Malawi set for $500m coal plant

China Gezhouba Group Corp plans to build a $500m, 1000 MW coal fired power plant in Malawi, Africa, which suffers from frequent power shortages.

Construction at the plant is scheduled to start in 2013 and to complete by 2015.

Malawi’s hydropower plants produce a total of about 280 MW per day, compared with rising demand of around 300 MW, which has resulted in daily power cuts costing the country an estimated $215m per year in lost output.

In 2010, Malawi had 63 days of power outages, the worst figure for all 24 sub-Saharan countries.

Nigeria leads African genset boom as power shortfalls bite

A serious lack of power supply and infrastructure is hindering the growth of many African economies, yet is providing a boom in business for diesel and gas generator companies, according to a new report.

Indeed, the authors of the study at business intelligence firm GlobalData predict that “if little is done to improve power networks across Africa, the continent could become the next major growth destination for international genset manufacturers”.

According to the report, Nigeria is the biggest African user of gensets. The market was worth $450m in 2011 and GlobalData predicts this will hit $950.7m by 2020 because of insufficient power generated by the Power Holding Company of Nigeria and a transmission and distribution network in desperate need of an upgrade.

And GlobalData claims that the rapid rise in getset use will spread to other African countries: “As the reliability of electricity in many African countries is low, and the demand for power high, other nations, including South Africa, Egypt, Angola and Algeria, are also expected to display strong genset growth in the future.

“The telecom, manufacturing and commercial sectors of these countries are currently experiencing robust growth and increasing the need for continuous power.”


‘Sun King’ Shi steps down as boss of Suntech

'Sun King' Shi

The founder of giant Chinese PV module maker Suntech has stepped down as chief executive.

Zhengrong Shi will now act as executive chairman and also take up the position of chief strategy officer. He is replaced by David King, who joined Suntech last year as chief financial officer.

In a statement, Shi said: “The solar industry is at a critical juncture and is facing both significant challenges and exciting opportunities. At this time, I believe it’s important to devote more of my time to guiding the strategic direction of the company, building relationships with key partners, and driving the ongoing development of Suntech’s leading solar technology.” King will be succeeded by Anlin Ting-Mason, currently chief financial officer of Suntech America.

Shi became known as the ‘Sun King’ in China after creating the first Chinese solar company to have commercial success overseas.

The management change comes as Suntech – along with the rest of China’s solar manufacturers – are facing tough economic times.

Suntech’s problems were compounded last month when it revealed it may have been defrauded to the tune of $687m, and this month its shares hit an all-time low.

Korean firms to invest $3bn in Pakistan hydro projects

A group of Korean firms are coming together to invest $3bn in two hydropower projects in Pakistan.

Korean based K-Water, Korean Midland Power and Posco Engineering and Construction are planning the project for the River Indus in Pakistan’s Kohistan-Khyber Pakhtunkhwa district.

K-Water will construct the 665 MW Lower Pallas Valley hydropower project which is estimated to cost $763 million, while a consortium of Korean Midland Power with Posco Engineering and Construction will build Lower Spat Gah hydropower.

That project is expected to cost $697m and to have a total capacity of 496 MW.

China’s CCS roadmap plan gets $2m from ADB

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is putting $2.2m into developing a roadmap for carbon capture and storage in China.

“There is an urgent need to fast-track the demonstration and deployment of carbon capture and storage in the China to cut CO2 emissions from the energy and industrial sectors and achieve the country’s long-term climate change mitigation goals,” said Annika Seiler, finance specialist for energy at the bank’s East Asia Department.

The bank will assist China in developing a detailed plan for a staged demonstration and deployment of CCS.

A comprehensive government-endorsed road map for CCS is expected to encourage more demonstration projects in China. This road map is intended to launch at least two large-scale CCS demonstration projects by 2016, with an installed capacity to capture at least 2 million tonnes of CO2 per year.

ADB is providing the $2.2m finance on a grant basis by the ADB-administered Carbon Capture and Storage Fund under the Clean Energy Financing Partnership Facility.

Japanese government set to end nuclear power by 2030

With government elections looming in he next few weeks, and amidst strong public negativity towards nuclear energy, it looks likely that the Japanese government will decide to abandon nuclear power gradually altogether over the next 20 years.

The news comes from government officials close to policy decision making.

Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda set up a council to recommend a long-term energy strategy based on three scenarios: phasing out nuclear power completely by 2030, reducing dependence to 15 per cent or keeping it at current levels of about 20 to 25 per cent.

All of the scenarios aim to increase the use of renewable energy to at least 20 per cent from the current 10 per cent.

The government is expected to announce a final decision in September, ahead of general elections for parliament expected by the end of the year.

Industry Minister Yukio Edano, who is responsible for the power industry, said this month that he wants to eliminate the use of nuclear power if there is agreement to share the financial burden that would arise from the increased use of more expensive fossil fuels.

Opponents say that zero nuclear suits Germany because it is surrounded by other European countries through whom it can compensate for shortages. They say that Japan’s energy security requires diversity that should include nuclear power.

Suzlon boss predicts ‘defining year’ as order book hits $7.2bn

The chairman of world’s fifth largest wind turbine maker, Suzlon, has predicted that 2012 will be “a defining year” for the Indian company.

Tulsi Tanti was speaking following the release of the company’s first quarter results, which saw revenues of $859m, a year-on-year rise of 10 per cent.

Tanti said it had been “a disappointing first quarter” and blamed “the macroeconomic environment, policy uncertainties in some marketsࢀ¦ and the depreciating rupee”.

But he added that the core business fundamentals remain sound – “high gross margins, a strong and firm order book, and high turbine availability”.

He said Suzlon had strengthened its balance sheet by selling off wind farm assets in India and manufacturing assets in China and stated: “This will be a defining year for Suzlon Group, even as our sector continues to face a number of challenges. I remain cautiously optimistic that we will end the fiscal year in a satisfactory position.”

Suzlon’s market share for offshore installations in Europe for the first half of 2012 was around 22 per cent and as of this week its orderbook stood at 5.6 GW, with a value of $7.2bn.

Suzlon has installed capacity in 30 countries and a workforce of over 13,000.

Q-Cells bought by Hanwha for $48m

South Korea’s Hanwha Chemical is to acquire insolvent German solar power firm Q-Cells in a deal worth $48.4m. Hanwha will take over Q-Cells’ research site in Germany and its Malaysian plant.

Q-Cells filed for bankruptcy in April this year as declining support for solar subsidies in key European markets and the build-up of huge production capacity in low-cost markets, particularly China, took their toll.

Hanwha, a subsidiary of Korean conglomerate Hanwha Group, has made clear its ambitions to grow its solar business.

Acquiring Q-Cells will give Hanwha total solar cell capacity of 2.4 GW, up from 1.3 GW currently, making it the third biggest global manufacturer, said group spokesman Park Jang Woo.


Wartsila clinches 53 MW plant deal at Australian mine

Wartsila has won a contract to supply the equipment for a gas engine based expansion to a zinc mine power plant in Australia.

The project at McArthur River mine is by EDL NGD, a subsidiary of international energy company Energy Developments, which will sell electricity from the plant to McArthur River Mining.

Finland-headquartered Wartsila will supply six of its 34SG engines running on natural gas as well as related engineering services. The engines’ output will total 53 MW. Delivery is scheduled to be completed by early 2013 and the plant is expected to be fully operational by the end of the year.

EDL’s executive general manager Shane McLaughlin said he was “impressed by Wartsila’s proposal to supply an efficient power plant solution on a fast-track basis”.

“This was an important consideration in choosing Wartsila as our engine supplier for this project,” he added.Wartsila has supplied more than 600 MW of power generation in Australia and Oceania.


Belgium’s fracture-ridden reactor closed until end of 2012

The 1006 MW Doel 3 nuclear reactor operated by GDF Suez unit Electrabel will remain closed until the end of the year, the government has announced.

The reactor was initially shut after suspected cracks in the core tank, and following questioning by cabinet members of the nuclear control agency chief it has been decided that testing will be carried out.

The government has reinforced its earlier message that there are no threats to public safety.

The 1008 MW Tihange 2 reactor in the south of the country is also due to be closed for inspection in September and inspections are scheduled at Belgium’s other five reactors in 2013.

Belgium has long considered a complete exit from nuclear energy, but that will depend on its having enough alternative sources of energy in place.

Europe and Australia announce ETS link

The European Union and Australia are to link their emissions trading schemes.

Under the deal, which is due to partially start in 2015 and be fully operational no later that 2018, businesses will be allowed to use carbon units from the Australian or European scheme for compliance under either system.

In advance of the alliance, the Australian government will make two changes to the design of its carbon price. It will not implement a price floor and a new sub-limit will apply to the use of eligible Kyoto units. While liable entities in Australia will still be able to meet up to 50 per cent of their liabilities through purchasing eligible international units, only 12.5 per cent of their liabilities will be able to be met by Kyoto units.

Until the full joining of schemes is set up, an interim link will be established, whereby Australian businesses will be able to use EU allowances to help meet their liabilities under the Australian emissions trading scheme from 1 July 2015.

Connie Hedegaard
The agreement was announced by Australian Climate Change Minister Greg Combet and the European Commissioner for Climate Action Connie Hedegaard (pictured).

Combet said the deal would “provide Australian businesses with access to a larger market for cost-effective emission reductions and provide European market participants with enhanced business opportunities”.

He added that the arrangements would provide flexibility to businesses with operations in both Australia and Europe, which could reduce compliance costs.

Hedegaard added: “The European Union is the first regional emissions trading system and spans the largest part of the European continent. We now look forward to the first full inter-continental linking of emission trading systems.”

She said the pact would be “a significant achievement for both Europe and Australia. It is further evidence of strong international co-operation on climate change and will build further momentum towards establishing a robust international carbon market.”

Australia introduced its controversial carbon price in July 2012.

MPs urge UK to target China for low carbon business

China flag

Britain is in danger of squandering a golden opportunity to help China reach its ambitious low carbon goals, according to a report from the UK government’s own Energy and Climate Change Committee.

The report urges ministers to put the establishment of energy business links with China “at the heart of government plans to tackle climate change and secure high-value business opportunities for UK firms”.

Committee chairman Tim Yeo stressed that the UK could aid China with a range of low carbon initiatives but warned that current policies risked giving Britain a reputation of being “more talk than action on climate change”.

He said that by “demonstrating low-carbon leadership at home, the UK could punch well above its weight in encouraging major emitters like China towards low-carbon development, but only if ministers can come up with a more focused strategy”.

It is estimated that China could account for half of the world’s CO2 emissions by 2030. This year it set out ambitious plans to reduce the carbon intensity of its economy, boost renewable energy, draft a new climate law and introduce carbon trading.

The energy committee report states that these measures make this the ideal time for the UK to work with China to prepare for a future international agreement on climate change and secure potential opportunities for British businesses in China’s low carbon markets, which are currently worth around à‚£430bn ($680bn).

But the report warns that the government’s work in China suffers from a lack of strategic direction. “There are too many small projects focused on too many different areas, rather than a co-ordinated effort to achieve key objectives,” it states.

Instead, say the energy MPs, the government should focus on a smaller number of strategic interventions that are tailored to appeal to Chinese priorities and which build on UK strengths. It calls on the government to undertake a systematic assessment of the sectors where the UK could have such an advantage and then develop a strategy for their promotion and deployment in China.

One area it highlights is carbon, capture and storage (CCS) technology. “The development of CCS is both an environmental imperative and a commercial opportunity for the UK,” the report points out.

“Coal is abundant and cheap in China and coal burning power stations still produce 70 per cent of the country’s electricity. Deploying CCS in China will therefore be crucial to keeping global temperatures within safe limits and could be a substantial export earner if the UK is able to develop CCS expertise early.”

However, the report stresses that the UK’s ability to influence policy in China and to compete for business depends on the reputation of Britain as a credible leader, and it concludes that “the UK has not been as effective as other countries at showing China what the UK has to offer”.

Yeo said the UK’s image risks becoming tarnished by a reputation of being more talk than action when it comes to climate change. “If we want to convince the Chinese that they should be doing business with us in this area, then we will need to strengthen our brand. The government must not allow the UK to fall behind in the high-tech low carbon race by faltering on its commitments to create a low carbon economy here at home.”

Scotland gives $12.5m to marine energy projects

The Scottish government has given funding worth à‚£7.9m ($12.5m) to five marine energy developers.

The financing marks the second round of WATERS (Wave & Tidal Energy: Research, Development & Demonstration Support), an initiative set up to enable Scottish developers and supply chain firms to capture an increased share of the international marine energy market.

The recipients are Scotrenewables Tidal Power, awarded a à‚£1.2m ($1.9m) grant towards a à‚£9.2m ($14.7m) project to design, construct and install a floating tidal turbine; AlbaTERN, given à‚£617,000 ($980,000) towards the deployment of a WaveNET demonstrator array comprising six SQUID 7.5 kW wave energy converters; AWS Ocean Energy, which received à‚£3.9m ($6.2m) for the design, build and launch stages of a project to prove the AWS-III WEC at full scale; Nautricity, which received à‚£1.4m ($2.2m) for the build and testing of a full-scale, pre-commercial CoRMaT 500 kW tidal turbine; and Oceanflow Development, which will build and field-test a prototype twin-turbine tidal energy converter with its à‚£750,000 ($1.2m) grant.

Scotland’s Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “By supporting a range of wave and tidal technologies at various stages of development towards commercialisation and the goal of large-scale sea-powered electricity generation, we can stimulate innovation, investment, job creation and help protect the planet for future generations.”

WATERS is a collaboration between the Scottish government, Scottish Enterprise and the Highlands and Islands Enterprise, with funding from the European Regional Development Fund. During the initial round of WATERS funding in 2010, four marine energy projects across Scotland were awarded à‚£6m ($9.5m).

“The WATERS 2 funding sends a further clear signal that Scotland – already blessed with some of the world’s greatest concentrations of marine energy resource and with unrivalled offshore energy engineering expertise – will continue to provide the optimum research and investment environment for developers and commercial partners,” said Sturgeon.

PEi poll: UK Treasury stance spells trouble for renewables

Two thirds of respondents to a recent Power Engineering International (PEI) poll believe the UK Treasury’s preference for gas powered generation spells bad news for renewable power generation objectives.

Over 66 per cent of power industry respondents said this would be the case.

The poll entitled “A letter from Green industry leaders has called on UK Prime Minister David Cameron to show more support for the renewables sector. But does the treasury’s preference for gas powered generation mean dark times ahead for renewables?” was conducted on PEi’s web site.

Commenting on the poll on Power Engineering International LinkedIn group, Oxford-based energy journalist Nicholas Newman, said the treasury’s apparent policy preference represents a long overdue wake up call for the renewables sector.

“I think it’s time for the renewable industry to grow up; it has had plenty of state featherbedding to turn long promised ambitions into commercially affordable products. Unfortunately, in this time of recession, it’s not only the taxpayer but also the customer that can no longer afford the renewable industries dreams.

“For too long the renewable industry has been a costly cottage industry, it has not moved on to the next stage, like China has of large-scale cheap products. It is time for Europe’s renewable industry to consolidate, not only to meet Europe’s energy security and environmental ambitions but also its economic development goals of providing cheap, reliable energy to the European economy.

“To put it bluntly, despite the environmentalists’ hype, Europe’s energy leadership needs to find a solution that is affordable, reliable and environmentally friendly.”

Mr Newman added that rather than seeing gas power as a threat, “renewables should see gas as complementary to meeting the needs of Europe’s energy market.”

Leading solar producer faces Italian lawsuit

The world’s largest solar panel maker, Suntech Power Holdings has been landed with criminal charges from an Italian court.

The Chinese firm is accused of illegally building solar farms to milk state subsidies.

The charges, together with other legal actions still being prepared against the fund, could eventually result in $100m worth of subsidy-backed solar farms being dismantled, an Italian prosecutor said, extending the problems of Suntech’s Global Solar Fund (GSF), which invests in European solar power projects.

A GSF shareholder and executive, Javier Romero, is at the centre of the furore, after it was alleged that he had used $700m in fake German bonds to help guarantee some of the fund’s financing, reports Reuters. He denies any wrongdoing.


Enel receives $76m boost for Mexican wind farm

Italian energy group Enel Green Power’s subsidiary Impulsora Nacional de Electricidad is to receive a loan of $76m to support its investment in the 74 MW Bii Nee Stipa II wind farm in Oaxaca, Mexico.

Enel’s first wind farm in Mexico is to receive finance from Inter-American Development Bank for the project.

The wind farm features 37 wind turbine generators, with a net annual generation of 278 GWh.

World’s third biggest hydro power plant suspended by court

The $16bn 11000 MW Belo Monte hydroelectric dam in Brazil has been suspended by order of a court decision, to allow indigenous groups in the Amazonian region to be properly consulted.

The Guardian newspaper reports the court’s ruling as an embarrassment for the Brazilian government, which had attempted to rush the project through.

The decision on the Xingu River project in the Amazon, which is seen by the government as a crucial pillar in the drive to move away from fossil fuels, also represents a setback for developers, led by Electrobras, which now face expensive delays or daily fines of up to $266,000 per day if they do not comply with the court order.

The project has faced strong legal challenges and protests by conservationists and local tribes. Brazil’s regional federal tribunal has accepted a lower court’s ruling that Brazil’s congress acted illegally in authorising the dam without due consultation with the indigenous groups that might be affected.

Belo Monte will flood an area of 500 km2 along the Xingu and force the relocation of 16,000 people, according to the government. NGOs says the number of displaced may rise as high as 40,000. Opponents – including representatives of the Juruna, Arara and Xikrin tribes, as well as international conservation groups and celebrities such as Avatar director James Cameron and actress Sigourney Weaver – have welcomed the ruling.

But the issue may have yet to be concluded as the Norte Energia consortium, which is building the dam, will have an opportunity to appeal, which it has done successfully in the past.

Chile court blocks Batista’s coal power project

Chile has blocked the construction of a $5bn coal power plant on environmental grounds.

E.ON and Brazilian billionaire Eike Batista had planned to construct the 2100 MW plant in order to support the country’s copper industry, which has been hampered by soaring energy costs

The court on Tuesday said E.ON and MPX, Mr Batista’s power company, could still resubmit a more comprehensive study, assessing the environmental impact of the project as a whole.

Iran rolls out 12 new power projects

Iran plans to roll out 12 new power projects by the end of September, with a focus on hydroelectric and coal power plants.

The government plans to extend its capacity through these new ventures to 2000 MW.

Deputy Energy Minister Mohammad Behzad said that more than $1.4bn has been invested in the projects.

He added that over 10 GW should be added to the generation capacity of hydroelectric and thermal power plants by August 2013.

Israel boosts energy security with gas power plant

The Israeli Electric Corporation (IEC) has announced the completion of work on its 375 MW combined-cycle power plant, a development that is expected to help relieve the country’s electricity generation problems.

The Zafit power station in southern Israel comprises of a 125 MW steam unit and an already existing 250 MW gas turbine facility.The natural gas turbines, which generate electricity for the grid, also release a heat by-product for powering the steam unit, heating steam to extremely high temperatures that can then be converted to useable electricity.

IEC CEO Eli Glickman cited Israel’s waning electricity reserve – which dipped to as low as only 200 MW during a heatwave earlier this summer – when he stressed the importance of the addition of the new facility, reports the Jerusalem Post.

Glickman said. “In an era in which every single megawatt of electricity generation is needed, an additional 125 MW is significant to the stability of the electricity sector in Israel.”

Israel has a total of about 12500 MW of installed capacity across all its power plants, which are powered by natural gas, fuel oil and coal.

UAE selects six firms for $3bn nuclear plant supply contract

Six firms have shared in $3bn worth of contracts awarded by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to supply fuel to the country’s first nuclear power plant.

Areva, ConverDyn, Urenco, Tenex and Rio Tinto are the selected suppliers for the Barakah plant, slated to open in 2017 according to the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corp (ENEC).

A spokesman for Areva, the world’s biggest maker of nuclear plants, said its share of the contract was worth $492.86m.

In July, the UAE’s nuclear regulator granted ENEC a licence to construct the country’s first two nuclear reactors, to be built by a South Korean-led consortium that will eventually build and operator four 1400 MW reactors in total.

The OPEC member will be the first Gulf Arab state to begin building a nuclear power plant. It wants to save its oil reserves for export rather than using them to generate electricity, for which demand is rising rapidly.


EPA hails ‘first’ trigen landfill-gas-to-energy system in the US

landfill-gas-to-energy system

The first trigeneration landfill-gas-to-energy system in the US is now operational at a production plant of drinks giant Coca-Cola.

The 6.5 MW system supplies electricity, steam and chilled water to the processing plant in Atlanta and will generate at least 48 million kWh of on-site biomass energy annually. It is expected to cut the plant’s carbon footprint by approximately 20,400 tonnes a year.

The trigeneration project includes a vacuum-collection system that captures methane gas from a nearby landfill and converts it to clean-burning fuel and transports it to the facility via a 9 km pipeline.

Three reciprocating engine generators use the gas as a primary fuel source to produce energy, three heat-recovery steam generators convert the engines’ heat exhaust into steam and a steam-turbine-driven chiller uses the steam to produce chilled water.

The system was installed by international renewable energy developer Mas Energy and the company’s Michael Hall said the project “was a natural fit for us”. “It required a thorough understanding of not only the design, engineering and technical aspects, but also the commercial, financial and legal components,” he added.

Mas Energy acquired the landfill-gas rights, secured financing, negotiated agreements, and oversaw all permitting, regulatory compliance, design, construction and operations.

The development of the trigeneration system was a key factor in Coca-Cola being named the third-largest on-site green power generator in America by the US Environmental Protection Agency earlier this month.

Brian Kelley, chief product supply officer at Coca-Cola, said the system “creates multiple benefits. It helps us meet our environmental sustainability goals while reducing costs in our manufacturing process.”

Relief for US coal utilities as court rules against EPA


The US Court of Appeals in Washington DC has struck down a key US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ruling on coal pollution, on the basis that the EPA had exceeded its mandate.

The EPA had sought to reduce harmful emissions from coal burning plants, by limiting sulphur and nitrogen oxides emissions from power plants in the east of the country and Texas.

The ruling was greeted with relief by coal utilities and sparked a rally in company shares. Some Republicans such as presidential challenger Mitt Romney, who have made environmental policies a major campaign theme ahead of November elections, also welcomed the decision.

Coal plant closures had been seen as inevitable, given the timeframe and financial burden of installing costly new equipment.

But some analysts saw little material impact from the ruling, with dozens of coalfired plants already slated for closure due to other EPA regulations and the impact of cheap gas. “I think the biggest challenge facing the coal industry is cheap, abundant, less carbon-intense natural gas, and no matter how many photo ops he [Romney] has in front of coal-fired stations, it doesn’t change the economics,” said Kevin Massy, a Brookings Institution analyst.

US-China clean energy war sees more allegations of illicit subsidies

The ongoing energy trade war between China and the US has taken a new twist with the news that China’s Ministry of Commerce is claiming that six renewable energy projects in the US are illegally subsidised and violate World Trade Organization (WTO) rules.

The statement, made on the ministry’s website, claims US state support amounts to a distortion of normal international trade, under the WTO’s general agreement on tariffs and trade.

Platts reports that the projects cited involve a solar-power rebate programme in Massachusetts and wind-power manufacturing incentives in Ohio. The Chinese ministry has urged the US to cancel its subsidies for the projects but did not say in its announcement whether it would seek WTO arbitration over the matter.

The Office of the US Trade Representative did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The US and China have accused each other over the past year of illegally subsidising their respective clean-energy industries, with the US voting to impose tariffs on Chinese -solar imports and wind turbines as anti-dumping measures.

In each case, China has said it is following WTO regulations and has warned that any “restrictive measures” against its products would have a negative effect on the US economy.


Positive forecast for gas powered generation

A new report from Frost & Sullivan is positive about the place of gas fired power generation over the next decade.

The power generation resource is expected to grow across all world regions due to its clean burning characteristics, flexible operating capabailities and high availability.

A “massive availability of natural gas” will drive gas fired generation, said the consultancy. The report cited global LNG production led by leading producers like Qatar, the emergence of new pipeline schemes like Nabucco, and the boom in shale gas production in the US that is gradually spreading to other regions

This is reinforced by the unpopularity of coal fired power in developed countries and the problems associated with nuclear power.

The report forecasts that North America and Europe will continue to have the largest installed gas fired capacity, and global gas fired power plant orders will total 537 GW through 2020.

But the report forecast that limited availability of finance, exacerbated by the Eurozone’s sovereign debt crisis, is likely to delay the completion of gas fired plants in the short term.

Frost & Sullivan Industry Director Harald Thaler said: “Moreover, electricity consumption in many countries of the developed world has still not recovered to pre-crisis levels.”

Win public confidence on shale gas or face blanket bans, warns IEA chief

The International Energy Agency’s executive director has described the rise of shale gas as an energy revolution, but stressed that the “industry must win public confidence by demonstrating exemplary performance” otherwise it will face “blanket bans”.

Maria Van der Hoeven à‚  Maria Van der Hoeven warned that while worldwide unconventional gas supplies are considerable, there are still serious uncertainties as to whether they can meet their full potential.
Maria Van der Hoeven

“Such uncertainties exist because alongside the potential economic and energy security benefits of unconventional gas, there are also legitimate public concerns about its environmental and social impacts,” she said at the Baker Institute in Houston. “These include the implications for water resources, land use and disruption to local communities.”

She said the key issue for the energy industry was “one of good governance, good management, and good oversight”.

“The industry must win public confidence by demonstrating exemplary performance; and governments must ensure that appropriate policies and regulatory regimes are in place.”

She stressed that while “excessive regulation which chokes innovation and threatens the viability of the industry” must be avoided, “we must be sure that safeguards and rules are effective – and include proper oversight mechanisms.”

She warned that if politicians and the public were not reassured, “we are likely to see a backlash against unconventional extraction methods, and blanket bans”.

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