The world’s largest oil producers agreed this week to continue to hold back oil production for another nine months in a bid to raise sluggish world crude oil prices. The deal was agreed between members OPEC and non-OPEC producers including Russia. The participants said they would continue to make cuts of 1.8 million barrels of crude oil a day until March 2018. For three years the oil market has been steadily undermined by the rise in US shale oil production and increasing demand from China. The risk remains that higher oil prices will simply fuel a resurgence in US production that could wipe out the effect of the cuts.

With all the talk of peak oil demand looming in the media these days, Forbes tells us What The Prophets Of Peak Oil Demand Are Missing. We learn that peak oil demand is not a new concept and goes back to the 1970s when predictions were made of oil’s imminent demise. These prognostications even came from the oil companies themselves. But changes in technology and demand and supply conditions kept oil production booming.

Peak oil demand is not theoretically invalid, the way most of the peak oil supply arguments were, but it suffers from the same problem as the peak oil supply debate, namely that the discussion is dominated by faux experts who don’t realize that many of their ideas are not new and their evidence is often dubious….Expectations are heavily based on anecdotal reports, and especially aspirations, rarely solid analysis.

What’s in a name?  France’s new President Macron has renamed the nation’s energy department “Ministry of Ecology and Solidarity”.

South Korea has a new hydrogen fuel cell electric power plant. Built by Doosan Corporation, the plant is the largest of its kind in the country and is equipped with hydrogen fuel cells in order to generate electrical power for various purposes. The facility can produce fuel cells as well as use them to generate electricity. It has the ability to produce 144 units of 440-kilowatt fuel cell systems on an annual basis. While fuel cells get a lot of discussion in transportation circles, they have long been associated with industrial uses due to their ability to generate electricity as well as heat. They are attractive as primary power systems because they require a very limited amount of space and are ideal for indoor use because they produce no harmful emissions.

India has cancelled plans to build nearly 14 gigawatts of coal-fired electric power stations this month as the price of solar (determined in the nation’s solar auctions) keeps “free falling” to levels once considered impossible. In January 2016, Finnish company Fortum successfully bid to generate electricity in India with, at that time, record low tariff, or guaranteed price, of 4.34 rupees per kilowatt-hour (about US 7 cents). This month, an auction for a 500-megawatt solar facility resulted in Indian firm Acme bidding 2.44 rupees (about US 3.8 cents)  – below the wholesale price charged by a major Indian coal-power utility of 3.2 rupees. The latest auctions are significant since they bring solar power below the average purchase power cost in India for the second time this month.

Tim Buckley, director of energy finance studies at the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, said the latest solar auctions in India will have “profound” implications on global energy markets. “For the first time solar is cheaper than coal in India and the implications this has for transforming global energy markets is profound.” This has serious implications for stranded coal-fired facilities in India and other countries. Buckley estimates some £6.9 billion worth of existing coal power plants in India are “no longer viable because of the prohibitively high cost of imported coal relative to the long-term solar electricity supply contracts”.

This week in the US, Tucson Electric Power, an Arizona electric utility company, announced it had reached an agreement to buy solar power for 20 years at less than 3 cents per kilowatt-hour. The bid by NextEra Energy Resources was for a 100-megawatt solar system capable of powering 21,000 homes in the Tucson, Arizona region. This is the first time such a low solar price has been offered in the US. Similar prices have been seen in solar auctions in other countries for over a year now. The average US residential price for electricity is about 13 cents per kwh, while the average commercial price is 10.5 cents.

report by Friends of the Earth predicts “at least” 75% of all UK homes will be powered by renewable electricity by 2030. In 2016 renewables (wind and solar) supplied a quarter of UK electricity.

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