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

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IEEFA Europe: PGE’s pro-coal strategy in Poland under fire

EU decision to end capacity payments is a blow to utility’s plans

LONDON—The coal-heavy strategy at Poland’s biggest utility, PGE, was hit this week by a provisional European Union agreement to end coal power capacity payments from 2025, adding to the utility’s existing woes from rising carbon prices. Across Europe, utilities have rushed for the coal exit door, driven by increasingly favourable economics for renewables and smart […]

December 21, 2018 Read More →

IEEFA U.K.: Local public pension assets tread water, driving fund managers to give infrastructure a closer look

An often-neglected and increasingly attractive asset class that includes renewables

LONDON — Local government pension schemes representing more than five million public sector workers saw asset values nudge up last year, trailing bumper stock market growth the year before, as some prepared to shift assets into infrastructure under a government plan to help them invest more in roads, bridges and renewable energy projects. Collectively, local […]

December 18, 2018 Read More →

IEEFA Europe: Progressive energy policies will make rooftop solar more affordable

Technologies that optimise home installations are still too expensive

LONDON—Roof-top solar can be a critical way to meet new carbon-emissions standards, but unsubsidised payback periods are still too long and, by and large, home-solar systems still lack a cost-effective means of enabling households to use as much of their home generation as possible. Ultimately, batteries almost certainly will become a critical part of home […]

November 28, 2018 Read More →

IEEFA U.K.: Suspension of £3.8 billion capacity market is an opportunity for re-think

Progress this week on British energy policy

LONDON—The European Court of Justice’s decision yesterday to suspend Britain’s capacity market creates an opportunity to focus on more cost-effective and forward-looking solutions for safeguarding the country’s energy-supply security. We’ve argued previously that Britain’s capacity market. which has served as a model for a similar scheme in Poland, provides subsidies that may no longer be […]

November 16, 2018 Read More →

IEEFA Latin America: Uruguay nears world-leading market share for variable renewables

Rivaling Denmark by tapping wind, solar and hydro for 43% of national electricity generation

LONDON—Uruguay is closing in on the world leader in wind and solar power by market share, Denmark, showing how the right grid conditions can help renewables sweep aside fossil fuel-fired electricity generation. We published a report less than a year ago noting that Uruguay was probably the world’s fastest growing variable renewables market, with wind […]

November 14, 2018 Read More →

IEEFA Europe: Spain scraps solar tax in energy market shakeup that threatens coal

A new government is reversing outdated policies in Europe’s sunniest country

LONDON—Spain has scrapped a tax widely criticised for undermining solar power in Europe’s sunniest country in an energy policy reversal that has also dimmed the outlook for coal power. The full scale of the new government’s plans will be revealed by the delayed publication of a draft climate change and energy transition law, expected in […]

October 26, 2018 Read More →

IEEFA Europe: RWE’s costly faith in lignite

Push to expand the Hambach mine raises a question: How long will a major European utility continue to buck trends?

LONDON—RWE, one of Europe’s biggest utilities, is keeping faith with its massive coal mining operations in northwest Germany, rooted in a logic based on economies of scale in power generation that defies the ongoing shift toward a more modern, distributed, low-carbon grid. RWE’s mining operations in Germany’s Nordrhein-Westfalen (North-Rhine Westphalia) are enormous in scale. At […]

October 24, 2018 Read More →

IEEFA update: Time to reconsider the U.K.’s flagship scheme for avoiding blackouts

Capacity markets have proven to be an impediment to modernization

Overlapping forces spell further declines for coal-fired power LONDON — Britain introduced a capacity market in 2014 to safeguard security of supply as the country transitioned to more variable, low-carbon electricity sources like wind and solar power, but it looks increasingly like a backward step that rewards ageing, large-scale incumbents while penalising newer, smaller competitors. […]

October 3, 2018 Read More →

IEEFA Europe: Poland’s PGE would do well to accelerate plans to diversify away from coal

Rising risk in adhering to a traditional power generation business model

LONDON — Poland’s biggest utility, PGE, should accelerate its plans to diversify away from coal, as surging carbon prices underscore risks gathering around its present PLN 21 billion ($5.6 billion) coal power investment programme. To date, PGE has deferred such plans, avoiding, for example, moving into offshore wind until the mid- to late-2020s, and only after […]

and September 6, 2018 Read More →

IEEFA update: U.K. pension funds lag in renewable energy infrastructure investing

Abundant offerings across a number of markets

LONDON — Local U.K. government pension schemes are gradually increasing their unlisted infrastructure holdings, driven by examples set by trail-blazing funds and by a new government initiative to increase the scale of such investments. But few are investing explicitly in renewable energy, the biggest single segment of infrastructure investment in the world (infrastructure investing involves real […]

July 19, 2018 Read More →