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Jolly green giants toppled

Two of the headlines on Greenpeace's daily news review stuck out at me this morning.

Coal: Nearly $1 trillion could be wasted on unneeded plants

Renewables: SunEdison on brink of bankruptcy, Abengoa files

The companies named in the second headline are two of the largest players in the renewables field, so it's pretty big news that they are on the brink of exctinction, despite all the millions in taxpayers' money that has been poured into them by wise and noble politicians.

Who knows, perhaps there might be room in the marketplace for coal-fired power stations after all.

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Reader Comments (159)

I can hear them in the "House" right now,..............."We based our decisions upon the best available science at the time!"
Yeah, yeah, yeah, & who will foot the bill as usual! I wonder what the true cost is of all those wonderful guvment decisions that belly-flopped over the last 50 years!

Mar 30, 2016 at 10:27 AM | Unregistered CommenterAlan the Brit

'Millions' of taxpayer's money? I suspect you meant to hit the 'B,' not the 'm.'

Mar 30, 2016 at 10:33 AM | Unregistered CommenterClimateOtter

More detail on SunEdison here at Energy News:
Quote from the link:

However, analysts point out that for more than five years the company has not presented a clear accounting of its income statement, despite announcing record profits in the second quarter of 2015. According to experts, operations and acquisitions would have made the company loose nearly one billion dollars in the first three quarters of 2015.

Poor spelling aside, the article goes on to make some strong insinuations.

It suggests that such a clear accounting was a pre-requisite for a planned merger in 2015 and that their failure to be up-front and honest seems to have spooked investors.

Funny that.

Mar 30, 2016 at 10:35 AM | Registered CommenterM Courtney

Biiiiiiiiiiillions of daaaaaaaaaaark mooooooooooney...

Mar 30, 2016 at 11:00 AM | Unregistered CommenterAyla

I wonder if Mark Carney will now feel obliged to state that renewables investments are more immediately unsound than the fossil fuel investments he previously derided. If not then his apocalyptic pronouncements have clearly nothing to do with financial risks.

Mar 30, 2016 at 11:14 AM | Unregistered CommenterJamesG

Q: Does Ayla have any sensible contribution to make to debate here? Or is he/she just a troll?

Mar 30, 2016 at 11:29 AM | Unregistered CommenterAlan the Brit

M Courtney: Thanks for the link to SunEdison. I was a bit taken aback when I saw on their Home page banner their sources of power generation: "Wind, Solar, Gas, Bio, Self-consumption"!!

Mar 30, 2016 at 11:30 AM | Unregistered CommenterHarry Passfield

The Energy News article paints a picture of rapid expansion, especially by acquisition, with billions of borrowed money. If when the big collapse comes the investors and lenders lose their shirts, well boo-hoo for them the fools. But if there are loan guarantees by the US government then it's a disaster for the taxpayers. Market forces should dictate the economics, not government largesse.

Mar 30, 2016 at 11:31 AM | Unregistered CommenterBrent Hargreaves

@James : latest news from Mark Carney: G20 to make green finance a ‘priority

Mar 30, 2016 at 11:31 AM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

Readers should remember that 'Jolly Green Giant' is a well-known trade name for cans of Corn (Maize).

Mar 30, 2016 at 11:33 AM | Unregistered CommenterNCC 1701E

Arrgh...Of course, it was not a link to SunEdison but to Energy News.

That said, whoever wrote the piece has a great sense of irony:

The American SunEdison lives its darkest hours. One of the largest developers of renewable energies worldwide, especially photovoltaic, could be in bankruptcy...

Mar 30, 2016 at 11:35 AM | Registered CommenterHarry Passfield

Forbes also have a good summary of the Sun Edison situation say "SunEdison can't seem to catch a break. With an ever-negative news stream, shares of the solar firm have plummeted by 97.7% over the past year including a massive drop of 55.8% in Tuesday"

Mar 30, 2016 at 11:43 AM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

For Abengoa filing for bankruptcy is good news cos otherwise they are stuck in limbo land.
- The filing means that the creditors have accepted to losing money and the restructuring can start.
Spanish energy firm Abengoa files for bankruptcy

Mar 30, 2016 at 12:08 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

Down that Greenpeace page
"Cleantech investment boom"
..They like to say things like : It's a green boom cos $$billions are being invested in green,
Hey when that investment goes belly up that is hardly a boom

Mar 30, 2016 at 12:09 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

In UK solar installers are going bust, so be careful if they owe you money.
Paul H has news of 2 in Norwich : Eco Juice and Absolute Renewable Energy (UK), both based in Norwich, close... debts of £800K and £45K

"It is sad when any business goes under and employees lose their jobs. But unfortunately the solar industry in the UK never was a sustainable one, relying wholly on government subsidies to be viable."

Mar 30, 2016 at 12:28 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

I must have been away: did Greenpeace really kill the Jolly Green Giant?

Why such a tiny tiny gravestone, or are they giant mutant peas?

Mar 30, 2016 at 12:55 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlan Kendall

it's interesting to view today the bleatings by Carwen Jones, Labour leader of the Welsh Assembly, and Leanne Wood of Plaid Cymru demanding that Government nationalises the steel industry to keep Welsh jobs. Yet both parties bang on about having sustainable economies which means we cannot make steel because it is based on Carbon as a reactant and as a major alloyng element.

I also notice that the GWPF has asked government to stop our unilateral climate policies:

Mar 30, 2016 at 1:19 PM | Unregistered CommenterNCC 1701E

Renewables: SunEdison on brink of bankruptcy, Abengoa files

What a shame the climate models didn't predict this subsidy pause.

Mar 30, 2016 at 1:30 PM | Unregistered CommenterBitter&twisted

Millions? Surely you mean TENS OF BILLIONS if not HUNDREDS OF BILLIONS quite literally p1ssed away in to the wind!

Think of how many schools and hospitals all of the money that has been spent on ground unicorn and rainbow power generation could have paid for! THATS what should be the scandal here!!!


Mar 30, 2016 at 1:46 PM | Unregistered Commentermailman


THERE IS NO PAUSE!!! Rejigging the data clearly indicates.......

Mar 30, 2016 at 1:49 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlan Kendall

In the same link is the news that the canadian CCS isn't working either. In one day's news gazillions of dollars down the drain in the cause of saving a few tonnes of trace gas. What a time to be alive.

Mar 30, 2016 at 1:58 PM | Unregistered Commenterclovis marcus

When all the effective power suppliers have been forced out of business and charlatans like Solyndra and Ivanpah have trousered their subsidies and moved on, where do we get electricity from?

Mar 30, 2016 at 2:00 PM | Unregistered CommenterOwen Morgan

BBC world service covered it on Monday here. Their man-in-Madrid sounded almost embarrassed, choosing his words carefully.

Various minor explanations, such as mismanagement were first offered, but no attempt was made to question basic green mantras. So instead of addressing the basic problem of an over-inflated industry that cannot thrive without subsidies even when the market has been rigged in its favour, we got one of the main reasons as being that the Spanish Government's implementation of their subsidy policy was to blame.

Mar 30, 2016 at 2:01 PM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

"What a shame the climate models didn't predict this subsidy pause."

Nice one Bitter&twisted. I'm nicking that one. Very useful one-liner!

Mar 30, 2016 at 2:06 PM | Unregistered CommenterCheshireRed

How can the bottom fall out of a rigged market?

Anyone remember Solyndra?

\History tells it and undeniably informs us that, in a past littered with the hulks of Venezuelas, North Koreas and Soviet Russian disasters - Communism doesn't work, it never has and never will it, even if, the PRC, China continues to defy gravity........................

The other question is, why do taxpayers - 'the UK electorate'...... allow governments to continue on with the western version of and equivalent, indistinguishable: madness?


And on a theme.......................

Should 'we' (UK government) - save UK steel and/or, indeed - because of the likes of greenpeace et al - does UK steel exist producing steel - on a level playing field?

Mar 30, 2016 at 2:29 PM | Unregistered CommenterAthelstan.

The argument is that these Mickey Mouse power sources are cheaper than fossil fuels so shouldn't need subsidies, once the industry has "become established"

...but now its 20 odd years of support ..when did they expect to be de-teated ?

Mar 30, 2016 at 2:35 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

stewgreen - re Paul H's link:

I note that the Solar Energy Association states that the solar market is 'evolving' to include home battery systems...

I detect a new way for gullible homeowners to be parted from their money..!

Mar 30, 2016 at 2:38 PM | Unregistered Commentersherlock1

But don't you guys get a lot of stick from your mates, when you point out how crap wind/solar are ?

People just want to believe the GreenMagicDream like believing in Santa Claus, that's why the BBC will give them a free advertising slot at the drop of a hat. (BTW @Alan endall doesn't believe that)

Yesterday on the BBC ws Radio prog Click
- The main feature was Project Ukko about how artists are helping map the optimum wind locations for windfarms *
- A second item was We Care Solar - about building a solar suitcase for African hospitals.
(when you know stuff it's not that the African hospitals need solar, it's a case of the African electrcity suppliers being son screwed up and corrupt that they don't do the maintenance ...and in fact Nigeria electricity got a new boss who is supposidly solving the problems)

* It's supposed to be tech show, but you can see how BBC minds work : If it's green, if it's arty it gets to the top of the list. They'd never do an item about Fracking engineers doing mapping. One of the presenters often talks about his second home. (One Cambridge, one Yorkshire)

For that solar project The surprising thing for the first time ever they didn't just roll over with their paws in the air, they actually started to apply critical thinking like saying the solar suitcase was overcomplex. Its a start it's not like for green issues they ever get an opposing view on to contest it , like they do with other issues.

Mar 30, 2016 at 3:04 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

These are the sustainable jobs in the Green Renewables industry, that are going to save us all.

Apart from:
Not Sustainable by any definition
Not Renewable by any definition
Not Industry as anyone would understand it

The Green bit is a fair reflection of anything disastrous, by any definition.

The big growth market now in the Green sector, is Insolvency and Bankruptcy. It is fairly straightforward work, no assets of any value require valuing as they are all useless. No income, as no product anybody would want to buy. No debts as only taxpayers money was wasted, and the taxpayer can't sue.

Mar 30, 2016 at 3:05 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

--- Yesterday Morning on BBCr5 Wake up to Money

The guy from Electric corp was straight up "We've got price pressure from these green subsidies, It's already £100 and they are going up and up and up"
3 mins later they had the U-switch woman pooh poohing that idea when she said it was the big 6 electric corps that was the price problem ..which was much to their liking. Of course she is friends with all the small green electric suppliers.

Mar 30, 2016 at 3:09 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

the corp guy was from SSE Power

Mar 30, 2016 at 3:25 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

stewgreen, it's more like 40 years of subsidies for wind and solar.

Never was an industry slower to take off, in an age when everything else is moving faster.

Of course I get stick about it, being a driller, therefore "Fossil Fuel" (as if I also hold a brief for Big Coal) and possibly even suspected of TCPKAF.

It's funny to see Greenpeace trying to spin the burgeoning coal industry as a "bubble".

Only a 180deg turn from their previous guff about it dying. Pure deniers.

Those sharp guys in the media are bound to pick them up on it ...

Mar 30, 2016 at 4:45 PM | Unregistered Commenterkellydown

Phil C, where are you?
This is rather inconvenient for you, is it not?

Mar 30, 2016 at 6:08 PM | Unregistered Commenterdavid smith


>> Phil C, where are you? <<

Oh, please, noooo, I'm enjoying a thread un-hijacked by Phil Boy's Net Positive determination to defend the indefensible, regardless of how dumb it makes him appear.

Mar 30, 2016 at 6:44 PM | Unregistered CommenterJerryM

Dark money... from the Darkweb, no doubt.

Fear mongering is tough, ain't it?

Mar 30, 2016 at 6:58 PM | Unregistered Commentermojo

Phill C any new highly paid highly skilled Green Jobs been created for any Port Talbot Steel Workers lately

Mar 30, 2016 at 7:12 PM | Unregistered CommenterJamspid

Does the TaxPayers Alliance get any chance to offer the UK Government advice on how not to provide subsidies and grants, and what sort of sectors to stay well clear of?

The Green Blob seemed to have modelled their business strategy on Kids Company, with financial advice from Camila Batmanghelidjh, and free publicity from the BBC, courtesy of Alan Yentob.

Mar 30, 2016 at 7:24 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie


Hopefully he's too busy throwing his toys out of his pram and digging himself into a hole over on discussion rather than derailing this thread.

Mar 30, 2016 at 7:58 PM | Registered CommenterSalopian


The only long-term jobs created by the unreliable energy industry are likely to be solar panel and bird-masher cleaners.

Mar 30, 2016 at 8:17 PM | Registered CommenterSalopian

I have always asked the question: "Where is the electricity going to come from when there's no wind, at night, at slack water?" Replies like pumped storage, batteries, hydro elicited a "You cannot be serious!". Since STOR hit the headlines things have been even better. However since I've retired and meet fewer under 30s to talk to at length the number of believers I have this conversation less frequently. The seniors I mix with more sceptical about so called renewables.

Mar 30, 2016 at 8:43 PM | Unregistered CommenterSandyS

Britain leads the way. hooray.
Other countries will look at us and 'OMG it CAN be done, lets follow the Brits and stop making steel.'

pretty soon the whole world will be following the shining example set by us and world steel production will fall to zero.
When there is no more steel production, industry will slow down, CO2 levels will fall and the planet will begin to heal.
The birds will sing and the greenies will be vindicated.
They might starve and freeze in the dark, but they will be vindicated.

self-vindicated anyways.

Mar 30, 2016 at 8:44 PM | Unregistered CommenterEternalOptimist

For this country to be successful we need infrastructure (and an educated workforce, innovation, hard work, etc.).

Infrastructure should be protected by the Government. It's as much their responsibility to keep us safe from obstacles to work as it is from obstacles to freedom or even living.

Renewables are not the only form of energy infrastructure. There is no need for that form of energy to necessarily be protected by the Government. But some form of energy infrastructure must be protected.
I would go for coal, gas and nuclear... but I'm open to debate.

Now Steel manufacture cannot be substituted.
We can't ask China for increased deliveries of steel when we decide we really do need more Cruisers to support Australia or India.
Some industries need protection for the good of the nation. The USA is protecting their steel industry from cheap Chinese imports.
We must too.

Mar 30, 2016 at 8:44 PM | Registered CommenterM Courtney

M Courtney

May I be so bold as to suggest that this is a crunch point (think Alec Guiness in Bridge over The River Kwai) when the Conservative, Labour and Liberal parties realise what they had done when then unthinkingly voted for the 2008 Climate Change Act?

Mar 30, 2016 at 8:56 PM | Unregistered CommenterMike Post

Don'the worry, Phil C won't turn up as it's all too embarrassing for him!

Mar 30, 2016 at 9:17 PM | Unregistered CommenterDavid Smith

The elephant in the corner regarding steel is that China is slowly reducing its steel production.

But it is doing it in such a way and with massive state subsidies, so that its factories and workers will not lose out and it will be in a position to supply the West with steel at premium prices, when the steel industry in the UK and the rest of the EU has folded due to the amount of cheap steel that China has dumped on us.

Mar 30, 2016 at 9:51 PM | Registered CommenterSalopian

'any new highly paid highly skilled Green Jobs been created for any Port Talbot Steel Workers lately'

I don't think VW has any more vacancies..

Mar 30, 2016 at 10:16 PM | Unregistered CommenterMartyn

@ M Courtney 8:44 PM:

+++++++++++++++++++++++ Urgent Dispatch +++++++++++++++++++

Britain no longer rules waves stop Empire lorst stop England all out for 52 stop

God Save the King

Mar 30, 2016 at 10:30 PM | Unregistered CommenterChris Hanley

Mike Post at 8:56 PM. Here's hoping. I've never supported the Climate Change Act. I'd rather that wealth was available for those who need it.
It wasn't Labour's finest hour, I admit.
But the rest of the political bubble lathered themselves in it's folly. So we can't discriminate our voting over that issue.

Hanley at 10:30 PM. A cruiser or even HMS Bulwark couldn't conquer a billion Chinese. The thought of restoring the Empire never occurred to me.
Yet still, we do have interests that can only be protected by their potential to be costly to oppose. Our friendship with Australia (and thus cultural enrichment, kind of) is one.

It's cheaper to wait until we're defending our interests on the Solent.
But there are benefits to standing by our friends.

Mar 30, 2016 at 10:50 PM | Registered CommenterM Courtney

Salopian, the Chinese are very happy that Obama is pleased with their cast iron promises to think about climate change. The cast iron will have long since rusted away, as they run global monopoly World Steel PLC at a huge profit.

Mar 31, 2016 at 12:12 AM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

M Courtney:
This is getting off-topic but trade protectionist policies are in no-one’s long-term interest.
That’s one reason I think Donald Trump is a dangerous rogue candidate.

Mar 31, 2016 at 1:12 AM | Unregistered CommenterChris Hanley

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