Archive for the ‘Nuclear’ Category

Week 8, 2015: Traders make fortunes in oil rout. World’s biggest PR agency quits American Petroleum Institute. Apple intends EV manufacture by 2020. Thousands of mosques go solar.

February 22, 2015 Clean Energy, Climate, Coal, Commentaries, Finance, Gas, Nuclear

21.2.15.

Prominent climate denier’s work was funded by energy industry. And Willie Soon did not declare the $1m+ from ExxonMobil et al in papers.
IPCC chair misses meeting due to sexual harrassment claims. Rajendra Pachauri claims his e-mail account was hacked to send in appropriate messages.
20.2.15.
US will install air pollution monitors on embassies worldwide. The State Department hopes to replicate the success of its Beijing embassy, notably in India, as a route to climate progress.
US proposes new safety rules for Arctic drilling. They include capability to deploy a capping stack to plug the well within 24 hours, and a containment system within seven days.
Harvard star alumni join divestment campaign. A letter boosts the students as they take the university to court.
Russian expansionism may pose an “existential threat”: NATO General. Sir Adrian Bradshaw, the most senior British officer in NATO, talks of an era of “constant competition”.
UK on track to hit 2020 renewables target of 15% in energy mix. As of 2013, ONS statistics show 15% of electricity comes from renewables.
19.2.15.
Apple wants to start producing EVs, and as soon as 2020. It has been working in secret on an EV with a team now of 200 people and poaching Tesla and battery company staff.
New hope that EU could ban tar sands. EU fuel quality directive gets a reprieve, opening the way for tar sands oil to be taxed out of the market.
World’s biggest PR agency parts ways with American Petroleum Institute. After more than $300m in billings, Edelman ends a relationship giving it a PR problem.
“Five charts showing how BP’s vision differs from a climate-friendly future.” Carbon Brief compares the BP Energy Outlook with the IEA’s Two Degrees scenario.
18.2.15.
G20 climate pledges likely to determine success of Paris summit. So says a top EU official. A legally binding core is vital, and transparency and accounting are on the table for that.
NOAA predicts 2015 could see coral bleaching on a global scale. If so, it be the third time in history and the first in the absence of an El Nino.

Oil and gas industry protests Davey talk of “risky” assets. Oil & Gas UK letter of protest to the Secretary of State says industry is “deeply unsettled” about risk to investor sentiment.
“Buffett dumping Exxon points investors to review oil bets”: Bloomberg. Berkshire Hathaway has sold all its shares in the last quarter of 2014. Also dropped ConocPhillips.
Investors will say “game over” for most fossil fuels. Sooner than most people can imagine. Jeremy Leggett interview in Economic Valor (Brazil).
Saudi Arabia burned >500,000 bd for power in 2014, the highest ever. Exports fell 5.7% to 7.11 mbd, reflecting Chinese demand drop. Saudi produced an average 9.7 mbd.
“OPEC Production Cut May Not Be Needed After All”. So says Art Berman: U.S. tight oil production may fall 600,000 bpd by June 2015 based on projections of current rig counts.
Gazprom presses ahead with pipeline to Turkey after South Stream dropped. CEO says shipping via Ukraine may halt in a few years. EU would need own pipelines from Turkey border.
California regulators allow PG&E to enable customers to go 100% solar. Customers could opt for 100% as soon as the end of 2015. Average for all customers is now 25% RE excl hydropower.
17.2.15.
Rising energy demand at odds with fight against climate change, BP boss says. But it is up to governments to address this.
IEA: rising Middle East militancy poses “major challenge” for oil supply. Fathi Birol says investors are being put off, stoking a supply problem.
World’s biggest offshore windfarm given go-ahead off Yorkshire. The Dogger Bank Creyke Beck project, 200 turbines at 2.4 GW, will be capable of supplying about 2.5% of UK electricity.
16.2.15.
Oil traders celebrate the market rout from low oil prices. “The more volatility, the more arbitrage”, says one. What they call the contango is high at the moment.
Actis to set up a $1.9bn renewable energy business in Africa. The UK-listed private equity group will create Lekela Power, a joint venture with Mainstream, a wind and solar developer.
6,000 mosques to go solar in Jordan. Jordan’s Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources teams with its Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs, first on 120, eventually all

Week 7, 2014: Lowest oil & gas discovery in 20 yrs. US shale has been masking crude production fall in rest of world. Global Divestment Day. Shell boss calls critics “naive”. More progress towards Paris. Big Apple solar play.

February 15, 2015 Clean Energy, Climate, Coal, Commentaries, Finance, Gas, Nuclear, Oil

Discoveries of new oil and gas reserves drop to 20-year low. This is the fourth consecutive year of falling discoveries, with no discoveries of giant fields.
“BP’s battles leave it vulnerable to a major move”: FT. “If ExxonMobil chief executive Rex Tillerson really wanted to, he could snap up BP in a single bite.”
Is there a bubble emerging in corporate bonds? Signs of distress on are appearing in EM companies after years of “often indiscriminate buying” of their bonds.
Are spy agencies funding climate research in hunt for weather weapon? A leading American climate scientist tells the AAAS that he believes so.
14.2.15.
Cameron, Clegg and Miliband all sign strong climate action pledge. They call for unabated coal phaseout and 2 degrees C binding treaty in Paris. Al Gore: “inspired leadership”.
13.2.15.
Climate talks: countries agree draft text for Paris treaty negotiations. Almost 200 countries finalise 86 page basis for negotiations. It includes net-zero carbon by 2050.
Global Divestment day: Hundreds of events in 48 countries spanning six continents. In the UK rallies and protests include London, Bristol, Oxford, Nottingham, Swansea and Edinburgh.
Achieving near-zero emissions in 2nd half of century is central to the Paris deal. So says UN climate chief Christiana Figueres at close of Geneva session. There are 15 options in the text.
US drill-rig count now down 30% since October. “The rig counts appear to be in free fall”, Bloomberg comments, amid “mounting evidence of an industry in distress”.
Brent rises above $60 as oil companies cut back.  EIA figures show US production at a record high of 9.23 mbd since the agency started collating data, in 1983.
Norwegian drill rig operator strikes off $1bn of orders with Petrobras. Seadrill says it no longer believes the company will go ahead with business agreed.
12.2.15.
US shale may not bounce back if oil price rises. If finance flows dry up, so will resurgent output.
Global oil layoffs pass 100,000. US shale is worst, but the pain is global as oil boom towns begin to turn into ghost towns.
Tesla plans to unveil battery storage for growing residential market soon. CEO Elon Musk says details are coming within a month or two.
Fracking “never felt sustainable”. In 2013, US shale was responsible for c.20% of world investment in oil, while only supplying 4% global production. Today? Grimmer.
Shell boss: fossil fuel critics are “naïve” but Big Oil has a “credibility issue”. Ben van Beurden speech to an industry gathering suggests industry is becoming “rattled” by carbon bubble.
Fossil-fuel companies hit back at divestment movement. Crude videos and websites such as “Big Greeb Radicals” push an extreme defence of status quo.
Koch-funded attack website focused just on solar. Its rationale: “Shining a light on the dark side of solar power. Billions blown on solar offer little bang for the bucks.”
“Note to Shell: Most of your critics don’t want a ‘sudden death’ for fossil fuels.” Ben van Beurden is resorting to straw man arguments, says Business Green.
Fracking will be allowed under UK national parks. Infrastructure bill amended to allow horizontal drilling from outside parks.
EDF delays investment decision on Hinkley Point until after election. Negotiations with potential partners stall over Chinese demands.
11.2.15.
US shale oil boom masks declining global supply. So Mark Lewis argues in the FT that when rig count translates into output, up will go the oil price: by Q3 or Q4.
“Oil prices may recover, but not LNG.” Low US prices favoured exports to high-price Asian countries. But slow growth in Asia and other factors will mean low LNG prices for a while.
Apple deal and tax change “could spark corporate solar stampede.” Apple is buying nearly $1bn of power from a First Solar project: the biggest ever solar PPA.
Belectric trials grid-balancing storage at UK solar farm. With a similar project underway in Germany, the company talks of storage bringing a “new era for renewables”.
“Storage is today where PV was six or seven years ago”. Says a consultant in this review of energy storage and the 362 MW or projects announced 2013-14. Largest 5 MW.
UK threatens retaliation if Austria takes legal action over Hinkley Point. HMG says it will take every opportunity to damage country, unless legal case over nuclear reactor, is dropped.
10.2.15.
Officials warn Paris won’t achieve 2 degrees target. But the treaty can set the direction of travel so clearly that the target can still be hit beyond via the sum of individual national action.
IEA forecasts $60 oil for another two years. “The price correction will cause the North American supply ‘party’ to mark a pause; it will not bring it to an end.”
US oil and gas water use threatens harvest. c $1.2bn (£790m) in maize, soy and wheat crops may be at risk in US states where competition is high.
UK spent 300 times more on fossil fuels then green energy. UK Export Finance tally for carbon £1.13bn, green energy £3.6m.
Oil divestiture will hurt college endowments, says oil industry. The Independent Petroleum Association of America commissions a report that studies past 50 years.
“Oil company employees should consider quitting their jobs.” It is becoming morally unacceptable for well-paid employees to carry on, says Jonathon Porritt.
A UK shale industry would be incompatible with 2C target. So says Kevin Anderson
Wind capacity additions exceed fossil-fuels in 2014. EWEA figures show 11.8 GW wind, up 3.8% YOY to 128.8 GW. Gas & coal additions: 5.6 GW. All RE: 79.1%.
SolarAid reaches 9 million Africans with 1.5 million solar lights. And a new campaign will aim to divert 5% of pioneering companies’ profits to proliferate such achievements.
9.2.15.
‘The survival of the planet itself is at stake”. So French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius tells UN climate talks in Geneva. Paris is crucial for world security, he says.
Duke Energy takes majority stake in REC Solar. Largest US utility makes $225m available for the developer to help commercial partners go solar.
“Brazil targets rooftop solar as hydro-dams run dry.” Two years of droughts have taken their toll. Government announces tax relief and incentives.
“Why solar eclipsing oil may first cause a year-long crash, then a 17-year bull market.” Jon D. Markman offers a variant opinion.

Week 6, 2015: US rig count now down 25%, business leaders support zero net carbon by 2050, more Norway oil-fund coal divestment, medics advocate divestment on ethical grounds, Statoil talks renewables.

February 8, 2015 Clean Energy, Climate, Coal, Commentaries, Finance, Gas, Nuclear, Oil

HSBC Swiss subsidiary helped clients dodge taxes and hide millions. Secret files lift lid on practices. CEO Greene was “either asleep at he wheel” or involved, says Margaret Hodge.
6.2.15.
Biggest two-week oil price rally in 17 years: >18% to >$58. The CBOE Crude Oil Volatility Index is at a six year high. Still the price is about half the level of June.
Oil experts predict prices between $30 and $200. Bloomberg: “The only thing that’s certain is more uncertainty. Probably.”
Jeremy Grantham predicts five years before the crash. The shale boom has bought time but “in a few years the global oil industry will be as if U.S. fracking had never existed.”
US oil rig count is now down 25% since October. Drillers idled 83 this week, 94 last week. 30,000 jobs have gone and spending on exploration and production has fallen $116 bn.
BP joins Shell in recommending shareholder resolution. The similar resolution, recommending a range of climate transparency goals, is signed by 50 institutional investors.
“Why Barclays must quit bankrolling coal industry.” Jo Confino argues they must reconnect to their Quaker roots.
The European EV market grew 37% in 2014. The UK, with its £5,000 grants, was the fastest growing. New registrations of EVs are still only 0.6% of all cars.
5.2.15.
Business leaders call for  zero net carbon by 2050. Their appeal to the climate negotiators is made by include Paul Polman of Unilever, Richard Branson, Ratan Tata, & others.
Norway oil fund divested from 40 of coal mining companies in 2014. First report on responsible investing lists 140 companies dumped on env. grounds, incl. 5 tar sands.
Scientists find vast lakes of meltwater stored under Greenland ice cap. Discovery adds to fears for future sea-level rise.
Nuclear power is not “low carbon”, says Prof Keith Barnham. CO2 per unit of electricity is not  6 grams as DECC says, but well above 50, which would disqualify it on CCC criteria.
4.2.15.
Health sector should divest from fossil fuels on ethical grounds. So says a coalition of medical organisations. The Wellcome Trust disagrees, but cannot give an example of engagement.
“How long before an oil major follows E.ON?” Within 3 years, argues Jeremy Leggett. Because the pressures from capex cost-up and cleantech cost-down will become irresistible.
“New Statoil boss signals renewable energy ambitions.” Eldar Saetre led the renewables division before being made acting CEO, now CEO.
“Anything is possible in Paris”. RTCC.com analysis: “The few rules are likely to involve how countries measure, report and verify their GHG emissions.”
Petrobras CEO to step down. But neither she nor the Brazalian President, Dilma Rousseff, ex Petrobras Chairman, were involved in corruption, apparently.
3.2.15.
“Graph of the day: Collapse of the US shale industry.” The drop in rig count is now 24%. “The significance of this is that predictions of the shale bubble may now come true.”
“Cash-starved oil producers trade treasured pipelines for money.” “At some point they all get desperate enough,” says one fund manager.
BP slashes capex by 20%. Asset impairment is $6.5bn. The bulk of this comes from writedowns in the North Sea. Refuses to join Shell in supporting shareholder resolution on climate.
BG writes down assets by $8.9bn to reflect low oil price. Most comes from a coalbed methane project in Queensland. Capex cut will be 30%.
EPA says developing tar sands would significantly increase carbon emissions. In this it takes on the State Department and arms Obama to reject the KXL pipeline.
Coal with CCS could increase future climate risk, a Smith School report concludes. Finite CCS should be held in reserve in case negative emissions technologies are required.
Similar numbers support and oppose UK shale gas, poll finds. DECC finds 24% for, 23% opposed, 53% don’t know.
Solar PV is the most popular energy source in the UK, with >80% support. Shale gas the least. Onshore wind has >70% support, contrary to government line.
2.2.15.
Wounded oil companies turn to creative financing to stay afloat. Investors with the the case to weather a prolonged downturn are hunting for deals.
Russian oil production remains near record level. Low prices fail to push production below 10.6mbd.
Fracking would be banned from 40% of UK shale areas under new rules. Guardian analysis shows that groundwater special protection zones would exclude most.
Shell prepares for costly decommissioning programme in the North Sea. Beginning with the topside of Brent Delta, in the field giving its name to the oil price.
WMO says 14 of the 15 hottest years have now been since 2000. With 2014 as the hottest since records began.
Risky Business project warns US business of climate impacts. Chairman of Cargill is among those making the case, in his instance on agriculture.
Indian government sells 10% of Coal India for $3.6bn. A state-backed insurer was the single biggest bidder, however. And the state remains an 80% Coal India shareholder.
“Why peak oil is finally here.” Ron Patterson on OilPrice.com: A graphic account of how US shale and Canadian tar sands are propping up falling production in the ROW.

Week 4, 2015: US & EU push on climate. $170 bn of oil and gas capex being cut. Fastest-ever rig count fall in US shale. All-party setback for UK shale. Oil price sure to bounce back, bosses say.

January 25, 2015 Clean Energy, Climate, Coal, Commentaries, Finance, Gas, Nuclear, Oil

Energy groups prepare cuts in capex as earnings fall. Morgan Stanley estimates 20% down in O&G field development, Wood Mac 37% across industry ($170bn).
Tight oil production to drop faster than most expect. Increase in pad drilling plus decreasing well productivity means “sharper” fade as count falls, analyst says.
Obama moves to put much of Arctic Refuge off limits for drilling. Alaskan lawmakers rush to the barricades: You negotiate with Iran but not with us, they allege.
24.1.15.
Drillers retreat from North Dakota oil shale at fastest rate yet. The rig count drops by 49 this week as drillers bail with WTI at $45.
“Oil collapse could trigger billions in bank losses.” Surge in junk loans to industy in recent years coming home to roost, the Telegraph worries.
23.1.15.
Caudrilla asks to delay fracking application in Lancashire. It wants time to address the noise reservations of planners recommending rejection.
Scientists find 2-3 times more methane leakage from Boston are than predicted. “Our findings suggest that natural-gas–consuming regions may …represent areas of significant resource loss.”
22.1.15.
US Senate refuses to accept man’s role in climate change. 27 years after first NASA attribution, It defeats two measures attributing cause of climate change.
MEP vote means carbon price now expected to rise by 2020. The EU industry committee votes against an unambitious package of proposals.
Oil & gas industry accused of taking over renewables lobby to push gas. They have majority positions on European wind and solar trade bodies.
Is Saudi Arabia opening the taps because it sees end of oil age coming? Elias Hinckley thinks they see inevitability of global climate action stranding assets.
Former UK environment secretary advocates fracking ban. Caroline Spelman is a member of the Environmental Audit Committee.
21.1.15.
Climate change makes a comeback at Davos.Larry Elliot argues that Stern’s economics makes more of an impact than Al Gore’s slide show.
Environment Agency pension fund tells BP & Shell to invest in renewables. The £2.5bn fund has teamed up with >150 others for a shareholder resolution.
Another setback for UK shale drillers. Lancashire County Council planning officers recommend rejection of Caudrilla’s application for traffic and noise reasons.
Oil spill from Montana pipeline means bottled water for locals. Authorities recommend not drinking tapwater because of benzene levels.
Austria to launch lawsuit on Hinkley C subsidies. Legal challenge to EU decision means final investment decision could be delayed for more than two years.
Obama strong on climate in State of Union address. He mocks the Republican “I am not a scientist” line, referencing NASA and NOAA and their views.
Opec and oil bosses tell Davos oil will rise again. Overshoot risk, Eni and Total bosses warn. Latter cites 5% constant decline = >halving existing production by 2030.
IEA chief warns oil price drop is slowing energy investments of all kinds. “The world will be in a problematicsituation in the next decade.”
Saudi Arabia delays $109bn solar target 8 years: a third of electricity solar by 2040, not 2032, KaCare boss says, needing more time to assess technologies.
BP boss tells BBC in Davos that oil prices will be low for up to 3 years. Ongoing investment and job cuts will reflect this judgement.
20.1.15.
Europe launches diplomatic offensive pushing for strong Paris deal. 90,000 diplomats in >3,000 missions to lobby other nations after ministerial decision.
PwC survey of CEOs does not even include climate change. This after only 10% expressed concern in the annual Davos survey last year.
Total cuts capital spending by 10% and plans asset sales.  Cuts to exploration and development include the North Sea, tar sands, Gabon and Congo.
Credit line reset hovers over US oil drillers in April. Some will face a “liquidity spiral”, analysts fear, as banks cutcredit lines.
Carbon-free stock index outperforms the market in 2014. The Fossil Free Indexes US (FFIUS), with 10% excluded, outperforms the S&P 500 by about 1.5%.
Greenpeace wins funding battle with Indian government. Dehli High Court orders Modi government to release foreign contributions to Indian branch.
19.1.15.
UK shale gas revolution falling flat. Guardian analysis shows only 11 new wells, and 9 scheduled for fracking – 8 new wells and one existing well.
Analysts predict stagnant or falling oil production in Russia. Slump in crude prices is impairing investment.
“Why 2015 is the year renewables will win.” I am full of cautious hope”, writes Jeremy Leggett on EcoHustler, “and here’s why.”
Nearly 50% of global wealth held by the 1%. So a new Oxfam report finds, ahead of the World Economic Forum in Davos.

Week 3, 2015: 2014 hottest year ever. Another major coal divestment. Oil and gas capex cancellations spread. Poland’s shale revolution evaporates. Solar PV at grid parity almost everywhere by 2017. US utilities fear “death spiral”.

January 16, 2015 Clean Energy, Climate, Coal, Finance, Gas, Nuclear, Oil

18.1.15.

Nordea to blacklist coal-mining companies. The largest Nordic asset manager specifies up to 40 companies for exclusion from their $228bn of assets.

17.1.15.

“Steepest Oil-Rig Drop Shows Shale Losing Fight to OPEC”. Bloomberg reports fall of 209, steepest 6 week decline since Baker Hughes began data tracking began in 1987.

16.1.15.

2014 officially confirmed as hottest year ever. NASA and NOAA say 0.07F (0.04C) higher than previous records and 38th consecutive year above ’51-’80 average.

Miliband would support zero net emissions by 2050 as PM. BP and Shell oppose this. BP expects its Clair project in the North Sea to still be producing in 2050.

IEA expects oil price rise in second half of year. Sweeping spending cuts must mean project delays and faster decline rates, the agency says.

“Age of $100 oil will return as energy industry cuts too deep”. “….Oil prices could bounce back harder and faster than before”: Telegraph.

Caudrilla gets green light from Environment Agency to drill UK shale again. It admits fracking caused earthquakes, but has assuaged the regulator’s concerns.

15.1.15.

Climate risk is becoming “synonymous with reputation risk”, says Axa. The major European investor sees the divestment movement as a fast-growing force.

Study shows global sea-level rising 25% faster than thought over last 20 years. Harvard-led team used 600 tide gauges to show the acceleration.

Life on Earth at risk, two new scientific reports conclude. Rate of environmental degradation is simply too high, across nine processes underpinning life.

UK orders urgent tax review for North Sea oil. BP has cut 300 jobs in Aberdeen and others are cutting too. Ian Wood: once you cut, its difficult to repair.

Norway to hold crisis talks on oil industry. Government and industry will discuss a possible stimulus package.

Judge rules BP spill was 3.19m barrels, meaning a potential bill of $13bn. This on top of $42bn already for the Macondo spill, but less than US government sought.

Dubai solar plant will produce cheapest solar energy in the world. Electricity from the 200MW CSP plant to be built by ACWA will sell at 5.85 cents per kWh.

Tesla and Nissan Leaf sales rise as oil price falls. But worldwide EV sales have fallen with the oil price since September.

14.1.15.

“Oil projects worth billions put on hold”: FT. Shell in Qatar, Premier off the Falklands, Statoil off Greenland – the list of cancelled capex is growing.

Obama moves to cut oil-and-gas industry methane emissions by 45%. From 2012 levels, by 2025: needed, if US is to hit overall target of 26-28% GHG cut by then.

Obama methane plan criticised for only spanning future infrastructure. In excluding existing activities, it will miss 90% of the pollution, campaigners say.

Fracking companies will be legally bound to reveal chemicals used in UK. Government makes this concession in Parliamentary in discussion of the Infrastructure Act.

Harvard increases fossil-fuel investments sevenfold in a quarter. A measure likely to inflame the 7 students taking them to court, and many more besides.

350 campaign urges Pope Francis to divest Vatican from fossil fuels. Ahead of a trip to the Philippines, the Pope comes under pressure to walk the talk.

13.1.15.

“Poland’s shale gas revolution evaporates in face of environmental protests.” Public opposition and disappointing test drilling are putting investors off.

“Could Global Tide Be Starting To Turn Against Fossil Fuels?” Events now raise a question once unthinkable, Fred Pearce writes.

US utilities fear a “death spiral” in face of mobile-telephony equivalent. Edison Electric Institute paper charts the extent of the fears.

German utility RWE slashes renewables spending in 2015. It will invest €1bn over 2015-17, having invested €1bn annually since 2008.

GM introduces Chevy Bolt EV, with 200 mile range. The car beats a promised new Tesla to a US EV market that grew 18% in 2014.

EVs should give hope to utilities, Tesla’s Elon Musk says. If demand roughly doubles, and half is met by solar and half traditionally.

5 week trial of battery-powered train begins in UK. The passenger trains in Essex are the first battery trains to run on the rail network for half a century.

India stops Greenpeace campaigner from travelling to UK to talk about coal. She had a visa and no criminal record, but was not allowed to board a plane.

China’s oil imports topped 7m barrels a day for the first time in December. With prices at 6 year lows, biggest importer is topping up reserves.

12.1.15.

“We are the last generation that can fight climate change. We have a duty to act.” So insists Ban Ki-moon, saying the UN must work harder.

Brent for February falls as low as $48.45. Goldman Sachs says it will fall to $42 in the next three months.

Solar power at grid parity in up to 80% of the world by 2017. So says Deutsche Bank, assuming power prices go on rising at the same rate of late.

SunEdison and Adani Enterprises plan a $4bn solar factory in India. A major boost for PM Narendra Modi’s plan for 110GW of solar capacity by 2022.

Oil and gas “will be part of climate solution”, says Saudi climate envoy. Total decarbonisation is “unrealistic”, Khalid Abuleif insists.

Week 2, 2015: Brent falls <$50. First oil company goes bankrupt in US shale. Oil-rout contagion has spread to stocks. Obama makes anti-tar-sands position clear.

January 11, 2015 Clean Energy, Climate, Coal, Finance, Gas, Nuclear, Oil

11.1.15.

300 Stanford professors call on university to divest from oil and gas, as well as coal. They speak of teaching about a bright future whilst investing in its destruction.

“As oil prices fall, banks serving the energy industry brace for a jolt.” Among the hardest hit are likely to be Wells Fargo and Citi.

At least one major oil company will turn its back on fossil fuels, says scientist.” Jeremy Leggett bases warning on high cost of production plus climate policy.

10.1.15.

US oil drillers idle most rigs since 1991 in clearest signal yet of retreat. 35 horizontal rigs were idled last week alone: “This is the end of the boom.”

9.1.15.

Investment in renewables hit record high in 2014: up 16% to $310bn, 29% in China. c.100 GW of solar and wind built, c. half of each, up from 74 GW in 2013.

Much lending to shale done by “people who believed they were taking little risk.” Investors learned nothing from subprime mortgage securitisation, says John Dizard.

Oil companies seek supertankers to store and later trade 20 million barrels of oil. Traders stored as much as 100 mb in 2009.

8.1.15.

Oil price plunge could harm prospects of carbon-emissions limitation: HSBC. Meaning less capital for low-carbon investment. So says head of HSBC’s climate-change centre.

Oil’s drop is so sentiment-driven that investors should avoid it, say banks. As Brent drops <$50, traders are ignoring supply disruptions that would normally lift price.

Low oil price = “potential, if not inevitability, for supply shortfalls in the future”. Andrew Hall warns long lead times mean cancelled projects cannot be reinstated quickly.

Record renewables generation, almost 26%, and falling coal in Germany in 2014. Renewables > lignite for the first time, and will reach 80% in 2041 at current rate.

7.1.15.

Oil price drags down stock prices due to fears over cancelled capex: BoA. S&P 500 benchmark is down, at a time when consumers should be enjoying a bonus.

Reserves that can’t be burned to hit 2˚C: 82% of coal, 49% of gas, 33% of oil. Cost-curves in UCL study places out of bounds Arctic oil, most tar sands, much shale.

Kepler Cheuvreux expects US shale production to stall in H2 2015. With Brent at $50.3, drillers are increasingly signalling sharply lower capex this year. (no url).

Advocacy groups sue EPA for public access to toxic chemicals used in US fracking. Lawsuit filed by the Environmental Integrity Project in a Washington federal court.

UK Labour party seeks ban on fracking on the 15% of land area feeding aquifers. They are seeking an amendment to the government’s catch-all Infrastructure Bill.

Denmark hits 39% of annual electricity from wind: 4th consecutive annual record. Increase from 32.7% is partly due to new installations, partly increased efficiency.

6.1.15.

2014 confirmed as UK’s hottest year since records began. Also the fourth wettest, says the Met Office.

Outrage in Brussels at UK lobbying to weaken 40% emissions-cut agreement. A draft plan authored with Czech Republic proposes “light touch” oversight.

£1.7bn UK loan to foreign oil & gas projects despite pledge to withdraw. UK Export Credit Finance deals, including with Petrobras, fly in face of Coalition Agreement.

White House says President Obama would veto tar sands pipeline. If Congress passes a bill approving Keystone XL, he won’t sign it.

China carbon trading set to more than double in 2015. All 7 regional market pilots will be up and running this year. 24 mt CO2e were traded in 2014.

First oil company goes bankrupt in the shale, unable to raise more cash. WTH Energy, a small Texan driller. Analysts warn there will be others.

Decline in number of US oil rigs fails to halt Brent’s fall to just short of $50. Baker Hughes data show 1,482 rigs, down from record high of 1,609 mid October.

The bear market in oil is “polluting non-energy stocks”. Too many companies have made investments on the premise that oil will always be expensive.

Half California’s electricity from renewables by 2030, Governor pledges. He will use his fourth term to drive most ambitious green energy plan anywhere.

5.1.15.

Investors opinions differ on carbon-fuel divestment v. engagement. Both approaches are needed, says Carbon Tracker CEO Anthony Hobley.

E.ON’s U-turn, “as surprising as it was revolutionary”. “We are the first to draw this conclusion,” CEO says, clearly infering others will follow.

Weeks 51 &52, 2014: Oil rout continues. 2 in 3 UK quoted oil and gas companies face bankruptcy. Russian economy in trouble. How can Petrobras ever hope for $200bn to develop the pre-salt? Saudi Arabia has to borrow and cut jobs to keep the pressure on.

December 31, 2014 Clean Energy, Climate, Coal, Finance, Gas, Nuclear, Oil

Russian government props up ailing energy companies and banks. Including Yamal LNG, the Arctic gas project of Novatek, at Rbs150bn, Gazprombank gets 40.

Polish farmers threaten civil unrest if a vast lignite mine on farmland goes ahead. 22 villages and a windfarm would have to go if Polish energy company PAK gets its way.

30.12.14.

US drillers idle most rigs in two years as WTI falls below $55. But there are still 1,499 drilling for oil and 340 for gas.

US government allows more exports of oil condensate: some relief to producers. But the ban on unrefined crude exports stays in place, except to Canada.

Domestic political pressure builds on Statoil over climate change. Provider of 25% of Norway’s GDP is facing pushback across society, even in parliament.

29.12.14.

Brent crude hits $57.88, the lowest since May 2009. It has fallen 48% this year, and analysts expect a surplus of c. 1.5 mbd in H1 2015.

A third of quoted UK oil and gas companies face bankruptcy. Company Watch warning includes conclusion that 70% are unprofitable, wracking up losses.

How long can Saudi Arabia keep the pressure up in oil markets? They are dipping into their >$700bn reserves of foreign exchange.

Petrobras risks pariah status whilst needing $221bn 5 year pre-salt capex. With billions creamed off contracts, US SEC investigates & PWC refuses to sign accounts.

Vermont’s only nuclear plant shut down to make way for renewables. It providing 71% of all electricity generated in the state over its 42 years.

Norwegian state electricity company plans $8.1bn renewables drive. Government injects $1.3bn to start push for wind, hydro & other projects home and abroad.

Chinese flock to study Copenhagen’s low-emissions route to heating cities. It has reduced greenhouse gas emissions 40% since 1990 with smart heating grids etc.

27.12.14.

Pope to convene a summit of religious leaders in 2015 in support of Paris treaty. He will also send a lengthy message to all 1.2 bn Catholics, to the rage of a minority.

25.12.14.

Saudis to curb wages but keep investing as deficit reaches $39bn, 5% of GDP. The Kingdom will resort to borrowing and reserves to plug the gap.

24.12.14.

Fracking ban proves to boost New York Governor’s ratings. One in three voters think better of Andrew Cuomo since he responded to health concerns.

UK  capacity auction hands a £ billion to the generators for doing nothing different. Negligible amounts of new capacity created, says Chris Goodall.

IRENA boss: “switch to renewable energy is a battle we cannot afford to lose.” 144 countries have renewable energy targets, 50 countries support decarbonisation by 2050.

23.12.14.

Signs of slowdown mount up across UK shale: Williston Basin rigs down 9%. Saudis say US high-cost production will drop first, Continental CEO warns Saudis of instability.

David Hughes wades into Nature/EIA fracking spat with data from his report. “The EIA is letting us down with its extremely optimistic projections.”

22.12.14.

Russian bank bailed out: echoes of Northern Rock. IMF fears global crisis via contagion as Russia’s Central bank hands Trust Bank $530m.

South Korean nuclear plant operator computers hacked. Hacker tweets information about plants and workers. Operator says control system not at risk.

Week 50, 2014: Brent falls below $60. NY state bans fracking. Shale drillers threaten global financial stability as crisis spreads to banks. Shell recognises a global energy transition is underway,

December 21, 2014 Clean Energy, Climate, Coal, Finance, Gas, Nuclear, Oil

Coral bleaching event spreading across northern Pacific set to become worst ever. Previous worst, in 1998, saw 15% of world’s corals die. All could be gone within 50 years.

Ebay joins Google and others in quitting ALEC over climate denial stance. Many tech companies have now departed the American Legislative Exchange Council.

Obama expresses strong scepticism over Keystone pipeline. The President says it will do little to reduce American energy prices, and provide few jobs.

Insurance problems add to the woes of ailing US shale drillers. At least six companies have signed up to a type of hedge that does not fix a minimum oil price.

UK’s biggest solar farm connects to grid: 46 MW Landmead project. Belectric’s installation on grade 3 (of 5)  agricultural land shares site with grazing sheep.

UK wave power in anger of collapsing for want of c. £200m. Pelamis has gone into administration, and Aquamarine Power is in financial difficulties.

Construction of world’s largest planned tidal project to begin off Caithness. 400 MW, ABB as the onshore contractor, first electricity scheduled in 2016.

Nuclear bombs capable of destroying entire cities transported in delivery vans. So wrote analysts of Pakistan in 2011. We are forgetting the danger, warns US politician.

18.12.14.

“Bankers see $1 trillion of zombie investments stranded in the oil fields”. Goldman Sachs study of 400 oil and gas fields, finds $930 bn unprofitable at $70.

US oil output set to rise into 2015 even as prices plunge. (But for how long?). More oil can be extracted from lowest-cost spots with enhanced techniques, say analysts.

“North Sea oil industry ‘close to collapse’”: BBC. Chairman of independent explorers association says almost no new projects are profitable.

Chevron drops Arctic drilling plans – not even short term – indefinitely. Economics plus regulatory requirements have put them off drilling first well in 2025.

US government plans vividly portrayed in animated time series map video. Post-Carbon Institute’s plot shows 85,000 wells in last 10 years and 675,000 by 2040.

Real danger to global financial system from oil price collapse: credit derivatives. Bill for CD swaps would exceed $$100 bn if worst drillers default. But there is contagion risk.

Health groups confident New York fracking ban will now spread to other states. With bans in two dozen municipalities & two countries, industry is using courts to fight back.

UK consumers face £750m extra for subsidy scheme to keep lights on. But £15-20 per kW price in “capacity market” auction is lower than feared.

17.12.14.

Attribution of 2014 heat to global warming boosts prospect of class actions. Oxford researchers conclude chances of 2014 record increased by a factor of ten.

New York state to ban fracking as health officials say “potential risks too great”. No prospect of 6 year moratorium ending now, as governor says he will be bound by experts.

EU Parliament dismays greens by failing to veto oil imports from tars sands. Vote to label tar-sands oil fails by a narrow margin.

16.12.14.

China calls Lima deal “balanced”, but is critical of rich countries on finance. Chinese media coverage is broadly positive.

Late meeting of US and Chinese envoys saved the Lima climate talks. They solved dilemma of “who goes first” by inserting text from US-China pre-summit accord.

Brent crude price falls below $60 for first time in >5 years. Gloomy Chinese manufacturing output data offered as explanation for latest phase of slide.

First large oil company merger of this price fall. Repsol agrees to buy Talisman for $8.3bn. Others can be expected, as in the last phase of low oil price.

Cameron wades into green groups “religiosity” for being anti-fracking. He says all subsidies for onshore wind will end, that tax breaks for fracking are not subsidies.

Bond investors are skittish over emerging markets”: New York Times. Once popular bonds of Petrobras, Pemex, Gazprom looking shaky, with contagion possible.

BoE warns that lenders to US shale drillers may not be able to repay their loans. This could have a knock-on effect in the wider junk bond market, Mark Carney says.

Regional utility MVV takes 50.1% stake in German renewables developer Juwi. Condition of takeover, for €99m, is that €300m, raised from 40 financial institutions.

Rouble falls to dramatic new low as Russian rate rise fails. Rosneft bond issue becomes part of the blame-game raging in Moscow.

15.12.14.

“Lima leave Australia, Big Oil, with giant fossil fuel headache.” Complete phasing out of fossil fuels by 2050 had explicit support of more than 100 countries.

“Lima deal represents a fundamental change in global climate regime.” The agreements made end the division of the world into developed and developing nations.

Winners and loser at Lima: the Carbon Brief analysis. No-one hailed the text as a triumph, but there were “small victories scattered throughout”.

Tropical rainforests not absorbing as much carbon as expected, scientists find. Studies show CO2 is not meaning faster tree growth, raising question about sink efficacy.

New satellite maps measure detail of Greenland ice loss faster in 21st century so far. 4 cm sea-level rise from 2003-2009 melt from loss measured by lasers at 100,000 locations.

Russian central bank raises interest rate to 17% to prevent collapse of rouble. Decline is 45% against the dollar this year. Russians fear joint US Saudi oil-price plot.

Texas wildcat veterans warn Dakota rookies that an oil bust is on the way. But in the Bakken of North Dakota, many do not seem to agree that a storm is coming.

“Dissecting Denton: How a Texas City Banned Fracking”: Texas Tribune. Too many of the 277 wells near children, and callous disregard by Range Resources et al.

Police ask university for list of attendees at debate on fracking. Canterbury Christ Church University refuses to hand it over.

“Falling oil price poses new threat to banks”: FT. As much as half of outstanding financing may be stuck on banks’ balance sheets.

Oil price fall threatens $1 tn of oil projects, Goldman Sachs says. Echoing Carbon Tracker’s prescient report in May, 7.5 mbd over next decade.

“We recognise that an energy transition is under way”: Shell CEO in letter to FT. But responding to Davey’s warning, Ben van Beurden’s answer is still gas and CCS.

Week 49, 2014: DECC lines up with the Bank of England on the carbon bubble as the oil industry tries to rubbish it. The Pope becomes a climate campaigner. Lima pulls progress from the jaws of defeat.

December 14, 2014 Clean Energy, Climate, Coal, Commentaries, Finance, Gas, Nuclear, Oil

Lima talks reach eleventh-hour global agreement by deferring key issues. But the Lima Call For Climate Action commits all nations to emissions cuts for the first time.

US DoE writes to Nature protesting the 4 Dec. “fracking fallacy” article. EIA’s forecasts complementary with UT forecasts, not competitive: paper is “deeply flawed”.

EDF to net £3bn windfall from existing plants under UK’S capacity market scheme. It has pre-qualified 8 nuclear plants and 2 coal plants for the auction, starting next week.

13.12.14.

Finance for developing countries once again the issue. US, EU, and others want focus on emissions reductions, developing countries want finance too.

Climate negotiations drag on as workers start dismantling the Lima summit site. As frustration turns to fury in some cases, negotiators seem incapable of escaping old agendas.

Emerging text takes the talks backwards, keeping world on course for climate crisis. The draft contains no commitment to overall 2˚C target, even no review of national targets.

US lead negotiator warns Lima climate talks face”major breakdown”. With the talks now run over by 25 hours, Todd Stern says major differences remain.

12.12.14.

Condensed draft text tabled in Lima risks inflaming developing countries. The original text had ballooned to 60 pages. NGOs label the new one “dangerously weak”.

“Like minded group” says no deal is better than a bad deal. Coalition including Venezuela, Iran, Saudi Arabia and India say talks could resume in early 2015.

Pope Francis urges Lima delegates to agree a strong deal. The head of the Catholic Church says “the time to find global solutions is running out.”

Lima summit extended as row over finance boils over. The amounts offered by the rich nations are “ridiculously low”, just over $10bn.

“Fossil fuel companies facing crisis, warns Davey”: Times. Bank of England should require disclosure of carbon investments and involve other regulators.

Oil price plunge continues: Brent close to $62. IEA warns of global social instability and threat of debt defaults in eg Russia, Venezuela.

World stock markets suffer worst fall since 2011: £112bn wiped from FTSE 100. The oil price, and China fears, lead a long list of reasons why investors are losing faith.

“Stuck Earning $1 a Day? Exxon Wants to Be Your New Best Friend”: Bloomberg. Exxon et al are increasingly “portraying themselves as champions of the world’s poor.”

11.12.14.

“Fossil-Fuel Exposure May Need to Be Disclosed in U.K.”: Bloomberg. Ed Davey tells reporters he has written to BoE Governor about this. FT cites Carbon Tracker.

Kerry pledges US will take lead, but every nation must act. “We simple don’t have time to sit around going back and forth, says US Secretary of State.

With 24 hours left in Lima, negotiators have agreed only one paragraph. “We are going backwards” say NGOs.

Slow progress in Lima is costing lives: Oxfam Chief. Winnie Byanyima says negotiators have detached human feelings from the negotiations.

“Russia has just lost the economic war with the west”. Larry Elliot argues that full blown currency crisis is only part of a perfect storm facing Putin.

10.12.14.

Avaaz mass e-mail: “Something huge is happening this week” in Lima. Governments are about to set a goal to cut carbon pollution completely. But it is at risk.

Catholic bishops from every continent demand end to fossil fuels. Their statement call s for 100% renewable energy, and strong focus on finance for adaptation.

“We are winning the war”: international wind and solar industries at COP 20. Steve Sawyer for GWEC and Jeremy Leggett for EPIA give a 30 minute press conference.

“UN climate negotiations ‘15 years out of date’ on renewables”, GWEC boss tells Lima. “We can renewably power the world well before 2050,” says Jeremy Leggett for EPIA.

Wind and solar “not ready for prime time”, says Exxon’s chief strategist Bill Colton. And “peak oil theorists have been run out of town by American ingenuity,” he adds.

9.12.14.

Full decarbonization by 2050 on the table in Lima as ministers arrive at summit. “Elements of a draft negotiating text”, published for week 2 in Lima, contains the key words.

Peru and Brazil diplomats say they will help broker a deal in Lima. But NGOs accuse them of more talk than action on emissions.

Funds press oil and gas boards to explain how they will deal with climate change. Global coalition including Calpers, Aviva, turn up the pressure.

“US shale industry faces endurance test after Opec rejects cuts”: FT. “Survival of he fittest” chart says it all in one graphic: some have net debt >4x EBITDA.

Worsening S African electricity crisis: blackouts worst since 2008. Among structural-constraint reasons for S Africa’s downgrading by ratings agencies.

100,000 hydrogen fuel cells installed in Japan en route to hydrogen-society. The national goal is 5.3 million home installations by 2030, 10% of all households.

Challenges to the energy industry and society are “potentially existential”. JL interview in Energy World, foreseeing E.ON’s U-turn in business model.

8.12.14.          

Saudi Arabia in ‘race against time’ to cut fossil-fuel dependency, says envoy. But total fossil-fuel phase out by 2050 is “unrealistic”, and 2C target “needs more work.”

“Global shale ambitions wane”, as OPEC’s price war rolls on. KPMG talks of potential “nail in coffin” for shale projects outside N America.

As defaults loom in the tar sands, short sellers in banks target debt. Producers need an oil price of $85, and it sits c. $65.

Six arrests made in UK solar fraud investigation. Serious Fraud Office on the case of Solar Energy Savings, and serious mis-selling practices.

UK regulator introduces tough controls aiming to cut energy bills.

November 28, 2014 Coal, Gas, Nuclear

FT: “UK energy regulator Ofgem has outlined tough annual price controls for power distributors that it claims will cut £2.1bn from customer bills – equivalent to £11 per household – and increase compensation for extended power outages.”
(more…)

One of three UK emergency power plants fails output test.

November 24, 2014 Coal, Gas, Nuclear

FT: “One of the three power stations being paid by National Grid to come online in an emergency this winter has failed a test run, heightening concerns over the reliability of Britain’s creaking, accident-prone electricity system.”
(more…)

China climate pledge would require 50,000 solar farms.

November 21, 2014 Clean Energy, Climate, Nuclear

Bloomberg: China, which does nothing in small doses, will need about 1,000 nuclear reactors, 500,000 wind turbines or 50,000 solar farms as it takes up the fight against climate change.”
(more…)

Areva financial crisis means Hinckley Point may never happen.

November 19, 2014 Nuclear

Guardian: “The future of the Hinkley Point C nuclear plant in Somerset is under a cloud amid a financial crisis at Areva, a shareholder in the project and the designer of the proposed reactors.
(more…)

Ten years of watching unrealistic scenarios in IEA World Energy Outlooks.

November 13, 2014 Clean Energy, Climate, Coal, Finance, Gas, Nuclear, Oil

David Macleod for Resilience: “The International Energy Agency (IEA) is the energy watchdog of the industrial world. The developed nations of the world were caught off guard by the oil crisis of 1973.”
(more…)

French government ousts pro-nuclear boss of EDF.

October 15, 2014 Nuclear

Reuters: “President Francois Hollande ousted the pro-nuclear boss of France’s main power utility EDF on Wednesday, replacing him with the head of defence electronics firm Thales a day after a new pro-renewables policy became law.”
(more…)

UK renewables companies consider Hinkley EC legal challenge.

October 12, 2014 Commentaries, Finance, Nuclear

Guardian: “Independent energy supplier Ecotricity is among companies and organisations considering a legal challenge against the European commission decision to give the approval for the Hinkley Point C nuclear plant.”
(more…)

France to cut nuclear’s share of power market to 50% by 2025.

October 10, 2014 Nuclear

Platts: “France’s lower house of Parliament voted Friday to cut nuclear’s share of the power generation market to 50% by 2025, from 75%, the AFP Parliamentary newswire reported.”
(more…)

Japan’s utilities turn on solar, threatening industry’s prospects.

October 9, 2014 Clean Energy, Coal, Gas, Nuclear

Bloomberg: “After spending almost $30 billion on solar energy in a single year and installing as many panels as exist in the whole of Spain, Japan is preparing to ratchet back its boom in photovoltaic power. At least five of the nation’s utilities are restricting the access of new solar farms to their grids.”
(more…)

Drilling rig numbers hit in a new record in the US as oil search spreads.

October 8, 2014 Nuclear, Oil

Bloomberg: “Rigs targeting oil in the U.S. surged to a record as drillers ventured outside the nation’s biggest basins to search for crude in developing plays such as the South-Central Oklahoma Oil Province, known as SCOOP.”
(more…)

EU approves Hinkley Point nuclear power station, now >£24bn to build.

October 8, 2014 Nuclear

Guardian: “The European commission on Wednesday gave Britain the green light for a huge government subsidy that will open the way for the first atomic power stations to be built for nearly 20 years.”
(more…)

  • The Winning of The Carbon War

    Humanity is in a race, a kind of civil war. Believers in a safe future fuelled by endless sunlight and related forms of clean energy combat defenders of finite carbon fuels careless of the impact they have on the world by clinging to coal, oil, and gas. Jeremy Leggett fought for the light side for a quarter of a century as it lost battle after battle to the dark side. Then, in 2013, the tide began to turn. By 2015, it was clear the light side could win the war. Leggett’s diary from the front lines tells one person’s story of those turnaround years, and what they can mean for the world.
  • The book in a minute

  • Introducing The Energy Of Nations

    Download chapter one, read the reviews and find out how to order here.