EWG Newsletter 2 - October 2015
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IEA Undermines Renewables, Coal and Gas in Decline, Fossil Fuel Divestment on Rise

Dear Colleagues and Friends,

Surprisingly for many, global coal demand and shale gas production in the US have been in decline in the last months. Meanwhile, divestments from fossil fuel worldwide have increased fivefold since September 2014. The International Energy Agency keeps underestimating the potential of renewable energy, despite its exponential growth in the last decade. These news and more in our EWG newsletter.
Energy Watch Group (EWG) is an international network of scientists and parliamentarians. We commission research projects and publish independent studies on global energy developments. Our mission is to provide energy policy - and you via this newsletter - with objective information on global energy developments!

Global Energy News

EWG: International Energy Agency Holds Back Global Energy Transition

new study by Energy Watch Group and Lappeenranta University of Technology shows that the International Energy Agency (IEA) has consistently underestimated potential of solar and wind energy. Despite the exponential growth of these technologies in the last decades, IEA keeps assuming the linear growth. The IEA's misleading projections hinder investments in renewable energy worldwide and undermine the global fight against climate change, EWG experts say. The study analyzed the IEA’s World Energy Outlook projections between 1994 and 2014. 

EIA: US Shale Gas Production in Decline

Natural gas production from the seven largest U.S. shale deposits will drop for a fourth straight month in October 2015, according to Energy Information Administration (EIA) forecast, released on September 14. The number of drilled but uncompleted wells jumped almost 50% in January through June 2015 from the same period in 2014. EWG predicted just that decline back in 2013.

Gas Boom Falters

Fossil Fuel Divestment Movement on the Rise

Thousands of institutions and individuals across the world representing $2.6 trillion in assets have pledged to divest from fossil fuels, according to a new report by U.S. consultancy Arabella Advisors. That is a five-time increase since September 2014. The increasing likelihood of near-term carbon regulations puts companies with fossil fuel assets under pressure. Recent divestments cases include pension funds, Universities, faith communities, businesses and philanthropies. 

Goldman Sachs: Peak Coal is Coming Sooner Than Expected

Global thermal coal demand will peak before 2020 as coal futures have been continuously declining since 2008, U.S. investment bank Goldman Sachs announced on September 22. The drop in coal demand started in developed economies and in 2014 continued in China and India. The estimate confirms the 2007 EWG projections for peak coal, which many critics called unrealistic back then. 

New Data Proves Wrong Blackout Argument of Renewable Critics

The critics of renewables commonly argue that a further expansion of clean energy will put the grid stability at risk. Only safe base load energy from coal and nuclear power plants are able to ensure security of supply, they say. Meanwhile, in 2014 Germany had the lowest rate of power blackouts since 2006, as the share of green electricity sharply increased, the new data from Federal Network Agency for Electricity, Gas, Telecommunications, Post and Railway (Bundesnetzagentur) shows. 

Science Update

Renewables-Powered Desalination Can Solve Water Scarcity

As water demand globally is increasing, seawater desalination can provide a solution to water scarcity. A new study by Dr. Christian Breyer, co-chairman of the EWG's scientific board and professor for Solar Economy at Lappeenranta University of Technology, et al. provides a global estimate of the water production costs by 2030 through desalination, powered by renewable energy sources. 

100% Renewables in South America Feasible and Economically Viable

new study by Dr. Christian Breyer et al. finds that an energy system based on 100% renewable energy in South America is feasible and even more cost competitive than a nuclear-fossil option. According to the study, super grid interconnection can decrease average cost of electricity in South America whereas hydro dams can be used as virtual batteries for solar and wind electricity balancing. 

EWG News

The Energy Watch Group Keeps on Growing

As our international network of scientists and parliamentarians is growing, we are happy to announce our new members:
  • Marco Bülow – Member of the German Parliament, Social Democratic Party
  • Dieter Janecek – Member of the German Parliament, Alliance 90/The Greens
  • Dr. Enebish Namjil – Dept. of Applied Sciences and Engineering, National University of Mongolia
  • Prof. Dr. Eicke Weber – Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems, ISE
Welcome on board!

EWG in the Press:

The new EWG study, which shows that IEA undermines potential of renewables, was well received in the German and international press. Especially worth reading is an analytical take of the German daily Frankfurter Rundschau “Fatal Errors in the Energy Bible”.
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