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Gadget boom to drive up energy demand

Peter Griffiths, Reuters
LONDON – Flat-screen televisions, computers and other hi-tech gadgets will use nearly half of a typical household’s total electricity by 2020, an energy conservation body said in a report on Wednesday.

The Energy Saving Trust (EST) said consumer electronics will overtake kitchen appliances and lighting as the biggest single drain on domestic power. Its report, “The Ampere Strikes Back,” said new devices are often more power-hungry than earlier models and many are left on standby rather than being switched off. Some don’t even have an “off” button.

“Not only are there many more devices in the typical home, but many of them are in a permanent state of readiness to swing into action,” the report says. In 1982, only three percent of homes had a personal computer compared to 60 percent today. Similarly, printer ownership has shot up to 58 percent from 0.7 percent. ..

The growth of single person households — many with big TVs, set-top boxes, computers, games consoles, TV and music recorders and digital radios — will add to the higher energy consumption…
(4 July 2007)
Couldn’t find the report on the EST’s site, hopefully be up soon.

Electricity in Uganda

Chris Vernon, The Oil Drum: Europe
In Europe we take our electricity supply largely for granted, almost all Europeans have reliable grid electricity at affordable prices. This isn’t the case everywhere in the world and may not always be the case in Europe. Electricity is a particular concern in the UK where a generation crisis is brewing with the decommission of the aging nuclear fleet, the closure of around a third of the coal fleet under the EU Large Combustion Plant Directive and the rapid depletion of North Sea gas.

To take a glimpse at what life might be like without today’s reliable supply we take a trip to Africa, Uganda, courtesy of Nokia who have carried out an investigation looking at how people manage to keep their mobile phones charged and maintain some degree of electricity use at home in off-grid parts of the country
(4 July 2007)

Kathmandu’s Fuel Crisis

About two weeks ago, I was in line at around 6:30 in the morning to fill up my small Korean car’s petrol tank. As I waited amongst dozens of vehicles, an interesting conversation about biofuel and its impact on global warming, rain forests and the world’s fuel supply was being aired on BBC, via 103FM in Kathmandu. It is unclear when Nepal plans to seriously adopt any form of alternative fuel, but the insufficient supply from Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) this year, because of Nepal Oil Corporation’s (NOC) outstanding debt, has been tough on every motor vehicle owner in the city, especially those whose livelihood depend on it. IOC has also had a long monopoly of fuel supply to Nepal, though it was only as recently as spring of this year when the organization decided to allow Nepal to seek other fuel suppliers.

The problem heightened last week when IOC decided to supply NOC with only 1,200 kiloliters of fuel as opposed to the normal supply of 2,000. The shortage has also forced many private pumps to remain closed, while institutional pumps operated by security forces and Sajha Corporation have themselves been running out of supply on a regular basis.

These video clips, taken around Hariharbhawan, are of vehicles lined up to buy fuel at the Sajha Petrol Pump. Scenes like these have become normal at pumps in Kathmandu.

…An unprecedented growth rate in the number of privately owned small and large motor vehicles as well as an unmonitored influx of mini vans and buses used for mass transit during the last five years in Nepal have helped steadily increased the country’s demand for petrol and diesel. However, Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC) has been consistently unable to clear their dues with the Indian Oil Corporation, largely because of their monthly losses which run up to millions of rupees.
(July 2007)
Photos and narrative at original.