For SmartPlanet this week, I noted that U.S. natural gas prices have already hit my end-of-year target, while wind and solar are growing rapidly around the world. I summarized some excellent work by Giles Parkison at Renew Economy in which he reviewed recent global forecasts for renewables and grid power by a handful of global investment banks, and looked at some other global trends, to conclude that the global transition to mostly renewable grid power may now be unstoppable.
Read it here: The ‘unstoppable’ renewable grid
For SmartPlanet this week, I detailed the woefully inaccurate past forecasts of the oil majors and contrasted their bullish outlooks with their actual production,which has been declining since 1999 despite massive investment. Be sure to check out the links to the posts by Matt Mushalik and Matthieu Auzanneau.
Read it here: Oil majors are whistling past the graveyard
For SmartPlanet this week, I explored the cost data (such as it is) on carbon capture and storage (CCS), and concluded that it will never pay off. Renewables have simply gotten too cheap, and the public subsidies that would be required to get CCS to the point where it’s economically viable are just too huge.
Read it here: Why carbon capture and storage will never pay off
For SmartPlanet this week, I surveyed the latest message from the American oil and gas industry: We either need to pay more for oil to sustain the boom in unconventional production (from tight oil and tar sands), or find ways to do without it.
Read it here: America’s oil choice: Pay up, or get off
For SmartPlanet this week, I filed my first report from my trip to Abu Dhabi last week, where I attended the World Future Energy Summit. What I found there was remarkable: Two of the world’s top oil and gas producers transitioning to renewables.
Read it here: Sunrise in the desert
For SmartPlanet this week, I reviewed some of my calls for 2012, and offered my oil and gas price forecast for 2013.
Read it here: Oil and gas price forecast for 2013
For SmartPlanet this week, I discussed a recent research paper from the University of Delaware which explored how a major grid in the Northeast could be 99.9% powered exclusively by renewables (wind and solar), and how doing so would cost about the same as what we pay today for grid power. I also pointed out some new reports about the rapidly falling cost of solar PV power and the rapidly growing installation of solar in the U.S. A new white paper out of Australia about how that country can mostly power its grid from renewables by 2050 also merited a mention.
Read it here: Coming soon: 100% renewable power
Belatedly, here’s the link to a piece I did for Quartz last month on storage technologies, in which I argue that intermittent sources of renewable power like wind and solar could revolutionize our grid power if we had better ways to store it. I think we’ll crack that nut by the end of the decade.
Saving the sun’s shine: Storage technology could revolutionize the power grid
For SmartPlanet this week, I updated the story on U.S. shale gas production and prices, and the increasingly dubious prospect of LNG exports at a large scale. Read it here: The murky future of U.S. shale gas
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