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US renewable energy jobs in peril as grants expire. FT: “Renewable energy industries in the US face falling off a “cliff”, with the loss of tens of thousands of jobs, if investment grants for projects such as wind farms are not extended by Congress, companies warned. The tax deal agreed between President Barack Obama and congressional Republicans excluded an extension to the tax credits that have supported investment in wind, solar and other forms of renewable power, which are due to expire at the end of the year. As negotiations on the plan continued on Wednesday, industry sources said the only tax break for renewable energy that had been agreed was an extension of the credit for blending ethanol into petrol, which is strongly supported in corn-producing states. … About two-thirds of new solar power projects and 85 per cent of new wind projects are supported by the programme, which pays 30 per cent of the investment cost.”1120

Global investment in renewables to total $1.7 trillion by 2020. Guardian: “More proactive government policies could generate an extra $546bn of investment in clean energy, report finds. According to a report carried out by Bloomberg New Energy Finance for Pew Charitable Trusts, this would still be $546bn short of the investment which more proactive government policies on climate change by the G20 countries would bring about globally.”1121

Republicans step up fight to keep shale gas pumping. FT: “In a sign of how controversial shale drilling has become, key Republican members of Congress are questioning the Obama administration’s moves to regulate the technology that has made the US gas boom possible.”1122

Shell's grip on Nigerian state revealed. US embassy cables reveal top executive's claims that company 'knows everything' about key decisions in government ministries.1123

UK Green Deal for energy-efficient homes begins parliamentary journey. Guardian: The government estimates that 14m of the UK’s 27m homes would benefit from cavity, solid wall or loft insulation. … The energy security and green economy bill is expected to place legal obligations on power companies to cut the greenhouse gas emissions in their customers' homes. It is expected to allow the companies to offer incentives, such as holidays abroad, to encourage take-up of the "green deal" loans. Tesco, B&Q and Marks & Spencer are among the big brands that have held talks with the government about delivering the green deal, along with energy companies. The green deal is likely to see billions of pounds lent every year and to create new jobs. The government estimates that 14m of the UK's 27m homes would benefit from cavity, solid wall or loft insulation. … The Department for Energy and Climate Change (Decc) has indicated that a "golden rule" will apply to the loans made for energy-efficiency measures which dictates that the cost of the loan repayments will always be lower than the fuel bill savings delivered. The more expensive measures, such as solid wall insulation, appear by the government's own figures to break the golden rule. But the new bill is expected to use powers from the Carbon Emissions Reduction Target– and possibly its expected 2013 replacement, the Energy Company Obligation (ECO) – to make energy suppliers balance the books. The government hopes the green deal will allow householders without the money to fund energy-efficiency measures to gain access to upfront capital, expected to be capped at about £6,000.”1124

9.12.10. UK gas U-turn angers energy users. FT: “One of the elements of today’s energy bill that is likely to go relatively unnoticed is a clause asking gas companies to pay a market price for the gas they use, even if an emergency has sent gas prices soaring. The idea is that it will encourage gas companies to make sure they never get into that situation, as it would be prohibitively expensive to buy gas at such prices. At the moment, the companies would pay the same price during an emergency as they would have done immediately before. The policy actually marks a U-turn, at least for the Conservative half of the coalition. Back in March, David Cameron announced that his party would deal with a possible crisis in the security of gas supply by obliging gas companies to maintain supplies even in emergencies. … So why has the government decided not to implement this Labour- and Tory-backed policy? Part of the reason seems to be lobbying. The Gas Forum, an industry group, says it has always preferred a “market-based solution” to an “administrative-based solution”.  … But users are worried it will do nothing of the sort, and that gas companies will simply hedge their risk by charging customers more.1125

10.12.10. Mexico leads effort to avoid another Copenhagen as hope emerges against expectation in Cancun. FT: “With the Cancun climate conference entering its final hours, delegates and observers conceded that although progress had been made on several important issues - forestry, clean technology cooperation, a green fund for poor countries - there were still many areas yet to be resolved, including the legal form of any agreement, private sector financing, and the future of the Kyoto protocol. But President Calderon of Mexico reiterated his determination to “send a strong political signal” from Cancun even if many issues were left unresolved here. He said the conference had been important in rebuilding trust between the poor and rich worlds. Many other participants echoed this view, saying that the damaging and public conflicts that some had feared would erupt here had largely been avoided, and some level of trust had been restored after the recriminations of Copenhagen.1126

CCS blow as Powerfuel enters administration citing crippling cost. FT: Powerfuel, which is developing the UK’s first commercial scale clean coal power plant, has gone into administration because of the crippling cost of the project. … Richard Fleming, joint administrator, said: “Developing low carbon energy generation requires a large amount of capital upfront and the CCS development falls £635m short of the investment needed to progress the project beyond the preliminary stage. It needs moving on to a new owner with deeper pockets.” … The government is running a competition for up to £1bn in subsidies. A consortium led by Scottish Power is the only bidder after Eon pulled out saying the market was “not conducive”.1127

Germany wins extension of coal subsidies. FT: “Germany has won its battle to ensure that state subsidies to loss-making coal mines can continue until 2018, rather than a 2014 cut-off date proposed last summer. Under a deal formally approved by industry ministers on Friday, Aid will, however, have to decline in the years running up to 2018 and countries giving such aid will have to provide a plan to mitigate the environmental impact of the coal production. The European Commission caused consternation in some countries last summer when it proposed that current rules allowing state aid to loss-making hard coal mines should only be extended until 2014.”1128

OPEC spare capacity may be as low as 2 mbd, meaning an oil crunch in 2013. Chris Skrebowski: “There is little in the media from the deniers which suggests a little progress. The world is of course currently focussed on other challenges and the idea that there's lots of Opec spare capacity is used to push Peak Oil to the back

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