EWG Newsletter 4 - December 2015
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Historical COP21 Signal, Record 2015 Investment in Renewables Despite Low Oil and Coal Prices

Dear Colleagues and Friends,

Energy Watch Group wishes you a happy, healthy and energizing New Year!

As oil investors have struggled with sinking oil prices in 2015, renewable energy attracted record global investment worldwide. A new study proves that renewables can supply all of India’s and its neighbours’ electricity. Meanwhile, the Indian government has launched a breakthrough International Solar Alliance at the climate conference in Paris. These news and a snapshot of our main studies and activities in 2015 in our 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

Historical COP21 Sends a Strong Signal for Global Energy Transition

Energy Watch Group greets the Paris Climate Agreement, which sends a historical signal that all 195 countries in the world have finally recognized the importance of the climate change action. Increasingly, many realize that decarbonization and energy transition to renewables is not a burden, but a new business model, which is key for survival of countries, people and companies. In Paris, the EWG has presented its study on the IEA’s misleading projections on renewables at a side-event, co-organized by REN21, Greenpeace and the World Future Council, and took part in a Climate Parliament session. 

Oil and Coal Investors in Distress 

The price of crude oil could fall to $20 a barrel in the coming months, the leading Morgan Stanley bank forecasts. With oil price hitting the new low of $30, oil investors, especially in the US, are struggling with the second horrendous year. West Texas Intermediate futures are heading for their biggest-ever two-year drop, while the Standard & Poor’s Energy Sector Index is set to mark its first consecutive decline since 2002.

The international coal market is in distress with a 10% slide in prices by the end of 2015. According to the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, Indian coal imports fell 34% year-on-year in December, following a record 49% year-on-year decline in November, contrary to both the IEA forecasts and the global market sentiment that the Indian economy would drive demand for seaborne thermal coal for the foreseeable future. The same applies to China where the coal imports slumped 30%. 

Clean Energy Investments on Record High Despite Low Fossil Fuel Prices

Investments in renewable energy surged in China, Africa, the US, Latin America and India in 2015, driving the world total to its highest ever figure, of $329 billion, according to the latest report from Bloomberg New Energy Finance2015 was also the highest ever for installation of renewable power capacity, with 64GW of wind and 57GW of solar PV commissioned during the year, an increase of nearly 30% over 2014. China was by far the biggest investor in clean energy in 2015 (17% increase), followed by the US (8% increase), whereas investments in Europe were down 18% in comparison to 2014. Neither the 67% plunge in the oil price in the 18 months, nor continuing low prices for coal globally and natural gas in the US restrained the clean energy boom. 

Global clean energy investment 2004-15, $bn, Source: Bloomberg New Energy Finance 

Two New Initiatives for Massive Global Expansion of Solar Energy

The International Solar Alliance (ISA), launched by India and France at the COP21, will bring together some 120 countries to accelerate the use of solar energy in developing countries. The Alliance plans to achieve an added solar capacity of 1 terrawatt by 2030 with a total investment of one trillion USD. The ISA will collaborate with the Terrawatt Initiative (TWI), also announced at the COP21 as a non-profit organization, supporting governments in creation of a regulatory framework for solar expansion. The TWI is open to all interested companies, financial institutions and professional associations.

Science Update

India and Neighbours Can Get 100% Electricity From Renewables

A new presentation by Dr. Christian Breyer, co-chairman of the EWG scientific board and professor for Solar Economy at Lappeenranta University of Technology shows that a 100% renewable energy based system is possible in India and the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation countries of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. This energy system with a high share of solar PV in all scenarios and a significant role of wind would be more cost-competitive than a system based on nuclear-fossil energy. A super-grid could significantly decrease electricity costs in the entire region. 

EWG News

President of Energy Watch Group receives German Order of Merit

On December 16, President of the Energy Watch Group Hans-Josef Fell was awarded the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany for his “tireless fight for renewable energy”. It is the highest German recognition of individuals’ services to the nation. Fell's “commitment to a secure and sustainable energy supply in Germany and in the world" as well as his contribution to renewable energy, "especially for the Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG)" were highlighted. "The EEG is an instrument that has set international standards at a remarkable rate and has undoubtedly become an international brand", President of the Bundestag Dr. Lammert said in his laudation. 

Energy Watch Group 2015 Review

In 2015, Energy Watch Group has commissioned and published several studies:
  • “The End of Fracking Business” - a study on the fracking situation in Europe and the USA. 
  • “International Energy Agency holds back global energy transition” – a study on the misleading IEA energy projections in the last ten years. 
  • „IEA Keeps Assuming Linear Growth for Renewable Energy“  – an assessment of the IEA’s Medium-Term Renewable Energy Market Report.
  • An assessment of the IEA’s World Energy Outlook 2015 and a closer look into its solar PV projections.
Among others, EWG has taken active part as a partner or speaker in the following meetings:  CISOLAR 2015 in Azerbaijan (April 2015), German-Russian Innovation Forum in Berlin (July 2015), EU PVSEC 2015 in Hamburg (September 2015), Renewable Energy Congress in Moscow (October 2015), Sustainable Energy Forum in Kazakhstan (November 2015).
In 2015, our work and studies were covered by Die Welt, Stern, Frankfurter Rundschau, EurActiv, Focus, National Geographic, Vox, Wirtschafts-Woche, RIA Novosti, und PV-Magazine. You can read the media coverage of the Energy Watch Group here.

Copyright © 2015 Energy Watch Group, All rights reserved.

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