This week’s roundup features figures showing that new German solar is now cheaper than new British nuclear, and that’s not even accounting for hidden nuclear subsidies, an article on the “Telegraph” website reporting (mostly) positively about solar power, figures showing that 2/3 of current solar capacity were installed in the last 2.5 years and that capacity will double again by 2015, a Bloomberg study saying that slashing Australia’s renewables target would increase instead of decreasing power prices, an article by Amory Lovins dissecting myths about Germany’s energy turnaround, Obama going in for naming and shaming climate contrarians in Congress, Denmark publishing a report on options to achieve its ambitious -40% emission target, India setting up a National Institute for Climate Change Studies and Actions in preparation for the 2015 climate conference in Paris, David Roberts doubting that climate science can be rendered conservative-friendly, the end of the Yasuni initiative, and more.
The blue miracle: Nils-Viktor Sorge notes in the German language Manager Magazine, not exactly an eco fundamentalist outlet, that new German solar is now cheaper than new nuclear in the UK. While EDF demands a guaranteed strike price of about 11.5 eurocents per kWh for building new nuclear plants in the UK, the German feed-in tariff for solar will soon fall below 10 cents. In addition, EDF demands the guaranteed price to apply for 35 years and to be adjusted for inflation, but Sorge doesn’t point out that the German feed-in tariff is provided only for 20 years and not adjusted for inflation. And all this also doesn’t take into account the vast hidden subsidies for nuclear, such as the grossly inadequate insurance requirements, which don’t even cover a fraction of the costs for things like Chernobyl and Fukushima.
Solar to trump shale: Also interesting to see the “Telegraph” website have a (mostly) positive article about solar. The Daily Telegraph and sister media are usually a haven for climate contrarians and the like. The article details how technology costs have cratered and concludes that, “The message is to shun static – dare I say Luddite – assumptions about the limits of solar power.”
2/3rds of Global Solar PV Has Been Installed in the Last 2.5 Years, Stephen Lacey reports. And the currently installed capacity of 100 GW is set to double again by 2015. The article also has some nice charts illustrating the exponential growth.
Slashing Australia’s renewables target would push up electricity bills, Bloomberg New Energy Finance says. Traditional utilities have been campaigning for a reduction of Australia’s current renewables target, arguing this would reduce consumer prices. Bloomberg says it would have the opposite effect as less renewables would mean less competition.
Separating Fact from Fiction In Accounts of Germany’s Renewables Revolution: Amory Lovins wrote a comprehensive debunking of some myths about the German energy turnaround: Germany’s alleged turn to coal (coal use is in fact currently rising, but that’s due to the positive price differential with gas, and no new coal plants have started to be constructed in years), alleged risks for grid reliability (grid is ticking along smoothly), and alleged negative impacts on Germany economy (the renewables surcharge has been artificially inflated by industry exemptions and is nonetheless no more than a drop in the bucket of households’ energy costs).
Obama goes in for naming an shaming: His campaign website now has a page calling on people to “call out the climate deniers” in Congress.
Can climate science be rendered conservative-friendly? David Roberts doubts it. He thinks US conservatives won’t be swayed no matter how scientists present the evidence. In his view, US conservatives deny that climate change is a problem because they hate the solutions that need to be pursued to deal with it, which require a much stronger role for government than US conservatives are willing to countenance.
Denmark publishes 78 project ideas to curb emissions: Sophie Yeo reports that the Danish government has put out a report analysing 78 possible projects to achieve its ambitious target to reduce emissions by 40% below 1990 levels by 2020.
Getting prepared for Paris: The Hindu reports that India is setting up a National Institute for Climate Change Studies and Actions, a dedicated think-tank that is to undertake and coordinate strategic, economic and scientific studies on climate policy. Studies to be undertaken are to deal with India’s emission trajectory, equity, and shaping the negotiation text for the new climate agreement that is supposed to be concluded in Paris in 2015.
Ecuador approves Yasuni park oil drilling in Amazon rainforest: The BBC reports that Ecuador’s president has given up on plans to not drill for oil in the Yasuni national park if compensated for the oil revenue thus forsaken. Basically no money had been forthcoming from donor countries. A sad end to an attempt at system change.
Das EEG-Umlagenmärchen oder die wundersame Vermehrung der EEG-Umlage: photovoltaikbuero.de argumentiert, dass der Anstieg der EEG-Umlage wenig mit dem Ausbau der Erneuerbaren zu tun habe, die Umlage sei in den letzten Jahres um ein Mehrfaches stärker gestiegen als die tatsächlich gezahlten Vergütungen. Ursächlich sei die Umstellung der Berechnungsmethode in 2010.
Kosten für Entlastung der Industrie von der EEG-Umlage drohen 2014 zu explodieren: Laut Deutscher Umwelthilfe drohen die Industrieausnahmen 2014 von 5 auf 7 Mrd. Euro zu steigen, was ebenfalls steigernd auf die EEG-Umlage wirkt. Zudem werde die Industrie dadurch entlastet, dass der Börsenstrompreis durch die Erneuerbaren immer weiter falle.