EU Nations Begin Anti-Green Divestment & Rollback

GWPF | 18 April 2016

Polish Government Plans To Kill Wind Industry

Poland’s thriving wind energy industry has warned that it faces bankruptcies, rapid divestment and an end to growth under a bill that threatens executives with prison. Proposals submitted to parliament by the ultraconservative rightwing administration will tighten regulations to the point of killing off the industry, critics have said.  The bill will make it illegal to build turbines within 2km of other buildings or forests — a measure campaigners said would rule out 99 per cent of land — and quadruple the rate of tax payable on existing turbines — making most unprofitable. –Henry Foy and Pilita Clark, Financial Times, 18 April 2016

1) Polish Government Plans To Kill Wind Industry
Financial Times, 18 April 2016

2) German Government Bill Threatens Renewable Energy Revolution, Green Lobby Warns
Solar Server News, 18 April 2016

3) Norway To End Renewable Subsidy Scheme By 2021
Reuters, 15 April 2016

4) Europe’s Energy Crisis Poses Warning For The U.S.
Breitbart, 14 April 2016

5) Coal’s Future Shifts To Developing World
The Australian, 16 April 2016

6) Michael Lynch: Fossil Fuels’ Value Not Imperilled By Climate Policy
Forbes, 17 April 2016

7) And Finally: Teslas May Be Making Hong Kong’s Pollution & CO2 Emissions Worse
Bloomberg, 14 April 2016

The draft reform bill of the Renewable Energy Act (EEG) submitted by the German government on Thursday massively curtails the green energy transition, the Renewable Energy Federation (BEE) has warned. Five years after Fukushima and only a few months after the Paris climate change agreement, the German government is threatening a massive rollback in climate change policy. According to the BEE, tens of thousands of jobs, especially in the wind and solar industry, are facing disaster. —Solar Server News, 18 April 2016

Norway is planning to end its green energy subsidy scheme by 2021 and aims to increase competition in building power lines to other countries, the government said on Friday. —Reuters, 15 April 2016

Across Europe, the cost of electricity has been rising, thanks to a well-intentioned but mistaken plunge into “renewable energy.” And what’s happening in the EU portends a troubling lesson for the United States. Simply put, green energy is proving to be an expensive failure. Yes, green energy works when heavily subsidized by the taxpayer. But Europe’s taxpayers can no longer afford the experiment. What did our European friends get for their exercise in green energy exploration? Power shortages, job loss, and the bankruptcy of major green energy giants like Spain’s Abengoa, which received more than $2 billion in loan subsidies from the Obama Administration. In fact, Spain is now confronting $27 billion in debt from failed wind and solar projects, thanks to a program estimated to have eliminated at least two jobs for every “green” job it created. –Terry Jarrett, Breitbart, 14 April 2016

Developing countries are turning towards fossil fuels to meet the energy ­demands of their citizens, the IREA says. There are 2300 new coal plants with 1400GW of capacity planned worldwide. Australia sees its future importing millions of solar panels and batteries from China to deliver the Turnbull government’s solar and storage revolution. Meanwhile, the Middle Kingdom is planning to keep burning coal and to ship electricity to Germany, where the renewable revolution has made power so expensive it may soon be cheaper to get it from half a world away, from coal. –Graham Lloyd, The Australian, 16 April 2016

Their basic argument is as follows: climate change policies will reduce the trajectory of energy demand, and high-cost projects will thus be at risk, meaning [fossil fuel] companies will lose money or at least their shares will underperform. The reality is that high-cost projects are most at risk from low-cost projects, followed by slow demand (economic weakness), and climate change policies a distant third, at best. Indeed, from 2010 to 2014, global coal consumption increased by twice as much as wind and solar combined, and the rise of cheap natural gas in the U.S., along with the recent economic slowdown in China, are the main sources of the woes of the coal industry. –Michael Lynch, Forbes, 17 April 2016

Electric vehicles in Hong Kong may indirectly be the cause of almost 20 percent more carbon dioxide emissions than gasoline-fueled motors, undermining the city’s efforts to get ‘green’ cars on the road, according to Sanford C. Bernstein. That’s because Hong Kong relies on coal for more than half its power generation, according to Neil Beveridge, a Hong Kong-based analyst at Bernstein. “Electric vehicles only make sense in countries where the carbon intensity of electricity generation is low,” Beveridge wrote in a report published Wednesday. “In Hong Kong, and more broadly China, electric vehicles are increasing rather than reducing pollution, with taxpayers effectively being asked to subsidize this.” —Aibing Guo, Bloomberg, 14 April 2016

1) Polish Government Plans To Kill Wind Industry
Financial Times, 18 April 2016

Henry Foy and Pilita Clark

Poland’s thriving wind energy industry has warned that it faces bankruptcies, rapid divestment and an end to growth under a bill that threatens executives with prison. 

The wind power sector in Poland installed the largest amount of turbine capacity in the EU last year after Germany, taking total industry investment to €8bn.

Turbines, including those owned by EDF, RWE and Eon, produce about 13 per cent of the country’s electricity. But proposals submitted to parliament by the ultraconservative rightwing administration will tighten regulations to the point of killing off the industry, critics have said.

“For some projects, it will be terminal . . . it will kill them,” said Wojciech Cetnarski, president of the Polish Wind Energy Association, an industry lobby group.

“This will result in bankruptcies. That is for sure. “No one will invest any more in this country’s wind energy industry if this law is passed.”

The bill will make it illegal to build turbines within 2km of other buildings or forests — a measure campaigners said would rule out 99 per cent of land — and quadruple the rate of tax payable on existing turbines — making most unprofitable.

Another clause in the bill would give authorities the power to shut down each turbine for weeks at a time during monthly inspections, said industry figures. Violations would result in hefty fines or two years’ imprisonment.

Foreign investors are already viewing the bill with alarm. [….]

Jaroslaw Kaczynski’s ruling Law and Justice party, which campaigned on a promise to crack down on the industry, said it wants to make legislation on turbines more “citizen-friendly”.

Wind power groups say the government is instead seeking to protect lossmaking coal mines run by state-owned companies and staffed by powerful unions. While the proposal is still being debated, the government has a majority in parliament.

Half of the Polish wind farm industry is controlled by foreign investors, while 65 per cent of the installed turbines are built by Vestas of Denmark, General Electric of the US and Gamesa of Spain.

“This is an existential threat,” said Mr Cetnarski. “There will be a number of investors who leave, and others that will simply go bankrupt.”

Full post

2) German Government Bill Threatens Renewable Energy Revolution, Green Lobby Warns
Solar Server News, 18 April 2016

The draft reform bill of the Renewable Energy Act (EEG) submitted by the German government on Thursday massively curtails the green energy transition, the Renewable Energy Federation (BEE) has warned.

Cartoon: Neuausrichtung Energiepolitik (medium) by Schwarwel tagged neuausrichtung,energiepolitik,energie,politik,wirtschaftsminister,sigmar,gabriel,ausbau,erneuerbare,energien,begrenzung,grüner,strom,wettbewerb,karikatur,schwarwel,wind,windräder,natur,umwelt,erhaltung,klima,sonne,nutzung,stromverbrauch,subventionierung,preis,markt,nachfrage,marktwirtschaft,geld,finanzen,wirtschaft,kapitalismus,eeg,photovoltaikanlagen,förderung,klimaschutz,energiewende,neuausrichtung,energiepolitik,energie,politik,wirtschaftsminister,sigmar,gabriel,ausbau,erneuerbare,energien,begrenzung,grüner,strom,wettbewerb,karikatur,schwarwel,wind,windräder,natur,umwelt,erhaltung,klima,sonne,nutzung,stromverbrauch,subventionierung,preis,markt,nachfrage,marktwirtschaft,geld,finanzen,wirtschaft,kapitalismus,eeg,photovoltaikanlagen,förderung,klimaschutz,energiewende

Five years after Fukushima and only a few months after the Paris climate change agreement, the German government is threatening a massive rollback in climate change policy.

The BEE as a key association of climate-friendly energy is calling on the German Bundestag and the federal states, to significantly change the bill in the next few weeks. Otherwise, the pledges made in Paris about climate protection are not worth the paper on which the German government signed the agreement.

According to the BEE, tens of thousands of jobs, especially in the wind and solar industry, are facing disaster.

“This bill by the Federal Minister of Economics will cap the expansion of renewable energy in electricity generation to a maximum of 45% by 2025,” said BEE President Fritz Brickwedde.

The development of bioenergy and photovoltaics was severely curtailed in recent EEG reforms in 2012 and 2014; now the new reform threatens to end support for onshore wind energy.

Full story

3) Norway To End Renewable Subsidy Scheme By 2021
Reuters, 15 April 2016

Norway is planning to end its green energy subsidy scheme by 2021 and aims to increase competition in building power lines to other countries, the government said on Friday.

Norway launched a common renewable energy support scheme with Sweden in 2012, so called “el-certificates”, aiming to increase electricity output from such sources as wind, hydropower and biomass by 28.4 terawatt-hours (TWh) per year by 2020.

The increase in subsidised renewable energy in the Nordic countries, however, pushed electricity prices to 15-year lows in 2015, hurting producers, such as Norway’s Statkraft or Sweden’s Vattenfall.

Norway, which generates about 95 percent of electricity from hydropower, has lagged its Nordic neighbours Sweden and Denmark in wind power developments, despite its windy coastal areas.

Full story

4) Europe’s Energy Crisis Poses Warning For The U.S.
Breitbart, 14 April 2016

Terry Jarrett

Europe has a problem that may soon become ours.

Countries including Germany, Spain, and England are finding that their recent “green energy” experiments are proving too costly to continue. Between 2005—when the European Union adopted its emissions trading scheme—and 2014, residential electricity rates in the EU increased by an average of 63 percent. In Germany, rates increased by 78 percent; in Spain, by 111 percent; and, in the U.K., by a whopping 133 percent. Over the same decade, residential rates in the United States rose only 32 percent.

Across Europe, the cost of electricity has been rising, thanks to a well-intentioned but mistaken plunge into “renewable energy.” And what’s happening in the EU portends a troubling lesson for the United States. Simply put, green energy is proving to be an expensive failure. Yes, green energy works when heavily subsidized by the taxpayer. But Europe’s taxpayers can no longer afford the experiment.

What did our European friends get for their exercise in green energy exploration? Power shortages, job loss, and the bankruptcy of major green energy giants like Spain’s Abengoa, which received more than $2 billion in loan subsidies from the Obama Administration. In fact, Spain is now confronting $27 billion in debt from failed wind and solar projects, thanks to a program estimated to have eliminated at least two jobs for every “green” job it created.

This isn’t the picture that renewable energy activists like to trumpet when praising wind and solar power. Germany’s activists proudly talk of renewables powering a record 78 percent of the day’s energy needs on July 25, 2015. It sounds breathtaking, but the fine print is more relevant. Three days before, the same renewables powered only 25 percent of energy demand.

A more accurate picture emerges the closer one looks at Germany’s actual experience. On the recent afternoon of April 4, 2016, for example, the data show production of only 2.23 GW of wind power, 0 GW of solar, and 46.48 GW of “Conventional” energy. That conventional energy comes mostly from coal plants, which still generate roughly 40 percent of total German electricity.

There are several lessons here for the Obama Administration. First, wind and solar will always require back-up power from gas, coal, and nuclear plants. That’s because the wind doesn’t always blow and the sun doesn’t always shine. Second, renewables are expensive, because they require standby support from gas, coal, and nuclear. Third, any effort to rely on renewable energy as the primary source of power is simply not feasible.

Unfortunately, the Obama Administration continues to ignore the evidence.  The president’s “Clean Power Plan,” which hopes to install 125,000 wind turbines nationwide while eliminating 40 percent of America’s coal fleet, means a blind leap into the same green chasm.

The Clean Power Plan is projected to raise consumer utility costs $214 billion by 2030, with another $64 billion needed for the installation of renewables infrastructure. The Administration ignores who will be hurt the most by such cost increases. U.S. manufacturers will suffer when competing with countries like China that enjoy cheaper energy. And America’s low-income communities will certainly be hurt by higher residential electricity costs, leaving them with less discretionary income for essential services.

Full post

5) Coal’s Future Shifts To Developing World
The Australian, 16 April 2016

Graham Lloyd

There are 2300 new coal plants with 1400GW of capacity planned worldwide. China is planning to keep burning coal and to ship electricity to Germany, where the renewable revolution has made power so expensive it may soon be cheaper to get it from half a world away, from coal.

[….] The US still gets roughly one-third of its electricity from coal. Rather than climate change and renewables, the fall of Peabody is largely a story of heavy debt burden and increased competition from shale gas.

And on this front, coal is not alone. New-generation solar ­energy company and former Silicon Valley darling SunEdison is itself on the verge of bankruptcy after its value plunged from $10bn in July to $650m. The company was once the great hope of renewable energy but has surrendered under the weight of heavy borrowings used to make overly expen­sive acquisitions as part of a poorly thought through strategy.

While coal has its problems, the collapse of SunEdison, a withdrawal of subsidies across Europe and a move away from onshore wind power in Germany are key developments in the renewable energy markets.

After years of solid growth, the latest research from the International Renewable Energy Agency shows developing countries that already have a high share of ­renewable energy are unlikely to build this share further.

Developing countries are turning towards fossil fuels to meet the energy ­demands of their citizens, the IREA says.

This has left a confusing picture on the future demand for coal. A report by Greenpeace says that, since 2010, 473 gigawatts of new coal capacity has gone on line in 33 countries. Eighty-five per cent of these plants were built in China and India, with the rest mostly in Indonesia and Vietnam.

Another report, by renewable energy consultancy Ecofys, says the trend is continuing. There are 2300 new coal plants with 1400GW of capacity planned worldwide, which it says will “take the world off-course from the ­internationally agreed target of keeping temperature rise below two degrees Celsius above pre-­industrial levels’’.

Ecofys concludes that new technology for burning coal will not be enough. “This report discredits claims from the coal industry and governments such as those of Japan, Germany, South Korea, Australia and Poland that efficient coal plants are compatible with ­climate action,” WWF economist Sebastien Godinot said.

But the World Coal Association maintains new high-­efficiency coal technology will deliver power at half the cost of gas and one-fifth the price of wind in Asian countries in the future.

Greenpeace likes to think that China’s future coal plant projections are the result of “dysfunctional planning systems and cheap credit’’.

But there is another possibility highlighted by Britain’s Financial Times: that is, that China’s proposed investment in long-­distance, ultra-high voltage power transmission lines will pave the way for power exports from China to as far away as Germany.

Liu Zhenya, chairman of State Grid, told reporters that wind and thermal power produced in Xinjiang could reach Germany at half the present cost of electricity there.

According to the Financial Times, exporting power to central Asia and beyond falls into China’s “one belt, one road” ambitions to export industrial overcapacity and engineering expertise as it faces slowing growth at home.

Australia sees its future importing millions of solar panels and batteries from China to deliver the Turnbull government’s solar and storage revolution. Meanwhile, the Middle Kingdom is planning to keep burning coal and to ship electricity to Germany, where the renewable revolution has made power so expensive it may soon be cheaper to get it from half a world away, from coal.

Full story

6) Michael Lynch: Fossil Fuels’ Value Not Imperilled By Climate Policy
Forbes, 17 April 2016

energy change
Change in Global Energy Consumption 2010-2014 (mtoe)

Amusingly, one pundit described the bankruptcy filing of the coal giant Peabody Energy as educational for the petroleum industry as to the effect of climate change on their business, saying, “it acts as a warning to oil and gas companies – and their investors – about how quickly things can change.” Luke Sussams, of the Carbon Tracker Initiative, said, “The Chapter 11 filing highlighted the risks of fossil fuel assets becoming stranded because of tightening environmental regulations and the availability of cost-competitive renewable energy alternatives.”

At the same time, climate change activists Nicholas Stern and John Gummer assure us that “the difficulties facing the steel industry arise overwhelmingly because of overcapacity in world markets.”  I would agree, but the contradiction with attitudes towards the fossil fuel industry should trouble those arguing that fossil fuel reserves are threatened by climate change policies. (Coal is threatened by regulations addressing air pollution in China and India much more than climate change policies in the U.S. and Europe.) […]

Climate Tracker took exception to my post which argued that the impact of climate change policies on the value of petroleum reserves was insignificant, contradicting the very public attack on those like ExxonMobil who supposedly are defrauding shareholders by not disclosing this problem. Their basic argument is as follows: climate change policies will reduce the trajectory of energy demand, and high-cost projects will thus be at risk, meaning companies will lose money or at least their shares will underperform.

The reality is that high-cost projects are most at risk from low-cost projects, followed by slow demand (economic weakness), and climate change policies a distant third, at best. Indeed, from 2010 to 2014, global coal consumption increased by twice as much as wind and solar combined, and the rise of cheap natural gas in the U.S., along with the recent economic slowdown in China, are the main sources of the woes of the coal industry.

Full post

see also Threat To Value Of Fossil Fuel Resources Misplaced

7) And Finally: Teslas May Be Making Hong Kong’s Pollution & CO2 Emissions Worse
Bloomberg, 14 April 2016

Aibing Guo

Electric vehicles in Hong Kong may indirectly be the cause of almost 20 percent more carbon dioxide emissions than gasoline-fueled motors, undermining the city’s efforts to get ‘green’ cars on the road, according to Sanford C. Bernstein.

That’s because Hong Kong relies on coal for more than half its power generation, according to Neil Beveridge, a Hong Kong-based analyst at Bernstein. The city should focus on shifting its power mix toward natural gas and renewables first before encouraging the use of electric vehicles through incentives like tax breaks, he said.

“Electric vehicles only make sense in countries where the carbon intensity of electricity generation is low,” Beveridge wrote in a report published Wednesday.

“In Hong Kong, and more broadly China, electric vehicles are increasing rather than reducing pollution, with taxpayers effectively being asked to subsidize this.”

Hong Kong has more than 4,000 registered electric vehicles, including Tesla Motors Inc.’s Model S, which Bernstein used in its analysis, and Nissan Motor Co.’s Leaf.

Over a 150,000 kilometer lifetime, a Model S in Hong Kong may result in the release of 4.4 metric tons of carbon dioxide more than a BMW AG 320i, after accounting for the carbon intensity of the city’s power generation and the production of the car battery, as well as crude oil extraction, transportation and refining.

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