Fossil fuels losing to renewables, CEOs want climate action, German solar sets new record, shale oil production falls in Bakken, Texas to ban bans on fracking: Week 16, 2015

Carbon reserves held by top 200 quoted fossil fuel companies soar. Fossil Free Indices data show it has risen 10% in 5 years, and is concentrating in the bigger companies.
Hedge funds increasingly betting on rising oil prices. WTI has rebounded 30% since a low in March. Government now projects production dropping in June.
Fracking waste”water” tanker catches fire when struck by lightning. The fire causes explosions in the plant, where waste is pumped back underground.
Solar battle between utility and consumers puts Hawaii on global front line. Hawaiian Electric tries to argue they have connected too much. State says no: get on with it.
Texas bill stopping cities’ right to ban fracking passes House en route to law. It then goes to the Senate and after that the Governor. It is expected to pass.
“Very serious anomalies” found in Flamanville pressure vessel. High carbon discovered in the steel, a potential existential fault for the nuclear industry.“As climate risks mount, oil investors want transparency”: CNBC. 62 investors have written to the SEC, asking for such, in a letter organised by CERES.
BP commits to be more open about climate change. Shareholder resolution at AGM supported by company passed by 98%.
BP keeps records of $billions worth of clean energy research locked up in archive. The fruits of work on renewables + in the ‘80s and ‘90s are at kept at Warwick University.
“Big oil is losing control of the auto industry.” So a Bloomberg headline reads. “A pollution-free revolution is coming.”
“Some observers believe energy is at a potential tipping point”: BBC. “Are energy companies sitting on unburnable reserves?” Roger Harrabin tells the story of Mark Campanale’s question.
CEOs from 43 companies with $1.2 trillion of sales want climate action now. So they say in a letter to the World Bank on the eve of its climate conference.
Sunpower and Apple partner to build two solar plants in China. Total 40 MW, involving a local partner company. Sunpower CEO calls the project “groundbreaking”.
Saudi Arabia adds half a Bakken to crude markets in a month. Production in March rose 0.65 mbd to to 10.29mbd. Brent is at $63.
“The oil industry’s ‘man camps’ are dying.” “Drillers spent big to house workers in the new boomtowns”, Bloomberg reports. “No more.”
Cost-cutting will mean some shale drillers can still profit at $50 oil. So a report by Citigroup says. Costs can fall 20-30% and new techniques can wring up 30% more oil out.
Oil and gas now top source of US methane emissions. EPA GHG inventory shows they beat bovine emissions in 2013 29% to 26%, despite fewer wells drilled that year than previous.
“Is Saudi Arabia setting the world up for major price spike?” When you are drilling flat out, you have nothing in reserve, says – and demand is growing fast, the IEA says.
Trafigura CEO to speak in public for first time at Swiss commodities summit. He will explain why the trader is opting for more transparency than in its shadowy past.
Shale oil production falls in the Bakken for the second month running. Mark Lewis compiles data from North Dakota showing the first consecutive drop for 5 years. (e-mail)
Green groups accuse EU shale gas panel of fracking lobby takeover. They boycott EU expert group on risks posed by fracking, alleging conflict of interest over shale executives.
Norway oil fund begins policy of revealing ahead of AGMs how it will vote. The aim is to increase transparency and influence as an active investor.
BP backs proposal to reveal threat climate action poses to its business plan. For approval at BP’s AGM tomorrow, the proposal has support from investors and the company.
German solar hits new record: breaks 25 GW between 1 and 1.15. The previous output record was reached on 9 June last year at 24,244 MW.
“More and more people are going to say, ‘Take this grid and shove it’.’” So says a SolarCity customer in a profile of the company and its battle with utilities.
Gates takes on Musk in race to better batteries. His investment in Ambri’s liquid metal batteries is about to be tested in first field deployments.
“Fossil fuels just lost the race against renewables”. So concludes Bloomberg NEF. “This is the beginning of the end”. By 2030, >4x more RE will be added than FF.
Japan court blocks restart of two nuclear reactors. The Fukui District Court decision complicates Abe’s drive to reopen nuclear Japan for business. Kansai Electric will appeal.
Al Gore teams up with Tea Party to combat solar-hating utilities. Debbie Dooley and others in the ‘green tea party’ frame the issue around freedom.
Dutch government taken to court for failing citizenry on climate change. 900 people have launched a class action based on human rights alongside domestic law.
Oil company profits hit by quest for more upside profit sharing. Production Sharing Agreements signed in the days of high price mean low oil price = less profit than before.
“Gatwick oil gusher claims ‘wildly optimistic’ warns expert.” The Telegraph reports that UKOG claims dismissed by Matthew Jurecky, GlobalData’s head of oil & gas research and consulting.
13.4. Vatican publishes “Energy, Justice and Peace”. In it, the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace considers how energy can both threaten and serve integral human development.