Royal Dutch Shell Plc thinks demand for crude oil could peak in as little as five years. “We’ve long been of the opinion that demand will peak before supply,” Chief Financial Officer Simon Henry said this week. “And that peak may be somewhere between five and 15 years hence, and it will be driven by efficiency and substitution, more than offsetting the new demand for transport.” Shell is focusing more and more of its efforts on on natural gas and expanding its new-energy businesses including biofuels and hydrogen.

Auto research company Edmunds reports that 75% of American drivers are trading in their hybrid or electric vehicles for gasoline cars this year. One-third of these drivers are trading in for SUVs.

The US has announced plans to create a 25,000 mile (40,000 kilometer) recharging network for electric cars. The Department of Transportation will designate 48 official electric vehicle routes on highways that cover 35 of the 50 states, with the aim of eventually building out further as demand grows. With the new power network, electric car drivers will be able to find a recharging station every 50 miles (80 kilometers), with regular signage indicating the locations. EV manufacturers Nissan, BMW, General Motors and a number of major electric power producers are among the companies participating in the initiative. Despite significant tax incentives Americans have been slow to purchase plug-in electric cars, in part because of high costs and the low range of the batteries of most models, which limits trips to short distances.

The Australian state of New South Wales announced it has set a goal of net zero carbon emissions by 2050 and will allocate $500 million over five years to help spur the transition to renewable energy. The money will be spent of accelerating the take-up of emerging energy technologies such as renewables and batteries as well as increasing energy efficiency in homes and businesses.

It appears the government of the Australian state of South Australia, heavily dependent on renewable energy for its electricity supply,  has blinked in the face of controversy over electricity price spikes in July and the state-wide blackout in late September. In calling for tenders on new electricity projects, the state has changed the rules to allow natural gas plants to bid and some believe the new tender rules clearly favour gas.

Adding wind energy is not as easy as building wind turbines. It also means constructing new transmission lines to the electric grid. Both Germany and China are finding this out as they are forced to pay wind companies to hold back on their energy production because their grids are unable to handle the additional capacity. MIT Technology Review finds this problem will become increasingly likely around the globe and specifically refers to India and Australia.

The Smithstonian looks at how anaerobic digestion Is becoming the next big renewable energy source.

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