July 10, 2014

How Opposite Energy Policies Turned The Fukushima Disaster Into A Loss For Japan And A Win For Germany

“Japan has nine times Germany’s renewable energy resources. Yet Japan makes about nine times less of its electricity from renewables (excluding hydro power) than Germany does. That’s not because Japan has inferior engineers or weaker industries, but only because Japan’s government allows its powerful allies — regional utility monopolies — to protect their profits by blocking competitors,” writes Amory Lovins, the Chief Scientist of the Rocky Mountain Institute, in a detailed analysis of the how the two countries responded to the Fukushima disaster and what it means for renewables and fossil fuel generation.

Suggested Tweet: How Opposite Energy Policies Turned The Fukushima Disaster Into A Loss For Japan & A Win For Germany http://ow.ly/yUqzX @AmoryLovins

The Australian coal export terminal that won’t be built

“Market conditions suggest that Newcastle’s T4 [70 million tonnes per annum] coal terminal is extremely unlikely to be built … Analysts and investors who look at this project will quickly see that it is an extremely risky proposition. Current [Newcastle] coal loading facilities are under-utilised by 30 per cent – even they are on shaky ground at the moment. The last thing that the Port of Newcastle needs right now is another massive coal loader sitting idle,” writes Tim Buckley in RenewEconomy.

Suggested Tweet: The Australian #coal export terminal that won’t be built http://bit.ly/1meaisM #auspol #Newcastle #IEEFA


Indonesian coal plant stalled by landowners

A consortium of Adaro Energy, J-Power and Itochu has declared force majeure to its main engineering contractors hired to build the 2,000 megawatt (MW) Central Java Power Plant. Adaro, which issued a media statement 10 days after informing the contractors, stated that its failure to acquire approximately 15 per cent of the land needed for the project meant it could not proceed further with the project at this stage. The proposed coal power station has been opposed by local communities and Greenpeace Southeast Asia due to the health impacts from pollution on residents and the impact on farmers and the small-scale fishing industry. (Jakarta Globe, Adaro Energy)

top news

Push to axe US Export-Import Bank restrictions on coal: Pro-coal Democrats are pushing to amend legislation re-authorising the US Export-Import Bank and remove restrictions limiting the financing of coal projects to rare circumstances in the poorest countries. While environmental groups are pressing, at a minimum, for the restrictions to be maintained, conservative Republicans are pressing for the abolition of the bank, citing coal and other lending as “corporate welfare.” (The Hill, Sierra Club)

South African company lobbies Eskom for coal contract: Senior staff at the government-owned utility Eskom rejected a proposal to enter into a coal supply agreement with Idwala Coal Crypts, a company revealed to have been illegally mining a wetland. Subsequently the businessman Atul Gupta, whose family company part owns the mine, lobbied Eskom chairman Zola Tsotsi to approve the deal. The Gupta family have close ties with President Jacob Zuma. (Times Live)

Coal pollution fuels rise in miscarriages in Mongolia’s capital: A study of 10,000 pregnant women has revealed that the risk of miscarriages in Mongolia’s capital city, Ulaanbaatar, increases fourfold in winter. David Warburton, a doctor at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, attributed the increase primarily to pollution, 80 per cent of which originates from coal use. “We must either completely stop using coal or clean coal extremely well. Also, if heat loss in homes is reduced, coal use will be reduced,” he said. (The UB Post)
West Virginia households wary of water supply after chemical spill: A US Centers for Disease Control report has revealed that a fifth of 171 households surveyed reported health effects after a spill of a coal-processing chemical contaminated the water supply of 300,000 residents downstream. The report, which was written in April, revealed that less than half of the households surveyed thought their water supply was safe after officials lifted the ‘Do Not Use’ order imposed after the January 9 spill. (Charleston Gazette)

US coal ‘highway’ fails in bid to avoid full environmental review: The Federal Highway Administration (FHA) has decided that a full environmental review will be required of the ‘Coalfields Expressway’, a proposed highway in Virginia designed to allow strip mining for coal along a 26-mile- long highway corridor. The FHA had received 85,000 submissions expressing concern about impacts of the proposed road on water quality and health. (Times Dispatch, Sierra Club)

“Events in the thermal coal market are not going to get more exciting over the next few years … [the commodity] Super-Cycle only ends once … Now seems like a good time to drift away,”

wrote leading coal analyst Michael Parker at Sanford C. Bernstein in a note explaining why he’s moving away from energy to be the firm’s Asia Pacific equity strategist.


China: China and US formalise CCS deal between China Huaneng and Summit Power Group.

Czech Republic: Government considers buyout of floundering coal company.

Mozambique: Tax Authority head rejects Vale’s lower tax bid as threat to budget “sustainability.”

Netherlands: RWE delays start of new 1600 MW Eemshaven plant by six months due to boiler faults.
New Zealand: Bathurst Resources shunned as only five per cent of share offer bought.

South Africa: Zululand Anthracite Colliery fined for decade of illegal mining but aims to keep going.

US: Debt-laden Walter Energy declares ‘force majeure’ over debt due for Vancouver exports.

“In the course of our surveys, we found that many companies are in the zombie state but they have taken up a large amount of credit,”

said Liu Shiyu, a Chinese deputy central bank governor. Shiyu suggested that companies in the coal, steel and several other sectors of the economy should change their business strategy or use the bankruptcy law.

companies + markets

Tata Power offloads shares in Indonesian miner: Indian power company Tata Power has signed an option to sell a 5 per cent stake in Kaltim Prima Coal (KPC) for US$250 million and its 30 per cent stake in KPC power generation companies to a Bakrie Group subsidiary. Tata Power stated that it sold its stake in KPC because it was “facing under-recovery and cash flow challenges” due to losses on its 4000 MW Mundra Ultra Mega Power Project. (Tata Power)

European Union funds new UK coal plant with CCS: The European Union has allocated US$408 million towards the cost of building a new 426 MW coal-fired power station fitted with Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS). The White Rose CCS Project is proposed to be built next to the Drax Power Station and capture 90 per cent of its carbon dioxide emissions. Funding for the White Rose project accounted for 30 per cent of the funds allocated. (European Union, White Rose CCS)

New Mongolian coal plant to power copper project: The Mongolian Cabinet has approved a proposal to build a 450 MW coal-fired plant at the Tavan Tolgoi coal mine. The project, which will increase the domestic capacity of the Mongolian grid by approximately 40 per cent, is to supply the Oyu Tolgoi copper mine. The mine is majority owned by Turquoise Hill Resources, a subsidiary of Rio Tinto. (InfoMongolia.com)
Asian Development Bank considers funding new Bangladesh coal plant: The Asian Development Bank has included US$300 million in funding towards the construction of a 700 MW coal-fired power plant at Maheshkhali in its latest Country Operations Business Plan for Bangladesh. The plant is one of a suite of proposals at the site, with the Japan International Cooperation Agency recently committing to lending $4.53 billion for the 1200 MW Matarbari coal-fired plant, river dredging, coal import terminal and land acquisition. (The Financial Express, CoalSwarm)
Chinese coal company offloads coal to gas and chemicals: Datang Power, a private power producer, has announced that it will sell two coal-to-gas projects and a coal-to-chemical project. Nomura Research noted that problems at two of the plants which were recently commissioned have “continuously tested ... investors' patience” and that the sale would remove the “biggest overhang on the stock.” (Platts)

“While the developing world is advised to adopt low-carbon growth strategies, the developed world appears to be intensifying its own energy and fossil fuel-led growth. India can expose this hypocrisy only if it refuses to be complicit. India's economic future and prosperity are best served by leading the shift from fossil fuels to renewable and clean energy,”

writes Shyam Saran, a former Indian foreign secretary, and current chairman of the Indian Government’s National Security Advisory Board.


Disaster Response and Recovery Needs of Communities Affected by the Elk River Chemical Spill, West Virginia, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, April 2014. (Pdf)
This report details the responses to a survey of 171 households after the spill of a coal-processing chemical which resulted in 100,000 West Virgina homes being left without clean drinking water.
Clear the air: How Eskom’s coal kills, groundWork, June 2014. (Video)

This 7-minute video provides a great overview of the controversy over air pollution and the health impacts from Eskom’s coal-fired power stations in the Highveld region in South Africa.
Colombian coal in Europe: Imports by Enel as a case study, SOMO Briefing Paper, May 2014. (Pdf)

This report reviews the role of publicly-owned utility Enel in importing coal from Colombia and an overview of the coal importers corporate social responsibility PR initiative, Bettercoal.

“The Emerging Power of Microgrids", Ensia, July 2014.

This article provides a good overview of the development of renewable powered microgrids which are emerging as a viable alternative to conventional fossil fuel power electricity grids.

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