A Chinese government think tank is urging the country’s leaders to start phasing out its one-child policy immediately and allow two children for every family by 2015.

China needs a “drastic reduction” in its consumption of energy, water and land, and will introduce new caps for energy and water use in an effort to conserve resources, the country’s outgoing president said this week. President Hu Jintao remarked: “We should launch a revolution in energy production and consumption, impose a ceiling on total energy consumption, save energy and reduce its consumption.”

The Czech Republic is finalizing a plan to dramatically increase the country’s nuclear power production. Under the plan, at least two more reactors would be built near the border with Austria. The Czech Republic’s current six nuclear reactors produce a third of its electricity. The government wants that output to increase to at least 50%.

A new report issued by the Conference Board of Canada suggests that the province of Alberta’s lucrative oil sands region will draw a further $364 billion in investment over the next 25 years, providing an astounding 3.2 million person-years of employment during that time.

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) is now taking the production of US shale oil into account in its crude oil supply forecasts.  Its World Oil Outlook 2012 for the first time acknowledges that shale oil production is contributing to a reduction in the demand forecast for OPEC oil.

A new study has identified immense shale oil and gas resources in the Canadian province of Alberta, already rich with the Athabasca oil sands. The province’s shale formations, including the Duvernay, Montney and Muskwa, could ultimately contain 3,324 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, 58.6 billion barrels of gas liquids and 423.6 billion barrels of oil, according to the research, conducted by the Alberta Energy Resources Conservation Board and Alberta Geological Survey. These reserves are similar in size to shale deposits found in parts of the US.

The Chinese government announced plans to help spur shale natural gas development in the country by offering subsidies for production. The government hopes to produce as much as 229 billion cubic feet of natural gas from shale deposits over the next three years. The Chinese Ministry of Finance announced it was encouraging shale development by offering $2.10 per cubic feet of production through 2015

The latest bidding round for exploration rights on 20 Chinese shale gas blocks attracted a record 83 companies, the Chinese Ministry of Land and Resources said. The blocks total 7,723 square miles spread over eight Chinese provincial regions. The auction is the second since June 2011, when six companies bid on four shale natural gas blocks. China has 25.08 trillion cubic meters of exploitable onshore shale-gas reserves.

Russian energy company Gazprom is investing about $38 billion to connect an arctic natural gas deposit to its existing natural gas transit network. The company intends to develop the Chayandinskoye natural gas deposit in Yakutia and build about 2,000 miles of new pipeline to connect the field to existing transit networks.

Japan’s Tokyo Electric Power (TECPO) has raised its planned use of liquefied natural gas, coal and crude oil to generate electricity.

A Chesapeake Energy-backed company and Oxford Catalysts Group are planning to build plants in the US to make diesel, gasoline and jet fuel from natural gas. Their goal is to make transportation fuels more cheaply and easily than crude oil-based products within the next two years.

For the first time since 1949, the US exported more gasoline, heating oil and diesel fuel last year than it imported, reports its Energy Department. Refiners exported 439,000 barrels a day more than were imported the year before. Imports of crude oil and related products fell 11% last year, reaching a level not seen since 1995.

Hydroelectric power plants could help emerging economies address growing energy needs while offsetting billions of tons of carbon dioxide, the International Energy Agency said. The Agency published a report with the Brazilian Ministry of Mines and Energy that said hydroelectric production could double worldwide by 2050.

German energy company RWE announced the startup of a biomass facility that can produce as much as 7.6 MW of electricity.

The German Aerospace Center has announced that the first solar power tower concentrating solar power (CSP) plant in North Africa will be built in Boughezoul, Algeria, though a collaboration between Algeria and Germany. The hybrid plant will incorporate both CSP and natural gas generation, including 7 MW of solar power, and will be able to function on solar power alone.

Plans for the first Desertec solar and wind cooperation project between EU member states and Morocco have stalled after Spain failed to attend the official signing of the agreement this week. The Desertec Industrial Initiative aims to support and prepare all necessary frameworks for renewable energy projects — including solar projects — located in deserts predominantly in the Middle East and North Africa region. (You can read more about Desertec here.)

The tiny South Pacific nation of Tokelau has switched to renewable energy sourced primarily from solar power. Consisting of 4,032 photovoltaic (PV) panels and 1,344 batteries with generators running on biofuel derived from coconuts, the Tokelau Renewable Energy Project is considered one of the world’s largest off-grid solar systems.

According to data released by Warwick Johnston, Australia now has 2 GW of installed solar PV. This equates to just under 4% of the 50 GW of national capacity installed in the National Electricity Market and around 1% of Australia’s annual energy demand.

An offshore underwater turbine has begun turning near the coast of Maine, making it the first state in the US to harness the power of ocean tides. The peak output from the TidGen tidal turbine generator is 180 kilowatts, enough to power about 25 to 30 homes. By comparison, a typical wind turbine produces about six times as much power.


with h/t Tom Whipple

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1 Comment on Energy Facts of the Day

  1. Elroy Jetson says:

    China wants to double the number of children per family permitted by law, and at the same time reduce resource consumption dramatically. Sounds like the good old days when Soviet and Chinese governments would insist that the law of diminishing returns didn’t exist. Can’t wait to see how their strategy works (or doesn’t) this time. Good luck to them.