blue&greentomorrow said the natural gas revolution “could scupper” renewable energy. The International Energy Agency (IEA) warns that development in cheap natural techniques such as ‘fracking’ may severely limit government support for renewables. Based on recent developments in the shale gas industry, the IEA thinks that natural gas could account for over 25% of the world energy demand by 2035. “Renewable energy may be the victim of cheap gas prices if governments do not stick to their renewable support schemes”, said Faith Birol, chief economist for the IEA. The combination of increased production of low cost natural gas from conventional and unconventional sources to replace nuclear power will squeeze out more expensive renewable energy sources like wind and solar that have been highly dependent on government largesse. Recently Ernst & Young found that investment in renewable energy was at its lowest level since 2009.

A leading UK think tank claimed natural gas is greener than offshore wind reports the Telegraph. Policy Exchange says the UK should scrap its plans for large offshore wind expenditures and build natural gas plants to produce electricity instead. In this way the nation could save £700-£900m a year.  These savings could be used to insulate hundreds of thousands more homes and double public funding for research and development in low-carbon technologies.

Carrying on with the natural gas theme, the Energy Tribune told us the Eastern Mediterranean could well be the next big game. Both Israel and Cyprus have discovered enormous natural gas fields in the Eastern Mediterranean in the past few years. The United States Geological Survey believes the amount of recoverable gas is of the order of 200 Tcf of natural gas and 3.7 billion barrels of oil.  However, a dozen new Cypriot blocks, currently in the process of being offered to international bidders, will almost certainly add 50 Tcf, perhaps 75 Tcf to the already discovered. Yet there are two major roadblocks that could limit Israel’s ability to exploit this gas find. One is the depth of the fields – some 20,000 feet below the sea.  There is no other place on Earth where gas has been recovered from such depths. Second, and perhaps more importantly, the cost of recovering this gas will be in the tens of billions of dollars and no major oil or gas company has shown an interest in looking for it in Israeli waters probably for fear of aliening its Arab neighbours.

In A Turnaround Story in Transportation? Daily Finance revealed how Canadian aircraft manufacturer, Bombardier, may change the way we power electric vehicles. In this video we see how Bombardier’s cutting edge wireless technology is designed to power vehicles (buses, trams) in urban areas from under the road thereby avoiding the need for overhead wires and electric charging stations. Any electric vehicle could be charged while it is in motion or stationary. Auto123 told us the company is testing its system in the city of Brasunschweig, Germany.

The Japan Times explained the country’s new feed-in tariffs for renewable energy sources which will be effective July 1st. The feed-in tariff is an amount paid by a government to businesses, individual households and other organizations to generate renewable electricity. That power is then sold to the utilities at a fixed rate over a set period of time. The utilities, in turn, can require their customers to pay a surcharge for electricity generated from renewable sources, depending on the amount they individually use. Separate tariffs will apply to wind, solar, geothermal and biomass. To bring these energy sources on-stream as quickly as possible, Japan is paying among the highest feed-in tariffs in the world.

Deutsche Welle covered the collapse of emission trading prices in Europe. The European Union needs an emission trading price of about 20 euros per ton of carbon dioxide (CO2) to have an effect on carbon emissions in that region. However, since the emissions trading system was introduced in 2005 the price has steadily fallen to where it is now down to about 6.5 euros.  Recently a German exchange stopped trading emissions certificates as trading volume was virtually non-existent.  With price of emissions certificates so law and an excess supply of these certificates on the market, European businesses have less incentive to cut their emissions because they can’t earn enough from selling certificates to offset investments in renewable energies or climate-friendly production. The EU Climate Minister has announced that the Commission is exploring ways to address the surplus certificates.

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