Monthly Archives: October 2010

Kiran Stacey

It seems like Rick Boucher is not the only one being forced to fight for his political life over the cap-and-trade bill. Tom Perriello, another Virginia Democrat, is also coming under fire for his support of the bill.

As the LA Times reports today, the bill is becoming a major flashpoint in large swaths of the US, especially the mid-Atlantic and Midwest.

The paper reports:

In much of the nation, “cap and trade” has become a dirty phrase this election season, and the political storm over global warming’s causes and solutions may determine several key races.

For the first time in nearly a decade, not one Republican running for the Senate supports proposals to limit carbon emissions and trade pollution rights. Most openly question the science of global warming or denounce it as a hoax.

But Perriello knew all along this could risk his career. As he told Politico last year:

There’s got to be something more important than getting reelected. If I lose my seat, and that’s the worst that happens, I could live with that.

Kiran Stacey

Masdar City was meant to be the world’s first carbon neutral city. Based in Abu Dhabi, its creators envisioned a glittering city in the desert, entirely self-powered, and after the initial building stage, having no net effect on the world’s carbon emissions.

But the plans have taken a major knock in the last 18 months. Lending for real estate dried up in the wake of the Dubai financial crisis, companies proved reluctant to move in to the new commercial space and the developers quickly realised their initial plans for the energy mix were too ambitious.

Earlier this month, the company confirmed it would cut up to $3.3bn from its budget after a 10-month strategy review. Last week, days after the results of the review were announced, I talked to the company’s CEO, Sultan al-Jaber, and the city’s director, Alan Frost, about their plans for the future.

FT Energy Source

- Vestas to cut 3,000 jobs at wind turbine plants – FT

- Vestas uses downturn as an excuse to reorganise – FT Lex

- Peeling away the onion of Denmark wind energy – Master Resource

- EDF to buy Constellation nuclear stake for $249m – Bloomberg

- Higher output and prices push up TNK-BP sales – FT

- Shetland drilling could trigger spill worse than BP’s – The Telegraph

- Explorers endure bumpy ride for Falklands oil – FT

- Cairn fails to strike oil in Greenland – The Times (£)

- Abu Dhabi award oilfield contracts in $10bn onshore programme – Bloomberg

- California tax initiative may disrupt climate efforts – Argus

- Best to tune out the fanfare over Coal India IPO – FT Lex

- Navajos comes to grips with coal mining – NY Times Green blog

Kiran Stacey

When Germany announced its plan to phase out nuclear power stations last month, shares in the big four German power companies rose. The agreement made with the German government would see Eon, RWE, EnBW and Vattenfall pay a nuclear-fuel rods tax of €2.3bn until 2016 – but the market had been expecting worse.

But today Moody’s has warned that the impact of the tax might yet force a downgrade of the companies’ credit ratings.

Kiran Stacey

With just a week to go until the US midterms, the narrative seems to have been set: the Republicans are going to do well because of anger at the Obama administration towards two things in particular: a lack of jobs and the healthcare bill.

But there may be another element at play which is feeding into this heady mix: the cap-and-trade bill.

Yesterday, the Journal published an interesting article about the way in which Democratic Congressman Rick Boucher’s support for the bill is losing him votes in his native Virginia. Apparently locals are angry that Boucher voted for a bill that they regard as anti-coal.

Kiran Stacey

Yesterday’s confirmation that the government would protect £60m of spending on port infrastructure gave an important fillip to the UK offshore wind industry.

But today the industry had much more worrying news from Vestas, the market leader in this area, who have decided to slash 14 per cent from its overall workforce, at a cost of 3,000 jobs. Clare MacCarthy reports from Copenhagen:

Vestas, the world’s largest wind power company, is to cut up to 3,000 jobs – some 14 per cent of its global workforce – because of excess capacity and a cut in order expectations in Europe.

The closures of four production facilities in Denmark and one in Sweden were announced on Tuesday with the Denmark-based group’s third-quarter results. Net profits fell to €126m ($176m) from €165m a year earlier and sales declined 5.1 per cent to €1.72bn.

Ditlev Engel, the CEO, said:

Based on the expectations we have for 2011 in Europe, however, we must now recognise that a higher European level of activity will not be realistic – at least not in the short term.

Far from encouraging words for European offshore wind.

FT Energy Source

- Dudley hits out at Gulf spill fear-mongering – FT

- Oil companies seek Gulf of Mexico permits – Dow Jones

- BP to sell four Gulf of Mexico fields – FT

- Sanctions on Iran hit BP gas field off Scotland – The Times (£)

- Coal India pricing reflects keen demand – FT

- In India, a reality check – Michael Levi

- US approves world’s biggest solar power project – Reuters

- South Africa unveils plans for ‘world’s biggest’ solar power plant – The Guardian

- Go ahead for wind to generate 70,000 jobs – FT

- New US standards aim at truck emissions – NY Times

- Workers at three French refineries to return as shortages continue – Bloomberg

- Curse of oil follows Ghana’s president – FT

Kiran Stacey

After my earlier pessimistic post (at least it was for green campaigners and those in low-carbon energy production) on the hopes of setting a high and stable carbon price, there is a very different message in a report from The Climate Institute in Australia.

It claims that the UK leads the field in incentivising low-carbon technologies, and that the government’s policies have led to an implied carbon price of $28 per tonne.

If so, that is higher than the €15 a tonne at which carbon is currently trading, but nowhere near the €80 and €90 the industry says is needed.

I won’t repeat the report in full, but this graphic is very interesting:

Kiran Stacey

Bob Dudley has been addressing the CBI today, making his first speech outside BP since becoming CEO last month.

His tone was humble and gracious. He said:

So it’s a pleasure as well as an honour to be invited to speak with you today.

It’s also humbling, not least because of the circumstances in which I stepped into this role – a tragic accident in which 11 people lost their lives and an oil spill that has impacted livelihoods, businesses and the environment.

But his message was essentially robust: we are not budging, either from the US or deepwater in general.

Kiran Stacey

The British government has finally announced what we have known for a while: that it will keep in place the £60m of investment pledged by the last government to improve infrastructure for offshore wind.

David Cameron told the CBI annual conference:

To help secure private sector investment in this technology, we’re providing up to £60 million to meet the needs of offshore wind infrastructure at our ports. And to help move things forward, the Crown Estate will also work with interested ports and manufacturers to realise the potential of their sites.

It’s a triple win. It will help secure our energy supplies, protect our planet and the Carbon Trust says it could create 70,000 jobs.

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