Carbon Tracker, in its latest report, envisions a scenario in which 2 million barrels per day of global crude oil demand are erased by 2025 because of the penetration of electric vehicles in the transportation sector. 2 million b/d is equivalent to the supply overhang that triggered the 2014 crude oil price meltdown. The report suggests total global oil demand could reach an absolute peak in 2020 and then plateau for the next decade. Carbon Tracker is a think tank that has repeatedly warned about the prospect of fossil fuel “stranded assets,” due to the rise of clean energy and increasingly restrictive government climate policies. See also FleetNews, Energy companies ‘seriously underestimating’ impact of EVs and The GuardianElectric cars and cheap solar ‘could halt fossil fuel growth by 2020’.

India plans to form a giant national oil company by combining other state-owned firms. The South Asian country wants to expand its foreign presence to meet growing domestic fuel demand. India, struggling to increase its local crude oil production, imports about 80% of its crude oil needs.

Next month West African crude oil producers will send the most crude oil to Asia in at least five years, the latest sign of Asian refineries searching the world to replace the recently announced oil supply cuts by OPEC’s Middle East producers. Shipments from West Africa to Asia are set to soar to 2.2 million barrels a day in February.

Industry consultant Wood Mackenzie expects to see far fewer crude oil megaprojects in future compared to the first half this decade. The standalone projects that do move forward will likely be larger oil fields, say of 1 billion barrels, versus fields with 500 million barrels. Most of these will likely be deep water projects.

US crude oil exports averaged 527,000 barrels/day during the first 11 months of 2016. US oil exports are projected to surpass crude production in four OPEC nations during 2017.

Data from China’s National Energy Administration revealed the Asian country has the largest capacity for photovoltaic (PV) solar energy in the world. China’s installed PV capacity was 77.4 million kilowatts at the end of 2016, as 34.5 million kilowatts of capacity was added last year. China’s solar plants generated 66.2 billion kilowatt-hours of power last year, but accounted for only 1% of the country’s total power generation. The country expects to add over 110 million kilowatts of solar power by 2020. The country is hoping to increase the proportion of non-fossil fuel generated power to 20% by 2030 from the present 11%.

The US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s latest monthly Energy Infrastructure Update reports renewable energy dominated new electrical generation put into service during 2016 in that country. Combined, newly installed capacity from renewable sources (biomass, geothermal, hydropower, solar and wind) totaled 16.1 gigawatts or 61.5%, surpassing the combined contribution from natural gas (8.7 GW), nuclear power (1.3 GW), crude oil (58 megawatts) and coal (45 megawatts). This is the second year in a row in which the majority of new generating capacity in the US came from renewable energy sources. Currently renewables account for about 20% of US installed electrical generating capacity: hydropower 8.50%, wind 6.9%, solar 2%, biomass 1.4% and geothermal 0.33%. Note that generating capacity is not the same as actual electricity generation. Actual electrical generation from renewables year-to-date (according to the latest US Energy Information Administration figures) is about 15%.

Last month ITER (International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor) announced that it had begun installing the electrical infrastructure to enable it to carry out its nuclear fusion experiments. Once completed the setup will connect the ITER nuclear facility to the French power grid, allowing it both to draw immense amounts of power, as well as perhaps feed power back into the grid when operational. ITER is currently under construction in the south of France, and is the world’s most ambitious fusion power project. It is a cooperative project between the US, China, India, Japan, Russia, South Korea and the European Union and hopes to come online in the mid 2020s with the fusion experiments starting after that.

 

 

with h/t Tom Whipple

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