Other energy - Apr 6
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Africa urged to reap its alternative energy
Khulu Phasiwe, Business Day (Zambia)
AFRICAN countries should take full advantage of “abundant” resources including solar radiation and wind power to generate electricity, the eighth Pan African Power Congress heard yesterday.
The CEO of Ghana’s Volta River Authority, Joshua Ofedie, said Africa was “relatively well endowed” with energy resources that could provide a crucial boost to the continent’s dwindling electricity reserves.
“Despite its important energy resources, Africa generates only 3,1% of the world electricity, less than any other region of the world,” said Ofedie. He said the continent had an estimated geothermal energy potential of 9000MW in the Rift River Valley in east Africa.
Electricity in Africa is generated mainly from coal (46%), gas (23%), water (18%), oil (11%) and nuclear (2%). “Other renewable sources such as solar, geothermal and wind play an insignificant role so far,” Ofedie said.
However, Africa’s energy resources were unevenly located in different regions, he said.
(5 April 2006)
Coming to CNBC - Addicted to oil: can the world cope with the coming risks?
Sabine Christiansen, Global Players (CNBC)
The next edition of Global Players will be taped on April 7th at the International Oil Summit in Paris. The managers and ministers who gather there produce the world’s “black gold.” But they’re facing political and geological challenges. From the pipelines of the Nigerian Delta to the oil facilities in Saudi Arabia, from Iran and Iraq to Venezuela, political risk is threatening to disrupt supply. Oil is already insecure, and it could become insufficient – or so say analysts who claim that production is peaking even as demand soars. Can an oil-addicted world cope with the coming risks? What are OPEC’s contingency plans for short-term disruptions? How unstable is production in the Nigerian delta? Are Saudi Arabian facilities sufficiently secure? And what of reserves: is “peak oil” a myth…or a very real prospect? How will consumers adjust if oil tops $100 a barrel? What should governments be doing to foster energy security? Those are some of the questions Sabine Christiansen will discuss with her guests:
Edmund Maduabebe Daukoru - Nigerian Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, President of the OPEC Conference
Kjell Aleklett - President ASPO, Uppsala University
Malcolm Brinded - Group Managing Director Royal Dutch/Shell Group
Claude Mandil - Executive Director, IEA
Kevin Rosner - Institute for Analysis of Global Security
(6 April 2006)
Chavez makes a play
David Roberts, Gristmill
There's some big stuff happening in Venezuela these days. In an interview with the BBC, President Hugo Chavez announced a bid that could change the entire world oil situation. He wants OPEC to set its long-term oil target price at $50/barrel. Why? At $50, large portions of Venezuela's copious heavy crude in the Orinoco Tar Sands become economically viable, and Venezuela's official oil reserves automatically skyrocket to 312 billion barrels -- surpassing Saudi Arabia's 262 billion, currently the world's largest.
This would raise OPEC's production quotas, bring in a bucketload of new revenue to the Venezuelan government (which just renegotiated more favorable terms with several oil companies, and seized oil fields from two companies that refused to cooperate), and dramatically increase the country's influence and Chavez's stature.
(5 April 2006)
Rumored Iran plan has blogs breathless (bourse)
A Web of oil intrigue
David R. Baker, SF Chronicle
Iran has a plan to destroy America, and it has nothing to do with the bomb.
Instead, the Islamic republic will use oil and euros to slay the Great Satan, breathless accounts on the Internet warn. The attack will proceed as follows:
Iran will open an oil trading exchange that operates in euros rather than dollars -- until now, the world's sole currency for buying crude. Other countries, whose central banks were holding onto dollars largely to buy oil, will dump their dollars en masse.
The greenback's value will collapse. The American economy will tank. The U.S.-dominated New World Order will disappear in a flurry of currency trades.
This tall tale has circulated on the Web for months. Bloggers type apocalyptic postings about it. People who identify themselves as economists engage in detailed, sometimes arcane debates on it. And like any good online story, the saga of the Iranian oil exchange, or bourse, has taken on a viral life of its own.
(4 April 2006)
US Senators edge toward carbon cutting consensus
Heel-dragging committee gets industry kick up the behind
Chris Williams, The Register
US Senators have made baby steps toward introducing federal carbon caps on the back of evidence from industry. Bizarrely, some electricity firms pleaded for the politicians to speed up the process.
Energy giant Exelon's Elizabeth Moler said: "It is critical that we start now." She also noted that Congress had first taken testimony on global warming back in 1978.
Industry chiefs haven't come over all Rainbow Warrior though. Instead, they're interested in the cost savings and market advantages that replacing the current hotch-potch of state laws with an integrated national carbon scheme would offer. The regulatory framework needs to be in place, they say, before investment can be made in carbon-reducing technologies
WalMart corporate strategy VP Andy Ruben told reporters: "We believe this is good business."
(5 April 2006)
Ethanol fuels gas troubles
Paul Tharp, NY Post
The pain of $4-a-gallon gasoline for your beach trips is already on its way to New York gas pumps - thanks to corn fields in the often-parched Midwest.
Excluding geopolitical troubles, the new culprit being blamed for picking the pockets of motorists this season is a colorless, environmentally friendly liquid called ethanol - distilled from corn or sugar cane into a volatile explosive that soups up gasoline.
...To the anxiety of many energy-watchers, America is switching all its gasoline by May 5 to a new blended gasoline that uses 10 percent ethanol to create its octane rating. The old octane booster, MTBE (methyl tertiary butyl ether), has been virtually outlawed as a cancer-causing pollutant and won't be used after May 5.
Instead, motorists and gas station operators will have to rely on America having enough corn to keep ethanol flowing in huge quantities to blend their cleaner-burning gas. New York and Connecticut are already on ethanol, but New Jersey and most of the rest of America haven't yet switched.
...The biggest unknown is whether there's enough; next is getting it distributed. "Ethanol doesn't travel well - in pipelines it separates into water and liquids - and has to be trucked wherever it goes."
(4 April 2006)