Friday November 25, 2016
In the latest edition of the Numbers Report, we’ll take a look at some of the most interesting figures put out this week in the energy sector. Each week we’ll dig into some data and provide a bit of explanation on what drives the numbers.
Let’s take a look.
1. China’s solar lead
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- China is the largest market in the world for clean energy, with the most installed solar capacity (50.8 GW) and also the most wind capacity (139.4 GW).
- After being a laggard for years, China has stepped up on international climate commitments. But China’s main motivation is to clean up its local air pollution problem. About 80 percent of China’s 338 cities fail to meet air quality standards, according to Bloomberg.
- U.S. President-elect Donald Trump may backtrack on American climate commitments, but that it is unlikely to cause China to give up.
- China already outspends the U.S. on clean energy – investing $48.1 billion so far this year compared to the U.S.’ $32.6 billion.
- China leads the U.S. on both clean energy installed and also manufactured. If the U.S. backtracks, that disparity will only grow.
2. OPEC jawbones the market again
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- A few days out from the OPEC meeting in Vienna the cartel has succeeded yet again in stoking a rally in oil prices, with WTI and Brent rising towards $50 per barrel.
- A Russian official told Bloomberg that Russian calculations show that its participation in OPEC talks helped boost oil prices, ultimately adding $6 billion to the Russian treasury. It is difficult to verify these numbers or attribute revenue gains so precisely. Nevertheless, there are tangible gains from the head fakes and rumors that OPEC and Russia have conducted this year.
- The recent uptick in oil prices is due to renewed optimism over the so-called “Algerian plan,” which calls for a six month agreement.
- The original proposal called for a 1.6 percent reduction in output from January-August levels, excluding Libya, Nigeria and Iran. OPEC is now looking at steeper cuts.
- Iraq has disputed the figures used to make the calculation and has also called for an exemption, and OPEC is meeting this week to iron out the technical disparities. Iraq has suggested it is open to cutting, sending WTI and Brent up towards $50 per barrel.