Oilprice makes the case that China, not OPEC, now sets the level of world oil prices. OPEC is working hard to try to keep world crude oil prices high as their members need the oil revenues to finance the increasing demands on government expenditures. But China is the largest crude oil importer in the world and it is expected to account for one of the largest sources of demand growth this year. With worldwide demand growth estimated at 1.3 million barrels per day this year, China will essentially account for nearly one-third of the global increase. However, some, such as Moody’s, believe China’s economy is going to slow down this year and it that happens so does its demand for oil. If the Chinese economy falters, all oil demand scenarios go out the window. Without China, the level current oil prices cannot survive. Alternatively, if China does not weaken but increases its growth this year, then the demand for oil will increase and this could potentially tighten the world supply situation. Both of these scenarios highlight the fact that China can make or break the price of oil.

The US Energy Information Administration projects light-duty vehicle energy consumption will decrease 12% between 2017 and 2025, despite projected growth in vehicle-miles traveled of 5% over the same period. Nearly all of this energy consumption is gasoline, which is projected to fall from 8.7 million barrels per day in 2017 to 7.5 million barrels per day in 2025. More stringent fuel economy standards for automobiles and light trucks are seen as the major driver in decreasing gasoline consumption.

Inter Press Service tells us Millions of Homes in Mexico Suffer from “Energy Poverty”. These homes, located in both urban and rural areas, have difficulty satisfying their needs for cooking, lighting, heating and entertainment. In developed Western economies, the concept of energy poverty describes the situation when a poor family spends more than 10% of their income on energy. In Mexico it also means lack of access to cheap energy sources, poor quality services, or energy inefficiency. A study by the College of Mexico found that nearly 37% of households –about 11 million homes– suffer from a shortage of energy in terms of thermal comfort, an efficient refrigerator, or a gas or electric stove.  More than two million Mexicans have no electricity. The southern states of Chiapas, Guerrero and Oaxaca endure the highest average levels of energy poverty, as well as the highest overall poverty rates.

Low-Tech Magazine asks Could We Run Modern Society on Human Power Alone?

This week India announced that all 12 of its major shipping ports will switch to renewable sources, making it the first country to convert all of its dockyards to run on electricity generated from solar and wind installations. The government said it will install 200 megawatt solar and wind plants at the ports by 2019. 75% of the total output will be generated via solar panels, with the remainder coming from on and off-shore wind farms. Should these investments prove to be a success, capacity could be expanded to 500 MW in the following years. The project is part of the government’s plan to increase the share of renewable sources in its overall energy strategy.

The world’s largest floating solar farm is now operating near Huainan, China. With a capacity of 40-megawatts, it is more than three times as large as a similar floating solar farm off of Denmark. Interest in aquatic solar farms is increasing because evaporating water naturally cools the solar panels and keeps them functioning optimally, while the shade from the panels themselves helps to reduce evaporative losses of water. Additionally, solar farms do not take up land that could be used for other purposes.

The US city of Pittsburgh announced plans to transition to 100% renewable-energy sources, including wind and solar, by 2035. The city joins thirty US cities and three US states which have made similar commitments.

Korean automaker, Hyundai, announced its first mass-produced electric bus called the Elec City. After one hour of charging, the bus can travel 180 miles (290 kilometers) on its 256 kilowatt-hour lithium-ion polymer battery pack. The vehicle is expected be available for order in 2018.

China has unveiled a track-less train that runs on virtual rails in a bid to speed up public transportation in major cities. The new system is to begin operating in the city of Zhuzhou in 2018. The system uses rubber wheels on a plastic core and has new technology copyrighted by the Chinese rail corporation. The trains can be automatically guided without rails. It has a top speed of 70 kilometres an hour and after ten minutes of charging can travel 25 kilometres.

China has increased its subsidies for green cars, approving them for an additional 300 models. China is the world’s largest market for green energy vehicles, by aggressively promoting their production, including spending billions in subsidies, in an effort to alleviate severe urban air pollution. Chinese drivers can now receive subsidies for purchasing any of 1, 390 car models according to the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology.

Russia has started its largest renewable energy auction, seeking to award contracts to purchase 1.9 gigawatts of electricity. According to the terms of the auction, the renewable facilities must be built between 2018 and 2021. Russia’s environment is more conducive to wind and hydro than solar, although some small-scale solar projects are being built in rural areas.




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