BlackRock achieves record close of $1bn for renewable energy fund

Solar energy farmAmerican investment company BlackRock has announced that is has achieved $1bn for the first close of its Global Renewable Power III (GRP III) fund. The company stated that it has received commitments from 35 investors in Asia, Europe and North America.

GRP III is the third in a series of funds established by BlackRock to invest in renewable energy generation, energy storage and distribution, a market the group says is now mainstream for the power industry. Continue reading “BlackRock achieves record close of $1bn for renewable energy fund”

Clean power is shaking up the geopolitics of energy

Pic: Bloomberg

To enter Taft, two hours north of Los Angeles, you drive along the “Petroleum Highway”, past miles of billboards advertising Jesus. God’s country is also oil country. Spread over the sagebrush hills surrounding the town are thousands of steel pumpjacks contraptions that suck oil out of the ground. They look like a herd of dinosaurs. Some Californians would describe the oil industry in the same way.

The oil produced at Taft is not produced by hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, as much of it is in Texas and North Dakota. It is so heavy it needs to be steamed out of the ground, in a process known locally as “huff and puff”. Yet Kern County, with Taft on its western edge, produces 144m barrels of oil a year, the second highest output of any county in America. Fred Holmes, a third-generation oilman and patron of the West Kern Oil Museum, says he is proud of the heritage, however much it irks local drivers of electric Tesla cars that the Golden State has such a carbon-heavy underbelly. “Oil is renewable energy. It just takes longer to renew,” he quips. He has built a giant wooden derrick at the museum to celebrate it.

In its heyday, oil was prized in southern California. The Lakeview Gusher, which blew on the edge of Taft in 1910, became as emblematic of a boom era as the gold rush farther north. Taft also played a starring role early on in the geopolitics of energy. In 1910 the American navy, worried about its dependence on insecure coal supplies, commissioned its first oil-fired destroyer. Two years later President William Taft created the first naval petroleum reserve in Taft’s Elk Hills to guarantee supplies of oil in the event of an international crisis. It came into its own in the second world war, when production soared. The president gave the town, formerly called Moron, a better name.
Continue reading “Clean power is shaking up the geopolitics of energy”

UK Clean Energy Records Make 2017 ‘Greenest Year Ever’

Increased reliance on renewable energy means the country has ‘never been cleaner or greener – and we are on course for an even better year in 2018’

This year is set to be the “greenest ever” for the UK, according to data provided by the National Grid.

Over the course of 2017, 13 different renewable energy records have been broken.

“It’s been an exciting year managing the many ‘network firsts’,” said Duncan Burt, director of the system operator at National Grid.

These “firsts” include the first full day since the Industrial Revolution without coal power, an achievement that head of energy at Greenpeace Hannah Martin said would have been “unimaginable” a decade ago.

Other achievements include the most electricity produced from solar power at any one moment, and the most wind power produced in a day.

Britain’s power system is the fourth cleanest in Europe and the seventh cleanest in the world.

It is still lagging behind Germany, which has invested extensively in renewable energy and actually paid consumers to use energy over the Christmas period due to supply outstripping demand. Continue reading “UK Clean Energy Records Make 2017 ‘Greenest Year Ever’”