Daily Archives: March 18, 2011

David Blair

The government points out that its proposed reduction in feed-in tariffs for large solar arrays will not apply retrospectively. Only new entrants after August 1 this year will be affected by the plans.

But it can take 12–18 months to set up a big solar power scheme. In practice, plenty of companies are part of the way through the process of securing planning permission from local authorities and connection permits from network operators.

They will already have spent large sums of money – yet the proposed changes could rob their schemes of any commercial viability. Philip Wolfe is the founder and managing director of Ownergy, a company that helps customers install and maintain solar arrays.

Kiran Stacey

The debate about what might happen to spot natural gas prices as a result of the Japanese nuclear crisis rumbles on. The latest view comes from IHS Cera, and differentiates between what might happen in 2011 and in 2012-2014.

As others have, IHS Cera begins its calculations (which aren’t available online) with the effects of the smaller 2007 quake, which knocked out 8.2GW of nuclear power and sent gas prices up to $20/mBtu. But its analysts point out that world LNG capacity is expected to have increased by half between 2007 and 2012, which should provide enough slack to keep a lid on prices.

But the fact is, LNG is already being diverted from the UK and elsewhere in Europe, and so we already know Japan’s needs cannot solely be accounted for by additional capacity. Instead, Europe will have to rely more on pipeline gas.

Kiran Stacey

Manmohan SinghIn the immediate aftermath of the Japanese quake and beginning of the nuclear crisis, we wrote that the responses of the China and India, which are both planning major investment into new nuclear plants, was much more pro-nuclear than that of Western governments.

But now both have changed position. China performed a near U-turn on Wednesday when it abruptly announced a freeze on approvals for planned plants. Two days later, India has similarly changed tack, although in a less dramatic manner, by calling a for a review of the country’s nuclear safety rules.

Kiran Stacey

Greg Barker, the UK energy minister, has completed his review of subsidies for solar power under the feed-in-tariff scheme, and, as expected, he has reduced the amount of money available for installations that provide over 50kW.

Ministers say the idea behind this review is to make sure that large-scale solar farms don’t hoover up money that was meant for households and small businesses to install a small amount of solar power (usually with solar panels on roofs).

FT Energy Source

You can follow live coverage of the Japanese nuclear crisis here.

- Security Council votes for no-fly zone – FT

- Oil jumps as UN backs bombing raids in Libya – The Telegraph

- BP’s contracts in Libya ‘still valid’ despite turmoil – The Telegraph

- Japan nuclear crisis appears to stabilise – FT

- Fukushima workers labour to avoid catastrophe – The Guardian

- Exposed to the elements: nuclear fuel in meltdown – The Telegraph

- Nuclear spring turns into a harsh winter – FT

- Japan’s crisis hurts uranium miners – The Times

- Future looks bleak for Tepco – FT

- Japan utilities shelve more nuclear power projects – Argus

- Nuclear liability to fall on Japan’s taxpayers – WSJ

- GE works to limit impact as investors fear financial losses – FT

- EDF orders safety checks on British nuclear plants – The Times

- Obama seeks safety review of US nuclear plants – Argus

- Entergy to review safety at New York nuclear plant – WSJ

- US affirms nuclear loan guarantees – NY Times Green blog

- Germany’s nuclear policy fault lines – FT

- Japan set to reignite demand for King Coal – FT

- Price of gas hits five-week high – The Times

- PetroChina plans to add gas assets as quake boosts demand – Bloomberg

- Oil industry sets up offshore safety body – FT

- Ofgem sets out new price review regime – WSJ

- European emissions trading: the cap does not fit – The Guardian

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