Daily Archives: May 1, 2009

Fiona Harvey

“Be passionate,” was the key advice from Dian Grueneich to anyone interested in energy efficiency. Ms Grueneich is the commissioner at the State of Californian Public Utilities Commission, and she has been instrumental over the last two decades in ensuring that California’s energy use per capita has not increased while the state’s economy has grown rapidly. On Wednesday she received an award from her efforts from the Alliance to Save Energy, at its EEGlobal conference in Paris.

As several of the speakers at the conference noted, energy efficiency is not usually regarded as the most exciting of subjects. Saving is never as glamorous as spending, even though the latter gets us into such trouble.

Kate Mackenzie

How much public funding is required to foster the level of energy innovation needed to make low-carbon energy competitive with fossil fuels?

Opinions vary on the role public funding should play in making clean energy cheaper. Entrepreneur Vinod Khosla, co-founder of Sun Microsystems and an investor in corn and cellulosic ethanol and other energy ventures, says there is ‘not enough [public] money in the world’ to achieve it.

Creating private sector incentives, for example through cap and trade schemes, helps – but many argue that large scale public investment is needed.

Nicholas Stern has called for worldwide public spending on energy research and development to double from $10bn per year and grow to $50bn in the medium term. Stephen Chu early this year called for a ‘second industrial revolution’.

Kate Mackenzie

On Energy Source:

A new dawn for uranium prices? Another opaque market, another demand surge predicted

Energy R&D: Public funding vs markets Why aren’t markets enough?

Opec oil supply guru Conrad Gerber has died after 30 years of peering into the opaque world of the cartel’s production

Timeline to disaster Two new studies say the world will probably exceed its carbon budget

‘We should be planning to adapt to a world of 4°C climate rises’ But how?

Abandoning oil to meet 2050 emissions targets If supply won’t do it, targets should

Volatility: Stock markets vs oil and other commodities Oil most closely tracks the equity markets

Exxon profits down 58% Lower oil prices are again the culprits


US climate bill: Will Californian offshore drilling be opened up in exchange for getting cap and trade through? New Yorker mentions a possible scoop in passing (TNR)

Oil: US energy demand for February was revised downwards by 780,000b/d to 18.706m b/d (Platts)

Efficiency: Aerospace companies try to increase efficiency, from better engine design to ‘winglets’ (NY Times)

Investment: A rough transcript of an interview with venture capitalist Vinod Khosla, who invests in many new energy ventures (R-squared blog)

Nuclear: Interview with Southern Company chief executive David Ratcliffe on the challenges facing the nuclear industry (Scientific American)

How do you measure Opec’s crude oil supply amid secrecy and dishonesty?

Conrad Gerber, who died on April 25, responded to that question for almost 30 years, providing the oil market with a glimpse of clarity from his Geneva-based Petro-Logistics company.

He made a living from a peculiar characteristic of the oil market: the most reliable data for Opec monthly supply comes not from the cartel member’s energy ministries, but from so-called secondary sources – a network of spies watching, binoculars in hand, the movement of tankers in and out of the world’s ports.

William MacNamara

The uranium trade resembles the diamond market in some ways: it is rather opaque and mysterious, and also lends itself to “it can only go up” narratives. In the case of diamonds this narrative is, “Asians will earn more and more money and buy more and more engagement rings, and meanwhile no one is building new diamond mines.”

In uranium it boils down to, “Asians are building more and more nuclear power stations to solve their energy problems, and meanwhile no one is building new uranium mines.”

Once again, it is a new dawn for uranium prices and uranium miners, according to a report by RBC Capital Markets.

James Fontanella-Khan

- Oil price fall brings opportunity
BMI’s expect direct flight between London and Baghdad to begin next spring (FT)

- Exxon keeps buy-backs on the agenda
The world’s biggest oil group reported a 58% drop in profits for the quarter (FT)

- ‘Greenwash’ hype fails to sway consumers
Consumers attach little credibility to companies’ environmental marketing messages (FT)

- De Beers diamond production drops 90%
The world’s top diamond miner shut its African mines to stimulate supply and demand (FT)

- Mexico’s Pemex posts $1.9 bln loss as output falls
Mexico’s state oil company hurt by lower production, oil prices and the peso decline (Reuters)

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