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EU policy mash dents carbon markets before Paris climate deal

Renewable energy plans out of sync with Europe's carbon market.

Mathew Carr The European Union's carbon market, designed to save the environment, is being undercut by a patchwork of national subsidies for renewables and misaligned energy policies that have helped cut in half the volume of power being traded.

This new Tesla battery will power your home, and maybe the electric grid too

Tesla to sell you a car and power the grid.

Brian Fung Tesla is working on a battery that can power your home and even help large-scale utilities store energy more efficiently, according to company chief executive Elon Musk.

Google joins Apple in turning to renewable energy

Wind power is Google's preferred energy source.

Matt O'Brien Google has spent $US1.5 billion ($1.95 billion) around the world on clean energy projects cutting the pollution from millions of users clicking on search links, watching YouTube videos and sending emails, but now it's found a powerful electricity source close to home.

Wind farm health review finds no ill effects - so let's study some more

In a spin: New research finds no evidence of adverse health impact from wind turbines.

PETER HANNAM The country’s peak medical agency has concluded that there is no “consistent evidence” that wind farms damage health.

University of Sydney to cut carbon emissions from $413m share portfolio by 20pc in three years


Jessica Gardner In a move away from straight divestment of all fossil fuel producers, the university has taken a "whole of portfolio approach" to address climate change.

Carbon capture for coal faces fresh woes as US ends backing for pilot plant

Carbon capture and storage efforts suffer a setback.

Jim Snyder and Mark Drajem The US government has pulled the plug on a project in Illinois to capture carbon, a significant setback for development of a technology that may be critical to the future of coal.

Universities flunk climate readiness test

Sydney University scored a

PETER HANNAM Australian universities are failing the climate readiness test, with few institutions factoring global warming risks into their investment portfolios, according to a new survey.


OPEC says oil may have hit bottom

OPEC has warned that under-investment may bring a crunch in future oil supplies.

Brent crude oil prices held above $US48 on Tuesday following comments from OPEC that prices may have found a floor.


Tumbling oil prices could mean $30b hit for Australia's LNG exports

Tumbling oil prices could temper the bonanza expected from LNG exports.

Angela Macdonald-Smith The dive in oil prices could wipe more than $30 billion from Australia’s export bounty from liquefied natural gas in 2017-18, gouging a huge hole in revenue compared to the projections of just a year ago, according to Westpac economists.

Solar industry gets $33.3m boost to fuel commercial take-up

Commercial buyers are seen as the solar PV growth market in Australia.

PETER HANNAM The flagging Australian solar industry will get a $33.3 million boost as the government's green investment bank combines with a Chinese partner to spur companies to take up more photovoltaic panels.

Warm weather melts Europe's emissions-market plans

Unusual warmth has set back Europe's carbon market repair efforts.

Mathew Carr Europe's attempt to revive its carbon market is being thwarted by a lack of pollution.

China orders more regions to cut coal consumption to curb pollution

Air pollution is a major issue in many Chinese cities.

China's state planning agency has ordered the city of Shanghai and the provinces of Zhejiang, Jiangsu and Guangdong to draw up plans to reduce coal consumption in a bid to improve air quality, according to a policy document released on Wednesday.

Australia's large-scale renewable investment dives in 2014

Ill-winds blowing through Australia's renewable energy industry.

PETER HANNAM Australia’s ranking among investors in large-scale renewable energy plummeted in 2014, dropping behind much poorer nations.

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NSW faces 21 days in winter without guaranteed gas, AGL warns

Metgasco has announced a plan for an all-scrip merger with Elk Petroleum.

NICOLE HASHAM NSW faces three weeks’ worth of gas shortages in winter next year and the state government might have to invoke emergency powers to ration gas supplies, a leading energy company has warned.

Cheap solar power emerging from mineral named after Russian count

Silicon substitute in the works for solar panels?

Ehren Goossens Materials that may be cheaper and more efficient than silicon at converting the sun's rays into electricity could be key to the next generation of solar power, scientists say.

Small-scale solar power industry holds its own as clouds gather

Solar panel capacity held up in 2014 despite headwinds.

PETER HANNAM Australia’s small-scale solar energy industry held steady in 2014 although uncertainty about the Abbott government’s support for renewable energy and rising costs for imported panels as the dollar wilts are casting a cloud over the sector.


Snowy Hydro buys Colongra peaking plant from Delta Electricity for $234 million

Colongra power station has been sold.

BRIAN ROBINS Snowy Hydro has bulked up its power generation assets further with the acquisition of a gas-fired peaking power station in the Hunter Valley.


Power companies drive up household bills under rebidding strategies

Plans are under way to change the way the wholesale electricity market operates to try to limit attempts to manipulate market prices.

BRIAN ROBINS The Australian Energy Regulator has found that while average spot prices in Queensland eased in 2013-14, they were 14 per cent higher than NSW prices.

Australia ranked worst-performing developed nation on climate performance

PETER HANNAM Australia is the worst-performing developed nation when it comes to climate-change action, a survey by European non-government organisations shows.

Solar energy world first in Australia

Solar power in China

PETER HANNAM Australian researchers have achieved world-beating levels of converting sunlight into electricity, potentially making large-scale solar plants more competitive with other energy sources such as coal.


Poor countries need $US500b to deal with climate change says UN

The cost of dealing with climate change is growing for poorer countries.

Developing countries may need as much as $US250-$US500 billion per year by mid-century to deal with the fallout from climate change, a UN report has warned.

Fossil fuel investors risk being stranded by tougher climate rules

Sunset on fossil fuels? Bank of England among those asking.

Alex Morales A major threat to fossil fuel companies has suddenly moved from the fringe to center stage with a dramatic announcement by Germany's biggest power company and an intriguing letter from the Bank of England.

German utility E.ON to split to focus on renewables, grids

Power play: Germany's E.ON is moving on.

Germany's top utility E.ON says it will split in two, spinning off power plants to focus on renewable energy and power grids, in a dramatic response to industry changes that could trigger similar moves at European peers.

Power sector emissions rebound as renewable energy wilts

Coal's recovery means emissions  from the power sector are on the up.

PETER HANNAM Australia’s carbon emissions from the main electricity sector continue to climb, driving up the national total just as nations gather in Peru to negotiate a global pact to halt climate change.

Methane study: EPA study to drill down into emissions

The CSIRO has begun its first study of rogue methane leaks.

PETER HANNAM The state’s chief environmental regulator has quietly begun a year-long study of fugitive methane emissions in a bid to calm community concerns about the coal seam gas industry.


Uranium mining in Kakadu at a crucial point

The Ranger uranium mine in Kakadu National Park, with its tailing dams almost full after the wet season.

PETER KER Having reluctantly accepted mining on their ancestral lands, the indigenous people who live beside the nation's biggest uranium mine could soon watch see their industrial interloper depart.


Coal not the panacea for poverty


STEPHEN CAUCHI Cheap coal-fueled electricity is touted by miners and politicians as a way out of poverty for developing nations, but apparently Africa hasn’t been listening.


'Green horizon' may force BHP to quit coal, says Andrew Mackenzie

Indian company Adani wants to build one of the country's biggest coal mines in the Galilee Basin.

PETER KER Mackenzie says BHP would invest in other commodities if the world moves quickly to a "green horizon"

Renewable energy starts to win price race in the US

70,000 solar panels at Nellis Air Force Base near Las Vegas, Nevada.

Diane Cardwell For the solar and wind industries in the United States, it has been a long-held dream: to produce energy at a cost equal to conventional sources like coal and natural gas.

Germany may shut down eight more coal power plants, document shows

Germany may curb its coal demand to cut carbon emissions.

Germany is working on a new law to force energy companies to shut down several more coal-fired power plants as it tries to reach ambitious climate goals, a document seen by Reuters showed on Sunday.


Shareholders strike out at remuneration as commodity boom fades

Fortescue is

PETER KER Shareholders say remuneration is out of sync with sliding commodity prices.

Carbon neutrality needed within lifespan of people born today, UN says

Carbon neutrality will be needed by 2070 if emissions don't start falling soon, UN says.

Governments are far off track in combating global warming and should phase out net carbon dioxide emissions by 2070, well within the expected lifetime of people born today, a UN study said on Wednesday.

US poll finds most back limits on coal emissions even if power prices rise

US President Barack Obama during his Brisbane speech last weekend.

Jim Polson A majority of Americans support tougher pollution limits on coal-burning power plants even if it means paying more for electricity.

CSG study finds elevated methane levels near gas fields

Fresh clouds over CSG industry: A Santos employee near Narrabri in northern NSW.

PETER HANNAM Methane levels near coal seam gas fields in Australia have been found to be as much as triple normal levels, raising renewed doubts about the global-warming benefits of using the gas compared with other energy sources.

China needs to cap coal use by 2020 to meet climate goals: think tank

China's urban pollution is one prompt for curbing coal use.

China needs to hit its "peak coal" use by 2020 if it is to fulfil its commitment to end growth in climate-warming carbon emissions by the end of the next decade, an influential government think tank said on Tuesday.

Businesses want higher emission cuts

Less is more: business respondents to a survey say emissions cuts can do deeper.

PETER HANNAM Half the firms surveyed backed deeper cuts than 5 per cent of 2000-level emissions by the end of the decade.

India plans to increase solar power five-fold without subsidies

Solar park in Gujarat, home state of India's new prime minister Narendra Modi.

Debjit Chakraborty and Ganesh Nagarajan India said its renewable-energy industry must eventually learn to live without government support and that it's seeking to generate five times more power from solar by 2022 than is currently installed.

Red faces for Tony Abbott on Green Climate Fund

On the sidelines: A protester takes part in a climate change march in New York earlier this year. The Abbott government is

PETER HANNAM The Abbott government has been left squirming on another climate front after key ally Canada said it will contribute to a United Nations climate fund to help impoverished countries cope with global warming. Tony Abbot has said that Australia will not be contributing to the fund.

Wise investment or fossil fools? Queensland backs coal as G20 moves the game on

Campbell Newman says coal remains vital to the future of the Queensland economy.

MICHAEL WEST If you joined the dots you’d conclude that taxpayers are going to subsidise Queensland’s Galilee Basin coal project, despite the G20 calls to end subsidies, low coal prices and some dubious economics.

Climate: US-China pact to curb emissions not enough, CSIRO scientist Pep Canadell says

China and the US will have to do more to curb emissions, CSIRO's Dr Canadell says.

PETER HANNAM The US-China pact to curb greenhouse gas emissions is "unprecedented" but won’t be enough to prevent dangerous climate change, said Pep Canadell, the head of CSIRO’s Global Carbon Project.


Graincorp profit plunges 64% as hot weather hurts crops

GrainCorp fears this year's harvest from Australia's eastern states will be below average amid hot, dry conditions in many areas.

Ross Garnaut: Climate deal marks acceleration by US

No Great Wall between China's Xi Jinping and the US's Barack Obama when it comes to climate action.

PETER HANNAM Ross Garnaut, a China expert and compiler of two emissions trading reviews for governments, said the US-China deal represents a bigger shift for the Americans.

World to breach IPCC's carbon limit by 2040: International Energy Agency

Energy opportunities abound for Australia, the IEA reports.

PETER HANNAM Global energy demand growth will halve by 2025 but fossil fuels will continue to dominate, leaving the planet on a warming trajectory of 3.6 degrees, according to the International Energy Agency.

RET deal off: The only certainty is uncertainty for the clean energy industry

Storms over renewables are becalming investments.

PETER HANNAM Labor's decision to end talks for a compromise leaves the government no options but to try to secure another Palmer United Party back-flip.

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Soaring gas prices spur expansion of energy savings plan

Incentives to curb energy use to be expanded to include gas.

PETER HANNAM Soaring gas prices have prompted the NSW government to expand its energy efficiency support program to include gas as well as electricity.

Climate policy needs to look beyond 2020, says major report

Environment Minister Greg Hunt

LATIKA BOURKE A major report into climate change says Australia will need to substantially lift its carbon emission reduction target to 40 per cent by 2025 and is calling on political leaders to look beyond the short-term debate focused on the 2020 goal.

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Australia urged to focus on post-2020 carbon emissions

Cuts must extend before the end of the decade, The Climate Institute says.

Australia should reduce net emissions by 40 per cent by 2025 and decarbonise the economy by 2050, a climate body report says.

The Australia Institute says coal industry doing almost nothing to ease 'energy poverty'

More coal won't necessarily improve the lives of the poor, a new report says.

PETER HANNAM Claims by federal politicians that new coalmines in Australia would lift hundreds of millions out of poverty were merely echoing hyperbole by big mining companies, The Australia Institute said in a new report.

Powering up: carbon emissions from electricity sector start to climb

Steam rises from the cooling towers of a Hunter Valley power station.

PETER HANNAM Australia’s electricity sector has responded to the end of the carbon tax and rising gas prices by burning more coal, lifting carbon emissions and making it harder for the Abbott government’s direct action policy to meet the country’s 2020 target.

Australian coal mining a challenge for UN climate push

More coal makes for more greenhouse gas emissions.

UN calls to curb greenhouse gas emissions by ending most electricity generation using coal will face some tough challenges, with coal mining going through a growth spurt in countries such as Australia.

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