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The Drilldown: Global investments in offshore windfarms grow despite investment downturn – iPolitics.ca

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The Lead

A report published by Bloomberg NEF (BNEF) shows that global investment in offshore wind has increased at four times the usual rate in the first half of 2020 despite cease of investment in other types of energy projects caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. According to findings, 28 new offshore windfarms have been approved globally by investors, which are all together worth $35 billion.

“We expected to see COVID-19 affecting renewable energy investment in the first half, via delays in the financing process and to some auction programmes. There are signs of that in both solar and onshore wind, but the overall global figure has proved amazingly resilient – thanks to offshore wind,” stated Albert Cheung, the head analysis of BNEF.

In China alone, 17 wind farms have been approved in the first half of this year. Among them is the $1.8 billion Yangjiang Yangxi Snapaat wind power project managed by Guangdong Yudean Group.

Total investment in renewable energy rose by 5 per cent in the first half of this year to $132.4 billion thanks, partly, to increased investment in offshore wind powered energy.

The Guardian reported that story.

Internationally

According to findings from a monthly report released by OPEC, the global demand for oil is expected to rise by 7 million barrels per day in 2021.

“This assumes that COVID-19 is contained, especially in major economies, allowing for recovery in private household consumption and investment, supported by the massive stimulus measures undertaken to combat the pandemic,” stated OPEC.

This estimate also assumes that no other conflicts, such as tensions between the U.S. and China, or high levels of debt influence demand. Forecasts show that the level of growth for the global demand of oil in 2021 will fall below record levels seen in 2019, according to Reuters.

Meanwhile, global oil production levels are going to be cut by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies (OPEC+) from 9.7 million barrels per day (bpd) to 7.7 million bpd from the months of August to December, reported Reuters.

On Tuesday morning at 8:32 a.m., West Texas Intermediate had fallen by 1.85 per cent and was trading at US$39.38. Brent Crude had dropped by 1.26 per cent and was going for US$42.18.

In Canada

Kellogg Brown & Root Ltd. has decided to back out of an agreement with Pieridae Energy Ltd. to build the Goldboro LNG export facility at a fixed cost. The construction company and Pieridae had previously agreed on a lump-sum price in March 2019, but Pieridae says Kellogg Brown & Root Ltd. has given them notice that they’ll be withdrawing from the deal. However, Kellogg still said that it will provide services under a different set of terms.

A final decision to move forward with the project was put on hold by Pieridae back in May due to what the company said were development complications because of the COVID-19 crisis. Pieridae was also questioned by the Alberta Energy Regulator back in May after the energy company decided it would not transfer licences for production assets that it acquired from Shell Canada.

The Canadian Press reported those details.

Canadian Crude Index was going for US$29.15 and Western Canadian Select was trading at US$32.85 this morning at 8:32 a.m.

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Germany's Short-Lived Rebound Driven by Consumption, Investment – BNN

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(Bloomberg) — German consumers and companies ramped up spending before a resurgence in coronavirus cases forced authorities to reintroduce restrictions, putting a halt to the recovery in Europe’s largest economy.

Figures from the statistics office show private consumption rose 10.8% in the three months through September with investment up 3.6%, contributing to an overall quarterly expansion of 8.5% — stronger than initially reported. Since then, temporary business closures and rules affecting social activities have plunged parts of the economy back into a slump.

Output is likely to stagnate or even shrink in the final three months of the year, the Bundesbank said last week. While domestic restrictions are weaker and more focused on hospitality and leisure activities than during the first wave, exports are suffering from a resurgence of the virus across Europe, it said.

Sales abroad jumped more than 18% in the third quarter, with imports up some 9%.

A business confidence gauge due later on Tuesday is expected to deteriorate, mirroring trends from across the euro area. Lockdowns have put the 19-nation economy on track for another contraction, according to a survey published Monday.

Germany’s outlook could take a turn for the worse on Wednesday when Chancellor Angela Merkel and the country’s regional leaders will decide on whether to tighten and extend virus curbs through much of the upcoming holiday season.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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Without investment, universities and colleges heading for a crisis – Toronto Star

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Universities and colleges employ hundreds of thousands of people, educate and train over two million students annually and drive research that improves the lives of all Canadians. In cities and communities across the country, they are regional economic drivers and social and cultural centres. Our world-class post-secondary education system is critical to our prosperity, underpins our democracy and finds solutions to key challenges, be it COVID or climate change.

All of this is in peril — and not just because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Public funding for post-secondary education has been stagnant for more than a decade. COVID-19 has brought the system closer to the edge. Strategic investments in universities and colleges must be made now to ensure a strong economic recovery and a more resilient future for Canadians.

COVID-19 has strained resources and reduced revenues, especially from international student fees. For decades, in the absence of sustainable government funding, students and their families have been asked to pay more. Private sources of funding now make up over half of university revenues, up from just 20 per cent when the parents of students may have once been on campus.

Since the last recession in 2008, provincial government spending in the sector has decreased by one per cent in real terms. Meanwhile, student enrolment has grown by more than 20 per cent over the same time, and income from tuition by nearly 70 per cent. With more than half of all university students already taking on an average of $28,000 of debt to get an education, reliance on student fees to solve the funding crisis simply isn’t sustainable.

There are three areas that need immediate action from the federal government to put post-secondary education on stable footing and improve quality, affordability and accessibility.

First, we need a national strategy for post-secondary education with goals to tackle education inequality, enhance affordability and strengthen research capacity. The last time the federal government increased the base funding to the provinces and territories for post-secondary education was in 2008 under Stephen Harper and this came with no plan of action to address key challenges.

Secondly, we need to accelerate research through enhanced investments in fundamental research. The government’s own advisory panel recommended funding levels 40 per cent higher than what we are investing today to keep Canada competitive.

The pandemic has also put much research on hold. In a survey of Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) members, two out of three have seen their research stop or stall as a result of the pandemic. This hiatus in research will have a significant downstream impact on the innovation and knowledge that supports Canada’s economy.

Finally, we need to secure opportunities for youth and the unemployed by decreasing upfront costs and moving to a free tuition model for working- and middle-class Canadians. The government’s temporary doubling of the Canada Student Grant this year will help students cover costs this term, however it is still less than the average tuition.

It is also an unsustainable approach.

While we have seen increases in student financial assistance, we have also seen increases in tuition. As some provincial officials half-joke, the best way to leverage federal funding for post-secondary education is to raise tuition, as this will increase demands for federally funded student financial assistance.

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Some of the necessary changes to the funding model for post-secondary education could be met by redirecting the $900 million in unused federal funding from the failed Canada Student Service Grant program. The government could also repurpose the Canada Training Benefit to ensure that Canadians have more meaningful and timely access to educational opportunities.

There are many public services and sectors that need strengthening to get us out of the current crisis and be better for it. Post-secondary education is an essential foundation for social cohesion, science, innovation and economic success in Canada, and must not be taken for granted. We cannot let it languish now, when it is so critical to the well-being of our country.

Brenda Austin-Smith is a film studies professor and head of the English, theatre, film and media department at the University of Manitoba. She is also president of the Canadian Association of University Teachers, which represents 72,000 academic staff at universities and colleges across the country.

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Glimmer of hope for investment in Europe: EY survey – The Journal Pioneer

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By Mark John

LONDON (Reuters) – Global executives see a smaller hit to their investment plans for Europe than they did earlier this year and are somewhat more upbeat about the continent’s future appeal, a questionnaire by professional services group EY found.

The survey, conducted in October before a series of COVID-19 vaccine trial breakthroughs, showed that 42% of executives now expect a decrease in their 2020 investment plans and 31% plan to delay them to 2021.

That compared with 66% who expected decreases and 23% who saw delays when asked the same question back in April. This time around, a small number – 10% – even saw an increase to their 2020 investments, something no one did in April.

While that still means a big overall hit to foreign direct investment after 2019’s record year, EY noted that 21% of those surveyed believed Europe would be more attractive for investment post-Covid compared to just 8% in April.

“It is promising that investors believe that over the next three years, Europe will become a much more attractive destination for investments than before pandemic,” EY Area Managing Partner Julie Teigland said.

The findings were based on interviews with 109 global executives across 14 industries in October.

Upbeat news from vaccine trials are starting to support economic sentiment. The monthly eurozone Purchase Managers Index (PMI) for November saw a rise in its “future output” component in November to its highest level since February.

Among the other takeaways from the EY survey, 63% expected faster roll-out of digital customer access to surveys in the next three years (versus 55% in April) but only 37% now saw a reversal of globalisation (versus 56%).

(Reporting by Mark John, editing by Ed Osmond)

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