Cal on June 19th, 2017

Cal on June 18th, 2017

Cal on June 17th, 2017

In its annual review of world energy, BP said renewable energy contributed almost 40% of the growth in global power generation in 2016. Solar power generation increased 29.6% last year, while wind power grew by 15.6% percent and coal fell 6.2%.  Coal’s decline in electricity production was the largest one year drop on record. Asia-Pacific overtook Europe and Eurasia as the largest producing region of renewable power. China overtook the US to be the largest single renewables producer. Crude oil remained the world’s leading fuel, accounting for a third of global energy consumption. Global nuclear power generation increased by 1.3% in 2016 with China accounting for all of the net growth.

Denmark leads the world, getting 59% of its electric power from renewable energy sources.  Among the larger European Union economies, renewables share is 26% in Germany, 25% in Spain, and 23% in both Italy and the UK.

BP reported global emissions of CO2 from energy consumption increased by only 0.1% in 2016. During the period 2014-16, average emissions growth has been the lowest over any three-year period since 1981-83.

The US Energy Information Administration reported that in March of this year wind and solar accounted for more than 10% of that country’s electricity generation. In 2016 wind and solar generated 7% of US electricity.

In March, France passed legislation requiring that all new commercial buildings must have their rooftops at least partially covered in either solar panels to generate electricity or plants to conserve water.

Bloomberg New Energy Finance projects renewable energy could attract $7.4 trillion in global investment by 2040. That would represent 75% of the total $10.2 trillion that will be spent on new power generation capacity by that time. Wind and solar alone could account for 48% of installed electricity capacity and 34% of electricity output worldwide in two decades — up from today’s 12% and 5% today. See New Energy Outlook 2017.

MIT Technology Review tells us Swedish company Wheelys is testing a 24-hour mobile store in China run entirely by technology. Located on the campus of Hefei University, about 450 kilometers west of Shanghai, the concept uses apps, smartphone technology and biometrics to make shopping easy in a store without staff. Online retailer Amazon is testing a similar clerk-free shopping concept at its Amazon Go store for its employees in the US city of Seattle. Read more about it here.



In the US, the California Energy Commission has approved $17 million for nine new hydrogen fueling stations in order to expand the hydrogen fuel cell infrastructure network in California. Five stations will be located in Southern California in Huntington Beach, Irvine, San Diego, Santa Monica and Sherman Oaks. Three will be in the San Francisco Bay Area and other will connect the Southern California and the San Frandisco stations.


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Cal on June 16th, 2017

Cal on June 15th, 2017

Globally, more people live in urban areas than in rural areas, with 54% of the world’s population residing in urban areas in 2014. By 2050, 66% of the world’s population is projected to be urban. About half of urban dwellers reside in relatively small settlements of less than 500,000 inhabitants, while nearly one in eight live in the 28 mega-cities of 10 million inhabitants or more. The number of mega-cities has nearly tripled since 1990; and by 2030, 41 urban agglomerations are projected to house at least 10 million inhabitants each. Whereas several decades ago most of the world’s largest urban agglomerations were found in the more developed regions, today’s large cities are concentrated in the global South, and the fastest-growing agglomerations are medium sized cities and cities with 500,000 to 1 million inhabitants located in Asia and Africa.

The New Mangalore Port Trust has become the first among 12 major ports in India to rely completely on renewable energy. The port is receiving solar power generated from 2 facilities that produce 5.2 megawatts. Another facility which can add another 850 kilowatts is under construction.

We may soon see fleets of autonomous cargo ships navigating the world’s busiest shipping lanes using artificial intelligence. Several shipbuilders and shipping firms in Japan (including Mitsui OSK Lines and Nippon Yusen) have united to develop 250 remote-controlled cargo vessels that could be launched by 2025. The ships would use the Internet of Things – connecting a range of devices over the Internet – to gather data, such as weather conditions and shipping information, and plot the shortest, most efficient and safest routes. The companies believe the technology could dramatically cut the number of accidents at sea. Norway plans to launch an autonomous and fully electric cargo ship next year that will carry fertilisers between three ports in the country’s south.

An auction in the United Arab Emirates for 200 megawatts of solar thermal power and 15 hours of storage capacity attracted a new low bid of $US94.50/megawatt-hour (9.45 US cents per kilowatt-hour), The lowest bid is believed to have come in nearly 40% below the previous world-record low price. The auction is for a solar park in Dubai, which is part of Dubai’s goal of generating 75% of electricity from renewable sources by 2050. The solar park will have a total capacity of 5 gigawatts by 2030.

The fact that solar power prices in India have hit rock bottom is not all good news for the electricity-starved country. Intense competition at solar auctions has driven prices down to potentially unsustainable levels and undermining the booming sector’s viability at the time the government has promised a huge renewable energy program. The low prices are leading to buyer’s remorse for projects already built and under development. These earlier entrants might not be able to compete and may decide not to continue with their energy supplies. In addition many wonder if the latest low price auction winners can actually deliver on their low price promise. Meanwhile, some states that got good prices last year are now holding off entering into contracts with the winners unless they match the latest low prices. India is the fastest growing of the world’s major economies and needs uninterrupted electricity to maintain its expansion. Moreover, delays in generating more electricity would mean that the 250 million Indians without power will remain in he dark. See DAWNSolar power price slump casts shadow on India’s green future

The US city of Los Angeles will be using geothermal energy. This is part of the city’s goal to be relying completely on renewable energy by 2025. The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power has entered into a 26 year agreement with Southern California Public Power Authority to receive enough geothermal electricity to power 208,000 homes throughout the city. Unlike solar and wind, geothermal energy is not intermittent.

Los Angeles will be using buses powered by renewable compressed natural gas (CNG) made from organic waste. The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority has entered into a contract to purchase the gas from Clean Energy Fuels Corp. The trial contract is for one year for 200 buses. If successful, the contract will be extended 4 years to all 2200 buses in the fleet. The biogenic methane or biogas is methane that is naturally generated by the decomposition of organic waste. The gas is processed, purified and sent into the country’s interstate natural gas pipeline and transported to refueling stations owned or operated by Clean Energy.

The city of Los Angeles is also beginning the operation of an electric car sharing program. The “BlueLA Electric Car Sharing Program,” is a pilot project that will deploy 100 electric cars and 200 electric vehicle charging stations.  The service will serve disadvantaged communities in the area including downtown Los Angeles. The cars will be available 24/7 at self-service kiosks and can be rented by the hour or via a monthly subscription. Exact rates haven’t been set, but city officials said prices will range from 15 cents to 80 cents per minute of drive time.



In order to stave off power black outs next summer in the state of Victoria, Australia’s electricity grid operator is offering to pay big industrial energy users such as smelters to shut down during heatwaves. The objective is to free up 600 megawatts of electricity from early January to the start of March. This would be the equivalent of saving about half the electric power generated by a typical coal-fired plant. The offer comes amid alarms about the security of the state’s energy supply following the shutdown of the Hazelwood coal-fired plant this past March. The mechanism has only been issued three times in the history of the national energy market and never on such a scale. Earlier this year it was reported that Victoria was facing an unprecedented 96 days of possible power supply shortfalls over the next two years, with potential breaches of minimum energy reliability.





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Cal on June 15th, 2017

Cal on June 13th, 2017

Last year, for the 5th straight year, the US was the world’s largest producer of petroleum and natural gas hydrocarbons. US hydrocarbon production in energy content terms is almost evenly split between petroleum and natural gas.

US crude oil production will, for the first time in nearly 50 years, climb to 10 million barrels per day by March 2018, predicted the country’s Energy Information Administration. This would mark the highest daily US production rate since November 1970, when production climbed to nearly 10.05 million b/d.

Statoil estimates 2050 global crude oil demand at between 65 million to 120 million barrels per day, compared with its current estimate of 97 million bpd.

In the Netherlands, all public transport trains are now being powered by wind turbines.

The International Energy Agency reported last year there were 2 million electric vehicles on roads worldwide. This is double the number a year earlier. Despite the large increase in EV purchases, this is merely 0.2% of the total number of passenger light-duty vehicles on the world’s streets. 95% of electric car sales take place in 10 countries – China, the United States, Japan, Canada, Norway, UK, France, Germany, the Netherlands and Sweden. The Agency said lower battery costs should narrow the cost competitiveness gap between electric vehicles and internal combustion engines. Hence, there is a “good chance” the global electric car stock could reach between 9 million and 20 million by 2020 and between 40 and 70 million by 2025.



At an energy conference in Beijing, China countries from North America, Europe and Asia a set a goal of electric vehicles accounting for 30% of new passenger car sales by 2030. Called the EV30@30 initiative, member countries include Canada, China, Finland, France, India, Japan, Mexico, the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden.

In 2016, 6.4% of total new car sales in the Netherlands last year were electric. The government aims to have electric and hybrid cars account for 50% of new car sales by 2025.

The Eastern European country of Romania has 600 electric cars and 100 charging stations. To increase the number of EVs on the road, the government will build new charging infrastructure. The goal is to have by 2020 at least 10 public charging stations in each Bucharest district and 5 recharging stations in cities with more than 100,000 inhabitants.

Only 219 of the 1.2 million new passenger vehicles sold in Australia in 2016 were electric. Battery powered cars currently represent only 0.002% of the total Australian market.

Norwegian energy company Statoil reported that electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles could potentially account for 90% of passenger transportation vehicles on the road by 2050, but the aviation and maritime transport sectors will still rely heavily on conventional fuels at that time.

The average electric vehicle battery is expected to last about eight to ten years, at which point they need to be swapped out for a new one. After the 10 year mark, EV batteries still have about 70% of their capacity, which means that even if they’re not suitable for powering a car anymore, they are suitable for other uses. European automaker Renault has come up with a way to recycle the batteries it rents to its 120,000 car buyers. The company has partnered with home energy storage company Powervault which will use these EV batteries in home energy systems that store renewable energy from solar panels and let home owners use renewable power throughout the day, not just when the Sun is shining. The used batteries will reduce the homeowners cost by about 30%.


with h/t Tom Whipple and Fred






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Cal on June 13th, 2017