Unfortunately, I could not find something fun to begin this week’s update. I spent five days this week at conferences and workshops so feeling a bit of academic overload at the moment but I’ll share a brief thought that came to mind. I remember hearing at one of the workshops in Olso that in terms of environmental impact flying a scholar overseas is equivalent to a few months of driving their car. This is not the first time I have heard such statements but have always felt Joseph Nevin’s study of the 2011 AAG makes this point more explicit (and accurate). I once wrote a blog (unfortunately the WCAA removed that part of their website) discussing the possibility of shifting academic conferences online, but was instantly cut down a peg or two by more established scholars who felt strongly about the irreplaceable need to “shake a colleagues hand” every now and then. Admittedly, I found this past week was extremely productive, but I am remain unconvinced that the academic benefit of meeting face to face at such conferences somehow outweighs the environmental costs. Then again, over the past year here in Oslo I have also been collaborating with a group of scholars from all corners of the globe focused on the problem of air pollution in China and there are aspects of our long-term interaction in a single location that absolutely could not be replicated online. Just as food for thought, with new energy regimes on the horizon, perhaps it makes sense for academics to “take our own medicine” by re-prioritize our own practices, including the way we interact with each other.
This peaking of energy demand is a combination of energy transition, but also increases in efficiency as old plants are continually shut down. There is some discussion in Chinese media that the economic slowdown in China has also had an impact, as has the transition to a technology/digital economy as discussed in the piece below.
Actually the opening of this article may raise some eyebrows for those following the intersection between energy and finance: “Not very long ago, a 17 percent oil price fall would have sent emerging market stocks into a tailspin. But this year they are set for their best first half since 2014.”
It appears now that this week’s major virus attack was the result of initial attempts to take control of Ukraine’s power grid. As the first article notes, there was even a second attack later in the week.
This article is a bit contradictory, the unions appear to be united in their strike action, but Petrobras claimed it has had “limited impact at oil refineries“.
Still more important revelations about the implementation of DaPL in North Dakota
While this sounds remarkable, there is also far more electricity produced in Qinghai than can be utilized by the 6 million people in the province, but it was recently reported that upwards of 30% of the electricity produced by solar and wind was unable to mount the national grid due to quotas taken up by coal-fired power plants.
Also has implications for all forms of multinational extraction industries, such as oil and gas.
Rework power supply deals to boost renewables (India Times)
Maybe it is just me, but there seems to be something profoundly disturbing about seeing these white men standing in front of the words “Unleashing American Energy”.
For those interested in the index used to come to conclusions discussed in this article see this website developed by the Natural Resource Governance Institute
In May this was hailed as a major breakthrough in energy production by Chinese media, but since then there has been a wave of skepticism.
Advancements in Scottish clean energy (Hydrocarbon Engineering)
Don’t hear as much about hydrogen storage in the news, but here is project that seems to think they have a solution.
FYI the Robert Murray discussed in this case is the same that has brought a defamation case against John Oliver.
As Beijing Joins Climate Fight, Chinese Companies Build Coal Plants (New York Times)
Great article explaining that while China is taking measures to reduce their dependence on coal at home (which is one reason for the port ban above), abroad they are helping build more coal plants.
Although Russell takes his typical financial perspective to analyze the “death” of coal, there are some important insights to take from his analysis of the sale of various Rio mines currently on the table. Food for thought at least. Here is the result of the Rio-Yancoal deal.
How the gas industry can help fight climate change in Siberia (The Conversation)
In Blow to ‘Clean Coal,’ Flawed Plant Will Burn Gas Instead (New York Times)
Actually IEEE has followed this project closely and have written a detailed account of what went wrong here.
Quote from the tagline: “This novel nuclear reactor is a kind of an ‘akshaya patra’, the mythical goblet with a never-ending supply of food.”
I would like to draw your attention to the timing of these two articles. The U.S. trade group article was released half an hour before the article about the U.S. government report, which does go against a kind of causal logic regarding the timing of releasing information and reacting to that release of the information. Of course, the government report had already been circulated within the Energy Corporate community for a few days, so the industry spokesman (whoever that might be) had time to prepare a (typically vague) statement. Notice, though, that the author of these two pieces is the same. The point is that the media is quite capable of warping our sense of the flow of time as well as the link between action and reaction. It may be useful to think about to what purpose does this warping serve as well as whether or not it is even intentional (a slippery slope) or just the result of institutional gears grinding away.
Anyone done research on the names of BP’s deepwater platforms (Thunder Horse, Atlantis, Na Kika and Mad Dog)…the author describes them as audacious…not sure that’s the adjective I would choose.
Solar Trade Case, With Trump as Arbiter, Could Upend Market (New York Times)
And Americans think protectionism is a good way to protect jobs…well here is a clear example of where it won’t.
Local solar manufacturers seek ‘Safeguard Duty’ (India Times)
The approaching Era of the Megaturbine…Seems a bit dramatic, but I imagine there must be a point of peak efficiency with regard to turbine size. Perhaps some one on the listserve could write a post about this topic?