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UK government rejects four planned onshore wind farms in Wales

The Conservatives appear to be living up to their election promise to clamp down on onshore wind, after rejecting four planned farms in Wales.

Wind farms at Llanbadarn Fynydd, Llaithddu, Llanbrynmair and Carnedd Wen, which would have had a combined capacity of more than 300 megawatts (MW), will now not be going ahead.

The department of energy and climate change (Decc) announced plans to scrap onshore wind subsidies by April 2016, shortly after the general election in May.

But despite these promises, there’s been confusion about the government’s plans in the British business community, as documented by Energydesk.

Monday’s decision to axe the planned wind farms also caused upset in the renewables sector, with some arguing that the announcement undermined the UK’s green credentials in the months running up to the UN climate conference in Paris at the end of the year.

David Clubb, director of Welsh renewable energy trade association RenewableUK Cymru, told Reuters: “Given the blows the UK government are raining down onto the renewable energy sector on both consents and subsidies, ministers will be heading to the Paris climate discussions with their credibility in tatters.”

Last week, former minister Ed Davey slammed the Conservative’s energy plans as a “disastrous” assault on the green agenda.

UN climate conference gets trial run

French climate change actors and leading CEO, will meet with French President Francoise Hollande on Thursday in what is being described as a rehearsal for the UN climate conference in Paris this winter.

CEOs from Michelin, Suez, Veolia and more will meet with the President and forign minister Laurent Fabius, as French officials rachet up their rhetoric on climate change.

said Nicolas Hulot, Hollande’s special envoy on the environment describe December’s conference, which will be attended by 200 countries as a moment of truth.”

All the models show us that if we surpass 2 degrees [Celsius in temperature increase] the consequences will be irreversible,” he said.

Last week, member states were negotiating over a draft 83-page document that will form the basis of any deal at a UN meeting in Bonn, Switzerland.

Matt McGrath has written a thoughtful analysis for the BBC asking whether the conference will be a “nothing burger”.

Russian firm agrees to sell off North Sea oil fields, after government pressure

The Russian owned energy firm LetterOne has announced it will sell off its North Sea oil fields, after coming under heavy pressure from the UK government.

The firm, which is owned by the oligarch Mikhail Fridman and has former BP chief executive Lord Browne as its chairman, originally said it would fight the government’s decision after it ordered the company to sell off its stake in the North Sea.

The UK government was concerned that the conflict in Ukraine and subsequent Western sanctions on the Russian state could negatively impact production in the North Sea.

Former Liberal Democrat energy minister led the fight against LetterOne in the last days of the coalition government, and Energydesk learnt a few weeks ago that the new Conservative government intended to keep the heat on Lord Browne’s company.

This came after the company’s non-executive Chairman of the Investment and Risk Committee, Edward K. Eisler donated £10,000 to the Conservative party in the run-up to the general election.

Speaking to the BBC, Lord Browne said LetterOne would now acquiesce to the government’s demands.

“Whether we agree with [the government’s decision] or not, they are the government, we want to have good relationships with them and we need to know our place in the world and we do,” he said.

Poland slams Russia’s gas pipeline bid

As the question of how to fuel Europe continues, the conservative Polish government has slammed a deal by Gazprom and several leading western companies to build a gas pipeline under the Baltic Sea.

In June, Gazprom agreed a deal with E.ON, Anglo Dutch Shell and Austria’s OMV for new a new gas pipeline into Europe that would bypass conflict ridden Ukraine and Poland, before ending up in Germany.

Polish officials have long opposed the new pipeline, dubbed Nord Stream-2, which they say undermines Poland’s energy security.

No timeframe has yet been given for the deal.

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