Chinese national oil companies: giants built on shaky foundations

Sinopec headquarters Beijing (photo Remko Tanis)

Chinese state-owned enterprises, China’s national oil companies foremost among them, have incurred phenomenal debts – higher than the country’s total GDP. So far they have been bailed out by the government, but this just shifts the problem one level up,  to China Inc as a whole, writes geophysicist  (ex-Shell) Jilles van den Beukel. Van den Beukel explains how China’s national oil companies Sinopec, CNPC and CNOOC got into this fix and why the … [Read more...]

Will Trumpism, Brexit, and geopolitical exceptionalism sink the planet? 

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber Climate Change Envoy of the UAE (photo UN)

The future pace of climate change will be determined as much by geopolitical factors as by technological developments in the energy sector, writes energy expert and author Michael T. Klare. While immense progress is being made in bringing down the price of wind and solar power, the political will to turn such developments into meaningful global change may be diminishing. Article courtesy of … [Read more...]

South Africa’s rapid energy transition derails its giant nuclear and coal projects

Gouda wind farm South Africa (photo Discott)

South Africa shows how quick an energy transition can be. In four years, the country’s renewable energy program has mushroomed, while the building of coal power stations and the planning of a $50-$100 billion nuclear power project have come to a grinding halt. Recent events, however, have raised some uncertainty for renewables, writes South African based science writer Leonie Joubert. Article courtesy of the Energy Transition blog. … [Read more...]

How Paris will change global emissions accounting

opening of Paris climate conference 30 Nov 2015 (photo UN)

The Paris Agreement will lead to important changes in the way greenhouse gas emissions are accounted for and how they could be traded internationally. David Hone, Chief Climate Change Advisor with Royal Dutch Shell, looks at the implications of the Paris Agreement and concludes that it will probably lead to a more robust and enduring carbon market. … [Read more...]

Tesla Gigafactory 1 – will it succeed or fail?

Tesla Gigafactory (photo Stephen J Veneruso)

The success or failure of the Tesla Gigafactory, which opened in July in Nevada could have far-reaching consequences for the transition to renewables and electric cars. Stephen J. Veneruso attended the opening and took a good hard look at the people involved in this huge project. He concludes that they don’t regard it as an ordinary job. Article courtesy of … [Read more...]

Energy policies of the U.S. presidential candidates

photo Jeff Gates

“There is still much that needs to be investigated in the field of ‘climate change’”, says one. “When it comes to climate change, the science is crystal clear”, says the other. “Save the coal industry”, says one. “Quickly move to make a bridge from coal to natural gas to clean energy,” states the other. Allan Hoffman, author of the blog Thougts of a Lapsed Physicist, investigates the positions of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton on climate and … [Read more...]

Energy prices, not capacity mechanisms, are key to ensuring reliability at the lowest cost

Electricity (photo Thomas Hawk)

Electricity generators often claim that prices cannot fully reflect the value of the reliability they offer the market. Hence they insist they need separate capacity payments to justify investments. But according to Mike Hogan of the Regulatory Assistance Project (RAP), the current energy market design is fully able to reflect the value of reliability, even if it doesn’t always do so in practice. In a new report, he describes a smarter approach, … [Read more...]