Fossil fuels dominate primary energy consumption wrote Environmental News Network. According to a new Vital Signs Online trend coal, natural gas, and crude oil accounted for 87% of global primary energy consumption in 2012.

Natural gas increased its share of energy consumption from 23.8 to 23.9 percent during 2012, coal rose from 29.7 to 29.9 percent, and oil fell from 33.4 to 33.1 percent. The International Energy Agency predicts that by 2017, coal will replace oil as the dominant primary energy source worldwide.

Oil remains the most widely consumed fuel worldwide, but at a growth rate of 0.9 percent it is being outpaced by gas and coal for the third consecutive year. The OECD’s share declined to 50.2 percent of global consumption—the smallest share on record and the sixth decrease in seven years. This reflects declines of 2.3 percent in U.S. consumption and 4.6 percent in EU consumption. By contrast, usage in China and Japan rose by 5.0 and 6.3 percent, respectively.

The Financial Post said Iran is going to flood the world with crude oil. The recent global agreement to lift sanctions against Iran could unleash a flood of oil on to world markets by next year triggering a slide in prices and a major shake-up of the energy landscape. This is likely to pose a threat to Russia and other countries that depend on oil revenues to finance their budgets. Citigroup predicts global oil prices could fall $13 over time, enough to send Brent crude below $100 and US crude below $85.

This Is Money discussed how natural gas is becoming an increasingly important resource as consumers and businesses across the globe demand more and more energy.

The world is entering a golden age for gas, according to the International Energy Agency. It is expected to be the fastest growing energy source worldwide over the next quarter of a century, overtaking coal in 2030.  Reasons for this are not hard to find. Natural gas is relatively cheap and the supply is plentiful, particularly once shale is brought into the equation. It is also cleaner than other fossil fuels such as coal.

To help solve the world’s endless demand for energy, a Japanese company is proposing we turn the Moon into a giant solar panel posted The National Post. (with video) Shimizu Corp. wants to lay a belt of solar panels 350 kilometres wide around the equator of the Moon and relay the resulting constant supply of electrical energy to “receiving stations” on Earth by laser or microwave transmission. “Luna Ring” would be capable of sending 13,000 terawatts of electric power to Earth or 4 times that generated by the US in a single year. The company believes construction work could get under way as early as 2035. Robots and automated equipment would be developed to mine the Moon’s natural resources and produce concrete and the solar cells required for the project.

Shimizu Corp. is not alone in thinking the Moon can supply the Earth with limitless solar power.  An adviser to China’s moon landing later this week recently told the BBC that a ring of solar panels around the Moon should be one of our energy goals. Prof Ouyang Ziyuan of the department of lunar and deep space exploration at the Chinese Academy of Sciences said with no air on the Moon, solar panels would operate far more efficiently than on Earth and a “belt” of them could “support the whole world”.

Fox News told us about 11 “bizarre” sources for alternative energy.  These include human waste, body heat, sugar, the solar wind, trains, carbon nanotubes and jelly fish.

While its nuclear industry shut down, Japan is building floating windmillsThe New York Times reported the Asian country wants to generate over 1 gigawatt of electricity from 140 offshore wind turbines by 2020. That is equivalent to the power generated by one nuclear reactor. The ambitious project is funded by the government along with a consortium of 11 companies, including Hitachi, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Shimizu and Marubeni. Ranking among the world’s top 10 largest maritime countries, Japan has millions of square miles to position windmills in its offshore waters. What makes this project different from other offshore wind farms is that the  turbines float on giant platforms anchored to the seabed. That technology greatly expands potential locations for offshore wind farms, which have been fixed into the seabed, confining their location to shallow waters. The post discusses the obstacles standing in the way of the project including opposition from local fishermen concerned about the impact on the local fishery.

SPYGhana had a three part series called Solar Power–The Future Energy Resource For Africa. You can read the series here (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3). In related posts International Science Times told us Pay-As-You-Go Solar Lightens Up Energy Costs In Off-Grid Rural Africa and Worldcrunch described how the Congo town of Butembo is now part of Africa’s solar-powered future.


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