Weekly Energy News Update – June 19th

I hate to start the Update with a scientific controversy (not so fun), but I believe this has relevance for many on the list. Some may remember Mark Jacobson’s publication in 2015 of a roadmap for 100% wind, solar and hydropower around the globe. This winter a critique of Jacobson’s models was published in PNAS with a rebuttal being published this past week. If you are looking for a quick insight into the battle I recommend the below article. Peter Fairley takes a very balanced “sociology of science” (his words) approach to the debate that I found appropriate. Either way I assume this is not the last we will hear of these 100% renewable mega-models or their discontents.

The most controversial aspect of Jacobson’s model rests on its reliance of hydropower, which can be seen in this graph modeling energy production over four days in 2055.

Can the U.S. Grid Work With 100% Renewables? There’s a Scientific Fight Brewing (IEEE)


Finance

VW to offer EU diesel car owners extended warranty but no money back (Reuters)

Surging shale spawns new financing structure for energy infrastructure (Reuters)

Those researching the intersection of finance and shale gas may want to pay attention to these new SPACs (special purpose acquisition companies).


Grid

Southern California power supply at risk this summer (Reuters)

In part this is due to the massive natural gas leak that occurred at Aliso Canyon nearly two years ago.

As cannabis industry grows, tensions rise over energy use (Oregon Business)

Yes there is indeed an important connection between energy and cannabis. Could make a great thesis topic.

Australia faces potential summer power crunch, market operator warns (Reuters)


Labor

Coal unions call off three-day strike (India Times)


Pipeline

Germany threatens retaliation if U.S. sanctions harm its firms (Reuters)

The new sanctions have possible repercussions for the Nord Stream 2 project. France has issued a similar statement.

Federal judge orders more environmental analysis of Dakota pipeline (Reuters)

 Politics

Why Gaza is experiencing a new power crisis (AP)

This piece dives into not just the current situation, but also the recent history that has led to the current crisis.

Emails reiterate EPA chief’s ties to fossil fuel interests (AP)

Unfortunately it does not appear that the AP is releasing this newest batch of e-mails to the public just yet. For those interested in the original batch of e-mails from February you can download them from the Center for Media and Democracy here.

Russia sought Siemens turbines for Crimean plants (Reuters)

Utility CEOs to DOE: Hands off state energy policies, grid planning (Utility Dive)

Strong tensions developing between local level grid planners and the Department of Energy. This debate has big implications for grids looking to diversify electricity sources, particularly from renewables.

Oil producer Norway bans use of heating oil in buildings (Reuters)

Japan logs surprise trade deficit in May as energy costs spike (AFP)

This is the economic consequence following the shutdown of Japan’s nuclear facilities.

New militant group threatens Niger Delta oil war – in Latin (Reuters)


Technology

Glastonbury Festival ‘Pee Power’ toilets will turn your wee into electricity (Bristol Post)

Detecting Hazardous Radiation From Afar Now Possible (IEEE)

Wireless Power for Moving Electric Vehicles Closer to Reality (IEEE)

More and more reports about this technology are coming out in recent weeks, perhaps we will see some commercial applications in the near future?


Transportation

Tesla Plans 10 to 20 More Gigafactories Worldwide (EnergyTrends)

India is betting big on electric vehicles, but where does that leave the makers of hybrids? (India Times)

A very detailed piece!


Biofuel

Oslo airport imports biofuels from California, greens doubt benefit (Reuters)

This does seem like a heavy dose of greenwashing. Hopefully someone is performing a Life Cycle Assessment to determine whether or not this does reduce greenhouse gas emissions.


Coal

Bulgaria accused of illegal aid to fossil fuel power providers (Reuters)

Even China-Backed Development Bank Won’t Touch Coal Projects (Foreign Policy)

Unlikely Netherlands will close coal plants soon (Reuters)


Gas

Qatar won’t cut gas to UAE: Qatar Petroleum CEO (Reuters)

South Korea plans to build liquefied natural gas plants in Iran for energy needs (IANS)


Hydropower

Gujarat gets Centre’s nod to shut gates of famous Sardar Sarovar dam (India Times)


Nuclear

South Korea retires oldest nuclear reactor on its 40th birthday (Reuters)

It appears President Moon is making good on his promise to move Korea away from nuclear power towards renewables, see also this article today in the Guardian

Turkey gives Rosatom go ahead to build nuclear plant (Reuters)


Petroleum

U.S. top court hands Chevron victory in Ecuador pollution case (Reuters)

Unfortunately the decision was just released and the brief may not be released for a few days. Those interested search the Department of Justice website, the docket number is 16-1178. For Chevron’s take on the case see this; for the law firm now representing Donzinger see this. The Business and Human Rights Resource Center also has a very detailed explanation of the case.

Amazon natives in Peru reach deal with Canada’s Frontera over oilfield (Reuters)

Mexico oil sector accidents raise doubts about deep water exploration (Reuters)

There was also a major accident at a refinery in Mexico this week.

Innovators toil to revive Canada oil sands as majors exit (Reuters)

Very provocative quote in this article: “Shale is like going on a date, the oil sands is like getting married,” he said. “The risk for capital is high in the oil sands, you have massive assets that need to complete on time and operate for 40 years to make money.”

Public oil drilling referendums causing ‘apprehension,’ says Ecopetrol exec (Reuters)

Certain communities in Colombia are voting to ban petroleum exploration.

In latest sign of crude glut, aging supertankers used to store unsold oil (Reuters)

This is mainly happening in Asia and is a good example of how contango can impact energy infrastructure


Solar

Section 201 May Cut 88,000 Jobs in U.S. if Ruled (EnergyTrends)

Delhi government opens registration for rooftop solar power plants (India Times)


Wind

Wind power can provide energy on coldest days (MetOffice)

You can find a more detailed open access report on this topic in Environmental Research Letters here

 


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