Weekly Energy News Update-September 2nd

Indeed that was a looong break. I won’t be able to catch up with all the major headlines over the past month but will have a highlights section below before digging into this weeks most recent headlines.

I am still on a trip across the US, this time from Montana to Boston. I have to share one tidbit from the journey. While driving through Cleveland I realized that I had never actually seen the waters of Lake Erie (or Ontario…but I did that two days later, now I’ve seen all the Great Lakes). I needed to get gas and take a break after about 3.5 hours of non-stop driving. I decided that Conneaut, the last town in Ohio while heading East on I-90, would be best, as it had a little harbor area where I could walk around. After noticing that the harbor water was not in the best condition for “feet-dipping”, I began to return to my car and saw this (sorry about the angle):

This was a first for me. Luckily, a local woman was hanging out on a bench by the harbor; I had to ask. She told me that the wind turbine had been struck by lightening years before leaving some damage. The company patched it up, but then in recent months during a very strong storm, the turbine was struck by lightening again and the wind blew the damaged blade right off of the turbine. According to her there was a renewed debate within the community about whether or not to repair the blade, but apparently many people were upset with the local family who had it installed on their property in the first place. I was able to find a number of local news articles about the issue and it appears the situation has placed the town in quite the bind as they signed a 10 year contract to allow energy generation at the site until 2020. Repairs may require the town to extend that contract.

Conneaut wind turbine facing uncertain future (Star Beacon)

My feeling is that Conneaut is a fairly typical “rust belt” town with many factories and even department stores that have been completely shutdown for many years. Even the old public library, which still bears the Rockefeller name, was boarded up and displayed small tags of graffiti here and there. The woman I talked to expressed surprise when I told her I was just driving through. “No one ever stopped here in the past,” she said. “Now with the internet, were getting on the map, people are starting to notice there’s a beach down the way and stop for a short visit. But in the past no one used to do that.” Perhaps the town will try to draw on tourism to support their future, but I cannot imagine a stalled wind turbine with a blown-up blade will be their seaside attraction.

Ok on to some more recent news


Speaking of storms…

Harvey’s Toll on Energy Industry Shows a Texas Vulnerability  (New York Times)

Gas shortages in Texas as Harvey knocks out refineries (CBS)

Retail U.S. gasoline prices surge after Harvey, global impact felt (Reuters)

New Hazard in Storm Zone: Chemical Blasts and ‘Noxious’ Smoke (New York Times)

Harvey Victims Face Toxic Pollution as Hurricane Recovery Begins (Intercept)

Houston Chemical Plant Refuses to Release Inventory Details After Explosions (Fortune)

Surrounded by Oil Refineries, Port Arthur, TX Faces New Environmental Crisis Following Harvey Floods (Democracy Now)

I have tried to collect a number of articles about Harvey that are most directly related to energy; Democracy Now has in particular been recording a number of very critical pieces that I have been listening to on the radio while driving. I just want to note, that Arkema Inc.’s refusal to provide transparent information regarding their chemicals is very disturbing and reminds me of the lack of transparency in the aftermath of the massive explosion in Tianjin China in 2015 that killed 173 people.


USDOE’s Grid Reliability Report

Coal, Nuclear Power Would Benefit From Energy Department’s Power Grid Study (NPR)

Grid Reliability: DOE Throws Down Red Flags On Unreliable Wind And Solar (Forbes)

What to watch in the wake of the DOE grid study (Utility Drive)

Apologies for putting focus on two US pieces of news, I think both are worth paying attention to because they have global consequences. I highly recommend even digging into the actual Staff Report

Staff Report to the Secretary on Electricity Markets and Reliability (DOE)


Finance

World’s No. 1 solar panel maker wants slice of Brazil market (Reuters)

China Is Creating the World’s Largest Power Company (Bloomberg)

Norway’s wealth fund should boost investments in renewables (Reuters)

India’s dodgy energy contracts risk turning away investors (Bloomberg)

Peru’s state oil firm Petroperu to sell $1 billion in bonds in 2019 (Reuters)

ExxonMobil says completes Singapore refining-petchem plant acquisition (Reuters)


Pipelines

TigerSwan Responded to Pipeline Vandalism by Launching Multistate Dragnet (Intercept)

New York denies gas pipeline permit for CPV power plant over climate concerns (Utility Dive)

New Bill Would Force Arrested Protesters to Pay Police Overtime, Other Fees(Intercept)

New Canada hearings for Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion route (Reuters)

Nordic investors reject Dakota pipeline operator’s allegations (Reuters)


Politics

Brazil’s new 20 percent ethanol import tax rule takes effect (Reuters)

Midnight rush for power in electricity-starved Gaza (AFP)

Rosneft, traders lend more to Kurdistan ahead of referendum (Reuters)

The impacts of Kurdistan’s independence from Iraq could have major implications for the petroleum industry. It seems some corporations are already jockeying for position…

Big Customers Demand 100 Percent Renewables—and Utilities Look Set to Deliver (IEEE)

Vietnam prosecutes more oil firm officials for alleged mismanagement (Reuters)

Venezuela probing ‘spectacular’ overpricing in Orinoco oil contracts (Reuters)

U.S. senator asks FBI to probe Icahn over biofuels push (Reuters)

No U.S. plan to call for oil embargo on North Korea (Reuters)


Transportation

China likely to unveil NEV car quotas soon, but delay implementation (Reuters)

Britain faces huge costs to avoid power shortages with electric car plan (Reuters)

Renault-Nissan to build electric cars with China’s Dongfeng (Reuters)


Coal

Finland to introduce law next year phasing out coal (Reuters)

China plans safety inspections at coal mines, chemical plants (Reuters)

China’s war on smog shakes up ports; Tianjin loses, rivals benefit (Reuters)

Adani says to start Australian coal mine with own funds (Reuters)


Gas

U.S. halts LPG shipments to Asia amid storm havoc; buyers hold back (Reuters)

French energy giant Total to expand LPG infrastructure in India (India Times)

Gazprom says sanctions won’t stop Nord Stream 2 pipeline project (Reuters)

Australia’s Santos steps up effort to avert LNG export curb (Reuters)

Exxon Mobil Vietnam gas project could start in November (Reuters)


Hydropower

Nigeria awards dam power plant contract to Chinese state firm again (Reuters)

West Balkans’ energy bills surge as drought curbs hydropower output (Reuters)

Tanzania invites bids for hydropower project in game reserve (Reuters)


Nuclear

The U.S. Backs Off Nuclear Power. Georgia Wants to Keep Building Reactors. (New York Times)

U.N. nuclear watchdog opens uranium bank in Kazakhstan (Reuters)

Brazil looks to China to finish nuclear power plant (Reuters)


Petroleum

Latin America fights for fuel in Harvey’s wake, cargoes diverted (Reuters)

Here we can see the global impact of Harvey already taking shape.

Exxon Misled the Public on Climate Change, Study Says (New York Times)

Environmentalists oppose Illinois’ approval of fracking permit (Reuters)

Russian Tanker Completes Artic Passage Without Aid of Icebreakers (New York Times)

As oil prices weather storm, OPEC looks for long-term boost from Harvey (Reuters)

Yes I am sure they do…

Brazil regulator rejects Total study on drilling at Amazon River basin (Reuters)

Norway’s Arctic oil ambitions suffer setback as most promising well yields none (Reuters)

Libyan navy seizes tanker over suspected smuggling (Reuters)


Solar

Man Who Brings The Light lifts Romania’s poor out of darkness (AFP)

Kind of an uplifting Energy News story for a change

India bars states from independently exiting, modifying solar projects (Reuters)

Tesla starts production of solar cells in Buffalo (AP)

Chinese green firm to begin construction of Indian plant; will give jobs to 1,000 people (IANS)


Wind

Wind turbine maker Vestas receives order for largest wind park in Mongolia (Reuters)

Dutch Will Use Wind Power to Green Airports, But Solar is the Future Elsewhere (IEEE)


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