It is “incredibly disappointing”, Jeremy Leggett founder and chairman of Solarcentury told Channel 4 News. “Mr Cameron was elected in major part because he detoxified the Conservative brand on the promise of being the greenest government ever. He is a fine mile short of that. ….All our confidence is shot to pieces. ….It’s the same with investors, and it’s part of a bigger pattern. Meanwhile, these are global industries, and other countries are not making the same mistakes. They’re deluding themselves. You talk to people from other countries – they think it’s a joke. We’re making an exhibition of ourselves.”
Archive for April, 2012
Business Green: Jeremy Leggett, Founder and Chairman of Solarcentury, who will be attending the event as one of three solar industry representatives, said: “Solarcentury is attending this gathering to make three key points. First, the days when policy makers could dismiss PV as ‘nice to do’ but ‘too expensive’ are over. PV is an essential ally in the global struggle to deliver energy security and a cost-effective low and then zero carbon future. Second, Governments must stop pandering to the fossil fuel and nuclear lobby, a stance which is driving out the very investment which is needed to drive forward PV and other renewable energy technologies. And third, Governments need to resist the temptation to keep undermining successful feed-in tariff policies. This industry will continue to cut costs, invest in new products and jobs, but it needs predictable public policy not knee-jerk panic of the type for example that has undermined the UK scheme.”
Guardian: “Almost nine in 10 people want to see the government ramp up the UK’s use of clean domestic energy and reduce the country’s reliance on imported gas, a new YouGov poll reveals. Just under two-thirds of the 2,884 people questioned on behalf of campaign group Friends of the Earth listed wind, wave, solar or tidal as power sources they wanted to see playing a greater role in the UK’s electricity mix over the next decade, while just 2% backed an increase in gas capacity. …Currently, only 9.5% of UK electricity comes from renewable energy sources.”
“It is part of their job and they do not do enough,” says Jon Williams, a partner in the Sustainability and Climate Change practice at PwC. Listing criteria would be a good starting place.
In The Observer: “Suppose the British government knew that a key shareholder in Centrica, our last great British energy company and owner of British Gas, was to sell its stake to Gazprom, so making Russian state ownership inevitable. I hope that, in this scenario, the government would expand the provision of the Enterprise Act that allows Britain to block takeovers that are against the national interest to include gas and nuclear power. (The act is currently confined to defence, financial services and the media.)” Repsol was intending to sell YPF to the Chinese. president Fernandez’s's populist action is part of a worldwide pushback against rampant modern capitalism.
SF5CF5, which has a 900 year lifetime, became redundant because other fluorocarbons became available.
Guardian: “Only 3% of the UK’s energy currently comes from renewable sources, such as sun and wind, compared with a European average of 12%. …Imported gas is likely to represent an increasing proportion of the UK’s energy bills, and by 2020 could cost an extra £60bn more than if Britain met the renewable target, according to the study by the Renewable Energy Association (REA). Failing to hit the targets is also damaging the prospects for green jobs – about 110,000 people are employed in the renewable industry today, but a workforce of about 400,000 is estimated to be needed to meet the 2020 goal. At that level, says today’s report, the industry could be worth £50bn a year to the economy.”
FT: “Tim Yeo, chairman of the influential energy select committee, said Centrica’s withdrawal would be a “hammer blow to the future of nuclear,” given that it is one of the few companies with a big enough balance sheet to sustain an investment with little short-term reward.”
Guardian: “Ministers are planning to subsidise nuclear power through electricity bills – despite their promises not to, a secret document seen by the Guardian reveals. The leaked document clearly lays out plans to use “contracts for difference” for nuclear energy, which would allow nuclear operators to reap higher prices for their energy than fossil fuel power stations.” ….The Guardian has also seen a presentation made by Scottish & Southern Energy to MPs last month, saying the plans contain “hidden subsidies”, will be open to challenge on legal grounds, and could “mess up” funding for renewables. …Green campaigners are threatening to bring a legal challenge when the plans are made public later in the year. ….In the coalition agreement subsidies to nuclear are explicitly ruled out.”
An IPSOS Mori poll shows just 11% are against.
National Opposition to Wind (NoW) has been set up by a LibDem peer.
BusinessGreen: ‘A major new report from consultancy giant McKinsey ….predicts solar power will be cost competitive with fossil fuels in hot countries within two to three years, while further cost reductions will be delivered without any major technological breakthroughs. Entitled Solar power: Darkest before the dawn, the report predicts that despite subsidy cuts and a number of high-profile bankruptcies, solar capacity globally will continue to soar as costs fall by an average of 10 per cent a year through to 2020. “Our analysis suggests that by the end of the decade, costs could decline to $1 per watt peak (Wp) for a fully installed residential system,” the report states. “But even if costs only fall to $2 per Wp, the industry is still likely to install an additional 400GW to 600GW of PV capacity between now and 2020″. It adds that such a rapid reduction in the costs of solar energy could have a revolutionary effect on the global energy industry. “Rapid growth of distributed generation could disrupt the regulated utility industry in countries that belong to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD),” the report argues. ….Aanesen predicted that those solar firms that survive the next few years will find themselves operating in an industry that is able to compete without subsidy with established energy sources such as coal and nuclear.”
Business Green: “Weekly government figures revealed that solar firms installed an average of 2MW each week since the start of April, marking a sharp decline from the 4.8MW average capacity installed in the same weeks last year. This month’s figures are the lowest since January 2011, aside from the week leading up to 1 January 2012, when just 0.4MW of capacity installed. They also reveal that only one business-scale installation was completed last week, the lowest level since January 2011. …Jeremy Leggett, founder and chairman of Solar Century, said many installers were reporting that trade had declined by 90% since last year. “The heat’s totally gone out of the market,” he said. “It’s not just about the feed-in tariff but the government has succeeded in confusing people and making them lose interest in solar power. They’ve done a great job in stuffing the embryonic industry.” …Leggett also urged the government to draw up a roadmap to help the industry achieve DECC’s stated goal of delivering 22GW of solar capacity by 2020. “We could help them draw up a roadmap. Surely they must at least now be minded to have a rethink of their policies,” he added. “The nuclear ship is going down in the UK and they must have realised that the next question is about where the clean energy is going to come from. Or are they going to listen to the new carbon industries who think we can “frack” our way to energy independence?”"
BBC: “The panel recommends four precautions regarding Cuadrilla’s Preese Hall operation and other projects in the Bowland Shale: all injections of fracking fluid must include a preliminary injection, followed by monitoring; the growth of fractures in the shale should be monitored; operations should monitor seismic events in real time; operators should observe a “traffic light” regime, with quakes of magnitude 0.5 or above triggering a “red light” and an immediate halt, followed by remedial action.”
So say officials from the Environment Agency. Unless the winter is wet.
Terry MacAlister in the Guardian as GDF Suez says it’s NuGen consortium (partner Iberdrola) wants more financial concessions if it is to build new nuclear in Britain.
Gail Tverberg on Business Insider: “The US Energy Information Administration (EIA) recently released full-year 2011 world oil production data. In this post, I would like show some graphs of recent data, and provide some views as to where this leads with respect to future production. / The fitted line in Figure 1 suggests a “normal” growth in oil supplies (including substitutes) of 1.6% a year, based on the 1983 to 2005 pattern, or total growth of 10.2% between 2005 and 20011. Instead of 10.2%, actual growth between 2005 and 2010 amounted to only 3.0% including crude oil and substitutes. / The shortfall in oil production relative to what would have been expected based on the 1983-2005 growth pattern amounted to 4.7 million barrels in 2011. This is far more than any country claims as spare capacity. This is no doubt one of the reasons why oil prices are as high they are now. …On balance, it would appear that at best, oil production in the near future will be virtually flat, leading to more spiking of oil prices and greater world economic problems. Another possibility is that world production will begin to decline.”
Business Green: “A sharp rise in the number of earthquakes in the US over the past few years is almost certainly caused by human activity and could be linked to a boom in shale gas drilling. That is the stark finding of a report by the US government’s Geological Survey, due to be launched in full at a conference next week. / The report, produced by a team led by scientist Bill Ellsworth, set out to discover what has caused a six-fold increase in earthquakes in the midcontinent. / Average annual earthquakes rates with a magnitude three or greater jumped from 21 in the three decades before 2000, to 50 in 2009, 87 in 2010 and 134 in 2011.”
Bank of America Merrill Lynch commodities report: “China’s energy gap has been widening at a startling rate in recent quarters, as demand for thermal fuels has continued to grow amid lacklustre domestic output. China’s oil production increased by 84 thousand b/d per year p.a. in the past 10 years, but output has fallen in recent quarters due to unplanned outages and steep decline rates. On our estimates, oil demand will grow by an average annual rate of approximately 4.8% from now to 2016, surpassing flat supply growth through the period. The gap will also continue to widen in natural gas, with demand growing yearly by 9.4% but supply only expanding by 5.1%, on average …just as North America’s energy deficit continues to narrow. North American thermal fuel oil production is on the rise. Since reaching a trough in 2005, domestic US natural gas output has increased by 27% through 2011, reducing foreign natural gas imports by 46% to 5.3 bcf/d, from 9.9 bcf/d. Similarly, after an unexpected turn in 2008, domestic oil production in the United States increased by 17% to 2011, bringing down net oil and petroleum product imports by 12% to 8.8 from 11.3 million b/d. As a result, we now estimate that China could surpass the United States as the world’s largest net oil importer by 2015. Should domestic gas production grow as we expect, China could also become the world’s second largest natural gas importer after Japan before the end of the decade.”
Forbes: “With a 75% fall in solar panel prices over the past three years, utilities in California, the largest U.S. solar market, have favored photovoltaic projects over the solar thermal facilities built by companies like BrightSource. Against that backdrop, BrightSource’s solar thermal competitors Solar Millennium of Germany and U.S. startup Stirling Energy Systems filed for bankruptcy in recent months.”
Bloomberg NEF: “After clocking up a record in 2011, new financial investment in clean energy in first quarter of 2012 was the weakest since the depths of the financial crisis in Q1 2009: down 28% from Q4 2011 to just $27bn; it was 22% lower than the equivalent figure in the first quarter of last year. ….The largest projects financed in Europe in Q1 – in the face of a difficult market for bank lending following last autumn’s euro area crisis – were the 150MW Monsson Pantelina wind farm in Romania at $317m, and the 60.4MW SunEdison Karadzhalovo solar PV plant in Bulgaria at $248m. ….Michael Liebreich said: “The outlook for investment in the remainder of the year remains difficult. …continuing improvements in the sector’s economics mean that companies which survive these next few years, whether on the industry’s supply or demand side, will be extremely well positioned for the next growth phase.” / In 2011, overall clean energy investment, including the “financial new investment” measure calculated quarterly but also annually-calculated totals for government and corporate research and development and small-scale projects such as rooftop solar, was a record $263bn. This compares to 2010’s total of $247bn and just $54bn back in 2004.”