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 U.K.: An Official Realization that Renewables and Better Cross-Border Interconnection Can Replace Coal-Fired Generation

IEEFA U.K.: An Official Realization 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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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IEEFA Europe: Risks Emerge as U.K. Turns Increasingly to Natural Gas-Fired Generation

Questions: Will the Ongoing Embrace of Fossil Fuels Hamper the Development of Wind and Solar? Can Goals for Climate-Change Commitments Still Be Met?

Britain appears to be turning more and more to natural gas as its coal-fired electricity generation plummets. A tell-tale sign is in the country’s course to set a record increase in gas-fired generation this year. The U.K. transmission system operator, the National Grid, indicated this past Friday that the country’s supply security would be stable […]

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IEEFA Germany: Climate Policy Probably Spells the End of Lignite

Czech Buyers of Former Vattenfall Holdings Are Banking on a Bailout

Coal is the highest carbon-emitting source of electricity, and lignite the highest carbon-emitting form of coal. Lignite is therefore front and center among risks facing investors from global efforts to slow climate change. Nowhere is this more true than in Germany, where lignite is still the single biggest source of power generation, accounting for one quarter […]

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