UK

Europe is once again in the news as a cause of fear in the financial markets. This time it’s not due to Greece or any of the Club Med countries but more due to the EU economy and the Euro as a whole.

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The value of the euro fell to its lowest level in years this week, hitting $1.19 a 15% fall from May and the lowest level since 2005, In response European stocks fell sharply amid uneasiness about whether the region is on the verge of a new economic and financial crisis.

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When we think of countries rich in energy production we think of the US and particularly Texas with its oil and gas industry. We think of Saudi Arabia and it’s oil, gas and, possibly one day, solar. Maybe we think of Canada and it’s hydroelectric and tar sands, but per capita the richest energy hub has to be Norway.

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Little Norway. In terms of population it has just 5 million people and a landmass of less than 150,000 square miles. Much less than Texas and only about the size of Montana. Yet with massive oil and gas reserves, 256 gigawatts of hydroelectric power production, sustainable forests and the potential for tidal power in its fjords Norwegians pretty much top the pile when it comes to global per capita income and ownership of energy resources.

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With the exception of geothermal energy most forms of renewable electricity generation have an intermittency to their delivery. Even hydro-electric power can fall short in periods of drought or low rain fall as the Chinese can attest to on the Three Gorges dam across the Yangtze River.

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Hydro, though, is generally taken as the dream power source. Usually large, sustainable for long periods of time, non-polluting – apart from the millions of tons of cement used in the construction phase – and, once built, environmentally acceptable. Yet, if the British Government’s Swansea project is successful, tidal power could replace it as the cleanest form of electricity generation.

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Will the UK’s steel production ever come back? That depends on one’s definition of “come back,” but one thing’s for sure: the UK, which accounted for two-thirds of global production during the height of the Industrial Revolution, now only produces a paltry 12 million tons of the 1.6 billion tons of steel made globally. Capacity […]

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Clear out the closet, empty those drawers, pull out the flashlight and rummage around in the garage — the middle classes are apparently being driven to selling the family silver to make ends meet, and for the dealers buying the jewelry and antiques, it’s a nice little earner, in the parlance of London’s East End. […]

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Source: JournalLive Back during the global market meltdown, it seemed as though every single metal producer announced line shutdowns or plant shutdowns. We all knew why, of course – demand had dried up like a raisin in the sun, or so the saying goes. But with manufacturing demand healthy (and still growing according to numerous […]

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Continued from Part One. In another twist to the tale, a report in the FT says GM seems to be at an advanced stage of discussions with France’s Peugeot, also a struggling carmaker with excess capacity, to jointly develop engines, transmission systems and entire vehicles that would be sold under their respective brands. While this […]

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Europe’s car companies could be said to mirror the European economies in the sense that there’s a stark contrast between the haves and have-nots, or between the profitable and the loss-making. Unlike the US, where all carmakers were pulled down post-2008 and some teetered on the edge of bankruptcy while others actually went into Chapter […]

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We have heard many times over the years about metal substitution as a result of rising metal prices — the most classic case is probably plastic water pipes in place of copper — but everyone is likely to have their own example. We have also heard, both in these columns and in the wider press, […]

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The game has changed for the nuclear industry post-Fukushima, at least in the Western world, if not globally. After previous nuclear incidents, there usually was a pause while national bodies reviewed the reasons for the event and upgraded safety standards, but the Fukushima incident seems to be impacting Europe much like Three Mile Island did […]

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