Weekly Energy News Update-July 26th

Updates will be quite sparse for the coming two months. I am currently home in Montana and will be criss-crossing the Northern United States until late September. Being in Montana has made me painfully aware that there is one appropriate topic that perhaps has not been drawn into the Energy Anthropology fold as of yet: wildfires! In most of our work we are focused on harnessed energy that is put to use for cultural, social, economic and political purposes. We often forget that there is also a great deal of unharnessed energy out there in the world, much of which still has cultural, social, economic and political impacts. So today I begin by sharing a photo of a wildfire burning in the Bitterroot Mountains just behind my house. If you’re interested in learning more see the InciWeb post here

What most people in Montana have been talking about is the extremely wet Winter and Spring that led to rich growth in underbrush followed by an abominably hot and dry summer resulting in an explosive situation. Similar high pressure ridges creating these high temperatures and dry conditions have developed in California this summer, and, according to a Mother Jones interview with scientist Jeff Weber in Colorado, “persistent heat ridges are expected to be more common in a “climate change scenario,” although one can’t point to a single weather event and say it’s due to global warming.”

Wildfires Are About to Go From Bad to Worse in California (MotherJones)

And wildfires have been in the news across the globe this week:

Thousands evacuated after wildfire on France’s Mediterranean coast (Guardian)

Poor Visibility Hurts Wildfire Fight in Portugal (AP)

State of emergency in British Columbia extended as wildfires rage (Reuters)

One thing I find fascinating is how some people find wildfires to be a normal event, something that occurs every year, while others (such as my mother) find such events disturbing regardless of the fact that they do occur every year. My mother is particularly sensitive to the smoke and usually “evacuates” for the months of August and September to go see family in Wisconsin. She has been a traveling nurse for more than a decade and so acts like a modern day nomad at times. Long story short, there could be some excellent ethnographic opportunities for examining the impact of the unharnessed energy in wildfires on society. Or, perhaps such a study could even draw into question whether we ever have control over energy at all.


Finance

Malaysia’s Petronas scraps $29 billion western Canada LNG project (Reuters)

Spanish businessman Manuel Jove weighs sale of energy assets (Reuters)


Labor

Sri Lanka deploys military to maintain fuel supplies after strike (Reuters)

Pakistan fuel tanker owners end strike, bringing halt to panic buying (Reuters)

The butterfly effect that has rippled out from the explosion of the fuel tanker last month is more widespread than I could possibly have imagined.


Politics

EU warns U.S. it may respond swiftly to counter new sanctions on Russia (Reuters)

China urges halt to oil drilling in disputed South China Sea (Reuters)

Nigeria’s former oil minister battles slew of graft cases in oil sector (AFP)

China backs joint energy development with Philippines in disputed sea (Reuters)

Very significant developments in the S. China Sea, we’ll see how long this decision holds up.

U.S. electric industry knew of climate threat decades ago (Reuters)

BC Hydro shuffles leadership as NDP government prepares review of Site C (Globe and Mail)

U.S. energy secretary duped into fake interview with Russian comedians (Reuters)

Oh yes! You can hear the phone call here at Vesti

French court repeals law on regulated gas prices (Reuters)


Technology

The Transformers: Superheroes of Electrical Inventions (IEEE)

Vaclav Smil on Transformers (obviously not the variety seen on the silver screen)


Transportation

Britain to Ban New Diesel and Gas Cars by 2040 (NYTimes)

Will Volvo Really Kill the Gasoline Engine? (IEEE)

Toyota set to sell long-range, fast-charging electric cars in 2022 (Reuters)

After Tesla, Mercedes Benz seeks sops to aid India’s electric car ride (India Times)

Musk Claims “Verbal” Approval for a Hyperloop Tunnel From New York to D.C. (IEEE)


Grid

New meters mean Seattle City Light won’t visit homes anymore (Seattle Times)

China to extend power market reform to cross-region transmission lines (Reuters)

UP government launches free power connection scheme for BPL families (India Times)


Coal

Revealed! Coal India’s ‘secret’ plan to make reverse auction process transparent (India Times)

I love the headline :-p Feels like something out of National Enquire

Wastewater for India’s coal plants an impractical dream (IANS)


Gas

Government mulls LPG-like subsidy transfer for PDS foodgrain (India Times)


Hydropower

Cameroon’s forest people pay price for country’s hydropower ambitions (Reuters)

Of 4,862 large dams, only 349 have emergency disaster action plans (IANS)

NHPC is losing Rs 2.5 crore a day in TLDP III and IV in Darjeeling (India Times)


Nuclear

Romania’s U2 nuclear reactor reconnected to power grid (Reuters)

S.Korea’s new energy minister says to support nuclear reactor exports (Reuters)

Only slightly hypocritical…


Petroleum

At Oil Producers‘ Meeting, Tough Talk Fails to Convince Markets (NYTimes)

Greenpeace activists protest near oil rig in Norway’s Arctic sea area (Reuters)

Saudi Arabia’s new trick is turning off the US oil tap (Bloomberg)

China drafts new rules easing state oil majors’ grip on storage (Reuters)


Solar

NASA Seeking BIG Ideas for Solar Power on Mars (EnergyTrends)

The anthropology of interplanetary energy politics is just around the corner

Prospect of Trump tariff casts pall over U.S. solar industry (Reuters)

Domestic solar manufacturers hopeful of relief from DGAD investigation in Chinese solar dumping case (India Times)

Paw power: China plans 100 panda-shaped solar plants on new Silk Road (Reuters)

BTW, the panda solar projects are not goin away ;-p

SolarCity co-founder Peter Rive to quit Tesla (Reuters)


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