The US Energy Information Administration estimates that global crude oil demand will grow from 94.8 million barrels a day this year to 105.3 million barrels in 2026. With world oil prices now hovering around $50 a barrel and little exploration going on, there is concern in some quarters that this demand will not be met.  Only 2.7 billion barrels of new conventional oil was discovered in 2015, the smallest amount going back 70 years to 1947. Nils-Henrik Bjurstroem, of Oslo-based consultants Rystad Energy AS said: “There will definitely be a strong impact on oil and gas supply, and especially oil. Years of under-investment will be felt as soon as 2025.”

In a bid to move towards a gas-based economy, India intends to increase the proportion of natural gas in its total energy mix from existing 6.5% per cent to 15%. However, the government has not given any timeline to achieve this objective. In addition to enhancing gas production, the government is promoting a nationwide gas grid and setting up natural gas infrastructure. The Indian government is promoting gas (conventional and renewable) as it is a clean fuel and makes economic sense in view of various technologies available for converting bio waste, sewage, high ash contend coal, bagass, husk and other feedstock to gas.

As part of the effort to promote the use of gas in India, the government is organizing a cross-country, multimedia campaign to communicate the national, social, economic and ecological benefits of using natural gas as the fuel of choice to every citizen who uses, or will use in the near future, gas in any way- cook, travel, light their homes, and power their business. The campaign includes using Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, and its official blog site, as well as hyper local, offline events to directly connect with consumers through discussions, workshops and cultural events.

Egypt as a energy hub? A series of sizable natural gas discoveries in the eastern Mediterranean Sea over the past decade is prodding Egypt to ensure that it reaps the benefits. As the promise of vast reserves of natural gas draws in significant amounts of foreign investment, Egypt hopes to become the center of regional natural gas development. Most analysts  believe it will be successful, since without Egypt’s infrastructure and large consumer market, many of the projects under consideration would be neither economical nor feasible. Much of the gas will feed Egypt’s growing demand for energy which is currently 50 billion cubic meters (bcm) a year and growing – perhaps as much as another 20 bcm over the next decade. And by connecting pipelines between the Israeli and Cyprian natural gas fields and Egypts existing natural gas export facilities, all parties can reduce costs and benefit as more and more natural gas will be demanded by countries like India.

Europe’s drive towards energy diversity took a step forward this week with the signing of agreements to build the Romanian section of the Bulgaria-Romania-Hungary-Austria (BRUA) natural gas pipeline network. When completed BRUA will connect Eastern and Central Europe to the gas fields in the Caspian Sea and the Black Sea and lessen the region’s dependence on Russian gas.  The porject will involve a number of smaller pipelines with reverse flows that permit the gas to flow north-south and east-west providing the region with more sources of energy, more competition and cheaper energy. There is a map of the planned pipeline network here.

London’s Gatwick airport is planning to build the world’s first airport energy-from-waste facility.  The airport will be the first to dispose of food waste (or any packaging mixed in with it) onsite and treat around 10 tonnes daily at a new processing plant to open in November. The plant will generate 1 megawatt of renewable energy while also reducing lorry journeys to external waste disposal plants. The energy generated will be used to provide electricity for the new processing plant as well as provide heat for the North Terminal. In addition the plant will reduce water use by two million litres annually, by cleaning bins with the water recovered from the drying waste at the plant. Gatwick is also exploring the possibility of using ash recovered from the biomass boiler to create low-carbon concrete.

A new report by Global Market Insight estimates the global waste-to-energy market is expected to reach US35.5 billion by 2024. A growing world population will be largely responsible for increasing electricity demand.  In addition there will be a growing dependency on renewable sources to generate energy due to depleting petrochemical reserves. Together, these factors will drive the grown of the waste-to-energy market.  Led by the US, China, India, Indonesia and Brazil, more and more countries are using thermal and biological techniques to convert municipal solid waste into energy (primarily electricity and heat).

The World Bank reports that globally Lower Middle Income groups were responsible for more than 1,012,320 tons municipal solid waste generation per day in 2015, which may exceed 2,618,800 tons per day by 2025. High Income groups generated 1,649,546 tons of solid waste per day, which could reach 1,879,590 tons per day by 2025.

The Central American country of Nicaragua plans to enhance its renewable energy generation capacity and improve its power transmission system. In 2015, half of the country’s energy generation came from renewable sources, of which 30% was geothermal. Nicaragua’s estimated geothermal potential is 1.5 gigawatts, of which only 10% has been developed. Now the government is examining the technical viability of exploiting the geothermal potential of the northwestern of the country.

17 US urban areas have now announced their commitment to running entirely on renewable energy by 2030. The latest city to make this commitment is Boulder, Colorado. It joins other cities such as the large California cities of San Francisco and San Diego.

With Africa’s infamous power shortages and developing electricity and transportation infrastructure, the African Business Review wonders if there is even a demand for electric cars? Electric cars sales in South Africa are meagre. Only 160 electric cars were sold in 2015, compared to the 291,332 bought in the US, and 24,500 in the UK. In wider Africa, electric cars are even rarer. Moreover, support from multinational corporations and governments means little if African’s can’t afford to purchase electric cars.

Perhaps in the distant future, Africa will be ready for electric cars. For now, both naysayers and advocates will have to use the Tesla South Africa’s venture as a litmus test. Will Elon Musk galvanise Africa’s electric car revolution?


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