(April 2004) “Assuming that solar, wind, and fuel cells continue their year-over-year growth, we forecast the clean energy market reaching $92 billion by 2013,” said Ron Pernick, cofounder of Clean Edge. “New government policies and continued investment from venture capitalists and multinationals are playing a critical role in what we see as a bright future for clean-energy growth.”
Trends to watch are:
n Cars Get Traction: Hybrids move from “curiosity” to mainstream, as Japanese firms lead the way and American automakers are left behind.
n Green Power Becomes Price Hedge: One U.S. energy utility’s vision of providing long-green-energy contracts becomes a model for other utility companies.
n Green Energy Goes Local: Flagging federal funding incites state and local governments to pick up the slack, bringing clean energy within reach.
n Wind Power Takes Europe by Storm: An estimated 14 million European households are being electrified by wind power, accounting for more than 70% of global installed utility-windpower
n China Harnesses Clean Energy: Home to seven of the world’s most polluted cities, China and its booming economy will be pivotal in turning the clean-energy market on its ear.
(Information and data from “Clean Energy Tends 2004,” www.cleanedge.com.) +
This past year, China surpassed Japan as the No. 2 petroleum user after the U.S. In an article, “China’s Huge Thirst for Oil Set to Change World Energy Flows,” Sydney Morning Herald, 12/03/03, the statement is made that China’s purchases are an important reason the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries has been able to keep the cost of a barrel of oil at or above $30 US a barrel for much of this year. Data in this graph is based on expectations of the International Energy Agency. (BD note: An important question to ask is - “What will China’s rise as a leading buyer of oil mean in the future for prices and availability?) +
At Last, a Magnetic Refrigerator?
The world’s first magnetic refrigeration device was demonstrated in October of 2001 by researchers from Astronautics Corp. and the DOE’s Ames Laboratory at Iowa State University. The principle relies on the ability of the rare earth gadolinium to concentrate heat in the presence of a magnetic field and then quickly cool when the field is removed. By mechanically rotating the gadolinium alternately, first to asbsorb heat in a magnetic field and then reject it in non magnetic space, heat is transferred. For BD readers, the milestone is important because it is projected that efficiencies to 50% will be obtained, and the process can economically liquefy natural gas from which liquid hydrogen could be obtained to power fuel cell vehicles.(04-02 BD73-13)
November 2001, pp. 21-23
U.S. Senate rejects potential legislation that would create a fuel economy mandate. The Senate also told the transportation department to develop fuel economy rules over the next two years, but did not mention specific mileage increases. The Senate voted as follows:
1. Fuel economy The vote was 68-38 to give the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration time to set new fuel guidelines for U.S. vehicles. The proposal to require automakers to produce by 2015 fleets that average 35 m.p.h. was rejected.
2. An exemption for pickups The vote was 56-44 to prohibit the mileage standard for pickups from being raised above the current 20.7 m.p.g.
The House has also turned down any significant increase in auto fuel economy.
Automakers are currently required to have a fleet average of 27.5 m.p.g. for sedans and 20.7 m.p.g. for SUVs, minivans and pickups. In 2000, the average for vehicles was 24 m.p.g., approximately what it was 20 years ago.
Meanwhile, OPEC produced 25.12 million barrels a day (mil b/d) of crude in February as Iraqi volumes rose to their highest levels since November. For more information on OPEC, check “Platts Guide to OPEC” at www.platts.com/opec/index.shtml. (Bd note: Is the U.S. really serious about becoming less dependent on oil - a greater and greater percentage which is coming from foreign sources such as the Middle East? Because of the U.S. government’s position, will there really be a strong impetus or incentive to create fuel efficient vehicles such as autos, SUVs and minivans powered by fuel cells or even hybrids?)(04-02 BD73-5)