High gas prices have triggered a resurgence in electricity generation from coal as it becomes the cheaper option. Britain could see its first increase in carbon emissions in six years if coal-fired power plants continue to undercut gas ones, according to Imperial College London. Coal plants were the biggest source of electricity as recently as 2013 but their share of the energy mix fell precipitously and they supplied less than 7 per cent of UK power last year. Their demise was driven by environmental legislation, carbon pricing, which penalises polluting coal more than cleaner burning gas, and low gas prices. However, gas prices have risen over recent months after supply disruptions and low storage levels, and are at ten-year highs. That has made coal competitive once more, despite rising European carbon prices.
Times 18th Sept 2018 read more »
Britain’s ability to meet its emissions targets is being challenged by a comeback for coal power stations that threatens to drive up the energy sector’s carbon emissions for the first time in six years. Coal plants have become more economic to run than their gas counterparts in the past month because wholesale gas prices have hit 10-year highs. A report by Imperial College London said the extra coal-burning had increased emissions by 15% in September, equivalent to an extra 1,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide per hour. If the trend continues in the coming months, the sector’s emissions would rise by as much as 1.2 million tonnes this year, according to researchers at the university. The energy sector is the UK’s second biggest emitter after transport. However, it has been the economy’s standout success for cutting emissions in recent years because of the rapid growth in renewables and the phaseout of coal.
Guardian 17th Sept 2018 read more »
Almost two dozen Conservative MPs are threatening to rebel against the government’s proposal to allow shale gas exploration to proceed without planning permission. In July, ministers launched a consultation on whether seismic surveys and test drilling for hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, should be treated as “permitted development” in England, removing the need for planning approval. But Conservative MPs have told the Financial Times that “at least 20” party backbenchers are willing “to destroy the government’s majority” if ministers seek to push the proposal through parliament. The government’s working majority in the Commons is 13, and that is only with the help of Democratic Unionist party MPs. Labour has said it would ban fracking if it wins the next general election. One Tory MP warned: “There is a clear problem emerging for the government on fracking and they need to start taking notice. Enough of us feel enraged to fight these proposals.” According to the consultation, planning permission would still be required for fracking, which involves injecting of water, sand and chemicals at high pressure to open cracks in the rock to extract oil or natural gas. The government is considering whether earlier exploratory work could proceed without it.
FT 18th Sept 2018 read more »
Royal Dutch Shell has set out plans to limit methane emissions, following rivals who have pledged to reduce pollution from the greenhouse gas that contributes to global warming. The Anglo-Dutch energy company said on Monday it would keep methane emissions below 0.2 per cent of the total natural gas extracted and transported from projects it operates by 2025. For some projects intensity can be as high as 0.8 per cent. Methane is the principal component of natural gas and is released into the atmosphere through leaks in energy infrastructure, such as wells, pipes and pumps.
FT 17th Sept 2018 read more »
Energy Voice 18th Sept 2018 read more »
ING, the Dutch bank, will start assessing its $600bn lending portfolio based on climate impact, a first step in shifting the entire portfolio to align with the emissions reductions required by the Paris climate agreement. The policy, the first of its kind for a big bank, will include putting pressure on clients whose businesses do not conform with the climate goals of the agreement.
FT 17th Sept 2018 read more »