Three American banks –JP Morgan Chase, Citigroup and Bank of America – top the list of coal financiers, having between them provided at least €42bn to the coal sector since 2005. Barclays took fifth place, having lent more than €11.5bn to big coal companies in the same period.
Archive for November, 2011
The plant at Ferrybridge, an SSE coal station, will capture only some of the fumes: 5 MW worth from 2,000.
My latest column in Sublime magazine: “The current government in Britain appears to be playing fast and loose with some fantastic renewable energy opportunities – and ones that could provide much-needed jobs. what is that about? If the British Prime Minister were being authentic, he could be leading on an impressive story right now. Those of his core mantras that involve energy, taken together in strategic harness, make for an inspiring vision. Picture the scene. His Big Society concept sees communities taking power for themselves, providing for themselves. In short, Britain could be less centralised, more community-centric, more resilient to economic shocks.”
So writes Newsnight’s economics editor. “Yesterday’s Autumn Statement will set the political tone of the decade: it will tie the hands of future governments; and it has already brought a philosophical debate on the British right to an abrupt end. Within six hours of their tight-lipped ordeal on the government benches, Lib Dem MPs heard Danny Alexander pledge them to go into the 2015 election fully committed to £30bn more austerity than they signed up for in the Coalition Agreement. ….Plan A, in short, failed. It failed because the eurozone did begin to slow, and confidence was hit, and so exports – having surged – will not surge much more. But also because the very survival mechanism adopted by the Bank of England – near-zero interest rates, QE and talking down the pound, which has produced and maintained a 20% fall of sterling against world currencies – led to imported inflation. This has hammered the spending power of a workforce whose wages have been pinned to the floor, even in the weak recovery phase.”
Stock markets surge after central bankers say they will cut the interest rate on emergency dollar loans to cash-strapped banks by 0.5 percentage points and extend the scheme until February 2013. In the dollar swap scheme to date, though, banks have been reluctant to borrow from central banks, for prestige reasons.
Greg Barker to a combined meeting of the Environmental Audit and Energy & Climate Change Committees: delaying UK the cuts to April would be “bonkers”. Jeremy Leggett: “they have launched a lethal attack on the underpinnings of a vital industry.” A fairly full ventilation of the issues.
So argues Martin Wolf in the FT: “The big facts are that the UK is set for a lost decade and a longer period of stringency than expected. The government’s position is that there is no alternative. That has now become a self-fulfilling prophecy. So blame foreigners: that always works.”
Ahead of the Durban climate summit next week, the US, backed by Saudi Arabia, has still not agreed to adopt a blueprint for the Green Climate Fund. Proposed at the 2009 Copenhagen climate summit, the fund channels “a significant portion” of the $100bn a year developed countries have promised to mobilise by 2020 to help developing countries fight climate change.
As demand surges, the Kingdom will need 53% more fuel to fire its power and desalination plants by 2017, the head of Water & Electricity Co. says: 2.3 million barrels a day of oil equivalent, compared with 1.5 million barrels last year. Saudi Arabia is using ever more of its 12.5 million barrel-a-day oil capacity at home as it builds new houses and industries that require electricity. The amount of crude burned for power generation has doubled since 2008 and the IEA says this may reach 600,000 barrels a day this year. Khalil al-Shafie, interim president of King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center, says the country may use 8 million barrels of oil equivalent a day by 2035.
Government estimates, of Green Deal measures announced today show the average household should pay £94 a year less for energy than they would without the policies. In Chris Huhne’s flagship energy and climate policy, due for a start in late 2012, 14m homes could be fitted with insulation and other energy-saving measures, creating 65,000 new jobs and helping millions of people out of fuel poverty. Households will be offered loans of up to £10,000 to install the energy-saving measures, which will be paid off over years by small additions to their bills, easily countervailed by savings. Energy companies must contribute £1.3bn a year to ensure as many households as possible benefit. There will also be safeguards against “cowboy” builders, in the form of government-set standards for the work. Microgeneration doesn’t figure.
Business Green: “Around 25 companies, organisations, and entrepreneurs protested throughout the day, including Jeremy Leggett, founder and Chairman of Solarcentury, Homesun chief executive Daniel Green, and representatives from Keep Britain Tidy and the London Occupation at St Paul’s Cathedral.” 500 take part, with the rest of the solar industry busy rushing to get projects done by 12 December. In a video interview, I speak my mind about the malign role of the Big 6.
As Chinese manufacturers prepare to move some production offshore, to Korea etc, Beijing says it would respond to any US surcharges on Chinese importsto the US by itself targeting US polysilicon exports.
The Guardian: “Ahead of critical talks starting next week, most of the world’s leading economies now privately admit that no new global climate agreement will be reached before 2016 at the earliest, and that even if it were negotiated by then, they would stipulate it could not come into force until 2020.”
This is the kind of hyperbole Steven Chu had to face during a 5 hour grilling on the Solyndra bankruptcy. The FT takes a dim view in an editorial. “Solyndra is one of many to benefit from the $18.4bn in clean energy loans from Mr Obama’s $787bn stimulus package in 2009. Some are thriving. … the bigger question – how to frame an effective incentive for the growth of clean energy – may well be a casualty of the Solyndra scandal. At a time when China and others are building a dominant share of the global clean energy market, this could impose a far higher eventual cost on the US taxpayer.”
So I say in the Times of India. This way, no investor will back nuclear, and India can “catch up and shine” in clean energy, which is preferable, and the imperative if India wants to avoid the economic devastation of climate change.
Bloomberg: “After 11 years and $39 billion of investment, Exxon Mobil, Shell and their partners have yet to sell a drop of oil from what was touted as the world’s biggest discovery in four decades.” The project is $15 billion over budget and 8 years behind schedule. There are now concerns as to whether it can ever be profitable. Peter Voser: “We will finish phase one and then we will look at phase two afterwards.” Kashagan has proved potentially lethal as well as complicated. The oil, 4,2 km deep (2.6 miles), is in a highly pressurized reservoir, and has a high concentration of poisonous “sour gas.”
Chris Field, co-chair of the IPCC working group that produced the report: the message is clear – extreme weather events were more likely. “Some important extremes have changed and will change more in the future. There is clear and solid evidence [of this]. We also know much more about the causes of disaster losses.” Damian Carrington in the Guardian: “the new (report) highlights that 95% of deaths from such disasters occur in the developing world, while most of the economic losses occur in the developed world. We lose stuff, they lose their lives.”
The Ouarzazate solar complex, south-east of Marrakesh, will have a capacity of 500 MW when completed, enough to power around 90,000 homes. The FT reports that its first phase, a 160MW plant, will cost around $1bn, financed with a $200m loan, and another $97m via a clean technology fund it oversees.
Henri Proglio, CEO of EDF, tells the FT: “For sure, Areva; but [also] Rolls Royce in Great Britain, Rosatom, in Russia or the Russian area, Chinese companies. We need international industrial partnerships that fit with the future of nuclear, and not just a French flag proposal.” Ed Crooks observes that “EDF’s huge commitments at home and in the UK may curb its international ambitions. If Mr Proglio gets his way, though, the Areva relationship may become strained once more.”
So writes Sylvia Pfeifer in the FT. More than 500 reactors planned or proposed, a market worth thousands of billions of dollars, are at risk from the Fukushima fallout, the dire progress in Finland, and the collapse in public trust.