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Renewable energies to transform farmers into ‘energy moguls’ within 20 years
Refocus Weekly
Farmers will move into a strategic position in world energy markets within two decades, concludes a British research analysis.

Farmers receive money for siting wind turbines on their land, but farms with an area of 1 km² could be worth US$600 million to manufacturers of solar PV technology, explains ‘Farming Renewable Energy’ produced by CarbonFree, a UK-based research company that has completed the study of the renewable energy market for farms.

Large-scale capture of wind and solar energy requires the management of significant areas of land and, if the market for renewable energy continues to grow at the current rate, farmers will occupy a strategic position within the energy market within two decades, it concludes. While conventional energy producers are starting to look beyond oil and petroleum as resources, farmers need to look beyond ethanol and start to build comprehensive energy supply businesses.
(1 Mar 2006)
As we go past the energy peak, societies’ primary sources of energy will once again move back towards photosynthesis and away from fossil fuels. However maintaining anything like current levels of agricultural production isn’t going to be easy if at all possible. Proposals for alternative energy systems situated on arable land which directly compete with food production are, from this perspective, sadly misguided. -AF

Russia challenged by nuclear woes
Leonid Ragozin, BBC News
The new boss of Russia’s nuclear industry, Sergei Kiriyenko, has announced ambitious expansion plans which alarm environmentalists worried about continuing radioactive contamination.

This week prosecutors charged the director of Russia’s main nuclear waste processing plant – Mayak in the Urals – with violating safety rules.

Vitaly Sadovnikov is accused of allowing many tons of liquid radioactive waste to be discharged into the River Techa in 2001-2004.

Mr Kiriyenko argues that the world’s hydrocarbon resources are in decline and only nuclear power can prevent an acute energy crisis.
(28 Feb 2006)

U.S. is eyeing Alberta oilsands as key part of supply, official says
CBC News
U.S. Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman says future energy from the Alberta oilsands is a “very important component” of the country’s supply and he is hoping proximity will ensure most of it flows south.

He’s not concerned, he said, about Chinese investment in the rich resource, “I’m of the view that oil in the world is a commodity. It trades,” he said following a speech at the Canadian Embassy.

“We clearly have advantages of being close to Canada and therefore I would hope that the markets for Canadian oil would find their way to the United States in preference to other parts of the world, simply because it’s going to be less expensive to get it here,” said Bodman.
(2 Mar 2006)

ExxonMobil drilled dry North Sea well off Norway

OSLO – U.S. energy group ExxonMobil (XOM.N: Quote, Profile, Research) has drilled a dry wildcat near the Sleipner field in the Norwegian part of the North Sea, Norwegian energy officials said on Wednesday.

“The well was dry and it will now be permanently plugged and abandoned,” the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate (NPD) said in a statement.
(1 March 2006)
Comment by submitter DnD:

The last major Norwegian find was Ormen Lange, a gas field (not oil). Assuming it’s onstream in 2007, it will have taken 10 years to put into production and onto the markets.

With tax breaks, “exploration” is nearly free for majors. We’d best get used to news of more “dry holes” as governments and investors force companies to “wildcat” in locations where their geologists know there is only a minor chance of a worthwhile discovery – yet the accountants and economists can justify the expenditure via reduced tax and other incentives. This makes “economic” sense but how much vital energy will be wasted on such futile searches in the future?

Tough talk about oil

Brian Black, Christian Science Monitor
This highly readable book about America’s energy crisis urges us to think about the future of our children.

Al Crosby has written the book that, if read and applied, could alter the very culture of American energy use.

Energy consumption patterns have become the latest application of the “ugly American” ethic of gluttonous and selfish consumption. Each day, it seems, a different pundit explains how American consumers dwarf the energy needs of all other global consumers.

By Alfred Crosby
W. W. Norton
208 pp., $23.95

Children of the Sun offers a logic that – understood and acted upon – would require us to break that cycle of energy gluttony.

In this highly readable book, Crosby manages to unpack the essential concepts of energy and consumption in a manner comprehensible to the general reader.
(28 Februaryy 2006)