Germany’s SolarWorld, once Europe’s biggest solar power equipment group, said on Wednesday it would file for insolvency, overwhelmed by Chinese rivals who had long been a thorn in the side of founder and CEO Frank Asbeck, once known as “the Sun King”. A renewed wave of cheap Chinese exports, caused by reduced ambitions in China to expand solar power generation, was too much to bear for the group, which made its last net profit in 2014. —Reuters, 11 May 2017
The company once hailed as Europe’s largest solar panel producer filed for bankruptcy Wednesday, blaming cheap Chinese panels for flooding the market. SolarWorld is only the latest bankrupt solar company to blame the Chinese. U.S.-based Suniva Inc. filed for bankruptcy in April, also citing stiff competition from Chinese solar panel makers. The solar industry’s biggest problem is likely the very mechanism that led to its rise: lucrative subsidies. European subsidies, mostly in Germany, led to a massive expansion of the companies green energy industry, but eventually subsidies became their undoing as cheaper solar panels from China began to win out. –Michael Bastasch, The Daily Caller, 11 May 2017
More than 100 coal power plants are in various stages of planning or development in 11 African countries outside of South Africa — more than eight times the region’s existing coal capacity. Africa’s embrace of coal is in part the result of its acute shortage of power. –Jonathan W. Rosen, National Geographic, 10 May 2017
As part of a large infrastructure investment project with China, Pakistan is committed to spending $15 billion on as many as 12 new coal power plants over the next 15 years. The government insists that the new plants will use technology to reduce their carbon dioxide emissions. But the nation’s minister for planning, development and reform, Ahsan Iqbal, sounds downright Trumpian in his view of the nation’s future energy policy: “Pakistan must tap [its] vast underground reserves of 175 billion tonnes of coal, adequate to meet the country’s energy needs for several decades, for powering the country’s economic wheel, creating new jobs, and fighting spiking unemployment and poverty.” –Jamie Condliffe, MIT Technology Review, 3 May 2017
Former Vice President Al Gore personally asked President Donald Trump not to withdraw the U.S. from a United Nations agreement aimed at limiting global warming, a source revealed. Gore called Trump Tuesday morning to discuss the Paris Agreement that the Obama administration joined in 2016, the source told Axios. “Mr. Gore made the case for why the U.S. should stay in the agreement and meet our commitments,” a source close to Gore said. —Daily Caller, 10 May 2017
EOG Resources, the so-called “Apple of oil,” matched Q1 earnings views late Monday and beat revenue forecasts, while the shale producer touted record performance from its new Permian Basin wells. Meanwhile, other shale producers are looking into technologies normally associated with Silicon Valley, Last week, Pioneer Natural Resources said its looking into using artificial intelligence to help ensure it always drills for oil in the best places and is working with Oak Ridge National Laboratory to test advanced materials and coatings. —Investor’s Business Daily, 8 May 2017
Here’s a quiz; no conferring. To the nearest whole number, what percentage of the world’s energy consumption was supplied by wind power in 2014, the last year for which there are reliable figures? Was it 20 per cent, 10 per cent or 5 per cent? None of the above: it was 0 per cent. That is to say, to the nearest whole number, there is still no wind power on Earth. –Matt Ridley, The Spectator, 11 May 2017
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