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Energy Roundup: Shell's Shakeup, Energy Use Rising, GE Adds to Cleantech and More

Shell shakeup causes layoffs, efficiency measures -- New Royal Dutch Shell CEO Peter Voser will preside over a division of Shell's upstream business into separate Americas and international units, and see off hundreds to several thousand employees. Linda Cook, the gas and power chief passed over in favor of Voser, also resigned. The company envisions an overall reorganization that will speed decision-making. [Source: New York Times]

World energy use rising, alternatives to play -- The world's energy demands will rise 44 percent and its CO2 emissions 39 percent by 2030 unless action is taken to curb both, according to the US Energy Information Administration's latest report. With supplies of easily accessible oil and gas dwindling, the EIA also expects that alternatives like oil sands and coal-to-liquid processes will flourish. [Source: The Guardian, Oil & Gas Journal]

Exxon CEO skeptical of hydrocarbon alternatives for next century -- It will take a hundred years or more to develop viable renewable alternatives to oil, coal and natural gas, according to Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson, speaking at the company's annual shareholder meeting. Tillerson also reiterated his stance that a carbon tax would be better than cap-and-trade, which the United States is in the process of instituting. [Source: Bloomberg]

GE notches up cleantech spending -- The Ecomagination unit of General Electric will spend up to $1.5 billion on cleantech research and development next year, it said in an annual report. The unit's biggest business is in wind turbines, but it also has its fingers in most other segments of the industry, including solar power and energy efficiency. [Source: Reuters]

Kazakh nuclear executives arrested -- Several executives at state-run firm KazAtomProm in Kazakhstan have been arrested for allegedly selling off large uranium deposits to unknown investors for the equivalent of several hundred dollars apiece. The country's overall uranium resources amount to about 15 percent of the world total. [Source: World Nuclear News]

Hemlock starts up new polysilicon plant -- The first phase of Hemlock Semiconductor's expansion of a polysilicon plant in Hemlock, MI has opened, adding 8,500 metric tons of the resource per year. When the full 36,000 metric ton facility is operational in 2010, it should help to prevent a repeat of the silicon shortage that recently made conventional solar panels excessively expensive. [Source: PV-tech]

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