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Energy Roundup: Exxon Invests in Lithium, Venerex Strike, Mach Gen, Metcalfe and More

ExxonMobil set to invest $325 million in lithium batteries for cars -- ExxonMobil's got to spend its windfall profits somewhere, so why not someplace that will make the Exxon Valdez owner look good and prove profitable? The company is reportedly set to invest $325 million in a lithium battery parts plant in South Korea. TonenGeneral Sekiyu, ExxonMobil's Japanese battery subsidiary, will make battery separator films critical in the manufacture of lithium batteries. Production is due to start in 2009, yielding about 30 million square meters of film each year. [Source: Earth2Tech]

Government to the rescue!... of oil prices -- The ongoing saga of the world economic crisis has prompted governments in America and Europe to consider various bailout packages. The upshot for oil? A sharp rise, today at least, as oil tops $82 a barrel. The bump could be short-lived however, "as Goldman Sachs-- turned a near-term bear on Monday after conceding that global financial turmoil would take a far bigger toll on demand. It warned that $50 oil was possible if the crisis deepened." But can we really trust Goldman Sachs? [Source: Reuters via EasyBourse]

Canada's Verenex strikes oil and gas in Libya -- Canadian-based Verenex energy has confirmed an oil and gas discovery in the Ghadames Basin in Libya. The Libyan National Oil Corporation also announced the discovery. Verenex holds a 50 percent working interest in what is called "Area 47" in Libya and under terms would get an initial production allocation of 6.85 percent in any commercial development.[Source: Verenex via Yahoo, Canada]
Tenaska, Mach Gen acquire New Covert Generating Company -- In move that will transfer ownership of a 1,100 megawatt natural gas plant in Michigan, the New Covert Generating Company has agreed to be acquired by Tenaska Capital in an agreement with Mach Gen. New Covert Generating Company sells power into the Midwest Independent System Operator. Amount of the deal has not been disclosed. [Source: Examiner.com]
China's Anhui Province to build its first nuclear plant -- China's Anhui Province plans to build its first ever nuclear power plant in Wuhu, at an estimated cost of $7.3 billion, and has formed the Anhui Wuhu Nuclear Power Co. The new company will team with China Guangdong Nuclear Power Group, Anhui Province Energy Group, Shenergy, and Shanghai Electric Power. CGNPG holds a 51 percent stake of the venture. The new plant will generate around 30 billion kilowatt hours of electricity. [Source: China.org.cn]

Think Piece: For 'Net pioneer Metcalfe, "enertech" is the new black -- Bob Metcalfe, the father of Ethernet (an Internet and web precursor) and founder of 3Com, likes to call energy technology "enertech." Apt, if not too original. In an article in Scientific American, the information superhighway pioneer outlines the four lessons of energy innovation:

  1. With ethanol and algae, the old divides between things like feed, food and fuel are disappearing, just like they are between voice and data.
  2. Like the Internet, energy will enjoy a "network effect." People's desire for energy will remain insatiable. We may not be able to drill our way out of the energy crisis, but neither will we be able to conserve our way out of it.
  3. Be wary of energy politics and politicians, and be very careful what you ask of them, because otherwise you might get another DOE.
  4. Energy technologies must be able to "scale," just like Internet technologies.
[Source: Scientific American via Earth2Tech]
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