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This Month in Energy - May 2016

16 minutes to read

Here’s what happened in the world of energy this month.

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GLOBAL

New Record Set for World's Cheapest Solar, Now Undercutting Coal

Solar power set another record-low price ($2.99 U.S. cents per kilowatt-hour or 15% lower than old record) as renewable energy developers working in the United Arab Emirates shrugged off financial turmoil in the industry to promise projects costs that undercut even coal-fired generators.

Guerrillas and Rebels Do for Oil Market What Producers Couldn't

While Saudi Arabia, Russia and other major producers couldn’t agree on a production freeze earlier this month, disruptions ranging from pipeline attacks to field shutdowns have taken 800,000 barrels a day of crude supply offline this year, according to energy-industry consultant FGE.

EIA Report says Global Energy Consumption to Grow by 48% by 2040

The US Energy Information Administration (EIA) recently released the ‘International Energy Outlook 2016’, which expects that the world energy consumption will grow by 48% between 2012 and 2040.

Apple has ‘Strongest Climate Policy’ of Business World

Influence Map awarded Apple the US technology giant with the highest rating in a study of 150 global firms for its “consistent” championing of legislation to curb emissions and independence from obstructive trade lobbies in a report on Wednesday.

AFRICA

Rwanda’s Energy Sector gets $202m from EU

In East Africa, the European Union (EU) has engaged in a funding agreement with Rwanda that is worth €177 million ($202 million), which will be directed towards the energy sector over the next five years.

4 Things to Know About Africa’s Pay-As-You-Go Solar Energy Market

The pay-as-you-go model has taken off in East Africa’s energy sector, enabling low-income rural households to rent, and later own, home solar power systems.One of the most prominent companies is Kenya’s M-KOPA Solar, which has sold over 300,000 solar kits to users in East Africa. This article covers 4 things you should know about the sector.

World Bank Plans to Support Solar Power Investments 'Set to Benefit Africa’

 The World Bank Group has said the launch of a new initiative, ‘Scaling Solar’, will establish a “one-stop shop” for governments that want to attract private investors to build large-scale solar plants in sub-Saharan Africa and other regions, but lack the purchasing power of bigger emerging markets.

ASIA

China to Boost Energy Storage 10-fold to Cut Power Waste

China is expected to raise its power storage capacity by ten-fold to 14.5 gigawatts by 2020, as the world's second-biggest economy tries to cut massive waste from renewable energy projects, an industry association said. Some regions are estimated to be losing more than 40 percent of their power because of technical restraints and bottlenecks in the grid, alongside weak power demand growth. Storage technologies, such as pumped storage hydropower or lithium ion batteries, are expected to play a critical role in improving the China's capacity to make better use of renewables.

Iran-South Korea Cooperation Could hit $10B in Energy Industry

Deputy Energy Minister Houshang Falahatian has stated publically that Iran and South Korea have the capacity to increase cooperation in energy industry to 10 billion dollars as Iran's energy ministry seeks to lure more foreign investments aimed at expanding the country energy industry during post sanctions era.

North Korea Builds Third Power Plant to Address Energy Shortage

North Korea completed constructions of third hydropower station near its border with China. N.K. Leader Kim Jong-un visiting the site.

EUROPE

Germany to Launch 1 Billion-Euro Discount Scheme for Electric Car Buyers

Germany is set to launch a new incentive scheme worth about 1 billion euros to get more consumers buying electric cars as it struggles to meet a target of bringing 1 million of them onto its roads by the end of the decade.

Portugal Ran Entirely on Renewable Energy for 4 Consecutive Days this Month

Consumption of electricity in Portugal was fully covered by renewable sources for more than followed four days.  In total there were 107 hours of time where it was not necessary to resort to any source of non-renewable electricity production, including thermal power plants to coal or natural gas.

Shell Sets Up Green Energy Division to Invest in Clean Power

Shell, which is Europe’s largest oil company, has founded a new division called New Energies to invest in renewable power. Insiders claim that Shell wants to ensure it is at the leading edge of the transition to low-carbon economies.The Shell group chief executive, Ben van Beurden, told investors at a meeting in London that he expected oil and gas demand to remain significant, but added that the company was also going to take its responsibilities to fight climate change.

MIDDLE EAST

Jordan Set to Reactivate Third Round of Renewables

A fresh addition of grid capacity is set to facilitate a third round of renewables feed-in tariff projects in Jordan.  The 400 MW scheme was dropped in 2014 due to a lack of grid capacity but is now expected to go ahead as the $160m Green Corridor transmission project is completed. The third round was launched in 2014 and was intended to comprise four build-own-operate projects with a capacity of 100 MW each.

To Make Fresh Water Without Warming the Planet, Countries Eye Solar Power

Desalination plants fueld by solar panels and batteries are beginning operation. The potential for their ability to provide fresh water sustainably is promising.

A Bright Future For Solar Power In the Middle East

As solar nears grid parity in the Middle East, solar is poised to become a greater part of the energy mix for the region.  Geography and demographic challenges have made parts of the Middle East and North Africa a prime location for solar power installations. While solar will not supplant the role of hydrocarbons, it will enable countries such as Morocco and Jordan to improve energy security and potentially become electricity exporters.. Countries such as Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates will seek to maintain their position as energy exporters, in part by adopting strategies likely to include renewables development.

NORTH AMERICA

U.S. Oil Industry Bankruptcy Wave Nears Size of Telecom Bust

The rout in crude prices is snowballing into one of the biggest avalanches in the history of corporate America, with 59 oil and gas companies now bankrupt after this week's filings for creditor protection.

Facebook, Microsoft Give Clean Energy a Boost With Buyer’s Group

Facebook Inc. and Microsoft Corp. are joining forces with environmental groups to promote the development of 60 gigawatts of renewable energy by 2025. That’s enough to replace all the coal-fired power plants in the U.S. expected to retire in the next four years. The Renewable Energy Buyers Alliance was formed to break barriers that companies say they face with utilities and regulators in their efforts to reduce carbon emissions, the companies said on a conference call Thursday.

Solar Power is Contagious. These Maps Show How it Spreads.

New studies have found that if you install solar photovoltaic panels on your roof, that increases the odds that your neighbors will install their own panels.

Long Awaited Tidal Power Turbine Heading to Bay of Fundy Next Month

The first of two towering turbines designed by Cape Sharp Tidal to harness the immense power of the Bay of Fundy will be installed next month off the coast of Nova Scotia.

San Francisco Becomes First Major U.S. City to Mandate Rooftop Solar In New Buildings

In an effort to reduce the use of fossil fuels, San Francisco will lead the nation in building efficiency standards through rooftop solar installations.

LATIN AMERICA

Venezuela Declares a 2-day Workweek Because of Dire Energy Shortages

In a desperate attempt to save electricity, drought-stricken Venezuela has introduced a new concept to the workplace calendar: the five-day weekend.  President Nicolás Maduro has granted the country's public employees — who account for a third of the labor force — leave, so they can sit through rolling blackouts at home rather than in the office.

Latin America Eyes Volcanoes To Fire Up Clean Energy Development

Mexico and Costa Rica aim to build on their position as Latin America's leading producers of geothermal power to help meet the challenges they face of curbing planet-warming emissions and making their energy supplies secure.

Mexico's Energy Auction Reveals True Price of U.S. Renewables

Observing a recent energy auction in Mexico, analysts conclude U.S. enewable energy sources are much cheaper than previously thought.

Latin America Becomes More Attractive for Renewable Energy Investment

According to the Ernst & Young renewable energy country attractiveness index, three Latin American countries - Chile, Brazil and Mexico - are now within the top ten most attractive for renewable energy investments, while Argentina comes in at number 18.