License: All rights reserved. Credit: Greenpeace

Damian's Daily Dispatch

Damian Kahya
Damian is Energydesk editor
License: All rights reserved. Credit: Greenpeace

Busy morning on the energy and climate news front, let's get to it

1) Germany looks to allow new fracking technologies as UK environment agency says fracking should be allowed across country

Germany's Federal government is looking to rush through a law regulating frackingpotentially ending an effective moratorium on the practice in Europe's largest economy.

However the law will not allow "today's fracking technology" as deployed in the US - so we're not entirely sure what's going on.

In the UK the outgoing head of the  environment agency says worries about fracking in national parks unfounded as the process can have little visual impact.

In another political intervention London Mayor Boris Johnson has called for a law-change so people own the oil and gas beneath them, as they do in the US. 

In related news a survey by the UK's British Geological Survey found relatively little shale gas and oil in Scotland whilst an analysis by seeking Alpha suggests China's shale gas ambitions remain stalled. In the US Norway's Statoil had a fire at a well-pad in Ohio - no reported injuries.

2) UK renewables contracts criticised as clean energy costs hit new high

The UK's spending watchdog, the National Audit Office (NAO), has criticised early government contracts for wind-farms and biomass projects warning they may offer bad value for money because they were not put out to tender.

In particular the watchdog criticised clauses in the contracts which allow firms to produce 36% less power than promised, with no financial penalty. The NAO said the government should have awarded fewer contracts until energy reforms had passed allowing a more competitive process.

The news comes as new figures from the Renewable Energy Foundation (confusing name) quoted in The Telegraph suggest that the average cost of renewable energy has risen to a record high.

The rise is driven by the roll-out of deep offshore wind technologies untried elsewhere in the world and more expensive than onshore generation.

And in more news on bills the FT reports that paying plants to keep running as backup could cost consumers £2 a year. The government is set to announce payments to gas and coal plants this December.

3) Germany, UK & Brussels fight over energy subsidies as EU backs German style energy co-operatives

Germany's energy minister has accused Brussels of trying to "destroy" the countries industry and renewable energy ambitions by trying to curtail both direct subsidies for renewables and exemptions for heavy industry from renewables costs.

Euractiv suggests that the increasingly serious row now centres over the treatment of imported power - amidst concerns in Brussels that support schemes in individual countries undermine the EU market.

A similar row is brewing between the commission and the UK government over support for nuclear power, capacity payments and basically the UK's entire energy reform programme.

The handbags come as the same wire reports on EU funding for German or Belgium style energy co-operatives to generate local acceptability for renewable energy projects and improve energy security. 

4) Emperor Penguins at risk from climate change as NASA launches carbon satellite

“Somewhere on earth, on land, one-quarter of all our carbon emissions released through fossil fuel emissions is disappearing,” said David Crisp, a senior research scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. “We can’t identify the processes responsible for this. Wouldn’t it be nice to know where?”

Indeed - and that'd be why NASA are sending a satellite up to monitor what happens to Carbon Dioxide.

The move comes amidst the usual slew of climate change related news. Half of allEmporer Penguins look set to be wiped out by melting ice and the UK could face ashortfall of agricultural land according to the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability leadership.

5) Tofu solar cheaper than coal

And finally replacing a toxic and rare compound in the manufacture of solar cells with one often used to make tofu and bath salts could make solar cheaper than coal power - according to research from Liverpool University

In other news

BP signs (another) deal with Rosneft as it fights to get Gulf oil money back and Mexico looks to benefits from new climate law. 

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