Archive for August 2011

Renewables and the rise of private equity investment

Despite a scaling back of lavish subsidies amid government austerity programmes (and falling costs), the renewables sector is undergoing somewhat of a resurgence. This time last year, shares in the world’s largest wind turbine manufacturer, Vestas, had lost more than a fifth of their value after recording a second consecutive quarterly loss and issuing a … Continue reading »

Whatever happened to carbon capture and storage?

According to the International Energy Agency, the world will need 100 carbon capture and storage (CCS) plants by 2020 and 3400 by 2050 in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by half. That equates to building a CCS plant every three days from 2020. At present, however, there is not a single large-scale CCS facility … Continue reading »

Did the earthquake, not the tsunami, knock out the Fukushima Daiichi reactors?

A devastating tsunami, caused by a 9.0 magnitude earthquake on March 11, washed over the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in Japan and knocked out its emergency power systems, thus leading to a catastrophic loss of coolant and three core meltdowns. That is how the official story goes. But did the earthquake, measuring a comparatively weak … Continue reading »

Germany’s giant utilities are posting losses and slashing jobs – what’s going on?

German utility E.ON posted its first ever quarterly loss and is laying off up to 11,000 workers. Compatriot RWE is up the creek following Frau Merkel’s decision to abandon nuclear power. And investors are no longer deeming these utilities a ‘safe haven’ in turbulent financial times. What is going on? E.ON Germany’s biggest utility has … Continue reading »

Gazprom, Renova deal “dead in the water” reports FT

The proposed merger of Russian energy giant Gazprom’s power assets with those of Victor Vekselberg’s Renova Group, which would effectively re-nationalize Russia’s power sector, is ”dead in the water” reports the Financial Times. The newspaper says Russian authorities  have reached a consensus in opposition to the Gazprom’s plan to create the largest electricity generation company in Russia. … Continue reading »

Siemens splits renewables division into wind, solar/hydro units

Effective  October 1, Siemens is to split its renewables business into two units: Wind Power and Solar & Hydro. Wind turbines, solar power and components for hydro power plants form part of Siemens’ “Environmental Portfolio”, for which revenue totalled €28 billion ($40 billion) in 2010. Michael Suess, CEO of Siemens Energy, said: “We’re separating solar and … Continue reading »

Fukushima kills off UK’s Sellafield white elephant

After just ten years of troubled operation, the UK government-owned Nuclear Decommissioning Authority’s £1.4 billion Sellafield MOX Plant (SMP) is to be shut down. Built in 1996, but opened five years later, the SMP was designed to produce 120 tonnes of mixed-oxide nuclear fuel – a mixture of plutonium and depleted uranium – per year … Continue reading »

Britain to return to Electricity Pool if Labour elected in 2014/15?

UK Shadow Secretary for Energy and Climate Change Meg Hillier MP has written a very interesting article for the Labour-supporting blog Labour List, in which she proposes yet another electricity market reform, which sounds very similar to the Central Electricity Generating Board’s (CEGB) Electricity Pool model dismantled in 2001. The CEGB’s Pool required virtually all electricity … Continue reading »

Siemens to team up with Power Machines to supply gas turbines for Russia & CIS

Siemens is to create a joint venture with Russian manufacturer Power Machines OJSC to supply engineering, manufacturing and servicing of gas turbines in Russia and the other countries within the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). In a statement the German conglomerate said the joint venture, in which it will hold a 65 per cent stake, would … Continue reading »