Energy News Recap: 2.4 GW Seawater Pumped Hydro Project; China Ups Wind Power Target to 1000 GW

Land Rover Our Planet /CC BY-ND 2.0

An innovative pumped hydro project using seawater, a first, and 2.4 GW (big!) is proposed; China ups its wind power ambitions for 2050 (a lot); a former IEAer says oil to decline shortly after 2015; Chevron smacked (again) by a judge. Here's what we've just been scanning in energy news.

China Increases Wind Power Target for 2050 To 1,000 GW
China keeps pushing forward with its remarkable renewable energy growth. According to Renewable Energy World, the Chinese National Energy Administration has announced a new series of development goals for wind power: 100 GW by 2015 (up from today's 40 GW), 200 GW by 2030, 400 GW by 2030, and 1,000 GW by 2050. If that last figure seems impressive, and it is, consider that even then it is expected to account for 17% of China's projected power demand.

Assuming of course that the oil declines outlined below don't throw this all up in the air..

Former IEA Oil Analyst Says Oil Will Decline Shortly After 2015
The Oil Drum has an interesting interview with former International Energy Agency petroleum analyst Olivier Rech. An excerpt of what Rech says (I've clipped the questions themselves):

The production of oil has already been on a plateau since 2005 at around 82 mb/d. It appears to me impossible to go much higher. Since demand is still on an increasing trajectory (unless, possibly, the economic crisis engulfs the emerging economies), I expect to see the first tensions arising between 2013 and 2015. [...] Afterwards in my view, we will have to face a decline of the production of all forms of liquid fuels somewhere between 2015 and 2020. This decline will not necessarily be rapid, however, but it will be a decline, that much seems clear.

As for replacing petroleum fuels with alternatives (including other fossil fuels), Rech says:

Conversion of coal and natural gas to liquid fuels will remain infinitesimal. For first-generation biofuels, I believe we are already approaching the maximal limit. As for second-generation biofuels, we are still at the stage of industrial pilot projects. It should take another quarter century before we achieve significant production on a world scale, let's say around 2.4 mb/d.

As in a ways off and a drop in the bucket. A huge problem.

World's First Pumped Hydro Project Using Seawater is a Doozy
Green Prophet (found by a TreeHugger alum, full disclosure) has the details on a proposed 2.4 GW pumped hydro project between the Mediterranean and the Dead Sea:

A tunnel below sea level from the Mediterranean Sea would funnel sea water through a 10 meter diameter (30 foot) wide concrete tunnel 72 km ( 45 miles) to a very deep indentation in the rocky landscape about half way across land towards the Dead Sea. No energy would be needed to move the Mediterranean water to the inland sea water reservoir, because the water does not need to go uphill the whole distance.

New York Court Slaps Chevron For Rainforest Destruction
A federal court in New York denied Chevron's request to prevent Ecuador from collecting the $18 billion fine, just upheld as valid by a court there, issued for rainforest destruction and damage of human health caused by Chevron acquisition Texaco. Read more at Reuters.

Mario Batali Joins Fight Against Fracking
Add Mario Batali to the list of celebrity opponents of fracking. HuffPo says:


Batali, who signed onto the Chefs for Marcellus cause a few weeks ago, joins Brooks Headley, executive pastry chef at Batali's four-star Italian restaurant Del Posto, Bill Telepan of Telepan and the group’s founder, Heather Carlucci-Rodriguez of PRINT restaurant, as well as about 30 other industry professionals who fear that fracking will threaten the quality and livelihood of restaurants in New York City.

The issue of fracking going beyond just polluting water supplies and threatening the burgeoning local food and agricultural revival in the so-called southern tier of New York State, smack dab in the middle of the natural gas rich Marcellus Shale, is one which we've covered before and one which is gaining momentum as yet another reason to oppose fracking.

Tags: China | Fracking | Peak Oil | Wind Power

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