Top 3 stories
1) Fracking: UK communities could miss out on payments, and gov delays drilling rights till after election
The government may have promised communities £100,000 for every local fracking site, but energy giant Ineos won’t be paying that, according to the Telegraph.
The Swiss-based chemicals group, which yesterday struck a huge deal with UK frackers IGas for licenses in the UK’s northwest, has become the country’s only shale gas company not to agree to the government-backed industry pledge to compensate fracked communities.
The Telegraph also reports that the government will not announce the drilling rights results to last year’s 14th licensing round until after the election in May.
Meanwhile in the US, where fracking remains in the throes of an extended oil price crisis, Bloomberg says ‘shale is going on sale’. It expects major fracking acquisitions and mergers after Whiting Petroleum, the largest fracker in shale-rich North Dakota, put itself on the market.
2) India: Ex-PM Singh summoned over coal conspiracy
Former Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has been summoned to appear in court next month over allegations of involvement in country’s coal licensing scandal,reports the BBC.
Last year the Modi administration scrapped existing coal licenses, calling them illegal. It’s said that India may have lost £20 billion because rigged coalfield bidding processes.
Also in India, Scottish oil giant Cairn Energy is in the midst of a £1 billion tax dispute with government, reports the Herald. Company shares plummeted 7% following the news, compounding financial damage done to the major North Sea oil player by the ongoing price crisis.
3) Europe: Bank of England hits out at climate change deniers, offshore wind at a crossroads
BoE governor Mark Carney yesterday said climate change is one of the biggest risks facing the insurance industry in response to Lord Nigel Lawson calling any measures ‘green claptrap’, reports the Guardian.
Over where the wind blows, Germany is threatening Britain’s leading role in the wind energy sector, after it doubled its offshore capacity last year and is making plans to add another 2000 MW this year, reports the FT.
And EY says that offshore wind will require costs to fall by a fifth, and capacity to double by 2020 for the sector to compete, in what it described as a ‘make-or-break’ period, reports EurActiv.
In the US, the first offshore wind farm – off the coast of Mass – will be built in 2015,reports Business Green.
In other news
UK: Energy Secretary Ed Davey told The Independent that major reform of the market may see the big companies broken up, but it all depends on the findings of the current competition investigation.
Scottish MPs are debating the future of Longannet power station, which supplies a quarter of Scotland’s energy, as the costs of grid-connection may force it to shut down in the coming years, reports the BBC.
EU: Three European countries have already hit their 2020 renewable energy targets, the most impressive of which is Sweden’s 49% pledge, according to Quartz.
US: The astonishing 30% growth of US solar demand was driven by a nationwide push for residential installations that last year passed the 1GW mark, reports Bloomberg.
And Quartz asks: Could solar overtake natural gas in America?
Asia: China is going big on nuclear, having confirmed reports from last week that it had approved the first reactors since Fukushima, reports WSJ.
And Japan is likewise pushing ahead with nuclear, despite considerable public opposition, according to DW.
Australia: The government in Queensland will allow mining companies Adani and GVK to dredge near the Great Barrier Reef, but they’ll have to pay for it, reports the Guardian.
Beer: US brewers have called for major action on climate change, saying its ingredients could be disrupted, reports HuffPo.
Impulse: And the solar-powered plane landed in India last night, finishing the second leg of its world tour, reports the New York Times.