Weekly Energy News Update-October 29th

I will begin this week with promoting an excellent piece written about wind energy in Andalusia. Anthropologist David Hughes asks tough questions of his informants in rural Spain regarding the way they make money off of wind turbines installed on their ranch land. Ultimately, it boils down to whether the wind should be regarded as a public or private good. This is a timely insight, drawn out through Hughes discussion with his informants, and a proper ethnographical treatment of energy issues. And he didn’t even have to use the word “Anthropocene” once! 🙂 The piece deserves to be widely read.

Who Owns the Wind? (Boston Review)

I have to admit, while reading this piece I had completely forgotten about David’s recently published book on oil production in Trinidad and Tobago, but I think it is also well worth promoting here at EAN:

Energy without Conscience: Oil, Climate Change, and Complicity

Although I focused on Puerto Rico last week, again this week brought it back into the energy news spotlight. Last week I posted a local news story about a very small (two employees!) company from Montana awarded a contract to help restore power in Puerto Rico. Those of us interested in issues of energy justice must have been furious (as I was) with the disgraceful comments from Whitefish Energy in response to Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz’s questioning of the way the company obtained a $300M contract to help repair powerlines on the island. The title of this piece by Esquire is spot on:

How Does This Tweet Make You Feel? (Esquire)

It makes me feel wretched. Especially because I am from Montana. It is unforgivable. The company should be thoroughly investigated for corruption and the Mayor has ever right to say so without being threatened. Actually Mayor Cruz is a powerhouse on Twitter, I highly recommend following her posts. There are a number of good articles that emerged this week about what is happening in Puerto Rico so I list them here before getting into the rest of this week’s news. Enjoy:

Disaster Capitalists Take Big Step Toward Privatizing Puerto Rico’s Electric Grid (Intercept)

Emergency Manager to Be Installed at Puerto Rico Power Utility (Wall Street Journal)

Would Repealing the Jones Act Help Puerto Rico? (NYTimes)

Tesla Turns Power Back On At Children’s Hospital In Puerto Rico (NPR)

Google parent company sends up solar-powered balloons to bring internet service to Puerto Rico (LATimes)

Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren Working on a “Comprehensive Plan” for Puerto Rico (Intercept)

PREPA, Gov. Rosselló reject appointment of ‘chief transformation officer’ for grid rebuild (UtilityDive)


The energy transition needs anthropologists (Antropologia 2.0)

This weekend Energy was in the air at the 5th symposium for Why the World Needs Anthropologists. Here is a great interview with Benj Sykes, a keynote speaker for the event, discussing why anthropologists are so important for the energy sector!


Richard Branson’s green energy plan for Caribbean may include debt relief (Reuters)

Mexico and Indonesia could be next up for Eni’s asset sales (Reuters)

Nigeria recovers $85 mln deposited in Britain in oil licence deal funds (Reuters)

Russia’s Transneft taking stake in Ust-Luga oil terminal (Reuters)

Equis Energy agrees to be sold to global investors for $5 bln (Reuters)


Off-Grid Electricity Projects Are Starved for Funds (IEEE)

99% of funding goes to grid projects. It is time we start looking into the ideological reasons for this, because the technological reasons don’t merit this kind of neglect.

German household power prices at record high (Reuters)

Energy prices are high because consumers are paying for useless, profit-boosting infrastructure (Conversation)

It’s Big and Long-Lived, and It Won’t Catch Fire: The Vanadium Redox-⁠Flow Battery (IEEE)

Might take this article with a grain of salt (the author is the CEO of company producing VRFBs) but the potential boost for grid storage with new advancements in battery technology should not be ignored.

PG&E helped stall effort to map risky power lines prone to wildfires (Mercury News)

GE enters deal to make NYPA ‘first fully digital utility’ (UtilityDive)

‘Darknet’ and quantum communications could enhance grid cybersecurity, scientists tell Senate (UtilityDive)

China to increase cross-province power transmission in southwest (Reuters)


Solar and wind energy jobs to boom over next decade (AP)

This is primarily a report focused on the U.S. labor market.

Siemens to update labor on power and gas woes on Thursday (Reuters)

France’s CGT union calls for 24-hour strike in oil sector on Nov 23 (Reuters)


The Battle of Treaty Camp (Intercept)

U.S. lawmakers ask DOJ if terrorism law covers pipeline activists (Reuters)

For perspective, when a white male slaughters 58 people with guns (plural!) it is called “a mass shooting incident”, but when protestors damage a pipeline it should be called “terrorism”. And this comes from Democrats and Republicans.

Norway wealth fund watchdog reviewing investment in U.S. pipeline firm (Reuters)

Embarrassing that Norway or another other sovereign fund has yet to pull out their support for Energy Transfer Partners.

Kenya signs agreement for oil pipeline study, Tullow says top conservationist on board (Reuters)


Fear of Iranian general left Iraqi Kurdish oil fields deserted (Reuters)

Iraq paramilitaries battle Kurds in push towards Turkish border oil hub (Reuters)

Iraq orders truce with Kurds to allow peaceful deployment at border crossings (Reuters)

In case you hear otherwise, note that the KRG did delay elections of the presidency and parliament and offer to freeze the results of their independence referendum this week.

Clean energy can advance Indigenous reconciliation (Conversation)

Mexico Border Wall Won’t Stop Cross-border Power Push (IEEE)

Energy, not tech or finance, in CEO line-up for Trump’s China visit (Reuters)

Hot air? U.S. gas exporters rush to sell LNG to China (Reuters)

Could be some major changes in U.S.-China energy policy after this meeting…or it could amount to nothing more than another circus act. We’ll see.

Trump administration taps coal consultant for mining oversight role (Reuters)

EPA to review how clean air, water laws affect energy sector jobs (Reuters)

U.S. offers record lease sale in Alaska reserve to oil, gas drillers (Reuters)

U.S. marine sanctuary oil drilling report sent to Trump, not public (Reuters)

All four of these articles feel like they could have been printed in 1984.


Price-Fixing Inquiry Moves From BMW to Daimler and Volkswagen (NYTimes)

Hydrogen fuel-cell car push ‘dumb’? Toyota makes a case for the Mirai (Reuters)

Interesting point at the end of the article that energy generated by an oversupply of solar and wind could be stored as hydrogen for transportation uses, something along the lines of this study.

Japanese Nissan tests waters in India for its e-Power technology (PTI)

Electric cars emit 50% less greenhouse gas than diesel, study finds (Guardian)

U.S. wants to remove ‘unnecessary’ barriers to self-driving vehicles (Reuters)


U.S. sets antidumping duties on Argentine, Indonesian biodiesel (Reuters)

Work to start on 150 projects on Ganga by March (PTI)


In bizarre twist, coal may become a scarce commodity (Reuters)

It may be that the climate change discourse is forcing the price  of coal to finally reflect the environmental externalities associated with the polluting energy source.

US Coal-export terminal backer sues state over permit denial (AP)

Coal shortage hits Karnataka hard (Bangalore Mirror)

Coal ministry augments fuel supply to states with critical stocks (India Times)

Southeast Asia, India turn to coal for power, imports expected to jump (Reuters)

India bans use of dirtier coal alternative in New Delhi area (Reuters)

Sea levels to rise 1.3m unless coal power ends by 2050, report says (Guardian)


Indonesia to become LNG importer in 2020 as population grows (Reuters)

Algeria pushes back start of southern Touat gas field (Reuters)

Argentina approves emergency natural gas exports to neighboring Chile (Reuters)


Uttarakhand frames new rules for upcoming hydro power projects (India Times)

Hydro important part of private infrastructure development in Pakistan (HydroWorld)


Westinghouse in talks with India for six nuclear power reactors (India Times)

France’s EDF trims forecasts with new delay in restart of nuclear reactors (Reuters)

Kudankulam nuclear power plant’s second unit to be operational soon (PTI)

ONGC proposes to partner in building nuclear power reactors (IANS)

South Korea to resume building two new nuclear reactors, but scraps plans for 6 others (Reuters)


FORESEA selects six recipients for third wave of ocean energy R&D assistance (HydroWorld)


Big Oil’s $1 billion climate fund picks investments, eyes new members (Reuters)

Brazil Draws Broad Interest in Offshore Oil Drilling Rights (NYTimes)


Brazil judge suspends pre-salt oil auctions set for Friday (Reuters)

…this happened the day before.

‘Transformation Is Happening’: Saudi Aramco’s Chief on Future of Oil (NYTimes)

Sinochem to re-evaluate oil exploration business, expand fine chemicals (Reuters)

Nigeria’s NNPC says oil access is ‘not limitless’ for fuel swaps (Reuters)

Construction starts on Serbian oil firm’s new deep conversion complex (Reuters)

U.S. Midwest oil refiners boost output, cut region’s dependence on Gulf Coast (Reuters)

Fire at Tehran oil refinery kills six people, injures three (Reuters)

Ecuador seeks renegotiation of China oil sales, loans (Reuters)


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

Small and medium sized solar manufacturers float industry body (India Times)

Indian Railways launches its first set of solar power plants in Delhi (PTI)

Solar costs to fall further, powering global demand (Reuters)


U.S. wind concerns ease as Trump cabinet calls on Denmark to help boost offshore output (Reuters)

Benj Sykes, the keynote speaker at Why the World Needs Anthropologists symposium this weekend, is the Head of Programme Asset Management of Offshore Wind Power for the DONG Energy discussed in this article. Perhaps he talked more about this news at the symposium?

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