On Energydesk

Investigation: How China’s largest coal plant is systematically violating air quality standards (and fuelling Beijing’s smog)

An investigation by Greenpeace, making use of “big data” generated by China’s online emission monitoring platforms, has revealed that China’s largest coal-fired power station, the mammoth 5000MW Waigaoqiao plant, located in the megacity of Shanghai, has been violating China’s new NOx emission standards every week since the new standards came into force in July.

Top 3 stories

1) UK uses less energy and burns less coal – despite growing economy

People in the UK are using less energy even though the economy is growing, new figures confirm.

New analysis of government statistics for BBC News shows that the average person in the UK is using 10% less electricity than five years ago.

The BBC analysis comes as new government statistics suggest UK coal use fell in the 3rd quarter to just 20% of UK power generation, below nuclear and gas – partially due to lower European gas prices. Renewable energy generation rose 24%.

When it comes to prices, petrol prices fell by £1.20 a litre for the first time since 2010 but energy bills rose by 3%.

2) New York banks fracking on health fears

The BBC reports that fracking, will be banned in New York state,governor Andrew Cuomo’s administration announced.

“Relying on the limited data presently available would be negligent on my part,” said state Health Commissioner Howard Zucker.

3) Energy firms slash investments – oil price rises

If OPEC wont’ cut production, it seems, the energy companies will. Reuters reports that energy companies are slashing investments in new oil and gas projects, a rout which includes Chevron’s ill-fated venture into Ukrainian shale (though we suspect there are other reasons at play here).

And it’s not just fossil fuel firms feeling the pinch. Under the visual trope of an exploding wind turbine FT’s Pilita Clark reports that the share price of wind giant Vestas and electric car pioneer Tesla have both gone through the floor.

With Tesla it’s pretty easy to see why (who wants electric when petrol is cheap) but actually harder with Vestas, who’s projects usually benefit from fixed subsidies, the question is – will they continue?

“Much policy in recent years has been justified on the basis of scarce hydrocarbons and continually rising prices of said hydrocarbons,” said Ian Temperton of Climate Change Capital, a green investment specialist owned by Bunge, the global agribusiness.

Anyway, oil traders who haven’t yet gone home for Christmas seem to be paying some attention, the price of oil went up a bit today to $63. Who knows what’s going on, frankly.

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