Saudi Arabia’s minister of energy said population growth and rising living standards across most of the developing world would see energy demand continue to soar in the coming decades.

“Energy demand is expected to rise by about 45 percent by the year 2050, that is a huge amount of new energy supply that needs to be provided.”

ESI Africa tells us about 5 trends to watch for in Africa’s energy evolution. Coal fired electricity plants are becoming more difficult to finance; there will be greater investment in natural gas and renewable energy; look for a greater use of competitive auctions to price the feed-in-tariff for solar and wind to keep costs down; Africa will see more battery storage, to offset the intermittency of solar and wind; and distributed generation (smaller and more local grids) will bring electricity to those without it (estimated at 600 million).

Italy plans to phase out cold-fired electricity generation by 2025 and wants 27% of its gross overall energy production produced by renewable resources by 2030.

ESAI Energy forecasts growth from the Canadian oil sands will decline after next year as producers face challenges associated with relatively high costs in a recovering oil price environment and, as a result, oil sands projects in the next few years will be smaller.

GreenTech Media says we should get ready for energy storage combinations we have never seen before. Batteries are now getting paired with hydropower, wind, solar and natural gas.

Residential electricity bills have doubled in Britain over the past decade to an average of about 1,200 pounds ($1,500) a year. Electricity producers cite the cost of government policies to support renewable energy generation as the reason for higher retail prices. A recent independent review of the energy system commissioned by the UK government concurred and was critical of government renewable energy support policies. The review recommended that feed-in tariffs and other low-carbon contracts-for-difference should be gradually phased out to bring down the price of electricity for consumers. It also calls for government auctions when seeking new energy capacity, including storage and other grid enhancements. The review by Dieter Helm, professor of economic policy at Oxford University, can be found here.

Has Germany;s energy policy – Energiewende – failed?  Many are asking that question in the country as greenhouse gas emissions have not gone down despite the enormous sums spent on renewable energy subsidies. Since 2000 the country has spent 189 billion euros (about $222 billion) on renewable energy subsidies yet greenhouse gas emissions rose last year. In referring to the failure of Germany’s energy policy, Artur Lenkowski, an energy analyst at IHS Markit, commented: “The whole point of the energy transition was to lower greenhouse-gas emissions.” Renewable energy subsidies are financed through electric bills and this is a significant reason why electricity prices for consumers have doubled since 2000. Renewables now account for 1/3 of the country’s electricity production. To move forward to meet its ambitious energy goals, however, the country faces some serious challenges. It must close down the coal plants (which are being used to offset the decision to abandon clean nuclear power) as well as force the powerful auto companies and unions to shut down their polluting diesel production. Will the new fragile coalition governments have the political will or ability to achieve the country’s energy goals?

The US city of St. Louis, Missouri says it wants to be powered 100% by renewable energy by 2035. The city council has requested a plan by December 2018 to wean itself off fossil fuels. Currently the city gets less than 5% of its energy from renewable sources.

Kiyotaka Ise, Toyota’s Chief Safety Technology Officer, said the Japanese automaker has a goal of ending production of all traditional internal combustion engines (ICE) by 2040. Toyota will focus its efforts on making hybrids, electric vehicles and hydrogen fuel cell-powered vehicles.

Bloomberg View looks at the problems facing electric car manufacturers getting cobalt from Africa for their batteries.

Volkswagen’s recent failure to lock in the price of cobalt for five years points to a serious problem with the optimistic projections of an electric vehicle revolution. These projections are based on gradually declining battery prices, but the scarcity of certain minerals and their concentration in politically unstable countries may interfere with that dynamic. 



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