Canada announced plans to phase out coal-fired electricity plants by 2030. This is part of the federal government’s goal to have 90% of Canada’s electricity generated from sustainable sources by that date — up from 80% today.

Since March of this year the US has been exporting liquefied natural gas (LNG) to the Middle East.  Cheniere Energy’s Sabine Pass complex in the southern state of Louisiana has shipped two cargoes to Kuwait, two to Jordan and one to the United Arab Emirates. While these areas of the world are petroleum rich, both Kuwait and the UAE are short of natural gas (due to low gas prices that inhibit investment coupled with political conflicts with neighbouring gas rich countries). Hence, it is cheaper for these countries to import LNG from the US to meet their rising electricity demands.

The International Energy Agency predicts that electric vehicles will displace petrol engines in greater numbers during the decades between now and 2040. The IEA’s World Energy Outlook 2016 says 150 million EV will be on the road by 2040 compared to the 1.3 million that are being driven today. This surge in popularity is expected to lead to a reduction in crude oil usage by passenger cars. The IEA noted that petroleum demand is also being impacted by more efficient petrol engines being produced as companies comply with more stringent government regulations.

Royal Dutch Shell Chief Financial Officer Simon Henry said global demand for crude oil could peak between 2021 and 2031. “We’ve long been of the opinion that demand will peak before supply. And that peak may be somewhere between 5 and 15 years hence, and it will be driven by efficiency and substitution, more than offsetting the new demand for transport.”

While the International Energy Agency anticipates a petrol peak by 2040, it still forecasts overall crude oil demand growing for several decades because of higher consumption of diesel, fuel oil and jet fuel by the shipping, trucking, aviation and petrochemical industries. (See diagram below).

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Philip Verleger, president of the consultant PKVerleger LLC said the International Energy Agency’s outlook is one of the more optimistic outcomes for the global petroleum industry. “Refiners across the globe can only hope that the IEA forecast turns out to be right — because all the indications are today that gasoline consumption is going to begin dropping not in 2030, but probably in 2020,” said Verleger. “It’s the best news a dying patient can hope to get.”

The 21 countries comprising the Asian Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) vowed to reduce their aggregate energy intensity by 45% by 2035. The countries also agreed to double the share of renewable energy sources by 2030, while at the same time putting a cap on “inefficient” subsidies to fossil fuel companies. You can find the members of APEC here.

A report from Persistence Market Research looks at the industrial hydrogen market in the US, Europe, and Asia over the period 2016-2024.  Hydrogen is seen by some as the fuel of the future and is finding increasing application in various industries including chemical, electronics, glass, metal production, pharma and biotech, and welding and metal fabrication. Firms prefer on-site hydrogen generation systems and increasing technological advancements are reducing the cost of producing hydrogen by electrolysis of water. These are likely to increase the demand for industrial hydrogen through 2024. The industrial hydrogen market in the US., Europe and Asia is estimated to be valued at US$13 billion now but is expected to rise to US$20 billion by 2024.  the electronics segment is estimated to expand the fastest over the forecast period followed by an increasing use of hydrogen as a carrier gas in the manufacture of LED and semi-conductors. The US market, currently with a 50% market share of the industrial hydrogen market, is forecast to experience the fastest growth over the forecast period.

Germany’s transition away from nuclear energy to renewable sustainable energy, the Energiewende, is resulting in increasing fluctuations in electricity supply due to the intermittent nature of wind and solar power.  These fluctuations can damage electrical systems and result in widespread blackouts. To address this, a 90 megawatt battery energy storage system project began operation in Germany last week, the largest implementation of its kind in the country. Six 15 MW lithium-ion battery-based systems have been deployed; one each in Bexbach, Fenne and Weiher and another three in North Rhine-Westphalia. The new battery systems are expected to provide load balancing to electric grids that are experiencing increasing fluctuations in energy supply from wind and solar systems. The new battery systems will even out frequency fluctuations within seconds, by feeding energy into the grid in scenarios where the frequency is too low or storing it when frequency is too high. They will also provide a minimum 30 minutes operating reserve. You can learn more about these battery systems here. Germany’s Energiewende calls for 55 to 60% renewable energy in the country by 2035.

EuPD Research estimates between 23,000 and 25,000 energy storage systems will have been installed in Germany by the end of this year. Most of these are small battery systems for home use to store rooftop solar energy.

In September the US Navy flew an EA-18 Growler powered only by CHCJ-5, made from waste renewable sources. The fuel had proved to possess the physical properties and energy content nearly identical to petroleum-based JP-5. CHCJ-5 is derived from processing contaminated waste feedstock such as yellow grease from rendering facilities, used cooking oil, and brown grease recovered from grease traps.

The US city of Santa Monica, California is the first in the world to require all new single-family houses built in the city must be net-zero energy beginning in 2017.  These homes will be required to generate at least as much energy as they use, expected to be achieved through various energy efficiency measures plus renewable energy such as rooftop solar photovoltaic (PV). In 2008 the California Public Utilities Commission proposed that all new California residential construction be zero-net energy by 2020, and all commercial construction by 2030.

 

 

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