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Renewables/Energy Transition

Fossil fuel glut, renewables make EU power cheapest in a decade

Record-low coal prices and increased wind and solar generation that pushed European power prices to their lowest in a decade may cause further declines in 2016. Average day-ahead electricity prices in Germany, Europe’s biggest market, fell 3.2 percent to 31.70 euros ($34.65) per megawatt-hour in 2015, the least since 2004 on the Epex Spot SE exchange in Paris before the last auction later Wednesday. Northwest Europe coal fell 33 percent while the share of Germany’s energy demand met by renewable output increased by four percentage points to 30 percent, according to preliminary figures by utility lobby BDEW.

Other News

End of an era for once proud and powerful coal mining industry

The closure of the UK’s last deep coal pit signals the end of an era for a once proud and powerful industry. Miners will work their final shifts tomorrow at Kellingley Colliery in North Yorkshire, leaving many looking for new jobs. Owners UK Coal will also go out of business after the company oversees the closure and transfer of the site for redevelopment.


Opinion: Another fine mess in the making

At last, one sensible decision from energy secretary Amber Rudd. I am among those who welcome the shutting down of all UK coal-fired plant by 2025, unless retrofitted with CCS. That seems clear and unequivocal. Since no-one is prepared to invest in heavy-duty clean-up technologies, the operators of the remaining coal-fired plant effectively wrote the death warrant themselves. On Tuesday evening, there was a fascinating documentary on the box about UK power generation. Basically the focus was Ferrybridge in Yorkshire, which is operated by Scottish & Southern Energy and clearly on its last legs.

Other News

Climate change campaigners occupy opencast coal mine in Northumberland

Protesters say they have shut down an opencast coal mine on land belonging to Conservative peer and climate sceptic Viscount Ridley. Campaigners calling themselves “Matt Ridley’s Conscience” have occupied one of the diggers at Shotton surface mine, in Cramlington, Northumberland on Viscount Ridley’s Blagdon Estate. The group, a mix of local campaigners and protesters from across the UK, have also formed a protest blocking the road, locking their arms into red arm tubes as part of a protest calling for an end to coal mining to protect the climate.

Oil & Gas

Letter between oil tycoon and Scottish Government calls for stance on fracking

Oil tycoon Algy Cluff warned Scottish ministers the day after a moratorium on fracking was confirmed that Scotland could risk losing £250million of investment. The multi-millionaire warned energy minister Fergus Ewing and Alex Neil that including his plans for underground coal gasification (UCG) in the moratorium would have an impact on Cluff Natural Resources (CNR) ability to “operate and invest” further in Scotland. CNR has ploughed ahead with plans to develop Britain’s first offshore UCG project in recent times, despite opposition from environmentalists, who feel the methods used are unsafe and require further testing.

Renewables/Energy Transition

Miliband seeks action on coal

Ed Miliband has asked ministers to act urgently to ensure one of Britain’s last remaining deep pit coal mines does not close earlier than originally planned. The former energy secretary warned that Hatfield Colliery in his Doncaster North constituency is under “very serious pressures”, adding action is needed to keep it open until summer 2016. The South Yorkshire mine has received Government loans to support its managed closure. In January, it was announced a short-term commercial loan of £8 million had been made available to support Hatfield Colliery Partnership Ltd’s closure plan.

Other News

Push to make renewables cheaper

A new international research programme is being launched to make renewables cheaper than coal within 10 years. The scheme’s backers, who include leading figures from business, government and academia, warn that cheap clean energy is crucial to keeping global temperatures from rising by more than 2C - seen as the threshold for dangerous climate change. Like the US programme in the 1960s to put a man on the moon, the Global Apollo Programme has a clear goal, in this case to make electricity from solar and wind cheaper than power from coal in every country and to do so within a decade.

Oil & Gas

Shell’s huge gas bet underscores Big Oil’s push to replace coal

BP Plc coined the slogan “Beyond Petroleum.” The new industry mantra might be “Beyond Oil and Into Gas.” Oh, and while we’re at it, “Down With Coal.” Consider Royal Dutch Shell Plc’s recent $70 billion acquisition of BG Group Plc -- clearly a huge bet that natural gas will prove to be its cash cow of the future. The petroleum industry’s move toward gas is hardly new -- the hydraulic fracturing shale revolution is in its second decade, after all. Still, Shell’s move is an emphatic confirmation that some among the Big Oil family firmly believe gas will play a growing role in meeting the energy demand of emerging countries such as China and India that are trying to move away from dirtier coal.