R-Squared Energy Blog

Pure Energy

Energy at the WSJ

The online version of the Wall Street Journal has a new section devoted entirely to energy:

Energy – WSJ

It contains numerous energy-themed articles ranging from ‘going green’ to changes in the refining industry to investing in natural gas to thin film solar panels. Excellent stuff.

Here are some snapshots of the wealth of information featured there:

Countries with the highest per capita energy consumption in 2005* (in kilograms of oil equivalent per person)

Based on International Energy Agency data for 2005, the most recent year for which IEA has data. Note: Numbers have been rounded off

Source: World Resources Institute

Qatar 19,466
Iceland 12,209
Bahrain 11,180
Kuwait 11,102
United Arab Emirates 10,354
Luxembourg 10,138
Trinidad and Tobago 9,736
Netherlands Antilles 9,057
Canada 8,473
U.S. 7,886

Countries with the lowest per capita energy consumption

Bangladesh 171
Eritrea 175
Senegal 261
Myanmar 291
Haiti 293
Congo, Dem Rep 295
Congo 300
Ethiopia 304
Benin 306
Yemen 321

Countries with the most nuclear power generation in 2007, in billions of kilowatt hours

Source: International Atomic Energy Agency and U.S. Energy Information Administration

U.S. 807
France 420
Japan 267
Russia 148
South Korea 137
Germany 133
Canada 88
Ukraine 87
Sweden 64
China 59

Countries with lowest super gasoline* prices as of mid-November 2008 (U.S. dollars/gallon)

United States super gasoline price: $2.12

*Super gasoline has a higher octane rating than regular gasoline. The higher octane rating helps
prevent a vehicle’s engine from igniting before the optimal time.

Source: German Technical Cooperation

Venezuela $0.08
Iran 0.38
Libya 0.53
Saudi Arabia 0.61
Bahrain 0.79

Countries with highest super gasoline prices

Eritrea $9.58
China (including Hong Kong) 7.38
Turkey 7.08
Cape Verde 6.96
Malawi 6.74

February 9, 2009 Posted by | energy consumption, gas prices, nuclear energy, wall street journal | 50 Comments

Biofuels Aren’t Green?

At least that’s what a new study says. I think it paints with a pretty broad brush, because I do in fact think some can be green. But a new study published in Science, echoing the themes of an earlier study I highlighted, concludes that almost all biofuels in use today will increase greenhouse gas emissions. The Wall Street Journal reports:

Biofuels May Hinder Antiglobal-Warming Efforts

While the U.S. and others race to expand the use and production of biofuels, two new studies suggest these gasoline alternatives actually will increase carbon-dioxide levels.

A study published in the latest issue of Science finds that corn-based ethanol, a type of biofuel pushed heavily in the U.S., will nearly double the output of greenhouse-gas emissions instead of reducing them by about one-fifth by some estimates. A separate paper in Science concludes that clearing native habitats to grow crops for biofuel generally will lead to more carbon emissions.

Land-use changes can have big and unintended consequences, such as food shortages and reduced biodiversity. For example, when forests or grasslands are converted for agricultural use, it leads to a large, quick release of carbon when the existing plant life is destroyed and the soil is tilled. Even if biofuels are grown on cropland previously used to grow food, farmers tend to then clear other forests and grasslands and grow the food elsewhere.

“Even if we’re dramatically wrong, it’s hard to get to a result that says you get a benefit over 50 years,” said Timothy Searchinger, a researcher at Princeton University and a co-author of the paper on corn-based ethanol.

Not surprisingly, the corn ethanol lobby disagrees:

“We absolutely assert that ethanol production and use is a responsible way to address the environmental, energy and economic challenges the world faces today,” spokesman Matt Hartwig said. He said the group’s researchers will study the papers and formulate a response.

Assertions are great, but I prefer science. And science is winning the war against corn ethanol. But I have my doubts that the political battle will ever be won.

February 8, 2008 Posted by | ethanol, global warming, greenhouse gases, wall street journal | 309 Comments

Biofuels Aren’t Green?

At least that’s what a new study says. I think it paints with a pretty broad brush, because I do in fact think some can be green. But a new study published in Science, echoing the themes of an earlier study I highlighted, concludes that almost all biofuels in use today will increase greenhouse gas emissions. The Wall Street Journal reports:

Biofuels May Hinder Antiglobal-Warming Efforts

While the U.S. and others race to expand the use and production of biofuels, two new studies suggest these gasoline alternatives actually will increase carbon-dioxide levels.

A study published in the latest issue of Science finds that corn-based ethanol, a type of biofuel pushed heavily in the U.S., will nearly double the output of greenhouse-gas emissions instead of reducing them by about one-fifth by some estimates. A separate paper in Science concludes that clearing native habitats to grow crops for biofuel generally will lead to more carbon emissions.

Land-use changes can have big and unintended consequences, such as food shortages and reduced biodiversity. For example, when forests or grasslands are converted for agricultural use, it leads to a large, quick release of carbon when the existing plant life is destroyed and the soil is tilled. Even if biofuels are grown on cropland previously used to grow food, farmers tend to then clear other forests and grasslands and grow the food elsewhere.

“Even if we’re dramatically wrong, it’s hard to get to a result that says you get a benefit over 50 years,” said Timothy Searchinger, a researcher at Princeton University and a co-author of the paper on corn-based ethanol.

Not surprisingly, the corn ethanol lobby disagrees:

“We absolutely assert that ethanol production and use is a responsible way to address the environmental, energy and economic challenges the world faces today,” spokesman Matt Hartwig said. He said the group’s researchers will study the papers and formulate a response.

Assertions are great, but I prefer science. And science is winning the war against corn ethanol. But I have my doubts that the political battle will ever be won.

February 8, 2008 Posted by | ethanol, global warming, greenhouse gases, wall street journal | 39 Comments

Biofuels Aren’t Green?

At least that’s what a new study says. I think it paints with a pretty broad brush, because I do in fact think some can be green. But a new study published in Science, echoing the themes of an earlier study I highlighted, concludes that almost all biofuels in use today will increase greenhouse gas emissions. The Wall Street Journal reports:

Biofuels May Hinder Antiglobal-Warming Efforts

While the U.S. and others race to expand the use and production of biofuels, two new studies suggest these gasoline alternatives actually will increase carbon-dioxide levels.

A study published in the latest issue of Science finds that corn-based ethanol, a type of biofuel pushed heavily in the U.S., will nearly double the output of greenhouse-gas emissions instead of reducing them by about one-fifth by some estimates. A separate paper in Science concludes that clearing native habitats to grow crops for biofuel generally will lead to more carbon emissions.

Land-use changes can have big and unintended consequences, such as food shortages and reduced biodiversity. For example, when forests or grasslands are converted for agricultural use, it leads to a large, quick release of carbon when the existing plant life is destroyed and the soil is tilled. Even if biofuels are grown on cropland previously used to grow food, farmers tend to then clear other forests and grasslands and grow the food elsewhere.

“Even if we’re dramatically wrong, it’s hard to get to a result that says you get a benefit over 50 years,” said Timothy Searchinger, a researcher at Princeton University and a co-author of the paper on corn-based ethanol.

Not surprisingly, the corn ethanol lobby disagrees:

“We absolutely assert that ethanol production and use is a responsible way to address the environmental, energy and economic challenges the world faces today,” spokesman Matt Hartwig said. He said the group’s researchers will study the papers and formulate a response.

Assertions are great, but I prefer science. And science is winning the war against corn ethanol. But I have my doubts that the political battle will ever be won.

February 8, 2008 Posted by | ethanol, global warming, greenhouse gases, wall street journal | 39 Comments

Biofuels Aren’t Green?

At least that’s what a new study says. I think it paints with a pretty broad brush, because I do in fact think some can be green. But a new study published in Science, echoing the themes of an earlier study I highlighted, concludes that almost all biofuels in use today will increase greenhouse gas emissions. The Wall Street Journal reports:

Biofuels May Hinder Antiglobal-Warming Efforts

While the U.S. and others race to expand the use and production of biofuels, two new studies suggest these gasoline alternatives actually will increase carbon-dioxide levels.

A study published in the latest issue of Science finds that corn-based ethanol, a type of biofuel pushed heavily in the U.S., will nearly double the output of greenhouse-gas emissions instead of reducing them by about one-fifth by some estimates. A separate paper in Science concludes that clearing native habitats to grow crops for biofuel generally will lead to more carbon emissions.

Land-use changes can have big and unintended consequences, such as food shortages and reduced biodiversity. For example, when forests or grasslands are converted for agricultural use, it leads to a large, quick release of carbon when the existing plant life is destroyed and the soil is tilled. Even if biofuels are grown on cropland previously used to grow food, farmers tend to then clear other forests and grasslands and grow the food elsewhere.

“Even if we’re dramatically wrong, it’s hard to get to a result that says you get a benefit over 50 years,” said Timothy Searchinger, a researcher at Princeton University and a co-author of the paper on corn-based ethanol.

Not surprisingly, the corn ethanol lobby disagrees:

“We absolutely assert that ethanol production and use is a responsible way to address the environmental, energy and economic challenges the world faces today,” spokesman Matt Hartwig said. He said the group’s researchers will study the papers and formulate a response.

Assertions are great, but I prefer science. And science is winning the war against corn ethanol. But I have my doubts that the political battle will ever be won.

February 8, 2008 Posted by | ethanol, global warming, greenhouse gases, wall street journal | 39 Comments

Biofuels Aren’t Green?

At least that’s what a new study says. I think it paints with a pretty broad brush, because I do in fact think some can be green. But a new study published in Science, echoing the themes of an earlier study I highlighted, concludes that almost all biofuels in use today will increase greenhouse gas emissions. The Wall Street Journal reports:

Biofuels May Hinder Antiglobal-Warming Efforts

While the U.S. and others race to expand the use and production of biofuels, two new studies suggest these gasoline alternatives actually will increase carbon-dioxide levels.

A study published in the latest issue of Science finds that corn-based ethanol, a type of biofuel pushed heavily in the U.S., will nearly double the output of greenhouse-gas emissions instead of reducing them by about one-fifth by some estimates. A separate paper in Science concludes that clearing native habitats to grow crops for biofuel generally will lead to more carbon emissions.

Land-use changes can have big and unintended consequences, such as food shortages and reduced biodiversity. For example, when forests or grasslands are converted for agricultural use, it leads to a large, quick release of carbon when the existing plant life is destroyed and the soil is tilled. Even if biofuels are grown on cropland previously used to grow food, farmers tend to then clear other forests and grasslands and grow the food elsewhere.

“Even if we’re dramatically wrong, it’s hard to get to a result that says you get a benefit over 50 years,” said Timothy Searchinger, a researcher at Princeton University and a co-author of the paper on corn-based ethanol.

Not surprisingly, the corn ethanol lobby disagrees:

“We absolutely assert that ethanol production and use is a responsible way to address the environmental, energy and economic challenges the world faces today,” spokesman Matt Hartwig said. He said the group’s researchers will study the papers and formulate a response.

Assertions are great, but I prefer science. And science is winning the war against corn ethanol. But I have my doubts that the political battle will ever be won.

February 8, 2008 Posted by | ethanol, global warming, greenhouse gases, wall street journal | 39 Comments

GM Drops the V8; WSJ on $100 Oil

GM Drops the V8

This is pretty significant in my opinion:

GM Drops V-8 Engine on Rising Fuel Prices, Regulation

Jan. 3 (Bloomberg) — General Motors Corp., the world’s largest automaker, canceled a $300 million program to build an advanced V-8 engine for luxury vehicles, citing rising oil prices and tighter U.S. fuel economy restrictions.

“We have seen a declining demand for V-8 engines as fuel prices have risen,” GM spokeswoman Sharon Basel said today. New requirements for carmakers to boost average mileage 40 percent by 2020 also figured in the decision, she said.

GM is trying to shed its reputation for gas-guzzling vehicles as it loses sales to Toyota Motor Corp. and its fuel- sipping Prius, a gasoline-electric hybrid. Eight-cylinder engines, used mainly for high-performance sedans, large pickup trucks and sport-utility vehicles, get lower mileage than conventional four- and six-cylinder engines.

“That’s maybe the first volley in what’s starting to look like this brave new world,” said Jack Nerad, executive industry analyst for Irvine, California-based Kelley Blue Book, in an interview today. “Perhaps they looked at the implications of the new energy bill that just passed and saw the writing on the wall.”

So, something positive has already come out of the new CAFE regulations. Definitely a step in the right direction.

WSJ on $100 Oil

One of the things that is often unmentioned when we discuss current oil prices is the giant transfer of wealth from the U.S. to a lot of countries that dislike the U.S. The Wall Street Journal reported on this today:

Oil Hits $100, Jolting Markets

The surging price of oil, from just over $10 a barrel a decade ago to $100 yesterday, is altering the wealth and influence of nations and industries around the world.

The long oil-price boom is posing wrenching challenges for the world’s poorest nations, while enriching and emboldening producers in the Middle East, Russia and Venezuela. Their increasing muscle has a flip side: a decline of U.S. clout in many parts of the world.

The article is pretty long, but one section is devoted to this transfer of wealth:

Oil’s run-up is bringing the most startling changes of all to the Middle East. Big producers like Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are using their billions in profits to build their economies with roads, schools, airports and entire new cities. The value of hydrocarbon exports from the Middle East and Central Asia is expected to approach $750 billion this year, almost four times the level in 2001, according to the International Monetary Fund.

Underscoring the region’s new global financial heft, Abu Dhabi recently swooped to the rescue of Citigroup Inc. with a $7.5 billion cash infusion as it struggled with write-downs from this year’s credit crisis.

Even before that deal, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, which includes Abu Dhabi, spent about $124.3 billion in the past three years buying up foreign companies, real estate and other assets, according to London-based Dealogic. One transaction underscores the region’s financial-markets ambitions. Dubai, also part of the UAE, agreed to a complex deal with Nasdaq Stock Market Inc. that essentially gives Dubai major stakes in Nasdaq, the London Stock Exchange and Nordic exchange OMX AB.

This wave of oil wealth is blunting America’s influence. Oil money has galvanized the might of Russia under President Vladimir Putin. He has overseen a dramatic consolidation of power and rollback of democracy in Moscow, while sticking a thumb in the West’s eye on issues ranging from independence for Kosovo to the U.S. bid to build an anti-Iran missile-defense system in Europe.

Surging oil prices have also weakened the Bush administration’s efforts to use financial pressure to get Iran to back off its nuclear program. China, eager to secure all possible access to energy, increasingly is turning to Iran as a trading partner, with oil going east and Chinese technology heading the other way. High oil revenue, meanwhile, has kept the otherwise rickety Iranian economy humming and Iran’s current government firmly in power.

In closing, the size of ExxonMobil is put into perspective:

More than from their bank accounts, national oil companies’ strength stems from their control of resources. Exxon Mobil, with a market capitalization of around $500 billion, is one of the largest and most successful publicly traded companies ever. But there are 12 state-controlled oil companies, such as Saudi Aramco and PetroChina Co., that control more oil reserves.

The article is a good read. I have quoted less than 20% of it. Our political leaders need to sit up and take notice.

January 4, 2008 Posted by | General Motors, wall street journal | 26 Comments

   

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