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Photovoltaics: new policy challenges for Europe

Using a simple cost model this article shows that PV technologies can indeed supply electricity to the grid for less than 0.10 €/kWh in large swaths of the continent...

At the edge of time

An interpretation of the recent crisis as due to mineral scarcity.

The price of solar power

All across Europe feed-in tariffs and subsidies for solar power are being cut or even scrapped. In Portugal and Spain, these actions are justified with the debt crisis, even though they expand these states' trade deficit. This month the Spanish government took a decisive move to scare investors away and expel most renewable energies from the electric grid, particularly solar.

The last ASPO conference

While I feel this conference [in Vienna] was disappointing in general, the organisers are not to blame. They did their best and produced the programme that had to be, with ASPO opening itself to the wider society. But after 10 years of activity ASPO's message has failed to pass. Policy makers, climatologists, the energy industry, by and large are all yet to fully acknowledge the problem and …

Tactics and strategy at the Strait of Hormuz

About a month ago, when Iranian officials started venting the idea of closing the Strait of Hormuz to commercial traffic, Western media was prompt in reviewing the events of 1981. At that time, Iranian forces mined the Strait and engaged commercial vessels with rubber speedboats in what was largely seen as a pathetic attempt to control the area. The media seems to think that Iranian officials …

The hydrogen dream

Cesare Marchetti proposed hydrogen (H2) as a large-scale energy vector almost fifty years ago. The main concern then was to find a simple way to feed transport systems with what seemed to be a fountain of energy about to come from the expanding nuclear park. The nuclear dream is largely gone, but hydrogen lives on. Is this dream about to come true as a piece in the transition puzzle to a …

Energy storage - flywheel

This piece resulted from a challenge within the staff to write a collaborative post on emerging energy storage technologies. I left Chemistry back in high-school but one technology that for long has fascinated me lead me to volunteer to the project: the flywheel. It seemed a good justification to study why these ancient mechanisms haven't lost of the industry.

Random thoughts from ASPO-9

The ASPO conference was back to the old continent with a joint organization by ASPO-Belgium and ASPO-Netherlands. Set at the political heart of Europe with an ambitious programme that called in many speakers outside the ASPO circle, even outside the ASPO view of the world, the expectation was high.

Peak Coal: the Olduvai perspective

Coal will not be able to replace the other fossil fuels. Whether extraction peaks in 2011 or in 2050, the probabilities of coal on its own being able to help the world avoid the Olduvai cliff are slim at best. Certainly, this fossil fuel can still become more relevant as a fuel in some regions of the world. This can occur in the US for instance, if reported reserves are anywhere near a …

Planning for Europe's energy future: My submission to the Commission's 2010 Consultation on Energy

Europe is finally starting to think about its longer-term energy issues, and how they affect transportation plans. To try to deal with these issues, a new European Energy Consultation was set up, specifically to look into these issues. The European Energy Consultation asked for interested individuals to provide their input.