A boy runs passed a coal fired power plant near his home in the outskirts of Beijing. Photo: Kevin Frayer/Getty Images

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Flooding: Bills rise for UK flooding – as global claims flood in (sorry)

The Times reports on an analysis from PwC suggesting the cost of flooding in the UK this December to insurers could top £2.8bn.

The news comes as Reuters reports that insurers paid out around $27 billion for natural disaster claims last year with weather causing 94 percent of incidents, underscoring the challenge posed by climate change, data from reinsurer Munich Re showed on Monday.

Munich Re, which also had a slightly lower estimate for the cost of the UK’s floods (1.7bn euros) suggested climate change may be at least partly to blame.

VW scandal: US sues Volkswagen over air pollution

The New York times reports that the Justice Department sued the German automaker Volkswagen in federal court on Monday, saying that the company installed illegal devices in nearly 600,000 diesel engine systems to impair emissions controls, increasing harmful air pollution.

Power: Climate warning on global power supply as UK faces emergency measures this winter

The Mail reports that climate change could lead to an energy crisis around the world by starving conventional power generators of much needed water. The ever-brilliant Carbon Brief have a map showing where climate change could hit energy production hardest.

In basically unrelated news, the UK’s national grid warns that it may need to deploy further ‘emergency measures’ to keep the lights on this winter suggesting supply is the tightest it’s been for a decade (not due to climate change).

Related to that the Telegraph reports that a City financier supporting a proposed power cable between Iceland and Britain is launching a new venture to build several more links to electricity sources across Europe.

China: No new coal mines please (but yes to nuclear)

Amidst all the chaos on its markets came bad news for China’s beleaguered coal sector, with various sources reporting the state may not approve any new coal mines for at least three years.

The news comes as the South China Morning post reports on the troubles faced by the sector where mines are closing and wages are not being paid.

Better news if you are in China’s nuclear business. The Independent reports the country is looking to build 40 new power plants over the next five years.

Solar: India looks to boost solar – but it’s in trouble in Nevada

India’s energy minister says he wants to quadruple solar installations in 2016 as the FT reports that investors see the country as the world’s next solar power with plans to install more than double the current capacity of China and Germany.

But it’s not all sunny for the sector (sorry again). In the US state of Nevada where solar has been booming regulators announced dramatic increases to the charges levied on householders for feeding power into the grid, and a dramatic fall in the amount paid to solar panel owners for power.

The move has prompted the withdrawal of the Elon Musk-owned SolarCity from one of the sunniest US states amidst what is being seen as a case-study battle between solar providers and the established utility monopoly over how energy is generated and how the costs of maintaining a distributed grid are spread.

Oil: UK oil production rises – as prices fall

A 15-year trend of falling oil and gas production in the North Sea has been reversed, according to the UK energy industry trade body.

The news comes as oil prices continue to fall, apparently unperturbed by the mounting chaos in the middle east. Instead they are influenced by a global supply glut partially fuelled by US shale and lower than expected Chinese growth.

In other news:

Clean tech: Energy storage costs could fall by 41%, Google helps consumers go solar and Statoil looks for carbon capture opportunities in the North Sea.

UK clean biz: Wind industry records record year, Dong to invest big time in the north sea and Scottish solar capacity soars (weirdly).

Bills: UK households paying £305 a year too much for energy due to failure to get best deals.