Australian Government Bans Renewable Energy Subsidies

zero carbon homeAustralia has slammed the door shut on any new government-funded investment in renewable energy schemes as Prime Minister Tony Abbott extends his “war on wind power”. The new directive banning investing in existing wind technology will also apply to small-scale solar projects. In doing so Mr Abbott has sent a clear message to the mendicant green renewable energy sector that there will be no more cheap state-supplied financing for its projects. The funding ban is just the latest salvo in the government’s attacks on the renewable energy sector which also includes small-scale solar projects. –Simon Kent, Breitbart News, 12 July 2015

Scottish energy minister Fergus Ewing is to chair an emergency summit with the green energy sector amid concerns about the impact of the UK Government’s decision to end a subsidy scheme for onshore wind farms. Representatives from 130 businesses and communities, who are all affected by the scrapping of the Renewables Obligation, will take parts in the talks.  First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and others in the Scottish Government have already spoken out against plans to end the subsidy payments a year ahead of schedule, while industry leaders Scottish Renewables has warned the move could put up to ¬£3bn of investment in Scotland at risk. —STV News, 9 July 2015

A plan to make all new homes “zero carbon” from next year has been abandoned by the government in a move which house builders say will save the average buyer ¬£2,500. Builders will no longer be forced to install solar panels, heat pumps and other measures to reduce the need for new homes to use fossil fuels. George Osborne, the chancellor, also cancelled plans to require builders to offset carbon dioxide emissions from new homes by paying for reductions elsewhere, such as insulation for existing homes or LED street lighting. –Ben Webster, The Times, 11 July 2015

The chancellor’s decision to make renewable energy generators pay the climate change levy has cast a cloud over wind and solar power investment funds at a time when many income investors were assessing their prospects. Although none of the high yielding investment companies has suffered as badly as Drax Group, the green power plant operator whose shares plunged 25% last week, the abolition of levy exemption certificates (LECs) has dented valuations in the sector and again highlighted the political risks in clean energy investment. Analysts said the surprise move was a blow to the sector. –Gavin Lumsden, Citywire, 13 July 2015

Since 2000, developing countries like China, India, Vietnam, and Indonesia have been building coal-fired power plants at a rapid pace. The bottom line? There’s a large amount of coal capacity being planned worldwide, some 2,177 plants in all. Not all of these coal plants will actually get finished — many are getting sunk by local opposition or economic headwinds. But if even one-third of these planned plants get built, we run a high risk of busting through the 2¬∞C global warming threshold. And right now, we’re on track to do just that. –Brad Plumer, Vox, 9 July 2015

If there is one topic that illustrates the state of climate science it is that of the so-called “pause” or hiatus ‚Äì the observational fact that global surface annual average temperatures, as well as satellite data on the lower troposphere, hasn’t changed for a decade or more. Last month a paper in Science by Karl et al 2015 received a lot of publicity because many journalists and commentators, as well as some scientists who consider themselves to be a little of both, suggested that a revision in ocean temperature measurements removed the “pause” altogether. Now from the same journal comes another paper by Nieves et al, accepted for publication a month after Karl et al, that describes the “pause” and seeks an explanation for it in the way heat moves through the layers of the ocean. It will be very interesting to see how the media react to this paper given that so many proclaimed Karl et al as the “answer” to the pause in the sense that it did not exist. –David Whitehouse, Global Warming Policy Forum, 9 July 2015