Top 3 stories
1) Fracking should lead next UK government energy policy, says Yeo
The Guardian reports that Tim Yeo, the Tory former minister, and chairman of parliament’s energy and climate committee has said shale gas exploration can be environmentally sound, and should be the centrepiece of the next government’s energy policy.
Yeo said it would be cheaper for the UK and have less impact on the climate than importing gas.
Meanwhile, fracking firm Celtique won’t be appealing planning refusals for drilling at Fernhurt and Wisborough Green in Sussex, it has announced, according to the Chichester Observer
2) UK lagging behind on renewables – and Yeo urges onshore wind push
The UK is “failing the environment” by falling behind on its renewable energy targets according to the Green Party, Newsweek reports.
New Eurostat energy data showed renewable energy made up 5.1% of the UK’s total gross energy consumption in 2013, an increase of just 4% since 2004 – and there is the possibility that the UK is unlikely to meet its 2020 renewable energy target of 15%, though DECC denies this.
Carbon Brief also covered the data release, noting “the UK is near the bottom of the pile… Only the Netherlands, Luxembourg and Malta get a lower share of their energy from renewables than the UK”.
In contrast, Sweden, Bulgaria, Estonia and Lithuania have met or surpassed their renewable energy target ahead of schedule, Climate Central reports.
Meanwhile, Yeo also warns of the government’s “blind unreasoning hostility” to onshore wind farms, warning it will leave consumers paying for more expensive offshore turbines instead, The Telegraph’s Emily Gosden reports.
The Renewable Energy Association said earlier this week that it was political will that held back renewables in the UK.
The UK recently fell to its lowest position in 12 years on Ernst & Young’s renewable energy country attractiveness index.
In related news, Business Green asks whether new pension rules could provide a boost for renewables in the UK, and Good Energy and Open Utility have partnered to create an online marketplace for renewable energy.
3) US oil price benchmark falls – while recovery of the oil price could take months
The Economist writes strong demand and tight supply have stoked a bounce in the Brent oil price, but most analysts reckon it will be five to eight months before the oil price starts a sustainable recovery.
The US benchmark price of oil fell yesterday amid a supply glut, the WSJ reports. But it says Brent Crude, the global benchmark rose “as investors bet that the price difference between the two futures contracts would widen”.
Meanwhile on the safety side of things, three oil-field workers were killed in an explosion rocked an oil well site in West Texas and the Canadian government has proposed tough new standards for rail tank cars used to transport crude oil in response to a string of fiery crashes.
On the global stage, low oil prices could cause Iraq to head over a fiscal cliff, WSJ reports, while a think tank says Scotland could become far more dependent on UK taxpayers.
In other news
Business Green cover a report by IPPR urging ‘Budget 2015 should set 10 year deadline for coal’.
The Guardian published a story looking at how green the coalition has been.
Queensland’s new state government cleared plans by two Indian companies – Adani and GVK – to expand a port for coal projects that are opposed by green groups worried about pollution and damage to the Great Barrier Reef, writes the Sydney Morning Herald.
Duke Energy has been fined $25m over groundwater pollution with coal ash, ABC report.
China eyes fundamental shift in energy policy – from coal to renewables, writes John Sudworth for the BBC.