Wednesday, January 28, 2009

P26. Pick Points

Half-a-dozen or so stories of interest:

Former Vice-President Gore has given his support to the Administration’s Stimulus package. He supported the cap and trade process for dealing with CO2 emissions, and the need to enter the Copenhagen treaty talks, something the Europeans are also suggesting. Not everybody, however agrees. And despite the comments around the blogsphere the news that Dr Hansen’s supervisor is now skeptical of the whole Global Warming argument, is not making any waves, or even riding above them, in the MSM. Of course the darkness could also be because of power outages from the storm that has a million folk without power.

In Davos, at the World Economic Forum, the theme is also that investing in “green” energy projects will fix the economies of the world and bring us back to good times, although the need for investments in current fuel sources, such as oil, should not be forgotten as the IEA executive director pointed out. They will be needed for the new off-shore oil tracts that the Interior Department is now looking into opening up. And the story of Prime Minister Putin’s painting won’t go away. He can’t be excited by the news that after the Ukraine debacle Germany is now considering importing LNG. They are also forming an International Renewable Energy Agency to match the IEA.

Chinese energy imports were down to a growth rate of only 3.7% last year and while coal was down, oil was up. However the amount that they expected from Venezuela did not all arrive . Some of the oil sent from Venezuela is to pay off on a Chinese loan, but Venezuela is hoping that the world price will get back up to around $80 a barrel, and is trimming production.

Colorado is tightening the rules on natural gas, while Utah is committing to more investment in renewable energy. The sort of energy savings that the new Administration may have in mind by adopting energy efficiency standards may be epitomized by Glenborough LLC who saved 1.5 billion kilowatt hours. Cisco is coming out with business software to monitor and manage energy use.

Five utility companies are joining EPRI to study ways of conducting CCS as a retrofit to existing power plants. Trying to stimulate plankton to absorb CO2 doesn’t appear to work as well as hoped so there goes the idea of dumping iron particles into the sea. Which is good given the questions about its legality.

Further to the note the other day about Bangladesh moving to install surface coal mines, the government is now going to prepare a law governing compensation for those that will be displaced.

The Russian city of Arkhangelsk is thinking of changing its power station from oil to gas, as a way of saving money, but given that Gazprom is talking to Norway about possibly using some of its pipelines to supply Britain, though that may be a problem, since, according to a detailed article in Der Speigel on the Nord Stream pipeline, Russia only has 20-years of natural gas left.

For more stories go to The Energy Bulletin, or Drumbeat at The Oil Drum

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