Hydraulic Fracking Protest in England

Top stories

1) Breaking: UK fracking bid to face refusal as BHP cuts US fracking output – but cost falls benefit UK exploration

Reports this morning that Council officers have recommended Lancashire County Council refuses permission for “fracking” for shale gas at two sites in Lancashire, UK.

The blow to the UK’s nascent fracking industry comes as the world’s biggest miner BHP Billiton announced it is cutting back its operating US shale oil rigs by 40% amid slumping prices.

The wind-down in US shale operations may provide a surprise boost to exploration in the UK however with Cuadrilla claiming the cost of the kit needed has fallen sharply – making shale gas more competitive with falling wholesale gas prices.

2) Badly located wind, solar plants cost Europe $100bn as wind power slumps during winter demand peak

Europe could have saved itself $100 billion by installing solar power panels in sunnier countries and wind turbines in windier places, the World Economic Forum’s “Future of Electricity” platform said in a report released on Tuesday.

The report, written with consultancy Bain, added that another $40 billion could have been saved by better cross-border coordination and bigger power cables between countries, according to Reuters (verbatim).

The report comes as UK electricity demand reaches its winter peak with relatively little support from wind power – notes The Telegraph.

Low wind speeds meant turbines produced just 1% of demand, the lowest of any peak period this winter (it provided far more during other peaks). Wind power met around 14% of overall power needs in December – a monthly record but the data highlights policy debate over how to manage the variability of many sources of clean energy.

In other news on clean energy Business Green reports that global clean energy investment surged up 12 per cent in 2014 to $274.2bn, according to new figures from analyst firm Clean Energy Pipeline.

3) Breaking: SSE faces ofgem probe as Scottish power becomes latest UK utility to cut bills

UK energy firm SSE is facing an investigation by Ofgem over concerns that it restricted competition in the electricity connections market.Scottish Power has become the third major energy supplier to cut its household gas prices, reducing its prices by 4.8 per cent from February 20.

4) Germany urges EU action on heating/cooling efficiency

The heating and cooling sector is of “significant importance” for cutting greenhouse gas emissions and reaching climate and energy targets but the EU is “currently falling behind”, German said in its informal paper on the ‘Energy Union’ – according to Ends.

The intervention comes as a new report from the Association of Decentralised Energy claims Britain would need 14 extra power stations today if it had not invested in energy efficiency and decentralised generation over the past 30 years, a new industry-backed report will claim today.

And finally... Dungeness B nuclear power station is to stay open beyond its scheduled closing date of 2018, its owner, EDF, has announced in a move which may allay UK fears over security of supply whilst triggering new concerns over safety.

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