Triple Crunch Log
Boost for installers as 80% of farmers want solar by 2013, poll shows. EST: “Renewable energy installers received a welcome boost recently as 80 per cent of farmers have said that they want to have solar panels on their roofs by 2013, according to a new survey by Solarcentury and Forum for the Future. … the survey found that 88 per cent of farmers are currently considering installing renewable systems on their farm, where large buildings can provide ample space for numerous solar panels.”1144
China’s incipient cleantech boom ….but government subsidy remains an obstacle for a solar boom. While the rest of the climate-change world went to Cancun to watch the UN just about rescue its process, a team of intrepid HSBC researchers travelled to China, from where they returned with bullish news on clean energy. FT: “In a mammoth report entitled Low-carbon China, the team found that the country was on track to outstrip its own targets on clean technology by a long way. This chart below shows the bank’s forecasts for solar and wind for 2015 and 2020 at around 50 per cent and 65 per cent above official targets. The numbers involved are massive. Just to hit the 2020 targets would mean: 150GW of wind, 80GW of nuclear, 20GW of solar. ... For solar, the main obstacle remains government subsidy. The industry already employs 1m people, mainly exporting to western countries. But it could explode if domestic demand also picked up. The problem at the moment is that it is an expensive technology, and policymakers worry that forcing its adoption could slow growth. While HSBC thinks there will be a solar feed-in tarrif at some stage, stimulus in the short-term remains unlikely, which means, “The resultant boom can only come at the expense of lower prices and profitability.”1145
15.12.10. Chris Huhne admits green bank may be scaled back. Environmental bank could start as a fund owing to fears of adding to deficit, says environment secretary Chris Huhne. Guardian: “The government's environmental bank looks likely to be scaled back and may begin life as a fund, jeopardising billions of pounds of badly needed loans to green technology. … Auditor Ernst & Young has said that, without a bank, only about a fifth of the £450bn investment needed for Britain to meet its carbon emissions targets over the next 15 years would be made. …Huhne insists he can pull off the trick of both greening the UK – and keeping the costs down for Osborne and the British consumer.
Sunpower closes the world’s first publically rated solar bond issue: €152m for a 44 MW solar farm at Montalto di Castro in Italy. They pay up to 5.7% and are due 2028.1146
BP shares fall after US sues for $21bn. BPfaces penalties of $21bn-plus if found fully liable for damages in a lawsuit over the oil accident in the Gulf of Mexicolaunched by the US government on Wednesday.
FT: “Any damages would be on top of the $20bn (£17bn) BP has agreed to pay into a fund to compensate people on the Gulf coast who have suffered financially because of the spill. The final damages figures depend on the US government’s ability to prove gross negligence. … Halliburton, the cementing contractor on the well, and Cameron International, which made the blow-out preventer, were not included in the suit but the DoJ reserved the right to add claims and defendants.1147
16.12.10.Huhne unveils plans for electricity market reform needed to reach a low carbon Britain. The current market is not fit to deliver the £110bn in investment needed in the next ten years, by which time a quarter of the UK’s generating capacity will need to be replaced, with some 30% of electricity coming from renewables up from 7% today (10% of that from microgeneration). The four proposed reforms are: 1. A carbon price floor. 2. “Contract for difference” feed-in tariffs: long-term contracts that the government will agree with low carbon generators topping up or clawing back money depending on the wholesale price (details subject to ongoing consultation). They have also floated a “premium” feed-in tariff, that the nuclear industry like. 3. Additional payments to encourage the construction of reserve plants or demand reduction measures (so-called ‘negawatts’). 4. An emissions performance standard ensuring that no new coal-fired station is built without carbon capture and storage. Vincent de Rivaz: “a landmark deal.”1148
17.12.10.News about solar feed-in tariffs worsens around Europe. First Solar announces it may scrap plans for a 100MW module plant in France in the wake of the 3 month tariff moratorium and possibility of a 500MW national cap. (France has c 400 MW installed and was on track fro up to 20 GW by 2020, whereas the official target is just 5.4 GW). The Czech Senate has approed a retrospective tax of 26% on all FiT revenue on systems > 30kW. Law suits are pending.1149
19.12.10.Britain's new generation of green power plants 'are caught in planning delays'. CBI and unions call on government to clear logjams delaying 37 major energy schemes that could create up to 50,000 construction jobs. The CBI’s climate change tracker depicts the government’s progress on decarbonising buildings on red. Only one of 13 areas tracked is on green: nuclear.1150
General Motors launch new electric hybrid car in US. Chevrolet Volt is first extended-range electric vehicle to be made for the mass market by one of the big US carmakers.1151
European bankers’ payouts slashed. More than one in ten bankers and traders in the UK and Europe could receive no bonus this year, as banks slash their year-end payouts following weaker revenues.1152
WikiLeaks cable: How US 'second line of defence' (diplomats) tackles nuclear threat. Diplomatic dispatches reveal world of smugglers, ex-military fixers and radioactive materials found in unlikely locations. The first line of defence is checks at borders etc, and that line has been crossed about 500 times via theft in 15 years, according to the UN.1153
20.12.10.Stocks flirt with pre-Lehman crash levels and oil exceeds $90 again. Equity investors set aside worries about the Eurozone to bet that 2011 will see better economic growth. Oil is moving with equities as usual.
Ecotricity’s bond scheme attracts applications totalling £15m, a 50 per cent oversubscribed offer. 1,800 people had applied by the 10 December deadline, in sums ranging from £500 to 500,000. The company is planning another in 2011 for those who missed out and those who wish to invest more. The funds will allow the first solar farm to be constructed in a few weeks.1154
$2tn debt crisis threatens to bring down 100 US cities. Overdrawn American cities could face financial collapse in 2011, defaulting on hundreds of billions of dollars of borrowings and derailing the US economic recovery. Nor are European cities safe – Florence, Barcelona, Madrid, Venice: all are in trouble. So says Meredith Whitney, an analyst who predicted the credit crunch.1155
Australia delays crucial Queensland CCS project, risking value of 300 years of coal. Business Green: “The Queensland government has indefinitely delayed plans for Australia's first full-scale coal-fired carbon capture and storage (CCS) power station, it announced yesterday. The state government has spent A$102m (£65m) researching CCS technology with a view to building a $4.3bn power station, known as ZeroGen, in