Top Stories

February 22, 2022


Energy groups seek €4bn damages over fossil fuel projects

Five energy groups are suing four European governments for €3.7 billion for stymying coal, oil and gas projects as state-level climate change concerns rise. Energy and exploration companies including RWE, Uniper and Rockhopper have launched cases against the Netherlands, Italy, Poland and Slovenia under the Energy Charter Treaty (ECT). The cases revolve around decisions by the governments to either mandate the closure of coal power plants “without adequate compensation”, prevent the development of specific projects, or require an environmental impact assessment. The ECT was signed by more than 50 countries and was intended to protect international energy investments by foreign companies or individuals and acts as the basis for the five cases, with a sixth case for an unknown sum brought against Romania by Austria-based Petrochemical Holding. (Financial Times)*


UK wildlife campaigners call for legal right to access nature

Over 60 organisations – including wildlife NGOs Greenpeace, WWF, Friends of the Earth, and the Wildlife Trusts – have launched the ‘Nature for Everyone’ campaign asking the UK government to increase access to nature in its “levelling up” agenda. In a letter to the Secretary of State, the campaign calls for the inclusion of legal duties for developers and public bodies to provide access to green and blue spaces (nature and water) for citizens. The campaign argues that despite the fact there is strong evidence that accessible, nature-rich spaces boost our physical and mental wellbeing, and reduce mortality, one in three people in England cannot access nature near their home. Campaigners say the government has so far ignored nature in its “levelling up” white paper to reduce economic discrepancies across the UK. (The Guardian; edie)


Volta Trucks raises €230m to begin all-electric haulage plans

Zero emission vehicle manufacturer Volta Trucks has raised €230 million from a raft of existing and new investors that will enable it to start commercial production of a 16-tonne, all-electric truck next year. The Anglo-Swedish company said proceeds from the oversubscribed funding round would go towards the development of a fleet of prototypes of its flagship Volta Zero truck by mid-2022 and prepare the company's plant in Austria for commercial production of the vehicles. The funds will also support the development of 7.5-tonne and 12-tonne models of its zero-emission truck. The company has signed deals to supply 1,470 electric trucks to logistics firm DB Schenker and 1,000 vehicles to refrigerated vehicle rental company Petit Forestier, and claims to have an order book of more than 5,000 vehicles in place. (Business Green)*


NatWest sees 21% drop in lending to fossil fuel firms in 2021

Retail banking company NatWest has unveiled plans to restrict financing to UK-based oil and gas firms after a year of ramping up its climate and sustainability financing and funding to £17.5 billion. In what it claims to be its  “most extensive TCFD disclosure to date”, NatWest set out a host of new goals and tighter lending policies for fossil fuel firms in support of its goal to halve financed emissions by 2030. As of January 2022, NatWest said it would only continue to support upstream oil and gas companies which report the overall emissions of the assets they operate by the end of 2023. NatWest says its lending to oil and gas companies fell by 21% from £4.1 billion in 2020 to £2.25 billion in 2021. (Business Green)*


UK solar market shows strongest capacity growth in six years

Trade association Solar Energy UK has revealed new figures which reveal that the UK has installed 730MW of new solar capacity, representing a 36% increase on 2020 levels, when 538MW was installed. According to the body, some 369MW installed in 2021 was rooftop solar, the highest total since 2015 when 839MW of capacity was installed. The 2015 levels reflect the “significant” subsidies available to solar at the time. In total, solar PV capacity in the UK now sits at 14.6GW, up 5.3% compared to 2020 levels. Solar Energy UK notes that all three solar markets – residential rooftop, commercial scale and ground-mount – are seeing stable growth without subsidy assistance. In total, there is now more than 5GW of solar capacity installed in the UK. (edie)

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