Connect with us

Published

on

Experts have hailed a “critical turning point” as renewable power generated a record-breaking 30% of the world’s electricity last year, new data has found.

It raises hopes that the peaking of global greenhouse gas emissions is on the horizon.

But there are concerns many countries are being held up in their switch to clean power because they cannot access the cash needed to fund it.

Last year’s renewable power “milestone” was driven by yet another booming year for wind and especially solar.

China, Brazil and the Netherlands led the way in terms of fast roll-outs, thinktank Ember said in its annual Global Electricity Review.

China alone accounted for 51% of new solar generation and 60% of new wind, even as it continued to build vast amounts of new coal power too.

Christiana Figueres, former United Nations climate chief, called 2023 a “critical turning point”.

More on Energy

She said “outdated” fossil fuels now can’t compete with the “exponential innovations and declining cost curves in renewable energy and storage”.

“All of humanity and the planet upon which we depend will be better off for it,” she added.

In the last two decades, solar and wind have defied expectations and grown far faster than expected, surging from just 0.2% of global power generation in 2000 to 13.4% in 2023.

Dave Jones, Ember’s head of global insights, said the huge growth was due to “matured” policies and technologies and a plummet in costs.

The cost of solar power halved last year despite a surge in demand, thanks to an explosion in manufacturing capacity.

Meanwhile problems that had held up wind power – such as inflationary costs – began to resolve, unlocking more projects.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

China ramps up coal power despite pledge to control it

A ‘genuinely ambitious’ renewables target

At the COP28 climate summit in Dubai last year leaders pledged to triple renewable power capacity by 2030.

The “genuinely ambitious” target shows leaders are backing renewables, which are the “main tools that we have in the box today to deliver the big emissions reductions we need”, rather than riskier technology, such as that to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, Mr Jones said.

Ember suggests the global burning of fossil fuels in the power sector probably peaked in 2023 and will start to fall this year, along with the pollution and emissions they bring.

As the power sector accounts for the largest share of global emissions, that means global emissions could start to fall soon too.

That is good news for curbing climate change, although scientists have repeatedly warned that emissions are not falling fast enough to limit global warming to agreed safer levels.

Mr Jones said the pace of emissions falls “depends on how fast the renewables revolution continues”.

Joab Okanda, a senior adviser for Christian Aid, based in Kenya, said the roll-out would be “so much faster with the right investment” in African nations, which often face much higher borrowing costs than other countries.

Hanan Morsy, deputy executive secretary and chief economist at the UN’s Economic Commission for Africa, said the continent holds “big potential in renewable energy”.

“Yet a dismally small share of less than 2% of global renewable energy investments are made on the continent. The continent can’t develop further without access to energy.”

He called for financial reforms to bring in affordable and new types of funding.

Financing the clean transition in developing nations, which have typically contributed the least to climate change, will be a key issue at this year’s UN climate summit, COP29 in Azerbaijan.

Continue Reading

Business

Indian pharma group readies swoop on anti-smoking aid Nicotinell

Published

on

By

Indian pharma group readies swoop on anti-smoking aid Nicotinell

An Indian pharmaceutical group is closing in on a deal to snap up Nicotinell, the anti-smoking aid, from Haleon, its FTSE-100 parent company.

Sky News has learnt that Hyderabad-based Dr Reddy’s Laboratories could be within days of acquiring the brand and a number of lesser-known European products from Haleon.

Sources said a deal was likely to be announced as soon as this week.

It was unclear on Sunday how much Dr Reddy’s might pay for the Haleon-owned assets, although it is expected to be in the hundreds of millions of pounds.

Should it be completed, it will be the latest in a string of acquisitions for the Indian- and US-listed company.

Dr Reddy’s has a market value in New York of about $11.7bn, having been established in 1984.

In Britain, the company has had a presence since 2002, and includes commercial offices and a research and development centre in Cambridge.

More from Business

It also operates an active pharmaceutical ingredient manufacturing site in Mirfield, West Yorkshire.

Dr Reddy’s has been in talks for months about acquiring the Nicotinell brand from Haleon, the over-the-counter products giant spun out of FTSE-100 drug maker GlaxoSmithKline.

Haleon, which has a market capitalisation of close to £29.5bn, is chaired by the former Tesco chief executive Sir Dave Lewis.

GSK sold its remaining stake in Haleon earlier this month.

Haleon owns some of the most recognisable over-the-counter healthcare brands in Britain, including the multivitamin supplement Centrum, Panadol pain relief tablets and Sensodyne toothpaste.

Nicotinell, which is sold in patch, gum and lozenge form, is said to be the second-largest nicotine replacement therapy product globally.

Its prospective sale will come days after Rishi Sunak’s administration failed to pass his flagship anti-smoking bill after he called a surprise summer general election.

Haleon declined to comment.

Continue Reading

Business

FTSE-100 housebuilder Persimmon weighs £1bn bid for rival Cala

Published

on

By

FTSE-100 housebuilder Persimmon weighs £1bn bid for rival Cala

One of Britain’s biggest housebuilders is exploring a £1bn takeover bid for Cala Group, a rival player in the sector which has been put up for sale.

Sky News has learned that Persimmon, which has a market value of £4.74bn, is leaning towards submitting an offer for Cala ahead of a bid deadline next week.

City sources said it would be a strong contender to buy Cala, whose homes have a significantly higher average sale price than those of Persimmon.

Insiders expect Cala, which is being auctioned by Legal & General (L&G), to command a price tag of about £1bn.

If Persimmon is successful in the auction, it would mark the York-based company’s biggest acquisition for years.

Under Roger Devlin, its chairman, and chief executive Dean Finch, the company’s share price has rallied by over 20% in the last year.

In a trading update last month, Persimmon said it was on track to deliver growth in new home completions this year to up to 10,500.

More from Business

The Cala auction comes amid a general election campaign in which new home provision is expected to figure prominently.

Both main parties are likely to set out new policies to stimulate housebuilding growth, according to sources.

Analysts said this weekend that other housebuilders were also expected to consider bids for the L&G-owned company.

Follow Sky News on WhatsApp
Follow Sky News on WhatsApp

Keep up with all the latest news from the UK and around the world by following Sky News

Tap here

These could include, they said, Persimmon’s larger rival, Taylor Wimpey, and Avant Homes, which is owned by Elliott Advisors and Berkeley DeVeer.

Persimmon is the UK’s third-largest housebuilder by market capitalisation, behind Taylor Wimpey and Barratt Developments.

Both Persimmon and Taylor Wimpey were among eight housebuilders named by the Competition and Markets Authority in February over suspicions they had exchanged commercially sensitive information.

A takeover of Cala by another major housebuilder would underline fresh momentum in the industry’s consolidation, after Barratt Developments unveiled a £2.5bn deal to acquire rival Redrow.

The prospective sale of Cala represents the first significant strategic move by its new chief executive, Antonio Simoes.

Bankers at Rothschild are overseeing the auction.

Mr Simoes described Cala as “a very strong business” during an earnings call earlier this year on which he was quizzed about the housebuilder’s future ownership.

L&G took full control of the business in 2018.

Cala reported a slide in half-year profits last autumn, citing a “challenging market”.

The company has a long-term goal to build 3,000 homes annually.

Persimmon and L&G declined to comment on Saturday.

Continue Reading

Business

Ex-Post Office boss Paula Vennells admits removing reference to Horizon IT system from Royal Mail prospectus

Published

on

By

Ex-Post Office boss Paula Vennells admits removing reference to Horizon IT system from Royal Mail prospectus

Former Post Office boss Paula Vennells has admitted to amending the legal document Royal Mail issued to would-be investors before it became publicly owned to remove mention of the flawed Horizon IT system.

Data from the accounting software created by Fujitsu was used to prosecute more than 700 sub-postmasters for theft and false accounting.

Many more victims lost their homes, livelihoods and good reputation to repay non-existent shortfalls.

Now the inquiry set up to establish a clear account of the introduction and failure of Horizon has heard during Ms Vennells’s third and final day of questioning that she removed “at the very last minute” reference to Horizon from the prospectus Royal Mail issued before it was listed on the London Stock Exchange.

A prospectus is a legal and financial document detailing key information for potential company investors.

It was the first time the issue was raised with Ms Vennells.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Paula Vennells breaks down in tears again

She said: “It was flagged to me that in the IT section of the Royal Mail prospectus, there was reference to – I can’t remember the words now – but risks related to the Horizon IT system… the line that was put in said that no systemic issues had been found with the Horizon system.”

More on Post Office Scandal

Ms Vennells wanted the reference removed as, “the Horizon system was no longer anything to do with the Royal Mail group” she said, and contacted the company secretary to have the reference removed.

Based on this action Ms Vennells wrote to a colleague “I have earned my keep on this”.

Follow Sky News on WhatsApp
Follow Sky News on WhatsApp

Keep up with all the latest news from the UK and around the world by following Sky News

Tap here

She was at the top of Post Office for 12 years and served as its chief executive for seven of those, from 2012 to 2019.

In at times emotional testimony, Ms Vennells said she “loved the Post Office” and worked “as hard as I possibly could to deliver the best Post Office for the UK”.

Continue Reading

Trending