Oil Price Slump Good News for Solar Power?

As global oil prices hit a five-year low, the fossil fuel industry is facing a gathering storm that could spell great news for the solar power industry.

Source: www.pv-magazine.com

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Some analysts had suggested that cheaper oil could initially cause problems for the solar industry. With utilities able – but not guaranteed – to pass on gains to the consumer, the thirst for renewable energy could wane, analysts warned. “Such a scenario could destroy value on existing renewable energy projects and make it difficult to raise financing for future projects,” Peter Atherton, utility analyst at Liberum Capital, told the Guardian.

However, Deutsche Bank energy analyst Vishal Shah yesterday released a report that suggested there would be “limited/no impact from recent oil price weakness” on the solar industry, with PPA prices in the U.S. immune from oil fluctuations. In China, Shah added, government appetite to tackle air pollution also protects the solar industry from external volatility, while the U.S. residential solar market is even more insulated from external forces, which spells good news for companies like Solar City.

In Japan, energy advisor to the government and senior fellow at Mitsui Global Strategic Studies Institute Takashi Hongo told Bloomberg that “renewables are supported by policies, and that is not something that will be amended quickly just because oil prices fall,” suggesting there will be hardly any negative impact to the solar industry.

A warning shot was fired from Lin Boqiang, director of the Energy Economics Research Center at China’s Xiamen University, however. “If oil stays at current prices or weakens through the first half of next year, the impact on new energy would be massive,” Boqiang told Bloomberg. “Weakening oil prices would hamper the competitiveness of new energy.”

[…]

“The fact that oil is so unpredictable is one of the reasons why we must move to renewable energy, which has a completely predictable cost of zero for fuel,” urged Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change at the opening of the COP20 climate conference in Peru.

A changing tide
Following oil’s dramatic price fall last week, this week began with two seismic announcements that could hammer a further nail into the fossil fuel coffin. First, German utility E.ON announced that it is to pivot away from fossil fuels by 2016, pouring the majority of its resources into the development of renewable energy sources.

Then, a day later, the Bank of England (BOE) wrote a letter to the U.K. government’s Environment Audit Committee announcing that it is to formally begin examining the risks fossil fuel companies pose to financial stability.

BOE governor Mark Carney expressed his concern that much of the world’s proven coal, oil and gas reserves may be “unburnable” if the world is to keep global warming within safe limits.

“In light of discussions with officials, we will be deepening and widening our inquiry into the topic,” wrote Carney. “I expect the Financial Policy Committee to also consider this issue as part of its regular horizon-scanning work on financial stability risks.” […]”

Read more: http://www.pv-magazine.com/news/details/beitrag/is-the-oil-price-slump-a-boon-for-solar_100017395/#ixzz3LrUAGr88

 

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Canada loses WTO appeal in renewable energy case

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BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Canada lost an appeal at the World Trade Organization on Monday in a ruling on incentives offered to local companies, a case that has already led to legal challenges over suspicions…

Duane Tilden‘s insight:

>Ontario will have to bring its rules into line with the WTO rules or risk a claim for trade sanctions against Canada.<

>Canada’s defeat may spur more WTO disputes by countries which are desperate for economic growth and suspect their firms are being illegally locked out of infrastructure projects abroad.<

See on www.reuters.com

International Hydropower Association announces IHA World Congress – HydroWorld

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Members of the hydroelectric power community will convene in May for the International Hydropower Association’s World Congress for discussions concerning hydropower development around the world.

Duane Tilden‘s insight:

This Congress — titled “Advancing Sustainable Hydropower” — runs May 21-24, 2013, in Sarawak, Malaysia, and includes four days of interactive sessions and discussions designed not only to be informative, IHA said, but to test current strategies and stimulate future thinking.

See on www.hydroworld.com

Small Hydro Power for micro hydro power generation in streams & rivers. HydroWorld

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Read the hot small hydro power project news & technology.

Duane Tilden‘s insight:

Hydroelectric plants with a capacity of 20 MW or less are a valuable niche of the hydro industry, providing local power in underdeveloped countries and sources of new capacity in established markets.

See on www.hydroworld.com