For SmartPlanet this week, I discussed the European market for North American wood pellets, which they are increasingly using for power generation. It’s a fascinating market that gets very little coverage in the American press, but exploiting our full export potential will require infrastructure investment in freight rail and ports, which in turn will create jobs and enable a more general transport infrastructure that uses less energy and delivers a wide spectrum of ancillary benefits to the U.S. economy. Read it here: The missing link to a $7 billion market
I had a longish critique published at FT Alphaville (an online publication of the Financial Times) today, of the widely-heralded recent report by Harvard’s Leonardo Maugeri, “Oil: The Next Revolution.” It’s unavoidably technical and wonky, but hopefully still readable by non-wonks.
Read it here: Is peak oil dead?
Postscript, August 6, 2012: Rich Turcotte assembled a useful, if tongue-in-cheek summary of links to the credulous mainstream media coverage of the Maugeri report, as well as the responses from the peak oil camp. It’s a fine snapshot of the peak oil debate at this point in time.
My first piece for the Economist Intelligence Unit (a sister publication to The Economist) is up today, discussing the outlook for U.S. LNG exports. Read it here: USA gas: fluid markets
I argue that LNG exports will be modest in the near term and questionable in the long term, given the current unprofitability of dry natural gas production and the uncertainty that implies for future production. The prospect of adding more than 50% of additional gas demand from LNG exports should give us pause (data here). Alert readers will note that this is a substantial increase from the projects that were approved back in January, when I last discussed the subject (see: The siren song of LNG exports).
Coincidentally, Platts reported today that according to Baker Hughes data, the U.S. gas rig count is now at 518, the lowest since August 1999.
For SmartPlanet this week, I explored the energy side of California’s high-speed rail plan. I found that the energy savings of the HSR system would be greater than the entire state’s wind generation, that it would help close the yawning gap between the state’s energy supply and demand, and that in a future of declining oil supply, would prove to be a critical lifeline. Read it here: California’s high-speed rail as an energy lifeline