Daily Archives: May 20, 2009

Fiona Harvey

Efficiency standards for vehicles are not controversial in most developed, and an increasing number of developing, countries.

In the US, however, raising efficiency standards has been difficult. President George W Bush’s administration had little interest in the issue, and vehicle manufacturers lobbied against higher standards for years. They were worried that such a move would put them at a disadvantage compared with foreign manufacturers, which tended to make more efficient cars.

The US automotive industry has in fact entered into extensive litigation in many states, such as California which has proposed stringent improvements to efficiency. They have challenged in courts across the US the right of states to put in place “clean cars” programmes. And they have spent many more millions in lobbying against higher standards in Washington.

The car makers, requiring a huge injection of public cash to stay alive, are suddenly compliant. The US automotive industry welcomed President Obama’s proposals on emissions standards with open arms. There was no talk of competitive disadvantage, no threat of attempts to challenge the rules – instead a humble promise to meet the new standards.

What a difference the threat of bankruptcy makes.

Kate Mackenzie

On Energy Source:

Oil sands and climate change legislation move to centre stage
Environmental and security needs clash

US climate bill: how to make almost everyone unhappy
From Greenpeace to Republicans

IEA puts a number on energy supply crunch: three years to go
2m bpd of oil has been cancelled, and 4.2m delayed

Google picks up PowerMeter partners, big and small
Eight utilities to trial smart meter software

Shell remuneration: the many warning signs
They can’t say they weren’t warned

China storms ahead in renewables The sleeping giant is taking the lead in manufacturing components for solar and wind generators and building electric cars (LA Times)

Not so efficient after all? The new CAFE standards will only bring the US up to the same standards as Europe, says an energy academic – about 20 years later (DotEarth/NY Times)

Workin’ on the railroads: A vibrant US train industry would employ more people than the car industry does now (Infrastructurist)

Another 0.03% of Blighty goes wind powered Europe’s largest onshore wind farm goes fully online (The Register)

Life as a nuclear decommissioner Like something from TV (BBC)

Kate Mackenzie

WRVEC's website

Google has announced the first partners for its PowerMeter software – a tool for analysing data collecting by smart meters.

TXU Energy and India’s Reliance Energy are the most notable of the eight utilities, but as Google notes, it’s quite a mixed group in terms of size and ownership. We’ve gathered the customer numbers for each utility – though this is as disclosed on their websites so methods of counting may vary:

San Diego Gas & Electricity1.4m residential and business accounts
TXU Energy: 2m customers
JEA: 360,000 customers
Reliance Energy: 25m consumers
Wisconsin Public Service: 488,000 regulated electric utility customers
White River Valley Electric Co-operative: Not immediately obvious (But is has the zaniest company website we’ve ever seen)
Toronto Hydro-Electric System: 684,000 customers
Glasgow EPB (Kentucky): Also not immediately obvious, but presumably small

Kate Mackenzie

Warnings of an oil supply crunch have been frequent and vocal in recent months. As oil prices fell from their peak in July, so did plans to invest in future oil production – and the world’s oil reserves are becoming increasingly difficult to get at, making investment even more important.

The IEA is joining the fray and has come out with its clearest warning yet that the world is headed for a supply crunch. In a new report, the agency reportedly warned that oil companies and investors have postponed about $170bn of projects, equivalent to about 2m barrels per day, and a further 4.2m in future oil supply capacity has been delayed by at least 18 months.

Sheila McNulty

The move of Canada’s oil sands to centre stage could not have been more poorly timed.

A new report by Cambridge Energy Research Associates says that the oil sands have moved from the fringe to the centre of energy supply. Technological advances in the development of this unconventional fuel have made tapping it more economic, and drawn much interest, creating what CERA calls an increasingly important part of the fabric of hemispheric and global energy security.

Canada’s oil sands make it the world’s second largest holder of recoverable oil reserves after Saudi Arabia. This immense resource is estimated at 173bn barrels. And Canada is the number one foreign supplier of oil to the US.

Yet the recognition of the importance of this energy source has come about just as the US – and the world at large – has moved to limit the impact of climate change with legislation aimed at regulating the emission of green house gasses. The oil sands are a major polluter.

- Obama unveils fuel efficiency alliance
Plan brings together carmakers, unions and environmentalists (FT)

- Green campaigners hail tough US standards on fuel use
New vehicles to be 30% cleaner by 2016 (FT)

- Biotech group warns of ‘false debate’ of food versus biofuel
Says biofuel can be produced without jeopardising food output (FT)

- Investors rebel over Shell executive pay
Backlash after group fails to achieve targets (FT)

- Shell executives take flak over bonuses
Pay decision makes Shell target for wider anger over executive pay (FT)

- Exxon’s M&A inaction puzzles analysts
Analyst suggests company has grown as big as it will get (FT)

- Daimler buys near 10% stake in pioneer Tesla
Makes further bet on battery-powered cars (FT)

- Eco-tax factor boosts Japanese car sales
Nissan, Honda and Toyota report higher sales (FT)

- EcoBoost steers US towards a greener future
Ford’s new engine is example of investments carmakers likely to make (FT)

- Recovery in oil prices ignores fundamentals
Surge in WTI leaves some bullish and others concerned (FT)

- US gas price to recover slower than oil, Goldman says
Gas price to rebound in 12-18 months (Platts)

- China Yangtze Power restructures
Acquires China Three Gorges assets for $15.7bn (WSJ)

- Lex: US auto emissions

- Editorial comment: The inefficiency of fuel-efficiency rules

Energy Source is no longer updated but it remains open as an archive.

Insight into the financial, economic and policy aspects of energy and the environment.

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