On FT Energy Source this week:
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We found this ‘Ode to Opec’ from Energy Burrito very amusing:
Oh I wish I worked for Opec,
I bet the pay is great;
They only meet four times a year,
To have a quick debate. Read more
Hot on the heels of an eruption in the green stimulus/buy American debate, China Investment Corporation – a Chinese sovereign wealth fund – has agreed to buy a 15 per cent stake of listed US power generator AES, and to buy 35 per cent of AES’ wind generating business.
On the face of it, it’s perfect fodder for those fearing the US will lose the clean tech race, who are especially riled up right now about green stimulus money going to Chinese and European wind turbine manufacturers. And the US apprehension about foreign interests spreads far beyond renewable energy – witness the CNOOC/Unocol and DP World furores.
But it’s more complicated than that…
AES runs power generation and utilities, so it’s not involved in turbine manufacturing, which is the touchiest area of green stimulus jobs debate — partly because it’s labour-intensive, partly because it contains the promise of a quick-change career for those left unemployed by the recession. Read more
Updated: Professor David MacKay was a respected academic figure well before he was appointed the UK’s chief scientist for energy and climate change. He attracted a great deal of mainstream attention with his excellent book ‘Sustainable Energy: Without Hot Air‘, which calmly and lucidly explores exactly how the UK might meet its energy needs while also lowering its greenhouse gas emissions.
But everyone makes mistakes, and scientists, we notice, are more prone to slips of the tongue than others. Read more
European coal might be having some of the same problems as US natural gas: supplies are building up, but nobody wants it.
Natural gas kept in storage in the US has been closely watched in recent months: abundant supply and anaemic demand saw inventories reach record level, prompting fears that the limits of capacity would be reached. News last month that there was still a few hundred million cubic feet of capacity going gave prices a boost.
Now, Argus reports that levels at EMO, Europe’s biggest coal import terminal, have surpassed records this year: Read more
As if it wasn’t enough that three countries – including France – had raised concerns about safety in the new EPR nuclear reactor design, concerns are building over delays to another big European reactor.
France remains a leader in world nuclear, with almost 80 per cent of its electricity supply sourced from its reactors. The reactor under development by Electricite de France in Flamanville, northern France, and the Finnish Olkiluoto reactor are meant to be showcases for the new EPR reactor, largely designed by French company Areva.
Jose Botelho de Vasconcelos, president of Opec, said during an oil sector meeting in Ecuador on Thursday that prices were “more or less at an acceptable level” and that crude at $80 a barrel in 2010 would be “reasonable”.
Hussein Allidina, commodity strategist at Morgan Stanley, said further gains for oil prices were likely to be limited as physical demand remained weak and supportive macro factors would start to fade. Read more
Relations were – briefly – looking warmer between the US and China on the clean energy ‘race’ front last week, when trade talks in Hangzhou saw officials on both sides agree to relax several sticking points, including China dropping its local requirement on wind turbines tenders.
But even as the talks were concluding, trouble was brewing in the form of Texas wind farm that planned to use Chinese turbines.
The announcement has blown up into a row about US stimulus money being spent overseas – not helped by findings published last week by a non-profit journalism group that many of the wind farms receiving stimulus money were owned by foreign companies, mostly European. Read more
When is a treaty not a treaty? When it is a political agreement.
The question of whether the climate change conference in Copenhagen this December will produce a new global treaty on greenhouse gas emissions has been vexing the minds of negotiators and observers at the United Nations climate change talks in Barcelona this week – the last formal negotiating session before Copenhagen.
Since 2007, when countries set out a road map to a new agreement, the official line has been that a new treaty needed to be signed in December in order to give countries time to ratify it before 2012, when the current provisions of the Kyoto protocol expire. Read more