The future will be nuclear fusion said Energy Live News. At the Energy Event at the Birmingham NEC, the renowned British particle physicist Brian Cox said “without a doubt” our energy future will be nuclear fusion. He said researchers are well on their way towards developing a prototype commercial reactor, referring to ITER (International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor) under construction in the south of France. “…it’s under construction now. Nobody I’ve spoken to on that project believes that there will be any show-stopping problems with it. It is essentially a commercial reactor design give or take, so by the mid-2020s we should have essentially a working prototype commercial reactor. The cost is all infrastructure cost, the fuel is free and effectively infinite. Unless there’s some engineering challenge we don’t know about then surely by the end of this century, fusion power stations should be delivering essentially unlimited energy, not free because it costs a lot to build the reactors.”

The New York Times wrote about how high energy costs are putting European manufacturing firms at a competitive disadvantage in the global economy. High energy costs are emerging as a divisive issue in Europe, including questioning the Continent’s expensive green energy initiatives. Companies like Voestalpine (an Austrian maker of high-quality steel for the auto industry) are building new factories in North America, rather than at home, so as to take advantage of cheap natural gas costs and lower electricity rates. In Germany, renewables subsidies for wind and solar are already adding 10% to 15% to consumer’s electricity bills. “Energy-intensive industries like chemicals and steel are, if not closing European plants outright, looking toward places like the United States that have lower energy costs as they pursue new investments.” On this same theme see also OILPRICE European Companies Move to the US to Avoid High Energy PricesFinancial Times Europe Told It Risks Missing Shale Gas Boom and Businessweek Shale-Gas Wave Spurs New Steel Plants in U.S.

Global Times discussed how energy independence will give the US geopolitical leverage in its relationships with other nation states and particularly Russia and China.

Meanwhile with electricity so expensive, Paris – the City of Lights – will go dark noted SCRAPE TV. The plan is to turn off city lights during the early morning, between 1 and 7 am, all across the city. While individual residences and businesses would still be able to use lights as they saw fit, the official city lights would be shut off. Lighting restrictions have been in effect for some time already, though only on large buildings such as churches and the Eiffel Tower.

The Global Warming Policy Foundation reported that Poland and the Czech Republic have banned German renewable energy. In order to boost Germany’s green energy transition, it used power grids of neighbouring countries – without asking for permission or paying for access. Now Poland and the Czech Republic are building a switch-off at their borders to block the uninvited import of green energy from Germany which is destabalising their power grids and is thus risking blackouts. By blocking this energy at their borders, however, they are fragmenting the single European market for electricity and could harm Germany’s electric supply security should renewable energy be insufficient to power German homes and industry.

Energy & Capital gave us a Brief History of Oil going back 40,000 years when Neanderthals used oil from naturally occurring oil seeps to adhere stones to sticks.

The Oil Drum interviewed a former International Energy Agency economist who predicts global crude oil production will start to decline atfer 2015. French economist, Olivier Rech, says: “We will have to face a decline of the production of all forms of liquid fuels somewhere between 2015 to 2020. This decline will not necessarily be rapid, however, but it will be a decline, that much seems clear.”

The Worldwatch Institute noted that while oil is still king, coal and natural gas remain key global energy sources, particularly as fuel for electricity generation. The bulk of coal use is for electric power generation, with smaller amounts being used in steelmaking, the report says. China accounted for nearly half of all coal use in 2011. U.S. demand for coal dropped by about 5% in 2011 and continued to fall in 2012 due to the shale gas boom and the abundance of cheap natural gas. A greater transition from coal to natural gas is likely if countries put in place policies to reduce the environmental and health impacts of coal combustion.

The American Thinker questioned the likelihood of the hydrogen utopia. “…while the utopian vision sees it as the motor fuel of the future, the reality is that any attempt to change over to hydrogen as our predominant motor fuel will only exacerbate our current energy and pollution problems, e.g. it will move the source of the pollution from the hydrogen burners (cars, buses, etc.) to the hydrogen producers; it will unnecessarily consume large amounts of our non-renewable natural gas; and it will greatly reduce the availability of a commodity critically needed for meeting our current transportation and manufacturing needs.”

The West African country of Ghana predicted it would have ubiquitous electricity penetration by 2016. 2,242 communities have so far been connected to the national grid since 2009. Some 1400 communities in the 3 northern regions are still to be connected. The government expects this to happen about 4 years earlier than previously forecast.

PMNEWS Nigeria told us what it is like to live in Epe in western Nigeria, an African town where there is no electricity.

hydrogenfuelnews suggested geothermal energy could replace nuclear in Japan. Because of Japan’s geographic position on the Ring of Fire around the Pacific Ocean, the country has the opportunity to tap into vast stores of geothermal energy. According to Stefan Larus Stefansson, Iceland’s ambassador to Japan, the country has enough geothermal potential to fully replace 25 nuclear power facilities. Homes in Iceland receive more than 90% of their heat from geothermal sources.

FierceEnergy examined India’s energy revolution based on Light Emitting Diode (LED) technology. LED lighting systems are predicted to play a significant role in reducing India’s overall energy requirements when used in street lighting in conjunction with Integrated Lighting Management Systems. In the past three years, prices of LED lighting systems have fallen by more than 30% as a result of increasing adoption and manufacturing technology improvements. Market research company Frost & Sullivan predicts mass commercialization and acceptance will lead to a further decrease in prices, which will make these products more affordable for commercial segments as well as low and middle-income households in the country’s residential segment.

Sierra Express Media worried about the energy future of Sierra Leone. The state of the electrical grid in this poor West African country is not very good. “Today, access to power in Sierra Leone is very low at around 1 to 5 percent in the urban areas and virtually nonexistent in the rural country sides. Sierra Leone’s installed power generation capacity is around 13 megawatts per million which is lower than what other low-income and fragile nations have installed…This kind of limited coverage is ineptly inadequate and unacceptable by every imaginable standard. The government of Sierra Leone must do more to provide access and expanded services, particularly in the villages, towns and cities across the country…The nation is gradually slipping back into a blanket of colossal darkness.” The post looks at the enormous obstacles facing the country’s electricity supply and offers suggestions for how these might be overcome to create a diversified energy environment.

reve said Uruguay could become the world leader in wind energy generation by 2015. By that year this South American country could get 30% of its electricity from wind energy. This would be more than Denmark, which currently generates 26% of its electricity from wind, as the world leader in wind energy generation. In 2015 Uruguay expects renewable energy to supply 90% of its electricity (45% from hydropower, 15% from biomass and 30% from wind).

 

 

 

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