Weekly Energy News Update-November 26th

I heard a fascinating lecture this week by Anthropologist Daniel Miller about his new project on Global mHealth, which is very much an attempt to be both theoretical and applied. His speech was very critical of anthropology in general, arguing that theory has really become a game of one-upmanship and as done little except to create a hierarchy within the discipline that favors those with the right social and cultural capital (similar to an argument made by Richard Wilk this summer). Miller went a step further by saying anthropologists who spend their career using theory simply to critique the world but choose not to apply their research to make the world a better place are irresponsible. This is an issue near and dear to my heart as my background is in applied anthropology (I’ll give a little plug here for Oregon State University). My current project is quite historical and I have struggled to find an applied angle to my work. Luckily, I work with a fantastic interdisciplinary team at Airborne, some of whom are putting what we learn about air pollution in China into a more applied context .

OK, so now all these personal musings aside, I was very excited this morning to find in my inbox news of a very applied project on energy research that draws from the fields of public health and anthropology. The Southwest Pennsylvania Environmental Health Project has been monitoring the health effects of fracking (I like the acronym they use: UOGD or unconventional  oil and gas development) in this region of the US since 2012. However, EHP goes beyond just demonstrating the health effects by providing medical assistance to the affected population, providing the community with legal resources to engage in energy justice and to also get local people involved in the process of collecting scientific information about the health effects of UOGD. EHP has provided many useful resources for those of use engaged in energy justice as well as an impressive model to help an academic enterprise transition towards a more public engagement with energy issues in general. Theory is of course important and not everyone should be expected to apply their research, but critique for the sake of critique is irresponsible. Projects like EHP show us how an engaged anthropology of energy can be relevant and successful. So, browse through their website a bit before you jump into this week’s news:


Efficiency

Work to replace 36,000 streetlights with LEDs in Agra yet to begin (India Times)

Awash in Artificial Light, the World Gets 2 Percent Brighter Each Year (IEEE)


Finance

Why Canadian pension plans must divest of fossil fuel investments (Conversation)

Sasol pulls plug on $13-$15 bln US GTL project, to divest from Canadian shale (Reuters)

Total CEO not worried over possible Norway fund capital exit (Reuters)

Gulf Energy raises $733 mln, biggest Thai corporate IPO in over a decade (Reuters)

China’s CEFC set to overtake Trafigura as main Rosneft oil trader in Asia (Reuters)


Grid

With artificial intelligence, it’s a brave new world for utilities (UtilityDive)

EU to unveil priority energy projects to improve grid, prepare for Brexit (Reuters)

EU Okays Joint Irish, Northern Irish Power Back-Up Scheme (NYTimes)

Bihar CM Nitish Kumar asks energy department to electrify all villages by December (India Times)

Elon Musk beats deadline for building world’s biggest battery (Phys.org)

Global Storage Market to Double Six Times by 2030 (Bloomberg)

It is getting to the point that I will need to start a new storage category

Subsidizing coal and nuclear power could drive customers off the grid (Conversation)

Rhode Island grid mod plan to focus on renewables integration, cost control (UtilityDive)

A Controversial Oregon Transmission Line Gets The Go-Ahead (NWPR)


Labor

South Africa’s NUM union signs three-year wage deal in coal sector (Reuters)

German SPD leader spars with Siemens CEO Kaeser over job cuts (Reuters)

Siemens Restructuring Power And Gas (CompressorTech)


Pipeline

Class action lawsuit targets Eversource, Avangrid over pipeline scheduling (UtilityDive)

TransCanada recovers 44,400 gallons of oil from Keystone pipeline spill site (Reuters)

WTI flips into big backwardation after pipeline spill (Reuters)

South Dakota regulators say they could revoke Keystone permit after spill (Reuters)

Shareholders urge TransCanada to back Keystone XL despite risk (Reuters)

Nebraska Approves Keystone XL Pipeline as Opponents Face Criminalization of Protests (Intercept)

You would think the spill in South Dakota would make them think twice…but no…

Maoists hit agency working on Jagdishpur-Haldia gas pipeline (PTI)

Iraq plans new pipeline exporting Kirkuk oil to Turkey (Reuters)


Politics

Whitefish energy company halts work to restore Puerto Rico’s power over unpaid bill (Guardian)

Fluor’s work on Puerto Rico power project halted over safety issue (Reuters)

Still a lot of controversial issues taking place in the reconstruction of Puerto Rico’s energy infrastructure. The nightmare of disaster capitalism is unfolding for local residents on the island.

India to step beyond renewable energy goal with China-scale tenders (Bloomberg)

Public investment in electricity generation – a hot-button issue in Queensland? (Conversation)

Big gas exporter countries blast unilateral sanctions in dig at U.S (Reuters)

Closing energy gap would help poorest countries develop (AP)

China Imposes 4.4%-113.8% Antidumping Duty on Korean-Made Polysilicon (EnergyTrend)

Detained Venezuelan-U.S. Citgo executives to be tried as ‘traitors’ (Reuters)

Time for a global agreement on minerals to fuel the clean energy transition (Conversation)

Russian government approves profit-based oil tax, but launch delayed (Reuters)

U.S. charges two with bribing African officials for China energy firm (Reuters)

Chad later this week denied the allegations.

Total risks entire Iran investment if it pulls out of project (Reuters)


Technology

A new way to store thermal energy (MIT News)

Fuel Cells Poised to Replace India’s Diesel Generators (IEEE)


Transportation

Electric Vehicles Aren’t Taking Over Our Roads as Fast as Hype Artists Claim (IEEE)

Uber to partner with Mahindra to pilot electric vehicles in India (Reuters)

Uber To Buy 24,000 Self-Driving Volvos (IEEE)

Elon Musk’s break-up with Amber Heard was the reason behind Tesla 3 delay (India Times)

I can’t help but share this…seriously, the guy has used this excuse for his shortcomings for months. There were news articles in April that were spewing this nonsense.

Norway puts brakes on plans for ‘Tesla tax’ (AFP)

NITI Aayog, Rocky Mountain Institute release policy to transform India’s mobility system (India Times)

See here and here for the two policy briefs mentioned in this article

Nano to make a comeback with electric model (India Times)

Romeo Power Technology Inaugurates the West Coast’s First Dedicated Electric Vehicle Battery Pack Manufacturing Facility (EnergyTrend)


Biofuels

Turning poop into power: how Kenyans are cooking up a cleaner climate (Reuters)

Wake Up and Smell the Traffic? London Tries Coffee to Power Buses (NYTimes)

Jet fuel from sugarcane? It’s not a flight of fancy (Conversation)

Bio-fuel would boost agriculture, create jobs, cut pollution (PTI)


Coal

Infographic: here’s exactly what Adani’s Carmichael mine means for Queensland (Conversation)

Chinese company starts construction of Serbian coal-fired power plant (Reuters)

Owners of Hardin coal-fired power plant announce exit in 2018 (Billings Gazette)

Engie, Mitsui sell Australian coal-fired power plant to Alinta (Reuters)

Texas’ largest power generator sets hundreds of job cuts with closure of plant, coal mine (Houston Business Journal)


Gas

Russia warns global gas oversupply could trigger price ‘crisis’ (Reuters)

This may be true for global supply, but in East Asia the gas market is quite tight as China and Korea have purchased everything they can get their hands on.

India rushing to join natural gas boom risks eventual LNG shortage (Reuters)

And it appears that India is also heading in the same direction that East Asia is taking. Lots of mixed messages in the LNG industry right now.

Power companies’ 60,000 Mw thermal generation projects in trouble (PTI)

With a few smart moves, we can relieve the pressure on gas (Conversation)

Exxon joins European oil firms in initiative to limit emissions (Reuters)


Hydropower

Energy-hungry India can neither abandon dams nor build many large ones (India Times)

I heard this argument from a number of scholars who attended the Environmental Asia conference here in Oslo. However, those interested in this topic should also pay attention to the important work being done on the social impacts of small hydropower projects by Human Geographer (and Anthropologist in disguise!) Shikha Lakhanpal at the Ashoka Trust.

A Big Hydro Project in Big Sky Country (IEEE)

China firms sign $3 billion deal to generate hydro power in Nepal (PTI)

Site C completion cost could soar further with threat of First Nations lawsuit (HydroWorld)

Philippines renewable energy investments include four hydropower plants (HydroWorld)


Marine

New directory providing technical information on Scottish ports could help marine energy developers (HyrdoWorld)

Atlantis secures riverbed lease for Wyre tidal barrage installation (HydroWorld)


Nuclear

Six Years After Fukushima, Robots Finally Find Reactors’ Melted Uranium Fuel (NYTimes)

Evacuating a nuclear disaster areas is (usually) a waste of time and money, says study (Conversation)

This argument is made only by drawing from the economic concept of “willingness to pay”. I hope there are anthropologists out there working on challenging such assumptions.

Russian nuclear facility denies it is source of high radioactivity levels (Guardian)

Petroleum

A BP North Sea field to test U.S. policy on Iran (Reuters)

How ‘princess’ of Angola lost her oil crown (Reuters)

Environment panel approaches oil companies against sale of petcoke (IANS)

Eni asks for seizure order to be lifted to avoid refinery shutdown (Reuters)

China diesel in rare rally as smog war, tax fears stir supply worries (Reuters)


Solar

Turning the promise of solar landfills into reality (UtilityDive)

Officials wrongfully charging duty on solar power panels (India Times)

Bangladesh firms awarded for solar power trade network (IANS)


Wind

Germany awards further 1 GW of onshore wind capacity (Reuters)

India to conduct auction for awarding wind power projects of 2,000 Mw capacity (India Times)

 


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