Blowout week 6

MENA: gas imports loom over Egypt; rebels continue to disrupt oil supplies from Libya; Iraq near implosion; tensions rise over oil exports from Iraqi Kurdistan to Turkey

Technology: new geothermal plant on its way in USA; algae + coal development in South Africa

Renewables: market reform in Germany threatens survival of the solar PV market; longest power line to be built in Germany; Goldman Sachs investing in renewables

UK: Scottish independence debate warming up a little.

19 stories below the fold.

UK: Scottish independence: Politicians row over energy market post-yes

A row over the future of the UK energy market has erupted between politicians on the two sides of the Scottish independence debate.

Shadow Energy Secretary Caroline Flint believed consumers would face higher energy bills post-independence.

However, Scotland’s Energy Minister Fergus Ewing said the Labour MP’s intervention was about political point scoring.

UK: Flint: independence would hit green power plans

Writing in The Herald, Caroline Flint said the best way to unlock Scotland’s “immense” renewable energy potential was within a shared UK market.

She said: “About one-third of total British investment in renewable energy comes to Scotland.

“But Scottish consumers contribute less than one-tenth of the cost of the support for clean energy.

Europe: North-Western European power market coupling project launched

On the first day of NWE market coupling, UK day-ahead baseload power outturned at GBP44.65/MWh (Eur53.96/MWh) at both the N2EX and APX exchanges, making it the most expensive spot market across the region for Wednesday.

World: Volcano power plan gets U.S. go-ahead

Having successfully negotiated the challenging regulatory slopes of the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, the U.S. Forest Service, the U.S. Department of Energy, and a host of Oregon state agencies, the Newberry Enhanced Geothermal Systems (EGS) demonstration project is in the process of creating a new geothermal reservoir in central Oregon.

World: Egypt forecasts gas shortage next fiscal year

The petroleum ministry has forecast that gas production will be 5.4 billion cubic feet (bcf) per day and consumption 5.57 bcf/day in the fiscal year that begins July 1.

In the current fiscal year by comparison, gas production is still estimated to exceed consumption at 5.31 bcf/day versus 4.95 bcf/day, a ministry source said.

World: Libya rebels say oil crisis can be resolved, but no end in sight

Eastern separatists blockading three of Libya’s oil export terminals say the six-month-old crisis crippling the country’s energy industry could be resolved within weeks. But there’s little sign of any breakthrough.

World: 82,000 Tons Of Coal Ash Spill From Plant Into North Carolina River

About 82,000 tons of coal ash mixed with 27 million gallons of contaminated water — enough to fill more than 40 Olympic swimming pools — has leaked from a North Carolina power plant and is threatening water supplies across state lines.

Europe: Address to the Syndicat des Énergies Renouvelables 15th Annual Symposium

The world is changing around us fast.

New centres of economic power and global influence rising in the South and in the East, becoming energy hungry and changing the geopolitics of energy.

New technologies, stimulating our economies, powering our societies, changing the way we live.

And the threat of climate change proven – a threat growing and evident in the changing patterns around us.

World: Luminant will reopen 3 coal-fired plants ahead of schedule

Luminant, Texas’ largest power producer and subsidiary of Energy Future Holdings, will bring three coal-fired power plants back online that previously had been shut down temporarily for economic concerns.

World: South Africa demonstrates algae-to-energy technology

Innovative technology that uses algae to convert waste coal dust into a clean, high-quality coal which can readily be processed into biofuel was publicly demonstrated at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in Port Elizabeth on Monday.

World: Gap between Coal India output and target widens further

The gap between Coal India’s (CIL) production and target has been ever widening, and has reached a level where the average coal stock at power plants has dipped to just around 12 days.

My selection of stories posted by Luis de Sousa At The Edge of Time. Luis’ focus this week is on European power market and how photovoltaics, depressing prices, are causing problems for traditional power suppliers. And of course, he is keeping a watchful eye on Iraq.

Europe: Germany lays out plans for longest-ever power line

Germany has laid out the plans for the construction of what will be its longest-ever power line. The project is part of Germany’s policy of shifting towards renewable energy. The new power line, called the “Suedlink” project, will run around 800 kilometers (500 miles) in length, operators TenneT and TransnetBW said on Wednesday.

Europe: Surcharge will cause ‘total collapse’ of German solar industry, AS Solar chief claims

An executive at AS Solar has strongly criticised the new Germany energy minister’s plans to reform the country’s Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG), warning that a “total collapse” of the German solar industry can be expected under the new legislation.

World: Goldman Sachs sees “transformational moment” in renewables investment

Investment banking giant Goldman Sachs has declared the renewable energy sector to be one of the most compelling and attractive markets – and is backing up its talk with $US40 billion ($A46 billion) of made and planned investments.

Goldman Sachs is not the first big bank to talk up the renewable energy sector, or even “sustainable” investments. But it is one of the first to put real money behind it.

World: Iraq near Implosion: The ‘Bad Years’ Are Back

Yet something sinister was brewing in Iraq. Mostly Muslim Sunni tribesmen were fed up with the political paradigm imposed by the Americans almost immediately upon their arrival, which divided the country based on sectarian lines. The Sunni areas, in the center and west of the country, paid a terrible price for the US invasion that empowered political elites purported to speak on behalf of the Shia.

World: Tensions rise as Iraqi Kurds’ oil flows to Turkey

As Iraqi Kurdistan exports oil northward to Turkey through its own pipeline despite dire warnings from Baghdad about the consequences of such independent action, the prospect of a collision between Iraq’s central government and the semiautonomous Kurds increases.

World: Russia’s Gazprom Neft sees Iraqi output start in spring

Russia’s Gazprom Neft plans to start commercial oil production in spring at its Badra oilfield in Iraq and hopes for an average output of 15,000 barrels per day (bpd) this year, a company official said on Wednesday.

World: Libya says bandits disrupt oil from Sharara field

Libyan oil industry officials said bandits caused production from the Sharara oil field to drop by 40 percent by blocking a pipeline to downstream facilities.

World: Natural gas shortage hits California power supply

Californians were urged to voluntarily cut their electricity use Thursday in a rare mid-winter conservation alert, after frigid weather across the U.S. and Canada caused a shortage of natural gas at Southern California power plants.

“While the natural gas shortage is only impacting Southern California power plants, statewide electricity and gas conservation will help free up both electricity and gas supplies for Southern Californians,” the California Independent System Operator, which runs the state’s power grid, said in a statement.

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11 Responses to Blowout week 6

  1. G. Watkins says:

    Thanks Euan – I look forward to your ‘blow out’ posts’ sadly nothing sensible to contribute but some of your knowledgable readers will no doubt continue my education.
    Regards Gareth

  2. G. Watkins says:

    Sorry, I’m back.
    I think you need to put a warning sign for some of the links 🙂
    I just read Dopey Davey’s address. At first I thought it was a spoof, but no.
    4C rise in temps. – did he read even the summary for policy makers?
    Wind electricity to flow south from the north and sun elec. to flow north from the south.
    A European supergrid, plus us taking more nuclear from France.
    He is to be pitied I suppose, but it difficult to believe that he is in a senior government position, and probably soon for the Lords where he will enjoy the company of Bryony W. and Chris Smith etc.

    • Roger Andrews says:

      Did Davey read the IPCC Summary for Policymakers?

      “And the threat of climate change proven – a threat growing and evident in the changing patterns around us. The latest UN Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change Report makes the situation crystal clear.”

      Apparently not.

      Another thing that caught my eye was Davey’s proud announcement that the UK had exceeded its Kyoto emissions-reduction target:

      “And today, with the publication of our emissions statistics for 2012, I can announce that the UK has met its first carbon budget for 2008-2012, with a reduction of 22.5% below base level, well beyond the 12.5% required of us by the Kyoto Protocol.”

      Davey seems to think that this reduction had something to do with renewable energy, but it was actually a result of a continuation of the “business as usual” downtrend between 1997 and 2008 followed by the steep decrease during the 2009 recession, from which it appears the UK has yet to emerge. Renewable energy was at most a bit player:

      I might also mention that the UK’s Kyoto target was an 8% reduction below 1990 levels, not a 12.5% reduction. 🙂 Why the smiley face? Because the UK’s emissions were already 8% below 1990 levels when it agreed to this “cut” at Kyoto.

      • Euan Mearns says:

        Gareth / Roger, thanks for input. We do indeed live in worrying times where the whole of the UK media, MET office and government are convinced that recent weather pattern, “record” snow levels on Scottish mountains (the ski lifts are buried in places) and flooding in England is all down to an excess of 140 ppm CO2 and manmade global warming – rechristened Climate Change. The media are claiming we are having the worst floods for 240 years (circa 1774) and they seem to lack the intellectual capacity to at least realise that if this happened before then it was down to something other than CO2 then and perhaps whatever caused the bad floods 240 years ago may be doing so again.

        Part of the story in Somerset at least could be exceptional high Lunar tides adding to storm surges and high winds. Clive Best has a couple of interesting articles on this.

        • Roger Andrews says:


          “We do indeed live in worrying times where the whole of the UK media, MET office and government are convinced that recent weather pattern … is all down to an excess of 140 ppm CO2 ….”

          Don’t feel lonely. The US has its share of True Believers (including Obama) and so do a lot of other countries. The problem is that no amount of hard evidence is ever going to convince these people that CAGW isn’t real because their belief in it is ideological (some say religious) and therefore immune to scientific rebuttal.

          So what to do? The only solution I see is to throw the rascals out. Over to you.

  3. Kit P says:

    “Newberry Volcano is one of the largest and youngest volcanoes in the United States.” Really! What is it about renewable energy that evokes ridiculous hyperbole?
    First the dateline is 2012. Second it is all BS. This is not to say that there is anything wrong with geothermal. It works fine and the US has been a world leader for many years. Producing power is hard work done by smart people. To quote the CEO of a company that has actual experience building geothermal plants, all we need to build more plants is money.

  4. Kit P says:

    “is threatening water supplies across state lines. ”
    This spill is in my backyard and no drinking water supplies have detected problems. I used to work for Duke Energy. This coal plant belonged to a utility that Duke recently bought. Duke also inherited a broken nuke plant in the deal. Also visited the site of the much larger spill in Kingston Tennessee after it was cleaned.
    Recently visited Paris and while I am sure those the media would not agree, if you are looking for a beautiful place to live, try looking near a coal fired power plant.

    • Euan Mearns says:

      Hi Kit, I presume you mean Paris Texas? All fair comment. I didn’t notice the date on the geothermal story. I should explain that the stories I post here are those that arrive in my mail box (+ Luis’ distilled take on world energy status) and I do have some Green friends who are drawn to the FF catastrophe end of the news spectrum. Posting all stories hopefully provides some balance and the opportunity for folks to add their opinion.

      • Kit P says:

        Euan, that would be Paris, France hold up in a very tall building working. I asked my wife if she wanted to spend our anniversary in Paris and then we spent a week enjoying the beautiful French country side and the English Channel. We we were also in Bend, Oregon on vacation last fall. We would still be living in the PNW if those folks were serious about renewable energy. No rivers lined with concrete, no big art museums, no cathedrals, no monuments to man’s inhumanity to man. If you like volcanoes and geological wonders surrounded by trees, I have a coal power plant for you.

  5. Kit P says:

    “Luminant, Texas’ largest power ”
    It is amazing what motivation $5000/MWh power prices induce. Here is how the game is played. Mild weather and a poor economy lead to lower demand so utilities close coal plants with grand claims of protecting the environment. When the consequences of coal plant being closed without replacement is realized we find out that the closer was only temporary.

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