chinadialogue discussed Peak Oil from a Chinese perspective. While questioning the underlying assumptions behind the Peak Oil thesis, the authors recognize that China’s thirst for crude oil during its industrial phase far outstrips its ability to provide for itself and it is becoming more and more dependent on unstable supply sources. Nearly 60% of its oil is imported from regions such as the Middle East and North Africa. Moreover, Chinese oil consumption is now rising faster than GDP. To rectify this China needs to diversify its oil sources as well as scale up research, development and deployment of renewable energies, particularly biofuels, as a substitute for oil. Even so, “The Chinese government aims to increase non-fossil fuel energy to 11.4% of China’s total energy mix by 2015 and to 15% by 2020. These objectives are plausible, but they are not enough to decrease overall oil demand and consumption in the next two decades.”

Jeff Rubin in the Globe and Mail asked: What happens when oil becomes unaffordable? Starting with the assumption that high oil prices change the speed at which your economy can grow, he observes: “Economic growth has downshifted into a much lower gear nearly everywhere you look. Europe is struggling to keep its head above water, North America is stagnating and even the hard-charging economies of the BRIC nations are starting to groan under the weight of high energy prices…The economies of China and India will soon struggle to grow at half the torrid pace of recent years…In a world of triple-digit oil prices, the global economy will be very different from the one we’ve known. ”

The Globe and Mail reported that Delta Airlines bought an oil refinery to cut its fuel costs. Delta  is buying a 185,000 b/d Pennsylvania refinery from ConocoPhillips for $150 million in the first ever purchase of a refinery by an air carrier. The company expects the move to reduce its jet fuel costs by $300 million per year. The deal will also ease fears that the closure of several major East Coast US refineries would cause a shortfall in gasoline or diesel supplies this summer.

South Korea is adopting a carbon trading market reported Reuters. The program is to begin in January 2015. It is intended to cap CO2 emissions across the economy, from steelmakers, ship-builders and power generators to even large universities, encouraging them to become more energy efficient. South Korea is the world’s fifth-largest oil importer and the number two buyer of liquefied natural gas. To meet the mandatory cap, South Korean firms will be able to trade emissions permits or buy carbon offsets from United Nations.-backed clean energy projects in poorer nations.

Greenbang told us that Denmark wants to rule the clean energy future. Under its new energy agreement, Denmark aims to get half of its electricity from wind power within just eight more years. (Wind currently generates one-fourth of its electricity.) By 2050, the country’s goal is to become “a society free of coal, oil and natural gas.”

The same source also told us which countries get the most energy from hydropower. China leads the pack and the continent of Asia is the place where hydro power is growing most rapidly. Norway gets the most energy from hydro – 64% of all of its energy. The top 10 hydro countries are China, Brazil, Canada, US, Russia, Norway, India, Japan, Venezuela, and Sweden.

The renewable energy potential of airports drew the interest of Energy Matters. The land around airports world-wide represents a vast resource for generating electricity. The article focuses solely on solar potential – panels on the ground as well as on airport rooftops and over carparks.  In addition, one might also want to consider the potential to grow biofuel crops.

ieee spectrum told us that Europe is relying on North America’s forests to meet its renewable energy goals. The European Union calls for renewable sources to meet 20% of member states’ energy demand by 2020 and to dramatically cut their CO2 emissions. To achieve this they must get off of coal generated electricity. This has created a vast opportunity for North America’s wood biomass industry to provide wood pellets to European utilities as a substitute for coal. Many of the wood pellet plants sprouting up in the US south are owned by European utilities. The article notes that some think that burning biomass brings its own greenhouse gas emission problems and that this is not the panacea that was originally hoped for by European environmentalists.

The Washington Post wrote about the costs and potential of Japan’s renewable energy options.

The Globe and Mail looked at the costly burden of the Province of Ontario’s green energy strategy in The sorry lessons of green-power subsidies. “By the end of 2013, Ontario household power rates will be the second-highest in North America (after PEI), and they will continue to accelerate while they level off in most other jurisdictions. Even more alarming for Ontario’s economic competitiveness, businesses and industrial customers will be hit by almost $12-billion in additional costs over the same period…Besides the direct cost of these huge subsidies, there’s also a big hidden cost of fossil-fuelled standby facilities, because the wind doesn’t always blow and the Ontario sun certainly doesn’t always shine.”

Professor Vaclav Smil in The American placed the US natural gas boom in perspective.

Energy Live News found out that UK shops waste most energy when closed. Research by WEMSinternational finds that retailers waste 40% of their total energy use by leaving on lights and unnecessary air-conditioning and heating. This means a typical retailer’s could be spending around £4 million a year on excess energy just so they appear ‘open’ to the public. Suggestions to reduce energy costs included introducing monitoring and managing methods, such as presence detection so that lighting is only on when the building’s in use and shifting light levels according to use of space.

Cleantech Authority asked: If low energy nuclear reactions (LENR) work what happens to solar power and other energy sources? “Over the next 6 months, it will be interesting to see whether or not an actual LENR device hits the streets and changes the world. The fate of solar power will not be sealed if LENR is proven to work, but the industry can expect dramatically reduced demand if it does.”

 

 

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