Weekly Energy News Update-December 3rd

I need to start this post off with a bit of xkcd and anthropological humor. The above picture made me imagine how great it would be if all anthropologists could agree to the validity of formstantivism: the average of the formalists and substantivists raised to the power of Marxism [or (F+S/2)^M for short] ;-p

I begin with a jest because I have some sad news. On Thursday, I start a few months of fieldwork including a bit of time behind the Great Firewall. Supposedly, VPNs are of little use anymore. It will be difficult to post let alone read any Energy news. If you see an important piece that you think should be given attention while I am on the road, please do send to schmitte@link.cuhk.edu.hk. Ultimately, news updates will be sporadic over the holiday season with some more regular updates in January and then sporadic again until mid-March. More soon! Here is this week’s update:



DOE mulls changes to appliance efficiency program (UtilityDive)


Sale of the century? $300-billion Saudi state sell-off moves slowly (Reuters)

Apparently this week Hong Kong made a final plug for hosting Aramaco’s IPO

Vietnam’s PV Oil plans Jan IPO that aims to raise at least $122 mln (Reuters)

Kenya plans $1 bln dual listing of National Oil Corp by early 2019 (Reuters)

What is with this rash of privatization going on in the global petroleum sector!

Norway’s wealth fund gives reasons for energy shares decision (Reuters)

On the other hand, despite the coming de-investment from oil and gas industry, Norway still owns 67% of Statoil and has no intention of selling that or preventing further exploration.

How Blockchains Will Help Connect Billions to Electricity and Financial Services (IEEE)

This connection between Blockchains and utilities has been popping up a lot lately in the media. I hope there is an anthropologist looking at this intersection of economy, energy and technology!

China in ‘final sprint’ to introduce crude oil futures (Reuters)

Shell, to Cut Carbon Output, Will Be Less of an Oil Company (NYTimes)


Battery Storage Will Offer Grid Support as Puerto Rico Recovers (IEEE)

Sweden needs to further add power capacity or face shortages (Reuters)

New York energy storage target official after Gov. Cuomo signs bill (UtilityDive)

Tanzania restores power in parts of country after nationwide outage (Reuters)

Blackout risk eases for Australian summer, market operator says (Reuters)

Maharashtra power utility detects 269 cases of power theft in special drive (India Times)


Women’s average pay at Shell in UK a fifth less than men’s (Reuters)

Inpex halts construction at Australian LNG site after worker dies (Reuters)


Denmark passes law that could ban Russian pipeline from going through its waters (Reuters)

Climate activists delay U.S. gas pipeline approvals (Reuters)

TransCanada engages Nebraska landowners on new Keystone XL route (Reuters)

Just FYI the original Keystone pipeline began operation again on Tuesday

Canada backs Kinder Morgan pipeline appeal as related hearings start (Reuters)

Calif. energy agencies express concern over natgas pipeline outages (Reuters)


The GOP Tax Bill Could Forever Alter Alaska’s Indigenous Tribes (Atlantic)

German court paves way for Peruvian farmer’s suit against RWE (Reuters)

There is currently a similar suit here in Norway that is leveraging an article in the Constitution because drilling in the Arctic violates the right to a healthy environment.

Trump’s First Major Trade Fight With China Could Be Over Solar Panels (NYTimes)

What we talk about when we talk about resilience (UtilityDive)

After years of following how this concept has been defined in ecology and environmental management, it is fascinating to see how it is now being debated within energy policy circles.

Pleas to flee, a desperate video: Inside Venezuela’s oil industry purge (Reuters)

OPEC, Russia have done their bit, now it’s the turn of U.S., China (Reuters)


Energy Idea for Mars Yields a Clue for Powering Data Centers (NYTimes)

Modular Power Blocks Snap Together to Scale Up Energy Needs in Remote Areas (IEEE)


S.Korea’s SK Innovation to build EV battery plant in Hungary (Reuters)

Cobalt, the heart of darkness in the shiny electric vehicle story (Reuters)

Automakers pledge ethical minerals sourcing for electric cars (Reuters)

That was quick work after the release of the above story. PR departments must have had some of this material prepared far in advance.


U.S. ethanol makers call on Mexico, India to reduce biofuel glut (Reuters)

Score One for Corn: In Battle Over Biofuel, a Rare Setback for Big Oil (NYTimes)

In growing algae for biofuels, it matters who used the water last (The Conversation)


S.Africa’s Hendrina power station may not have adequate coal, no load shedding seen (Reuters)

West’s largest coal plant to stay open through 2019 with new approval (UtilityDive)

Greece finalises deal with lenders over coal-fired plants (Reuters)

Georgia to build natural gas storage, coal-fired power plant (Reuters)

We could use old coal mines to decarbonise heat – here’s how (The Conversation)

China underscores push toward longer term coal contracts (Reuters)

China state-backed explosives maker to buy affiliated coal miner for $3.1 billion (Reuters)

Adani hopes for govt coal mine loan fade after Australian election (Reuters)

We Energies’ coal-fired power plant in Pleasant Prairie to be shut down in 2018 (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

EPA Hosts the Beginning of the End of the Clean Power Plan in Coal Country  (Intercept)

U.S. repeal of carbon rule criticized in coal country (Reuters)

India to start building ultra supercritical thermal plant in 2019 (India Times)


As gas heating demand soars, China’s Hebei warns of shortages (Reuters)

I have actually been hearing of shortages for over a week now in Chinese media. I have also heard of complaints that the gas heaters are not keeping residential areas as warm as the coal did  in the past. Stay tuned for a first hand account in a few months…

State oil companies to add 5,000 distributors for LPG by 2019 (India Times)

Maersk Oil, partners to invest $3.4 billion in Denmark’s North Sea gas (AP)

R-Power inks agreement for Bangladesh power plant, LNG terminal (IANS)

Shell, PetroChina jv paves way toward big gas development in Australia (Reuters)


Peru’s San Gaban project receives Chinese cash infusion (HydroWorld)

Andhra Pradesh Cabinet approves Polavaram Hydro power project (India Times)

AfDB loaning €150 million for development of 420-MW Nachtigal hydro in Cameroon (HydroWorld)

Small hydro acquisition in Italy includes future and existing plants (HydroWorld)


Austrian parties plan to use Brexit to reopen EU nuclear power pact (Reuters)


Pressured for profit, oil majors bet big on shale technology (Reuters)

Mexico’s Pemex declares force majeure on Isthmus crude oil (Reuters)

Trump administration permits ENI to drill for oil off Alaska (Reuters)


A tale of 2 states: Massachusetts and California provide different lessons on growing community solar (UtilityDive)

Macron makes renewable energy push in power-starved Africa (Reuters)


Developer abandons plans for long-stalled Cape Cod wind farm (AP)

Vattenfall places large offshore wind power order with Siemens Gamesa (Reuters)

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:


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)


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)


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)


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)


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)


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)


A new way to store thermal energy (MIT News)

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


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)


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)


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)


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)


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)


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

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


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)


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)


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)


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)


Weekly Energy News Update-November 19th

My own schedule has been quite packed as of late, so I think this report about the microeconomies and lifestyles that have sprung up along the coal trucking routes from Mongolia into China will have to suffice as an intro into this week’s update:

Border jam puts Mongolia’s coal lifeline under threat (Reuters)



World Energy Outlook 2017 (IEA)

Perhaps not necessary for readers to go spend €120 on a digital copy, so thought I would share the report summary here. The New York Times wrote an even shorter synopsis here.


Norway’s Wealth Fund Considers Divesting From Oil Shares (NY Times)

Offshore oil service firms dominate North American energy bankruptcies (Reuters)

Ecuador to sign payment deal for Schlumberger debt (Reuters)

Aramco CEO: IPO preparations ongoing, no decision on venue abroad (Reuters)


EDF unions warn of French power blackout risk this winter (Reuters)

What Causes Cascading Power Grid Failures (IEEE)

You can see the full report from Science here. They have a related technical paper up at arxiv as well.

Wave of lawsuits blames PG&E for deadly California fires (Sacramento Bee)

Government to push prepaid, smart meters in universal electrification drive (India Times)

China to launch distributed power trading pilot scheme (Reuters)

Keeping one billion people in the dark costs poor countries dear (Reuters)

A very odd article, they never provide the title of the report they are summarizing and I was unable to find a report with this content on the ODI website.


Nearly 2,000 Siemens employees protest against job cuts (Reuters)

Coal India mulling increase in prices to meet rise in wage costs (India Times)


Dakota Access Pipeline Company Paid Mercenaries to Build Conspiracy Lawsuit Against Environmentalists (Intercept)

Keystone Pipeline Leaks 210,000 Gallons of Oil in South Dakota (NY Times)

Keystone XL opponents make last-gasp effort in Nebraska (Reuters)

Kinder Morgan Canada appeals again over Trans Mountain pipeline (Reuters)


With U.S. Backing, Ukraine Pushes to Privatize Paris Climate Agreement (Intercept)

Why meeting the Paris climate goals is an existential threat to fossil fuel industries (Conversation)

Angolan Leader Ousts Predecessor’s Daughter as Oil Chief (NY Times)

Indonesia unveils plan to roll out 1,000 eco-mosques by 2020 (Reuters)

China’s renewable energy wastage targets may be hard to meet this winter (Reuters)

I remain extremely skeptical that China can end all renewable energy wastage by 2020, but if they can make it happen that would be a very telling sign of significant political change in the country.

Puerto Rico’s bankrupt utility agreed to pay Whitefish Energy double what linemen make, documents show (Washington Post)

Puerto Rico utility head resigns after slow Hurricane Maria response (Reuters)

Canada’s Obsidian Energy settles fraud charges with U.S. regulator (Reuters)

And another corporation allowed to pay their way out of an inevitable prison sentence.


Elon Musk unveils Tesla electric truck – and a surprise new sports car (Guardian)

China’s Richest 2017: Wang Chuanfu Steers EV Leader BYD Deeper Into New Markets (Forbes)

Toyota, Suzuki to introduce electric vehicles in India in 2020 (India Times)

Global oil demand to withstand rise of electric vehicles (Reuters)

This is according to the IEA’s World Energy Outlook…

China Craves Electric Cars, While U.S. Flirts With Ending Tax Credit (NY Times)

Flying-Car Company Terrafugia is Bought by China’s Geely (IEEE)


Nineteen nations say they’ll use more bioenergy to slow climate change (Reuters)

U.S. biofuels policy contributes to global warming (Reuters)


Burning more coal to cut pollution – India’s distressing dilemma (Reuters)

Supreme Court asks states, UTs to consider banning pet coke & furnace oil (PTI)

Record 250 trains rushed coal to power plants on Tuesday (India Times)

Growing number of global insurance firms divesting from fossil fuels (Guardian)

Indonesia amends contracts with 13 coal mining companies (Reuters)

RWE takes 1,500 MW of lignite plants off grid due to protests (Reuters)

Anyone know if these protests were locally organized or somehow related to the CoP 23 in Bonn?

A year after Trump’s election, coal’s future remains bleak (Reuters)


Argentina to extend gas production subsidies to Austral basin (Reuters)

Asian prices rise as Korea Gas Corp buys winter supply (Reuters)

China villagers hail first gas-fired heat for winter, but balk at higher bills (Reuters)

Djibouti signs preliminary deal with China’s POLY-GCL for $4 bln gas project (Reuters)

Dutch court rejects government’s Groningen gas production plan (Reuters)

Bid for Santos puts spotlight on Papua New Guinea’s juicy LNG assets (Reuters)

Sometimes when Reuters staff reporters get excited about energy news it feels as if they are describing a piece of meat…did they forget people live in the PNG? Probably…  🙁


Meetings end without consensus on filling reservoir at 6,000-MW Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (HydroWorld)

Pakistan removes Diamer Bhasha from CPEC consideration (HydroWorld)

Nepal scraps $2.5 billion hydropower plant deal with Chinese company (Reuters)

Meghalaya govt cancels power project pacts with private companies (PTI)

$1.6 billion Canada-New England hydropower project wins key permit (AP)


Metro mayor offers new hope for stalled Liverpool tidal energy project (HydroWorld)


Radioactive leaks at Illinois nuclear power plants (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

US eyes safety rules for small modular reactors, as nuclear touted at UN climate meeting (UtilityDive)

Owner of Finnish nuclear reactor may seek further compensation (Reuters)

Faulty Areva fuel rods sent to nuclear reactors, Swiss plant closed (Reuters)


China’s oil refiners rush to cash in on bumper profits (Reuters)

Rosneft board approves oil deal with China’s CEFC (Reuters)

African-Americans taking brunt of oil industry pollution (Reuters)

Which is exactly what anthropologist Janice Harper has been arguing for years

Turkish, Iraqi officials discuss resuming Kirkuk oil exports (Reuters)

Oil seen as real prize of Iran’s Kurdish adventure (Reuters)

There is still a great deal of tension in this region of the Middle East and 2017’s deadliest earthquake has only made the situation more intense.

Norway environmental lawsuit says Arctic oil plan violates constitution (Reuters)


Croatia eyes solar power in bid to curb energy imports (Reuters)

$100 million Texas solar project on hold as Trump administration threatens tariff (Dallas Morning News)

Jordan switches on world’s largest solar plant in refugee camp (Reuters)


Gujarat wind auction put off again (India Times)

Maine proposes new wind development rules (UtilityDive)

Weekly Energy News Update-November 11th

Apologies for a lapse in the Weekly Update while I was attending Aquatech Amsterdam 2017 and taking a much needed but brief rest in Prague. This weeks update is a bit longer than usual.

I want to start this week off by sharing a timely article from Dissent written by plant scientist Stan Cox.

Renewables Alone Won’t Save Us (Dissent)

Cox draws on Energy Justice to critique the 100 percent renewables vision that has been promoted, primarily, by the research of Mark Jacobson at Stanford. Previous Energy News Updates have mentioned Jacobson’s research as well as the recently published technical critiques. But Cox’s approach is important because he asks a very tough question: “what are we hoping for?” He argues that if we hope renewables will carry us along at a high-energy economic rate of growth then our expectations are bound to be dashed. But more importantly, that business-as-usual growth only ensures the economic and social inequalities that exist today will continue into the future. The need for an energy revolution provides an opportunity for us to change the way we think not just about technical problems and solutions, but also about our aspirations of a society as a whole. He suggests a pretty heavy handed solution: establish regulatory limits on the total quantity of energy consumed in production and consumption. For some I imagine this will bring to mind words like “planned economy”, an idea which of course comes with some pretty heavy historical baggage. Regardless, his argument deserves critical consideration, particularly as we confront the way the climate negotiations are being manipulated in Bonn this week. Cox is correct to argue that, politically speaking, the Paris negotiations of 2015 seem far away from where we are today. This seems to be further evidenced by a recent Reuters report of how the fossil fuel industry now views issues like Peak Oil.

Peak oil? Majors aren’t buying into the threat from renewables (Reuters)

Overall, I think Cox’s message is that there is still a lot of hard work yet to be done. Maybe the rest of this update stimulates you into action…which is why this week begins with:


Solar XL (350.org)

This idea to install solar panels on the land where a pipeline is planned to be buried seems a pretty savvy way to stay ahead of the discourse promoted by the fossil fuel industry. But we will have to pay attention to how these interventions play out. Alternatively, I suppose you could just go to a Fossil Free House Party ??!! (I wish this was a joke from the Onion…but sadly it is not)


How much energy do those programs save? New tool aims to track and boost efficiency (UtilityDive)


Hedge funds go all-in on oil (Reuters)

With hedge funds now making money off of the expectation of a steady demand for oil consumption what incentive is there for Big Finance to promote investments in renewables over fossil fuels? Of course, if you’d like a less cynical perspective see here

BP, Shell lead plan for blockchain-based platform for energy trading (Reuters)

Canadian dollar loosens close ties with oil on energy investment doubts (Reuters)

China’s CEFC, Rosneft to study South China petrochemical complex (Reuters)

Two interesting things to note: 1) These petrochemical complexes have been the target of protests throughout China since 2007. 2) Hainan has been an extremely popular vacation spot for wealthy Russian tourists for at least the past decade.

U.S. Justice pledges to prosecute activists who damage pipelines (Reuters)

EU plans rule change to snag Russian pipeline (Reuters)

Keystone XL pipe has adequate commercial support (Reuters)

Kinder Morgan Canada denied expedited appeal for oil pipeline (Reuters)

Court lifts stay for Williams Atlantic Sunrise natgas pipe (Reuters)


Peruvian farmer squares up to German power giant in climate lawsuit (Reuters)

A truly fascinating case. Perhaps a glimpse of what lies ahead in terms of climate litigation against fossil fuel corporations?

Lebanese offshore oil and gas licensing round continues despite political crisis (Reuters)

Europe and China to raise global climate ambitions (China Dialogue)

With CoP 23 in full swing some of the comments in this exchange are important. Particularly the way Zou Ji explains Chinese investments in coal fired power plants overseas.

Transocean Oil loses Singapore fuel supply licence in crackdown (Reuters)

There’s a Shady Puerto Rico Contract You Didn’t Hear About (Intercept)

Puerto Rico Cancels Whitefish Energy Contract to Rebuild Power Lines (NYTimes)

This decision was actually made just hours after I published the last News update.  Sadly (but perhaps not surprisingly) power generation went down to 18% yesterday after a transmission line “repaired” by Whitefish went down.

Puerto Rico oversight head urges Congress to reaffirm federal control over PREPA (UtilityDive)

Five things the new government should do to help Kenya meet its energy needs (Conversation)

Ex-BP official received payouts, perks (Washington Times)

U.S. withdraws from extractive industries anti-corruption effort (Reuters)

U.S. energy chief says fossil fuels could help prevent sexual assaults in Africa (Reuters)

Scientists decry Arctic oil expansion in letter to U.S. senators (Reuters)

Icahn subpoenaed by U.S. on biofuels dealing (Reuters)


These New Solar Cells Are Modeled After a Fly’s Eye (Smithsonian)

Very cool to see an article like this in the Smithsonian.

JinkoSolar’s Monocrystalline PERC Solar Cell Efficiency of 23.45% Verified (EnergyTrend)

Enevate Announces 5-Minute Extreme Fast Charge Battery Technology for Electric Vehicles (EnergyTrend)


Honda at fault in complaint over Pakistan gasoline, oil cos say (Reuters)

This Hybrid Electric Jet is Preparing for Takeoff in 2022 (IEEE)

China plans pilot scheme easing foreign auto firms’ ownership limits (Reuters)

Odd-Even Scheme: IGL to issue CNG stickers for vehicles from Friday (India Times)


U.S. sets final anti-subsidy duties on Argentine, Indonesian biodiesel (Reuters)

Ethanol-based fuel becomes top-selling petrol in France on tax break (Reuters)

New bio-fuel policy soon to address Delhi smog like situations (India Times)

Brazil mills eye corn-cane flex plant to extend production cycle (Reuters)


Indian power plant blast death toll climbs to 29 (Reuters)

Duke’s Answer to Saving Coal Power Plants: Let Them Burn Gas (Bloomberg)

Empire plans pivot to wind energy generation: Proposed plan would close Asbury coal plant (Joplin Globe)

China may bankroll Adani’s Carmichael mine, statements show (Guardian)

Don’t protest movement of coal, oppose pollution (India Times)

Michael Bloomberg’s ‘war on coal’ goes global with $50m fund (Guardian)

Italy keeps foot on gas as it calls for early end to coal (Reuters)

Climate activists stage protest at German coal-fired power plant (AP)

US firm Air Products, China’s Yankuang plan to build $3.5 bln coal-to-syngas plant in China (Reuters)


As China faces winter gas crunch, LNG prices soar (Reuters)

Amazing how nearly every article about natural gas for the past week has somehow been connected to the PRC’s shift to the resource for winter heating in the north.

China deal seen as no guarantee for Alaska LNG export project (Reuters)

China Energy Investment signs MOU for $83.7 bln in West Virginia projects (Reuters)

CNPC plans to cut gas supplies to industrial users (Reuters)

Six years after tremors halted fracking, Britain ready to try again (Reuters)


China says will keep talking to Myanmar over stalled dam scheme (Reuters)

Post-Doklam, India, Bhutan hold bilateral development talks (IANS)

BCUC report casts shadow over Site C future (Toronto Metro)

For those interested in the detailed report see here

House acts to boost hydro, simplify licensing process (UtilityDive)

Hydroelectric dams threaten Brazil’s mysterious Pantanal – one of the world’s great wetlands (Conversation)

Honduran authorities define details of planned hydroelectric plants (Hydroworld)

112-MW Gribo-Popoli hydropower project in Western Africa moving forward (Hydroworld)


Marine energy company in Scotland makes plans to further investment towards commercialization (Hydroworld)

OERA announces $1.25 million funding for tidal energy research in Canada (Hydroworld)


Nuclear accident sends ‘harmless’ radioactive cloud over Europe (Guardian)

It is not the radioactive cloud that actually makes me worried, rather it is the fact that no one knows (or will admit) where it came from…

Cameco to suspend production from McArthur River mine, reduce dividend (Reuters)

Iran acquires atomic battery technology (IANS)

Is Zuma’s nuclear gamble still in play? (Daily Maverick)

End may be nearing for Diablo Canyon nuclear plant (San Francisco Chronicle)

French nuclear safety authority to rule on EDF reactor lifespan in 2020-21 (Reuters)

France to take a decade longer to reduced reliance on nuclear (Reuters)


Sri Lanka limits fuel supplies after delay in import shipment (Reuters)

Sri Lanka gets 40,000 tonnes of petrol from UAE amid fuel shortage (Reuters)

Oil turns from Modi’s blessing to burden threatening economy (Bloomberg)

Ghana’s maritime boundary victory to spark crude oil bounty (AFP)

Anger seethes on margins of historic clean-up in Nigeria’s Delta (Reuters)

Exxon Will Pay $2.5 Million for Pollution at Gulf Coast Plants (NYTimes)

Shell Enchilada oil platform in Gulf of Mexico shut after fire (Reuters)

Russia’s Yaroslavl refinery back to normal after fire (Reuters)

Saudi oil supplies to Bahrain resumed after pipeline blast (Reuters)

Kenya offers bigger share of oil revenue to local communities (Reuters)

U.S. oil service firms face hit from Venezuela debt restructuring (Reuters)

Chevron green lights its first Canadian shale development (Reuters)

Shell to hand over Iraq’s Majnoon oilfield by end June 2018 (Reuters)

Iraqi Kurds’ Independence Vote Exposed Risks to Energy Strategy (NYTimes)

Iraq’s Kurdistan makes $100 million monthly payment to oil producers despite crisis (Reuters)


Sterling and Wilson Expands Its Solar EPC Footprint in Australia (EnergyTrend)

Solar scam retrains focus on corruption under Congress’ watch (India Times)

More work needed to widen renewables, solar (IANS)


As Wind Power Sector Grows, Turbine Makers Feel the Squeeze (NYTimes)

Germany’s KfW lends $70 mln for Bosnian wind project (Reuters)

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?

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)


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


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)


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)


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


Storm in western Canada temporarily disrupts crude pipelines (Reuters)


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)


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!


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)


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)


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)


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)


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…


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)


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)


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)

Weekly Energy News Update-October 15th

I need to begin this week with a more serious topic that is unfortunately not so directly related to anthropology: Aramco’s IPO. Over the past two days the Financial Times, Bloomberg and Wall Street Journal have been reporting that Saudi Arabia is considering forgoing the potential $2 trillion valuation of Aramco in favor of privately selling a stake of the company.

Saudis Weigh Delaying International Part of Aramco IPO (Bloomberg)

This morning of course they denied these reports.

Energy giant Saudi Aramco denies reports shelving international listing (AFP)

The the IPO is part of a massive plan to diversify Saudi Arabia’s economy. Those interested should read through the relevant McKinsey Report since they are primarily responsible for putting this plan into action. The implications for global political economy are quite complex and it is not even clear yet from which stock exchange the offering would be made. This week also saw the Financial Conduct Authority going on the defensive when they changed certain rules to make London more attractive to Aramco.

FCA Defends Changing Listing Rules to Cater for Aramco IPO (Bloomberg)

And there is no small speculation that a direct private sale of the company would be to, at risk of me sounding like a broken record, no other than China.

Saudi Aramco in stake sale talks with Chinese investor (Reuters)

The implications of shelving the Aramco IPO (Financial Times)

Last week King Salman also met with Putin in Russia, the first time a Saudi monarch had ever entered the Kremlin. While no firm energy deals were made in Russia, as of today military cooperation between the two countries is just a signature away.

Saudi king, Putin agree deals on historic Russia trip (Aljazeera)

The global energy supply is a vast, complex system and we should be cautious about saying that changes within that system are determined by the events that occur in a single, relatively small location on globe. Yet at the same time the ripples of certain events that have emanated from Saudi Arabia over the past 70+ years can hardly be understated. While browsing through the library this week I happened across Bruce Jones and David Steven’s The Risk Pivot; a pretty standard piece of policy wonk fare that you would expect from the Brookings Institute. However, Chapter 1 begins by explaining how in 1945 Roosevelt planned a secret meeting with King Abdulaziz Ibn Saud aboard an American heavy cruiser in Suez Canal; it was the first time the King had ever left his country. Firm energy deals were also not made during this visit, but the authors paint a pretty convincing picture that the ripples, if you will, from this meeting channeled a massive transition within the global energy supply. It seems to me that at this moment the initial event rippling outward is not the recent meeting with Putin or  the potential partial sale of Aramco to China or the IPO, but rather some well orchestrated meeting between McKinsey consultants and Saudi officials a few years ago. Today global political economy seems to be “pivoting” around what happens in a boardroom just as much or perhaps even more than what happens in the bowels of a heavy cruiser. At least what happens in the latter location never pretends to be anything other than a secret meeting. Food for thought.


100 villages to get LED streetlights; to help reduce power bill by half (India Times)


Blockchain, gas & smart power: RCMA Group plans energy expansion (Reuters)

BNP Paribas stops funding shale energy firms, boosts green projects (Reuters)

Finnish government backs Fortum’s Uniper bid despite Nord Stream II link (Reuters)


Stress-Testing a Hypothetical Global Grid (IEEE)

China to boost energy storage capacity to fuel renewable power use (Reuters)

Launch of Japan’s First Microgrid System with a Total of 117 Homes (EnergyTrends)

NYPA wants U.S. government to modernize Puerto Rico power grid (Reuters)

Still only 15% of households reconnected. It is shameful that there is any debate that Puerto Rico needs help from the federal government.

Why Solar Microgrids May Fall Short in Replacing the Caribbean’s Devastated Power Systems (IEEE)

Some important pros and cons of solar micro grids discussed in this article


Tesla fires hundreds after company-wide performance reviews (Mercury News)


Oklahoma pipeline breach spilled 15,800 gallons of oil (Reuters)

U.S. oil pipeline rivals look to consolidate West Texas projects (Reuters)

U.S. judge allows Dakota pipeline to run as Army conducts study (Reuters)


Fossil fuels win billions in public money after Paris climate deal, angry campaigners claim (Guardian)

Brazil court freezes ex-leader Rousseff’s assets over 2006 refinery deal (Reuters)

Kurds vying for control over oil with Syrian army (Reuters)

Iraq refuses talks with Kurds unless they commit to unity (Reuters)

Kurds block Iraqi forces access to Kirkuk’s oil fields, airbase (Reuters)

The situation around Kirkuk sounds extremely volatile, see this from just three days ago and this from the day before that.

Ofgem extends energy price cap to 1m more vulnerable customers (Guardian)

German renewable support fee seen easing around 1.2 percent in 2018 (Reuters)

U.S. sanctions to complicate, not disrupt, Iran oil trade (Reuters)

Trump Names Former Texas Regulator as White House Environmental Adviser (NYTimes)

U.S. formally proposes scrapping Obama’s carbon-cutting plan (Reuters)


10,000 Electric Cars Highlight Steep Path to India’s (Bloomberg)

Shell buys NewMotion charging network in first electric vehicle deal (Reuters)

Governors of 7 Western states sign agreement for EV corridor (Public Power)


Philadelphia-area refiners urge Trump to reform biofuels program (Reuters)


In people versus Adani’s coal mine, people may win (Reuters)

Australia Debates: Does a Warming Planet Really Need More Coal? (NYTimes)

The Adani mine is getting some much needed attention this week.

China’s Shanxi plans nine more coal mine closures this year (Reuters)

Mongolia coal exports cool as China border issue creates a bottleneck (Reuters)

TN urges Centre to supply more coal to prevent power outages (IANS)

India’s top coal official blames power plants for low coal stocks (PTI)

Coal plant closures continue even as U.S. ends ‘Clean Power Plan’ (Reuters)

No new coal power stations in Java, Indonesia energy minister says (Reuters)

Bloomberg’s charity donates $64 million to ‘war on coal’ (Reuters)


Ghana fuel site blast kills at least 7, injures dozens (Reuters)

US giant GE offers to set up gas-based power plant in Punjab (PTI)

Ukraine PM sees no reason for IMF-backed gas price adjustment (Reuters)

Shale gas in South Africa: game-changer or damp squib (The Conversation)

China buys rare Norway LNG cargo as spot deals rise ahead of winter (Reuters)

Dutch government expects further reduction in Groningen gas production (Reuters)


Trump official says government won’t stand in the way of removing Klamath dams (Sacramento Bee)


Fukushima evacuee to tell UN that Japan violated human rights (Guardian)

Areva’s Finland reactor to start in 2019 after another delay (Reuters)

Activists break into French nuclear site to highlight risks (Reuters)


Oil Firms Learn to Move an Ancient Product With New-Age Tech (NYTimes)

Brazil to ramp up oil production before ‘renewable era’ hits (Reuters)

Right, because that logic makes sense?

A Geologist Bets on a North Sea Gusher That May Never Come (NYTimes)

Drilling in the Arctic Wildlife Refuge: How the G.O.P. Could Finally Break the Impasse (NYTimes)

The Challenges for the Energy Industry (NYTimes)

Some very brief (fairly superficial) statements from CEOs and lobbyists of the petroleum industry

Ocean Energy

Tidal energy site in Orkney in hydrogen ‘first’ (BBC)

Many thanks to Laura Watts for bringing this news article to my attention. Unfortunately, the ocean energy sector does not get enough attention in the media, but I will try my best to rectify that here.

US$750 million marine energy project moves forward in Indonesia (Hydroworld)


IGS Solar Completes Largest Solar Array in the State of Maine for Madison Electric Works (EnergyTrends)

SunPower Completes 8.79-Megawatt Solar Project at Toyota Motor North America (EnergyTrends)

Mandalay to build 3,000 Arizona homes with solar and Sonnen batteries (Reuters)

Netherlands wins its seventh world solar car challenge in Australia (Reuters)


Floating Wind Turbines on the High Seas Could Produce Massive Amounts of Power (IEEE)

Sudden surge of wind energy news this week!

Mongolia to boost wind capacity amid regional super grid hopes (Reuters)

Clean Energy Asia, SB Energy of the SoftBank Group and Newcom Announce Commercial Operation Launch of Tsetsii Wind Farm in the Gobi Desert, Mongolia (EnergyTrend)

PacifiCorp facing regulatory blowback on wind power plans (Oregonian)

Innogy becomes sole owner of British Triton Knoll wind project (Reuters)

Weekly Energy News Update-October 8th

I found it truly odd that so many people made fun of Theresa May this week simply because she couldn’t stop coughing during a press conference. I can’t for the life of me understand why that deserves ridicule. At least Philip Hammond was willing to provide her a cough sweet (my American fingers can barely prevent myself from writing “cough drop” ;-p).

Cough, prankster make May’s British Dream speech a nightmare (AP)

One of the key points within the press conference was her announcement to institute an energy price cap in England. Perhaps now is the time to be critical seeing that we know the energy industry is not willing to go through with the deal until next year!

Energy price cap will not take effect this winter, says industry (Guardian)

Always interesting to see what the media latches on to and it is usually not practical matters (boring!) until they become a disaster (marketable!).

Ok, hope you all enjoy a more regular update for once!


Efficiencies helped households save up to 30 percent on energy bills in 2016 (Reuters)

A rare efficiency piece in Reuters! Cause to celebrate!


Glencore pips Sinopec to buy Chevron’s South African assets (Reuters)

RIL divests Pennsylvanian upstream assets for $126 million (India Times)

Saudi Aramco plans expansion in India with new unit (Reuters)


The bankrupt utility behind Puerto Rico’s power crisis (Reuters)

Truly an energy disaster still taking place in Puerto Rico. Only 10% with power and it looks like without help this will drag on indefinitely. While there is talk of debt forgiveness it is not clear that Wall Street would ever allow that to happen.

Tesla to send more battery installers to Puerto Rico to restore power (Reuters)

Perry’s proposed grid rule scrambles energy alliances (Reuters)

An interesting analysis of power politics in the US after DOEs new grid resiliency rule. Gas is now teaming up with solar and wind as the clean energy group versus the coal and nuclear populated dirty energy group. I wonder where hydro fits? 7% of electricity output is still a good chunk.


Petrol pump dealers strike: 54,000 outlets to remain shut on October 13 (IANS)


Major Canadian Pipeline Project Is Abandoned (NY Times)


Armed faction takes over protection of Libyan oil and gas complex, fresh concern over migrants (Reuters)

Main ethnic group in Nigeria’s Delta oil hub criticises army exercise (Reuters)

Algeria says will not change foreign ownership limit in new energy law (Reuters)

Germany’s Shift to Green Power Stalls, Despite Huge Investments (NY Times)

Excellent in-depth coverage of the energy conflict heating up in Germany after the recent election.

Shunning fossil fuels, 40 Catholic groups seek climate action (Reuters)

Hopefully there is an anthropologist examining the intersection of religion and energy!

Watch a Top EPA Nominee Embarrass Himself With Feigned Ignorance of Basic Facts (Intercept)

Trump picks coal lobbyist for EPA deputy role, drawing mixed reaction (Reuters)

Notes from closed meeting show how Interior aims to weaken environmental laws (Washington Post)

Interior Department whistleblower resigns, bipartisan former appointees object to Zinke’s statements (Washington Post)

More depressing news from within the Trump administration this week.

EU split on carbon market reform ahead of U.N. climate talks (Reuters)

Nigerian lawmakers to probe state oil firm corruption allegations (Reuters)


Toshiba Develops Next-Generation Lithium-ion Battery with New Anode Material (EnergyTrend)

New nanomaterial can create hydrogen fuel from seawater (India Times)


Gas trucks boom in China as government curbs diesel in war on smog (Reuters)

Boeing-backed, hybrid-electric commuter plane to hit market in 2022 (Reuters)

Centre to float bulk tenders for electric rickshaws, three-wheelers (India Times)

G.M. and Ford Lay Out Plans to Expand Electric Models (NY Times)

Tesla in ‘production hell’ to meet Model 3 deadline: Elon Musk (Reuters)

Jobs, tax and politics: three ways electric vehicles will change our world (Conversation)

E-Mobility meets the energy industry (EnergyTrend)

This is primarily an advert for the Power2Drive Europe 2018 Conference and Exhibition to be held in Munich this summer


Brown energy? Dung to power Finnish horse show (Reuters)


Russia takes advantage of China’s North Korea coal ban (Reuters)

I actually did not realize that Russia had anthracite reserves large enough to support exporting.

Maharashtra power cuts: Fadnavis instructs to restore coal supply at the earliest (India Times)

Power cuts back in suburbs, Thane, Navi Mumbai (Mumbai Mirror)

Thousands protest across Australia against giant Adani coal mine (Reuters)

In the heart of China’s coal country, a city bans most coal (Reuters)

The ban until March is also combined with an extremely strict environmental campaign that kicked off in August.


Scotland rejects fracking, citing overwhelming public opposition (Reuters)

The government’s new gas deal will ease the squeeze, but dodges the price issue (Conversation)

Dirty water in U.S. shale patch drives investment in water handlers (Reuters)

Tokyo Gas will not accept destination clauses in new LNG contracts (Reuters)

Interesting, but I assume that does not include North Korea.

Kazakhstan to start exporting natural gas to China on October 15 (IANS)

China’s northern cities face soot-free winter with gas revolution (Reuters)


The attempt to replenish Lake Chad’s water may fail again. Here’s why (Conversation)


Fukushima operator can restart nuclear reactors at world’s biggest plant (Guardian)

Rosatom’s Paks nuclear project in Hungary delayed (Reuters)

Indian-American entrepreneur offers fast-track mini nuclear reactors to India (India Times)


Buckeye resumes operation at Yabucoa, Puerto Rico; tankers discharge fuel (Reuters)

Iraq eases financial restrictions on Kurdistan region, in first sign of de-escalation (Reuters)

Erdogan says Turkey, Iran and Iraq will decide on closing northern Iraq’s oil taps (Reuters)

On going debate about Kurdistan’s petroleum reserves.

Argentina plans auction for offshore oil exploration next year (Reuters)

Norway to study shift from oil to tackle climate risks (Reuters)


Divided U.S. solar sector spars over trade relief at hearing (Reuters)

Final report due to the White House by Nov. 13th.

How solar energy saved a Puerto Rican farm from Hurricane Maria (Reuters)

At least there is a bit of positive news from Puerto Rico and related to solar power no less

Weekly Energy News Update-October 1st

Ok back in Oslo so hopefully can make this a more regular report again. I found it very difficult to find a few hours to put these together while on the road. But I did collect a number of older articles just in case you may have missed them over the past month. They will be sprinkled in with other news from this week.

As someone who has studied China for many years, one particular news item caught my eye this week:

Brazil sells dam operating licenses for $3.8 billion to foreign bidders (Reuters)

The lead photo I think explains perfectly why this is a concerning issue for the energy sector in Brazil

China’s State Power Investment Corp representatives react during Brazilian government auction of operating licenses for four hydroelectric plants in Sao Paulo, Brazil September 27, 2017. REUTERS/Paulo Whitaker

Investors do not get that excited about an auction unless they know their bid just made them a lot of money. In particular, China’s State Power Investment Corp. aims to profit considerably from their bid for control over the 40 year old São Simão dam, which produces 1,700 MW for the Brazilian grid. It is always risky for a white American to point out the neo-colonial ambitions of China’s state owned enterprises, but recent research critical of China’s various projects in Africa tend to show that is exactly what is happening.  This is true globally, particularly from the perspective of energy resources. Being aware of China’s influence over the energy market is important, but we should consider how Chinese state owned enterprises are also changing energy politics around the globe. It is important to recognize the colonial atrocities that were perpetrated against China, but there is no reason this classic cartoon should not be redrawn. China now holds their own knife over the “energy pie” if you will.



Chevron Names New Chief, Signaling Steady Path (NY Times)

How Iraq’s Kurdish Independence Referendum Could Impact Oil Markets (Bloomberg)

Sharing this as an example of how corporations and the oil market expressed concerned about Kurdish independence. See petroleum section for related news.

Renewables will be cheaper than coal in the future. Here are the numbers (The Conversation)

China’s CEFC wins preliminary government approval for Rosneft deal (Reuters)

Russia’s Rosneft elects former German chancellor Schroeder as chairman (Reuters)


Renewable energy investors see opportunity in Puerto Rico’s demolished grid (Reuters)

Logistics Complicate Puerto Rico’s Electric Grid Recovery (IEEE)

Maria power outage puts old, vulnerable at risk in Puerto Rico (Reuters)

Still a great deal of disconcerting news coming out of Puerto Rico. Amazing what the Mayor of San Juan has been doing to help her citizens!

‘No one is steering the ship’: five lessons learned (or not) since the SA blackout (The Conversation)

Why Getting the Power Back On in Florida Could Take Weeks (NY Times)

Maharashtra village gets power, bus after 70 years of Independence (India Times)

Elon Musk’s big battery for South Australia already half complete (Guardian)

Will this be the first time in the company’s history that they will actually make a deadline!??? ;-p



What’s Up in Coal Country: Alternative-Energy Jobs (NY Times)

These are definitely projects that could seriously use a long-term follow up study by a social scientist!


Thanks To Lobbying, It’s Illegal To Power Your Home With Solar Panels In Florida (IFLScience)

Unfortunately, it required a hurricane to bring this story to light.

Ryan Zinke’s Troubling Remarks Undercut Dept. of Interior’s Core Mission (LegalPlanet)

A very good analysis of the discourse used by the Trump administration to support the further extraction of natural resources

U.S. eases rules on diesel for generators in Puerto Rico (Reuters)

U.S. energy head seeks help for coal, nuclear power plants (Reuters)

France’s Macron backs up European vision with action on industry (Reuters)

Already some big moves taking place in European energy sector

Vietnam court sentences to death PetroVietnam ex-chairman in mass trial (Reuters)

U.S. lawmakers ask Facebook, Twitter for information on anti-fracking ads (Reuters)


Still Fighting at Standing Rock (Esquire)

Police Used Private Security Aircraft for Surveillance in Standing Rock No-Fly Zone (Intercept)

Very glad that some in the media have not allowed this story to fall through the cracks.

Kinder Morgan says fish-mat ban may delay Canada pipe expansion (Reuters)

Gas pipeline through central Europe to go ahead as planned (Reuters)


Tech Mahindra, Power Ledger to test MaaS-based electricity solution (IANS)

Could be a very interesting use of Blockchain technology to audit energy consumption and production. Just as we’ve seen recently with Bitcoin though, there could be all sorts of problems with this.

Blockchains Will Allow Rooftop Solar Energy Trading for Fun and Profit (IEEE)

And it seems this is becoming a pretty solid trend within the energy sector.

The Ridiculous Amount of Energy It Takes to Run Bitcoin (IEEE)

And this article just makes all this talk of Blockchain technology used for energy audits confusingly circular….we use blockchain technology to audit energy so that we can efficiently create a currency that uses blockchain technology…aaaahhhh!

Tesla Unveils New Patented Battery Swap Technology (EnergyTrends)

Evaporative Power Has the Potential to Create Electricity for Large Parts of the U.S. (IEEE)

This sounds like a fascinating technology but one that would desperately need a lot of study to make sure nothing goes wrong. For those who can access articles behind a paywall see this report from Nature Communications


Jaguar Land Rover to make only electric or hybrid cars from 2020 (Guardian)

It is getting to the point that gasoline is quickly going to become the equivalent of leaded gasoline…obsolete!

End to women’s driving ban to save Saudis billions, support reforms (Reuters)

European sales of gasoline-powered cars overtake diesel (Reuters)

Azure Roof Power to Expand Electrification of Indian Railways (EnergyTrend)

Two wheels good: Bike boom nibbles on Asia gasoline demand growth (Reuters)

While gasoline demand might be shrinking, it will be interesting to see if car sales decrease. There is a great deal of social capital wrapped up in cars in Asia, but even before the “bike sharing boom” it was not unusual for the car to simply be parked at one’s home and used only when necessary (to exhibit one’s social capital, naturally).

Shell explores electric vehicle charging, energy management businesses (Reuters)

How Crazy Is Elon Musk’s Hypersonic Space Rocket Airline? (Bloomberg)

Argentina opens bidding to buy $2 bln of railcars for Buenos Aires (Retuers)

China sets target for electric car quota but delays rollout until 2019 (AP)

China may soon set date for ban on new petrol, diesel cars (Reuters)


U.S. biofuel credit prices fall as EPA considers change (Reuters)

Biofuel breakthroughs bring ‘negative emissions’ a step closer (The Conversation)


In Pakistan’s coal rush, some women drivers break cultural barriers (Reuters)

Coal shortage hits power supply in Rajasthan (India Times)

Russia Props Up Ukraine Rebels With Coal Sales From War Zone (Bloomberg)

AGL rejects Turnbull call to keep operating Liddell coal-fired power station (The Conversation)

Washington state denies key permit for U.S.-Asia coal export terminal (Reuters)

The environmental impact of a coal plant on Kenya’s coast is being underplayed (The Conversation)


Large Dutch gas find could be even bigger after positive drilling results (Reuters)

To avoid crisis, the gas market needs a steady steer, not an emergency swerve (The Conversation)


Michael Flynn ‘promoted US-Russian nuclear project from White House’ (Guardian)

This is now two weeks old and there has been little follow up in the press. However, see this analysis from the ED of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

EDF to close temporarily Tricastin nuclear plant over flooding risk (Reuters)

A Bittersweet Milestone for the World’s Safest Nuclear Reactors (IEEE)

India plays major role in nuclear plant in Bangladesh (India Times)

China National Nuclear, Shenhua team up to develop gen-4 reactor (Reuters)

This could be a big step for China if they decide to seriously ramp up their nuclear program, which currently occupies a small share of their total energy production.


Turkey raises oil threat after Iraqi Kurds’ referendum (Al-Jazeera)

Iran bans oil product transport to, from Iraq’s Kurdistan region (Reuters)

Iraqi PM presses case for Baghdad to receive Kurdistan oil revenue (Reuters)

So now Iraq, Iran and Turkey are attempting to constrain Kurdistan independence by attempting to control their oil revenues. Very crucial to see how other state governments and corporations react to this.

Texas Energy Industry Recovering From Hurricane’s Disruption (NY Times)

Puma Energy doubles fuel distribution in Puerto Rico after hurricane (Reuters)

Trump Administration Moves to Open Arctic Refuge to Drilling Studies (NY Times)

Philippines to explore for oil and gas with China near disputed waters (Reuters)

Greek oil spill forces closure of Athens beaches (Guardian)

JXTG to shut Muroran petrochem plant as Japan gasoline demand fades (Reuters)

Brazil Offshore Oil Drilling Rights Draw Interest at Auction (NY Times)


Huge Tunisian solar park hopes to provide Saharan power to Europe (Guardian)

It seems solar mega-projects are becoming the norm now. For those interested in such topics, the journal Environment and Society recently sent out a CfP regarding mega-projects.

Panjab University solar panels lying defunct within two years of installation (India Times)

Creating Test for Trump, Panel Says Imported Solar Gear Hurts U.S. Firms (NY Times)

In windy Denmark, clouds clearing for solar power (Reuters)


CIAS Will Start the Construction of Plants at Taipei Harbor to Fight for Wind Power Market (EnergyTrends)


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)


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)


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)


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)


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)


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)


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)


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)


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)


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)


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 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)

“Weekly” Energy News “Update”-August 10th

Well as predicted I have been unable to keep up with weekly updates while in Montana this trip. However, I want to share a quick post that I think EANers will find useful. I recently drove to Seattle to attend a conference honoring the retirement of Prof. Stevan Harrell from the University of Washington, a life-long friend and advisor in all things China, Environment and Anthropology (for those unfamiliar with Steve’s work I highly recommend browsing through the courses he has taught over the years on his webpage). While in Seattle listening to the legendary KEXP I was lucky to catch the first half of an old seminar (2002) by Iain Boal titled The Beginning of the Nuclear Age (part two can be heard here). It is an excellent historical account of the first chain reaction set off beneath the University of Chicago in 1942. Boal is an wonderful speaker so I highly recommend it if you haven’t read his work before. I should say that the picture I’ve paired with this post will only make sense to those of you who have the time to listen to Boal’s talk. Enjoy!

Hopefully I will come back to a more regular schedule of updating towards the end of August. Many thanks for your patience!


Weekly Energy News Update-July 26th

Updates will be quite sparse for the coming two months. I am currently home in Montana and will be criss-crossing the Northern United States until late September. Being in Montana has made me painfully aware that there is one appropriate topic that perhaps has not been drawn into the Energy Anthropology fold as of yet: wildfires! In most of our work we are focused on harnessed energy that is put to use for cultural, social, economic and political purposes. We often forget that there is also a great deal of unharnessed energy out there in the world, much of which still has cultural, social, economic and political impacts. So today I begin by sharing a photo of a wildfire burning in the Bitterroot Mountains just behind my house. If you’re interested in learning more see the InciWeb post here

What most people in Montana have been talking about is the extremely wet Winter and Spring that led to rich growth in underbrush followed by an abominably hot and dry summer resulting in an explosive situation. Similar high pressure ridges creating these high temperatures and dry conditions have developed in California this summer, and, according to a Mother Jones interview with scientist Jeff Weber in Colorado, “persistent heat ridges are expected to be more common in a “climate change scenario,” although one can’t point to a single weather event and say it’s due to global warming.”

Wildfires Are About to Go From Bad to Worse in California (MotherJones)

And wildfires have been in the news across the globe this week:

Thousands evacuated after wildfire on France’s Mediterranean coast (Guardian)

Poor Visibility Hurts Wildfire Fight in Portugal (AP)

State of emergency in British Columbia extended as wildfires rage (Reuters)

One thing I find fascinating is how some people find wildfires to be a normal event, something that occurs every year, while others (such as my mother) find such events disturbing regardless of the fact that they do occur every year. My mother is particularly sensitive to the smoke and usually “evacuates” for the months of August and September to go see family in Wisconsin. She has been a traveling nurse for more than a decade and so acts like a modern day nomad at times. Long story short, there could be some excellent ethnographic opportunities for examining the impact of the unharnessed energy in wildfires on society. Or, perhaps such a study could even draw into question whether we ever have control over energy at all.


Malaysia’s Petronas scraps $29 billion western Canada LNG project (Reuters)

Spanish businessman Manuel Jove weighs sale of energy assets (Reuters)


Sri Lanka deploys military to maintain fuel supplies after strike (Reuters)

Pakistan fuel tanker owners end strike, bringing halt to panic buying (Reuters)

The butterfly effect that has rippled out from the explosion of the fuel tanker last month is more widespread than I could possibly have imagined.


EU warns U.S. it may respond swiftly to counter new sanctions on Russia (Reuters)

China urges halt to oil drilling in disputed South China Sea (Reuters)

Nigeria’s former oil minister battles slew of graft cases in oil sector (AFP)

China backs joint energy development with Philippines in disputed sea (Reuters)

Very significant developments in the S. China Sea, we’ll see how long this decision holds up.

U.S. electric industry knew of climate threat decades ago (Reuters)

BC Hydro shuffles leadership as NDP government prepares review of Site C (Globe and Mail)

U.S. energy secretary duped into fake interview with Russian comedians (Reuters)

Oh yes! You can hear the phone call here at Vesti

French court repeals law on regulated gas prices (Reuters)


The Transformers: Superheroes of Electrical Inventions (IEEE)

Vaclav Smil on Transformers (obviously not the variety seen on the silver screen)


Britain to Ban New Diesel and Gas Cars by 2040 (NYTimes)

Will Volvo Really Kill the Gasoline Engine? (IEEE)

Toyota set to sell long-range, fast-charging electric cars in 2022 (Reuters)

After Tesla, Mercedes Benz seeks sops to aid India’s electric car ride (India Times)

Musk Claims “Verbal” Approval for a Hyperloop Tunnel From New York to D.C. (IEEE)


New meters mean Seattle City Light won’t visit homes anymore (Seattle Times)

China to extend power market reform to cross-region transmission lines (Reuters)

UP government launches free power connection scheme for BPL families (India Times)


Revealed! Coal India’s ‘secret’ plan to make reverse auction process transparent (India Times)

I love the headline :-p Feels like something out of National Enquire

Wastewater for India’s coal plants an impractical dream (IANS)


Government mulls LPG-like subsidy transfer for PDS foodgrain (India Times)


Cameroon’s forest people pay price for country’s hydropower ambitions (Reuters)

Of 4,862 large dams, only 349 have emergency disaster action plans (IANS)

NHPC is losing Rs 2.5 crore a day in TLDP III and IV in Darjeeling (India Times)


Romania’s U2 nuclear reactor reconnected to power grid (Reuters)

S.Korea’s new energy minister says to support nuclear reactor exports (Reuters)

Only slightly hypocritical…


At Oil Producers‘ Meeting, Tough Talk Fails to Convince Markets (NYTimes)

Greenpeace activists protest near oil rig in Norway’s Arctic sea area (Reuters)

Saudi Arabia’s new trick is turning off the US oil tap (Bloomberg)

China drafts new rules easing state oil majors’ grip on storage (Reuters)


NASA Seeking BIG Ideas for Solar Power on Mars (EnergyTrends)

The anthropology of interplanetary energy politics is just around the corner

Prospect of Trump tariff casts pall over U.S. solar industry (Reuters)

Domestic solar manufacturers hopeful of relief from DGAD investigation in Chinese solar dumping case (India Times)

Paw power: China plans 100 panda-shaped solar plants on new Silk Road (Reuters)

BTW, the panda solar projects are not goin away ;-p

SolarCity co-founder Peter Rive to quit Tesla (Reuters)

Weekly Energy News Update-July 17th

For the next week I will be attending a conference in Venice on labor and precarity in China, so comments will be sparse in this week’s update.  But I am sharing some “positive solar energy” from Venice for you all. I think we need some positivity after learning about the very disconcerting news coming from the Larsen C ice shelf this week. Enjoy the update!


Uncovering Ancient Clues to Humanity’s First Fires (Sapiens)

I don’t get enough opportunities to share Public Anthropology of Energy pieces, so very excited to make this our opening topic this week!


Cold storage: traders shift oil products out of tanks as short-term demand soars (Reuters)

Britain Aggressively Courts $2 Trillion Saudi Aramco Listing (New York Times)

The age of ‘stranded assets’ isn’t just about climate change (Reuters)

Plan enables Microsoft to buy more green power (AP)

Plenty of Energy+Google news out there, so not surprised to see Microsoft in the mix as well

The waning power of the petrodollar (Reuters)

OPEC oil supply is lost in a fog of data (Reuters)

China sets sights on oil benchmark after years of delays (Reuters)


Pipelines secured as wildfires rage in western Canada (Reuters)


Gaza electricity crisis: ‘It is the worst I can remember – but we expect it to get worse’ (Guardian)

UK energy network operators face tougher price controls from 2021 (Reuters)

Tamil Nadu electricity regulator award blow to Adani Green Energy (India Times)

First phase of Saudi Aramco’s energy industrial city complete in 2021 (Reuters)

Brazil clears Petrobras, advisors of wrongdoing in 2010 share offer (Reuters)

Trump administration reduces royalty rates in first U.S. oil, gas lease sale (Reuters)

U.S. appeals court voids Exxon enforcement of Venezuela award (Reuters)

Delhi set to undergo major power reform to ’empower’ tenants (India Times)

Transcript of Reuters interview with EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt (Reuters)

A bit surprised to see Reuters just publish a full transcript like this, which is not exactly normal practice for them.

Germany’s Siemens Says Russian Partner Violated Crimea Sanctions (Reuters)

Siemens rethinks some Russian business after turbines moved to Crimea (Reuters)

I actually didn’t share any news about this last week because it was not clear at the time what was really happening, but it seems that there are some repercussions coming down the line.


Non-Wires Alternatives: What’s up next in utility business model evolution (UtilityDive)

Siemens to provide IGBT technology for Indian Railways (India Times)

Waste human hair could help clean up oil spills in oceans (India Times)


Electric vehicles could lift UK peak power demand by 3.5 GW by 2030 (Reuters)

Elon Musk talks cars, and humanity’s fate , with governors (AP)

China could field nearly half of new electric car models by 2020 (Reuters)


Malaysia, Indonesia may take EU plan to curb palm oil imports to WTO (Reuters)


Coal mine crackdown dims prospects for Mongolia’s fortune seekers (Reuters)

High levels of arsenic and lead found in groundwater under a Tennessee coal-fired power plant (AP)

Bosnia’s 300 MW Gacko power plant back online (Reuters)

Coal plan sparks ire as Myanmar struggles to keep lights on (Reuters)


Nuclear to Coal to Hydrogen: Sheldon Station Blazes a Trail (IEEE)

The Sheldon Station would make an outstanding historical field site to study energy transition considering how much has changed here in such a short amount of time!


Congo revamps Inga hydro project in bid to make it economical (Reuters)


France must define possible scenarios to reduce nuclear (Reuters)

French firm’s fresh proposal to NPCIL for Jaitapur nuclear power plant (India Times)

Dominion fights to get nuclear in Connecticut power procurement plan (Reuters)

U.N. nuclear watchdog to open uranium bank that may have no clients (Reuters)


North Korea fuel prices surge after China cuts oil sales (Reuters)

Venezuela oil exports to Cuba drop, energy shortages worsen (Reuters)

Syrian army takes more oil fields from Islamic State in Raqqa and eastern desert (Reuters)

Drilling for oil in disputed sea may resume this year (Reuters)

This message coming right after Vietnam and India announced a joint plant to beginning drilling in the S. China Sea in the past few weeks.

Peace at risk in Nigeria’s oil heartlands as locals’ patience wears thin (Reuters)

There are a number of tension-inducing issues taking place around the intersection of Military and Energy this week.

Trump administration approves Eni plan to drill offshore Alaska (Reuters)

Oil Discoveries Suggest Mexico’s Bet to Open Energy Sector Is Paying Off (New York Times)

Shell Pakistan says to pay fine for tanker fire that killed 217 (Reuters)

The fine was 257 million rupees or 2.4 million USD

Exxon Mobil fined for Louisiana refinery explosion that injured four (Reuters)

Statoil drills dry wells off Canada’s Newfoundland (Reuters)

Fire extinguished at Syncrude oil sands plant in Alberta (Reuters)

U.N.experts tell Peru to halt oil talks until pollution remedied (Reuters)


Switch it off on eclipse day (Nature)

Hopefully this comment is not paywalled: It is a good reminder that on Eclipse Day there will be a significant drop in Solar Energy, so it would be good for us all to reduce our electricity usage during that brief period of the day in August.

Hindustan Power to set up 15 solar power projects in Japan of 150 MW (India Times)

Solar power really is not dominated by  the old dichotomies of North/South, East/West or even Developed/Undeveloped that “modern” discourses are so accustomed to. We still see Japanese solar projects being developed in India, but there could equally as well be India solar projects developed in Japan!

As Zimbabwe’s homes go solar, its businesses lag behind (Reuters)

Punjab government aims to convert farmers into power producers (India Times)

In power-short Pakistan, switch to solar power hit by rumors (Reuters)

ReneSola Awarded 42MW of Solar Projects in Poland’s Electricity Auction (EnergyTrends)

Land-Use Group Tries to Stop Oregon Solar Farm (AP)


In coal-focused Pakistan, a wind power breeze is blowing (Reuters)

Interesting that right now in Pakistan solar is dealing with negative rumors while wind is being funded through Sino-Pakistan joint economic development agreements

French power giant EDF acquires wind farm projects in UK (AFP)


Weekly Energy News Update-July 9th

OK, so I was going to spend some time talking about the G20…


I mean, obviously it is important and there was some intense Energy going on in the streets of Hamburg these past few days

But there was also a lot of unproductive things that happened, such as the burning of resident’s cars. I have a good friend from Hamburg and was disappointed to hear his parents left the city for the weekend due to the protests.

And while the first article in the Politics section this week draws some more direct connections between the G20 and Energy, how could anything be more important than this:

China just built a solar power array that looks like a panda (Vox)

Right, so that is an artistic rendering of a solar power plant in China made in the shape of a Panda, but there’s a picture of the real deal in the article above (thanks Snopes!). Naturally, the name of the company is Panda Green Energy.


Actually, my friend from Hamburg loves pandas, so I wrote this for him! Hope everything soon returns to “normal”, whatever that means these days.


Enjoy this weeks Update everyone!


Dubai to host conference on sustainability, green energy technologies (IANS)

For more about WETEX see its official website


Renewable energy has moved ahead of thermal power sector: India Ratings (India Times)

GE closes Baker Hughes deal, becomes No. 2 oilfield service provider (Reuters)

Low gas, renewables prices spur Idaho Power to phase out most coal generation (UtilityDive)

Cash-strapped Venezuela offers India’s ONGC oil stake (Reuters)


Tesla to build world’s biggest lithium ion battery in South Australia (Guardian)

India’s outdated electricity grid needs major upgrade (IANS)

ReneSola Connects 180 MW of Distributed Generation Projects in China (EnergyTrends)


The future of HR in oil and gas (McKinsey)

One of the primary  themes McKinsey sees as driving HR in the oil and gas sector is managing for value and energy, which sounds like typical corporate chatter and is defined as “the idea that each employee creates ever more business value with more automation and digital tools at his/her disposal, leading to increasing returns on investment in personalized development and support for top performers to get the most out of their efforts.”

Transnet suspends operations in Richards Bay after community protests (ANA)

Siemens inaugurates first digitalized factory in India (India Times)


Alberta regulators charge Nexen Energy over 2015 pipeline spill (Reuters)

Gas pipeline explosion kills 5, injures 89 in northeast China (Xinhua)

Canada’s new pipeline parts rules to lessen burden on operators (Reuters)

Anti-ONGC stir continues in TN; no pipeline crack, says DC (India Times)


G20 public finance for fossil fuels ‘is four times more than renewables’ (Guardian)

While these numbers are alarming, it should be noted that state-owned enterprises (SOEs) are not included in the analysis provided in the report. SOEs in China and India are investing massive amounts of money and expertise into renewables. Of course, SOEs around the world also invest 286 billion USD into fossil fuels, which, as the report notes, is four times as much money as the public finance discussed in the report. You can download it here

Vietnam renews India oil deal in tense South China Sea (Reuters)

The media has primarily focused on China’s construction of military bases on tiny atolls in the South China Sea but these tensions are also about that access to and the transport of energy resources in the region.

Power supplies hit in Hamas-run Gaza Strip as rivals ‘stop’ payments (AFP)

Nigeria cabinet approves national gas policy (Reuters)

Delhi Lt Governor for enhancing capacity of waste-to-energy plants (India Times)

Tanzania passes laws on renegotiation of mining, gas contracts (Reuters)

U.S. Energy Department helping power firms defend against cyber attacks (Reuters)

Russians Are Suspects in Nuclear Site Hackings, Sources Say (Bloomberg)

The hacking of US power plants has been persistently in the news for the past week.

U.S. to speed approval for oil, gas exploration on federal land (Reuters)

Court rejects Trump administration move to delay methane regulation (Reuters)


Researchers develop small device to detect spills (Energy Voice)


Is inequality bad for the environment? (Guardian)

This is a very general article about the relationship between inequality and environmental degradation, but there are two specific cases of car and air traffic that are relevant to this section. The evidence is mounting that environmental issues cannot be resolved without simultaneously engaging with political economy. I am sure many on the listserve have rightfully been making similar arguments for years! Hopefully more people will start listening.

What Happens When Carpooling Laws Suddenly Change? Chaos! (IEEE)

It was a big week for Transportation news. For the scholarly article published in Science discussed in this piece see here

Driving under the influence in car powered by whisky biofuel (Reuters)

This of course is one way to use draff and pot ale, but as any good brewer or distiller knows these also make great fertilizer and draff can still be used to make bread.

Volvo, Betting on Electric, Moves to Phase Out Conventional Engines (New York Times)

Hamburg Is Ready to Fill Up With Hydrogen. Customers Aren’t So Sure. (New York Times)

When Will Electric Cars Go Mainstream? It May Be Sooner Than You Think (New York Times)

Great that NYT has published this as the Bloomberg piece much of the data comes from tries to collect your personal information. Lots of excellent Energy News from NYT this week.

Tesla Model 3 to Begin Production This Week, Says Elon Musk (BizVibe)

And naturally he just posted pictures of the first production roll out of the Model 3 on twitter

France to ban sales of petrol and diesel cars by 2040 (Guardian)

China’s electric-vehicle market plugs in (McKinsey)


France to restrict use of palm oil in biofuels (Reuters)

Government to push for cut in bio-diesel tax with GST Council (IANS)

Indonesia palm oil group worries EU nations will follow French restriction (Reuters)

U.S. proposes cutting total biofuels requirements in 2018 (Reuters)



Poland says more U.S. LNG supply depends on Washington (Reuters)

Qatar to Ramp Up Gas Production Amid Feud With Arab Neighbors (New York Times)

Gazprom to start gas supplies to China via Siberia in December 2019 (Reuters)

Bangladesh LNG drive likely to hit its diesel, fuel oil demand (Reuters)

Hungary joins Gazprom pipeline, as Trump touts U.S. LNG (Reuters)


Alphabet lab turns out new geothermal company for residential heating and cooling (UtilityDive)

Geothermal doesn’t show up very often in the media (if you know of any geothermal media sites, please send my way), but the fact that this is coming out of Alphabet seems fairly significant. You can see the original blog post about Dandelion here


In drastic move, China’s top hydropower plants slash capacity (Reuters)

Pakistan’s Indus Cascade – a disaster in the making (IANS)

Bill in Congress seeks to preserve the Snake River dams (AP)


EDF’s Fessenheim 2 nuclear reactor restart delayed until Jan 2018 (Reuters)

Renewable energy surges past nuclear for 1st time in decades (AP)


Oil Exports, Illegal for Decades, Now Fuel a Texas Port Boom (New York Times)

Pakistan orders Shell subsidiary to pay $2.4 million for tanker blast (Reuters)

76,000 liter oil spill after CN rail car derails in Illinois; cleanup expected to take days (Global News)

Oddly, this spill happened last Friday, but it was not reported until the following Monday…

French doctor convicted of perjury over ties to oil firm Total (Reuters)

European Union-Norway crab row could fuel oil tensions in Arctic (AFP)

Nigeria parliament inquiry calls ex-president Jonathan over oil block sale scandal (Reuters)

Nigeria Delta Communities Demand Stake in Ex-Shell Oil Block (Bloomberg)

A lot of big news in Nigeria this week, see also the note about a shift to gas exploration in the Policy section.

Petrobras teams up with CNPC to finish Comperj unit (Reuters)

Low oil price hurts Norway’s economic case for northern drilling (Reuters)


Rooftop Solar Dims Under Pressure From Utility Lobbyists (New York Times)

Google to power Dutch data center with solar energy (Reuters)

Solar Farm Brings New Use to Abandoned Nuclear Power Plant Site (EnergyTrend)

When I was an undergrad at UW-Seattle we toured the Hanford Site in Central Washington as part of an Environmental Studies course about Energy Resources. At that time Hanford was covered in solar panels. I wonder what it looks like now.


Siemens Gamesa to supply 94 wind turbines to the Netherlands (AFP)

Brazil wind, solar projects stall as power demand remains sluggish (Reuters)

Google to start getting Norwegian wind power by September (Reuters)

Seabird tracking data could be used to assess impact of offshore wind farms (Energy Voice)

Apologies, as this news article could be behind a paywall for some readers. It is worth noting that the scholarly the author uses to support basis of their argument has nothing to do with offshore wind power at all. It was published in Ecological Applications and is open access.

China’s Shenhua says its first offshore wind plant underway (Reuters)

Weekly Energy News Update-July 2nd

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.


China energy demand may already have peaked (Reuters)

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.


Asian tech supplants oil as main fuel for emerging stocks (Reuters)

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.

GE Energy Financial Services Raises Largest Solar Fund in Japan (EnergyTrends)

Sistema says court ‘arrests’ stake in its largest asset over Rosneft dispute (Reuters)


Ukraine power company says was hit by second cyber attack (Reuters)

ADB approves USD 150 million loan to support power supply in Nepal (India Times)

Australian firm looks to bring cheap, green energy to the poor (Reuters)

Smart Transformers Will Make the Grid Cleaner and More Flexible (IEEE)

New computer virus spreads from Ukraine to disrupt world business (Reuters)

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.


Brazil unions protest Temer’s reforms amid political crisis (Reuters)

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“.

Steelworkers union warns of strike at Philadelphia refinery (Reuters)


TigerSwan Faces Lawsuit Over Unlicensed Security Operations in North Dakota (The Intercept)

EPA’s New Water Safety Official Is a Lobbyist With Deep Ties to the Dakota Access Pipeline (The Intercept)

Still more important revelations about the implementation of DaPL in North Dakota

U.S. says it has issued permits for three U.S.-Mexico pipelines (Reuters)

ING bank says it will not finance major Canadian pipeline projects (Reuters)


Statoil moves key IT tasks from India back to Norway (Reuters)

A Vast Chinese Province Just Went a Week Without Fossil Fuels (Mother Jones)

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.

Tanzania to pass laws next week to renegotiate minerals contracts (Reuters)

Also has implications for all forms of multinational extraction industries, such as oil and gas.

Rework power supply deals to boost renewables (India Times)

Trump seeks to project global power through energy exports (Reuters)

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”.

Kick-starting an African clean energy revolution – one pedal at a time (The Ecologist)

Canada says it wants single body to assess major energy projects (Reuters)

Cyprus says to push ahead with energy plans despite challenges (Reuters)

Few resource-rich countries properly manage their natural resources (Reuters)

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


Chilean scientists produce biodiesel from microalgae (Reuters)

China taps ‘combustible ice’ from sea floor, but extracting gas will be a costly challenge (AFP)

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.

Panasonic HIT® Solar Module Sets Temperature Coefficient Record (EnergyTrends)

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.



EPA wins U.S. court reversal over coal jobs study (Reuters)

FYI the Robert Murray discussed in this case is the same that has brought a defamation case against John Oliver.

China to ban coal imports at small ports from July 1 (Reuters)

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.

New coal power plants may block Japan’s carbon emissions goal (Reuters)

India’s policy panel proposes break up of Coal India into 7 firms (Reuters)

Fight over Rio’s mines means coal isn’t dead; Adani woes show it’s dying (Reuters)

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)

Russia’s Rosneft set for global gas tussle with Gazprom (Reuters)

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.

Brazilian study urges Petrobras to cut Bolivian natural gas purchases (Reuters)

China pumps cash into African floating LNG projects in strategic push (Reuters)



Hydropower projects with 13,363 MW capacity register cost overruns (India Times)


Nuclear reactor at Kalpakkam: World’s envy, India’s pride (India Times)

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.

U.S. trade group says no nuclear power plants have been hacked (Reuters)

U.S. warns businesses of hacking campaign against nuclear, energy firms (Reuters)

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.

French regulator says Flamanville reactor is fit for service (Reuters)


Brazil’s Petrobras to review diesel, gasoline prices more frequently (Reuters)

UK taxpayers face multi-billion burden for dismantling of North Sea rigs (Guardian)

Militant group withdraws threat to attack Niger Delta oil industry (Reuters)

Poland’s PKN and Lithuanian railways strike deal over fuel transport costs (Reuters)

In disaster’s wake, BP doubles down on deepwater despite surging shale (Reuters)

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)

Californians take a shine to solar power (AFP)

Thai Packing Factory Buildings Install Solar Frontier’s CIS Solar Panels (EnergyTrends)


For the First Time, Offshore Wind Power Will Be Profitable Without Subsidies (IEEE)

Dutch govt: zero subsidy bidders get first shot at North Sea wind project (Reuters)

World’s first floating windfarm to take shape off coast of Scotland (Guardian)

Wind power’s big bet: turbines taller than skyscrapers (Reuters)

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?

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