Top 3 stories
1) UK wind: Government to announce curb on subsidy
The Telegraph’s Emily Gosden learned that DECC intends to cut the RO (Renewables Obligation) and Feed in Tariff subsidies for onshore wind sooner than expected – details are expected to be announced this week.
This would only leave Contracts for Difference open to developers.
The move would shut down many projects in the pipeline, industry figures from Infinis and Scottish Power warned, which were planned under the assumption the RO would be available for projects built until 2017.
This seems to be very much in line with the Conservative manifesto pledge to halt onshore windfarms – though the briefing on the Energy Bill that was published around the Queen’s Speech last week was unclear as to the extent of the plans (See Energydesk piece: When is a ban on onshore wind not actually a ban on onshore wind?).
Scottish Power argued that the policy would raise bills, and see hundreds of millions of investments written off.
DECC said: “With the cost of supplying onshore wind falling, government subsidy is no longer appropriate.”
Wind power led last year’s renewables output, at 9.4% of UK electricity, more in Scotland.
Meanwhile, the IEA warns that onshore wind - among other renewables but not solar – is behind where we need to be to limit global warming. And DECC has pledged £50m for developing countries to develop renewables projects.
2) Arctic oil: Energy giants want to ‘contribute’ on global carbon pricing
At the end of last week, US president Obama took part in his first Twitter Q&A on the subject of Arctic oil exploration. He basically said that regulations were stringent, so it’ll be okay.
The FT comes out in support of Shell’s Arctic drilling plans, arguing we’ll need oil in years to come, regardless of global warming.
The FT leader says “As for concerns about the impact on the climate, it is true that the world will have to curb emissions of greenhouse gases to reduce the risk of climate change, as Shell today acknowledges in a joint letter to the FT, cosigned by five other major energy companies.” (Here’s the letter.)
Energy giants BP, Royal Dutch Shell, Total, Statoil, Eni and the BG Group have asked for a stake in designing energy policy and curbing greenhouse gas emissions through a global carbon pricing policy, the FT reports. They say they have an important contribution to make.
Oilprice opine that Shell’s Arctic campaign this year will be pivotal and if it fails, will set back Arctic oil for a generation.
Meanwhile, a US federal agency found that Shell underestimated risk in its 2012 forays into the Arctic that saw the Kulluk drilling rig grounded.
3) Oil price: Benchmark prices rally – OPEC meeting conflict over ISIL
This comes as OPEC is meeting this week.
The Telegraph writes the cartel is “under siege as Isil threatens world’s oil lifeline” – and pitching Saudia Arabia and Iran on a collision course. Meanwhile, security officials in Egypt say suspected Islamic militants have blown up a natural gas pipeline outside el-Arish, the provincial capital of North Sinai.
In other news
China invested more than US$89 billion in renewable energy projects in the country in 2014—a growth of 31% on the previous year, reports the Climate News Network.
The Times reports on UK union attacks Tories over rescue deal for coalmines.
Djibouti in East Africa to source 100% of its energy from renewables by 2020, according to IRENA.
India warms to solar, amid forecasts it will be cheapest power source, according to a blogpost from global legal practice, Norton Rose Fulbright.
Lester Brown, founder of Worldwatch Institute and the Earth Policy Institute has predicted that the shift from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources is not only unstoppable, but will happen much faster than anyone expected.
Aboriginal landowners throw down fresh legal challenge to Adani Group’s massive Carmichael coal project in Australia, reports the Economic Times.
The leader overseeing a massive oil cleanup along the Santa Barbara, California coast defended the initial response, many outlets report.
The Swansea bay tidal lagoon project is facing opposition, the Guardian writes.