LONDON, Oct 10 (Reuters) – Governments are failing to deal
with rising fossil fuel prices, preferring price caps to win
votes and shield industry over efficiency measures which energy
agencies say are better value for money.
Energy subsidies have risen year on year since 2008, to $480
billion annually in 2011, according to International Monetary
Fund (IMF) figures. (See Chart 1)
LONDON, Oct 9 (Reuters) – Solar market fundamentals driven
by demand in Asia remain strong, meaning installed capacity
should continue to grow at current rates and could accelerate
given expected breakthroughs in residential electricity storage.
Until recently, equity investors did not necessarily feel
the benefits of market growth, as this was driven by lower
module prices and over-capacity which in turn have crushed
manufacturing profit and triggered bankruptcies.
LONDON, Oct 8 (Reuters) – A link between British grid
frequency – set by the speed at which power turbines spin – and
electricity prices suggests a trading opportunity in European
spot markets, where liquidity is rising to balance a more
variable power supply.
Traditionally, grid operators have focused on balancing
electricity generation with variation in demand, which peaks in
Britain at around 0900-1000 and 1830-1930 local time.
LONDON, Oct 3 (Reuters) – Backing artificial photosynthesis
is a risky bet for limited U.S. research funding and with many
competing plays in solar energy innovation.
One of the most scientifically ambitious projects to develop
clean energy – producing liquid fuel from sunlight, artificial
photosynthesis appears futuristic compared with the commercially
successful solar PV power.
LONDON, Oct 2 (Reuters) – While a U.S. Department of Energy
study has concluded that fossil fuel power plants can cope with
the physical stresses of balancing more renewable power, it
leaves unanswered the bigger question of the financial losses
The study focused on the costs of cycling, a term which
refers to the wear and tear from shutting down and restarting
power plants, as well as ramping up and down and operating at
LONDON, Oct 1 (Reuters) – A U.N. panel of climate scientists
has for the first time backed a limit on cumulative global
carbon emissions, in a so-called budget approach that is useful
but with certain limitations.
Carbon budgets estimate the maximum greenhouse gases that
countries can emit cumulatively for the world to stay below a
certain amount of global warming, and so are related to targets
that set an emissions limit in any particular year.
LONDON, Sept 25 (Reuters) – Britain’s carbon tax may well be
a casualty of a pledge by the opposition Labour Party to freeze
energy prices for 20 months if it wins the next election.
Labour leader Ed Miliband proposed the freeze in a move to
draw in voters who have been squeezed by four years of
austerity. (For a related column: )
LONDON, Sept 23 (Reuters) – German Chancellor Angela Merkel,
after her re-election, must now come up with an energy reform
that balances support for renewable power against the need to
keep gas-fired plants in operation to ensure reliable supply.
Gas-fired power is vital to ensure that Germany has enough
power on a still and cloudy day, but utilities are losing money
on gas plants and have been closing them down. Second-biggest
utility RWE, last month alone announced plans to
LONDON, Sept 18 (Reuters) – Industrial energy consumers can
help balance electricity grids and avoid deeper government
intervention in power markets, as part of global efforts to
integrate more wind and solar power, a new German scheme
However, the scheme also shows that involving energy
consumers in balancing electricity demand and supply is a big
step, and with complications.
LONDON, Sept 17 (Reuters) – Power prices in Europe have
diverged further this year than at any time since markets were
linked three years ago, showing how interconnector capacity is
failing to keep up with expanding German wind and solar
The European Commission views power price convergence as one
of its main energy goals. The overall aim is to raise net social
welfare by cutting power prices in isolated regions and smooth
peaks and troughs in demand and supply across the bloc.