Energy news in China, Ukraine, United States and Germany

1. China Daily – China is under greater pressure to ensure energy supply this year as both demand and international competition for resources grows.

The NEA plans to add another 200 million metric tons to the country’s coal-producing capacity this year plus 70 million kw of new installed power-generating capacity.

If the ecology is protected and people are relocated, China will start construction of hydropower projects of 20 million kw in 2012.

The NEA plans to launch wind power projects with a total capacity between 15 million kw and 18 million kw, while developing 3 million kw of solar power over the new five-year period ending 2015.

Liu said, in 2012, the country aims to provide electricity to another 600,000 people who currently have no access to it and expand electricity access to 5 million people by 2015.

The NEA has budgeted 65 billion yuan ($10.3 billion) for upgrading the grids in rural areas.

Over the next four years, China will facilitate the development of non-conventional natural gas, such as shale gas and coalbed methane by increasing the number of natural gas users by 100 million to 250 million.

Power consumption is expected to grow by 8.5 percent.

2. Power project investment totaled 739.3 billion yuan in 2010, compared with 705.1 billion yuan in 2011.

Power projects could be around 670 billion yuan in 2012.

China’s investment in the coal-fired power sector stood at 105.4 billion yuan in 2011, compared with 94 billion yuan in hydropower, 74 billion yuan in nuclear power, and 82.9 billion yuan in wind power.

3. Ukraine energy production in 2011 – Nuclear power plants (NPP) in Ukraine increased electricity output by 1.2% to 90.2478 billion kilowatt hours, combined heat and power plants (CHPs) and the ministry’s electricity stations – 8.7% to 84.7748 billion kilowatt hours, local CHPs and block-stations – 3.5% to 8.0836 billion kilowatt hours, and hydroelectricity stations (HPPs) reduced output by 16.8% to 10.7796 billion kilowatt hours.

4. Germany’s power consumption in 2011 was down by 0.5 percentage points from a year earlier at 607 billion kilowatt hours (kWh), while production was down 2.5 per cent at 612 billion kWh year-on-year

5. Think Progress -without large government subsidies wind and other renewal energy installations have big drops

6. Forbes – Why the hype surrounding renewable energy is just that

About 35% of the estimated 4.6 billion bushels of all U.S. corn grown this year was consumed by the ethanol industry, producing nearly 14 billion gallons of alcohol.

Regarding “renewable” electricity sources, the two most heralded and hyped power prospects are wind and solar. Let’s forget about hydropower which produces more than three times as much U.S. electricity as both of them combined since most environmental groups don’t want to claim or credit it. And for sure forget about nuclear which produces ten times more, also with no CO2 or particulate emissions.

First consider that even gargantuan wind installations covering thousands of acres generate only small amounts of expensive and unreliable power. Even those relatively anemic outputs can’t be sustained without fossil-fueled turbines (typically natural gas) that provide “spinning reserves” to balance out power grids as wind levels fluctuate. Starting and stopping those turbines is a very inefficient use of fuel, also producing more greenhouse gas emissions than under normal operation.

Advocates often grossly exaggerate the capacity of wind power to make a significant impact on our electrical needs through a failure to differentiate between maximum total capacities, rated in megawatts (MW)—vs. actual predicted kilowatt hours (kWh) determined by annual average wind conditions at a particular site. Seasonal and daily velocities are often out of synch with power needs, such as during hot summer days when demands for air-conditioning are highest.

Solar power, like wind, is a natural, free source of energy— provided that public subsidies and customers of high-priced electricity cover the costs. In the U.S. the main federal subsidy currently pays for 30% of the cost for a residential system. Then when other subsidies are added, as much as 75% of the cost can be covered. The U.S. Energy Information Administration estimates that electricity produced by solar is presently three times more expensive than power produced by natural gas.

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