UK backs overseas coal oil and gas projects by £1.7bn despite promises (Energydesk/Guardian)

The UK government has pledged hundreds of millions pounds of financial support to fossil fuel industries abroad over the last four years, according to an analysis by Energydesk.

The total support for fossil fuel industries amounts to £1.76bn-worth of Export Credit Guarantees between 2010-2014, underwritten by taxpayer’s money.

This is despite PM David Cameron recently publicly decrying fossil fuel subsidies, and the financial backing breaks a promise set out in the coalition government’s manifesto.

Top stories

1) Oil drops below $50 bringing global markets down with it

The oil price dropped below $50 a barrel  (around a 5 year low) on reports that US oil stockpiles were expanding (not a good sign for the demand outlook) and some traders speculating the price could go down below 40.

Ramifications all over the shop here, from the forecourt to the questionable impact onclean energy investment but one thing is clear – the crashing price has done nothing for the shares of the world’s energy majors.

The crash in energy stocks – along with a new crisis in Greece – led shares to fall sharply in New York, Asia and – now – London.

2) India starts 5 day coal strike – risking blackouts

Workers at the state owned Coal India – which accounts for around 80% of India’s coal production – have gone on strike over reforms to the state giant which they claim amount to disinvestment and privatization.

The strike comes at a key time for Indian coal demand and will be seen as a challenge to new Prime Minister Modi and his plans to reform the energy sector and end power shortages.

3) UK: OId coal, gas to win out from capacity market auction 

Carbon Brief reports that an auction designed to ensure security of electricity supplies in winter 2018/19 will mainly benefit existing nuclear, gas and coal-fired power stations.

The breakdown of the final results suggests the vast majority of contracts were for a single year and went to existing capacity. (We’ve got the breakdown below.) This raises the obvious question of  whether the capacity market was actually needed to ensure these plants stayed open.

4) UK: Scotland could be zero carbon by 2030 as UK, Germany break wind records

In summer it’s solar records and in winter it’s wind records, as more and more renewable energy is added to global grids it would be surprisingly if records were not – repeatedly – broken, so we’ll only tell you when a few are broken at the same time.

Think Progress reports that wind generation in the UK rose 15% in 2014, providing 9.3% of total power whilst in Germany wind generated more power in December than in any other month – thanks to new offshore wind farms coming online.

Meanwhile The Guardian reports on a study backed by environmental group WWF which claims that a energy system based almost entirely on renewables could viably meet Scotland’s energy needs by 2030. Wind power alone met more than 100% of Scotland’s power needs in November last year.

In other news

- Climate change groups split on fossil fuel divestment

- 2014 was the UK’s hottest year on record – Met office

- Are Volcanos the solution to our energy needs? 

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