The International Energy Agency says China has become much less energy intensive as it restructures its economy away from exports and more towards domestic consumption. The country is moving away from traditional heavy industry to high-tech, and high value-added service activities. From 2005 to 2013, China had very energy intensive growth and was around 60% of growth of global energy consumption. In the past two years, China now accounts for only 8% of the growth in global energy consumption. During this time frame the Asian country has become the world’s largest investor in hydro power, wind power, solar power and nuclear power.

India will need $1 trillion by 2030, a scale of investment “unparalleled anywhere in the world,” to fuel its race to provide energy for its people and help lift masses out of poverty, according to Piyush Goyal, the Minister for Coal, Power and New and Renewable Energy. The south Asian nation has a goal of quadrupling by 2030 the current energy consumption of 1,050 units per person. Despite planning massive investments in renewable energy, India will depend on coal for its baseline electricity needs to ensure power availability when other sources become unavailable or unreliable. The country is also working with a university in Australia and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology on research on clean coal.

The US Department of Energy reported its citizens used less energy in 2015 than they did in 2014 — 0.8 quadrillion BTU less energy. (A BTU or British Thermal Unit, is a unit of measurement for energy and 3,600 BTU is equivalent to about 1 kilowatt-hour.) The biggest change was a 12% drop in coal use as customers switched over to more efficient natural gas. A milder winter was also a factor as residential homes needed less heat. All areas of energy use — electricity, transportation, industrial, residential and commercial — saw decreases in 2015.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) reported that over 30 African countries are considering introducing nuclear power in the medium to long term for their electricity needs. Currently South Africa is the only African country that has nuclear plants for electricity generation. It has two nuclear power plants each producing 980 megawatts. Morocco, Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa have asked the IAEA for assistance in developing and expanding nuclear facilities. Egypt has already signed an agreement with Russia to develop nuclear power.

Facing a serious energy shortage, the government of Venezuela has begun electricity rationing. The country will turn off electricity supply in its 10 most populous states for four hours a day for at least 40 days to deal with a severe power shortage. Previous measures, which failed, included giving government workers an extra day off each week for two months, asking shopping malls to generate their own power, shifting the country’s time zone forward by 30 minutes and urging women to stop using their hairdryers. A severe drought has caused water levels to plunge at a hydroelectric dam that produces most of Venezuela’s electricity. Venezuela’s economy has plunged along with the price of crude oil upon which it relies for 95% of its foreign revenues. Shortages of medicines and goods such as toilet paper and cooking oil are widespread. The country could also be facing a beer shortage.

The UK faces “fuel poverty” — with 2.3 million or 9% of Britain’s 27 million households deemed fuel poor, meaning the cost of heating their homes leaves them with income below the poverty line.

China is looking at having highway-ready, self-driving cars within 3-5 years and autonomous vehicles for urban driving by 2025. According to Reuters, a draft roadmap for this plan could be released later this year. China’s top-down approach could see it overtake the US and Europe, where automakers have generally been left to agree among themselves on industry standards. Within 20 years, China will be the largest market for autonomous features, accounting for at least a quarter of global demand, says Boston Consulting Group. Chinese automaker Changan expects a self-driving model to be on the market in 2-3 years. In a recent survey in China, 75% of respondents said they would prefer a self-driving vehicle.


h/t Fred

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,