To inspect the blades of the more than 270,000 wind turbines operating globally, technicians have traditionally relied on binoculars and field scopes from the ground, or have scaled the turbines with the help of ropes or cables. Today, unmanned aerial vehicles are providing a safer option, with the benefit of higher-resolution imaging. Cumulative global revenue for wind turbine UAV sales and inspection services is expected to reach nearly $6bn by 2024, according to a Navigant Research report.
Hydraulic fracturing has contaminated some drinking water sources, but the damage is not widespread, according to a landmark U.S. study of water pollution risks that has supporters of the drilling method declaring victory and foes saying it revealed reason for concern.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration's annual energy outlook - which was released earlier this spring - anticipated that the industrial sector's energy demand would outpace all other sectors through 2040, and a just-released EIA report projected that bulk chemicals would account for a "large portion of both consumption and anticipated growth," with the value of chemical shipments increasing from $288bn in 2013 to $429bn in 2025.
How much U.S. shale oil production is taken out of service will be a key driver of future tanker shipping earnings, according to the latest edition of the Tanker Forecaster, published by global shipping consultancy Drewry.
Although gas prices are temporarily low at the pump, long-term energy costs are on the rise. According to State of the World 2015 contributing author Nathan John Hagens, a former hedge fund manager who teaches human macro-ecology at the University of Minnesota, nations are papering over those costs with debt. Higher energy costs are leading to continued recessions, excess claims on future natural resources, and more-severe social inequality and poverty.
Just as southern California is the nation's top magnet for containerized cargo, so is the Gulf Coast the most attractive hub for movements of petrochemicals. Led by Houston and New Orleans, petrochemical activity is thriving due in no small part to growth in refining activity and an abundance of cheap natural gas.