RENEWABLE ENERGY GREW AT A RECORD PACE IN 2016
Renewable energy capacity grew at a record pace last year buoyed by government policies in Asia, the International Energy Agency said Wednesday.
The world added 6% more renewable energy capacity in 2016 than in the previous year, according to a report by the IEA, a Paris- based organization that advises governments on energy.
The growth in renewables was underpinned by a surge in the addition of solar power capacity in China.
Beijing has adopted pro-renewable policies in a bid to curb air pollution and reduce its reliance on foreign oil. China is also the largest manufacturer of solar panels.
Fatih Birol, the executive director of the IEA, called the ascension of solar power “a remarkable benchmark,” while speaking at a press conference in London.
Worldwide, solar power surged ahead of all other fuels growing by 74 gigawatts in 2016, 50% higher than the previous year.
While China accounted for the lion’s share of all the growth in renewables at 41%, the U.S. came in second and distinguished itself by surpassing the European Union and adding 24 gigawatts of renewable power in 2016, a 44% increase from a year earlier.
Other types of renewable energy drove growth elsewhere. In Sub-Saharan Africa, for instance, the growth in renewable energy was driven by the addition of hydropower.
Fossil fuels remain the world’s top commodity for electricity generation but renewables are narrowing the gap, the IEA said. The agency forecasts that renewable power will equal half of the current total coal capacity by 2022.
Overall renewable power generation grew by 7% last year and accounted for more than 24% of the global electricity mix, with coal remaining the leading energy source.
Last year the world got most of its renewable energy from hydropower followed by wind, bioenergy, solar and a few others.
If current government policies remain in place, the IEA forecasts that renewable power generation will exceed 8000 terawatts by 2022, a number that is equal to the generation of China, India and Germany combined.
The data is very “important for the fossil fuel industry to take note of,” said Mr. Birol.
GLENCORE TO BOOST STAKE IN PERU MINING COMPANY VOLCAN COMPANIA MINERA
Glencore PLC, the world’s third largest copper producer, said it could invest nearly $1 billion in a Peruvian zinc operation, writes The Wall Street Journal’s Scott Patterson.
“The investment in Peruvian mining company Volcan Compañia Minera S.A. will add to Glencore’s world-beating zinc assets. Glencore is the world’s leading miner and trader of zinc, an essential metal for making steel, owning a position big enough already that the company’s decisions can move prices,” reports the Journal.
Recovering prices for copper, cobalt, zinc, coal and other commodities have provided much needed cash to Glencore and other mining companies, letting them pay down debt, reinstate dividends and, increasingly, look to do deals.
Glencore inked a $1.1 billion deal in July for a stake in Australian coal assets and considered a bid for $11 billion grain trading company Bunge Ltd.
Glencore’s shares have surged more than 400% since they plunged in 2015 as investors worried that falling commodity prices, sparked by an economic slowdown in China, would hurt the firm’s finances.
Oil prices slid Wednesday morning, as investors continued to cash in on last week’s bullish market and retrace crude’s upward march.
Brent crude, the global benchmark, was down 0.27%, at $55.85 a barrel on London’s Intercontinental Exchange. On the New York Mercantile Exchange, West Texas Intermediate Futures were trading down 0.16%, at $50.34 a barrel.
The price of Brent nearly hit $60 a barrel last week but has since come down by around 6% after “edgy traders” reversed bullish positions to take profits, according to Stephen Brennock, an analyst at brokerage PVM Oil Associates Ltd.
“A return of the recent feel-good factor now seems like a distant prospect and any price gains will be hard won,” Mr. Brennock noted.