Energy round-up: Germany’s renewables revolution
Photo credit: Luke,Ma
September 20, 2013 // By: Aniol Esteban
Three things you shouldn't miss this week
Chart of the week: German energy prices on the futures market versus economic breakeven of different types of power plants
Gas - Natural gas, Braunkohle – Brown coal, Steinkohle - Hard coal, Atomkraft – nuclear
- The Economic and Political Consequences of the Last 10 Years of Renewable Energy Development – A lot of rather unusual things have been happening in the Germany power sector lately, from negative prices, to utilities closing down brand new power plants and, naturally, a ferocious debate as to whether to cut support for renewable energy (as has already been done in Spain).
- The peak in world oil production is yet to come – Certainly world oil production did not stop growing in 2005. Last year's total was estimated by the EIA to be 4.8 million barrels higher each day than it had been in 2005.
It’s election time in Germany and energy policy is high on the agenda. The country’s Energiewende, a real energy revolution, is playing havoc with traditional utilities (see this week’s chart). France is also considering its options with one idea being a form of Quantitative Easing for renewables.
The global resource base of tight oil is huge, says a new report from IHS CERA. The study gives a potential technically recoverable resource of 300 billion barrels of oil, but don’t hold your breath for a sudden boom – extracting tight oil outside of the US market is likely to meet more obstacles and be more expensive; and even in the US shale isn’t making many energy companies rich.
World oil markets are still critically dependent on the Middle East and conventional oil. Even with a 4.8million bpd increase in global liquids production since 2005 – largely thanks to North American shale oil and tar sands - the market remains tight and new production is coming at a significant price. Saudi Arabia is pumping at its highest levels since the 70s to make up for shortfalls from Libya and Iran.
The UK fracking debate continues this week as former scientific advisor Sir David King stepped in to warn of the “enormous environmental consequences”. Energy minister Ed Davey was also seen to contradict the PM’s line that shale gas would bring down prices, saying that “It is highly unlikely to happen here. There isn't enough shale gas in the UK and in Europe to change the European market price.”
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