Monday, 3 August 2009

China doubles wind power capacity

At the end of 2008 China had an installed wind power capacity of 12.2 GW (behind the United States with 25.2 GW, Germany with 23.9 GW and Spain with 16.8 GW). Today China Daily reports that it has added another 11.8 GW of wind power capacity in the first six months of 2009, a year-on-year growth of 101% by end-June.

Meanwhile, in remote Gansu province in China's northwest construction has begun on the country's first 10 GW-sized wind power plant. The Jiuquan Municipal Development and Reform Commission projects that capacity could increase to 20 GW by 2020, making it the largest wind power station at a projected cost of $17.6 billion. If it succeeds, municipal authorities claim, it would rival the 18.2 GW Three Gorges Dam, thus fulfilling their dreams of building a 'Three Gorges on the Land'.

Saturday, 1 August 2009

Rating the raters

Kevin Gallagher writes in an excellent piece in the Guardian that credit rating agencies are getting away with little more than a 'slap on the hand'. To summarise:
1. Credit rating agencies have skewed incentives because the owners of financial assets also pay the agencies to rate them
2. The agencies face little competition: three cover three-quarters of all ratings
3. They consistently fail to predict defaults and face no accountability for their lapses
4. Worse, their response in post-crises situations is more questionable, threatening to downgrade any country embarking on an expansionary fiscal or monetary policy.

In the past decade credit rating agencies have failed remarkably on at least three occassions. The question is whether new regulation to govern the financial services industry will monitor and appraise the performance of the raters as well.