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Bleak energy outlook

Submitted by: MikeC (Admin) on 27-Nov-08 05:53:40 PM

Preparing, recording and posting podcasts usually involves a period of frenetic reading and writing activity for me, which sometimes explains why the blog goes a bit quiet.

Sometimes so much news bursts into the open, I just don't know where to start (and sometimes don't!). I don't wish to merely regurgitate news and press releases (note to PR companies wondering why I don't publish some articles - gimme sommat unique and not sales spin!), unless it's important.

As a very basic general rule: if everyone else is reporting/regurgitating it, I probably won't waste your time (or mine) with it here - there's enough noise on the internet. Hopefully, you'll actually find a signal here.

Anyway, there's been quite a lot of important news lately which overwhelmed me at the time (the IEA's 585-page report for one - see below), but which, nevertheless, I have been meaning to blog about.

So I thought I'd post my preamble to the latest podcast with Quest in case you don't listen to them (you nutter!) which gives a brief overview of what I've wanted to blog about lately - it's important, worrying, and should serve to remind energy assessors why the role can only grow in influence.

EPBD 2 - a "recast"

Last week the EU published proposals for what it's calling a 'recast' of the European Performance of Buildings Directive - or EPBD 2.

Under the proposals, an enhancement of the role of energy performance certificates. All buildings undergoing major renovation will have to meet certain efficiency standards before being signed-off - even buildings under 1000 m2, which had previously been exempt.

It's a bit of a rush-job - the EU is urging quick agreement in order to kick this off in 2010/2011.

International Energy Agency - four more Saudi Arabia's please!

The IEA - the International Energy Agency - last week published its 585-page energy report which attempts to help OECD nations look ahead to the year 2030.

It's an uncomfortable read, predicting the need for a staggering amount of new capacity, saying: "Even if oil demand was to remain flat to 2030, 45 mb/d [million barrels a day] of additional capacity would need to be built by 2030, just to offset the effect of oilfield decline."

In other words, the world needs to discover four Saudi Arabia's just to feed today's level of consumption, never mind the growing demands of developing countries such as China and India.

The IEA expects it will cost over $26 trillion to meet the energy needs of 2030 - half of that, just to simply maintain the infrastructure already in place.

US National Intelligence Council

That report was followed by another from the US National Intelligence Council - the NIC - just a few days ago, which attempts to periodically map-out the world's geo-political direction. Entitled "Global Trends 2025: A Transformed World", the 120-page document is no more pleasurable to read:

It predicts that unprecedented economic growth, coupled with 1.5 billion more people, will put pressure on resources — particularly energy, food, and water — raising the spectre of scarcities as demand outstrips supply.

UK: blackouts imminent

Closer to home, Capgemini, a global energy consultancy firm, yesterday published a report which estimates that around one quarter of the UK's energy capacity will close by 2015 as the country struggles to balance its carbon emissions targets with production of new energy sources.

Nine oil and coal-fired power plants are to close by 2015 because of an EU directive that aims to limit pollution. At the same time, four ageing nuclear power plants will also shut.

"Very very frightening" - Not that Queen song!

And if that wasn't enough, yesterday, the Gas and Electricity regulator, OfGEM, warned MPs that Gas prices could be "very, very frightening" in future, as the credit-crunch cripples investment into much needed storage capacity to offset declining North Sea production.

A Govt think-tank yesterday has also proposed energy efficiency MOTs on buildings every couple of years.

The Telegraph reports it could mean property owners being denied insurance or even the right to sell the building if it fails a compulsory energy inspection.

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