1. IEEJ Asia Energy Forum
The Institute of Energy Economics, Japan released presentations from the Asia Energy Forum 2005, held in Tokyo, Japan on November 25, 2005. The first session of the conference focused on “the establishment of an energy security system and regional cooperation in Asia, taking account of the paradigm shift in the energy security sector.” The second session provided presentation and discussion on the promotion of mutual investments between oil producing and consuming countries, “in particular, identifying the roles of National Oil Companies and International Oil Companies and practical cooperation between them.” The third session spotlighted “specific tasks and methods in the promotion of nuclear power, new and renewable energy development and issues facing regional cooperation in Asia.”
2. PRC Independent Power Projects
Stanford Center for Environmental Science and Policy (Pei Yee Woo, “CHINA’S ELECTRIC POWER MARKET: THE RISE AND FALL OF IPPS, August 16, 2005) released this paper as part of a larger study on power sector reform. “This paper starts off with a brief history of China’s power market starting from the late 1980s when the power generation sector was first opened to private investment. The second section explains the role of foreign IPPs in the market, in particular, addressing why their significance has waxed and waned over the last decade. The third section discusses certain factors and developments in the investment climate of China’s power market which has affected the investment strategies and operations of gencos across the board…the final section will outline our selection of five case studies for in-depth treatment.”
3. Energy Policy and Society
James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy at Rice University (“BRIDGING THE GAP BETWEEN SCIENCE AND SOCIETY,” November 2005, No 32) released this report from a two-day workshop titled “Bridging the Gap Between Science and Society,” held on November 1 and 2, 2003. The workshop “focused on critical issues of energy and related science and technology policy and included public presentations and discussions by more than 30 top scientists and energy and policy experts… Among the topics covered were overall energy policy and societal impacts; climate change; nuclear energy policy; science advice to policymakers; math, science, and engineering education; and the role science plays in advancing international relations.” The summary highlights the need for increased cooperation for energy R&D, the need to address deficiencies in the nation’s technical workforce, and the need to develop means for rapid development and deployment of cheaper, more efficient energy supplies.
4. PRC and Geopolitics of Oil
Japan Focus (F William Engdahl, “CHINA LAYS DOWN GAUNTLET IN ENERGY WARS: THE GEOPOLITICS OF OIL, CENTRAL ASIA AND THE UNITED STATES,” December 22, 2005) released this article by F. William Engdahl. Engdahl writes, “The geopolitical chess game for the control of the energy flows of Central Asia and overall of Eurasia from the Atlantic to the China Sea is sharply evident in the latest [pipeline] developments…. Simply put, the United States stands to lose major leverage over the entire strategic Eurasian region with the latest developments. The Kazakh developments also have more than a little to do with the fact that the Washington war drums are beating loudly against Iran.”
5. Asia-Pacific Region and Climate Change
Xinhua News Agency (“ASIA-PACIFIC NATIONS TO ESTABLISH TASK FORCES TO TACKLE CLIMATE CHANGE,” January 12, 2005) reported that Asia-Pacific nations attending a meeting on climate change here have decided to form eight working groups tackling issues related to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Officials from Australia, China, India, Japan, the Republic of Korea and the United States on [January 12] issued a joint communiqué at their inaugural meeting of Asia Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate [in Sydney, Australia]. The eight task forces will focus on different issues including renewable energy, power generation, cleaner fossil fuels, and coal mining.
The Age (Melissa Fyfe, “$445M FOR CLEANER ENERGY, BUT IT WON’T STOP CLIMATE CHANGE,” January 13, 2006, Sydney) reported that a high-powered deal struck in Sydney yesterday may push some of the world’s biggest polluters to improve their performance, but an analysis revealed it would fall short of avoiding dangerous climate change. Australia and the United States pledged almost $445 million over five years to cleaner energy projects under the Asia-Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate. But analysis by the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics shows that even if the partnership was successful, global emissions would more than double by 2050.
6. PRC Energy Resources
Agence France Presse (Benjamin Moran, “CHINA’S RACE FOR ENERGY RESOURCES ONLY JUST HEATING UP,” January 10, 2006, Shanghai) reported that China’s 2.3-billion-dollar Nigerian oil venture is a major step forward for the energy ravenous country as it seeks to power its fast-growing economy but analysts said Tuesday the race was just heating up. China National Overseas Oil Corp (CNOOC)’s purchase of a 45 percent stake in the Akpo field off the West African nation is the biggest overseas investment by Beijing since China National Petroleum Corp’s (CNPC) took over central Asia’s PetroKazakhstan Inc for 4.18 billion dollars in October. That deal was the largest ever by a Chinese corporation and added to a small but growing list of successes around the globe as China desperately seeks fuel for its economy.
7. PRC – Japan Relations
Agence France Presse (“CHINA AND JAPAN END INFORMAL GAS TALKS, TO HOLD NEW ROUND IN WEEKS,” January 9, 2006, Beijing) reported that China and Japan agreed Monday to hold another round of talks on exploring for oil and gas in a disputed area of the East China Sea, a Japanese diplomat said after informal negotiations in Beijing. “They agreed to hold the next round as early as possible,” the diplomat, who requested anonymity, told AFP, adding the two sides would meet in late January or February. “They (the Chinese) are still studying the proposal from Japan from last time and will show their reaction in the next round.” The Asian economic giants, two of the world’s biggest energy importers, have been sparring for years over potentially lucrative gasfields in an area where their 200-nautical-mile exclusive economic zones overlap.
8. KEDO and DPRK
Xinhua News Agency (“KEDO WORKERS PULL OUT OF DPRK LIGHT-WATER REACTOR PROJECT, ” January 8, 2006, Seoul) reported that all the remaining workers of the Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization (KEDO) left the site of a suspended project for the construction of light-water reactors in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) on Sunday and arrived in South Korea. The pullout came as the 4.6 billion-U.S. dollar project is now on the verge of being scrapped. The construction of the two light-water reactors (LWRs) has been suspended since November 2003, one year after the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula erupted. The KEDO extended its suspension of the project by another year in 2004. The KEDO’s board of governors met in New York in late November 2005 to decide the fate of the project.
9. Russian Energy Security
Agence France Presse (Peter Harmsen, “UKRAINE ROW HAS CHINA, JAPAN WORRY ABOUT OVER-RELIANCE ON RUSSIAN ENERGY,” January 8, 2006, Beijing) reported that As Russia wielded its energy weapon against Ukraine to devastating effect last week, China and Japan were wary observers, worrying that one day the same might happen to them, observers said. Neither Asian power has ever felt entirely comfortable with the Kremlin, and its decision to drastically raise the price of the gas it sells to Ukraine has done nothing to boost their confidence in the Russian bear..
10. ASEAN Conference for Sustainable Asia
Asia Pulse (“ASEAN EXPERTS TO DISCUSS ENERGY SHORTAGE,” January 9, 2006, Kuala Lumpur) reported that Energy experts from member nations of Asean and Asean+3 (China, Japan and South Korea) will discuss the adverse impact of energy shortage at the 2006 International Energy Conference for Sustainable Asia to be held here from Nov 26 to 28. They will also work towards formulating a set of strategy towards innovative and sustainable energy development, including minimizing energy wastages and development of new and renewable energy resources.
11. Algae as Clean-Green Tool
The Christian Science Monitor (Mark Clayton, “ALGAE – LIKE A BREATH MINT FOR SMOKESTACKS,” January 11, 2006) reported that, overshadowed by a multibillion-dollar push into other “clean-coal” technologies, a handful of tiny companies are racing to create an even cleaner, greener process using [algae]. About three years ago, while working on an experiment for growing algae on the International Space Station, [Dr. Isaac Berzin, a rocket scientist at Massachusetts Institute of Technology] came up with the idea for using it to clean up power-plant exhaust. If he could find the right strain of algae, he figured he could turn the nation’s greenhouse-gas-belching power plants into clean-green generators with an attached algae farm next door.