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Energy - Jan 30

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Many more articles are available through the Energy Bulletin homepage.

Solar Panels in China: An Emerging U.S.-China Trade Dispute?

John Mathews, The Globalist
When it comes to renewable energy, China is successfully using the technology and strategies for building markets that were pioneered in the United States. As John Mathews writes in this new report from The Globalist Research Center, the Obama Administration would be poorly advised to seek to punish China for emulating American policies so well.

... substantial progress has been achieved in the only real solution available to curb carbon emissions: building up renewable energy industries. And it is China that is leading the way in this transformation of energy and resource industries. As fast as it is building its fossil-fueled "black" economy, it is also building the world's most amazing "green" economy. Thomas Campanella was one of the few analysts to pick up on this trend. But most commentators on the issue miss this aspect.

So too, it seems, does the United States — the biggest party to miss the significance of China's rise as a green power is the United States itself. The Obama Administration sees China making extraordinary progress in building solar and wind power industries, and it interprets this, apparently, as evidence of unfair trade practices — rather than global insurance against climate change.

Let us be clear. American solar panel producers are currently experiencing difficulties because the market has not grown fast enough in the United States, and, as a result, costs have not been reduced quickly enough. Bankruptcies like that of Solyndra bear testimony to this. Now it is China that is driving market expansion, and its firms are reaping the fruits as a result. They are following the exact course laid down by America itself in one industry after another in the 20th century.

For the past five years, China has been building its renewable energy industries at a rate unprecedented in industrial history.
(19 January 2012)

'Bicycle pump' to turn wave power into clean energy

Damian Carrington, The Guardian
An aquatic "bicycle pump" is set to take to the seas and turn wave power into clean electricity after being acquired by green energy company Ecotricity. The Searaser device, which pumps saltwater to an onshore generator, has been tested in prototype and praised by ministers.

Searaser uses the rise and fall of a large float to pressurise water, but unlike other wave power technologies does not generate the electricity in the hostile environment of the ocean. "If you put any device in the sea, it will get engulfed in storms, so it all has to be totally sealed," said inventor Alvin Smith. "Water and electricity don't mix – and sea water is particularly corrosive – so most other devices are very expensive to manufacture and maintain." The technology means the salt water and electricity-generating equipment never meet, and is done routinely in Japan.

The potential wave and tidal power available to the UK is considered enormous by government and could make a significant contribution to replacing coal and gas plants that emit the carbon dioxide that drives global warming. But the challenge of engineering devices that can survive in the hostile marine environment has left the technology lagging behind other renewable energy sources. Only one device, the Marine Current Turbines operation in Strangford Lough, Northern Ireland, is so far producing a meaningful amount of electricity for the National Grid...
(23 January 2012)

El panorama energético actual

Humberto Zambon, La Mañana Neuquén (Argentina)
El petróleo se convirtió en la vedette del desarrollo en el siglo XX. Sin embargo, el agotamiento de reservas a nivel mundial obliga a replantear el futuro. De los autos que gastaban un litro de nafta cada cuatro kilómetros, a la restricción vehícular.
A partir de la revolución industrial iniciada a fines del siglo XVIII, la energía ocupa un lugar preponderante en la vida cotidiana de los hombres. Hasta ese momento la energía utilizada era la humana y la animal, con participación menor de otras fuentes, como la hidráulica, a orilla de ríos y canales. La revolución industrial implicó la utilización masiva del hierro y del carbón, permitiendo –a partir de las innovaciones de Watt- la conversión del vapor en movimiento circular, haciendo así posible su aplicación en la industria y en los transportes, ferroviario y marítimo. Para el siglo XIX el carbón fue la fuente energética básica.

En el siglo XX se produce una especie de explosión en el uso energético. Como dice Roberto Kozulj, profesor de la Fundación Bariloche y de la Universidad del Comahue, “durante el siglo XX, como nunca en la historia humana, la energía pasa a ser el recurso mas importante en las modernas economías y, por ello mismo, no sólo objeto específico de estudio, sino también de disputas por su apropiación”(1)

... estamos en el umbral de un cambio obligado en la forma de vida de la sociedad actual. Jorge Beinstein en un documento de trabajo titulado “Evaluación prospectiva del contexto global de Argentina, 2007-2010”, transcribe un informe de la Agencia Internacional de Energía (que agrupa a naciones de alto desarrollo) de febrero de 2005; ante la posibilidad de la caída de la producción petrolífera o de aumentos muy grandes de sus precios plantea un programa para la reducción de la demanda energética: fuertes restricciones en el uso de automotores privados, promoción del uso del transporte colectivo, inclusive en forma gratuita, fomento del trabajo domiciliario o reducción de la semana laboral, etc.
(29 January 2012)
The report “Evaluación prospectiva del contexto global de Argentina, 2007-2010” is available as a 138-page PDF dcoument at .

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