Climate change: Climate scientists begin to back pedal in Nature; invisible subsurface ocean waves discovered; the BBC has learned about our silent Sun [just 4 years into the event]; the Scotsman blasts climate science [that is the Scottish broad sheet, not me 😉 ]
Nuclear: Nuclear saves US from polar vortex; Westinghouse to build 3 reactors in UK; 56 of 58 reactors running in France – suppressing electricity prices.
Renewables: Global investment in renewables takes a plunge; German wind developer warns on insolvency; RWE to halve renewables investment in UK; Germany and UK both ponder high energy prices; EU moves towards ditching renewables target.
Shale: Cameron offers bribes to UK councils; Total to get involved in UK shale gas.
Europe energy security: Dutch government to reduce gas production from vital Groningen field by over 15% [note that Holland exports gas to rest of Europe and this could have major consequences]
Middle east: Iran coming in from the cold; fighting continues to spread in Iraq; oil market jitters.
Note that I have added an index of top posts link on the menu bar up top to aid navigation through the growing content on this site.
32 stories below the fold in this bumper edition of Blowout.
Though invisible to the eye, the boundary between colder, saltier water below and warmer, less-salty water above can be detected instrumentally. That boundary layer can resemble the ocean’s surface, producing waves that reach towering heights, travel vast distances, and can play a key role in the mixing of ocean waters, helping drive warm surface waters downward and drawing heat from the atmosphere.
Voters could be forgiven for being puzzled about what the Prime Minister’s real position is on climate change and renewable energy. He came to office in 2010 promising the greenest government ever, having won the Tory leadership in 2005 telling the electorate that it should “Vote blue and go green”. Then by late last year he was – in the words of a senior Tory – telling staff that he was now focused on getting rid of “all this green crap”.
David Cameron has announced £1.7m for councils which agree to drill for shale gas sparking angry protests from campaigners who say it amounts to little more than bribery.
David Cameron said the Government was “going all out for shale” as he announced local authorities that allow drilling will receive 100% of the business rates collected from the scheme – double the current 50%.
Indonesia, among the world’s biggest suppliers of natural resources, halted all mineral ore exports on Sunday to try to promote domestic processing, but threatening the country’s nickel and bauxite industries worth more than $2 billion in annual shipments.
CLIMATE change is real and it is happening very fast. The climate of opinion, that is, regarding the rapidly imploding fantasies of the global warming alarmists.
After a decade in which sane commentators have been angered and frustrated by the purblind adherence to the warmist superstition by followers of the Al Gore cult – prominent among them our own esteemed First Minister and President for Life Designate – the whole climate change scam has finally degenerated into a joke, provoking widespread derision.
The controversial German wind farm operator Prokon has warned 75,000 retail investors of imminent insolvency, perhaps by the end of the month.
The Danish Climate Investment Fund received 1.2 billion kroner ($220 million) in commitments from private investors and the government, according to PensionDanmark, which contributed 200 million kroner. The fund will invest on commercial terms in projects that tackle climate change in emerging economies from Africa to Asia, PensionDanmark said in an e-mailed statement.
After several months of speculation, France’s Total confirmed Monday that it has become the first oil and gas major to invest in UK shale gas licenses.
But nuclear did quite well throughout the vortex period. The entire fleet operated at 95% capacity, a ridiculously high value (NEI). And not just that, but most individual nuclear plants actually produced more energy because of the cold weather.
Westinghouse Electric Company today announced that Toshiba Corporation has agreed in principle to buy a 60 percent share in the NuGeneration Limited (NuGen) Moorside project in West Cumbria, U.K., and they intend to move forward with the AP1000 new-build project in partnership with GDF SUEZ.
The agreement provides that three Westinghouse AP1000 nuclear reactors with a combined capacity of 3.4 GW will be built on the U.K. site.
Global investment in clean energy fell for the second year in a row to $254bn last year, with green investment in Europe crashing by 41%, new figures showed on Wednesday.
Electricity prices in Europe’s biggest economies fell to a record as Electricite de France SA, the world’s biggest nuclear generator, kept the number of reactors online near a three-year high.
EDF, based in Paris, was operating 56 of its 58 nuclear plants, according to RTE, the French grid operator.
Global demand for energy will grow at a slower pace over the next two decades, a report from the oil giant BP predicts.
BP’s Energy Outlook says energy demand will rise by 41% between now and 2035 – less than the 55% growth seen over the past 23 years.
World: BP Energy Outlook
The annual Energy Outlook reflects our best effort to describe the “most likely” trajectory of the world’s energy system. This edition updates our view of the likely path of global energy markets and extends it to 2035. We make assumptions on changes in policy, technology and the economy, based on extensive internal and external consultations, using a range of analytical tools to build a single “most likely” view.
World: The case of the missing heat
For several years, scientists wrote off the stall as noise in the climate system: the natural variations in the atmosphere, oceans and biosphere that drive warm or cool spells around the globe. But the pause has persisted, sparking a minor crisis of confidence in the field.
The EU’s reputation as a model of environmental responsibility may soon be history. The European Commission wants to forgo ambitious climate protection goals and pave the way for fracking — jeopardizing Germany’s touted energy revolution in the process.
Germanys shift to renewable energy was once Angela Merkel’s flagship policy – now it has become her biggest headache.
“For me, the most urgent problem is the design of the energy revolution,” said the German Chancellor in her first television interview after being re-elected last month. “We are under a lot of pressure. The future of jobs and the future of Germany as a business location depend on it.”
RWE, one of Britain’s biggest renewable energy investors, is planning to significantly scale back its spending in the UK and expects to sell off wind farms and a major biomass plant.
Business Secretary Vince Cable has warned that spiralling energy costs are becoming a “big problem” for British industry.
Energy costs have been at the centre of furious public debate in recent months amid sharp increases in household bills and falling incomes.
Europe: Groningen gas output ‘to be cut’
The Dutch Cabinet has reportedly decided to cut gas production from the Netherlands’ huge Groningen gas field by 15% to 20% a year amid concerns a series of recent earth tremors could be linked to drilling.
The move could see annual output from the stalwart producer being slashed to 42.5 billion cubic metres this year, down from 53.8 Bcm in 2013, according to industry sources and local media cited by Reuters.
Up to 850 jobs will be lost at the Eggborough power station in North Yorkshire next year unless ministers change their “failing” policy on energy, trade union leaders warned on Thursday.
Delays to flagship Arctic projects due to sharply higher costs and taxes, and lower oil prices, will hamper Norway’s efforts to revive oil output stuck at a 25-year low, officials and companies say.
The boss of Tata Steel’s operations in Europe has called for action by the government to help heavy industries deal with the burden of energy costs.
Karl Koehler, head of the group which includes plants in Scunthorpe and Port Talbot, urged ministers to back businesses that were part of “foundation industries” – including chemicals and metal-based manufacturers.
Ed Davey, the energy secretary, has called on EU heads of state to endorse a target to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 40% by 2030, but reject a specific binding renewables target.
It would be, the climate minister said, the “biggest home improvement programme since the second world war” and “a massive economic and job opportunity”. But the Green Deal, launched in January last year as the government’s main way of encouraging householders to make their homes more energy efficient, has been more of a whimper than the “transformational” scheme that Greg Barker promised.
Britain is heading for the brink. The old Central Electricity Generating Board reckoned a capacity surplus of around 25 per cent was necessary for a resilient network – currently, it is down to around 4 per cent. That is not much of a margin for error if there is a severe and lengthy cold snap.
Regulator Ofgem reckons the tipping point could come in 2015-16; British Gas owner Centrica, thinks it will be in 2017-18. Either way, it may not be too long before Sir John’s wish is granted.We are in this knife-edge position because we have not moved ahead with new nuclear.
World: Is our Sun falling silent?
“I’ve been a solar physicist for 30 years, and I’ve never seen anything quite like this,” says Richard Harrison, head of space physics at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory in Oxfordshire. “If you want to go back to see when the Sun was this inactive… you’ve got to go back about 100 years,” he says.
My selection of stories posted by Luis de Sousa At The Edge of Time. Luis has 18 stories posted this week and it is a very select few I am re-posting here.
To Iran, the United States was the “Great Satan,” while Washington slammed Tehran as a “rogue state” that was part of an “axis of evil.”
But as chaos engulfs the Middle East, the two are cautiously eyeing ways to work together.
A confrontation between Iraqi insurgents and government forces in the western city of Falluja edged closer to the capital on Sunday, after clashes between militants and the army left at least 14 people dead in the Abu Ghraib district in Baghdad Province, according to security officials.
Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Al Maliki threatened yesterday to cut central government funding for Iraq’s autonomous Kurdistan region if the Kurds pursued a drive to pipe oil exports to Turkey without Baghdad’s approval.
The Kurdistan Regional Government said last week that crude had begun to flow to Turkey and exports were expected to start at the end of this month and then rise in February and March.
Energy traders are closely watching renewed fighting in Iraq, trying to gauge worst- and best-case scenarios for OPEC’s second-biggest oil producer—and the coming weeks could be critical.
“This situation now certainly has the market on tenterhooks. It’s why we’re seeing the price of oil somewhat elevated” despite a period of relatively contained demand, said John Kilduff, founding partner of commodities-focused investment firm AgainCapital. “This is a very troubling development for the oil market for consumer nations,” Kilduff said.
The Financial Times has released a new report claiming that Royal Dutch Shell, the world’s third largest energy company by market worth, will look to divest $15 billion worth of assets over the next couple of years.