Common Dreams worried World War III is here and energy is largely behind it.  Many of the current conflicts around the globe have energy as a focal point.

It can be no accident that the raging fights in Syria, Iraq, Libya, and the Ukraine all coincide with areas rich in energy resources or for which imported energy resources are at risk. There are other conflicts. But these are the ones that are transfixing the eyes of the world, and these are the ones in which major powers are taking sides and mounting major responses.

In Syria, Iraq and Libya, of course, it is oil and also natural gas that underlies the conflict…In the Ukraine natural gas supplies lurk in the background as rebels (supposedly with Russian help) fight to separate parts of eastern Ukraine from the country….The low-intensity confrontation in the South China Sea between China and its neighbors, Vietnam and the Philippines, is the most prominent dispute over actual ownership of energy resources rather than the mere flow of those resources. …So, the resource wars that are developing, especially those relating to energy, are not about direct conquest so much as concern about access to energy resources, or to put it more clearly, concern about possible interruptions to the flow of energy resources.

…it could morph into the kind of global conflict that risks nuclear confrontation between major powers–not because those powers would seek such an obviously insane outcome, but because they might miscalculate and by mistake push the conflict in this terrible direction.

OPEC said world energy demand will rise 60% by 2040 reported Channel News Asia. The forecast comes from the organization’s latest World Oil Outlook. The organization added that world crude oil output is projected to soar from 81.8 million barrels per day (mbpd) to 99.6 mbpd over that same period, However, the share of oil in global energy use is expected to fall from 31.9% to 24.3%, while that of all fossil fuels – oil, coal and gas – will decline slightly from 81.6% to 78.4%. Hydro, biomass and other renewables will account for 15.8%, up from 12.7% in 2010 and nuclear power will represent 5.7%.

Renewables like solar and wind “are expected to continue to grow at a fast pace, partly as a result of government support. However, given their low initial base, their share of the global energy mix is expected to remain modest by 2040,” OPEC said. “It is fossil fuels that will continue to play the leading role in satisfying world energy needs in the future.”

UPI Resources observed the US is on the path to energy independence. Analysis from energy consulting firm Wood Mackenzie finds the US is producing more oil and natural gas than it consumes. Oil and natural gas production in the country is up 42% from 2007 largely because of the shale bonanza. As a result the economy is relying less on foreign sources to meet its energy demands, while at the same time demand for energy is decreasing as the transportation sector becomes more efficient. With new technologies emerging for shale extraction, Wood Mackenzie believes US oil output could increase by 3 million barrels per day to 10.3 million bpd by 2030. In a related post see eurasia review, The Driving Force Behind The US Oil Boom.

East Africa is becoming an energy “hot spot” according to UPI. Consulting firm IHS  finds East African natural gas finds are enabling this region to become a major producer of the product on a global basis. This region has accounted for more than 25% of natural gas discoveries made worldwide between 2010-13. East Africa is expected to add another 1 million barrels per day in production by 2025, led by Mozambique and Tanzania. Analysts believe East Africa could become an important global player provided countries adopts a modern energy infrastructure and stronger regulatory oversight.

The New York Times told us Denmark wants to get 100% of its energy from renewables. The Danes hope to end the burning of fossil fuels in any form by 2050 — not just in electricity production but in transportation as well. The northern European country of 5.6 million people is currently above 40% renewable power on their electric power grid, aiming toward 50% by 2020. However, a renewable only policy is not without risks.  Absent reliable long-term energy storage technology (presently not available) the Danes risk no power and blackouts if the wind doesn’t blow or the Sun does not shine.  Moreover, it cannot be fully certain that neighbouring countries like Sweden and Norway will be willing to or capable of supplying back-up power as they pursue their own energy strategies over the century.
“We are really worried about this situation,” Anders Stouge, the deputy director general of the Danish Energy Association, said in an interview. “If we don’t do something, we will in the future face higher and higher risks of blackouts.” ….The minute any European country has a blackout attributable to the push for renewables, public support for the transition could weaken drastically.

From world nuclear news we learned that Europe has set its energy goals for 2030. European Union leaders have agreed that renewable energy should compirse 27% of total EU energy by 2030. The 27% figure is for the European Union as a whole and the contribution of each of its 28 member states will be different according to its financial circumstances and its right to determine its own energy mix. The EU is concerned, however, that it will need an integrated electricity market to ensure that the use of renewables does not leave nations with the risk of power blackouts.

To support the renewable target, the announcement noted, “The integration of rising levels of intermittent renewable energy requires a more interconnected internal energy market and appropriate backup, which should be coordinated as necessary at regional level.” It is particularly concerned about the integration of the Baltic States, Portugal and Spain, as well as Greece and the islands of Malta and Cyprus.

Climate Spectator noted tidal and waver power are to remain a “triflng” part of the energy equation this decade. While global installations of tidal stream and wave power expected to grow to 148 MW and 21 MW respectively by the end of this decade, these are still trifling amounts in the context of the global electric power system. The emergence of marine renewable energy technologies is taking longer than desired, due to project setbacks, lack of interest by venture capital investors, and the difficulty of deploying devices in harsh marine environments. This latest forecast represents a downward revision from previous forecasts.

Angus McCrone, senior analyst at Bloomberg New Energy Finance, said: “…caution is necessary because taking devices from the small-scale demonstrator stage to the pre-commercial array stage is proving even more expensive and time-consuming than many companies – and their investors – expected.”

Michael Liebreich, chairman of the advisory board at Bloomberg New Energy Finance, commented: “Tidal stream and wave power companies continue to face huge challenges. Although the potential is almost limitless, it’s a tough environment. It is possible to make equipment reliable, as the offshore oil and gas industry has shown, but it’s not cheap. And you have to put a huge amount of steel and concrete into the water, which is inherently expensive. It is still unclear whether this can be done at a cost competitive with offshore wind, let alone other clean energy generating technologies.”


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