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Petroleum & Other LiquidsCrude oil, gasoline, heating oil, diesel, propane, and other liquids including biofuels and natural gas liquids. Natural GasExploration and reserves, storage, imports and exports, production, prices, sales.
ElectricitySales, revenue and prices, power plants, fuel use, stocks, generation, trade, demand & emissions. Consumption & EfficiencyEnergy use in homes, commercial buildings, manufacturing, and transportation. CoalReserves, production, prices, employ- ment and productivity, distribution, stocks, imports and exports. Renewable &Alternative FuelsIncludes hydropower, solar, wind, geothermal, biomass and ethanol. Total EnergyComprehensive data summaries, comparisons, analysis, and projections integrated across all energy sources.
Analysis & ProjectionsMonthly and yearly energy forecasts, analysis of energy topics, financial analysis, Congressional reports.
Markets & FinanceFinancial market analysis and financial data for major energy companies. InternationalInternational energy information, including overviews, rankings, data, and analyses.
Market participants not only buy and sell physical quantities of oil, but also trade contracts for the future delivery of oil and other energy derivatives.
Oil market trading activity involves a range of participants with varying motivations, even within individual participants.
Banks, hedge funds, commodity trading advisors, and other money managers-who often do not have interests in trading physical oil-are also active in the market for energy derivatives to try to profit from changes in prices. This chart shows the quarterly average of the number of outstanding oil futures contracts at the end of each NYMEX trading day.
This chart shows that producers, merchants, processors, and end users were net short in futures positions on U.S.
During the world financial crisis that occurred in the latter half of 2008 and 2009, markets saw a dramatic increase in the correlation between crude oil and other commodities as demand decreased for raw materials.
Correlation is not the same as causation, however, and the relationship between crude oil and other financial markets is complex. The individual factors which affect the rate of a reaction (temperature, concentration, and so on) are discussed on separate pages. Reactions where a single species falls apart in some way are slightly simpler because you won't be involved in worrying about the orientation of collisions. It is pretty obvious that if you have a situation involving two species they can only react together if they come into contact with each other.
Consider a simple reaction involving a collision between two molecules - ethene, CH2=CH2, and hydrogen chloride, HCl, for example. As a result of the collision between the two molecules, the double bond between the two carbons is converted into a single bond.
If you want to read a bit more about this, follow this link and use the BACK button on your browser to return to this page. The reaction can only happen if the hydrogen end of the H-Cl bond approaches the carbon-carbon double bond.
Of the collisions shown in the diagram, only collision 1 may possibly lead on to a reaction. If you haven't read the page about the mechanism of the reaction, you may wonder why collision 2 won't work as well. In any collision involving unsymmetrical species, you would expect that the way they hit each other will be important in deciding whether or not a reaction happens.
Even if the species are orientated properly, you still won't get a reaction unless the particles collide with a certain minimum energy called the activation energy of the reaction. If the particles collide with less energy than the activation energy, nothing important happens. Any chemical reaction results in the breaking of some bonds (needing energy) and the making of new ones (releasing energy). Where collisions are relatively gentle, there isn't enough energy available to start the bond-breaking process, and so the particles don't react. Because of the key role of activation energy in deciding whether a collision will result in a reaction, it would obviously be useful to know what sort of proportion of the particles present have high enough energies to react when they collide.
Remember that for a reaction to happen, particles must collide with energies equal to or greater than the activation energy for the reaction. Notice that the large majority of the particles don't have enough energy to react when they collide. You could either go straight to these pages if you are interested, or access them later via the rates of reaction menu (link at the bottom of the page).
If this is the first set of questions you have done, please read the introductory page before you start. Mini grids provide centralised electricity generation at local level using the village's distribution network.
But implementing sustainable hybrid mini-grids involves complex technical, financial and organisational issues, particularly in developing nations. Implementing sustainable hybrid mini-grids involves complex technical, financial and organisational issues, particularly in developing nations. To overcome the lure of the short-term, and ensure the sustainability of the system, the provision of electricity must be guaranteed over the life time of the system. A recent study by the Alliance for Rural Electrification (which focuses on promoting and developing small scale renewable energy solutions for rural electrification in developing countries) suggests that two factors in particular are vital to ensure the participation of the private sector – appropriate tariff setting, and their combination with subsidies. A sustainable rural electrification tariff must at least cover the system's running and replacement costs (break-even tariff), even though the opportunity for profit is key to attracting private operators (financially-viable tariffs).
The development of sustainable business models is essential to the success and scaling up of projects.
The Community based model relies on a self-sustained social organisation, where a community organises itself to operate and maintain the system.


Another business approach is based on a private operator whose participation is only realistic if a project is profitable. The principal advantage is that it usually provides electricity more efficiently than any other model. However, to be developed extensively in rural areas this model requires significant training, both on technical and business issues. This study, conducted by the Alliance for Rural Electrification and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) provides a socio-economic analysis of the main business models which exist for hybrid mini grids, outlining a number of case studies.
A hybrid model tries to combine different approaches – benefiting from the advantages of each of the models while minimising the shortcomings.
The undeniable conclusion is that renewable energy hybrid mini grid systems are a central part of the solution in providing electricity to the world's poor. Very good article, being involved with small grids in small and remote areas for more than 35 years I agree with all the problems mentioned. Climate change, and a clear understanding of its impact on all aspects of life, has taken on acute importance in the past several months. In recent years, investors have also shown interest in adding energy and other commodities as alternatives to equity and bond investments to diversify their portfolios or to hedge inflation risks.
One measure of activity in futures markets is open interest on exchanges, which indicates the number of contracts in a trading session that have not been settled or closed. Trading in oil futures increased substantially from 2003-2007 as interest in oil as an investment grew. Could hybrid mini grids be the best way to provide electricity – particularly to rural, often isolated, areas? In many cases grid extension is often highly costly and unlikely to happen – even in the medium- to long-term. When used in conjunction with renewable or hybrid systems, they can increase access to electricity, without undermining environmental factors. Although installed all over the world, diesel-fuelled mini-grids are likely to be more expensive on a lifetime basis than hybrid ones, and they are also less autonomous – as fuel availability cannot be assured.
Operation, Maintenance and Management (OM&M) must therefore be ensured, and potential bottlenecks (such as financial for example) overcome. Companies need to play a much more visible role in investing in, implementing, and operating hybrid systems – if investment is ever to be scaled up.
Tariffs must also maintain the balance between commercial viability, and consumers' ability and willingness to pay. Capacities are needed to support the constitution of a social structure supervising the implementation and a project's OM&M. Of course, it is also very complex to set up, but can offer a viable alternative in cases where the private sector is absent or simply uninterested. A private sector model can take different forms depending on the ownership of the system and the mini grid, the type of contracts and the type of subsidies. The often large capacities of private companies can effectively match the needs and markets of developing countries, thus making it the business approach with the most potential. Utilities generally have more experience, financial resources and the technical capabilities to carry out rural electrification projects.
Because of their capacities and experience, utilities are expected to play a major role throughout the lifetime of the project.
Such models can be quite diverse, tending to adopt the different types of OM&M contracts discussed earlier, while combining different ownership structures. But at every point in the project chain certain things are necessary, not least capacity building, and training on technical, business, financing, and institutional aspects of project and programme development. They are a win-win solution, benefiting communities, public bodies, local economic activities, not to mention the companies that take the plunge and invest in different areas. The major point is financial because there is little money to gain from these operations and only locals are interested in having power for their needs but lack the technical know-how . When I saw the term hybrid what came to mind was the concept of 'off-grid' systems, such as off-grid solar installations, which could morph into macro grids which take on the characteristics of a utility grid. The extreme weather eventsa€”the historic drought conditions over large parts of the world, the flash melting of Greenlanda€™s surface ice and the intensity of Hurricane Sandya€”are examples of the changes to global weather patterns that can be expected from an overall rise in Earth's surface temperature. Every transaction must involve both a buyer and a seller, and the desired "long" buyer and "short" seller positions of those with direct commercial interests in the oil market do not necessarily equal one another. Open interest on exchange-traded crude oil futures contracts increased substantially over the past decade, as measured by the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX), the main commodities exchange for energy products in the United States. Their net long positions increased substantially during the recent period of unrest in the Middle East and North Africa.
In these scenarios, mini-grids could provide an ideal intermediary solution, especially for small towns or large villages where enough electricity can be generated to power household use, as well as local businesses. A well maintained and managed system can run for over 25 years, and becomes a much more attractive solution than traditional diesel gensets. This means that issues of profitability, often taboo in the sector of rural electrification, need to be discussed. They can build economies of scale, and use their central position to take advantage of financing options.
Partnering with the private sector and community-based organisations also allows them to avoid the barriers linked with their centralised management structure and size. This too is a challenge which should be addressed when people consider creating the micro grids. This temperature is determined by the incoming solar energya€”how much sunlight is reflected into space by the atmosphere, the energy of light that is re-radiated from the surface, and how much of the re-radiated light is captured by the atmosphere. Banks, hedge funds, and other "non-commercial" investors can add liquidity to futures and derivative markets by taking the other side of transactions with commercial participants. Both commercial participants (those that have a direct interest in physical oil production, consumption, or trade) and non-commercial investors (money managers and funds that are interested in trading contracts for investment and diversification purposes) have shown increased trading activity. If the Earth, which reflects an average of 30 percent of incoming sunlight, absorbed all light that struck its surface and re-emitted that light at the same frequencies, the planet would have a surface temperature of approximately -18A? C.
Care must be taken in interpreting these data, however, because the vast majority of positions are held in the less transparent over-the-counter (OTC) market rather than on exchanges.


This is well below the actual global average surface temperature, which NASA estimates to be 14A? C.
In addition to futures contracts, another way for market participants to invest in crude oil is through the buying and selling of options contracts.
The atmospheric mechanism that accounts for this difference is the a€?greenhouse effect.a€? When the surface of the Earth is struck by radiation from the Sun, the surface then re-radiates the light.
However, as the Earth is much colder than the Sun, what is re-emitted is mostly infrared lighta€”heat. Also, exchange traded funds (ETFs)-which can be bought and sold throughout the day like individual common stocks-are an increasingly popular means for investors, including individuals, to gain exposure to commodities as an asset class. It is then re-radiated in all directions, including towards the surface, creating a warmer environment, in a process called the greenhouse effect. The four major greenhouse gases, in order of their contribution to the greenhouse effect, are water vapor, carbon dioxide, methane and ozone. The amount of cloud cover, along with ice coverage, largely determines the reflectivity of Earth. A change in the extent of either clouds or ice means that the surface of the Earth is hit with more or less energy.
Global warming is the term given to the anthropogenic (human-induced) intensification of the greenhouse effect. Since the beginning of human agriculture, and more sharply since the beginning of the industrial era, the human race has caused the average global surface temperature to rise. This is primarily caused by putting more carbon dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere through the burning of fossil fuels and mass deforestation.
The combination of putting more CO2 into the atmosphere and taking away the Earth's ability to remove it has greatly increased the amount in the atmosphere, especially in the past fifty years. The Earth System Research Laboratory (ESRL) records from Mauna Loa, Hawaii reveal that since 1961 the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere has increased from 318 parts per million (ppm) to 392 ppm.
This is 27 percent higher than pre-industrial levels and much higher than any level found in the past 650,000 years. Similar data can be found for rising methane levels, caused by landfills, livestock and oil and gas facilities.
The inevitable impact of more greenhouse gases in the atmosphere is an increase in the heat from the Sun that is trapped in the atmosphere, and thus higher global temperatures. It is true that natural processes cause the global temperature and greenhouse gas levels to fluctuatea€”oscillations in oceanic temperatures, the carbon cycle, etc. However, data collected over the past century reveal that underlying the periodic changes in global temperature is an increase in the global temperature that can be attributed only to the increase of greenhouse gases caused by human activities.
The best measurements from the past century show that global surface temperatures have increased by 0.8A? C. While that amount seems small, if the surface air of the Earth is taken to be just the air within ten meters of the ground, the increase in the average global temperature is an energy input of 5x1018 joules into the atmosphere. This is saying that energy equivalent to more than a third of the electrical energy produced by the US is milling about in the atmosphere.
If this energy were evenly spread throughout the atmosphere, global warming would be a minor problem. But energy is the measure of motion, in this case the wholly non-uniform motion of atmospheric particles. The increased motion of the atmosphere causes extreme weathera€”massive flooding, powerful hurricanes, longer and hotter droughtsa€”to become more and more common. What is most troubling, however, are the positive feedback mechanisms of global warminga€”the abrupt global climate changes that have begun occurring with greater frequency over the past four decades, and possible long-term consequences of the increased global temperature. Positive feedback is a term signifying that the first process causes the second, the second causes the first, the first causes more of the second, ad infinitum. Ice is one of the most highly reflective substances known, and any decrease in its coverage of Earth means that the atmosphere is able to absorb more light from the Sun, raising the atmosphere's temperature. The first change in the global climate, and what first alerted climatologists to the possibility of global warming was in 1977. Records from 1950 onwards showed no change in land surface temperatures, despite the CO2 levels rising from 310 to 332 ppm.
However, in 1977, the mean surface temperature began to rise at its current rate of 2A? C per century. In 1982 and 1997, global droughts occurred that lasted far longer than normal atmospheric oscillations would have provided for. In 1998, 2005 and 2007, dry and hot weather led to the Amazon rainforests nearly igniting on a mass scale. Sea levels have already begun to rise, caused by the warming of the oceans and the expansion of water that occurs when its temperature rises, as well as the melting of glacial ice. The rise in ocean sea levels directly contributed to the amount of water that flooded into New York City during Sandy. The sea level recorded at the Battery in lower Manhattan has risen twelve inches in the last century, which translates into higher storm surge than what an equivalent hurricane would have produced 100 years ago. Beyond local phenomena, there is a very real risk of a global catastrophe if global warming is left unchecked. Instead of working towards such a goal, global capitalism has been unable to seriously address the crisis.
In fact, countries and corporations are making billions of dollars from global warming by means of carbon trading schemes. Nations have begun looking to exploit new Arctic trade routes opened by the melting of the ice. Humanity has the technological capability to surmount the challenges posed, but it cannot do so while constrained by the current socio-economic system. Only once society has undergone a revolutionary transformation in which the approach to such pressing matters are determined not by private profit but social need can the issues raised by global warming begin to be seriously addressed.



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