Cal on September 23rd, 2017

Cal on September 23rd, 2017

Cal on September 22nd, 2017

Daimler AG announced plans to spend $1 billion to start production of Mercedes-Benz electric vehicles at its factory in the US state of Alabama. The plant will assemble electric sport utility vehicles, making Daimler the first European company to assemble plug-in EVs in the US.

The alliance of automakers Renault, Nissan and Mitsubishi revealed their six-year plan in which they will accelerate their collaboration on common platforms, powertrains and next-generation electric, autonomous and connected technologies. 12 new zero-emission electric vehicles will be launched by 2022, sharing common electric vehicle platforms and components for multiple segments. At the same time 40 vehicles will be introduced with different levels of autonomy, all the way to fully autonomous capability. The member companies will increase their use of common platforms, with nine million units based on four common platforms. They will also extend the use of common powertrains to 75% of total sales. In addition there will be a major expansion in shared electric vehicle technologies, alongside the development and deployment of advanced autonomous drive systems, vehicle connectivity and new mobility services. On the EV side the companies say:

  • a new family of EV motor and batteries will be introduced from 2020, shared across the member companies
  • a 600 kilometer (373 miles) EV range will be reached by 2022
  • they expect a 30% decrease in battery cost from 2016 to 2022
  • their vehicles will require 15 minutes charging time to deliver a range of 230 km (143 miles) by 2022

The city of Trondheim, Norway has ordered 25 electric buses from Volvo. Starting a year from now, the buses from Volvo will run on four routes covering distances of between 12 and 15 kilometers each. The purchase will increase the number of electric buses in the city to 35, giving it the the largest electric bus fleet in the Nordic country.

Reuters tells us how the road to electric car paradise is paved with handouts. Norway, with the most EVs per capita, has used 12 billion kroner ($1.5 billion) of the taxpayers money to put 140,000 pure electric cars on the road.  Countries are finding when the EV subsidies are removed, EV sales drop and sometimes precipitously, revealing that it is economics and not ideology that is driving EV sales.

Neste and Genève Aéroport in Switzerland are partnering on the introduction of renewable jet fuel into aircraft operations from Geneva International Airpor. They hope by the end of next year renewables will comprise 1% of the annual jet fuel consumption at Genève Aéroport 2018. Neste is the world’s leading renewable biodiesel producer from waste products and residues. The International Civil Aviation Organization has set a target that from 2020 onwards the growth in aviation is carbon-neutral. Currently, the only viable alternative to fossil liquid fuels for powering commercial aircraft is sustainable renewable jet fuel.

British Airways has entered into a partnership with Velocys to design a series of waste plants that convert household waste into renewable jet fuel to power its jet fleet. Velocys is a renewable fuel company.The airline plans to supply its aircraft fleet with increasing amounts of renewable jet fuel over the next decade. The first plant will take hundreds of thousands of tonnes of household waste per-year, destined for landfill or incineration, including diapers, plastic food containers and chocolate bar wrappers, and convert it into renewable jet fuel.

A new report from Global Market Insights reveals that by 2024, the total global market for pumped hydro storage will exceed £350 billion in investment and 200 gigawatts in installed capacity. The economic drivers for this means of storing energy varies by region. In North America, the two main market forces are increasing demand for grid storage technologies and growing demand for a larger renewable energy mix. In Europe, the market is favoured by supporting government policies for storage, while regulations against emissions are becoming more and more stringent. In the Asia Pacific region, the two main driving forces are the significant increase in future energy demand and energy security and reliability of power supply. Open loop systems account for over 90% of pumped hydro storage systems globally. (For a discussion of how pumped hydro storage works see here.)

In Australia, Brisbane Airport Corporation is investing in a solar PV project, capable of generating more than 9 million kilowatt-hours a year. The 6 megawatt system, consisting of 22,000 solar panels, will be installed across six sites at Brisbane Airport. Electricity is one of the largest expenses to running Brisbane Airport, with dozens of large buildings requiring lighting, and cooling or heating, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The system is expected to be operational a year from now and will supply 18% of the airport’s electricity needs. The solar electricity generated per year is equivalent to powering over 1,700 Australian homes for a year.

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Cal on September 22nd, 2017

Bluegrass Alliance playing One Tin Soldier


Cal on September 22nd, 2017


  Source: US Energy Information Administration

Cal on September 21st, 2017

Dixie Chicks live playing Long Way Around



Cal on September 21st, 2017

Cal on September 21st, 2017

The US Energy Information Administration projects world energy consumption will increase by 28% between 2015 and 2040. Over that period coal demand will remain flat while renewable energy will be the world’s fastest-growing energy source. Nuclear energy is expected to be the second fastest-growing source. China and India will account for more than 60% of the world’s total increase in energy consumption during this period.  Even though renewables will grow the fastest, fossil fuels will continue to account for more than three-quarters of all world energy consumption through 2040. Coal’s share of global energy consumption is expected to decline from 27% in 2015 to 22% in 2040.


Source: US Energy Information Administration


Russia’s largest oil producer, Rosneft, expects world crude oil prices to average between $40 and $43 per barrel next year and is preparing for such prices.  A Rosneft official said the recent rise in oil prices was due to a weak US dollar instead of recent efforts by OPEC to combat the global crude supply glut buy cutting back production. Oil prices have risen from the $40 range a year ago to almost $50 in the past week.

A new study from scientists at the University of Edinburgh say only around 10% of the UK’s original recoverable crude oil and natural gas in the North Sea remains and may only have a lifespan of a decade. The study adds that fracking will be barely economically feasible in the UK because of a lack of sites with suitable geology. This leads the researchers to conclude the UK will soon have to import all the oil and gas it will need or move towards greater use of offshore wind and solar energy. Roy Thompson, Professor of GeoSciences at the University of Edinburgh, said:

“The UK urgently needs a bold energy transition plan, instead of trusting dwindling fossil fuel reserves and possible fracking…There needs to be greater emphasis on renewables, energy storage and improved insulation and energy efficiencies.”

In response to the University of Edinburgh study, Oil and Gas UK (OGUK) chief executive Deirdre Michie said new oil and gas capacity was still being added to the North Sea basin and that some of the largest fields will still be producing in 2050. She added that a number of projects with long lifespans recently came on stream, or will do in the near future. In addition, A UK government spokesman said (commenting on the Edinburgh study):

“We do not recognise these figures. Research by the independent Oil and Gas Authority shows that in 2035, North Sea gas will still meet around a quarter of UK demand with oil from the same source meeting around a third.”

Green Energy model Germany will miss a European Union renewable energy target by a wider margin than previously predicted according to an analysis by the BEE renewable energy association. Renewable energy would account for 16% of German electric power consumption by 2020, short of an EU target of 18% for Germany. BEE added that “the 18% target will fall further into the distance if increased consumption in the heating, transport and electricity sector remains undiminished.”

Bloomberg reports that German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s vigorous effort to move Germany toward greener energy (Energiewende) has unexpectedly meant booming demand for coal. Despite all the investment in renewable energy in the country, Germany still gets 40% of its electricity from some 140 coal-fired plants. Germany has spent some 650 billion euros ($780 billion) on subsidies for renewable power in recent decades, yet the country will at best get to 18% by 2020, according to the BEE renewable energy association. Germany has the European Union’s second-highest rates for electricity after Denmark. A green energy surcharge raises German electricity bills by 25%, to an average of about 29 euro cents (34.6 U.S. cents) per kilowatt-hour this year.

The share of wind and solar power in electricity production reached 30% of overall energy output in the North African country of Morocco in 2016. Minister of Energy Aziz Rabbah says the country has a target of obtaining 50% of its electric power from renewables by 2030. The country is studying the possibility of exporting electricity to Portugal, Spain and sub-Saharan countries in future as its solar capacity increases.

China and the UK have teamed up to develop the next generation offshore wind power capacity, with a focus on identifying the best locations for the new installations and making them more resilient to harsh weather conditions including typhoons and earthquakes. The UK’s Natural Environment Research Council said research teams from the two countries would work together on five projects.

In Germany, threats by politicians to ban diesel cars from cities have scared off customers, and sales of new models plunged 14% in August from a year ago, Germany’s federal motor vehicle agency said.



with h/t Tom Whipple

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