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India’s hunger for energy

NY Times via International Herald Tribune
Exploding at the seams with building, investment and trade, India can hardly keep up with itself. City streets originally built for two lanes of traffic are teeming with four and sometimes five lanes of cars, auto- rickshaws, mopeds, buses and trucks. This energy-guzzling congestion will only become worse as India continues producing fairly high-quality goods and services at lower and lower prices – from automobiles that cost only $2,500 to low- budget airline flights for $50.

India’s president, A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, sounded exactly like President George W. Bush when he told the Asiatic Society in Manila earlier this month that energy independence must be India’s highest priority. “We must be determined to achieve this within the next 25 years, that is, by the year 2030,” he said. Unfortunately, Kalam, like Bush, is far better at talking than at any real action to reduce energy consumption.

…There is no diplomatic quick fix in this energy-hungry world. Even if India shunned Iran, it would still have to turn to other petroleum suppliers that Washington wants to isolate, including Sudan and Venezuela. And the Iranian supplies would wind up going to other energy-hungry nations, tying them more closely to Tehran.

If Bush wants to tackle this quandary seriously, he needs to begin by pushing for significant energy conservation steps in the United States, by far the world’s largest energy consumer. That would do far more to weaken the stranglehold Iran and other energy-producing nations now exercise over world oil markets.
(19 February 2006)

Bush’s nuclear energy initiative holds uncertainties

Guy Gugliotta, Washington Post
President Bush’s new nuclear energy initiative is supposed to help cure America’s “addiction to oil” by redesigning a taboo technology, originally used to obtain plutonium for bombs, to reuse spent nuclear fuel.

Unlike past reprocessing methods, the administration says, the new technique would make it prohibitively difficult for would-be proliferators to extract weapons-grade plutonium from spent fuel, and it would drastically reduce the volume of radioactive waste to be stored at repositories such as Nevada’s Yucca Mountain.

The result, Energy Secretary Samuel W. Bodman said early this month, would be increased use of nuclear power, reduced oil consumption and fewer hydrocarbon emissions, “making the world a better, cleaner and safer place to live.”

If it works. Both supporters and opponents of the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership agreed that although it marks a radical change in U.S. nuclear energy policy, it also relies on unproven technologies that will take decades to mature, and it does not guarantee success.

…But one problem with this calculation, opponents say, is that even a toe-wetting start-up requires that the United States reverse nearly 30 years of opposition to reprocessing at a time of increasing concern about weapons programs in North Korea, Iran and other nations. That “is the wrong signal to send,” said Edwin Lyman of the Union of Concerned Scientists, which opposes reprocessing.”>
(19 February 2006)
A Shift Based on Science and Politics (NY Times)
Bush, Officials Tout Energy Initiatives (AP)
Many others

Generation gap
(Blair’s plan for an EU-wide power grid)

David Gow, UK Guardian
Tony Blair’s plan for an EU-wide power grid has won the support of one of Europe’s top power executives. It could lead to a single market for Europe’s electricity, writes

Tony Blair has received support from a top European executive for an ambitious EU energy plan to meet the challenges of high oil prices, secure supplies and climate change.

Gérard Mestrallet, the chief executive of the French energy group, Suez, says the EU should invest €1,000bn (£682.7bn) in new unified grids for both electricity and gas transmission under a common energy policy.

Mr Mestrallet’s comments come ahead of next month’s EU spring summit to discuss a European commission paper on the contentious roles of renewables and nuclear power within Europe’s energy supply.
(16 February 2006)

China: Coal liquefaction to get major investment

Oilnews (China)
The government plans to heavily invest in coal liquefaction plants in the next five to 10 years as part of efforts to reduce its dependence on high-priced oil imports, the China Oilnews reported Thursday, citing the country’s top economic planning agency.

The government plans to spend US$15 billion to build plants that could make 16 million tons of oil products from coal, said the newspaper, citing the National Development and Reform Commission, or NDRC. The plants will be located in coal-rich Shanxi, Shaanxi and Yunnan provinces, as well as Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region.

Coal liquefaction is a clean and relatively efficient way of producing synthetic oil products. Proponents of coal liquefaction say it makes sense for China to follow this path, given its abundant reserves of coal, despite the high production costs.

The development of coal liquefaction in China, however, may be affected by slowing growth in domestic coal output, following government closures of numerous unsafe mines.

Shanxi, the country’s leading coal-producing province, is set to spend 87 billion yuan (US$10.7 billion) over the next five years to build a large coal-chemical complex with an annual production capacity of 2.5 million tons of polyvinyl chloride (PVC), 4.5 million tons of carbinol, 10 million tons of carbamide, the China Chemical Industry News reported Wednesday.

The complex is expected to process 2.55 million tons of coal tar a year.

According to previous reports, Shenhua Group, the nation??s largest coal producer, is building a 24.5 billion yuan (US$295.9 million) coal liquefaction plant in Inner Mongolia, the country??s first such plant.

The plant is expected to go into operation in 2007 with an annual output capacity of 3.2 million tons of oil products.
(10 February 2006)
Submitter RM says: “$15 billion over 10 years to provide 5% of current consumption. Reduce dependency on high-priced oil imports? Over the last 10 years China’s consumption has grown at 7% p.a. At this rate consumption will double in ten years, at which time CTL will provide 2.5% of consumption.”

EIA: annual energy outlook 2006 with projections to 2030

Energy Information Administration (EIA), US government
The Annual Energy Outlook 2006 presents a forecast and analysis of US energy supply, demand, and prices through 2030. The projections are based on results from the Energy Information Administration’s National Energy Modeling System. The AEO2006 includes the reference case, additional cases examining energy markets, and complete documentation.
Forecast Data Tables
(February 2006)
Site allows PDF files to be downloaded. Mentioned by The Oil Drum and theWatt, among others.