agreement to shut down the country’s two remaining nuclear power stations, owned by GDF Suez unit Electrabel: a complete exit by 2025 conditional on finding enough energy from alternative sources to prevent shortages.
Archive for October, 2011
On the day it announces cuts to tariffs that will cut thousands of jobs. Sky News has the bill at nearly £1bn for the power-plants.
DECC confirms the earlier leak they had described as inaccurate, with the cuts to come in by December 12th not 8th. Solar firms say they will have to begin lay offs immediately.
A long FT report examines the oul boom in the US. Combined US and Canadian production is forecast to rise from c 9 mbd now to >11 by 2040. Edward Morse, global head of commodities research at Citigroup, professes that the US can cut imports from about 10m barrels per day to about 3m b/d by the early 2020s, all from Canada and Mexico.
Edward Luce writes in the FT that the wide support may be akin to the birth of the Tea Party. A poll suggests 59% agree to the OWS, among which a third identify themselves as Republicans. Even more back a 5% surcharge on millionaires. It seems that there are objections to the richest 400 Americans having more wealth than the bottom 150 million.
Business Green: “Writing to climate minister Greg Barker on Twitter, founder of Solarcentury Jeremy Leggett said that the apparent plan to impose changes to feed-in tariffs from as early as December 8 would spark a crisis for the industry. “Halving is bad enough, December is a killer. Thousands will be out of work… not without much, much noise… sorry to sound like a cross between Corporal Jones and Robert de Niro, but this is an existential threat for most in our industry”.”
The tariff will be 21p, the EST document says, and will come into effect from 8 December. EST isn’t the only one to jump the gun. A DECC official tells Brighton Energy Co-op the 8 Dec date before phoning back to say “that was confidential.”
$243 bn poured into clean energy last year, up 30% on 2009, Sarah Murray writes in the FT. But of the top 100 global cleatech companies, some 42% of last year’s dropped out.
The reasons include entrenched defence by vested interests. UBS recently: value of publically traded cleantech companies down to $142bn from $475bn in 2007. VCs are taking flight from early stage funding, favouring low capital-cost plays like energy efficiency. In the last quarter investments in energy storage outpaced solar for the first time. The photo in this article is of Solarcentury roof slates.
The report is based on modelling by GL Garrad Hassan and shows that it is perfectly feasible for renewables to deliver at least 60% and up to 90% of the UK’s electricity demand by 2030, obviating new nuclear power. By reducing demand for energy we can reduce the costs of new low carbon generation capacity by around £40 billion by 2030.
The FT reports that they have asked Areva or Toshiba, the bidders to their Project Horizon consortium (up for 4 of the 12 proposed reactors), to put in €5bn for 25%, as a way to spread their risk. RWE has net debts of €27bn.
UK climate minister Greg Barker thinks aloud on Twitter about his solar feed-in tariff budget challenge. He asks me why the solar FiT is good value. I respond with 6 reasons.
Volker Beckers, chief executive of RWE npower, tells The Times that the amount of electricity that some solar panels generate does not justify the subsidies received by consumers who install them. He “admits” that solar power is inefficient and that poorer households are subsidising richer ones who can afford to install panels on their roofs.
The Guardian: “Jeremy Leggett, founder of Solarcentury, said “[This is] the ridiculous spectacle of a government destroying jobs it had only just created to save next to nothing, given the tax paid by those jobholders and the unemployment benefit avoided, merely to pander to a Daily Mail lie machine that has green measures detracting from the national economy rather than adding.” He accused the nuclear and gas industries of conducting a propaganda war against green energy.”
An analysis of the relationships between 43,000 transnational corporations identifies a relatively small group of companies, mainly banks, with disproportionate power over the global economy. So New Scientist reports. “In effect, less than 1 per cent of the companies were able to control 40 per cent of the entire network,” says James Glattfelder, one of the researchers at the Federal Institute of Technology. Most are financial institutions, the top 20 including Barclays Bank, JPMorgan Chase & Co, and Goldman Sachs.
Gordon Brinser, president of SolarWorld, on behalf of the Coalition of American Solar Manufacturing: “The Chinese government’s claims that our actions are improper and protectionist, and that its illegal subsidies and massive dumping of solar product are helping the global economy and the environment, are absurd. China is one of the biggest trade protectionists in the world. In the solar industry, China is gutting manufacturing and jobs here in America and abroad while China’s solar industry pollutes its own people. The accusations have no basis in fact.”
This after PV Crystalox issued another profits warning, the expecting upturn in Germany not having arrived.
ROCs are cut for onshore wind, biomass from plants or waste byproducts to generate energy, and hydropower. They are dropped for generating energy from landfill gas. The savings could be as little as £400m, and no more than £1.3bn. Guardian: “Ministers are sensitive to a growing clamour in sections of the media attacking high energy bills and blaming “green taxes” for the problem, even though research shows low-carbon subsidies make up only a small fraction of bill rises.”
The cities of Shanghai and Shenzhen, and the Zhejiang and Guangdong provinces will be able to sell debt themselves instead of going through the central government, according to a Finance Ministry statement yesterday. The Shanghai stock exchange climbed on this news of relaxing fiscal policy aiming to tackle corporate debt at the local level.
A report of my presentation to the Parliamentary Renewable and Sustainable Energy Group: “While we were doing 200MWp, Germany did 7,000MWp. We have to overcome our culture of ‘big energy’ […] we need a ‘glide path’ of FiT degressions, not a ‘cliff’. There is never progress without confrontation, and we have to take it to Treasury. We have to debunk the lie about the cost of green energy.”
SolarWorld and six other companies file cases with the U.S. Department of Commerce and International Trade Commission, alleging Chinese cell and module makers have been illegally dumping products into the U.S. market. Gordon Brinser, president of SolarWorld Industries America Inc., says: “China actually has no production cost advantage. China’s labor is less productive, its raw material and equipment have come from the West, and China must pay for long-distance shipping. Yet massive state subsidies and sponsorship have enabled Chinese manufacturers to illegally dump their products into a wide-open U.S. market.”
Among those expressing empathy in public are the CEOs of Wells Fargo and GM. Republicans who have referred to “angry mobs” are backing off in the face of opinion-poll support.