Skip to main content

Divestment in the U.K.; IEEFA’s Cathy Kunkel on FirstEnergy; Opposition to Dynergy Move; Bank Risk in Australia

October 14, 2014

THE BBC REPORTS THIS MORNING that Glasgow University has become the first British institution of higher learning to decide to sell its fossil-fuel holdings.

A passage of note: “Other British universities are also set to consider the issue. The School of Oriental and African Studies is expected to make a divestment decision in the next month. Decisions are also imminent from a handful of other institutions including the University of Edinburgh. Oxford University and its colleges are consulting on divestment from $3.8bn worth of investment.”

The decision is part of a divestment movement that has gained steam over the past year or so. Here’s how the NY Times began an article of note on it last year. “In the 1980s, it was South Africa. In the 1990s, it was tobacco. Now fossil fuels have become the focus of those who would change the world through the power of investing.

IEEFA’S CATHY KUNKEL IS QUOTED AT LENGTH today in coverage by Midwest Energy News of the Institute’s report published last week on FirstEnergy’s faltering business model.

The article, by Kathiann M. Kowalski, offers a tight summary of the report’s conclusions: “FirstEnergy continues to center its business around coal, instead of adapting to competition, changing markets and newer technologies.”

Among Kunkel’s quotes: “This company is struggling financially. To cope with that situation, they’ve been relying on a lot of stop-gap financial tricks and things that have been harmful to ratepayers.”

ENERGYWIRE IS REPORTING ON OPPOSITION TO DYNERGY’s push to change how the Midcontinent Independent System Operator’s capacity market works.

Excerpts from that article:

“Among the criticisms: The request to FERC is procedurally flawed and misstates the purpose and results of the MISO capacity survey. Others note that the proposed reforms would do nothing to protect against outages from another polar vortex.”

“‘Even if the future capacity margin picture confronting MISO in 2016 and thereafter were actually as bleak as [Dynegy and others] attempt to portray it with their highly selective assemblage of data points, there is nothing about their proposed ‘resource adequacy construct’ that would actually ‘ensure future resource adequacy,'” the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association and American Public Power Association said in a response.”

“Indiana’s utility commission called the filing ‘an attack on the jurisdictional authority of states over capacity planning and resources within the Midwest region’ and noted that generators in PJM likewise experienced problems with forced outages during the polar vortex.”

AUSTRALIAN BANKS ARE OVEREXPOSED TO FOSSIL-FUEL ASSETS, the Australian Centre for Corporate Responsibility said today as it began a campaign to gain more transparency into those holdings.

Caroline Le Couteur, executive director of the center: “Continued investing in fossil fuels is a very real long-term risk for our banks. There are international agreements to reduce carbon emissions and this could lead to investments that are lost in a haze of ‘unburnable carbon.’ This is a significant risk to bank shareholders as well as our shared climate.”

The Centre simultaneously published a report, “Unburnable Carbon: Is It a Threat to Our Big Banks?”

The campaign is being rolled out in partnership with the Asset Owners Disclosure Project, chaired by former Federal Liberal leader John Hewson, who is also a former director of Macquarie Bank.

— Karl Cates
[email protected]
Twitter @ieefa_institute




Go to Profile

Join our newsletter

Keep up to date with all the latest from IEEFA