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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.