Solar Power Brings Light To Bedouin Arab Village

The Egyptian government wants the country to receive 20% of its power from renewable energy sources by 2020 and will auction 2GW of wind power capacity and 2GW of solar capacity next month to advance that goal. The country desperately needs to bolster its power generation capacity so it will also seek bids for 4 GW of coal-fired power. “Egypt’s New & Renewable Energy Authority (NREA) has set a target to generate 20% of the country’s power demand from renewable energy sources by 2020; this includes 12% from wind power and 8% from other technologies like solar power and hydro power. The expected capacity addition is skewed towards wind energy, as solar power is still costly in Egypt while hydro power potential has been largely utilized.” [CleanTechnica]

Cost increases and capital discipline are pressuring oil sands projects and in some cases pushing them further down oil company priority lists. Norwegian producer Statoil announced it would delay its Corner field project in Northern Alberta. This is fairly common within the industry and whenever oil prices plummet oil sands projects are some of the first to get delayed due the relative higher costs associated with producing those barrels. “Oil-sands producers have struggled with rising costs in the remote projects in northern Alberta because of labor shortages and difficulties in getting equipment. Imperial Oil Ltd., the Calgary-based producer majority owned by Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM), last year boosted the cost of its Kearl project by 18 percent.” [Bloomberg]

Natural gas prices in Australia have almost tripled in the past few years and as the country’s numerous LNG projects near completion, domestic gas-intensive industries could be competing with Asian buyers overseas willing to pay higher prices. “I wouldn’t want to lecture the U.S. on energy policy, but if you want an example of getting it wrong, it’s Australia,” said James Fazzino, chief executive of Australia’s biggest fertilizer maker, Incitec PivotIPL.AU -1.38% “It’s a train wreck.” High domestic gas prices among other things prompted Incitec Pivot last year to build a US$850 million ammonia plant in the U.S. rather than in Australia. Other manufacturers, including international chemical firms BASF BAS.XE -3.66% SE and Dow Chemical Co. DOW -0.73% , have also said they are rethinking their Australian investments in the wake of rising energy bills. [Wall Street Journal]