Jeff Rubin discussed an International Energy Agency report that says oil markets face a production shortfall in the second of of this year as global demand outstrips supply. Given the acute electricity shortages in Asia (China and Japan in particular) and OPEC’s inability to make up the shortfall in demand, Rubin predicts that oil and oil products have only one way to go….up and up.

Bloomberg reported that Brazil’s off-shore crude oil reserves 3 miles deep in the South Atlantic are similar in size to those originally found in the North Sea 0r about 60 billion barrels of oil.  UPI had a similar take.

Jeremy Cato at the Globe and Mail gave us a glimpse of our green automobile future in a piece entitled “It is not easy buying green”.  For decades to come there will be a wide selection of cars out there ranging from pure electric to hybrids to increasingly more efficient internal combustion engines, some able to run on multiple fuels.   In Jeremy’s words:

This is your future if you are a car buyer. From now and for decades to come, no one single “green” technology will dominate efforts by auto makers to reduce vehicle emissions and hit government fuel-efficiency targets. Fleets of electric cars and hybrids will bookend a great mass of vehicles powered by dramatically fuel-efficient internal combustion engines.

Chesapeake Energy, the second largest producer of natural gas in the US, announced it will invest $1 billion in natural gas cars over the next decade.

Speaking of green, the Energy Tribune reported that the UN now estimates the cost to the world for going green has risen to an astounding $76 trillion.

The Economist weighed in on Australia’s carbon tax calling it an expensive gamble.  The New Scientist labels the policy an empty promise which is unlikely to change the country’s status as the largest per-capita emitter of greenhouse gases in the developed world.

Several articles and comments appeared this week in response to Germany’s decision to abandon nuclear energy over the next decade. Nature News wrote about The knock-on effects of Germany’s nuclear phase-out.   The Engineer wondered if Germany’s nuclear U-turn will leave an energy gapThe Christian Science Monitor discussed Germany’s troubles with abandoning nuclear. UPI questioned whether Russian natural gas will fill the electric power void when the nuclear plants shut down.  Deutsche Welle reported that Germany’s largest electric utility, RWE, and Russian natural gas giant, Gazprom, have formed a strategic partnership to construct new and expand existing natural gas and coal plants in several European countries.  DW says that “RWE is under immense pressure, since the forced end to nuclear energy in Germany by the government, to get a grip on its outstanding debts and find new investors with deep pockets.”

Meanwhile, Japan gave mixed messages about its nuclear future.  On July 13th, Japan’s Prime Minister Naoto Kan said that going forward his country would have less reliance on nuclear power in light of the Fukushima tragedy and that solar, wind and biomass would join conservation in substituting for nuclear power.  However, the next day Chief Cabinet Secretary, Yukio Edano, said the PM was talking about a “hope for the distant future” and that Japan was committed to nuclear power in the short to medium term.

Looking forward,  Scientific American explored the future of nuclear fission technology to find out if it will be safer.

Over at R-Squared we got a summary of the 2011 Renewables Global Status Report.  The report provides a comprehensive overview of global renewable energy sectors, breaking different categories down by total installed capacity and capacity added in 2010. It also ranks the global leaders for many categories.  Some highlights:

  • renewables now supply about 20% of global electricity with most of that coming from hydropower
  • developing countries account for more than half of renewable energy power
  • in 2010 China led the world in the installation of wind turbines and solar thermal systems and was the top hydropower producer
  • the U.S. leads global capacity for geothermal and biomass heat and power, China leads on hydropower, wind power, and solar hot water, and Germany leads in solar PV capacity.


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