Reno, Nevada learned the hard way. If you are going to subsidize wind energy, make sure the wind blows before you hand out the rebates, The Las Vegas Sun reported that the city’s $46 million wind rebate program produced dramatically less electricity than the manufacturers of its turbines promised. It didn’t help that anyone applying for a rebate did not have to prove the wind actually blew where they were located. “One turbine that cost the city $21,000 to install saved the city $4 on its energy bill. Overall, $416,000 worth of turbines have netted the city $2,800 in energy savings.”

The BBC asked: Are Denmark’s renewable energy goals wishful thinking? Denmark has announced that by the end of this decade it will produce a third of its energy from renewable sources – mostly wind power but also solar power and the burning of “biomass.”  More importantly, the Danish Government has set a goal of running the entire country on renewables by 2050. “What makes Denmark’s announcement even more unusual is that it has won support from across the country’s political spectrum.” Having no domestic fuel sources and having recoiled from the oil shocks of the 1970s and now the rise of India and China, Denmark is in a race to get itself entirely off of fossil fuels without having to resort to nuclear. The country is viewed as an experiment that world is watching closely. The article points out that Denmark is going to have to solve enormous challenges with energy storage and costly distribution infrastructure if its dream is to come true. “Now the real work begins: working out exactly how to turn this ambitious goal into a physical reality.”

CleanTechica wrote that renewable energy will be cheaper than fossil fuels by 2030.  The post brings our attention to a recent study commissioned by the German Ministry of the Environment which concludes that the transition to renewable energy sources will lead to cheaper electricity prices over the course of the next two decades. By 2030 the study predicts that in Germany the price of electricity from a mix of renewable energy sources will be 7.6 cents per kWh compared with 9.0 cents per kWh from fossil fuel energy sources (coal and natural gas). See also Bloomberg, German Renewable Power Cheaper Than Fossils in 2030, Study Shows.

OILPRICE had an infographic describing Brazil’s push to renewable energy.

India’s future energy options were discussed by EnergyPulse. The post starts with a good historical overview about how the past 40 years has witnessed humanity’s thinking change from a focus on oil as the primary energy source to a focus on electricity. Today humans are trying to find the best mix of alternative energy sources to produce that electricity given their myriad social and economic conditions. Coal, oil and natural gas still dominate the generation of electricity and will for the next several decades but they are expected to decline as the 21st century unfolds and will likely be replaced by renewable energy sources backed by hydro power and nuclear. The author warns that “…progress on renewable could determine the future road map for human sustainability.” With this background the post looks at the implications for India, a country largely dependent on coal, natural gas and oil for its electricity production. The author proposes that India look at biomass, biofuel and solar for its renewable energy backed by small modular nuclear reactors for backup power. In a related article, the Times of India noted that the state of Kolkata will be announcing a green energy policy that will subsidize wind, solar, biomass and biofuels.

New Zealand expects to get 20% of its electricity from wind by 2030 wrote REVE while The Green Optimistic said China wants to have 3 GW of solar concentrated power by 2020. REVE also reported that the US Department of Defense announced it wants 3 GW of renewable energy – including solar energy, wind power, biomass, and geothermal energy – on Army, Navy, and Air Force installations by 2025.

RIGZONE predicted a long future ahead for North Sea oil and gas. While the evidence has been growing that the North Sea reserves are in decline, recent large discoveries by Norway’s Statoil coupled with the existing reserves off the UK and Norway indicate that the region will be producing for the next three or four decades.

Energy Live News noted that Russia is wary of the US shale gas boom. In a recent speech to the Russian Parliament, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said “In the US, they are actively developing technologies to produce shale gas. This can seriously reshape the structure of hydrocarbons markets.”  Russia will have to rethink its energy strategy now that it is likely to face US natural gas competition in world markets.

Chile’s acceptance as a developed country is hampered by its electricity problems according to OILPRICE. Major blackouts coupled with droughts impacting hydropower production are causing serious problems for Chile’s economy and its yearning to be considered a rising economic power in South America. Chile gets 40% of its electricity from hydropower and it wants more with plans for a giant hydroelectric project, HidroAyse, in Patagonia. The project would have a capacity of 2.75 GW that would provide about 18 TW hours a year. However the project is facing strong environmental opposition and the government is having to rethink its energy policies. According to RECHARGE, the  environmental impact review process has yet to begin for the project’s 2400 km transmission line and will likely lead to both criminal and civil court cases.

Prensa Latina reported that Cuba is gradually increasing access to electricity in rural parts of the country.

NEWEUROPE told us that the World Bank is helping to finance a smart electric grid in Uzbekistan.  The loan is part of the Bank’s national advanced electricity metering program. The goal is to reduce commercial losses of three regional power distribution companies by improving their metering, billing infrastructure and commercial management systems.

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation said that a massive price hike is needed to meet rising electricity costs in the state of Western Australia. There has been a recommendation that the state government increase electricity prices by 23% on July 1st, adding more than $350 to the average household bill, in order to meet the true cost of its production. 8.4% would be attributed to the new carbon tax coming into effect that day.  The same source also wrote about the need to overhaul the financial incentives in Australia’s power sector in light of rising electricity prices. Some are pushing for an “energy savings initiative” which would encourage electric power companies to promote energy efficiency rather than electrons. The states of New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia have already introduced versions of this system and the federal government is investigating a national system. The system works by a government setting a yearly energy savings target for electricity retailers. Those retailers can then choose which way they will reduce the amount of electricity they sell such as giving consumers the incentive to purchase energy efficient appliances.

Der Spiegel had an article called A World without Oil : Companies Prepare for a Fossil-Free Future.  The article discusses how some companies, like BMW and Airbus, are already developing technologies for a fossil free world.

On the other side of the equation are those who question the notion of Peak Oil.  This week we had The Myth of Peak Oil in counterpunch and Peak oil doomsayers ignore human ingenuity in the Telegraph.







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