Daily Archives: July 6, 2010

Kate Mackenzie

El Marquesado 2 wind farm, Granada, Spain

El Marquesado 2 wind farm, Granada, Spain

Spain wants to double its subsidies for domestic coal-fired power; and it’s having a bit of trouble doing so, thanks to European Union competition rules.

That’s right, Spain — the country that is the world’s biggest per-capita producer of wind energy, home to the world’s biggest wind power operator, not to mention being a rather significant player in the world solar market, too. From the FT:

The Spanish plan centres on giving preferential access to the wholesale electricity market for power plants that run on domestic coal, and was announced by the government in February, after months of behind-the-scenes tussling with Brussels.

At the same time, the Spanish government wants to retroactively cut previously agreed tariffs for its €20bn photovoltaic solar energy sector by 30 per cent. As FTfm reports, such a move could be devastating for investors in highly-leveraged solar photovoltaic projects.

Kate Mackenzie

Tar balls on Pensacola beach (Flickr: Geoff Livingston)

Tar balls found on the Crystal Beach area of Texas’ Bolivar Peninsula did indeed come from the Deepwater Horizon/Macondo well, according to the Deepwater Horizon Unified Command, which co-ordinates response information.

But how did they get there?

The response centre raises an unpleasant possibility:

The testing found that the oil was lightly weathered, raising doubts that the oil traversed the Gulf from the spill source. Boats carry oil collected during the response to Texas for processing raising the possibility the oil could have been transported on a vessel.

Eek. The Unified Command said that “approximately 35 gallons of sand/seaweed/tar balls was recovered in Crystal Beach on the Bolivar Peninsula and on East Beach in Galveston on Sunday and Monday”. The contractor hired by the Coast Guard to clean the site estimated that seven gallons of that was tar balls.

Kate Mackenzie

Another interesting snippet for the debate over the role of speculators in driving oil prices.

Sixteen cocoa companies and trade groups are up in arms over the operation of the London cocoa market, protesting that the lack of transparency and position limits are partly to blame for pushing spot prices to a 33-year record high.

In a letter to Euronext Liffe’s parent company, they question three specific movements in the market in recent weeks, and ask why Liffe is not publishing a commitment of traders report showing the aggregate positions of different categories of traders – namely, financial traders and physical – as the US ICE cocoa contract does.

Kate Mackenzie

- Economists: The problem of energy awaits you

- If it’s an obvious idea, someone’s probably thought of it

- Oil spill protestors are missing their target

- Prospects for non-wind renewables looks grim

- The west’s big oil companies are growing gassier

Kate Mackenzie

- Legacy fears over BP’s pot of gold – FT

- Dutch study broadly backs IPCC climate report – FT

- Crisis-hit BP rules out issuing new shares - FT

- Aid to European coal industry held up – FT

- Tar balls reach Texas as weather hampers clean-up - LA Times

- China jails US geologist for eight years over oil secrets sale – Bloomberg

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