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ODAC Newsletter - 15 May 2009

Welcome to the ODAC Newsletter, a weekly roundup from the Oil Depletion Analysis Centre, the UK registered charity dedicated to raising awareness of peak oil.

It has been a week of contradictions. On the one hand the oil price went through the $60/barrel barrier for the first time in 2009 spurred on by lower than anticipated US gasoline stocks. On the other the latest IEA forecast was released estimating that 2009 will see the biggest fall in oil demand for 28 years. This announcement, along with news from OPEC that the cartel’s compliance to production quotas was down in April from 82% to 77%, drove prices back down on Wednesday.

Despite the current oversupply and forecasts of continuing weak demand, the oil price has not suffered the kind of collapse predicted by some. One explanation could be that, whether or not they call it peak oil, investors anticipate that any economic upturn will again run some kind of supply constraint. Some like Fredrik Nerbrand, head of global strategy at HSBC acknowledge peak oil explicitly.

In the UK this week there was a boost for the wind industry as the flagship London Array project was finally approved after significant financial uncertainty. In a rare piece of good news for the government this week, Paul Golby of EoN commented that recent changes to the Renewable Obligation Certificates (ROCs) mechanism in the budget assisted in making the approval possible.

A key government announcement this week was a commitment that ‘smart’ meters will be installed in all UK homes by 2020 - the fine detail of how the scheme will work is yet to be confirmed. The plan is a positive move towards giving individual energy users more control over demand and towards enabling more micro generation. The next key announcement on this front will be the price which the government sets for feed in tariffs. For those who don’t want to wait for that though, how about following the example of the Fintry Community Energy Scheme who are ‘greening’ their village by loaning a wind turbine and selling the power?

Oil
IEA Cuts Oil-Demand Forecast, Projects Biggest Drop in 28 Years
Oil Falls a Second Day on OPEC Output Gain, Stock Market Drop
HSBC Private Bank expects big hike in oil prices
Peak oil, not speculation
Reserves, policy top oil industry risks - report
Russia warns of war within a decade over Arctic oil and gas riches
Oil Prices: Norwegian Supply Falls; Is $100 Oil Far Away?
Exports offer hope in Iraq oil row

Gas
Qatari gas to reduce Russian dominance
Kazakhstan commits to Russian-led gas pipeline

Electricity
'Distributed power' to save Earth
GE to build $100m battery factory
U.S. Drops Research Into Fuel Cells for Cars

Nuclear
EDF sells 20% of British Energy to Centrica
Safety threat to planned nuclear power stations

Renewables
Green light for the world's biggest offshore wind farm
The Value of Wind – why more renewable energy means lower electricity bills
Villagers stun developers by demanding extra turbine
Winds of change blow for offshore power operators

UK
UK plans smart meter revolution to cut energy cost
FirstGroup sees £50m government support for recession-hit rail

Editorial Notes: Text & commentary at original.

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