In a draft long-term strategy paper, OPEC—ahead of its June 5 gathering in Vienna—concludes that US and Canadian shale oil is a much hardier enemy than OPEC had once presumed, and this will keep crude oil prices relatively low for another two years and perhaps longer. “Generally speaking, for non-OPEC fields already in production, even a severe low price environment will not result in production cuts, since high-cost producers will always seek to cover a part of their operating costs,” the OPEC report says.

In less than a decade, US shale oil revenues have soared from nearly zero to more than $70 billion annually. This growth is 600% greater than that experienced by that country’s heavily subsidized solar industry over the same period.

PetroChina (a unit of state-owned China National Petroleum Corp) announced that the first 100-million-tonne large-scale shale oilfield has been discovered in the northwest part of the country. This is the largest shale oil discovery to date in China.

China has the largest shale gas reserves in the world. According to the US Energy Information Administration, China has approximately 1115 trillion cubic feet of shale gas reserves mostly located in the Sichuan and Tarim basins in the southern and western regions and in the northern and northeastern basins. The EIA estimates China’s shale gas production will play a significant role in the nation’s natural gas supply after 2020.

The US installed 5.8 megawatts of energy storage systems during the first quarter of this year according to a report released by GTM Research and Energy Storage Association. Those energy storage systems are mostly lithium-ion batteries, the type that can be found in consumer electronics and electric cars. They have come to be the preferred technology because they are already in mass production. 72% of these systems, or 4.2 MW, were installed to assist electric utilities or electric grid operators maintain the proper voltages and the supply and demand of the grid. It is anticipated that by the end of this decade most new installations will be in the industrial, commercial and residential sectors.

Ford Motor Co., following a similar move by Tesla Motors Inc. last year,  said last week it will open its electric vehicle patents to competitors to help accelerate the development of EVs. This includes patents on electric vehicle braking systems and battery charging. Ford said it has more than 650 EV patents and about 1,000 pending patent applications on electrified vehicle technologies.

In April, Norway registered its 50,000th electric car. This growth was largely driven by the very generous incentives provided to buyers of EVs in that country.  Last week all four 4 political parties agreed it is time to cut back these incentives. As of 2018 car owners will have to pay half of the road tax and all of it from 2020. VAT exemptions will also be replaced by a subsidy, which will likely be revoked over time. Meanwhile, it is now left to local authorities to decide whether to offer free parking, exemption from tolls, and the use of bus lanes for these vehicles.

US solar electric generation capacity surged 30% in 2014 to more than 20 gigawatts and is expected to more than double by the end of 2016, according to the Washington-based Solar Energy Industries Association. That’s enough to power 7.6 million homes, up from 360,000 in 2009. The biggest gains will be in in the states of California, Arizona, Texas, Georgia, New York and New Jersey. Despite this rapid growth, solar still accounts for less than 1% of total US electric power production, behind coal, natural gas, oil, nuclear and hydroelectric, according to the US Energy Information Administration.

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