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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Coal: Nearly $1 trillion could be wasted on unneeded plants

Research from the Sierra Club, Greenpeace and CoalSwarm has found that almost $1tn of investment in new coal-fired power stations could be wasted if growing concerns about climate change and air pollution leave the plants unused.

“While the amount of electricity generated from coal has declined for two years in a row, the industry has ignored this trend and continues to build new coal-fired generating plants at a rapid pace, creating an increasingly severe capacity bubble,” according to the report.

Meanwhile the technology to make clean energy from coal is stumblin. SaskPower’s $1.1bn Boundary Dam 3 project in Saskatchewan – the world’s first carbon capture project – has fallen short of its emissions targets and faces unresolved problems with its core technology.

Fracking: Study shows impacts on drinking water, BC earthquakes

Standford researchers have shown in a new study how fracking operations in Pavillion, Wyoming are having a clear impacts on drinking water sources. The research exposes numerous unsafe practices including the dumping of drilling and production fluids containing diesel fuel, high chemical concentrations in unlined pits and a lack of adequate cement barriers to protect groundwater. Researcher Dominic DiGuilio is calling affected area the “canary in the coalmine”.

Over in Canada another fracking study has determined a definitive link between hydraulic fracturing and almost every large induced earthquake recorded in B.C. and Alberta’s oil and gas patches since 1985. But with so many wells in operation, only 1% of them are responsible for quakes.

Renewables: SunEdison on brink of bankruptcy, Abengoa files

SunEdison is likely to soon seek bankruptcy protection, according to a regulatory filing by TerraForm Global Inc, a holding company it controls. The company spent $3.3 billion since the start of 2014 buying up wind and solar projects and developers around the world.

Spain’s Abengoa SA has filed for bankruptcy protection in the US as it continues talks with its banks and bondholders to agree on its plan to restructure billions of dollars in debt.

Meanwhile oil explorers are facing challenges to secure financing in the face of the low oil price.

In other news

China: Nature Climate Change study questions CO2 emissions dip

Papua New Guinea: First country to file official national climate action plan

World Bank: Dodges lawsuit by Indian fishermen