Cities currently account for about 66% of global energy use. Forecasters project this figure to rise to 80% as the world’s population shifts to urban centers.

Offshore crude oil drillers are bracing for a wave of contract cancellations as energy companies around the world try to cut their costs to cope with continuing low world oil prices. Large oil and gas companies lease drilling rigs and crews from oil-field-services companies, often for years at a time and at a cost of up to $400,000 a day.

Declining output from shale oil fields in the US cut demand for railroad cars, the latest sign of the fallout from lower world crude oil prices. Buyers ordered 4,470 new railway tank cars during the 1st quarter of 2015, down 70% from the 14,964 tank cars ordered during the fourth quarter of 2014.

The US Energy Information Administration said US energy demand is expected to grow by a modest 0.3% a year for the next 25 years. The EIA forecasts that energy used in homes will remain flat and that transportation consumption will decline slightly as  vehicle fleets become increasingly more fuel efficient.

The EIA also expects the US to become a net exporter of natural gas by 2017 as the US continues to produce excess amounts of natural gas, more liquid natural gas (LNG) export terminals come online, and exports to Mexico by pipeline continue to grow.

Russia’s crude oil production remained at a post-Soviet record of 10.71 million barrels per day last month.  With global crude oil prices climbing 21% last month t0 $66 a barrel, the Russian economy is doing better, but revenues are still 50% what they were a year ago.  Next month representatives from Russia’s Energy Ministry will meet with officials from OPEC to discuss the level of crude oil prices. Russia wants OPEC countries to cut production in hopes that world oil prices will recover to last year’s levels.

Japan projects that by 2030 renewable energy such as solar and hydro will generate slightly more of the nation’s electricity (24%) than nuclear power plants (22%).

Hydropower currently provides approximately 7% of the US electricity supply – enough to power more than 20 million homes.

Electric car company Tesla’s CEO Elon Musk unveiled a line of home and industrial battery packs last week, representing a strategic shift as his money-losing electric car company tries to break into the highly competitive electricity storage market.

Last year a total of 74,763 electric cars were sold in China. Dong Yang, secretary general of the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers, said he was worried that buyers were only choosing new-energy vehicles because of the financial benefits offered by governments, not because they really liked them. Some industry observers said many buyers were using hybrids just like traditional cars, meaning they were using the combustion engines but not the electric power option.


with h/t Tom Whipple

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