Daily Archives: February 4, 2010

Sheila McNulty

A new study called, Job Impacts of a National Renewable Electricity Standard, conducted by independent firm Navigant Consulting and released by the RES Alliance for Jobs, has found that without stronger near-term targets than currently envisioned, industries like wind will experience flat job growth and long-term stagnation and the US biomass industry could collapse altogether.

This is yet another reminder that in the global cleantech energy race, the US industry needs government support to get anywhere. Read more

Kate Mackenzie

It’s been written about an awful lot here, already been picked up by some prominent analysts and even a nascent fund manager, but BP chief executive Tony Hayward has further publicised the peak demand concept on the BBC:

LONDON (Reuters) – World oil demand will peak sometime after 2020 at a maximum of around 110 million barrels per day (bpd), BP Chief Executive Tony Hayward said on Thursday.

“World demand will peak before its supply peaks because there is plenty of oil in the world, there really is,” he said in an interview on BBC Radio 4.
 Read more

Kate Mackenzie

On FT Energy Source:

- The IPCC controversy explained

- Tullow the likely winner in Uganda

- China’s wind lead underline’s missed US opportunity

- How the UK could spend (and raise) £200bn for energy security and climate

- Shell’s refining headache

- Energy and the free market fail

- Big biofuels targets aren’t enough

- Cap-and-doomed

Further reading:

- To get clean energy, upgrade to electricity 2.0

- The fuel cell scooter

- LNG vs unconventional gas

- Refining glut has oil majors spluttering

- Anyone interested in Louisiana well logs?

- How long before the lights go out?

- The quiet energy revolution

- Physicist discovers how to teleport energy

- Saudi Aramco touts its new oil-finding laser

- How bad are China’s e-bikes really?
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Kate Mackenzie

Obama has come and and said what everyone knew: that cap-and-trade legislation might be split out from other green measures, which are more likely to pass Congress.

There is still a slim chance some form of cap-and-trade might go ahead in the current Congress, but even then it would probably be a pared back version such as that suggested by Republican Lindsey Graham:

Energy and climate legislation being drafted by a bipartisan group of senators may include a “hybrid” approach under which some sectors would be subject to a cap-and-trade program and others may pay a carbon fee, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) said today.
Such an approach could make the bill better suited to meet the “different needs” of different sectors of the economy, Graham told reporters after speaking to members of We Can Lead, a coalition of 150 businesses pushing for energy and climate legislation.

“At the end of the day we’ve got I think an opportunity here to price carbon using a hybrid system of the old cap-and-trade system,” said Graham, who is working with Sens. John Kerry (D-Massachusetts) and Joe Lieberman (I-Connecticut) on comprehensive energy and climate legislation.

Meanwhile John Kemp of Reuters points out that the two Democrats representatives who this week promised to put forward a bill preventing the EPA from regulating greenhouse gases both voted in favour of the Waxman-Markey climate bill, which included cap-and-trade provisions. Read more

Sheila McNulty

US President Barack Obama has just announced that the Environmental Protection Agency has finalized a rule to implement the long-term renewable fuels standard of 36b gallons by 2022 established by Congress. This is a rule a recent study by Rice University pointed out as unrealistic, noting that the Energy Independence and Security Act passed by Congress in 2007 mandated production targets of 9bn gallons of biofuels a year in 2008, rising to 36bn gallons a year by 2022.

Corn ethanol is capped at 15bn gallons a year in the law, but the study says even that level will be difficult to reach given logistical and commercial barriers. And it notes that the law called for 21bn gallons of advanced biofuels, produced from sources like switchgrass, corn stover and algae, to be used in the US fuel supply by 2022. But existing mandated targets for advanced biofuels are not currently achieveable from domestic supplies – scientifically or commercially. Therefore, the report says lawmakers should question the tariff imposed on ethanol imported from Latin America and the Caribbean. Read more

Kate Mackenzie

After its third-quarter oil major results back in October, some analysts were hypothesising that Shell was being overly maligned. Their reasoning was that while BP was riding high on the better-than-expected cost savings from a restructure by relatively-new chief executive Tony Hayward, Shell, with an even newer chief, still had a lot of fat left to cut.

Shell did indeed realise a further $1bn of cost savings in the fourth quarter alone, taking the full-year number to $2bn. But this quarter for the majors has been more about the dire state of refining margins, and the low price of natural gas. (2009 downstream earnings, on current cost of supplies basis, were down a whopping 95 per cent year-on-year – compared to 69 per cent overall.)

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Kate Mackenzie

The highly deregulated state of the UK market may have helped reduce energy prices, but a raft of difficult new challenges are facing the sector which the free market isn’t solving – and both sides of politics seem to agree a more interventionist approach is needed.

With the country’s own domestic supplies falling, there are some well-known problems facing the electricity sector. First is concern over energy security and storage, as the country imports a large proportion of its power needs – especially given the fears around securing supplies from Russia.  Read more

Kate Mackenzie

How £200bn investment needed to guarantee the UK’s electricity and gas security, and greenhouse emissions reductions, breaks down: Read more

Sheila McNulty

The American Wind Energy Association says China in 2009 passed the US in new wind power installations and in manufacturing of wind turbines. It is no surprise that China has overtaken the US. It has been moving swiftly to capitalise on the clean tech revolution, while the US cannot even come up with a coherent energy policy passed by Congress. But Denise Bode, chief executive of the association, put it best: Read more

Kate Mackenzie

UK energy regulator urges market shake-up (FT)

Senators may use ‘hybrid’ approach in GHG bill (Argus)

Obama eyes biofuels, clean coal in new climate push (Reuters)

Biofuel production falls far short of targets (WSJ)

Japan eyes March to set emissions reduction roadmap (Argus)

ExxonMobil suspends work on PNG LNG site after fatal dispute (Asia Pulse)

Germany’s solar industry protests subisidy cuts amid deadlock for industry (Bloomberg)

BP chief positive about low-carbon energy (FT)

Statoil to spin off filling station division (FT)

Oil and gas chiefs set spending record for US lobbying in 2009 (Greenwire)

Chloride order book powers ahead (FT)
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