The US Department of Energy said the world will use far more of every type of energy in coming decades. The report predicts that China and India will drive growing consumption and that world-wide use of energy — mostly for transportation and electricity — will surge 56% by 2040 compared with 2010 levels.

New government figures highlight the UK’s growing dependence on energy imports. Energy imports were at record levels in 2012, up 6.9% over 2011. Norway accounted for 46% of crude oil imports and 55% of natural gas imports, while Russia was the key source for imported coal at 40%, followed by Colombia (26%) and the US (24%).

This year, more trains carrying crude will chug across North America than ever before – nearly 1,400 carloads a day. In 2009, there were just 31 carloads a day.

In the space of less than two years the amount of oil being shipped by rail in Canada nearly tripled to almost 300,000 barrels a day. Without new pipeline capacity, the amount would surely go even higher.  —  Jeff Rubin, oil economist

A top Saudi businessman, Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, said Saudi Arabia and the OPEC crude oil states must wean their economies off energy exports immediately or spiral into decline as North America’s shale oil and gas revolution shatters the world order. He noted oil demand from OECD rich states is in “continuous decline”, and the Saudis will not be able to ratchet up their output from 12.5 million to 15 million barrels per day to cover growing budget costs. “It is necessary to diversify sources of revenue, establish a clear vision, and start implementing it immediately,” he said. Currently the desert kingdom relies on petroleum exports for 92% of the government’s budget.

Chinese authorities have raised the price of gasoline by more than 3% because of high crude oil prices on the international market. The National Development and Reform Commission, which sets energy prices, said gasoline prices are on the rise in response to increasing oil prices.

Off Israel’s shores, Noble Energy, the Texas company that discovered rich natural gas fields off Israel and Cyprus in the eastern Mediterranean Sea, is getting ready to start deep-water exploration for as much as 1.8 billion barrels of oil in Israeli waters.

A landmark US federal government study on hydraulic fracturing for shale gas shows no evidence that chemicals from the natural gas drilling process rose from below to contaminate drinking water aquifers at a western Pennsylvania drilling site.

Saudi Arabia is looking for $109 billion of investment for a solar industry that will generate a third of its electricity by 2032.

China and the European Union have resolved their biggest trade dispute with a deal to regulate Chinese solar panel imports and avoid a wider trade war in goods from wine to steel. Last year European solar panel makers accused Chinese solar manufacturers of benefiting from huge state subsidies, allowing them to dump about €21 billion worth of below-cost solar panels in Europe and putting European firms out of business.

One of the leading producers of renewable energy in Europe, Spain’s solar industry, is edging toward bankruptcy as the subsidies that encouraged firms to build over 4 GW of solar capacity are now going to be offset by lower subsidies for producers and higher electricity rates for consumers. The government has introduced a new compensation plan for calculating levels of “reasonable profitability” for renewable-energy production, distribution and transportation. This will reduce subsidies to companies serving the nation’s electrical system by up to 2.7 billion euro annually. It’s hoped the move could help cope with the electricity system deficit that has been growing since 2005 and now exceeds 25 billion euro. In addition, Spain is will raise consumers’ electric bills by about 3.2% starting from August, contributing about 400 million euro in extra revenue for the system this year and 900 million euro next year.

France’s audit agency said the government needs to better target renewable energy subsidies after the 14.3 billion euros ($US19 billion) it spent from 2005 to 2011 failed to spur as much economic growth and jobs as expected. Renewable energy currently accounts for roughly 15% of French electricity consumption, and most of it comes from decades-old hydropower dams. The government has set a target of 23% for 2020. The Cour des Comptes singled out the solar power sector, which cost France 3.6 billion euros in the six-year period but accounts for only 2.7% of electricity production.

Germany’s air pollution is set to worsen for a second year, the first back-to-back increase since at least the 1980s, after Chancellor Angela Merkel’s decision to shut nuclear plants led utilities to burn more coal. The nation, which is seeking to lead European climate-protection efforts, probably will produce higher greenhouse-gas emissions in 2013 on top of a 1.5% increase last year. Coal is cheaper than natural gas for electric power generators, helping it gain a larger share in the energy mix of Europe’s largest economy.


with h/t Tom Whipple


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