Thursday, January 17, 2019

January 17, 2019 -- Non-Bakken Notes -- Why Is Saudi Failing At Solar? Because The Numbers Don't Work

Solar: the numbers just don't work. Now this: solar investment plunges amid panel glut -- oilprice.
Global spending on solar energy declined by almost a quarter last year to US$130.8 billion, mainly on the back of a regulatory policy overhaul in China that led to an oversupply of solar panels, driving prices down. This, in turn, resulted in an 8-percent slide in overall renewable energy investments to US$332 billion, data from a new report by Bloomberg New Energy Finance has shown.
China took markets by surprise in June last year by announcing that it would not issue approvals for any new solar power installations in 2018 and would also cut the feed-in tariff subsidy that has been a major driver of the solar business in the country that accounts for as much as 50 percent of capacity.
Seems like a "mixed" story. Investment -- actual dollars spent -- is down but that's because panels are so cheap. One would think that solar panel installations would increase.

Then this:
as global energy demand grew, so did the consumption of fossil fuels. This effectively offset the gains in carbon emissions reductions achieved through the growing use of alternative energy sources.
Saudi Arabia -- Solar Energy -- The Numbers Just Don't Work

Solar: from Bloomberg at the end of last year (2018): 
Over the past six years, the Saudis have announced investments of more than $350 billion aimed at making the sun-drenched kingdom the, well, Saudi Arabia of renewable energy.
But virtually no construction has begun, and with crude more than doubling from early 2016 to this October, the Saudis’ commitment to renewable energy has wavered.
In 2012, the Kingdom introduced a $109 billion solar program intended to generate a third of its electricity from renewable energy by 2032. Two years ago, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman announced a plan to wean the kingdom from its dependency on oil exports by building 210 gigawatts of solar capacity, or more than 20 percent of today’s worldwide renewable energy output.
Last year, the government said that by 2023 the country can generate 10 percent of its power from solar and wind plants, at a projected cost of $50 billion. And in March, the crown prince announced a $200 billion agreement with Japan’s SoftBank Group Corp. to build enough solar capacity to triple the kingdom’s current electric output. 
The crown prince insists the renewable energy initiative is still on, and in October he told Bloomberg he expects 4 gigawatts of solar capacity by 2021, about 5 percent of the country’s electrical output.
“We have finalized the structure of the solar investment,” the crown prince said. Construction will begin “somewhere around mid-2019.”
On paper, at least, the Saudis’ ambitions make sense. The kingdom is bathed in sunlight, with fewer than 45 cloudy days per year on average. Blanketing the country’s vast empty spaces with solar panels could theoretically generate power equivalent to the Saudis’ proven oil reserves of 266 million barrels in just two years. [I think if this were true, the Saudis would be doing ... except ... the cost....]
But the Saudis today get three-fifths of their electricity from oil, burning as much as 1 million barrels of crude per day in power plants—which makes sense only if you’re unconcerned about climate change and you’re not paying market prices.
Tesla: cutting costs. From Reuters:
Tesla Inc's customer referral incentive plan will end on Feb. 1, the electric carmaker's Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk tweeted on Thursday, citing costs.
Apple: cutting costs. From TheStreet:
Following a post-holiday slump and failing to sell as many iPhones as forecast, Apple Inc. Apple CEO Tim Cook "held a meeting with employees, there was a Q and A session, and he disclosed -- after asking if there would be a hiring freeze -- saying that there would be a reduction in new hires," reporter Mark Gurman told Bloomberg TV. Gurman, who covered the news, said that it wasn't clear which divisions would cut down on hiring, but did say that Apple hires "thousand of people" when asked how many people Apple picks up on a quarterly or annual basis.
Ford: asking for patience. From Bloomberg:
Ford Motor Co. boss Jim Hackett took on Wall Street’s criticism that he’s moved too slowly and shared too little about restructuring plans, asking analysts to believe in his “thoughtful” approach while posting profit that fell short of estimates.
Investors didn’t buy it. Ford’s shares fell steadily all day, ending down 6.2 percent, the biggest drop since a year ago, when the automaker delivered disappointing results.

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