The largest study of international land transactions to date concludes that 40% of land acquired worldwide over the last decade is intended for biofuel production. This compares with 25% for food crops and another 27% for mining, tourism, industry and forestry. In Africa, 66% of land deals cross-referenced by researchers are intended for biofuel production, compared with 15% for food crops. You can read the study here.

Drilling for the exploration of geothermal energy is set to commence in Rwanda. Geothermal energy is expected to contribute at least 300 MW to their national grid by 2017, and potentially provide half of the country’s energy requirements by 2020.

Germany produced more energy from renewable sources than from nuclear, hard-coal or gas-fired plants this year after boosting investments in projects from wind to biomass. Renewables accounted for a fifth of the generation mix in 2011, up from 16.4 percent last year. Only soft coal, with 24.6%, had a greater share this year. Nuclear has fallen 5% to 17.4% of total energy production.

Germany has installed its 1 millionth solar photovoltaic (PV) system connected to the power grid. For 2011, the country expects an expansion of solar PV capacity by around 5 GW, which could mean a total installed capacity of 22 GW by year end. Germany’s first PV system was installed in 1990.

China has set a target for installed solar power generating capacity to reach 15 GW by 2015 and wind power capacity to hit 100 GW.

Russia’s Prirazlomnaya drilling platform is now in the high Arctic and ready to begin looking for crude oil. Testing will be completed by the end of next year. As many as 200 crew members will live and work on the rig year round, in temperatures that can plummet to minus 50 degrees C, pumping oil onto tankers that will ferry it closer to shore.  If successful, similar rigs are expected to dot Russia’s northern coast.

Anglo-Russian venture TNK-BP said it would invest $10 billion in a new pipeline from arctic oil fields that would move energy supplies to the Asian market.

Canada’s national energy regulator released rules for offshore oil and gas drilling in the Arctic, clearing the way for energy companies to begin operations there if they meet safety requirements.

Energy prices have pushed up US inflation rates this year. A study by the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas shows that during 2011, fuel oil surged 25%, while gasoline was up 19.7%. Energy as a whole was up 12.4%, compared with a 4.6% annualized increase in food prices.

Brazil is Latin America’s leading wind energy market, with a current wind power capacity sector of roughly 1.4 GW, which is projected to grow within the next three years nearly eight-fold by 2014. It is projected to have 31.6 GW of installed capacity by 2025.  The country already has massive hydro-electric and petroleum reserves.


with h/t Tom Whipple


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