Top stories

1) China: GDP doesn’t do oil any favours, but there’s talk of Arctic drilling and problems with solar

It may have been better than economists forecast (barely) but China’s 7.3% GDP growth couldn’t help the plummeting oil price — it’s still below $50 a barrel.

The country’s annual figures also revealed that energy intensity fell by almost 5%following the introduction of pollution reduction measures.

And, while everyone is watching the oil price, coal costs are tumbling alongside the Russian rouble.

Back to China: an energy bigwig just the other day said the country intends to get involved in Arctic oil drilling — helping others, and with no plans yet to go it alone.

And finally, Bloomberg reports that a fairly large number of China’s solar panels are defective.

2) UK: British Gas cuts bills 5% and everyone says it’s not enough, while fracking is hit on all sides

So, following EON’s lead, British Gas will cut gas prices 5% at the end of February, an average household saving of £37 from which 6.8m people will benefit, the energy provider claims.

Ed Miliband said it is “too little, too late“; the Treasury said it doesn’t go far enough, but called on other energy companies to follow suit all the same; and Which? called the cut “moderate”.

Elsewhere, following its latest ethical review, the Co-operative Bank has decided not to lend to companies involved in fracking — because its customers don’t like it.

Meanwhile Friends of the Earth has said the number of jobs that fracking in Lancashire would generate has been “overhyped”.

And the UK is becoming more energy efficient, now needing 14 fewer power stations, according to a new report.

3) Oil: Price crisis hits Texas, Alberta, and maybe renewables too

What a difference a few months makes, with the cratered oil price threatening to reduce BP’s oil spill bill, devastate Texas’ economy, and end the era of expensive Albertan oil.

UAE yesterday said that oil woes won’t hurt renewables, but then came news that Saudi Arabia has delayed its $100b dollar solar farm 8 years till 2040.

Other news:

France added 1GW of wind energy capacity last year.

India PM Modi has reaffirmed his commitment to clean energy ahead of Obama’s visit this week.

A worker died in an accident at Fukushima, as concerns over safety measures emerge.