Europe Cutting Back On Green-energy “investments” While Coal Makes A Comeback

Credit: Reuters/Francois Lenoir LUXEMBOURG | Tue Oct 15, 2013 9:46am EDT LUXEMBOURG (Reuters) – Spain will probably bring an end to the programme of international aid for its banks on schedule this year, Economy Minister Luis de Guindos told a news conference in Luxembourg on Tuesday. Madrid turned to Europe last year for 41 billion euros ($56 billion) to help the weakest of its banks, which have been crippled by the collapse of its real estate market and resulting mass of failed loans to developers and houseowners. With the economic fortunes of Europe’s debt-ridden southern half showing signs of improving, a senior official in Brussels told Reuters last week that Spain was unlikely to seek more financial aid for the banks when the current programme runs out. “The central scenario, and the most probable one, is that on November 15 (it will be decided that) Spain’s banking programme will come to a close,” de Guindos told reporters at a meeting of European Union finance ministers. The European Central Bank and the European Commission, which backed the rescue, last month said in a review of Spanish banking reforms that the sector remained comfortably solvent, and praised its turnaround. They stressed, however, that Spain’s weak economy – set to emerge from a two-year recession by the end of the year – and a fall-off in lending still posed a risk. Like their European peers, Spanish banks also face a European review of their balance sheets early next year before the ECB takes over as supervisor. Some believe their restructured or refinanced loans could come under particular scrutiny, and that they could be told to put more cash aside to counter potential losses on these, banking sources in Madrid have said. Any capital gap that that process leaves is likely to be manageable, though smaller banks that are owned by the state are unlikely to be able to turn to the market like some of their peers. The Spanish government currently estimates that lenders will have to put aside an extra 5 billion euros in provisions to counter such losses, a source at the Economy Ministry said. “The general perception is that in Europe the banking system has not been as thoroughly cleaned up as in the United States … which is among the elements holding back economic growth in Europe,” de Guindos told the news conference, in reference to the European review of banks’ books. (Reporting by Robin Emmott and Martin Santa in Luxembourg, Sonya Dowsett, Jose Elias Rodriguez and Jesus Aguado in Madrid; Writing by Sarah White; editing by Patrick Graham) Tweet this

Completely unsurprisingly, the falloff in government investment (i.e., subsidization) has been mirrored by a falloff in private investment, via Bloomberg : Clean-energy investment fell 14 percent in the third quarter from the prior three months as Europe curbed subsidies and cheaper U.S. natural gas lured investment. The $45.9 billion spent makes it almost certain that annual investment in renewables and energy-smart technologies will fall for the second consecutive year from $281 billion in 2012, Bloomberg New Energy Finance said in a statement. Investment in the quarter was 20 percent lower than the same period last year as spending in China, the U.S. and Europe fell. The U.S. saw the largest decline, sliding 41 percent to $5.5 billion, according to the London-based research company. Europes clean-energy industry is retrenching after subsidies were reduced in nations from Germany to Spain, which helped propel record growth in previous years. Cheap gas in the U.S. driven by a shale-drilling boom and a reduction in Chinas spending on wind power wind power also contributed to the overall decline, the London-based consultant said One of the most facepalm-worthy parts of all of this is that supporters of the Obama administrations regulatory war-on-coal largely and blithely rely on the argument that because the coal-substitute of natural gas has been doing so well, coal is naturally entering its sunset years anyway and will shortly fall prey to the economical powers of creative destruction but strangely, they often forget to mention that coal could easily regain market share in the event that natural gas prices begin to rise for whatever reason The Obama administration is effectively barring that from happening on the domestic scene, while foreign demand for coal is growing; you need look no farther than Europe as a current Exhibit A for that eventuality. The editors of RealClearEnergy , therefore, would rather the Continent spare us the lectures, emphasis mine: What happens when you dont frack and you decide to shut down nuclear? You return to coal.

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