CrisisWatch

Energy & climate change

Soft recommendations, but no rules for fracking…

In retreat from its initial position and disregarding the European Parliament’s vote for the inclusion of shale gas operations under mandatory EIA rules (CrisisWatch 21), the European Commission will only be proposing a set of ‘soft’ recommendations for this environmentally hazardous hydrocarbon extraction technique....
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Renewables sink in European crisis

Despite a slight increase, Europe is headed for another weak quarter for clean energy investments, Bloomberg reports, as spending totaled a $10BN, 40% lower than the 2012 Q3 figures. The second quarter of 2013 had seen investments drop to the lowest in more than six years, mainly as a result of cuts in subsidies and retroactive measures, in countries like Germany, Spain and Greece....
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Energy poverty increases in crisis-stricken countries

According to the Greek Public Power Corporation (PPC), more than 350,000 consumers every year have their electricity cut off over unpaid bills. 60% of the power cuts concern households. 140,000 of these remain disconnected as they cannot afford to pay the bills, while illegal reconnections amount to 35,000 p.a. Comparing to pre-crisis figures (i.e. 2008), this signals a more than 100% increase in power cuts....
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Dirty energy giants call for end of support to renewables

The bosses of ten of Europe’s largest energy utilities joined forces against the support schemes for renewable energies. Nicknamed “The Magritte Group”, the CEOs of giants such as German RWE, Italian Enel and Eni, French GDF Suez, Swedish Vattenfall and Spanish Iberdrola, stated that support needs to be directed towards gas-powered capacity and not renewables. The group “warned” that the risk of black-outs has never been higher in Europ...
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Czech-mate for renewables

In a brief news release of July 25th, the Czech Government announced its plans to stop providing financial support to all new renewable energy investments, effective January 2014. According to Prime Minister Jiří Rusnok, the reason for this “legal amendment is the increasing financial burden placed on electricity consumers, due to the cost of support to renewable energy in electricity prices, which directly threatens the competitiveness of th...
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Oil extraction plans in sea of Sicily threaten with environmental havoc…

As the hydrocarbon frenzy dominates the energy policy agendas of crisis stricken Mediterranean states, Italy aims to increase its oil output to 200,000 barrels a day, thus becoming the third producer in the EU, following Britain and Norway. A plan with an inestimable toll on nature: the marine and coastal environment along the straits of Sicily is a highly biodiverse region that deserves additional conservation status, according to NGOs, such as...
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Emergency treatment breaths short life to the EU’s ailing carbon market

In a June 19th vote at the European Parliament’s Environment Committee, a set of amendments gained majority support and reconfirmed the Commission’s mandate for a one-off intervention to correct the massive imbalances rocking the Emissions Trading System. The Commission’s proposal for backloading the auctioning of 900 million CO2 allowances, in order to temporarily stall the continued oversupply, was rejected in a 16 April vote, but the Com...
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Romania grants Chevron permit for shale gas exploration

The Environment Ministry of Romania recently granted US energy giant Chevron the much contested exploration rights for shale gas in three areas in Eastern Romania. Chevron has long tried to obtain these permits, but serious objections against its plans were raised both by local communities in the concerned areas (ranking among the poorest in the EU) and by the incumbent Government of Victor Ponta, before its election in 2012 (see CrisisWatch 12)....
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