The emerging field ofenergy scavenging is drawing upon a wide array of untapped energy sources­ — including radio waves, vibrations created by moving objects, and waste heat from computers or car exhaust systems — to generate electricity and boost efficiency.

The Japanese government has released a 20-year energy policy document in which nuclear power is considered “a key base-load electric power source” along with coal, hydro and renewable energy. Japan shut down its nuclear industry in 2011 following the Fukushima disaster.

From three years ago when solar capacity was almost zero, India has added 2.2 gigawatts of solar to its electricity grid, enough to power 20 million Indian homes. It plans another 2 GW this year, toward a total of 15 GW by 2017.

New French wind and solar energy capacity declined sharply last year amid concerns about changes to renewable energy subsidies as France prepares a law expected to reshape the energy mix for the coming decades. Wind installations dropped 30% since 2012 to 535 MW. New solar dropped 45% to 613 megawatts. The European country had 8.2 GW of installed wind capacity and 4,7 GW of solar at the end of last year, meeting 4% of electric power its demand.

Petroleum fuels make up almost one-third of total global energy demand. These fuels primarily include gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, kerosene and fuel oil. More than 55% of the global demand for petroleum fuels comes from transportation. The remaining 45% demand comes from industrial and power generation sectors with the latter contributing just around 5%. Most of the future growth in demand for these fuels is expected to come from the transportation sector, especially in China and India, where faster economic growth is improving standards of living.

Lundin Petroleum, the Swedish petroleum explorer, said there won’t be any crude oil production in the ice-filled waters of the Arctic for at least 15 years because of technical and logistical challenges. Said Chairman Ian Lundin, “I don’t think we’ll see any oil production in the Arctic any time soon — probably not this decade and not the next. The commercial challenges are too big.”

While the US shale oil and gas revolution has helped reshape the global energy market, Middle Eastern crude oil will remain vital for meeting future Asian energy demand, said Fatih Birol, chief economist for the International Energy Agency.

Canada exported an average of 2.5 million b/d of crude oil to the US in 2013, up 10% from the previous year.

A flood of crude oil by rail is about to hit California, the third-biggest refining state in the US, from places such as Canada and North Dakota as suppliers seek to supply a market isolated from the rest of the country. The western US may bring 500,000 barrels of light crude oil by rail a day in 2015 as the region’s refiners seek to replace shrinking output in California and Alaska and more costly foreign imports.

The US is emerging as a major competitor to Australia for the supply of liquid natural gas (LNG) to Asia, said Randa Fahmy Hudome, a former US Department of Energy official. He stated the US viewed Asia as its biggest market and was increasing LNG export approvals to meet future demand from that region of the world.

The besieged Palestinian territory of Gaza now enjoys the prospect of energy independence. Palestinian MP Dr Salem Salama, a member of the economic committee of the Palestinian Legislative Council, announced that the Palestinian government in the Gaza Strip has discovered a natural gas field off the coast of the central province. The development of the gas field would bring huge benefits to Gaza, including an end to its dependency on imports of fuel. The discovery of the reserve come rather timely, as the Gaza Strip has been suffering from fuel and electricity shortages as a result of the Israeli-imposed blockade. The gas could be used as domestic cooking and heating fuel, to supply the territory’s power station, and even to run vehicles that have been adapted for natural gas. However, progress will depend on Israel’s willingness to allow an offshore gas rig to be installed, along with all other necessary equipment to enable the gas to be extracted and brought to shore.

The US Environmental Protection Agency reported that cattle passed the natural-gas industry as the biggest source of US methane emissions in 2012. The multiple-compartment stomachs in cattle create the methane, resulting in bovine belches. Despite better digestibility in cattle feed over the years, methane emissions from cattle has risen more than 2% since 199o because of upward trends in cattle populations.

UK energy spending for a typical household rose 55% over the past decade (from £69 a month in 2002 to £106 a month in 2012) despite usage falling 17%. Over that period the cost for electricity, natural gas and heating oil increased from 3.3% of a household’s annual income to 5.1%.

 

 

with h/t Tom Whipple

 

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