Weekly Energy News Update-October 22nd

This week I’ll start with two topics that have dominated Energy News over the past month. The first is certainly Puerto Rico and I think the above tweet from last night really says it all. Still 83% of households in Puerto Rico are without electricity even a month after Hurricane Maria devastated the island.

‘Survival Mode’ Defines Puerto Rico One Month After Maria (Bloomberg)

What Puerto Rico is doing to get the power back after Hurricane Maria (AP)

Sunrun, nonprofits partner to deliver renewables projects to Puerto Rico (UtilityDive)

Company from Whitefish, Montana, helping put Puerto Rican power grid back on line (Spokesman-Review)

While Trump has been giving himself a 10/10 for disaster recovery governance in Puerto Rico, the other five living presidents worked together at a fundraiser to help with disaster recovery after an extremely destructive Hurricane season.

All five living former US presidents make rare appearance together (Guardian)

Meanwhile in the Middle East the battle over the oilfields near Kirkuk between Kurdish and Iraqi forces has essentially come to a conclusion. Peshmerga forces have now moved their defenses north of Kirkuk resulting in the loss of control over the strategic oilfields.

Kurds defeated, displaced and divided after Iraq reclaims oil-rich Kirkuk (Guardian)

In Kirkuk, Kurds’ joy turns to fear after Iraqi army takeover (Reuters)

Russia’s Rosneft to take control of Iraqi Kurdish pipeline amid crisis (Reuters)

US military rushes to defuse looming crisis in Kirkuk after Iraqi army advances (Guardian)

The politics here are extremely complex particularly when one considers that there is also a very different Kurdish independence movement in Syria, where oil fields were occupied by the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces.

U.S.-backed militias seize key oil field in east Syria (Reuters)

David Graeber this week wrote an excellent op-ed that explored the Kurdish independence movement in Syria.

Democracy Is Possible in Syria. My Friend Knew How. (NY Times)

Overall, again, not a very cheery week for energy news…


New Publication

Enhancing the Resilience of the Nation’s Electricity System (National Academy Press)


Efficiency

Chandigarh beats Punjab in distribution of energy saving LED lights (India Times)

Are energy efficiency programmes all they seem? (The Conversation)

Highly recommend their recently published piece on Energy Justice in Energy Research and Social Science


Finance

Engie targets Africa with home solar acquisition (Reuters)

Retailer Casino turns up the heat in French residential power market (Reuters)

U.S. shale oil industry to see wave of investment (Reuters)

BP eyes smaller renewable investments to avoid repeating losses (Reuters)

Overseas assets held by China’s centrally owned firms top $900 billion (Reuters)

China’s CEFC eyes big league with Rosneft oil offtake deal (Reuters)

German power grid companies set lower renewable energy surcharge for 2018 (Reuters)


Grid

A Small Firm in Germany Has Big Ambitions in Green Energy (NY Times)

Power lines and electrical equipment are a leading cause of California wildfires (LA Times)

Smart Power Electronic Converters May Help Stabilize the Grid (IEEE)

Winter reliability strong, RTOs tell FERC, undermining DOE NOPR justification (UtilityDive)

Fuel security and power generation in the United States (Reuters)

I don’t necessarily agree with Kemp’s argument, but it is well researched and he even provides a revealing bibliography of the materials he’s been using to build up these ideas.

Transport and power disruption continues as Storm Ophelia moves on (Guardian)

While the US is still coping with devastating hurricanes, the electric grid in Ireland and the UK have recently been dealing with the impact of Storm Ophelia and this weekend Storm Brian.

Vestas to build first large-scale battery storage project for wind, solar (Reuters)

Rockefeller Foundation seeks PPPs for mini power grid projects (PTI)


Labor

Siemens may cut jobs in power turbine business overhaul (Reuters)


Pipelines

Storm in western Canada temporarily disrupts crude pipelines (Reuters)

Politics

Activists set talks with Chevron on Myanmar rights concerns (Reuters)

U.S. warns public about attacks on energy, industrial firms (Reuters)

Australia shuns clean energy target in policy overhaul (Reuters)

Australia’s new energy policy asks renewables to outcompete coal (Reuters)

The government’s energy policy hinges on some tricky wordplay about coal’s role (The Conversation)

Some diverse views regarding Australia’s announcement of their new energy policy this week.

No EU unity for Russia Nord Stream 2 talks (Reuters)

Saudi oil minister makes high profile Iraq visit, calls for economic cooperation (Reuters)

South African reshuffle irks ANC allies, Zuma confidant to oversee nuclear deal (Reuters)

U.S. will not interfere in EU trade with Iran (Reuters)

Democrats fail to block Arctic reserve oil drilling (Reuters)

U.S. EPA to shrink response time for permit requests (Reuters)

Dutch will miss 2020 green energy, climate targets (Reuters)


Technology

DOE offers $26M for carbon capture technology research (UtilityDive)

New Sulfur Flow Battery for Affordable Long-Term Grid Storage (IEEE)

New potential energy storage technology that could cost between $20-30/kWh!


Transportation

Why China Can’t Handle an All-or-Nothing Tack on Gasoline (Sixth Tone)

Three interesting things of note in this article: That China’s electric grid is still dependent on fossil fuels (true), that a ban on fossil fuel cars would leave the country more vulnerable to natural disasters or military attacks (very unclear), that electric vehicle technology is very young when compared with “conventional motors” (definitely not true).

Charging options in focus as Florida prepares for rise of electric vehicles (UtilityDive)

Nissan Suspends Production in Japan Because of Flawed Inspections (NY Times)


Biofuels

EPA abandons changes to U.S. biofuel program after lawmaker pressure (Reuters)

China’s SDIC to produce 4 million-5 million T/yr ethanol in five years (Reuters)


Coal

Shenhua will keep supplies to long-term clients after Guodian deal (Reuters)

Coal companies supplying high ash coal to Mahagenco; No protest by power utility (India Times)

Monitoring coal shortage crisis, marginal impact of spike in spot power price (India Times)

Rio opens books to over half-dozen possible suitors for Australia coal mines (Reuters)


Gas

Montenegro in “sweet spot” of untapped Adriatic oil and gas potential (Reuters)

Boom in American Liquefied Natural Gas Is Shaking Up the Energy World (NY Times)

Indonesia to extend Inpex’s Masela LNG contract by 27 years from 2028 (Reuters)

China’s bold gas plan may threaten winter power supplies (Reuters)

LNG producers take time to relax destination clauses despite Japan ruling (Reuters)


Nuclear

South Korea Will Resume Reactor Work, Defying Nuclear Opponents (NYTimes)

South Korea’s president says will continue phasing out nuclear power (Reuters)

Very confusing signals from South Korea this week…


Petroleum

How an oil and gas giant outmaneuvered low oil prices (McKinsey)

African Petroleum seeks arbitration over Gambia oil dispute (Reuters)

Venezuela’s PDVSA blocked from using NuStar terminal over unpaid bills (Reuters)

One dead, another missing after oil barge fire off Texas (Reuters)

Search suspended for worker missing after Louisiana oil platform explosion (Reuters)

Mexico expects to hold a third oil and gas auction in 2018 (Reuters)

Ecuador’s Petroamazonas to issue $350 mln bonds to help pay Schlumberger debt (Reuters)

This comes just as Schlumberger is facing criticism in financial circles

Angola is not the next Venezuela, state oil firm says as it cuts debt (Reuters)

Financial, security woes put Libyan oil recovery on shaky ground (Reuters)

Venezuela’s deteriorating oil quality riles major refiners (Reuters)

Italy breaks up Libyan fuel smuggling ring involving mafia (Reuters)


Solar

Not all trackers are created equal (UtilityDive)

Mahindra Susten to build India’s 1st battery-backed solar project in Andaman (India Times)

Shenzhen Firm Takes Shine to Three U.S. Solar Farms (Caixin)

Solar installers press homeowners to buy ahead of tariff (Reuters)

Kerala opposition demands special assembly session to table solar report (IANS)

Solar power scam: Congress says will fight legally and politically (India Times)

Reports of solar scams have become more prevalent in Indian media over the past two weeks.  The details still seem somewhat fuzzy.

U.S. firm to build solar plants in blackout-plagued Gaza (Reuters)


Wind

New Texas wind farm is Amazon’s largest (UtilityDive)

How Vestas built a Rs 500 crore blade factory near Ahmedabad in record 15 months (India Times)

Rule changes to spur French wind power projects within months (Reuters)


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