Norwegian company Höegh LNG signed a deal with Lithuania to build a liquefied natural gas terminal as the Baltic state strives to cut its politically-charged dependence on Russian supplies. Under the 10-year lease contract, the offshore unit will be delivered by December 2014, After the lease period Lithuania has the option to purchase the unit.

China’s resources ministry said that preliminary surveys showed the country had explorable shale-gas reserves of 25.1 trillion cubic metres, in theory enough to meet China’s gas needs for the next two centuries. This puts China as the country with the largest shale gas reserves. The fields are mostly in Sichuan or in sparsely populated regions in the interior. A report by the US Energy Information Administration last year said China’s “technically recoverable” reserves were 50% greater than in the US. Some geologists believe total resources could be much higher, dwarfing the country’s conventional gas reserves.

China wants to cut its energy consumption per unit of industrial value-added output by 21% by 2015 said the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology. China has targeted energy savings for specific industries. The steel, nonferrous, petrochemical and electronics industries are required to reduce their energy use per unit of value-added output by 18%. The chemical engineering, building materials and textile sectors must cut their energy consumption per unit of output by 20%, while the machinery industry should target a 2% fall in energy use per unit of output.

The UK’s installed solar capacity reached 1 GW in February.  The government has set a target of 22 GW of solar capacity by 2020. A GW is about the size of a typical nuclear facility.

In the month of February, wind energy supplied Spain with a record 21.7% of its electricity needs or 4.890 GWh of electricity.

US ethanol production reached almost 14 billion gallons in 2011, the highest production ever for that country.

A study from the American Chemical Society says that 80% of US farmland would have to be dedicated to corn production to meet future demand of 136 billion gallons of ethanol by 2022 using first generation technology. Using current technology, farmers would either need to plant biofuel crops on 80% of their farmed land or plant biofuel crops on 60% of the land currently used to raise livestock. Both options would significantly reduce the amount of food U.S. farmers produce.

A recent analysis of the biofuels industry by ecoprog GmbH finds that the European biofuel industry is declining due to excess capacity. Many European Union countries exaggerated the development of their biofuels industry, especially biodiesel. Now in countries such as Germany, the Netherlands and Hungary, production capacities dramatically exceed domestic demand. Overall, the European supply exceeds demand by about 60% and it is very difficult to sell expensive European biofuels on the global market. As new large scale plants come online, many smaller plants have to close. Spain recently closed some 20 small biodiesel plants.

A fire this month damaged Europe’s largest biomass plant and took off line 10% of the UK’s renewable energy capacity.  England’s Tilbury power plant had been converted from coal power to biomass (wood pellets) late last year in order to avoid being closed under European Union regulations. The 750 MW power plant will be closed for five months. Biomass plants are coming into operation across the UK as it strives to meet the EU goal of deriving 20% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2020.




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