Latest Articles

Published on Wednesday, 11 January 2017 20:12
By Tom Kenning Dec 15, 2016 1:06 PM GMT Average capital expenditure (capex) for PV projects in developing countries during 2015 stood at US$2.15 million/MW, rapidly approaching average wind capex of US$2.02 million/MW. Credit: BNEF Driven by steep cost declines in PV equipment, solar is now on a par with wind energy and will soon become the cheapest form of energy in developing nations, according to the Climatescope 2016 report from Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF). In recent tenders, solar is already out-competing fossil fuel-based projects in terms of price, said the report, which covers the 58 Climatescope countries, all regarded as developing nations in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, Latin America and the Middle East. Average capital expenditure (capex) for PV projects in such countries during 2015 stood at US$2.15 million/MW, rapidly approaching average wind capex of US$2.02 million/MW, as seen in the following table:   Credit: BNEF BNEF also noted that the fulcrum of clean energy development has now shifted from the world’s northern countries to the south. This year, the 58 Climatescope countries saw more renewables investment than the well-developed Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries, with US$154.1 billion and $153.7 billion invested respectively. Climatescope countries also installed more renewables – largely driven by China – with 69.8GW deployed versus 59.2GW in OECD countries.   Credit: BNEF An eleven-fold growth in PV investment in Climatescope countries from US$6.4 billion in 2010 to US$71.8 billion in 2015 has also been fuelled by the steep reductions in solar equipment costs. The report stated: “Among all clean energy technologies, PV has seen its costs fall fastest and furthest over the last decade. This has allowed capex for projects in Climatescope countries to drop by more than half since 2010. It has also allowed PV project developers to sell their power at lower, more competitive rates.” However the report warned that countries with the highest penetrations of wind and solar are facing troubles with integration given the unreliable nature of the grids in many of these emerging countries. Markets with huge potential such as Brazil, China, India and South Africa were also cited as facing major solar industry troubles ranging from payment and connection delays to serious curtailment. On another note, the low prices have also come a long way in driving a surge in companies breaking into the off-grid solar space, attempting to bring power to the 1.4 billion people that have no access to electricity. Multiple start-ups are now active in the pico solar, mini-grid and distributed solar space. As of June this year nearly 11 million households are estimated to have pico solar systems.
Published on Thursday, 05 January 2017 21:35
Global climate change moderation is coming from a leveling off of carbon dioxide emissions. But recently those gains have been offset by rising emission of methane with the  major question being which human activities are responsible for these rising methane emissions.
Published on Wednesday, 04 January 2017 18:17
G20 task force wants companies to come clean on climate risk
Published on Tuesday, 20 December 2016 05:59
Global climate change moderation is coming from a leveling off of carbon dioxide emissions. But recently those gains have been offset by rising emission of methane with the  major question being which human activities are responsible for these rising methane emissions.
Published on Monday, 19 December 2016 22:54
Rising Co2 levels are not all bad as they enhance the photosynthesis and reduce crop water use. At the same time there is a high level of uncertainty about the global impacts of these effects according to a new research study in Nature Climate Change.

Latest Portfolio News

Published on Friday, 27 February 2015 21:35
The RealReturnEnvironment (RRE) portfolio has been liquidated this past week as US benchmarks for the small, medium and S&P 500 reached record highs. Price earnings ratios are stretched and while it is always possible that further equity gains are available,  there is a real risk that equities will hit a downdraft given the still pending political and debt issues in Europe and the slowing economic growth in Asia. Debt markets are also under stress as interest rates will no doubt begin to rise in the United States in the coming months so that capital values will suffer. As a result it is felt prudent for the RRE portfolio to go into 100% cash for the foreseeable future and this section will be suspended over this time frame.   
Published on Monday, 02 February 2015 04:13
Equity markets were down last week taking levels back to the mid December levels reflecting the weak earnings reports in the US and the problematic Greek election outturns. Apple was an exception with its great iPhone 6 sales, notably in China. The RealReturnEnvironment (RRE) portfolio was up 2.31% from the end of the year 2014 (see below).
Published on Monday, 19 January 2015 03:30
The markets are very volatile with the pending European Central Bank decisions on quantitative easing against the backdrop of the unlinking of the Swiss Franc form the Euro and those major disruptions. Fortunately the RealReturnEnvironment (RRE) portfolio is not exposed to Europe and while it has fallen during the past week, the declines have been relatively modest as the RRE portfolio has only given up the previous week's 1%  gains since December 31.The portfolio position so far in 2015 is now relatively unchanged. See below.
Published on Monday, 12 January 2015 03:30
The RealReturnEnvironment (RRE) portfolio on January 11, 2015 stood at $197.9 thousand compared with an end-December 2014 valuation of $195.34 thousand for a gain of 1.3% over the first week of 2015.
Published on Monday, 05 January 2015 00:34
The RealReturnEnvironment (RRE) portfolio declined in the last week of 2014 so that the gain over the year to December 31, 2014 was 28%. This portfolio value will be utilized as the basis for the RRE gains and losses in 2015 (see below).