Last week the 27 member states of the European Union agreed to invest €217 million in 15 key trans-European energy infrastructure projects, mainly in Central and South Eastern Europe. The selected projects will increase energy security and help end the isolation of several Member States from Europe-wide energy networks. 9 of the projects relate to natural gas and 6 to electricity.  One of the goals is to reduce the reliance of Central and Eastern Europe on Russian gas.

The International Energy Agency forecast that world crude oil markets will remain oversupplied until at least the end this year. “We conclude that the oil market faces the prospect of a third successive year when supply will exceed demand by 1 million barrels per day and there will be enormous strain on the ability of the oil system to absorb it efficiently,” the IEA said.

The government of India has asked its oil firms to increase ties with resource-rich Africa as the south Asian nation wants to take advantage of tumbling crude oil prices to lock in supplies to meet future demand. The International Energy Agency predicts that India will be the most important driver of energy demand growth in the world in the years to come with its oil consumption seen rising by 6 million barrels per day now to about 10 million by 2040. India is the world’s third largest oil importer and intends to spend tens of millions of dollars exploring for oil in Africa and upgrading that continent’s oil infrastructure.

The dramatic fall in world crude oil prices has spread to North America’s largest railways. A year ago these transportation systems were making large profits carrying the vast quantities of oil that could not find its way onto full pipelines as well as transporting coal headed to China.  But the fall in crude prices has dried up the oil supply and the slowdown in the Chinese economy has reduced the demand for coal. So now the railroads are suffering large decreases in revenues and profits and slashing capital expenditures and laying off workers.  This week Canadian Pacific laid off 1000 employees and warned of more layoffs to come.

China plans to gradually reduce the amount of subsidies for new-energy vehicles and will stop providing financial assistance entirely after 2020, according to the Asian country’s finance minister. 2017-2018 subsidies will be cut by 20% from those in place now and 2019-2020 subsidies will be 40% less than this year. Chinese buyers of electric cars at present get as much as 55,000 yuan in central government subsidies, depending on the vehicle’s range with a single charge. Local governments often match those incentives. In addition, users of new-energy vehicles are exempt from registration and road usage restrictions.

Morocco plans to receive over 50% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2030. Currently the North African country gets 15% from renewable sources – wind, solar, and hydropower. The goal is to increase this number to 42% by 2020 and 52% by 2030.

Research firm GlobalData says China has become the world’s largest installer of renewable energy, with almost 45 gigawatts of renewable power projects added last year, out of the 115 GW that was constructed worldwide.

There is now a total of 914 gigawatts of installed renewable energy capacity worldwide, GlobalData estimates, or enough to provide electric power to about 640 million homes.

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