Archive for October, 2011

Belgium latest to quit the nuclear, conditionally.

October 31, 2011 Nuclear

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.

DECC announces £1bn support for 1,000 jobs at two Big 6 power plants.

October 31, 2011 Clean Energy, Coal, Gas

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.

UK solar feed-in tariff halving by December confirmed.

October 31, 2011 Clean Energy

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.

Analysts: US oil production could exceed Saudi and Russia within a decade.

October 31, 2011 Oil

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.

Middle America supports the Occupy Wall Street protests.

October 30, 2011 Finance

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.

Solar industry plans a march on Downing Street.

October 28, 2011 Clean Energy, Commentaries

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”.”

UK solar FiT debacle as EST prematurely posts a briefing note on the halving of tariffs.

October 28, 2011 Clean Energy

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.”

Vested interests are clouding the prospects for cleatech.

October 28, 2011 Clean Energy, Finance

$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.

“Patience is a virtue in hunt for game-changing ‘green google’”: FT.

October 28, 2011 Clean Energy, Finance

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.

WWF report: UK can be 60-90% powered by renewables by 2030:

October 25, 2011 Clean Energy

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.

Eon & RWE ask for equity injection in UK nuclear plants.

October 25, 2011 Nuclear

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.

6 reasons for a workable solar PV feed-in tariff.

October 25, 2011 Clean Energy, Commentaries

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.

RWE CEO condemns solar PV as inefficient and poor value.

October 25, 2011 Clean Energy

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.

Industry fears UK government is about to halve UK solar feed-in tariff.

October 25, 2011 Clean Energy, Commentaries

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.”

Swiss researchers analyse how banks control transnational power.

October 24, 2011 Finance

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.

US-China war of words on solar trade hots up.

October 24, 2011 Clean Energy

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.”

Altium Securities calls the solar sector “uninvestable”.

October 21, 2011 Clean Energy, Finance

This after PV Crystalox issued another profits warning, the expecting upturn in Germany not having arrived.

UK government slashes support for non-marine renewables.

October 20, 2011 Clean Energy

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.”

Huge independent scientific study confounds climate sceptics.

October 20, 2011 Climate

The Berkeley Earth project compiled more than a billion temperature records dating back to the 1800s from 15 sources around the world. Result: the average global land temperature has risen by around 1C since the mid-1950s.

Chinese government allows municipal bonds.

October 20, 2011 Finance

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.