Fiona Young: Links to News Articles relating to Fracking and the Economy

By May 30, 2015 News No Comments

This from Daily Telegraph 18th October 2014

Will stock markets go green as Mark Carney turns on fossil fuels?

It seems to have passed virtually unnoticed, but this week Mark Carney, Governor of the Bank of England, gave the most heavyweight push yet to the growing movement by investors to ditch stocks in fossil-fuel companies.

He told a World Bank seminar that “the vast majority of reserves” of the fuels “are unburnable”, if the world is to avoid dangerous climate change.

That would mean that stocks in the companies are seriously overvalued, as such reserves usually form a big part of their value, raising the danger of a so-called “carbon bubble”.

So far, more than 180 local governments and institutions and over 650 individuals, together representing over $50 billion, have pledged to divest themselves of fossil fuel stock.

Last month, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund – inheritor of a fortune built on oil – joined them at the New York climate summit and, more recently, Glasgow University voted to become Europe’s first academic institution to pull out.

Could it be that the markets – much despised by many radical greens – will end up doing more to save the climate than all the protests in the world? It’s early days, but watch this space – and the share prices.

This from the Guardian

Why the UK lags behind in commercial solar installation

Half a million homes are now solarised in Britain but only around 400 commercial-scale solar PV systems have been installed. What is stopping businesses from investing in solar?

Jeremy Leggett

Guardian Professional, Friday 18 July 2014 16.49 BST

The total solar PV in the UK is around 4.6GW, while in Germany this number exceeds 30GW. Photograph:Alamy

As the cost of solar energy plunges, the solar industry is growing at what some describe as “lightning speed”. But that is a global picture. Nationally, the situation varies greatly, depending on the attitude of the incumbent government.

When it comes to domestic market growth, and building a national solar industry, the UK is very much in the “jury out” category at the moment. This is partly because of an internal battle of ideas between solar believers and those who envision the UK as a “gas hub”, on the road to which solar is a distraction that might put off investment in UK fracking.

Using commercial rooftops for solar generation is especially important, for three reasons. First, there is enormous vacant, functionless, roofspace on warehouses, factories and the like and a quarter of a million hectares of it faces south.

Second, companies can save money by solarising their roofspace – and third, commercial roofs are where the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) says it wishes to see much of the solar installed in the future.

The total amount of solar PV installed in the UK now exceeds 4.6GW. In comparison, the total in Germany – world leaders in solar as well as football – exceeds 30GW.

Roughly half of the UK solar is ground-mounted, and half on roofs. Of roof-mounted solar, by far the majority is on residential buildings. According to SolarCentury’s analysis of Ofgem statistics, only around 400 commercial-scale (100kWp or larger) solar PV systems have been installed out of approximately 1.8m commercial properties in the UK. This represents a tiny fraction of all UK solar. Yet in continental Europe, almost a third of all solar is on commercial roofs.

So why has there been so little uptake in the UK? There are two reasons. The first involves government policy. The second involves the difficulties companies face when considering whether to opt for solar roofs.

The government has decided it doesn’t like ground-mounted solar. This is strange, because opinion polls consistently show solar is the most popular renewable with the UK public, including when mounted in appropriate sites on the ground. DECC wants to end Renewable Obligation Certificates (ROCS), from which ground mounted solar currently benefits, prematurely, in March 2015. It had told investors earlier that ROCs would stay in place until 2017. The government says that its proposed policies will drive a market in commercial roofs instead. The trouble is, as things stand, it won’t.

Feed-in tariffs will be used to encourage solar on commercial roofs instead. However, the rate they propose fails to attract companies other than ardent pioneers. It needs to be higher for a few short years until solar costs fall to the point that no subsidies are needed at all. The Solar Trade Association calculates this will happen by 2020.

However, when companies do install solar, they do not seem to have any regrets, that we know of. According to Paul Donnelly, CSR manager at Big Yellow: “Our solar programme has helped us cut carbon as well as our energy bills – so we have actually been making money from our roofs.”

Over the last six years, Solarcentury has installed 16 PV roof systems for Big Yellow across its extensive roof spaces, providing up to 20% of the electricity demand.

Now Solarcentury is intent on making the experience for companies – and hopefully, soon, the mass market – even simpler. A new approach to planning and executing solar projects means that retailers of all sizes can overcome the obstacles that commonly hinder businesses from going solar.

We are doing our bit to unlock the huge commercial roof spaces of the UK. The government now needs to do theirs.

Jeremy Leggett, social entrepreneur and writer, set up Solarcentury and SolarAid because of his fears about overdependency on fossil fuels.

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