Green Energy Catastrophe
By Paul Homewood
A round up of today’s energy news from around the world:
1) SunEdison, The World’s Largest Green Energy Company Is Facing Bankruptcy.
SunEdison, which bills itself as the world’s largest green energy company, may soon file for bankruptcy protection, according to a recent Securities and Exchange Commission filing, as the company faces “liquidity difficulties” despite getting millions in government subsidies.
An SEC filing from TerraForm Global, a unit of SunEdison, claims “due to SunEdison’s liquidity difficulties, there is a substantial risk that SunEdison will soon seek bankruptcy protection.” Both SunEdison and TerraForm are delaying the filing of their annual financial report to the SEC.
News of SunEdison’s impending bankruptcy filing comes after the company’s shares fell 95 percent in the past 12 months, with shares now trading for less than $1 for the first time since the green energy company went public in 1995. SunEdison’s market value fell from $10 billion in July 2015 to around $400 million today.
The news also comes after the SEC announced it was launching an investigation into SunEdison’s disclosures to shareholders regarding the company’s liquidity. SEC enforcement officials “are looking into whether SunEdison overstated its liquidity last fall when it told investors it had more than $1 billion in cash,” according to The Wall Street Journal.
2) Spain’s Abengoa Files for Chapter 15 Bankruptcy in U.S.
Abengoa SA has filed for bankruptcy protection in the U.S. as the Spanish energy company continues talks with its banks and bondholders to agree on its plan to restructure billions of dollars in debt. The bankruptcy filing comes after Abengoa struck a deal with key creditors that gives it more time—through Oct. 28—to continue negotiations on restructuring its debts, which court papers show total more than €14.6 billion ($16.48 billion). The company hopes the U.S. bankruptcy will provide extra breathing room for these talks.
3) TATA to sell UK steel operation
Britain’s steel industry was plunged into crisis last night with thousands of jobs at risk after reports that Tata Steel is to leave Britain. At least 4,000 jobs and the reputation of Wales as the crucible of British steelworking were in jeopardy as sources indicated that the owner of the giant Port Talbot steel mills no longer wanted to invest hundreds of millions of pounds in the UK industry. Port Talbot is thought to be losing £300 million a year as the steel it produces for the automotive and consumer goods industries fails to be competitively priced in a market racked by stock-dumping in the Far East and at home by punitive domestic environmental and energy consumption taxes.
4) The GWPF calls for the fifth carbon budget to be delayed
The Global Warming Policy Forum is calling on the Government to delay the 5th Carbon Budget and scrap Britain’s unilateral Carbon Floor Price both of which are contributing to the crisis of UK steel and other energy intensive industries. Britain’s Carbon Floor Price is a unilateral carbon tax at a floor price of £18 per tCO2. It is more than four times higher than the EU’s current carbon price which is less than £4 (€4.80 on 30 March 2016). The GWPF has been consistently warning about the rising policy cost of electricity prices which are expected to increase by 47% by 2020 for large industrial energy consumers. The UK’s extra large users of electricity are already paying nearly twice as much for power as the EU average.
GWPF director Dr Benny Peiser said:
“Energy intensive industries – including UK steel – are facing a growing competitiveness crisis. Britain’s unilateral climate policies are racking up electricity prices and are adding to the cost burden.”
“In light of the existential crisis of the steel and other energy-intensive industries, the Government should delay setting new unilateral CO2 targets and scrap the Carbon Price Floor that are hitting UK manufacturers. They also need to bear down on the growing costs of renewable energy subsidies.”
5) China Stops Building Wind Turbines Because Most Of The Energy Is Wasted
The Chinese government isn’t building any new wind turbines because most of the new electricity created was wasted, causing serious damage to the country’s electrical grid. The government stopped approving new wind power projects in the country’s windiest regions earlier this month, according to a China’s National Energy Administration statement. Government statistics show that 33.9 billion kilowatt-hours of wind-power, or about 15 percent of all Chinese wind power, was wasted in 2015 alone.
Beijing has ordered wind operators to stop expanding four times in the last five years because unreliable wind power was damaging the country’s power grid and costing the government enormous amounts of money. The best areas for wind turbines in China are far away from the coastal provinces where most of its population lives, and building the infrastructure to transmit wind energy over long distances is enormously expensive and could cost many times the price of generating the electricity.
6) EDF engineers urge delay for Hinkley Point C
EDF’s engineers have circulated a paper to all executives internally counselling against developing the Hinkley Point C nuclear power project.
The white paper said that the “realistic service date was 2027” due to the size of the project, continuing design modifications to the European Pressurised Reactor system and the “very low” competency of French supplier Areva in making some of the large components.
The company’s engineers don’t believe in the existing design, pointing to the delays experienced in Finland and France. The paper, seen by the Financial Times, makes the case for a “new EPR”, calling on the company to redesign the current reactor technology to make it smaller, cheaper to build and less complicated.