Friday, December 26, 2008

P2. Pick Points

Cape Wind Project Advances
The proposed wind farm, opposed by beachfront homeowners who complain the 247-foot (75-meter) towers would spoil their views, would provide enough power for about 400,000 homes.

Developers of the $1 billion project are still waiting on a composite state and local permit, as well as federal approvals by the U.S. Coast Guard, Department of the Interior and the Federal Aviation Administration, said Mark Rogers, a spokesman for privately held Cape Wind Associates LLC.Rogers said Cape Wind expects the permitting process to be complete by March

This is a project that inspired a book, itself now followed by the blog site, Cape Wind – The Book. It is further a project that, as the book recounts, has been fought very strongly by the Kennedy clan. Hopes of a resolution continue to be delayed.

Speaking of sustainable energy projects, it should be remembered that

Winter Weather impacts Green Energy
This time of year, wind turbine blades ice up, biodiesel congeals in tanks and solar panels produce less power because there is not as much sun. And perhaps most irritating to the people who own them, the panels become covered with snow, rendering them useless even in bright winter sunshine.
The biodiesel problem extends to fuel in vehicles dropping below the gel temperature, and no longer flowing easily through the engine. And there is a safety feature that I wasn’t aware of, with wind turbines shutting down if they start to build up ice (otherwise it becomes a projectile).

Chicago reminds us that

Pot holes grow in winter.
So far, according to (Chicago) city statistics, December has been, if not quite smooth sailing, then at least no bumpier than usual. As of Tuesday, pothole complaints were holding steady—about 300 pothole calls per day through the city's 311 line, said Brian Steele, a Chicago Department of Transportation spokesman.

Unfortunately asphalt is often used to fill the potholes, and while prices have currently dropped, the high costs last year had a heavy impact on highway maintenance budgets. One alternative is to install local rail, but even that is not easy sledding.

Hawaiian elevated rail debated
Honolulu's planned commuter rail system will consume enough electricity each day to power about 9,250 homes, or a community the size of Hawai'i Kai. However, that shouldn't pose a risk of energy shortage and could lower air pollutants and energy use as people switch from automobiles to trains, according to the city.
Other concerns include the aesthetics of the train, which will run on a dual-rail guideway that's about 30 feet wide and between 40 to 80 feet tall, depending on the location. There also will be 19 to 21 elevated train stations, each 50 feet wide and as much as 300 feet long.

Meanwhile the tendrils from Russia spread even further into European networks.

Gazprom takes over Siberian Oil
Russia and Serbia have signed a deal on the sale of a 51-percent stake in Serbian oil monopoly NIS to Russian gas giant Gazprom.

Serbian President Boris Tadic and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev signed the deal on December 24. Under the deal, Gazprom is to build a gas pipeline, called South Stream, through Serbia
This is all part of an ongoing “battle of the pipelines” to determine how to bring some of the richer oil, and in this case, gas, to Europe – with rival groups proposing lines that do (as in this case) or do not pass through Russia.

Unfortunately also there may be an

Energy Collapse in Ukraine
Company Lvovgaz cut off gas supplies from the Power Plant-1, because the city administration failed to deliver payments, which resulted in half of city buildings being left without heating, including 924 apartment blocks, 42 schools, 26 nurseries and 11 health facilities.

The situation is also poor in Kiev. Kyivenergo Co. has stopped hot-water supply because of the limited gas-supply. Buildings in the area in charge of the Power Plant-5 and the Power Plant-6 are left without hot water; that in general is about five thousand of apartment blocks, nearly 500 schools and nurseries and 200 hospitals
Now this is a Russian paper that I am quoting, but still this is not a promising development for the near future.

Meanwhile on the other side of Russia,

Shell is looking at investing in Sakhalin 3
In any case, we see all projects in Russia as joint ventures with prevailing participation of Russia (51 % and more). As to other regions Yamal is the region we are interested in as Nile Gilmar has emphasized.

They planned to enter "Sakhalin-3" Project in 2017-2022. The project includes several blocks; the part from them is in unallocated open recourse acreage, in particular, Kirinsky, Eastern- Odoptinsky and Ayashsky blocks. However in September the agreement was reached saying that the given blocks will be transferred to "Gazprom" till the end of the year. Development license for the "Sakhalin-3" fourth block - Veninsky - since 2003 belongs to "Rosneft". Shareholders of the company-operator on "Venineft" field are "Rosneft" (49,8 %), the Sakhalin oil company (25,1 %) and Chinese Sinopec (25,1 %).

Not content with these activities, and those in Serbia,

Gazprom to build European gas reservoir.
Gazprom and four other international energy companies will build Europe’s largest underground natural gas reservoir in The Netherlands at the exhausted Bergermeer field. The project will cost an estimated $1-1.5 billion. The Abu Dhabi National Energy Co. (TAQA), the operator of the project, announced the signing of a memorandum of understanding with Gazprom Export yesterday. . . . . . He said the usable capacity of the reservoir will be 4.1 billion cu. m. and will be launched in the second quarter of 2013.

The strengthening Russian grip on European supplies will, no doubt, have future impact, and yet . .

Drop in UK Energy Prices
The forward price of gas for delivery in the winter of 2009 has almost halved from 109p per therm in July to about 63.6p per therm. The forward price of the same contract for power has dropped from £94.50 MWhour to £56.65 MWhour. . . . . Mr Hall said this suggested that the companies could afford to make cuts of as much as 20 to 30 per cent by the spring “provided the wholesale price does not go back up again”.
Less optimistically the article notes that price drops are more likely to be in the 10-20% range.

However the drop in electricity prices might have other benefits.

High speed electric cars.
The first proper-performance, four-seater electric car from a major manufacturer is about to be launched on the UK market.

The i-MiEV – pronounced eye-meev – from Mitsubishi, is a saloon car which will carry four adults and reach a top speed of 87mph. It will be available in the UK, initially for leasing, from the middle of 2009 and can travel up to 100 miles without charging

Sadly the prices rises do not extend to the oil fields, and the rental costs of drilling rigs.

Statoil terminates rig tendering.
StatoilHydro is terminating its procurement process for rig hire for operations on the Norwegian continental shelf due to high rig rates. The Norwegian company is also reducing platform crews. ”We focus on reducing costs and making strict priorities,” says Anders Opedal, head of procurements in StatoilHydro.

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