So reads the headline. The Bank of England prepares contingency plans, as Italian bond prices soar, Brussels revises grwoth forecasts down, and Berlusconi leaves office.
They are also fined €1.5 million for hacking into the Greenpeace computer network. The firm’s former head of safety from 2006 is jailed for 3 years.
Solarworld’s case had enough merit to elicit an investigation, they conclude. They will examine whether PV panels were being dumped – priced unfairly low – or illicitly state-subsidised. Preliminary findings in this first-ever for renewables are due next month and final findings will be published early next year.
Political unrest in Africa and the Middle East may harm investment, the agency warns during the release of its WEO 2011. IEA economist Fatih Birol: “In 2011, $102 is the average price through to today which means the global economic recovery is at risk. We are in the danger zone for the global economy at current levels.”
This he says in a Bloomberg interview, round the release of the WEO, meaning renewables and nuclear both. Birol: “If we do not have an international legally binding agreement soon, and if it doesn’t give a boost to a major investment wave of clean energy technologies by 2017, the door to 2 degrees will be closed forever.” A shift away from nuclear power “would definitely be bad news for energy security, for climate change and also for the economics of the electricity price.”
In the WEO’s central New Policies Scenario, renewables increase from 13% of the mix today to 18% in 2035, underpinned by subsidies that rise from $64 billion in 2010 to $250 billion in 2035. By contrast, subsidies for fossil fuels amounted to $409 billion in 2010. “Oil demand rises from 87 million barrels per day (mb/d) in 2010 to 99 mb/d in 2035. The WEO presents a 450 Scenario, which traces an energy path consistent with meeting the globally agreed goal of limiting the temperature rise to 2°C. Four-fifths of the total energy-related CO2 emissions permitted to 2035 in the 450 Scenario are already locked-in by existing capital stock, including power stations, buildings and factories. Without further action by 2017, the energy-related infrastructure then in place would generate all the CO2 emissions allowed in the 450 Scenario up to 2035. Delaying action is a false economy: for every $1 of investment in cleaner technology that is avoided in the power sector before 2020, an additional $4.30 would need to be spent after 2020 to compensate for the increased emissions.” “The door is closing,” Fatih Birol says. “I am very worried – if we don’t change direction now on how we use energy, we will end up beyond what scientists tell us is the minimum [for safety]. The door will be closed forever.”
Those who can survive a market of 30 GW capacity and 18 GW demand this year (Luz Research) can look forward to a huge market. A study by Richard Keiser, a former tech strategist at Sanford C Bernstein estimates that at an installed cost of $4 per watt, nearly 50GW of electricity demand could be met economically. Present installed US capacity is only around 4GW. At $3 a watt, some 300GW of capacity is accessible, or 11 per cent of total US electricity demand. Below that potential growth becomes exponential. (All this is helped by a 30 per cent investment tax credit that has been extended to the end of 2016). Some commercial systems are already at $3, and many residential should hit $4 by end of the next year.
In the Telegraph, Chris Huhne says: “Two months ago, an unlisted energy company released an initial estimate of UK shale gas resources. Cue protesters picketing my department, and suggestions that Britain should tear down its wind farms and move the pound to a mythical “shale standard”…. As ever, behind lurid headlines lurks a little truth. ….This year, for the first time ever, we imported more gas – whether piped from Norway or shipped from Qatar – than we pumped from our own continental shelf. …World gas prices are up 40 per cent in a year, and half of the average household bill goes on wholesale gas and electricity costs. As Ofgem has made clear, such higher gas prices are the real reason heating and electricity bills have been going up over the past eight years. …Shale gas has not yet lit a single room in the UK, nor roasted a single Sunday lunch. Yet those who clamour loudest for “realistic” energy policies would have us hitch our wagon to shale alone.”
Canberra’s setting of a price on carbon emissions iinjects new impetus into December’s global climate talks in South Africa. “Today Australia has a price on carbon as the law of our land. This comes after a quarter of a century of scientific warnings, 37 parliamentary inquiries, and years of bitter debate and division,” PM Julia Gillard tells reporters. The scheme sets a fixed carbon tax of A$23 ($23.78) a tonne on the top 500 polluters from July 2012, then moves to an emissions trading scheme from July 2015. Australia’s carbon market is forecast to be worth as much as A$15 billion ($15.5 billion) by 2015. The global carbon market was worth about $142 billion in 2010, with the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme accounting for 97 percent of trade, accordin to the World Bank.
Damian Carrington in the Guardian: “There was a vast, astonishing and utterly unforgiveable hole at the heart of the BBC Panorama TV show on Monday, which claimed to be investigating what has caused energy bills in the UK to soar in recent years: the rising wholesale cost of gas and electricity. The wholesale cost makes up 56% of home energy bills, says the regulator Ofgem, by far the biggest single factor. And it’s not as though it’s hard to find out more. The very first words in Ofgem’s most recent and very widely covered report are: ‘Wholesale energy costs have continued to rise, particularly for gas, where for example the price of this winter’s gas is around 40% higher than last winter’s. This increase has been driven by global rises in oil and gas prices. This has contributed significantly to recent increases in customers’ bills.’ Instead Tom Heap, an experienced and respected reporter, put offshore wind at the centre of the prime time show. ….So how much are customers paying for this supposed lunacy? The answer, nowhere to be found in the whole 30-minute programme is about £20 a year – for all renewables subsidies. Include all government levies – mainly for schemes increasing energy efficiency and alleviating fuel poverty – and the cost rises to £80 a year. The increase in the average gas bill alone since last year due to wholesale price rises, using the Ofgem numbers above, was about £170.”
The XL pipeline decision has become a defining issue for Obama’s. As many as 12,000 turned out. Obama was away playing golf.
50% is the goal of the Socialist candidate for president, Francois Hollande. EDF and GDF Suez object. Henri Proglio has close links to Sarkozy, but none to Hollande, who is even considering an alliance with the ecologist party, who want Flammanville shut.
The FT sees research suggesting more than half UK solar firms will sack more than half their staff if the government goes ahead with its planned tariff reduction. The Renewable Energy Association and Solar Trade Association surveyed 140 companies – employing 4,055 in total, finding 1,715 intended job losses. More than 31,000 social housing roofs have been cancelled to date.
Letter from the students: “Today, we are walking out of your class, Economics 10, in order to express our discontent with the bias inherent in this introductory economics course. We are deeply concerned about the way that this bias affects students, the University, and our greater society.”
A KPMG report suggests gas-fired and nuclear power plants would cut the bill for cutting emissions by 34 per cent against 1990 levels, from £108bn to £74bn: £34bn. RenewableUK says the report fails to consider the whole cost of new conventional power plants. Germany, Denmark and Spain have reduced electricity prices as a result of a high level of wind power deployment. The report also makes a basic error about wind only generating 30% of the time. It is 80-85%. Research by Ofgem has shown electricity bills would increase by 52 per cent if Britain fails to invest in renewable energy. Charles Anglin of Renewables UK: “The recent rises in electricity bills have been caused by the global increase in the price of gas, not by renewables. DECC’s own Annual Report on Fuel Poverty clearly states that between 2004 and 2009, domestic electricity prices increased by more than 75 per cent, while gas prices increased by over 122 per cent over the same period. The cost of generating electricity from wind, according to Ofgem, is less than £10 per year per household, or less than one per cent of the average household fuel bill. So relying heavily on gas will not drive fuel bills down in the future.”
Gloomy forecasts: Eon now says ebitda will drop from €13.3bn in 2010 to about €9.5bn in 2011, RWE from €10.3bn to about €8.2bn.
At a meeting organised by Forest Row Transition Town. The energy minister’s closing remark very telling: “If they (the Big 6) were to walk away from the UK as they could do it would be a complete disaster.”
Papers submitted in court proceedings show that this is how they viewed their billionaire partners in TNK-BP.
They are higher now then any scenario in the last IPCC study four years ago. The US DoE reports that the world pumped about 564m more tons (512m metric tons) of carbon into the atmosphere in 2010 than it did in 2009, an increase of 6%.
Leaders fail in Nice to agree a plan for distressed countries, and all attention is now on debt-loaded Italy, which is forced to accept IMF monitoring of its austerity programme. Hopes that IMF resources would be pumped by from $250bn to 1 trillion prove groundless as leaders baulk. Italy alone has $2 trillion of debt. Osborne admits the Treasury is in crisis planning for a eurozone collapse. Markets tumble.
San Diego’s utility proposes a “network-use charge” on PV, that would neuter the positive economics. The California Public Utility Commission must decide next March.
The Federal Reserve, ECB and Bank of England make a co-ordinated move to provide emergency dollar loans to banks. They fear the eurozone crisis will trigger a global double-dip recession. Stock markets soar on the news.