Archive for the ‘China’ Category

DAVID TOW, Future Planet, January 16, 2010

By 2015 India and China will both have outstripped the US in energy consumption by a large margin. Cap and Trade carbon markets will have been established by major developed economies, including India and China, as the most effective way to limit carbon emissions and encourage investment in renewable energy, reforestation projects etc.

There will have been a significant shift by consumers and industry to renewable energy technologies- around 25%, powered primarily by the new generation adaptive wind and solar energy mega-plants, combined with the rapid depletion of the most easily accessible oil fields. Coal and gas will continue to play a major role at around 60% useage, with clean coal and gas technologies still very expensive. Nuclear technology will remain static at 10% and hydro at 5%.

Most new vehicles and local transport systems will utilise advanced battery or hydrogen electric power technology, which will continue to improve energy density outputs.

Efficiency and recycling savings of the order of 30% on today’s levels will be available from the application of smart adaptive technologies in power grids, communication, distribution and transport networks, manufacturing plants and consumer households. This will be particularly critical for the sustainability of cities across the planet. Cities will also play a critical role in not only supporting the energy needs of at least 60% of the planet’s population through solar, wind, water and waste energy capture but will feed excess capacity to the major power grids, providing a constant re-balancing of energy supply across the world.

By 2025 a global Cap and Trade regime will be mandatory and operational worldwide. Current oil sources will be largely exhausted but the remaining new fields will be exploited in the Arctic, Antarctic and deep ocean locations.  Renewable energy will account for 40% of useage, including baseload power generation. Solar and wind power will dominate in the form of huge desert solar and coastal and inland wind farms; but all alternate forms- wave, geothermal, secondary biomass, algael etc will begin to play a significant role.

Safer helium-cooled and fast breeder fourth generation modular nuclear power reactors will replace many of the older water-cooled and risk-prone plants, eventually  accounting for around 15% of energy production; with significant advances in the storage of existing waste in stable ceramic materials.

By 2035 global warming will reach a critical threshold with energy useage tripling from levels in 2015, despite conservation and efficiency advances. Renewables will account for 60% of the world’s power supply, nuclear 15% and fossils 25%. Technologies to convert CO2 to hydocarbon fuel together with more efficient recycling and sequestration, will allow coal and gas to continue to play a significant role.

By 2045-50 renewables will be at 75-80% levels, nuclear 12% and clean fossil fuels 10-15%. The first Hydrogen and Helium3 pilot fusion energy plants will be commissioned, with large-scale generators expected to come on stream in the latter part of the century, eventually reducing carbon emissions to close to zero.

However the above advances will still be insufficient to prevent the runaway effects of global warming. These long-term impacts will raise temperatures well beyond the additional two-three degrees centigrade critical limit.

Despite reduction in emissions by up to 85%, irreversible and chaotic feedback impacts on the global biosphere will be apparent. These will be triggered by massive releases of methane from permafrost and ocean deposits, fresh water flows from melting ice causing disruptions to ocean currents and weather patterns.

These will affect populations beyond the levels of ferocity of the recent Arctic freeze, causing chaos in the northern hemisphere and reaching into India and China and the droughts and heat waves of Africa, the Middle East and Australia.

The cycle of extreme weather events and rising oceans that threaten to destroy many major coastal cities will continue to increase, compounded by major loss of ecosystems, biodiversity and food capacity. This will force a major rethink of the management of energy and climate change as global catastrophe threatens.

Increasingly desperate measures will be canvassed and tested, including the design of major geo-engineering projects aimed at reducing the amount of sunlight reaching earth and reversal of the acidity of the oceans. These massive infrastructure projects would have potentially enormous ripple-on effects on all social, industrial and economic systems. They are eventually assessed to be largely ineffective, unpredictable and unsustainable.

As forecasts confirm that carbon levels in the atmosphere will remain high for the next 1,000 years, regardless of mitigating measures, priorities shift urgently to the need to minimise risk to life on a global scale, while protecting civilisation’s core infrastructure, social, knowledge and cultural assets.

Preserving the surviving natural ecosystem environment and the critical infrastructure of the built environment, particularly the Internet and Web, will now be vital. The sustainability of human life on planet Earth, in the face of overwhelming catastrophe, will be dependent to a critical degree on the power of the intelligent Web 4.0, combining human and artificial intelligence to manage food, water, energy and human resources.

Only the enormous problem-solving capacity of this human-engineered entity, will be capable of ensuring the continuing survival of civilisation as we know it.

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TERRY MACALISTER, The Guardian/UK, November 7, 2008

BP has dropped all plans to build wind farms and other renewable schemes in Britain and is instead concentrating the bulk of its $8bn (£5bn) renewables spending programme on the US, where government incentives for clean energy projects can provide a convenient tax shelter for oil and gas revenues.

The decision is a major blow to the prime minister, Gordon Brown, who has promised to sweep away all impediments to ensure Britain is at the forefront of the green energy revolution. BP and Shell – which has also pulled out of renewables in Britain – are heavily influential among investors.

BP has advertised its green credentials widely in the UK and has a representative on the ruling board of the British Wind Energy Association (BWEA). But it said difficulty in getting planning permission and lower economies of scale made the UK wind sector far less attractive than that of the US.

“The best place to get a strong rate of return for wind is the US,” said a BP spokesman, who confirmed the group had shelved ideas of building an onshore wind farm at the Isle of Grain, in Kent, and would not bid for any offshore licences.

BP has enormous financial firepower as a result of recent very high crude oil prices. Its move away from wind power in Britain follows a decision by Shell to sell off its stake in the London Array project off Kent, potentially the world’s largest offshore wind farm.

Shell gave the same reasons as BP for that move, saying the economics of UK wind were poor compared to those onshore across the Atlantic, where incoming president Barack Obama has promised to spend $150bn over 10 years to kick start a renewable energy revolution .

BP said about $1.5bn would be spent next year on US wind projects and the company expected to spend the $8bn up to the year 2015.

BP is still proceeding with some limited solar, biofuels and other schemes, but the vast majority of its time and energy is now being concentrated on wind. By the end of 2008, BP expects to have one gigawatt of US wind power installed and plans to have trebled this by 2010.

The BWEA shrugged off BP’s decision. “The offshore wind market is evolving and getting stronger. Different investors will come and go at different stages of the development cycle. But whoever the players are, we know that the offshore industry will be generating massive amounts of electricity for the UK market in the next few years,” said a spokesman.

Britain is not the only country to miss out on BP’s largesse. The company said yesterday it was also pulling out of China, India and Turkey, where it had also been looking at projects.

BP had formed a joint venture with Beijing Tianrun New Energy Investment Company, a subsidiary of Goldwind, China’s largest turbine maker. The two companies had signed a deal in January under which they planned 148.4MW of wind capacity in Inner Mongolia, China’s main wind power region. BP had also started building two wind farms in India and was considering schemes in Turkey. It is now expecting to sell off the Indian facilities and halt work in Turkey.

Green campaigners have been highly sceptical about BP’s plans to go “beyond petroleum” and feared that the company’s new chief executive, Tony Hayward, would drop this commitment, started under his predecessor, John Browne.

The company has always insisted it remained keen to look at green energy solutions and has been investing in biofuels operations in Brazil. BP is also in the middle of a major marketing campaign, with huge posters on the London Underground boasting of its moves to diversify into wind and other energy sources.

The Carbon Trust, a government-funded organisation established to help Britain move from carbon to clean energy, recently published a major report warning ministers that the costs of building wind farms offshore was too high. There was speculation that BP was a major influence on that study, which proposed that turbines should be allowed to be placed much nearer to the shore.

The Crown Estate, which has responsibility for UK inshore waters, is still confident that a long-awaited third offshore wind licensing round in the North Sea will attract a record number of bidders. It has already registered 96 companies, although it has not released names and BP and Shell will clearly be absent.

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Platt/McGraw-Hill, August 2008

As well as the US, many other nations are also looking to crack the wave energy market.

In Sweden, for instance, the first wave-powered plant is set to begin delivering electricity to twenty homes on the country’s west coast within a few weeks. Seabased, a marine-energy technology headquartered in Uppsala, Sweden, is using its patented turbine system in the pilot project, which it is financing through a combination of investment capital and grant money. Investors include Finnish power company Fortum, which has invested SEK 6 million ($989,000) as well as Swedish utility Vattenfall and a Swedish state pension fund. In addition, the Swedish Energy Agency gave the company a SEK 13.6 million ($2.2 million) grant earlier in 2008. In the first phase, 10 generators with capacity of about 100 kW will be installed. Seabased is looking to expand the project to 12 MW of installed capacity. That plan, however, could be stopped by the Swedish military. In a letter to Minister for Enterprise and Energy Maud Olofsson, military officers expressed concern that wave power generators could interfere with defense operations on Sweden’s west coast.

In addition, China, with ample potential wave power along its 18,000-kilometer (11,160-mile) coastline, is taking steps to develop marine energy. Israeli company S.D.E. Energy recently signed an agreement to sell wave-power plants in China. The company said that the power plants will be financed by investors in Hong Kong and other parts of China. Two joint venture companies, formed in Hong Kong, will build an initial model in Guangzhou province in southern China. SDE said that if the model proves successful, the joint ventures will establish sea wave power plants across the country. The process is subject to the approval of the Chinese government. SDE executives said the cost of erecting a 1-MW wave power station starts at $650,000. This compares to $900,000 for a similar sized natural gas station, $1.5 million for a coal-fired or wind powered station and $3 million for a solar station, the company said.

All told, wave energy has recently made major strides toward commercial development – progress that could accelerate in countries like Portugal and the UK in the coming months. Winners and losers still must be sorted: Energy analyst Douglas Westwood estimates that more than 80 wave and tidal systems are currently competing for market share. The next challenges will surface as initiatives like the Portuguese Aguçadoura project near the brink of commercial-scale power generation.

Wave energy’s “adoption as a credible renewable energy source is vital,” an industry observer said in an interview. “The technology is still expensive. But it’s a question of how quickly rather than whether it develops.”

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Israel21c.org via Ocean Energy News, July 23 2008

Israeli company S.D.E. Energy, developer of an innovative technology for generating electricity from sea waves, has signed an agreement for selling wave energy plants in China for an undisclosed sum.

Construction of the power plants will be financed by investors from Hong Kong and China. Two joint venture companies, formed in Hong Kong for the purpose of the agreement by S.D.E. and its investors, will build an initial model in Guangzhou province in southern China. Should the model prove to be successful, it will launch the establishment of sea wave power plants throughout China.

The S.D.E. process is subject to the approval of the government of China, which it intends to target as the sole customer for the electricity generated.

Electricity shortages in China are worsening every day and current energy sources are problematic: fossil fuels increase the country’s already intolerable levels of air and environmental pollution; nuclear power plants and hydroelectric stations are highly susceptible to earthquake damage; typhoons make building wind farms extremely difficult and solar systems are costly.

With prices of crude oil rising fast, there is new interest in alternative sources of energy, and the idea of generating power from ocean waves is becoming increasingly attractive, according to S.D.E.

The Tel Aviv company’s system produces renewable and clean energy from ocean waves, which it claims have the potential to supply four times more energy per square meter than wind power. The system’s advantages are high efficiency, ability to modulate energy storage capabilities and relatively low cost for construction and generation of electricity.

According to S.D.E., the cost of erecting a one megawatt wave energy station starts at $650,000, compared with $900,000 for a similarly-sized natural gas station; $1.5 million for a coal-fired or wind-powered station; and $3 million for a solar power station.

US investors have taken note of S.D.E.’s advances, managing director Shmuel Ovadia told ISRAEL21c. “We’re currently in talks to raise $100 million from US investors and we’re negotiating building a 30 MW wave energy plant in San Francisco at a cost of $20 million.”

The first commercial, full-scale model of the system, capable of generating 40 electrical kilowatts (eKW) has been working successfully for a year and is located at the Jaffa Port in Tel Aviv-Yafo.

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MendoCoastCurrent, July 19, 2008

S.D.E., an Israeli wave energy developer, has signed an agreement to develop and sell wave energy plants throughout China. Construction of the power plants will be financed by investors from Hong Kong and China.

S.D.E. is in step with other wave energy developers, focusing on the advantages in producing electricity from waves. Currently, S.D.E. has a unique funding strategy in applying the wave power technology in their territories by attaching the franchise for selling electricity to the financiers funding the project.

On July 8, 2007 S.D.E. announced that the initial ‘model’ or test will be in the Guangzhou province in southern China. If it’s successful, S.D.E. will launch wave power plants throughout China. The process is subject to the approval of the Government of China which will purchase all electricity generated.

“Our system produces renewable and clean energy from sea waves,” said S.D.E. MendoCoastCurrent looks forward to learning more about the technologies they’ll employ.

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Washington — President Bush asked Congress Wednesday to permit drilling for oil in deep water off America’s coasts to combat rising oil and gas prices.

“There is no excuse for delay,” the president said in a Rose Garden statement.

Bush also renewed his demand that Congress allow drilling in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, or ANWR, clear the way for more refineries and encourage efforts to recover oil from shale in areas such as the Green River Basin of Colorado, Utah and Wyoming.

Bush said that the basin potentially contains more than three times as much recoverable oil as Saudi Arabia’s proven reserves, and that the high price of oil makes it profitable to extract it.

“In the short run, the American economy will continue to rely largely on oil, and that means we need to increase supply here at home,” said Bush, adding there is no more pressing issue than gas prices for many Americans.

The White House estimates there are 18 billion barrels of oil offshore that have not been exploited because of state bans, 10 billion to 12 billion in the Alaska National Wildlife Reserve, and 800 billion barrels of recoverable oil in the Green River Basin. However, much of the U.S. oil is difficult or impossible to extract under current law.

As for gas prices, resuming offshore exploration would not be a quick fix.

“If we were to drill today realistically speaking we should not expect a barrel of oil coming out of this new resource for three years, maybe even five years, so let’s not kid ourselves,” said Fadel Gheit, oil and gas analyst with Oppenheimer & Co. Equity Capital Markets Division. But it almost certainly would be profitable.

Candida Scott, an oil industry researcher at Cambridge Research Associates, said oil needs to be priced at $60 a barrel or more to justify deep-shelf drilling. With oil now selling for $134 a barrel, companies are almost assured of profiting from offshore drilling, Scott said.

“For years, the president has pushed Congress to expand our domestic oil supply, but Democrats in Congress have consistently blocked such action,” White House Press Secretary Dana Perino told CNN before Bush spoke. She added, “As with several existing Republican congressional proposals, he wants to work with states to determine where offshore drilling should occur, and also for the federal government to share revenues with the states. The president believes Congress shouldn’t waste any more time.” Democrats were quick to reject Bush’s proposal.

“After eight years, President Bush and [Vice President] Dick Cheney have turned the GOP into the Gas and Oil Party. That’s the legacy that they are going to leave,” said Rep. Edward Markey of Massachusetts, chairman of the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming.

“The White House has become a ventriloquist for the oil and gas industry, repeating the requests of the oil and gas industry — that they be allowed to destroy the most pristine areas of our country,” Markey added.

Congressional Democrats last week introduced a bill to compel oil companies to begin utilizing federal land they already lease.

“Oil companies are sitting on 68 million acres they have already leased from the American people for the purpose of oil and natural gas production,” said Sen. Bob Menendez, D-New Jersey.

“It is about time they use these resources already at their disposal instead of waiting for more federal handouts and pushing to drill in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge or up and down our coasts,” he added.

Bush’s request came a day after presumed Republican presidential nominee John McCain issued the same call at a campaign event in Houston, Texas.

“We have proven oil reserves of at least 21 billion barrels in the United States,” he said. “But a broad federal moratorium stands in the way of energy exploration and production. And I believe it is time for the federal government to lift these restrictions and to put our own reserves to use.” He said lifting the ban could be done “in ways that are consistent with sensible standards of environmental protection.”

Opponents of offshore drilling say it would harm aquatic ecosystems by eroding wetlands, contaminating the water with chemicals, polluting the air, killing fish and dumping waste.

McCain made clear that he favors continuing the ban on drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

“Quite rightly, I believe, we confer a special status on some areas of our country that are best left undisturbed. When America set aside the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, we called it a “refuge” for a reason,” he said.

McCain’s plan would let individual states decide whether to explore drilling possibilities.

According to his campaign, presumptive Democratic nominee Barack Obama wants to invest $150 billion over the next 10 years to establish a green energy sector, create a national low-carbon fuel standard to ensure that the fuel is more efficient, and invest in clean energies +50 miles off the Florida coast – by Cubans, not Americans, with help from China and other allies. A rich undersea oil field stretches into Cuban waters near the Florida Keys.

“The people I represent can’t understand how we can possibly let China end up with rights to our oil and gas in the Gulf of Mexico because we say we’re not going to do it and they say, ‘OK, we’ll do it and we’ll work with Cuba, if we have to, to do it,'” said U.S. Rep. Zach Wamp, R-Tennessee. “That’s really asinine.”

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FIONA HARVEY & REBECCA BREAM, The Financial Times, February 7, 2008

More than half the world’s new wind farms were built outside Europe last year, the first time this has occurred.

Research by the Global Wind Energy Council showed that, although Europe remains the world’s biggest generator of wind energy, its position is being eroded as growth speeds up in the US and China.

“Europe used to be the only real market in the world for wind energy but other regions have caught up,” said Mortimer Menzel, partner at Augusta and Co., an investment bank.

The report found that, while Germany still has the most installed wind energy capacity in the world, the US is set to overtake it by the end of next year. Spain is hard on the US’s heels, and India and China are far ahead of many developed countries, in fourth and fifth place respectively.

Jose Manuel Barroso, president of the European Commission, warned recently that the US was overtaking the EU on renewable energy technologies, for which Europeans have long held the crown. He said: “The US are more advanced than we are in this field.”

The GWEC described the growth of the Asian markets as “breathtaking”. A quarter of the wind energy generation capacity built in 2007 was constructed in Asia, chiefly China and India.

Bosena Jankowska, team leader of sustainability research at RCM Global Investors, said: “China is certainly starting to become much more visible on the radar screens of alternative energy. There is lots of potential for wind in China, for instance in Inner Mongolia.”

China is likely to become the world’s top manufacturer of wind turbines next year, according to the GWEC, which estimated the global market for wind generation equipment at $36bn (€24.5bn, £18.34bn) per year.

The market for global wind energy is still tiny compared with that of fossil fuels, at about 1% of power generation.

Ms. Jankowska pointed to Xinjiang Goldwind Science and Technology, a Chinese turbine manufacturer that had “come from nowhere” to a flotation on the Shenzen stock exchange last year, when its shares soared by 264 per cent on the first day.

India’s Suzlon, another turbine maker, has made two large overseas acquisitions in the past two years. Last year it bought Repower, a German turbine company, which it won in a bid battle with Arriva, the French energy technology company, for €1.3bn. In 2006 it bought Hansen, a Belgian gearbox maker, for $565m.

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