Archive for January, 2012

“The coming US-China solar war”: Time.

January 31, 2012 Clean Energy

Time: “If you’re buying solar panels or running a business installing them, life is good, but if you own a company that actually makes solar equipment in the U.S., you’re looking at a lot of red ink. That’s because solar power is getting much cheaper — prices for modules have dropped 40% over the past five years. According to some U.S. solar-panel manufacturers, that drop in price is due largely to low-cost imports from Chinese panelmakers.”

Fred Goodwin, former RBS CEO, to be stripped of knighthood.

January 31, 2012 Finance

In this effort to defuse public anger, he joins Soviet spy posing as Cambridge academic Anthony Blunt.

Dismay as Spain freezes all support for new renewables projects.

January 30, 2012 Clean Energy

Arguing the strictures of austerity, the Spanish government calls a moratorium, end date to be announced. Spain’s wind energy association says the moratorium “puts at risk a sector which is a world leader that exports goods and services of more than €2.4bn per year, and is fundamental for Spain’s energy independence”.

Solar now cheaper than diesel in India making Mittal, Coca-cola and others believers.

January 25, 2012 Clean Energy

Bloomberg: “India is producing power from solar cells more cheaply than by burning diesel for the first time, spurring billionaire Sunil Mittal and Coca-Cola Co. (KO)’s mango supplier to jettison the fuel in favor of photovoltaic panels. The cost of solar energy in India declined by 28 percent since December 2010, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance. ….India, the third-biggest energy user behind China and the U.S., has a goal to have installed 20,000 megawatts of solar- energy capacity by 2022, about equal to 18 new nuclear reactors. That target is 10 percent of today’s total generating capacity including all energy sources. Less than 1 percent of that current power base is solar.”

UK government loses appeal on illegality of DECC’s solar feed-in tariff cuts.

January 25, 2012 Clean Energy, Commentaries

Three more judges rule, in the Appeal Court that the government’s proposal to cut tariffs from 12 December was illegal. Business Green: “Jeremy Leggett, chairman of Solarcentury, said the news was a positive outcome for the entire renewable energy industry: “Today we have reminded government that it will be held to account when it acts illegally and tries to push through unlawful policy changes. We would much prefer not to have taken this path but ministers gave us no choice. Our hope now is that we can work together again to restore the thriving jobs-rich solar sector that has been so badly undermined by government actions since October”.”

“The carbon bubble will burst – we must be prepared this time”.

January 23, 2012 Climate, Commentaries, Finance

Business Green: “This is really important. No matter where you stand in the green debate, the threat posed by the systemic over valuation of carbon intensive firms and assets is a critical issue that should concern you – really, really concern you.” …. That is the warning currently being sounded by the recently launched Carbon Tracker Initiative, which last week released its second report on the scale of the so-called “carbon bubble” and wrote to Bank of England Governor Mervyn King urging him to take action. The two reports from the group – which is backed by some high profile green thinkers and investors, including the WWF, Solarcentury chairman Jeremy Leggett, former chief scientist Sir David King, and Conservative MP Zac Goldsmith – should be required reading for political leaders, business leaders, and economists everywhere. If there was any sense of proportion, it would be at the top of the agenda at this week’s annual billionaire schmooze-fest at the World Economic Forum in Davos.”

Areva says private investigator was hired, as ex boss goes legal.

January 23, 2012 Nuclear

FT:  “A senior director at Areva, France’s state-owned nuclear champion, has confirmed that he did hire a Swiss intelligence firm to examine its disastrous €1.8bn purchase of a uranium miner but denied that it was part of a plot against Anne Lauvergeon, the company’s former chief executive.” Anne Lauvergeon has begun a legal action claiming her phones were tapped.”

FT: “Radiant outlook for energy sector” …meaning gas.

January 20, 2012 Clean Energy, Finance, Gas

The S&P 500 is having its best start since 1987, especially in energy stocks, after a disappointing 2011, wherein when the single worst-performing share was First Solar A short on the shares was the most profitable position in 2011 for some hedge funds, such as Greenlight. “Many future deals will focus on traditional energy. But many others will also involve bets tied to the new technologies around gas generally – and shale in particular – in part because of such uncertainty” (as the Arab Spring aftermath and the Iranian sanctions).

“‘Atomic Anne’ leaves Areva under a cloud”: FT.

January 19, 2012 Nuclear
FT: “Areva’s former chief executive made the startling claim on Monday that, during her 10-year spell in charge of the company, her erstwhile colleagues had arranged for her to be “attacked, slandered and spied on”. Areva declines to comment on her allegation of clandestine inquiries into her life and business activities. But it acknowledges that it has suspended payment of the €1.5m severance package she was awarded last June.”

Investors ask BoE to probe risk that fossil-fuel reserves pose “sub-prime” risk.

January 19, 2012 Climate, Coal, Commentaries, Finance, Gas, Oil

Fossil fuel reserves listed in the City of London are “sub-prime” assets posing a systemic risk to economic stability. So warns a high-profile coalition of investors, politicians and scientists , writing an open letter to Sir Mervyn King asking him to launch an investigation. Signatories include Aviva Investors, Climate Change Capital, Conservative politician Zac Goldsmith and Solarcentury chairman Jeremy Leggett. Abatement policies could mean billions of pounds of fossil fuel reserves will rapidly lose value and cause a “major problem” for institutional investors and pension funds. Guardian: “CarbonTracker’s latest report reveals that coal reserves held by 16 London-listed companies will release 45bn tonnes of CO2 when burned, equivalent to 86 years of annual UK emissions, which are the tenth highest in the world. Most of the coal is in other countries such as Australia and South Africa.”

US regulator rejects utility’s proposed “network usage charge” ploy to suppress solar PV.

January 19, 2012 Clean Energy

The California Public Utility Commission fears that San Diego Gas & Electricity’s slapped-on charge, one that would wreck solar economics, is illegal.

BP sees non-fossil fuel growing faster than any single fossil fuel.

January 18, 2012 Oil

This is the first time any of their long term energy forecasts have said this.

Ex Areva CEO says she was victim of a plot and that the state spied on her.

January 16, 2012 Nuclear

She claims the campaign began 2007, when she opposed breaking the group up: that this “bothered a certain number of private interests,” adding “it was necessary to bring me down, and for that all means were fine, including the dirtiest”.

Saudi Arabia targets a $100 oil price.

January 16, 2012 Oil

Up a third from $75, the price it put forward as fair in 2008. The IMF has estimate $80m is needed to balance the domestic budget.

Oil price in euro equivalent is almost at July 2008 peak.

January 15, 2012 Finance, Oil

And as the Washington Post reports, economic concern is rising with it. The gathering sanctions on Iran is a big factor. Price now is not much more than $100, but the euro is not what it was. Last year’s average oil price was a record $107, up 14% on the previous record year, 2008.

Eurozone crisis deepens: S&P downgrades 7 nations including France.

January 13, 2012 Finance

François Baroin, France’s finance minister: “It is not good news … but it is not a catastrophe. It is not the ratings agencies that dictate the policies of France.”

Big 6 UK energy companies had 4 million complaints in 2011.

January 12, 2012 Coal, Gas, Nuclear

Bill mistakes and inaccurate readings caused the most anger, a Which report finds. It makes the front page of the Daily Mail.

Clean energy investment up 5% to $260bn in 2010, with solar more than half.

January 12, 2012 Clean Energy, Finance

So Bloomberg New Energy Finance reports. The US retook top position from China, thanks to stimulus measures. Ethan Zindler, of Bloomberg NEF: “We are on the verge of a turning a corner where in the next five to seven years or so, subsidy will be much less important for clean energy investment.” Solar investment was up 36% to $137bn: more than a half of all clean energy investment. Kevin Parker of Deutsche Bank Asset Management: “We are on our way to the point where solar power costs the same as fossil fuel power, and it’s not that far away. When we get there, there’s going to be a lot of money to be made by the leaders in the solar industry.”

Germany installs 7.5 GW of solar PV in 2011.

January 9, 2012 Clean Energy

The record figure is slightly exceeds the 7.4 GW recorded in 2010, says German network regulatory agency Bundesnetzagentur (BnetzA). Additions in December alone amounted to 3 GW. The pace of installations could trigger a 15 percent cut in tariffs from July 2012: it would take only 225 megawatts (MW) between January and April to trigger that level. Equinet analyst Stefan Freudenreich: “We see proponents of an annual installation cap gaining influence in the discussion, especially in the context of an overall weakening economy, making politicians more sensitive to cost burdens in the manufacturing industry sector.”  Solar PV is now just over 3% of Germany’s overall power output, or 18 billion kilowatt hours.

America Petroleum Institute threatens Obama with “political backlash”.

January 5, 2012 Oil

The API  launches a political campaign called “Vote 4 Energy”, which will use all modern comms to press both Republican and Democratic politicians to support the industry’s agenda, notably the Keystone XL pipeline.