Wednesday, November 11, 2009

TechnoSanity #33: A look at the World Energy Outlook, 2009

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As noted in TechnoSanity #32: Fudged numbers in the IEA's World Energy Outlook, 2009?? the International Energy Agency (IEA) has released the 2009 edition of the World Energy Outlook. This yearly report focuses on worldwide statistics about "energy" use where "energy" is primarily defined as coal and oil and natural gas. The report is used by governments and businesses around the world for planning their energy (coal, oil and natural gas) policies and purchases. This year is a little different due to the Copenhagen summit on Climate Change set to occur next month. The 2009 World Energy Outlook has a lot of information about the climate change impacts of energy policy choices. In particular the IEA is offering data for a target of 450 parts per million of CO2 equivalent, and the required policy changes to meet that target.

This year the documents include a freely available "Climate Change Excerpt" which was presented at the Bangkok UNFCCC meeting. That excerpt begins with this statement:

The World Energy Outlook 2009 (WEO-2009) delivers a simple, stark message: if the world continues on the basis of today's energy policies, the climate change impacts will be severe. Energy, which accounts for two-thirds of today's greenhouse-gas emissions, is at the heart of the problem - and so must form the core of the solution. We need urgently to set in motion an energy and environmental revolution, to transform the way we use energy and to deliver a sustainable future. WEO-2009 maps out this transformation, detailing the role of the energy sector in a scenario that leads to the long-term stabilisation of the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere at 450 parts per million of CO2 equivalent - our 450 Scenario - and setting out the investments and financing needed to make it happen

It seems there is some controversy over what CO2 concentration to target to successfully repair the climate. A couple weeks ago was the "350" event which was meant to raise awareness to a different target, 350 parts per million. The IEA says their recommendations are for an "overshoot trajectory" which peaks at 510 parts per million in 2035 and settling down eventually at 450 parts per million CO2 equivalent. But of course there is this controversy over what's the best CO2 concentration.

Worldwide to achieve the 450 ppm target means that in 2030 CO2 emissions are 26.4 gigatons rather than the expected 40.2 gigatons if no regulatory changes are made. They expect population to grow to 8.2 billion regardless of whether regulatory changes are made. To reach the 450 ppm targets they say CO2 emissions per capita must decrease, energy use per capita must decrease, the CO2 intensity index must decrease, and the CO2 intensity of the power and car industry must decrease. In other words they indicate that the worlds societies must learn to be more efficient, so we can do more with less energy, and to decrease the CO2 intensity of the energy we use.


For example one chart shows that to decrease the the energy intensity of transportation, that there must be a widespread adoption of hybrid, plug-in hybrid and electric cars.

In power generation they specify the following changes to meet the 450 ppm scenario: Drastically decrease the use of coal without carbon capture and sequestration. To increase the use of natural gas. To increase use of carbon capture in coal plants. To increase the use of nuclear power. To Increase use of hydroelectric power. To increase the use of wind power. To increase the use of "Other renewables".

It is interesting to note they did not have a line in the graph to cover solar electricity, only wind energy. Are they assuming that solar electricity will remain a niche product due to remaining too expensive? If so have they heard the people at 1366 Technologies talk about the trending of solar electricity to become cheaper than coal plants and to be the biggest energy industry in the world? (see Solar power at the cost of coal?)

Turning to the graphs in the WEO itself ..


They expect that China and India to continue undergoing rapid expansion of energy use while OECD countries have a rather modest increase in energy use.


Projected oil production is presented differently this year than last but still has the same interesting attributes. (See TechnoSanity #30: Peak Oil and the UKERC Peak Oil report) For both oil and natural gas a large percentage of 2030 supply is expected to come from fields that are yet to be developed or yet to be found. They expect fully 40% of oil production to come from fields yet to be developed or yet to be found. They expect 60% of natural gas production to come from fields that are yet to be producing. In the U.S. they expect that 60% of U.S. natural gas use to be from "unconventional" natural gas sources.



To reach the 450 ppm target the numbers are a little different. Over 30% of fuels must be "zero carbon fuels". There must be a 16 million barrels per day reduction in oil use. That decrease in oil use will cause OPEC revenues to decrease.

The following is from the World Energy Outlook 2009 fact sheet.

WORLD ENERGY OUTLOOK 2009 FACT SHEET: Why is our current energy pathway unsustainable?

  • Global energy use is set to fall in 2009 — for the first time since 1981 on any significant scale — as a result of the financial and economic crisis, but demand is set to resume its long-term upward trend once the economic recovery gathers pace. By 2030, the Reference Scenario, which assumes no change in government policies, sees world primary energy demand a dramatic 40% higher than in 2007.
  • Collectively, non-OECD countries account for over 90% of the increase, their share of global primary energy demand rising from 52% to 63%. China and India represent over 53% of incremental demand to 2030. Coupled with strong growth from ASEAN, this is contributing to a refocusing of the global energy landscape towards Asia. Outside of Asia, the Middle East sees the fastest rate of increase, contributing 10% to incremental demand.
  • Fossil fuels remain the dominant sources of energy worldwide, accounting for 77% of the demand increase in 2007-2030. Although oil demand is expected to drop by 2.2% in 2009 as a whole, following a drop of 0.2% in 2008, it is projected to recover from 2010 as the world economy pulls out of recession, rising from around 85 million barrels per day in 2008 to 105 mb/d in 2030, an increase of around 24%. In 2007-2030, demand for coal grows by 53% and demand for natural gas by 42%.
  • Electricity demand grows by 76% in 2007-2030, requiring 4 800 gigawatts (GW) of capacity additions – almost five times the existing capacity of the US Coal remains the dominant fuel of the power sector, its share of the global power generation mix rising by 2 percentage points to 44% in 2030. But higher fossil-fuel prices, as well as increasing concerns over energy security and climate change, boost the share of renewables-based electricity generation from 18% in 2007 to 22% in 2030.
  • The world’s energy resources are adequate to meet the projected demand increase through to 2030 and well beyond. But these Reference Scenario trends have profound implications for environmental protection, energy security and economic development. The continuation of current trends would have dire consequences for climate change. They would also exacerbate ambient air quality concerns, thus causing serious public health and environmental effects, particularly in developing countries.
  • While the OECD imports less oil in 2030 than today in the Reference Scenario, some non-OECD countries, notably China and India, see big increases. Most gas-importing regions also see their imports rise. As non-OPEC conventional oil production peaks around 2010, most of the increased output comes from OPEC countries. The increase in natural gas exports comes mainly from Russia, Iran and Qatar.
  • The Reference Scenario projections imply a persistently high level of spending on oil and gas imports by almost all importing countries. China overtakes the US soon after 2025, to become the world’s biggest spender on oil and gas imports, while India surpasses Japan soon after 2020 to take third place. Cumulative OPEC revenues from oil and gas exports increase to $30 trillion between 2008 and 2030, almost a five-fold increase on earnings over the past 23 years.
  • In the Reference Scenario, 1.3 billion people still lack access to electricity in 2030 compared with 1.5 billion people today. Universal electricity access could be achieved with additional power-sector investment of $35 billion per year in 2008-2030 and with only a modest increase in primary energy demand and related CO2 emissions.

WORLD ENERGY OUTLOOK 2009 FACT SHEET: ENERGY INVESTMENT: The Impact of the financial crisis

  • Energy investment worldwide has plunged recently in the face of a tougher financing environment, weakening final demand for energy and falling cash flows — the result, primarily, of the global financial and economic crisis. Energy companies are drilling fewer oil and gas wells, and cutting back spending on refineries, pipelines and power stations. Many ongoing projects have been slowed and a number of planned projects postponed or cancelled. Businesses and households are spending less on energy-consuming appliances, equipment and vehicles.
  • In the oil and gas sector, most companies have announced cutbacks in capital spending, as well as project delays and cancellations. We estimate that global upstream oil and gas investment budgets for 2009 have been cut by around 19% compared with 2008 — a reduction of over $90 billion. Since October 2008, over 20 planned large-scale upstream oil and gas projects, involving around 2 mb/d of oil production capacity, have been deferred indefinitely or cancelled. The bulk of these projects are oil sands in Canada. A further 29 projects, involving 3.8 mb/d of oil capacity, have been delayed by at least 18 months.
  • Power-sector investment is expected to be severely affected by financing difficulties, as well as by weak demand. Global electricity consumption is projected to drop by 1.6% in 2009 — the first annual contraction since the end of the Second World War. Weakening demand is reducing the immediate need for new capacity. In late 2008 and early 2009, investment in renewables-based power generation fell proportionately more than that in other types of generating capacity. For 2009 as a whole, it could drop by close to onefifth. Without the stimulus provided by government fiscal packages, it would have fallen by almost 30%.
  • Falling energy investment will have far-reaching and, depending on how governments respond, potentially serious effects on energy security, climate change and energy poverty. Any prolonged downturn in investment threatens to constrain capacity growth in the medium term, particularly for long lead-time projects, eventually risking a shortfall in supply. This could lead to a renewed surge in the price of oil and other forms of energy in a few years time, when demand is likely to be recovering, and become a constraint on global economic growth. Weaker fossil-fuel prices are also undermining the attractiveness of investments in clean energy technology. Cutbacks in energy-infrastructure investments also threaten to impede access by poor households to electricity and other forms of modern energy.
  • The financial crisis has made it all the more uncertain whether the full energy investment needed in the longer term to meet growing energy needs can be mobilised. The capital required to meet projected energy demand through to 2030 is huge, amounting in cumulative terms to $26 trillion (in year-2008 dollars) — equal to $1.1 trillion (or 1.4% of global GDP) per year on average in the Reference Scenario. Over half of all energy investment worldwide is needed in non-OECD countries, where demand and production are projected to increase fastest. With little prospect of a quick return to the days of cheap and easy credit, financing energy investment will, in most cases, be more difficult and costly than it was before the crisis.

WORLD ENERGY OUTLOOK 2009 FACT SHEET: NATURAL GAS: What role for gas in the global energy mix?

  • The demand for natural gas worldwide is set to resume its long-term upwards trend, though the pace of demand growth hinges critically on the strength of climate policy action as well as on the rate of economic growth. In the Reference Scenario, global primary gas demand rises by 41% from 3.0 trillion cubic metres in 2007 to 4.3 tcm in 2030 — an average rate of increase of 1.5% per year. Over 80% of this increase occurs in non-OECD countries, with the biggest rise in the Middle East. The power sector remains the single largest driver of gas demand in all regions. In the 450 Scenario, in which governments are assumed to take strong action to cut CO2 emissions, world gas demand grows by 17% between 2007 and 2030 (an average annual rate of growth of 0.7%), but is 17% lower in 2030 compared with the Reference Scenario.
  • The world’s remaining resources of natural gas are easily large enough to cover any conceivable rate of demand increase through to 2030 and well beyond, though the cost of developing new resources is set to rise over the long term. The long-term global recoverable gas resource base is estimated at more than 850 tcm, of which 45% is unconventional gas (shale gas, tight gas and coalbed methane). To date, only 66 tcm of gas has been produced (or flared) – equal to less than 8% of total recoverable resources.
  • The non-OECD countries as a whole are projected to account for almost all of the projected increase in global natural gas production between 2007 and 2030 in both the Reference and 450 Scenarios. The Middle East, which holds the largest reserves and has the lowest production costs, sees the biggest increase in output (and in exports) in absolute terms in both scenarios. Globally, the share of unconventional gas is projected to rise from 12% in 2007 to 15% in 2030. This projection is subject to considerable uncertainty, especially after 2020; there is potential for output to increase much more.
  • The rate of decline in production from existing fields is the prime factor determining the amount of new capacity and investment needed to meet projected demand. A detailed, field-by-field analysis of the historical gas-production trends of nearly 600 fields (accounting for 55% of global production) undertaken for WEO-2009 finds that close to half of the world’s existing production capacity will need to be replaced by 2030 as a result of depletion.
  • The recent rapid development of unconventional gas resources in the United States and Canada, particularly in the last three years, has transformed the gas-market outlook, both in North America and in other parts of the world. It remains highly uncertain whether this boom in unconventional gas production can be replicated in other parts of the world that are endowed with such resources, as in most cases those resources have not yet been appraised in detail.
  • The unexpected boom in North American unconventional gas production, together with the depressive impact of the recession on demand, is expected to contribute to an acute glut of gas supply in the next few years. The under-utilisation of pipeline capacity between the main regions and global LNG liquefaction capacity combined is expected to rise from around 60 bcm in 2007 to close to 200 bcm in the period 2012-2015, as a number of new projects come on stream. Gas suppliers to Europe and Asia-Pacific will come under increasing pressure to modify their pricing terms and cut prices to stimulate demand.

What might a low-carbon energy future look like?

  • Without a change in policy, the world is on a path for a rise in global temperature of up to 6°C, with catastrophic consequences for our climate. To avoid the most severe weather and sea-level rise and limit the temperature increase to about 2°C, the greenhouse-gas concentration needs to be stabilised at around 450 ppm CO2-equivalent. WEO-2009 assesses the implications for the energy sector of achieving a 450 Scenario.
  • In the 450 Scenario, global energy-related CO2 emissions need to peak just before 2020 at 30.9 gigatonnes (Gt) and decline thereafter to 26.4 Gt in 2030 – which is 34% less than in the Reference Scenario. Of the 3.8 Gt reduction relative to the Reference Scenario in 2020, sectoral agreements in transport and industry and national policies generate 2.1 Gt, with the remainder achieved through cap-and-trade in the power and industry sectors in OECD countries (where the CO2 price reaches $50 per tonne), including the use of carbon-market mechanisms to fund CO2 abatement in non-OECD countries (at a CO2 price of about $30 per tonne). National policies and measures in China – already under consideration by the government - would bring about some 1 Gt of reductions by 2020 – or 25% of the total 3.8 Gt – placing China at the forefront of global efforts to combat climate change.
  • The 450 Scenario is achievable – but very challenging. It assumes a hybrid policy approach, comprising a plausible combination of cap-and-trade systems, sectoral agreements and national measures, with countries subject to common but differentiated responsibilities. End-use efficiency is the largest contributor to CO2 emissions abatement in 2030 compared with the Reference Scenario, accounting for more than half of total savings. Early retirement of old, inefficient coal plants and their replacement by more efficient coal or gas fired power plants, mainly in China and in the United States, accounts for an additional 5% of the global emissions reduction. The increased deployment of renewables accounts for 20% of CO2 savings, while increased use of biofuels in the transport sector accounts for 3%. Finally, additional carbon capture and storage (CCS) and nuclear each represents 10% of the savings in 2030, relative to the Reference Scenario.
  • To realise the 450 Scenario, additional investment of $10.5 trillion is needed globally in the energy sector in the period 2010-2030, relative to the Reference Scenario. But investments in industry, transport and buildings are more than offset by fuel cost savings, which in the transport sector alone amount to over $6.2 trillion over the period. The 450 Scenario also offers important energy security and environmental co-benefits. Oil and gas import bills in OECD countries in 2030 are much lower than in 2008; and in 2030 they are 30% lower in both China and India than in the Reference Scenario. The 450 Scenario also sees a major reduction in air pollution, particularly in non-OECD countries.
  • The geographical and sectoral distribution of the abatement and investment in the 450 Scenario does not determine how those actions are financed - that is entirely a matter for negotiation. In the 450 Scenario, the energy sector in non-OECD countries would need around $200 billion of additional investment in clean energy and efficiency in 2020 – including $70 billion for nationally appropriate mitigation actions (NAMAs) and a similar amount to achieve sectoral standards in transport and industry. A portion of this non-OECD investment will need to be co-financed by OECD countries.

WORLD ENERGY OUTLOOK 2009 FACT SHEET: Has the financial crisis changed the outlook for CO2 emissions and the global climate?

  • The financial crisis has had a considerable impact on the energy sector worldwide and CO2 emissions could fall in 2009 by as much as 3%. This decline would be steeper than at any time in the last 40 years. The crisis has also led to a deferral of investment in polluting technologies. This would lead to global emissions in 2020 being 1.9 gigatonnes (Gt) or 5% lower - even in the absence of new government policies - than estimated last year in the Reference Scenario of WEO-2008. The impact of the financial crisis and lower growth accounts for three-quarters of this improvement, while government stimulus spending to promote low-carbon investments and other new climate policies account for the remaining quarter.
  • Despite the impact of the financial crisis, energy-related CO2 emissions in the Reference Scenario still rise from 28.8 Gt in 2007 to 34.5 Gt in 2020 and 40.2 Gt in 2030. World greenhouse-gas emissions, including non-energy related CO2 and all other gases, are projected to grow from 42.4 Gt CO2-equivalent in 2005 to 56.5 Gt CO2-eq in 2030 – an increase of one-third.
  • Non-OECD countries account for all the projected increase in energy-related CO2 emissions. In the Reference Scenario, OECD emissions in 2030 are 3% lower than in 2007. By contrast, all major non-OECD countries see their emissions rise. Of the 11 Gt growth in global emissions between 2007 and 2030, China accounts for 6 Gt, India for 2 Gt and the Middle East for 1 Gt. However, while non-OECD countries today account for 52% of the world’s annual emissions of energy-related CO2, they are responsible for only 42% of the world’s cumulative emissions since 1890.
  • The power-generation sector accounts for over half the increase in emissions in the Reference Scenario. This is driven by a 60% rise in emissions from coal-fired generation. The Reference Scenario sees big improvements in CO2 intensity in transport and industry but these are substantially outweighed by increased travel and higher output in the iron and steel and cement industries.
  • The rising global consumption of fossil fuels is still set to drive up greenhousegas emissions and world temperatures, resulting in potentially catastrophic and irreversible climate change. Even taking account of the impact of the financial crisis, the projected rise in emissions in the Reference Scenario puts us on a course for doubling the concentration of those gases in the atmosphere to around 1 000 parts per million (ppm) of CO2-equivalent by the end of this century. This would entail an eventual global average temperature increase of up to 6°C.
  • The UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen provides an opportunity to take prompt action. If the world wishes to limit to 25% the probability that global average temperature will rise more than 2°C, CO2 emissions over the period 2000-2049 must not exceed 1 trillion tonnes. Between 2000 and 2009, the world emitted 313 billion tonnes of CO2.

WORLD ENERGY OUTLOOK 2009 FACT SHEET: ENERGY PRICE ASSUMPTIONS: Price volatility will continue, but the days of cheap energy are over

  • The WEO projections are based on an assumption – not a forecast – that energy prices follow a rising trend through to 2030. These assumptions are based on a top-down assessment of the price levels that would be needed to encourage sufficient investment in supply to meet projected demand. Prices rise faster in the Reference Scenario, in which no change in government policies is assumed, than in the 450 Scenario, in which climate policies depress fossil-energy use and, therefore, prices. These trajectories should not be seen as forecasts, nor should the smooth price paths assumed be interpreted as a prediction of stable energy markets: prices will, in reality, certainly deviate from these assumed trends in response to short-term fluctuations in demand and supply, to exchange rates and to geopolitical events.
  • In the Reference Scenario, oil prices are assumed to rebound with rising demand and supply costs. In real terms, the average IEA crude oil import price, a proxy for international prices which in 2008 averaged around $3 per barrel less than WTI, is assumed to reach $87 per bbl in 2015, $100 per bbl by 2020 and $115 per bbl by 2030 (in year-2008 dollars). In nominal terms, prices approach $102 per bbl by 2015, $131 per bbl by 2020 and almost $190 per bbl by 2030. Gas and coal prices are assumed to increase broadly in line with oil prices, reflecting the dynamics of inter-fuel competition and rising supply costs.
  • The assumption of rising oil prices is based on our expectation of gradually tightening international oil markets – assuming the world economy recovers steadily. Global oil demand is expected to recover as the economy pulls out of recession, outpacing the growth in capacity, while recent large cutbacks in upstream and downstream investment will have a big impact on supply in the next three to five years as a result of the long lead times in bringing new projects on stream. Although the underlying trend may be upwards, prices are likely to remain highly volatile. In the longer term, the rising marginal costs of supply, together with demand growth in non-OECD countries, will continue to exert upward pressure on prices.
  • In the 450 Scenario, oil prices are assumed to follow the same upward trajectory as in the Reference Scenario to 2015 and then remain flat to 2030, due to weaker demand. This means there is less need to produce oil from costly fields higher up the supply curve in non-OPEC countries. The oil price is assumed to plateau at $90 per bbl in real terms in 2020. Gas prices are correspondingly lower. Coal prices are reduced even more, as demand falls much more than for oil or gas. Final prices also take into account carbon prices under the cap-and-trade systems that are assumed to be introduced in many parts of the world in this scenario. The CO2 price in the OECD reaches $50 per tonne in 2020 (which increases the cost of a barrel of oil by $21) and $110 per tonne in 2030 (which increases the cost of a barrel of oil by $46).
  • In some countries, end-user prices rise faster than international prices, because subsidies are assumed to be reduced. In most non-OECD countries, at least one fuel or form of energy continues to be subsidised, usually through price controls that hold the retail or wholesale price below the level that would prevail in a truly competitive market. In 2007, energy-related consumption subsidies in 20 non-OECD countries (accounting for over 80% of total non-OECD primary energy demand) amounted to about $310 billion. Most of these countries have policies to reform subsidies, though often the intended timing is vague and the commitment is half-hearted. We assume that these subsidies are gradually reduced, but at varying rates across regions.

TechnoSanity #33: A look at the World Energy Outlook, 2009

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

TechnoSanity #32: Fudged numbers in the IEA's World Energy Outlook, 2009??

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The World Energy Outlook is a yearly report from the International Energy Agency. It provides data and projections about energy supplies world wide, and is used by nearly 30 countries in planning policies. It is an important report that carries a lot of weight around the world. This year the report is being released on the eve of the Copenhagen Climate Change summit, and this years report has a lot of strong statements about climate change effects of energy use. There is also a controversy over the accuracy of the report.

Why the End May Be Coming for Coal - This isn't about the IEA report but is interesting in the context of this discussion. The article points to growing clamor for ending coal use and most especially mountain top removal. Mountain-top removal is a form of strip mining where they, uh, remove mountains in order to get at the coal. Um, remove a mountain? Is this the world we want to live in? This is utter unmitigated ecological disaster.

Energy costs to soar if no carbon deal, agency says - Unless the leaders at the Copenhagen summit can agree on a deal, the world faces higher energy costs as well as increased negative environmental impact. If no deal is reached that means "business" will "remain as usual". Under business as usual assumptions the IEA report indicates drastic increases in electricity use, in oil use, and in coal use (to generate the electricity). Due to supply problems the oil will be high price, and due to the higher coal use the environmental problems facing us now will be drastically worse.

Current Energy Plans ‘Unsustainable,’ IEA Says in New Outlook - The global recession has caused a decrease in energy use, a significant decrease, and the first since 1981 (another recession year). The IEA assumes that in short order the economic problems will be set right, and that the world economic game will resume its upward climb. The typical economic game results in ever-increasing use of energy and the associated ills mentioned previously.

I rather doubt that the game can continue in the prior pattern. The supply problems look to be more serious than the IEA is willing to admit. (See TechnoSanity #30: Peak Oil and the UKERC Peak Oil report

Electricity demand will grow even faster—by 76% by 2030. That will require the addition of nearly 5,000 gigawatts of new power plants. That’s five times the generation capacity of the U.S. today....And that means coal will become more important—not less important—in the global energy mix. The IEA expects global coal consumption to grow 53% by 2030 in its reference scenario. Natural gas will also become more important, with demand growing 41% over the period—but gas supplies are “are easily large enough to cover any conceivable rate of demand increase through to 2030 and well beyond,” the IEA says.

World needs Canada’s 'dirty oil', says IEA - The IEA report looks to "unconventional oil" like Canada's tarsands as the savior to the oil supply crunch.

This is the 2008 chart, the 2009 chart is very similar. Notice the figures for "Oil fields yet to be developed" and "Oil fields yet to be found". That oil which is yet to be developed or found is a significant chunk of expected future oil supply. Even if they're correct in the estimates of this yet to be developed or found oil supply, it's not enough to satisfy the growing demand. It's expected growth in tarsands oil output which makes up the gap.

World oil demand growth to be led by Asia - IEA - Growth in India and China due to globalization is expected to be a major part of increased world oil use. They expect U.S. oil use to decrease. Globalization means shipping economic activity from factories that had been functioning in the U.S. to factories operating in China or India. That means the energy use which used to occur in U.S. factories is now happening in Chinese factories. It also means larger energy use to ship the stuff across the world.


After the Recession, Will the World Face an Energy Crisis? - Again going over the expected economic recovery means resumption in growth of energy and increasing environmental damage.

Highlights from the IEA World Energy Outlook 2009

Key oil figures were distorted by US pressure, says whistleblower - MAJOR CONTROVERSY. A few whistleblowers who refuse to be named are claiming that U.S. Government pressure was placed on the IEA to fudge the numbers in the report. To overstate reserves, to understate demand, and make it look like the situation is better than it really is. To avoid panicking the masses.

Now the "peak oil" theory is gaining support at the heart of the global energy establishment. "The IEA in 2005 was predicting oil supplies could rise as high as 120m barrels a day by 2030 although it was forced to reduce this gradually to 116m and then 105m last year," said the IEA source, who was unwilling to be identified for fear of reprisals inside the industry. "The 120m figure always was nonsense but even today's number is much higher than can be justified and the IEA knows this.

"Many inside the organisation believe that maintaining oil supplies at even 90m to 95m barrels a day would be impossible but there are fears that panic could spread on the financial markets if the figures were brought down further. And the Americans fear the end of oil supremacy because it would threaten their power over access to oil resources," he added.

A second senior IEA source, who has now left but was also unwilling to give his name, said a key rule at the organisation was that it was "imperative not to anger the Americans" but the fact was that there was not as much oil in the world as had been admitted. "We have [already] entered the 'peak oil' zone. I think that the situation is really bad," he added.

Too fearful to publicise peak oil reality - Did nobody see the peak oil crisis coming? "Apply that question to peak oil and the answer is that many people did see it coming but they were marginalised, bullied into silence and the evidence was buried in the small print."

Take the 2008 edition of World Energy Outlook, the annual report on which the entire energy industry and governments depend. It included the table also published by the Guardian today, and the version I saw had shorter intervals on the horizontal axis. What it made blindingly clear was that peak oil was somewhere in 2008/9 and that production from currently producing fields was about to drop off a cliff. Fields yet to be developed and yet to be found enabled a plateau of production and it was only "non-conventional oil" which enabled a small rise. Think tar sands of Canada, think some of the most climate polluting oil extraction methods available. Think catastrophe.

What made this little graph so devastating was that it estimated energy resources by 2030 that were woefully inadequate for the energy-hungry economies of India and China. Business as usual in oil production threatens massive conflict over sharing it.

Energy body rejects whistleblower allegations of oil cover up - The IEA issues an official denial of there being fudged numbers.

A false picture of world's oil reserves? - An interview on Marketplace about the claims of fudged numbers.

IEA sees gas glut until 2015, rising coal role

Cost of extra year's climate inaction $500 billion: IEA

Energy Watchdog Urges Deal on Climate

IEA "whistleblower" says peak oil nearing: report

TechnoSanity #32: Fudged numbers in the IEA's World Energy Outlook, 2009??

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Landfill Gas To Energy Overview


Landfill Gas To Energy Overview

UNH Completes Nations First Major University Landfill Gas-to-Energy Project.


UNH Completes Nations First Major University Landfill Gas-to-Energy Project.

The University of New Hampshire's EcoLine™, a landfill gas-to-energy project that uses purified methane gas from a nearby landfill to power the campus, is complete, university officials announced. The five million square-foot campus will receive up to 85 percent of its electricity and heat from purified natural gas, making UNH the first university in the nation to use landfill gas as its primary fuel source.

Horry County Landfill Gas Generator


In this episode Art Chadwick of Santee Cooper reveals how methane gas is converted into electricity at Horry County Solid Waste Authority's Landfill near Conway, S.C.

Turning Trash Into Treasure Landfill Gas Helps Local Communities and the Environment


Turning Trash Into Treasure Landfill Gas Helps Local Communities and the Environment - If one man's trash is another man's treasure, then landfills just might be the latest goldmine. With oil prices at record highs and increased attention on conserving the environment, businesses and communities are increasingly looking to landfill gas as a source for fuel.

All landfill trash decomposes over time and releases methane, a greenhouse gas, into the air. At landfills across the county, new technology is being developed to capture that natural gas, treat it and send it where it can be used as fuel. At Three Rivers Landfill in South Carolina, landfill gas travels 17 miles through a pipeline to Kimberly Clark's Beech Island facility, where it helps to power the manufacturing plant.

A growing number of companies like these are finding landfill gas to be a clean, reliable energy source that can be purchased at significantly lower costs than conventional natural gas. In addition, the environmental benefits of landfill gas are significant. According to the EPA, the reduction in greenhouse gases from this project alone is equivalent to removing 41,000 cars from the road or reducing oil consumption by more than 50,000 barrels a year.

UC Davis Newswatch: Landfill Gas No. 2


UC Davis Newswatch: Landfill Gas No. 1