Dron & Dickson, specialists in design, supply and maintenance of hazardous area electrical equipment, has secured a multi-million pound contract with Nexen Petroleum UK Limited. The five-year project will see Dron & Dickson carry out electrical maintenance on Nexen’s Buzzard and Scott offshore platforms in the UK North Sea. Dron & Dickson will provide a [...]
Offshore Energy Today
Suncor is about to complete drilling of exploration well 30/11c on the Romeo prospect in license P1666 in the UK North Sea. The well is being drilled by the Awilco WilHunter rig. The well has encountered oil at three different stratigraphic levels within the Jurassic and Triassic comprising in aggregate an oil column of some 60 [...]
Offshore Energy Today
Reuters are reporting that China has set a goal to install 10 GW of new solar capacity in 2013. This would more than double its current cumulative capacity of 7 GW.
By Ryan Galloway
Forbes – Energy
CES may be TVs, laptops, and mobile phones galore, but this week, the giant Consumer Electronics Show is also home to Titanoboa, a wonderful art and science project.
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Weather maps, of course, indicate the temperature of different areas using color gradients. Areas that are hotter are red; and as they get even hotter. The blue areas indicate cooler temperatures.
Due to the fact that there are so many temperature differences even on very small areas of maps, color gradients are a neat way to show those differences — it’s not very useful to simply print temperature readings in text form on every mm of a map to show temperature gradients that are a fraction of a degree.
It has gotten so hot in Australia this week that extra colors has actually been added to the country’s temperature maps — dark purple and magenta. The new color is for 51 to 54 degrees Celsius. Previously, the Australian Bureau of Meteorology used the color black for the hottest temperatures on the map, which went as high as 50 degrees. The extreme heat, of course, has broken temperature records in the country.
“In order to better understand what temperatures we might see … we introduced two new colors,” said Aaron Coutts-Smith, manager of climate services at the Bureau of Meteorology.
He said that temperatures are forecast to exceed 50 degrees over a large area of Australia next Monday.
I guess Australians won’t need hot water for baths at this time!
Australia’s average maximum temperature of 39 degrees has been exceeded for seven consecutive days. The last time anything similar happened was when it was exceeded in 1973 for four consecutive days.
The heat wave has fueled fires in 5 of 6 Australian states, including at least 90 wildfires in New South Wales in Southeastern Australia, as well as the island of Tasmania.
With reduced rainfall and plants losing water, plants are withering and drying out, making them more combustible.
Lightning can strike and ignite one little patch of dry plants, and it can spread as far as the dry fields of plants extend.
This is why wildfires can last days, and become so enormous.
This is only one of multiple unusual phenomena which signify that the global climate is indeed warming. Climate change is real, and these stories of temperature record increases should help the few remaining deniers to realize this.
Australian Heat Wave Is Literally Off The Color Scale was originally published on: CleanTechnica. To read more from CleanTechnica, join over 30,000 others and subscribe to our free RSS feed, follow us on Facebook or Twitter, or just visit our homepage.
The hand-held scanners, or tricorders, of the Star Trek movies and television series are one step closer to reality now that an engineering team has invented a compact source of X-rays and other forms of radiation. The radiation source, which is the size of a stick of gum, could be used to create inexpensive and portable X-ray scanners for use by doctors, as well as to fight terrorism and aid exploration on this planet and others.
ScienceDaily: Energy Technology News
A long-sought extension of the wind energy tax credits are included in the “fiscal cliff” bill signed today by President Obama. Unlike past extensions, it allows the credit to cover wind farms that begin construction—not just those that begin operations—in 2013….
POWER Magazine :: Technical, business, and policy aspects of wind power generation
Filed under: Technology
What’s the value of a home that can fine-tune EV charging in the garage, solar panels on the roof, appliances in the kitchen and thermostats on the wall to maximize its energy profile?
The privatization of Greece‘s DEPA, which has been delayed and rumored to have been complicated by a variety of political and diplomatic issues, recently received a boost when the Greek privatization agency (TAIPED) responsible for the divestiture process, leaked to local press its intentions and timetable.
It was made known that the process re-enacts from the 9th of January onwards and by the end of the month all binding offers will be submitted and reviewed both by the board of TAIPED and also by independent consultants of the process such as N.M Rothschild bank, Greek Alpha Bank and legal advisor Clifford Chance. It was also made known that TAIPED acts for the interests of the Greek state to bring in the highest bids possible and the economic criteria is by far the most important. Otherwise the reliability of the whole privatization process of the Greek state is at peril.
Furthermore, a high-level governmental official from the Ministry of Energy noted that there is no fear of monopolistic practices by any of the participating companies should they acquire DEPA and DESFA, the Greek network operator. This is due to the full liberalization of the market, as it exists since early 2011 with independent suppliers being able to import the commodity without any restraints. Moreover the Greek competition authority has recently decided that DEPA could only use up to 50% of the total capacity of DESFA, thus leaving open space for competition for the supply of the market.
The successful bidder of DEPA and DESFA would be obliged to separate their commercial activities. TAIPED commented that all five participating companies in the auction process have agreed in that respect. In addition, all companies have agreed to present mechanisms that will ensure the supply of the local gas market in any event, including leaving space for competitors.
Another interesting aspect is that there were leaks to the Greek press regarding the non-binding offers submitted. Russia’s Sintez-Negusneft is reportedly willing to pay 1.9 billion Euros for both DEPA and DESFA, whilst Gazprom it was revealed is willing to pay 900 million Euros for DEPA alone, without knowing yet the sum for the other company. Greece based M & M Gas offered 450 million Euros for DEPA alone. No data was available for the PPF Fund, Greek GEK or SOCAR.
The aforementioned confirms earlier estimations by Natural Gas Europe that the price tag may exceed 1.5 billion Euros in total for both companies and that the Russian entities are leading the competition. With the apparent resolution of competition issues and by the assurance of the Greek agency that the price is the determining factor, it is likely that Gazprom and Negusneft will contest the final round of the process. As for SOCAR, it may well be premature for Azerbaijan‘s state player to invest a considerable amount of capital before the announcement of the “Southern Corridor” preferred route which is due after the end of DEPA’s privatization process.
First Solar is arguably the leader in thin-film solar photovoltaics (PV). It’s relentlessly inched up conversion efficiencies of its cadmium-telluride (CdTe) technology, while chipping away at manufacturing costs (now at $ 0.67, reported in November).
U.S.-based supermajor Shell (NYSE:RDS.A) said it was making progress with the tow and recovery of the drill ship Kulluk, which struck ground last week off the coast of Alaska. The company said it was within miles of towing the vessel to a port where it will be inspected and evaluated. Kulluk was en route to Seattle in late December when it broke free in rough seas, raising concerns about drilling operations in arctic waters. A group of Democratic lawmakers said they wanted a detailed investigation into the incident given Shell's record…
Certainly, last fall’s Hurricane or “SuperStorm” Sandy made us look at energy and other utilities in a new light. The 12-foot storm surge overwhelmed many people and businesses who are long-time shore dwellers and thought they had seen it all. There is no question in my mind that climate change at least contributed to the …Continue Reading
Energy Manager Today
The US is by far the world’s greatest user of energy per capita in the world. Each American uses about 87,000 kilowatt-hours per year – that is twice as much as the European Union (EU), the next closest consumer! Understanding energy trends in this country is extremely important for investors who want to understand how the energy landscape will look 10, 20 or 30 years from now.
A new Department of Energy research facility could help bring the U.S. closer to generating power from the winds and waters along America’s coasts and help alleviate a major hurdle for offshore wind and ocean power development.
ScienceDaily: Wind Energy News
A patent filed by Apple describes a wind tech design that converts rotational energy into heat, and can then release it to generate electricity on demand.
Wind Technology feed
David Herron of Torque News stated in his article “60 kWh Tesla Model S rated at 208 mile electric driving range by EPA: “The 85 kilowatt-hour Model S, $ 77,400 for 265 miles range, or $ 292/mile of range. The 60 kilowatt-hour Model S, $ 67,400 for 208 miles range, is $ 324/mile of range. The other electric cars cost a lot more per mile of driving ran
For those interested in free markets in general and free-market energy policy in particular, the recent deal to avoid the dreaded “fiscal cliff” is quite disheartening. For one thing, the so-called fiscal cliff would barely have made a dent in government spending; the vast brunt of deficit reduction came on the backs of taxpayers. The deal makes the situation even worse, in this respect: it still jacks up taxes across the board, but couples it with giant increases in government spending. To add insult to injury, it throws in more sops to wind and other renewable industries, even though these cannot be justified in terms of sensible fiscal policy or economic efficiency.
Taxpayers, Not the Government, Would Have Jumped Off the Cliff
According to the CBO’s August forecast, Had the government sat back and let the country go over the metaphorical cliff, here’s what would have happened to government revenues and outlays (from Table 1-1):
When interpreting the above table, keep in mind that Fiscal Year 2013 started on October 1. Thus, the way to assess the impact from going over the cliff, would be to compare the 2012 and 2013 numbers.
On the spending side, the CBO says it would have gone from $ 3.563 trillion to $ 3.554 trillion, a reduction of $ 9 billion, or 0.3%. Then, by 2014, total spending would have risen to above where it was in 2012 (because 3,595 > 3,563). Yes that’s right: Even with the supposedly draconian budget cuts that the fiscal cliff mandated, actual federal spending would have gone down by a measly $ 9 billion (a drop of three-tenths of one percent), and then it would have resumed its growth, forever.
On the revenue side, going over the “cliff” was projected to raise receipts from $ 2.435 trillion in 2012 to $ 2.913 trillion in 2013, an increase of $ 478 billion, or 19.6%.
In the cliff scenario, the deficit in 2013 was projected to be $ 641 billion, down from the actual $ 1.128 trillion deficit in 2012, for a drop of $ 487 billion. (In reality this is probably optimistic, because the economy would not have grown as strongly as the CBO assumed, in light of the big tax hikes.)
In summary, according to the CBO’s estimates, if there had been no budget deal and we had gone over the “cliff,” the government would indeed have sharply reduced the budget deficit compared to its 2012 level. Of this $ 487 billion reduction in the federal budget deficit, the savings would have come through two mechanisms:
- A cut of $ 9 billion in government spending (1.8% of the deficit reduction), and
- An increase of $ 478 billion in tax receipts (98.2% of the deficit reduction).
Are the above facts consistent with how the press and bloggers discussed the fiscal cliff? Hardly. They focused on the cuts to discretionary spending, without mentioning that these would be more than offset (from 2014 onward) by increases in “mandatory” spending and interest payments on the federal debt.
The fiscal cliff would have been awful all right—for taxpayers. Except for a one-year hiccup, the government still planned on spending more and more, as far as the eye can see.
The New Budget Deal Even More Lopsided in the Government’s Favor
But as bad as the fiscal cliff was, from the perspective of allocating the pain of deficit reduction between government and taxpayers, the new budget deal is worse. No surprise, everybody’s taxes are going up (because even lower-income workers are suffering from the expiration of the payroll tax break):
But thanks to the postponing of the “sequestration,” all of the big cuts to discretionary spending have been avoided. The CBO has prepared a summary of how the deal changes the revenue and expenditure outlook, but it’s tough to read because it’s relative to the baseline (i.e. the “cliff” scenario). What looks like a big tax cut in the CBO’s summary, is in reality a tax hike relative to 2012, because (to repeat) the CBO is scoring the new deal relative to the fiscal cliff baseline.
Adjusting for this subtlety, we can use the CBO’s latest summary to create the following table, showing the estimated revenue and expenditure outlook in absolute terms:
CBO Estimate of Federal Revenues, Outlays, and Deficits, FY 2012-2014
Thus, relative to Fiscal Year 2012 (which ended last September), in Fiscal Year 2013 the budget deficit will fall by $ 157 billion. This will be achieved through (a) a spending increase of $ 41 billion, and (b) a revenue increase of $ 198 billion. Some of the projected revenue increases are due to assumptions of economic growth, rather than tax rate hikes per se, but even so, the fact remains that under the new budget deal, the government is still going to fleece the taxpayers of even more money, while ramping up its spending. To top it all off, the projected deficit will still be just about a trillion dollars.
Quirky Elements of the Deal
The actual text of the Senate budget deal is an intimidating 157 pages, so you know there are lots of hidden treats for those willing to sift through it. Bloggers are having fun with the “Hollywood tax break,” speculating that it may be a reward for the celebrity support given to President Obama.
For those wanting a level playing field in energy markets, it’s important to note that the deal reinstates the biodiesel fuel tax credit, as a trade group celebrates:
The U.S. biodiesel industry applauded Tuesday as the U.S. House cleared a year-end fiscal package that reinstates the biodiesel tax incentive for 2012 and 2013. President Obama is expected to quickly sign the bill into law.
The $ 1-per-gallon biodiesel tax incentive was first implemented in 2005. Congress has allowed it to lapse twice, in 2010 and again in 2012. Under the legislation approved by the House on Tuesday and first passed by the Senate on Monday, the incentive will be reinstated retroactively to Jan. 1, 2012 and through the end of 2013.
The wind sector got a late Christmas present too with the expansion of the wind production tax credit (PTC). The bill not only extends the PTC for one year, but it also relaxes the requirements for receiving the credit. Previously, a wind project had to be placed “in service” before the end of the year, but now all that is required is for the project to be under construction by the end of the year. Some environmentalists believe that this is the same as a two or three year extension. This expansion of the projects eligible to receive the credit means that the credit will cost the U.S. Treasury a whopping $ 12.1 billion according to the Joint Committee on Taxation.
As we have explained in this forum many times, there is no justification—whether in terms of tax reform or overall economic efficiency—for the federal government to be hand-picking technologies for preferential tax treatment. Even if one wanted to use federal tax policy to correct an alleged “market failure” from carbon emissions, implicitly subsidizing rival technologies is an inefficient way to go about it.
Even if the government had let us plunge over the so-called fiscal cliff, there would have been major tax hikes and only the puniest of spending cuts. The recent budget deal combines the worst of all worlds: It still has big tax increases, coupled with spending increases, and still delivers a deficit of nearly a trillion dollars. Furthermore, the increases in tax rates on productive workers are accompanied by the reintroduction of gimmicky loopholes—such as tax breaks for “green energy”—even though this violates every principle of efficient tax reform, which the nonpartisan “experts” tell us we need.
Unfortunately, it seems that policymakers won’t seriously reform the US’s fiscal trajectory until an actual crisis breaks out in the bond markets, forcing their hand.
Thin film manufacturer and First Solar has announced that has signed a two-year collaboration and licensing agreement with Intermolecular Inc. The collaboration aims to increase efficiencies beyond First Solar’s announced technology roadmap.
Sulfur compounds in petroleum fuels have met their nano-structured match. Researchers developed mats of metal oxide nanofibers that scrub sulfur from petroleum-based fuels much more effectively than traditional materials. Sulfur has to be removed because it emits toxic gasses and corrodes catalysts. Such efficiency could lower costs and improve performance for fuel-based catalysis, advanced energy applications and toxic gas removal.
ScienceDaily: Fuel Cell News
France has been held up, worldwide, as the forerunner in using nuclear fission to produce electricity. However, a third of the nation’s nuclear reactors will need replacing in the next decade, and public opinion has shifted toward reducing reliance on nuclear power.
ScienceDaily: Energy Technology News
Within a decade, more than 35 million buildings may be generating their own solar electricity (without subsidies) at prices lower than their utility offers, sufficient to power almost 10% of the country. That’s the powerful headline from the Institute for Local Self-Reliance’s latest report, Commercial Rooftop Revolution. Despite the opportunity
Long the redheaded stepchild of North American power generation, combined heat and power (CHP) may finally be poised for a big leap forward….
POWER Magazine :: Gas :: Gas Power Direct
Filed under: Regulation
James Hughes, CEO of First Solar, recently gave a hugely interesting interview to Australia’s Renew Economy in which he discussed his company’s future, the state of the global solar market.
Filed under: Dealmaking
Banks, trading houses and corporations trading energy and related commodities are bracing for one of the most visible financial reform efforts of the last century to finally take effect next month,…