Russia’s state-controlled energy firm Gazprom announced last week that it suspended the delivery of natural gas to Ukraine, having not received payment for gas deliveries in the coming months. “Gazprom will not deliver gas to Ukraine at any price without prepayment,” company CEO Alexey Miller said. Negotiations between the two countries broke down when Ukraine rejected the Russia price that was offered, the short-term of the contract (three months), and a clause in the contract which required it to purchase a fixed amount of natural gas from Gazprom regardless of demand. In the absence of gas supplies from Russia, the Ukrainian government will reportedly rely on sources from Slovakia, Poland and Hungary.

Last week the US state of New York officially banned the use of hydraulic fracturing to extract natural gas from shale, citing its potential impact on health and the environment. New York is the only US state with significant natural gas resources to ban fracking.

According to Green Car Reports, BMW expects to convert its cars to electric by 2025. “Virtually every BMW model would be powered by electric motors, with all-wheel drive and range-extending engines throughout the range.” The reasons for the move is the introduction of more stringent CO2 emissions in Europe in the upcoming years. With an electric motor on the rear axle and another that powers the front wheels, future BMWs will run much of the time on electric power alone.

Solar Power Europe’s Global Market Outlook reported solar energy now accounts for 1% of all global electricity demand. This is the equivalent of 33 large, coal-fired power plants each producing 1 gigawatt. Global solar electric generation capacity is now 178 GW, which is 100 times more than it was 14 years ago. IHS Technology expects solar to account for 2% of global electricity demand sometime by 2021. Getting to 2% will likely see a much broader spread of countries adopting solar, in particular across the Middle-East, Africa and Latin America.

22.3% of UK electricity was generated by renewables such as wind, biomass and solar in the first three months of this year according to the Department of Energy and Climate Change. When we add nuclear, low carbon emission energy generated 41% of the UK’s electricity during this period.

In 2014 half of Scotland’s electricity demand was supplied from renewable sources – hydropower and wind.

UK officials admitted that “green” energy programs will require £9 billion ($US 14.4 billion) a year in government subsidies by 2020. This is £1.5 billion more than the maximum limit the government had originally planned.  This means every household in the country will be forced to pay about £170 a year to support these renewable electricity programs.

The United States and Brazil announced an agreement last week for each country to get 20% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2030.

A major pilot project by Europe’s largest power network operator to integrate power from rooftop solar panels into the national grid has shown that battery storage of renewable energy is not yet economically viable in Europe. The “Nice Grid” project by France’ electric utility company connected compact batteries to solar panels on rooftops and utility-size batteries to its local power distribution network. The technology worked perfectly but the pilot project concluded battery storage is still too expensive for wider rollout.  “The economic model of the storage batteries for solar power is not mature yet,” Philippe Monloubou, chief executive of the utility said.

Work has begun on the Lake Turkana Wind Power Project in Kenya, 550km north of the African country’s capital Nairobi. The project will consist of 365 turbines and expected to achieve 68% load capacity factor, which will make it the most efficient wind power farm in the world. Once the wind farm is complete, it is expected to generate about 20% of the country’s power. It is part of Kenya’s ambitious project to add 5 GW of electric power on the national grid in the next three years.

 

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