FT Energy News 6 January

January 6, 2011

US pins blame for BP spill (Page 1)

Systematic failures by the management of BP and other companies led to the Macondo well blow-out in the Gulf of Mexico last year, the official US inquiry has concluded, warning that industry complacency could cause a similar accident again. The report will be published on Tuesday and delivers a scathing verdict on the procedures followed by BP and its contractors on the project, Halliburton and Transocean.

Spill fears fail to bring curb on deepwater oil drilling (Page 2)

MPs will today rule out a moratorium on deepwater drilling in the North Sea but urge oil and gas companies to address shortcomings in their response plans to spills. A report by the Commons energy and climate change committee calls on the government to ensure that standardised response plans are replaced by site-specific guidelines that take into account local conditions.

China keeps turbines turning as European cuts affect demand (Page 23)

Government budget cuts will slow growth in the European wind power industry this year, but surging demand from China is helping advance the global push behind green energy according to Vestas Wind Systems, the world’s biggest wind turbine maker. Growth in new wind energy installations in Europe is forecast to shrink from 14% in 2010 to 1% this year, according to analysts at Citigroup.


FT Energy News 3rd November

November 3, 2010

Oil spill costs to cut into BP pay-out (Page 1)

BP will adopt a far less generous dividend policy when it reinstates its payout to investors in an effort to restore growth at BP.

Minister seeks to calm wind farm fears (Page 4)

The government has sought to allay concerns that North Sea wind farm operators might lose their leases to make way for oil and gas exploration, saying they could receive financial compensation in such circumstances.

BP sees rays of hope after darkest hour (Page 19)

On Tuesday BP was able to show evidence of a tentative recovery at the oil group as BP announced that underlying profits for the third quarter were up 18% from a year ago, helped by stronger oil and natural gas prices, as well as a strong performance from its refining business. BP also announced progress on its asset disposal programme, planned at $30bn by the end of 2011, with sales agreements totalling about $14bn.

BG raises Brazilian reserve estimate (Page 19)

BG Group has added 2.7bn barrels of oil equivalent to its reserves estimate for three of its fields offshore Brazil.

FT Energy News 26th October

October 26, 2010

Green bank plan to make spring debut (Page 2)

Full details of the coalition’s plan for a green investment bank will be set out in the spring of next year. Additional funds to the £1bn will be made available to the bank from asset sales.

Go-ahead for wind energy to generate 70,000 jobs (Page 2)

David Cameron has said £60m of spending earmarked for upgrading British ports to make them suitable for handling large offshore turbines would go ahead, resulting in 70,000 ‘green jobs’.

BP to sell four Gulf of Mexico fields (Page 20)

BP has agreed to sell its interests in four deepwater fields in the Gulf of Mexico to Japan’s Marubeni Oil for $650m as part of a move to cut its capital spending and rebalance its portfolio of assets in the wake of the Macondo oil spill disaster.

Financial Times Energy News 18th October

October 18, 2010

Huhne backs nuclear power surge (Page 2)

The way will be cleared for the next generation of nuclear power stations on Monday with the publication of a revised list of suitable sites and clearer guidelines on how they can be used. The proposed new plants are not expected to be operational before 2018. Funding is expected to be cut for a 10-mile barrage across the SDevern that could have generated about 5% of the UK’s electricity.

Low gas prices to reshape industry (Page 24)

Low US natural gas prices intensify pressure on producers, with analysts expecting many to form joint ventures and to sell off assets to raise cash. Prices have been trading at about $3-$4/mBtu down from the record $13.69/mBtu reached in 2008.

IPO for Enel’s renewables unit to test investor appetite (Page 24)

Enel, the partially privatised Italian utility, plans to sell as much as €3.4bn worth of shares in its diversified renewables business, which is present in 16 countries and includes geothermal, hydro, solar and photovoltaic, biomass and wind energy. Enel Green Power (EGP) hopes to reverse the trend of falling renewables prices by offering a more diversified portfolio.

Big subsidies for wind lead to four-year investment plan (Page 24)

EGP plans to invest 90% of its projected capital expenditure in wind over the next four years. UBS expects subsidies for wind and solar across Europe could surge from €11bn in 2010 to €13bn in 2015.

Financial Times Energy News 13th October

October 13, 2010

Curbs on deepwater drilling lifted early (Page 6)

The Obama administration lifted its moratorium on deepwater drilling ahead of schedule, saying new environmental and safety regulations had significantly reduced the risks of a big accident; however some cautioned it was a meaningless gesture, oil groups still faced a long process before oil production could be ramped up as they wait for drilling permits.

Soco shares hit Vietnam setback (Page 19)

Shares in Soco International, the Asia-focused oil and gas explorer, fell sharply yesterday after it said it would abandon an appraisal well off the coast of Vietnam. Although drilling tests had showed oil and gas in commercial quantities, a lack of reservoir pressure meant it flowed at “sub-commercial” rates.

Google heads the search for offbeat tech investments (Page 25)

Google have invested hundreds of millions of dollars behind companies working on driverless cars, wind turbines, lunar robots, genetic profiling and human-powered monorails. Google this week annou8nced it was joining a multibillion-dollar venture in wind power off the US east coast. Google said this midatlantic “backbone transmission” project offers “a solid financial return while helping to accelerate offshore wind development – so it’s both good business and good for the environment”.

Reply to Consultation on Domestic Export Tariff

January 7, 2009

Hey Folks,

The CER and ESB Customer Supply are coming together to offer an export tariff to domestic home owners. So the idea is that if you install a Wind turbine, a Solar PV panel, or a Micro-CHP, you will be in a position to sell electricity to back to the grid for profit. The drawback is that the rate they propose to pay you will be far less than what you currently the pay for electricity. (this is explained by the difference between retail and wholesale prices. Anyway, you can find their proposal here. I’m responding to the consultation and am blogging it here. Sorry for all the acronyms, but hey… thats what google is for…


Dear Sir/Madam,

I am delighted to have this opportunity to comment on your proposal to develop an export tariff for Domestic customers and hope that my comments are helpful and useful. Congratulations to both yourselves and to ESB Customer Supply (ESBCS) on taking this initiative.

My comments on the ESBCS proposal

Financial approach – The proposal set out by ESBCS appears to be a largely based on a simple financial calculation. This does not take into account subtle softer benefits of such generators which tend to encourage their owners to be more aware of energy use, and so reduce consumption, particularly at peak times. This will act to help Ireland Inc. reduce our National GHG emissions and improve security of supply.

Benefits of embedded generation – The proposal does not seem to recognise the benefits of such embedded generation in reducing system losses and generally strengthening the grid.

Need for increased dispatchable capacity on the grid – As identified in Eirgrid’s report on Generation Adequacy report 08, Ireland requires more installed generation plant. This initiative could act to provide some or all of that capacity.

Danger of channelling funding through ESBCS – While I understand the attractiveness of using ESBCS to provide this scheme, doing so is to create a further barrier to other suppliers entering the residential market. Could a system similar to the WPDRS be used to allow all suppliers to provide such a tariff with your support.

Though the proposal suggested that the approximate price comparison between wholesale and retail electricity is two thirds, the price of 9c/kWh is not two thirds of the published domestic kWh tariff, of 16.4c/kWh.


General  comments

Environmental approach – The proposal does not focus on the environmental benefits of many of the likely technologies to be included in the scheme.

Capacity/Reserve/AER/Wind/REFIT/WPDRS tariff structures – In the past financial structures have been created to facilitate generators which bring benefits to the system which are not simply kWh based. I propose that a similar pragmatic approach be taken here.

Licence to build/generate – Using the current structure, registration of such a large number of generators by yourselves will create great challenges for both the generator owners and yourselves. Is a simpler solution being developed?

The existing Grid Code is not suitable for consumption of domestic generator owners, though the risk their generators will create is potentially greater than all the existing capacity on the grid. Is a more suitable guide/code on the way for their benefit?

Of all the benefits I have mentioned here, greater benefits could be exploited by introducing a similar scheme for small and medium businesses. Could such a scheme be fast-tracked for their benefit.


In conclusion

I believe that the potential scale, environment and security of supply benefits of this scheme are being severely underestimated by this proposal. Furthermore I disagree with asking ESBCS to act as the main agent for the scheme. Provision of funding could be provided by the CER to be paid to any supplier who offers such a tariff. Finally I believe that the administrative burdens this will create are significant, and should not be underestimated.

While I congratulate you greatly on the proposal, I do believe that a larger tariff should be introduced considering the benefits the scheme will bring. A simple net metering structure would provide a far greater incentive and a greater benefit to us all.





Wind energy is good news for… the wind…

August 4, 2008