Author Archive: Gerard Wynn

Energy Finance Consultant Gerard Wynn is a U.K.-based 10-year veteran of energy and economics reporting at the Thomson Reuters News Agency and has authored numerous papers on energy issues ranging from solar power in Great Britain to coal-burning in China and India. He blogs at EnergyandCarbon.com

Author's Website →

IEEFA Europe: Offshore Wind Costs Maintain Falling Trend

Competitive Auctions Are Causing Developers to Drop Their Expectations for Government Subsidies

Europe achieved its lowest-ever bid for an offshore wind power project last week in a German auction in the North and Baltic Seas, an event that backs up a recent trend of cost reductions. Germany’s first so-called “reverse auction” for offshore wind shifts away from a feed-in tariff schemes in an approach intended to drive […]

Read More →

IEEFA Europe: More Fallout Around the Dutch Coal Stranded-Asset Mistake

Uniper, Engie Make Further Write-Downs in the Netherlands; Plans Proceed Nonetheless in Germany for an Equally Outmoded Project

In “The Dutch Coal Mistake” report we published late last year we warned of further write-downs to come from the extraordinary commissioning of three brand-new coal power plants in the Netherlands in 2015. That report spoke directly to the Dutch gaffe but raised broader questions about investing in new coal-powered generation anywhere in Europe. The […]

Read More →
IEEFA U.K.: An Official Acknowledgement That Renewables and Better Cross-Border Interconnection Can Replace Coal-Fired Generation

IEEFA U.K.: An Official Acknowledgement That Renewables and Better Cross-Border Interconnection Can Replace Coal-Fired Generation

Latest Government Projections Undermine the Case for a Flagship Capacity Market That Subsidizes Conventional Generation

The U.K. government’s latest energy projections, out last week, show a grid dominated by renewables and electricity imports by 2025, exceeding the conventional generation presently supported by the country’s ratepayer-subsidized capacity market. This news comes on the heels of a report we published earlier this month on how interconnection with neighboring countries and renewable energy […]

Read More →
IEEFA Report: A U.K. Electricity Transformation Under Way, But in Need of Better Direction

IEEFA Report: A U.K. Electricity Transformation Under Way, But in Need of Better Direction

Grid Proves Resilient in Face of 60% Drop in Coal Use in 2016; New Renewables and Interconnection Are the Future; Capacity Market Has Failed to Incentivize Modernization; More Targeted Auctions Would Help

The U.K.’s capacity market is the weak link in the country’s ongoing transition toward a resilient, low-carbon grid. That is one of the core findings in a  report—“Electricity-Grid Transition in the U.K.: As Coal-Fired Generation Recedes, Renewables and Reliable Generation Can Fill the Gap —we published today. The report finds that the U.K. grid is coping […]

Read More →
IEEFA Europe: Can Power Market Reforms Curb U.K. Ratepayer Handouts to Gas, Coal and Nuclear?

IEEFA Europe: Can Power Market Reforms Curb U.K. Ratepayer Handouts to Gas, Coal and Nuclear?

Capacity Subsidies May Be Redundant

The U.K. this week holds its biggest auction ever for electricity generating capacity under a multi-billion-pound scheme whose stated aim is to increase investment in new, flexible generation. The intent is to help balance the growth in variable wind and solar power while ensuring there are enough power plants to cover demand. Under the so-called […]

Read More →
IEEFA Update: A Rush to Subsidies as Power Plants in Europe Face an Existential Threat

IEEFA Update: A Rush to Subsidies as Power Plants in Europe Face an Existential Threat

Paying Producers for Electricity They Might Never Generate

  So-called capacity markets are driving what appears to be a major new trend in energy policy across Europe: More public subsidies for electric utilities. Utilities may get—but not necessarily need or deserve—high-level government support for a variety of reasons, including for their role in equity markets, where they supply returns and dividends for pension […]

Read More →
IEEFA Europe: Can Coal Power Hang On?

IEEFA Europe: Can Coal Power Hang On?

Investors May Not Be Eager to Absorb More Losses Like Those Seen in Recent Dutch Build-Outs

Investment in new coal-fired power plants appears off the agenda in Western Europe. Witness the astonishing write-down of brand-new assets in the Netherlands, where European utility giants RWE, Uniper, and Engie have drastically reduced their valuations of plants barely a year old (read the report we published this morning, “The Dutch Coal Mistake,” which concludes […]

Read More →

IEEFA Europe: As Coal Wanes, German Utility Giant Uniper Looks to Regulated Markets

Is It Better to Subsidize Old Plants or Invest in the New Energy Economy?

Western European power prices have surged lately, partly on the back of a review of French nuclear plants. But coal-fired power plants have failed to capitalize on the trend, given price rises also for seaborne coal. As the Chief Executive of Uniper, Klaus Schäfer, told analysts this week, following the company’s Q3 earnings report: “A […]

Read More →
IEEFA Europe: As Global Climate Pact Takes Force of Law, a Bleak Outlook for Coal-Fired Power

IEEFA Europe: As Global Climate Pact Takes Force of Law, a Bleak Outlook for Coal-Fired Power

Paris Agreement Has Made Recovery of the Traditional Electric Generation Sources Unlikeley

What happened in Morocco last week underlines the extreme and now persistent risks to the economics of coal-fired power plants across Europe and further afield, raising the prospect of further write-downs by utilities. Some 191 countries signed the Paris Agreement in December, but a certain threshold had to ratify before it entered into force. That […]

Read More →

IEEFA Europe: Seeds of an Industrial Alternative to Germany’s Regional Lignite Economies

In the Shadow of a Fading Industry, a Newer One Grows

In the same week that Germany’s economy minister, Sigmar Gabriel, ruled out a coal phase-out timeline until alternatives opportunities are in place for affected communities, Daimler broke ground on a major new electric vehicle battery factory 30 kilometers from the 1,500-megawatt Schwarze Pumpe power plant in the lignite mining heartland of Lausitz. Gabriel on Tuesday […]

Read More →