As part of an ongoing series of conversations about building America's energy future, the Monitor hosted a roundtable discussion in Washington on Dec. 12, 2012 with several clean-energy experts. The video below is an excerpt from panelist Richard Caperton, the director of clean energy investment at the Center for American Progress, a Washington-based progressive educational institute. Mr. Caperton speaks about his vision for a bipartisan clean-energy policy in America. The discussion was sponsored by Areva, a Paris-based energy company.
The Detroit auto show is rife with attention-grabbing displays, but they rarely involve time travel.
VIA Motors seemed to at the Detroit auto show Monday when it featured Thomas Edison – portrayed by an actor in holographic form – lending wisdom to Bob Lutz, retired General Motors executive and a driving force behind the Chevy Volt electric car.
"Now it's your turn to share the light," the projected electric light-bulb pioneer told Mr. Lutz in an exchange that preluded the unveiling of VIA's latest line of converted-electric trucks, vans and SUVs.
The stunt underscored the automakers' panache for head-turning displays, and hinted at the less-flashy innovations taking place under the hoods. The heart of the Detroit auto show may be automotive eye-candy, but some automakers highlighted new approaches to energy use in an industry that consumes a lot of it.
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For VIA, fleet vehicles – those used as taxis, buses, and by large companies – were a target of energy savings. The company has developed an extended-range electric cargo van that it expects will achieve 100 miles per gallon with near zero emissions. ( Continue… )
Kenya has become the hottest oil and gas venue in East Africa since big discoveries were made in the country’s virgin oilfields last April. All eyes are on Kenya in 2013 to see how quickly--and economically they can develop those discoveries into production.
Nairobi based Taipan Resources Inc. (TPN-TSXV; TAIPF-PINK) is the 4th largest acreage owner in Kenya, and is getting ready to carry out seismic on Block 2B. They recently attracted Maxwell Birley as CEO. Mr. Birley has been instrumental in discovering more than 2 billion barrels of oil equivalent in his 30-year career—much of it in Africa and Asia.
In an exclusive interview with Oilprice.com, Taipan CEO Maxwell Birley discusses:
• Why Kenya is the hottest venue in East Africa
• Why 2013 will be a stellar year for Kenya
• Why the regulatory environment remains attractive
• Why Kenya outranks its neighbours
• Why infrastructure will be in place in time for commercial activity
• Why this venue is good for the juniors
• Why the Somalia security risk remains low
• What Taipan is really chasing
Oilprice.com: There were some major discoveries in Kenya last year. Could you give me some colour on these discoveries that has the market thinking Kenya is now one of the hottest exploration spots on earth? ( Continue… )
As part of an ongoing series of conversations about building America's energy future, the Monitor hosted a roundtable discussion in Washington on Dec. 12, 2012 with several clean-energy experts. The video below is an excerpt from panelist Dan Simmons, director of regulatory and state affairs at the Institute for Energy Research, a not-for-profit organization that conducts research on global energy markets. Mr. Simmons speaks about his vision for a bipartisan clean-energy policy in America. The discussion was sponsored by Areva, a Paris-based energy company.
Stagnant winds and heavy traffic emissions are likely to blame for the temporary spike. But China is no stranger to dirty air. The noxious gray that frequently blankets its major cities reflects China's reliance – some would say, over-reliance – on coal.
In 2010, coal made up nearly 80 percent of China's power output, according to the International Energy Agency. The industrializing nation accounts for almost half of global coal demand. India comes in at a distant second – burning 12 percent of the world's total – making China the undisputed king of coal.
China's economy has almost certainly benefited from this relatively cheap fossil fuel, but coal has not exactly fostered breathable air or pristine views in Chinese cities. ( Continue… )
Here's the short version of why forecasts of low long-term oil and natural gas prices are almost certainly wrong: It costs more than that to get the stuff out of the ground. Only two things could actually lead to low long-term prices: 1) Somebody could invent and deploy some genuinely brand new technology that makes it really cheap once again to get oil and gas out of the ground or 2) we could have a deep and grinding deflationary depression that brings demand for oil and natural gas down so much that prices collapse.
The people who are predicting $50, now $45 oil, and $3, now $2 natural gas (in the United States) for as far as the eye can see believe that such prices will result from the already widespread application of currenttechnology. And yet, the very companies that use that technology to extract these hydrocarbons say that there's no way they can produce them profitably at those prices. ExxonMobil's CEO said last year, "We are losing our shirts" selling natural gas at such low prices. Forecasts for much lower oil prices would also represent losses on new wells for most oil producers.
Here's why: The full cost of producing new oil for the 50 largest publicly traded oil companies in the world is $92 a barrel according to Bernstein Research. While average costs are lower because they include previously discovered conventional oil which is cheaper and easier to produce, the Bernstein report challenges the notion that new technologies will lead to cheaper oil. Those technologies including hydraulic fracturing will make it possible to extract previously uneconomic oil resources--but only at very high and rising costs. In fact, the cost of producing the marginal new barrel of oil has been rising at 14 percent per year since 2001, Bernstein says. Finding, developing and producing new oil isn't getting cheaper; it's getting much more expensive. So while oil prices could fall below the cost of producing new barrels for a while, they simply could not stay there unless the world were to become content with ever shrinking supplies of oil. No company will continue to drill for oil when each new well loses money.
So given that the world will probably continue to seek expanded supplies of oil, prices in the long run below $92 a barrel seem implausible. And, that floor is likely to rise as the oil resources that companies are now forced to pursue become costlier and more difficult to extract. We've already extracted the easy-to-get oil in the first 150 years of the oil age; now comes the hard stuff. ( Continue… )
As part of an ongoing series of conversations about building America's energy future, the Monitor hosted a roundtable discussion in Washington on Dec. 12, 2012, with several clean-energy experts. The video above is an excerpt from panelist Josh Freed, director of the Clean Energy Program at Thirdway, a moderate think tank based in Washington. Mr. Freed speaks about his vision for a bipartisan clean energy policy in America. The discussion was sponsored by Areva, a Paris-based energy company.
For one, climate skeptics fear that people who are not qualified to opine on the complex topic of energy production may cripple economies with assorted misguided energy related boondoggles. Is that a realistic concern? What are the odds? I’m going to argue here that the odds are not zero. I offer as anecdotal evidence, the above video Debating The New Environmentalism hosted by Bryan Walsh, which I will eventually parse below. Interestingly enough, all three participants are wearing nearly identical shirts. Only Bill McKibben thought to wear his red power tie.
Push Me, Pull You
On one hand, it seems unlikely that global warming activists will throttle economies in large part because, as McKibben said, “We are losing badly.” He was referring to efforts to reduce carbon emissions. But consider this, from Ask McKibben Anything: What About Nuclear Energy:
The advantage of nuclear energy is that it is largely carbon free …
So why is he against it?
It’s like burning $20 bills to generate electricity.
I’m not against wind if carefully sited to minimize bird and bat deaths, which hasn’t always been the case, but because wind is also “like burning $20 bills to generate electricity,” this is a case of deception by omission.
The wind tax credit was just extended for another year. First enacted by the Energy Policy Act twenty years ago, it has been extended four, make that five, times. Every honest estimate I’ve seen suggests that this credit costs taxpayers roughly a billion dollars a year, for a total of roughly $20 billion and counting. ( Continue… )
As part of an ongoing series of conversations about building America's energy future, the Monitor hosted a roundtable discussion in Washington on Dec. 12, 2012, with several clean-energy experts. The video below is an excerpt from panelist Alec Hoppes, director of congressional affairs at Areva, a Paris-based energy company. Mr. Hoppes speaks about his vision for moving clean-energy policy forward in America. The discussion was sponsored by Areva.
In its new 787 "Dreamliner," Boeing has brought a new level of fuel efficiency to the skies by borrowing a page from earth-bound hybrids: battery power.
So when the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced Friday it would launch an investigation into the Boeing 787 because of a recent small electrical fire and fuel leaks, it raised a question if Boeing has pushed reliance on electric power too far too fast.
Boeing officials insist the plane is safe, and industry experts downplay the errors as typical growing pains for a new technology. The Airbus A380, now a staple of commercial flight, suffered an exploding engine and cracked wings in its early years.
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The "Dreamliner" is propelled by fuel, but many of its onboard features depart from typical planes by using electrical power. The 787's engine start, auxiliary power unit, wing ice protection, and other units rely on electrical systems, instead of traditional pneumatics. This "no-bleed," electrical architecture allows the plane to produce thrust more efficiently as energy is not diverted away from the high-speed air produced by the engines. ( Continue… )