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UK: Renewables not to blame for energy supply crisis

National Grid is due to deliver its Winter Energy Outlook today, and is widely expected to say it has enough power for the coming cold months – but only just.

With capacity margins thinning, renewables are getting slammed all over the place for supposedly causing the power crunch by being so intermittent.

A new Energydesk analysis, however, shows that power plant economics and poor government planning are actually to blame for the coming supply crisis (which won’t start in earnest until next winter).

With old coal plants closing because of pollution (not climate) rules, and so few gas plants being built because the economics are so poor, the government faces questions over its failure to act – and its terribly designed capacity mechanism.

After around a thousand solar energy jobs were lost last week when two firms failed, there has been yet another renewables casualty, reports The Guardian.

Which leads to former energy minister Gregory Barker’s message for Amber Rudd in The Times: ‘Your solar cuts are catastrophic.’

Meanwhile the leading civil servant from DECC says renewable energy will no longer be given subsidies by the mid 2020s, reports the FT.

China: Latest pollution rankings are a mixed bag

The latest batch of pollution data from China is in, and though there are signs the country is getting to grips with the problem, still around 80% of cities exceed national and international air quality standards.

On average, China’s air pollution is down 12% from a year ago. But one thing that’s particularly interesting this past quarter is what happened in Beijing when it turned off coal and cut cars… the pollution just went away.

The government has also approved a $20 billion pipeline to carry gas from coal-to-gas projects in the country’s west to the country’s south, writes Reuters.

And in case you missed it, Climate Home reports that China has quadrupled its 2020 solar installations target.

US: Democrats go big on climate change

At the Democrats debate the other night, climate change came up early and often.

We’ve curated all the energy-ish comments from the discussion, from Bernie Sanders’ declaration that climate change is the ultimate national security threat to Martin O’Malley’s 100% clean power by 2050 plan.

The on-stage consensus has also been ‘explained’ by Vox, who also observe that lefty US politicians are way out in front of the US media on the subject.

And a new survey has found climate change denial is in decline, with only 16% of Americans doubting the science, reports TIME.


In other news

Japan: The country’s second nuclear reactor since Fukushima is now up and running, reports CNN.

Fracking: As America’s biggest shale reserve begins to run out, some anti-fracking activists in the UK are in trouble with the authorities after they were found to be using other people’s identities.

Hinkley: EDF and its Chinese partners are on the cusp of a deal for the controversial UK nuclear power plant, reports The Telegraph.

Climate change: As one study says spring will come early (to the US) because of climate change, another group has designed a map to see what sea level rise would do the coastal cities.