Hinkley C

UK Nuclear: French minister says government will give go-ahead to Hinkley

France will go ahead with construction of the £18bn Hinkley Point nuclear power plant in Britain and will begin agreeing technical details in the coming weeks, the French economy minister has said.

The news may come as a relief to UK ministers facing increasing questions over security of supply.

The Telegraph’s Emily Gosden reports that the costs of dealing with a supply shortage have risen by £12m as the National Grid agrees to pay coal plants to “keep warm” in case they need to be swiftly powered up.

Oil: Price falls after output talks fail, refinery strike starts

Bloomberg reports that the oil price tumbled by the most in two months after output talks Sunday between the world’s biggest producers ended without any agreement on limiting supplies. The news came as a strike in Kuwait reduced output from refineries.

The failure of the talks, however, may not concern the world’s largest oil producer unduly.

Some analysts suggest Saudi Arabia will be happy that the failure of the freeze – and continuation of low oil prices – will keep large-scale projects to extract new reserves off the table whilst also limiting revenues for it’s main regional rival, Iran.

Energy finance: Banks, Rockefellers pull back on fossil fuels

Royal Bank of Scotland has reduced its global lending to oil and gas companies and doubled its green energy loans in the UK to £1bn a year, according to new figures released to the Guardian.

The trend leads The Times to comment on the turnaround that has seen a trust funded by oil money turn away from investments in the industry.

China energy: Country rebalances it’s own – and global – energy economy

The South China Morning post follows up on our reports that China is stalling coal with an analysis of the rebalancing of the sector suggesting that only the newer, more efficient plants – capable of following demand – may survive whilst older plants are set to close. The analysis comes as the Wall Street Journal reports that China is making plans for the 1.8 million workers facing unemployment as a result of the changes in the coal & steel industries.


But what does all this mean? The FT’s in house energy geek and China watcher Nick Butler says more may be at play than simply a rebalancing of China’s own economy.

He suggests the changes in China challenge expectations that the world’s largest economy will import ever more energy.

From the rise of Chinese nuclear, shale and renewables to state mandated use of electric cars Mr Butler argues China could, instead, be largely self-sufficient undermining the market forecasts of everyone from oil majors to Australian coal miners.

Instead, he argues, China could become a major exporter. Not just of nuclear and renewable kit but also of electricity itself through new moves the country is embarking on to build high voltage power lines which could stretch as far as Germany totally disrupting existing utility models.

In short. If you are a big energy or car company of almost any description, you should probably be very afraid of what is happening in China.

Poland: Coal sector in trouble as govt. threatens wind

Poland, like China, is having trouble with coal – but unlike China, it’s having real trouble letting go.

Poland’s energy ministry has admitted the nation’s biggest mining firm is on the verge of running out of cash and this time it may not be able to save it – reports Reuters.

The news comes as the FT reports that Poland’s thriving wind energy industry fears it faces bankruptcies, rapid divestment and an end to growth under a bill that threatens executives with prison.

The bill – which is likely to be linked with fears over the countries coal sector – will make it illegal to build turbines within 2km of other buildings or forests — a measure campaigners said would rule out 99 per cent of land — and quadruple the rate of tax payable on existing turbines — making most unprofitable.

In other happenings

Drilling:  Italy referendum fails to back moves to curb offshore oil drilling 

Climate: US & China look to bring Paris deal in early (with eyes on US presidential election)

Energy market: Shell and Iberdrola guilty of market fraud in US 

London: Sadiq lays out vision for London energy 

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