Showing posts with label Energy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Energy. Show all posts

23 November 2017

Why Meeting The Paris Climate Goals Is An Existential Threat To Fossil Fuel Industries

by Henry Kelly

Any program with a reasonable chance of meeting the goals embraced by the 2016 Paris accords (holding global temperature increases below 1.5 to 2 degrees Celsius compared to preindustrial levels) is likely to mean drastic changes in fossil energy markets. And the task is only getting harder. After three years of leveling off, global greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuels are projected to grow 2 percent in 2017 to a new record high.

10 November 2017

OPEC and Strategic Questions in the Oil Market

By Severin Fischer for Center for Security Studies (CSS)

The massive expansion of shale oil extraction in the US marked the beginning of a global glut in the petroleum markets. According to Severin Fischer, this is just one of many factors raising the pressure on OPEC and other oil producers. So, how has OPEC responded to the growing supply of relatively cheap oil? In this article, Fischer responds and identifies two possible future trajectories for the global oil market.

7 November 2017

The Changing Geopolitics of Energy

JOSEPH S. NYE

TOKYO – In 2008, when the United States’ National Intelligence Council (NIC) published its volume Global Trends 2025, a key prediction was tighter energy competition. Chinese demand was growing, and non-OPEC sources like the North Sea were being depleted. After two decades of low and relatively stable prices, oil prices had soared to more than $100 per barrel in 2006. Many experts spoke of “peak oil” – the idea that reserves had “topped off” – and anticipated that production would become concentrated in the low-cost but unstable Middle East, where even Saudi Arabia was thought to be fully explored, with no more giant fields likely to be found.

The US was regarded as increasingly dependent on energy imports, and this, together with rising prices, was seen as a major limit on American geopolitical influence. Power had shifted to the producers.

The NIC analysts did not neglect the possibility of a technological surprise, but they focused on the wrong technology. Emphasizing the potential of renewables such as solar, wind, and hydro, they missed the main act.

26 October 2017

What 'Energy Security' Looks Like In The 21st Century


For nearly a decade, lobbyists, academics and politicians alike have hailed the shale revolution as the guarantor of U.S. energy security. U.S. President Donald Trump has even taken their expectations a step further, envisioning a world of American "energy dominance," where the country's oil exports would fortify the supplies of its closest allies. But as the severe fuel shortages that swept across Texas and Louisiana in the wake of Hurricane Harvey have shown, America still heavily relies on those states' Gulf coasts to refine crude oil into gasoline, diesel and other petroleum products. True energy security, then, still seems to be just out of the United States' reach.

7 October 2017

India’s Solar Panel Wars Heat up


By Sarah Watson 

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has made solar power a key plank of his energy independence and climate change agenda. India has set a target of reaching 100 gigawatts (GW) of solar generation capacity by 2022; it still has 86.5 GW to go. Cheap solar modules will be key to reaching that target, but India’s abysmal balance of trade in solar equipment has spurred calls for protective measures. With domestic content requirements nixed by the World Trade Organization (WTO), the Modi government may seek other means of protecting domestic capacity. But experience shows that simply offering special opportunities to domestic manufacturers has failed to boost the industry in the past.

6 September 2017

Coal's Future Looks Uncertain As Rival Fuels Grow

by Jonas Crews and Charles S. Gascon

The coal industry has experienced a significant decline over the past decade. This descent has been driven predominantly by the advent of cheap natural gas, along with policies to promote cleaner, more sustainable sources of energy. While the industry’s overall decline has been a more recent phenomenon, labor productivity in U.S. coal production has increased steadily for over three decades as firms move toward complete automation of the mining process. From January 1985 to May 2017, the amount of coal produced by the average mine worker increased 224 percent.

The outlook for coal, which once was the dominant fuel for electricity generation, is waning. This article analyzes the coal industry both nationally and within our region (the states that make up the Eighth Federal Reserve District[1]) and ponders its future as a source of both electricity and jobs.

Coal serves two main purposes in the global economy: It can be burned to create electricity, or it can be used to produce steel. In 2016, the U.S. electricity sector’s coal consumption was equal to 93 percent of domestic coal production.

4 September 2017

Are India’s Government-Subsidised Solar Shops Thriving Or Barely Surviving

Jennifer Richmond and Kartikeya Singh

Government of India’s Akshay Urja programme sought to support the establishment of at least one shop per district for the sale of subsidised solar-powered technologies. Based on a survey of shop owners, this column finds that while the programme has been successful in establishing a network of solar shops across the country, many of the owners struggle to connect their products to large markets of consumers.

India’s Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) began the Aditya Solar Shops programme in 1995 to support entrepreneurs who opened shops to sell subsidised solar-powered technologies. Shops were designed to sell items which would help poorer households without electricity access (or unreliable access) to tap into distributed solar power. Although most urban households in India tend to be connected to the grid – even if service is poor – many rural areas lie well beyond the reach of power plants and the central grid. This creates space for viable alternatives, such as distributed solar-powered systems and technologies.

Aiming at a barrage of clean development targets

In 2010, the Indian government rebranded the Aditya programme as the Akshay Urja Solar Shops programme and expanded its reach to set up at least one shop in every district in the country. This was a signal from the government that India was serious about providing electricity access to its less centralised populations and that it intended to promote clean growth. This became glaringly clear in 2015 when the government declared that it would provide reliable access to every household in the country by the next national election in 2019; that’s quite a promise considering nearly a quarter of the country’s 1.3 billion (130 crore) people still live beyond the reach of the grid and without any modern alternatives.

15 July 2017

The key to India’s solar energy dreams lies in public co-operation, not just in an investor-led approach

By Nimish Sawant 

Towards the end of last year, a report emerged that India houses the world’s largest solar power plant in a single location. The 10 sq km power plant located in Kamuthi, Tamil Nadu has a capacity of 648 MW and the project is spearheaded by the Adani Group. This is almost 100 MW higher than the Topaz Solar Farm in California, which held the top spot before Kamuthi.

According to Piyush Goyal, the Power and Renewable Energy Minister, India’s renewable energy target is 175 GW by 2022 and the solar power target stands at 100 GW by 2022. It does not get more ambitious than that because the total solar power installed capacity in India till April 2017 was around 13 GW. That still leaves over 80 GW worth of solar energy installations over the coming five years. Out of this, the government has plans to have around 40 GW as installed rooftop solar panels.

While the Kamuthi plant certainly helps India in its race to achieve its installed solar panel goals, there are still a lot of challenges ahead. Despite ample sunlight available throughout the year, India is just about getting started with fully realising its potential. In fact, a look at this report makes it clear that despite India being in the top 10 list when it comes to installed solar photovoltaics capacity, it still lags behind Germany (a nation which gets just a couple of months of sunny weather), when it comes to per capita solar photovoltaics (PV) capacity. At 511 Watts per person, Germany is much higher than its closest competitor, Japan. Germany generated enough renewable energy in 2016, to cover 32 percent of its electricity consumption needs.

10 July 2017

The Geopolitics of Renewable Energy


In this text, Meghan O’Sullivan, et al. focus on seven scenarios that both forecast and backcast the world’s future reliance on renewable energy. While all the forecasting scenarios expect us to rely more on this form of energy, none of them anticipate a revolution where it will surpass our continued dependence on fossil fuels. In contrast, the backcasting scenarios anticipate a world where renewables will make up 50-70% of the primary energy market by 2050. Read on to ‘unpack’ these projections and the seven factors that will shape them.

2 July 2017

Three game changers for energy

By Nikhil Patel, Thomas Seitz, and Kassia Yanosek

New sources, mobility, and industry fragmentation are set to disrupt the system. Change is afoot in the energy system. Soaring demand in emerging markets, new energy sources, and the likely growth of electric vehicles (EVs) are just some of the elements disrupting the status quo. It is hard to discern how the aftershocks will affect the extraordinarily complex network of sectors and stakeholders. New research by McKinsey and the World Economic Forum has identified the game changers for companies and policy makers, as well as their implications.

Exhibit 1

 A proliferation of new energy sources 

15 June 2017

Energy industry becomes cyber war battlefield

By Alphonso Rivera 

U.S. energy facilities are increasingly being targeted by cybercriminals, according to a recent report released by government and private security officials. Just one agency, the Department of Homeland Security, reported a jump in cases with its investigators receiving reports of 59 significant cyber incidents occurring at U.S. energy facilities in 2016.

The agency handled 290 cybercrime incidents last year involving numerous industrial sites, including factories, power and chemical plants, refineries and nuclear facilities. Many of these incidents originated with “phishing emails” — emails sent by hackers that trick people into downloading virus-infected attachments or links. Many others came from “network probing” and “scanning” schemes.

Some viruses result from malware that was inflicted on systems years ago but keep spreading. Others result from increasingly sophisticated schemes that continue to be created.

In a study conducted in 2015 for Hewlett Packard Enterprise, the Ponemon Institute estimated cybercrimes are costing U.S. energy and utility companies about $12.8 million a year in lost business and damaged equipment. And the possibilities of catastrophic events being caused by cyberattacks are growing.

3 June 2017

To Control Its Future, India Must Control Its Energy Sources

Subhomoy Bhattacharjee

Continuing mismanagement has led to repeated crises in the coal sector and the coal scam was the culmination of it.

However, the present government’s bid to explore all aspects of energy for the first time is a good sign.

The conviction of former coal secretary H C Gupta by a Central Bureau of Investigation special court in one of the coal allocations is a sign of a much larger problem in India’s energy economy – that of mismanagement. And this partly explains how India is trailing China on ensuring energy security.

Energy is at the heart of any country’s assurance of economic security. Former United States president Barack Obama put it pithily when he declared ‘a nation that can’t control its energy sources can’t control its future’, spelling out a compelling reason for the need to get back to discovering the juice to power plants, cars and homes from within America instead of mining for oil in the deserts of Middle East.

Energy is the plumbing that underlies any economy. Below the flashing lights of banks of computer terminals, the smart cities, the digital economy is the energy lifeline. Roughly, for a 1 per cent growth of gross domestic product (GDP) for an economy, the rate of growth of energy supply has to be 1 per cent too. It has begun to climb down only now as energy efficiency of economies has begun to improve, both in usage of conventional fuels and larger use of renewable energy.

29 May 2017

India cancels plans for huge coal power stations as solar energy prices hit record low



The Independent Online A field of solar panels at Cochin International Airport in southern India CIAL

India has cancelled plans to build nearly 14 gigawatts of coal-fired power stations – about the same as the total amount in the UK – with the price for solar electricity “free falling” to levels once considered impossible.

Analyst Tim Buckley said the shift away from the dirtiest fossil fuel and towards solar in India would have “profound” implications on global energy markets.

According to his article on the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis’s website, 13.7GW of planned coal power projects have been cancelled so far this month – in a stark indication of the pace of change.

In January last year, Finnish company Fortum agreed to generate electricity in Rajasthan with a record low tariff, or guaranteed price, of 4.34 rupees per kilowatt-hour (about 5p).

Mr Buckley, director of energy finance studies at the IEEFA, said that at the time analysts said this price was so low would never be repeated.

Solar is now cheaper than coal-based electricity in India, but the math makes no sense



Solar energy prices are crashing through the floor in India.

In the last three months, solar tariffs have dropped by over 25%, with much of the recent action focused around Rajasthan’s Bhadla solar park, a 10,000-hectare facility on the edge of the Thar desert.

At an auction for 500 megawatts of capacity at the park on May 12, the state-run Solar Energy Corporation of India managed to discover a record-low tariff of Rs 2.4 per kilowatt-hour. The previous low was two days before that when tariffs hit Rs 2.6 per kilowatt-hour during auctions for another phase of the Bhadla solar park.

At such rock-bottom prices, solar power is even cheaper than India’s coal-based thermal power plants. The country’s largest power company, NTPC, sells electricity from its coal-based generation units at a princely Rs 3.2 per kilowatt-hour.

Moreover, India’s solar-generation capacity is expected to touch 8.8 gigawatts this year (a jump of 76% over 2016) to become the third-largest solar market in the world, according to renewable energy consultancy Bridge To India. And, on the back of prolific growth in non-conventional power, consulting giant Ernst & Young reckons that India is the world’s second best market for investing in renewable energy.

23 May 2017

*** Winds of change? Why offshore wind might be the next big thing


Falling costs and rising acceptance are promising signs, but the industry needs to keep improving.

The landscapes of Rembrandt glow with the great painter’s rendering of light. And they are distinctive for another reason: windmills are everywhere. As far back as the 13th century, the Dutch used windmills to drain their land and power their economy. And now, 800 years later, the Netherlands is again in the vanguard of what could be the next big thing, not only in wind power but also in the global energy system as a whole: offshore wind.

In December, the Netherlands approved a bid for its cheapest offshore project yet—€54.50 per megawatt-hour, for a site about 15 miles off the coast. Just five months before, the winning bid for the same site was €72.70. Denmark has gone even further, with an auction in November 2016 seeing a then record-winning bid of €49.90 per megawatt-hour, half the level of 2014.

Europe, which has provided considerable economic and regulatory support, accounts for more than 90 percent of global capacity. As a result, Europe now has a maturing supply chain, a high level of expertise, and strong competition; it is possible that offshore wind could be competitive with other sources within a decade. By 2026, the Dutch government expects that its offshore auctions will feature no subsidies at all. But it might be even sooner: in the April 2017 German auction, the average winning bid for the projects was far below expectations, and even less than the Danish record set only six months before. Some of the bids were won at the wholesale electricity price, meaning no subsidy is required.
Prices and costs

20 May 2017

Reform of the Global Energy Architecture

David Goldwyn, Phillip Cornell 

This report focuses on the current state of international energy governance and whether the overarching global energy regime should be reformed. After exploring these topics in detail, the text’s authors conclude that 1) there is no consensus on the direction of transnational energy policy and governance; 2) the governance structures that do exist don’t always reflect contemporary realities and have obvious capability gaps; and 3) for several reasons, the sheer number of initiatives now competing to shape the world’s energy architecture aren’t necessarily a bad thing. Finally, the authors close their analysis by providing policy options for those in the US government who work in the international energy governance field.

Download 

13 May 2017

China's Big Play for Middle East Oil

Robin M. Mills 

China's Middle East energy footprint has been expanding. In February, it made a deal for a stake in Abu Dhabi’s onshore oil. In March, Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz travelled to China to strengthen trade ties, and now a Chinese consortium is lining up for a stake in the Aramco IPO.

Geopolitical trends favor deeper engagement, but Chinese companies need to show they can deliver.

The Chinese need new upstream opportunities. Domestic production from the country's highly mature fields has slumped: down 6.9 percent last year and 8 percent year-on-year so far in 2017. But, encouraged by the government to guarantee energy security, companies' capital budgets are set to soar again this year. Sinopec will spend as much as BP, and even at the low end of estimates, PetroChina, the listed unit of China National Petroleum Corp., or CNPC, will be the highest-spending listed oil company in the world.

7 May 2017

In China Become the World’s Clean Energy Leader?


By 2015, China held a third of the global market share [PDF] for hydropower, wind power, and solar energy. The country’s private sector invested $32 billion in 2016 toward international clean energy projects, adding to the $102.9 billion invested a year prior by the government into domestic renewable energy. Many of these investments were made in major developing countries, including Brazil, Egypt, Vietnam, and Kenya. 

Investing in clean energy at home also creates opportunities for China to expand its marketing of products such as solar panels abroad, says Jennifer L. Turner, the director of the Wilson Center’s China Environment Forum. China seems poised to surpass the United States in leading clean energy innovation and efforts to mitigate the effects of climate change, but Beijing faces internal challenges to energy reform, she says. 

Why are China’s clean energy investments surging? 

The surge has been driven by two primary factors. The first is air pollution. This has become more salient lately, but China was trying to develop more alternatives to coal even before it signed the Paris Agreement. Since then, there’s also been a growing awareness that investing in clean energy development domestically is going to open up more opportunities for China to expand marketing for these products globally. It’s not surprising that China has already captured the global market on solar panels. 

6 May 2017

From Standard To Smarter Oil

DEBORAH GORDON

Summary: The days of simply sticking a pipe in the ground and tapping a pool of easy-to-handle and profitable crude oil are fading. Changing resources require people challenge conventional thinking on oil.

Today’s crude oils can be as light as paint thinner or as heavy as peanut butter. They can be trapped tightly in fissures of buried rocks. Or their wells running low with each depleted barrel containing more water or gas than oil. Whether ultra-light, extra-heavy, or depleted, these oils are more difficult to extract, harder to refine, more challenging to transport, and yield a different array of products than yesterday’s oils.

For example, blending the heaviest and lightest oils may make them flow more readily but this creates dumbbell crudes that are difficult to refine into the typical slate of highly-profitable petroleum products. These oddball mixtures that do not contain essential hydrocarbon molecules have thrown the oil industry and policymakers a serious curve ball.

Transforming challenges into opportunities calls for significant innovation. As long as we continue to consume petroleum, we need to make smarter oil choices that satisfy both private interests and the public good.

26 April 2017

The world’s energy is getting cleaner (and cheaper)—but not quickly enough

David Victor


A growing array of evidence suggests that twists and turns at the federal level won’t automatically change how U.S. firms behave. The Trump administration may roll back U.S. regulations on clean power and on methane leaks from oil and gas operations, for example, but many states already have their rules in place, and the courts will likely halt some of Trump’s most ambitious rollbacks.

Indeed, the states such as California and New York that account for most of the nation’s economic growth—and thus most of the innovation and technology and policy—are the bluest politically and poised to do even more to cut emissions.