Bankruptcies in the US crude oil and natural gas industries continue to grow at a fast and furious pace. 59 companies have now filed for bankruptcy protection, and more are expected. The numbers may soon pass the famous dotcom bust of 2002-2003. Investment banker JP Morgan reported that its non-performing loans jumped by 665% in the first quarter from $0.2 to $1.7 billion with most of the bad loans coming from the oil and gas industry. Loans considered to be a problem are now at $21.2 billion.

In just 15 years, natural gas produced from hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, has grown from 7% to 67% of US gas output, becoming the dominant technique today. The method extracts shale oil and shale gas from shale formations deep underground. Shale oil accounts for about half of current oil production in the US. The primary shale locations are in the Marcellus and Utica formations of the Appalachian Basin, the Bakken formation in Montana and North Dakota, the Eagle Ford formation in Texas, and the stacked Permian Basin formations in Texas and New Mexico.

Renewable energy sources provide 94.5% of the Uruguay’s electricity. Using hydro power, solar, wind and biomass, renewables now account for 55% of the South American country’s overall energy mix (including transport fuel) compared with a global average share of 12%.

The Central American country of Nicaragua has a new National Development Plan which calls for renewables to supply 94% of the country’s electricity by next year. A key part of the plan is the 72 megawatt San Jacinto Project, a 9,800 acre geothermal power plant built on the San Jacinto-Tizate geothermal area, widely considered to be one of the most productive volcanic reservoirs in Latin America.

The government of New Zealand said it is creating incentives to use more electric vehicles. In order to double the amount of electric vehicles to 64,000 by 2021, the government is extending tax relief measures, backing a five-year promotional campaign with $690,000, and offering another $4.1 million to support innovation in low-emission vehicle projects. In addition, by 2025 the government hopes to get 90% of its electricity supplied through renewable energy resources.

China said more than half of new vehicles bought by central government departments will be alternative energy cars within five years. Central government departments will also build electric vehicle charging stations. China is promoting new energy vehicles as one of its key industries in the country’s 13th Five-Year Plan which starts this year. Under the plan, the aggregate production and sales volume for these vehicles will hit 5 million in five years.

Currently, there are 50 hydrogen fuel cell vehicles on the roads in Japan. This number is expected to jump to 40,000 by 2020. And by 2030, the number of fuel cell vehicles in Japan is likely to reach 800,000. This will lead to a demand for more fuel cell fueling stations in many parts of the country. By 2020, the number of public hydrogen stations in Japan is expected to reach 160. Currently there are only 36 hydrogen stations in Japan as their construction schedule has failed to meet expectations.

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