The Bullroarer - Friday 24th October 2008 - Power points for plug-in cars by 2012

Motorists are expected to move en masse to electric cars with plans under way to build plug-in points to recharge them at home, work and shopping centres.

A future of fuel-efficient vehicles moved closer to reality yesterday with power company AGL and finance group Macquarie Capital agreeing to work with international corporation Better Place to establish the infrastructure needed to support the cars.

National Business Review NZ - NZ company buys Azerbaijan oil

The Azerbaijan government says it will ship one million barrels of oil to an Auckland company on November 1.

The State Oil Company of Azerbaijan, SOCAR said in a statement the shipment of "Azeri light" sailing from the port of Ceyhan in Turkey was bought by Sumato Energy Group Ltd, an Auckland company owned by another Auckland company, Vicam (Auckland) Ltd.

The destination of the oil shipment was not disclosed and industry sources said they did not expect it to come to New Zealand.

Central Western Daily - Orange transport firm victim of high fuel costs

ONE of the city’s iconic transport firms has become the first high profile company to fall victim to the high cost of petrol in Orange.

In a disturbing sign of things to come, soaring petrol prices have shifted from an issue of annoyance to a cause of utter devastation to the 30 employees of Whites Westran, who will all lose their jobs when the business shuts down tomorrow

The Australian - Origin's coal seam gas sale gets nod

ORIGIN Energy's $10 billion sale of Queensland coal seam gas (CSG) assets to Conoco Phillips has been approved by Treasurer Wayne Swan and is now expected to be finalised next week.

NZ Herald - Perk for aged boosts bus use

Free transport for superannuitants is driving up demand for public transport in Auckland, say bus companies.

ABC - Australia works to cover Japan's fuel to NKorea

Australia is working with the United States and Japan on how to pay for a bulk fuel purchase for North Korea, one of the inducements to Pyongyang in a nuclear disarmament deal.
There is a funding shortfall, with Japan refusing to pay for its component of the purchase. - AGL in trading halt

Queensland Gas Company Ltd and its major shareholder AGL Energy Ltd both have entered trading halts pending the announcement of a "material transaction".
AGL Energy said it expected to make an announcement about the potential material transaction prior to the start of trading on October 28.

Credit Suisse said in a September 30 client note that AGL Energy may consider swapping a portion of its QGC interest for controlling stakes in some of the company's coal seam gas fields.

SMH - Agencies brawl as work costs extra $500m

THE Government's rail agencies are at war over billions of dollars worth of rail projects, with excessive train noise in the $2.3 billion Epping to Chatswood tunnel the latest in a series of bungles that have the two agencies at each other's throats.

Under pressure to deliver on the state's biggest rail investment for 50 years, the feud between the Transport Infrastructure Development Corporation and RailCorp has contributed to gargantuan cost and timetable blow-outs.

Otago Daily Times - New energy-efficient premises opened
Environmentally-friendly and energy-efficient ideas:

Now, in an innovative move, Scott Technology has installed a diesel generator in a bid to lessen its energy costs.

Gisborne Herald - Skills shortage in the oil industry here

Mr Pfahlert says attracting and retaining skilled labour, and specialists, has been an issue for some time but it is getting worse with worldwide pressure to find and develop new oil fields.

"This is causing a real headache for us in New Zealand, with companies and countries such as Australia aggressively competing for and recruiting skilled people and labour.

"With the world needing to find new petroleum resources, New Zealand and its large offshore area is now becoming a focus of intense interest,'' Mr Pfahlert says.

"The industry needs all sorts of people, from geologists and geophysicists in the exploration phase, to drillhands, roustabouts, mechanics and engineers when drilling starts - then plumbers, welders, steel fabricators and a host of other trades, as well as skilled labour if and when a source is confirmed and developed." - NZ Refining operates at near full production

The New Zealand Refining Company said it operated at close to full production in July and August.

The operator of the Marsden Point oil refinery said throughput for the two-month period was 6.3 million barrels.

Science Alert ANZ - Solar Energy - but is it realistic?
Apologies for the big slab of text. This caught my eye because it is increasingly obvious that Solar Thermal is a viable power source right now, if the right assumptions are made. The article is long - but may be worth a read.

There is no doubt about it, virtually every survey taken of the public’s attitude towards the range of energy-generation technologies puts renewables, and particularly solar energy, right at the top of the heap (and usually nuclear at the bottom).

And taken on face value, Australia still has the wide-open spaces with possibly the best average solar irradiation of any continent. In fact solar radiation is Australia’s largest potential energy source. The average amount of solar energy that falls on Australia is about 15,000 times the national energy use.

We also have the R&D and manufacturing skills to develop our solar resources into a major industry. So why is it so slow?

Well, there are a few barriers, and all have to do, in the end, with the costs of the outputs. The fact is that the sun does not shine at night, energy storage in either electrical and/or heat forms is expensive, reasonable-size plants take up a lot of area, they need to be appropriately sited (usually in more remote locations) and, even with storage, the output will be subject to a degree of intermittency.

The major ‘barrier’ to solar thermal uptake has been the relatively low cost of power from our predominantly coal-fired electricity generation. It has just not been possible for a relatively expensive technology such as solar thermal to compete. However, things are changing.

For example, the Australian Government’s Renewable Energy Target (RET) will require 20 per cent of Australia’s energy be supplied from renewable sources by 2020. Much of this capacity is expected to be initially supplied by wind generation (with a contribution from geothermal, depending on the state of development) although, as the most attractive sites become used, solar technologies are then likely to play a key role in helping to meet the target.

The Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme (CPRS), involving an emissions trading scheme (ETS), beginning in 2010, will set a price of carbon emissions and this will change power generation cost relativities to favour greater up take of renewables, including solar generation. Currently, carbon prices well in excess of $50, and as high as $100, per tonne of CO2 will be required to shift solar thermal generation into a cost-competitive position with coal-fired power. - Power points for plug-in cars by 2012

Motorists are expected to move en masse to electric cars with plans under way to build plug-in points to recharge them at home, work and shopping centres.

Sounds like a good idea. One of the problems I see however is where all the electric cars going to come from and in what timeframe? And unless we stop growing the number of cars on Oz's roads will it actually reduce our overall oil consumption?

A lot of people think that the main impact of peak oil is rising fuel prices, a problem which can simply be solved by switching to electric cars or whatever other new technology. The real problem is the impact on the broader economy. Given that we are in the early stages of the "worst economic crisis since the great depression" and will start to see year on year oil production declines at about the same time as the "recovery", new cars will be the least of our problems.

The average registered car in Australia is more than 10 years old. Most new cars are bought by fleet operators, relatively wealthy people, or on novated leases. New car sales are already going into decline. Hybrid cars and electric cars are more expensive than ICE cars and will remain so for some time, even taking fuel costs into consideration. I'm sure we'll start to see a few electric cars on the roads in four or five years time, but don't hold your breath for an "en masse move to electric cars" by the punters in the suburbs, up to their eyeballs in mortgage and credit card debt, about to be thrown onto the dole queue.

I watched the segment on Channel Nine's Today program about this concept. The MSM keep trying to portray these 'cleaner and greener' ideas as being major solutions to our problems, yet they ignore a. the practicalities of these ideas, and b. the magnitude, scope and urgency of real problem/s we are facing. Anything to keep the allusion that BAU can continue for a bit longer.

BAU was floated on the stock exchange three months ago at $1 a share. Today it's worth 0.3c a share. Soon they will need to put another decimal place on the chart, when it dips below 0.1c a share.

Don't be too hasty about that extra decimal point. They went up 200% on Friday! Everything must be OK!!!!!

Its the new vehicle owners that have high VMT. Since the capacity to produce new PHEV, HEV and EV will be limited for the next 5 years there will still be many people waiting to buy even if new car sales decline dramatically from the 1million last year.
Those few unemployed are not going to be driving much whatever vehicle they own, probably one of those older than 10years. Its my guess that the more fuel efficient vehicles like Mazda 121 will stay on road ,much longer than the Commodore and Falcon wagons.
While the US may be in the worst economic crisis since 1930's, China with ONLY 9% annual growth is not and neither is Australia. If China was to have NO growth in next year they would still need to import the same amount of commodities as this year, and the US in recession is still gobbling up more than 20% of worlds resources.
A world wide slow down will allow EV and battery technology to catch somewhat will potential demand, and give us a little longer time at the Peal Oil peak.


With year-on-year oil production declines somewhere between 2-3% p/a and 8-9% p/a from circa 2010-2012 (if not sooner due to the impact of the credit crunch on new o&g projects), declining world oil exports at approximately 6% p/a, and Australia already 50% import dependent, even without considering the increasing likelihood of sudden oil shocks, you're dreamin' if you think EVs will solve the problem.

You're right that the financial crisis is yet to flow into the real economy here in Australia (or China), but we are going to see huge job losses starting in the next couple of months when it does. Mainstream pundits are predicting anywhere between 200,000 and 1 million job losses by the end of next year. We are actually in more debt than Americans; the average household owes approximately 160% of annual income. House prices are set to fall about 30%. New developments are falling off the radar by the day.

We might have a year or two before the worldwide economic recovery and oil demand start to bump back into the oil depletion curve triggering the next oil price spike (again, assuming no oil shocks, big OPEC cutbacks etc in the meantime). Retail, tourism, housing, construction, automotive, airlines and road transport, to name a few, are going to TANK, big time. And you think getting a few EVs on the road from 2012 is going to solve this? How about electric trucks? Electric planes? Electric farms?

Too little, too late, sorry. If EVs had been hitting the road in big numbers a decade ago they might have made a big difference, but they didn't. I'll probably own an EV myself one day, but a belief that this will save the economy is a delusion. We need to focus on much more important problems than how to keep cars on the road.