Utilities: RWE posts first ever loss; more UK wind projects cancelled; Marchant – offshore wind too expensive
Shale: Berman sceptical; BP sticks shale ops into separate company; N Dakota getting rich
Ukraine: we have loads of gas in storage; Sochi Paralympics get under way with spectacular fireworks
India: adapts 2050 pathways calculator
The German mega-utility RWE provided another dismal reminder today of the painful transition European power companies are undergoing.
According to 2013 financial results, the utility lost more than $3.8 billion last year as it cycled down unprofitable fossil fuel plants due to sliding wholesale prices. The yearly loss is actually quite historic; it’s RWE’s first since 1949 when the German Republic was formed.
20 stories below the fold…
World: Shale, the Last Oil and Gas Train: Interview with Arthur Berman
How much faith can we put in our ability to decipher all the numbers out there telling us the US is closing in on its cornering of the global oil market? There’s another side to the story of the relentless US shale boom, one that says that some of the numbers are misunderstood, while others are simply preposterous.
The UK renewable energy industry has lost 4.4GW of planned electricity generation since the beginning of February – the equivalent capacity of more than two nuclear power stations.
In a series of setbacks to the Government’s legally binding target of matching 15% of the country’s energy needs from renewables by 2020, seven key installations have either been shelved, scaled back or are now stalled in the past four weeks.
Three days ago, the Government of India launched their “India Energy Security Scenarios 2047″ calculator. It reflects seven hard months by a team under Mr Anil Jain at the Planning Commission. They took the UK’s 2050 Pathway Calculator and adapted it for India. In doing it they have both broken the “three articles of civil service faith” and they have improved the tool.
BP’S future participation in America’s shale gas revolution has been thrown into question after the UK oil giant said it was separating its US onshore operations into a separate business unit.
The company said it was setting up a distinct business in Houston, separate from its existing US headquarters, that could react faster to the “rapidly changing and hyper-competitive energy landscape” brought about by America’s exploitation of shale gas.
Green Growth Group Ministers issued the following joint statement on 3 March 2014:
1) We urge the European Council in March to agree on the core elements of a climate and energy framework for 2030.
2) The European Council should urgently agree an ambitious and cost-effective 2030 climate and energy framework, including a binding domestic greenhouse gas target of at least 40%.
Key recommendations of CoalPro’s Budget Representation 2014
1) Freeze and review the Carbon Price Floor at 2014 levels (£9.55t/CO2)
2) Existing coal plants should be able to secure viable Capacity Payments
3) New coal CCS demonstration plants must be prioritised
4) Contracts for Difference for new coal with CCS projects
5) C02 transportation networks must be prioritised
6) Delivering CCS commercialisation and a CCS critical mass
“Neftekamskneftehim” is the largest oil refinery in Europe. It is located in Tatarstan, Russia and today, at 7.00pm Moscow Time, dozens of firemen were urgently summoned as the oil giant started burning.
AN ENERGY expert has warned offshore wind power may be the “expensive luxury” Scotland can no longer afford.
Ian Marchant, the former chief executive of Scottish and Southern Energy, one of Britain’s biggest investors in renewable energy, fears for the future of the controversial schemes.
Gas and oil prices have risen amid fears the Ukraine crisis could have a damaging effect on one of Europe’s main energy supply routes.
But analysts say high European gas stocks will limit the turbulence.
In this strange universe, the cold war seemed to suddenly return, Ireland began to perform consistently at rugby, and arch-climate sceptics began to believe in dangerous levels of global warming.
North Dakota used to be poor: in 2001, the state ranked 38 out of 50 in terms of GDP per capita.
Now North Dakota is rich: in 2012, GDP per capita in the state was more than 29 per cent above the US national average. The state also reported the fastest growth in real GDP per capita for the second year in a row.
My selection of stories posted by Luis de Sousa At The Edge of Time. Luis’ focus this week is on Ukraine.
Ukraine is dependent on Russia for energy imports and cannot succeed in armed conflict. Sevastopol on the Crimean peninsula is the home of the Russian Black Sea fleet and the area is therefore of major strategic importance to Russia. I believe the Russians will simply annexe Crimea and protestations from Ukraine, the EU, the USA and the UN will be ignored.
Ukraine is also of major strategic importance to Europe since several gas pipelines cross the country transporting Russian gas to Europe. Europe is also heavily dependent upon oil and coal imports from Russia. And so, when Americans talk of sanctions on Russia they had better come up with a plan B for European energy supplies at the same time.
Russia’s gas giant Gazprom has announced it would cancel a price discount for gas supplies to Ukraine. The move follows the overthrow of Moscow-backed president Viktor Yanukovych with whom Gazprom agreed the deal.
Almost 40 percent of the gas used in Germany comes from Russia. The Baltic States’ dependency is even greater: Russia supplies them with almost 100 percent of the gas they need. Ukraine, too. The crisis in Ukraine, which also depends on Russian gas, has unleashed increasing concern about Europe’s energy supplies. Moscow has been known to employ energy giant Gazprom to serve political ends.
Europe’s mildest winter since 2007 has left the region with enough natural gas in storage to cover any future disruption in flows from Ukraine for about 45 days.
European inventories were 49 percent full as of March 2,
Ukraine’s natural gas stocks can meet four months of demand should Russia cut supplies and most of reserves are in its west and far away from any potential Russian intervention, industry sources said.
Deep economic and business ties between Russia and Europe leave the West with limited options for responding to the crisis in Ukraine.
Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s dispute with Iraq’s Kurdish minority over its independent oil exports has escalated with the central government blocking Kurdistan’s share of the state budget and banning two airlines that operate between Europe and the Kurds’ semiautonomous northern enclave.
The Scottish island of Eigg is one of the world’s first islands to power itself exclusively with renewable energy. Locals say the change has boosted their quality of life, and that their energy bills are dropping.