Global energy investments rebound, thanks to fossil fuels
Amy Harder, Axios, May 13, 2019
Global energy investments stabilized last year after three years of decline, due to greater spending on oil, natural gas and coal, according to a new International Energy Agency report just published. What they’re saying: Fatih Birol, IEA executive director, says that “the world is not investing enough in traditional elements of supply to maintain today’s consumption patterns, nor is it investing enough in cleaner energy technologies to change course. Whichever way you look, we are storing up risks for the future.”
- Coal comeback: Coal supply investment increased for the first time since 2012, up 2% between 2017 and 2018.
- Distribution disparities: Just 14% of energy investment dollars in 2018 went to regions where 42% of the world’s population live.
- Chinese dominance: China spends nearly 0.08% of its GDP on energy research and development, and it’s widening the gap compared to the rest of the world (whose spending is less than 0.05% per GDP).
- Battery boost: Investment in battery storage rose by 45% between 2017 and 2018 to a record $4 billion.
- Oil imbalance: Oil spending levels would need to drop to meet the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement goals, but they also “fall well short of what would be needed in a world of continued strong oil demand.”
Our Take: We present Jimmy Fallon’s irrefutable case against “renewables”:
“New Scientist Magazine reported on Wednesday that in the future, cars can be powered by hazelnuts. That’s encouraging considering an eight-ounce jar of hazelnuts costs about nine dollars. Yeah, I got an idea for a car that runs on bald eagle heads and Faberge eggs.”
From the Washington Examiner Daily on Energy:
MURKOWSKI SEEKS TO RESOLVE ‘ACHILLES HEEL’ OF MINERAL DEPENDENCE: Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, chair of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, expressed optimism Tuesday that Congress will finally address the U.S.’ “Achilles heel” of relying on other countries for critical minerals.
“We are going to get it done,” Murkowski said at a hearing hosted by her committee. “This is our Achilles heel for competitive, manufacturing, and geopolitics.”
The hearing focused on a bill introduced this month by Murkowski and Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, the committee’s top Democrat, that would streamline the federal permitting process for developing mines for lithium, graphite, and other minerals critical to developing batteries that power electric vehicles. The bill would also require a nationwide accounting of all minerals available in the U.S. to make EVs.
Murkowski noted the U.S. last year imported at least 50% of 48 different types of minerals, and 100% of 18 of them, according to data provided by the U.S. Geological Survey.
China, the leading market for EVs and a manufacturing powerhouse, is the primary supplier of 26 of the 48 minerals where the U.S. has an importing dependence. Manchin said he hopes to break China’s “stronghold” on the minerals market, but “I don’t know if we ‘ll ever be price competitive with China,” given their head start.
Our Take: We appreciate these words from Senator Steve Daines of MT – “wind farms and solar panels don’t grow naturally in the wild. You have to mine and refine raw materials to make them. If the U.S. wants to be a leader in renewable energy, we also have to be a leader in responsible mining.”