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Messages - Ken Feldman

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For those who prefer academic studies to actual reports of projects being connected to the grid, I offer this study from late 2019 that shows the impacts of electrifying transportation on energy demand.

Global Transportation Demand Development with Impacts on the Energy Demand and Greenhouse Gas Emissions in a Climate-Constrained World
by Siavash Khalili, Eetu Rantanen, Dmitrii Bogdanov and Christian Breyer

Energies 2019, 12(20), 3870;
Published: 12 October 2019

The pivotal target of the Paris Agreement is to keep temperature rise well below 2 °C above the pre-industrial level and pursue efforts to limit temperature rise to 1.5 °C. To meet this target, all energy-consuming sectors, including the transport sector, need to be restructured. The transport sector accounted for 19% of the global final energy demand in 2015, of which the vast majority was supplied by fossil fuels (around 31,080 TWh). Fossil-fuel consumption leads to greenhouse gas emissions, which accounted for about 8260 MtCO2eq from the transport sector in 2015. This paper examines the transportation demand that can be expected and how alternative transportation technologies along with new sustainable energy sources can impact the energy demand and emissions trend in the transport sector until 2050. Battery-electric vehicles and fuel-cell electric vehicles are the two most promising technologies for the future on roads. Electric ships and airplanes for shorter distances and hydrogen-based synthetic fuels for longer distances may appear around 2030 onwards to reduce the emissions from the marine and aviation transport modes. The rail mode will remain the least energy-demanding, compared to other transport modes. An ambitious scenario for achieving zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 is applied, also demonstrating the very high relevance of direct and indirect electrification of the transport sector. Fossil-fuel demand can be reduced to zero by 2050; however, the electricity demand is projected to rise from 125 TWhel in 2015 to about 51,610 TWhel in 2050, substantially driven by indirect electricity demand for the production of synthetic fuels. While the transportation demand roughly triples from 2015 to 2050, substantial efficiency gains enable an almost stable final energy demand for the transport sector, as a consequence of broad electrification. The overall well-to-wheel efficiency in the transport sector increases from 26% in 2015 to 39% in 2050, resulting in a respective reduction of overall losses from primary energy to mechanical energy in vehicles. Power-to-fuels needed mainly for marine and aviation transport is not a significant burden for overall transport sector efficiency. The primary energy base of the transport sector switches in the next decades from fossil resources to renewable electricity, driven by higher efficiency and sustainability.

Policy and solutions / Re: Renewable Energy
« on: September 17, 2020, 06:20:34 PM »
Some manufacturers are foregoing PPAs and just installing their own solar farms to power their factories.

Solar Project at Toyota Assembly Plant to be Largest in West Virginia
September 8, 2020

BUFFALO, WV—Toyota’s engine and transmission assembly plant here will soon be the site of the largest solar panel array in the state.

To be completed by March 2021, the $4.9 million solar project will reduce CO2 emissions at the plant by 1,822 metric tons annually, according to Jacob Plasters, senior engineering manager Toyota Motor Manufacturing West Virginia. “The array will span 6 acres and generate 2.6 megawatts of solar-generated energy,” he says. “This is part of the company’s strategic goals to reduce its reliance on outside energy needed for operations.”

The automaker is also planning solar projects at its assembly plants in Alabama and Missouri. In Alabama, the company’s Huntsville engine plant will have a 3.3-acre solar array that will generate 1.6 megawatts of solar-generated energy and reduce the plant’s CO2 emissions by 1,732 metric tons annually. That project is expected to be complete by December. In Missouri, the company’s assembly plant in Troy will will have a 1.5-acre solar panel array that will generate 0.75 megawatt of energy and reduce CO2 emissions 750 metric tons annually. That project is expected to be complete in January 2021.

Policy and solutions / Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
« on: September 17, 2020, 06:17:43 PM »
Any study claiming renewables will need a century to replace fossil fuels isn't worth the electrons it took to digitally publish.  Any study using data before 2018 is basically worthless, because it's from a time when it made more economic sense to build fossil fuels, not renewables.

Renewables are now cheaper to build than it is to operate fossil fuel plants in most of the world.  That means companies and governments can save money by building renewables and shutting down operating fossil fuel power plants.  Some governments may choose to keep fossil fuel power plants operating to keep coal miners and natural gas workers employed, but they do so at the risk of making their manufactured goods more expensive than competing companies.  So that's a short term solution at best.

Just look at how new energy investment decisions are being made.  Money is leaving the fossil fuel industry and is being invested in new renewable power plants and manufacturing facilities for the renewable power industry.  New solar cell and panel manufacturing plants are springing up in the USA, China, India, Turkey, Iran and Europe, which means that new solar installations will continue to increase significantly. 

Violet Power to bring American solar cell and panel manufacturing to Washington by end of 2021

By Kelly Pickerel | September 9, 2020

Solar technology startup Violet Power has chosen Moses Lake, Washington, as the location of its first manufacturing plant. The company plans to manufacture silicon solar cells and panels in the United States. Production should begin in Q2 2021, with full manufacturing capacity of 500 MW of solar cells and separately 500 MW of solar panels reached by the end of 2021.

Turkey opens EMEA’s only integrated solar panel plant

Turkey has confirmed the opening of Europe and the Middle East’s only integrated solar panel manufacturing facility
Sean Galea-Pace
Aug 21

Established in Ankara’s Başkent Organized Industrial Zone, the major solar ingot-wafer-module-cell production factory of Kalyon Holding was opened in a ceremony attended by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

The facility will be operated through an investment of US$400mn at a 100,000 sq.m closed area and will employ 1,400 people, Erdoğan announced.

The factory is set to manufacture solar panels with a capacity of 500 megawatts (MW) every year. “We are going to prevent millions of dollars’ worth of imports of solar panels and components,” added Erdoğan.

India gets 10 GW proposals for setting up solar equipment manufacturing capacity
08 Sep 2020

NEW DELHI : India has received proposals for setting up 10 gigawatt (GW) of solar equipment manufacturing capacity, said petroleum and natural gas minister Dharmendra Pradhan on Tuesday.

September 04, 2020 19:42
Largest Solar Panel Plant in Ardabil Nearing Completion

T he largest solar panel manufacturing plant in Iran will be launched in Ardabil Province early next year (starts March 2021), the governor said Thursday.

“Built by a private company, the factory has so far cost $40 million,” IRNA quoted Akbar Behnamjou as saying.

“The generation capacity of the plant’s annual production of solar panels will be 250 megawatts. The facility will meet total domestic demand for panels inside the country while 80% of its products will be exported,” he added.

When inaugurated, 400 engineers will work at the factory, the governor noted. On Thursday, two solar power plants, with a total capacity of 1.7 megawatts and a 230 kV substation were launched in Ardabil.

A Chinese coal miner is getting into solar production
By Bloomberg  
Monday, August 24, 2020

Mid-tier Chinese coal miner Shanxi Coal International Energy Group is planning a significant investment in the competing business of making high-tech solar power cells.

The state-owned firm will lead a joint venture to build a three-gigawatt solar manufacturing plant for 3.19 billion yuan ($461 million), according to a statement on Friday. It’s the first phase of a project that will grow to 10 gigawatts – the equivalent of the generating power of 10 nuclear power plants – producing high-efficiency cells through so-called heterojunction technology.

Observant readers will note that these news stories are from August and September 2020, not years ago.  The energy transition is well underway and accelerating.

Policy and solutions / Re: Renewable Energy
« on: September 17, 2020, 01:20:12 AM »
Vectran, an electric utility in Southern Indiana, announced plans to retire 730 MW of coal plants by 2023 and replace them with solar and wind power.

Indiana Utility Trading Coal for Solar
By Emily Folk
September 16, 2020

Throughout the conversations around climate change, companies have been slow to transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy. One company in Indiana, though, is now making waves as it switches out coal for solar. Though there have been conflicting opinions on this decision, renewable energy is a crucial part of global change. It starts on a company-wide scale.

According to Vectren's Integrated Resource Plans, the company aims for immediate switches in the coming years. By 2023, the company plans to get rid of 730 MW of coal in favor of renewables. Instead, solar panels up to 1,000 MW will operate with wind as the primary source of energy.

Aet the moment, the company is running on 78% coal. By 2025, though, company leaders hope to reduce this number down to 12%. Doing so may save customers up to a total of $320 million over the next two decades.

Policy and solutions / Re: Renewable Energy
« on: September 15, 2020, 01:04:47 AM »
100% of new electric capacity installed in the USA in June 2020 was renewable!

Solar Power = 60% of New US Power Capacity in June

September 11th, 2020 by Zachary Shahan
100% of New Power Capacity in USA Came from Renewables in June

Solar power keeps growing in the United States. In the month of June, 60.1% of new power capacity added in the country was from solar power plants. Another 37.5% was from wind power plants. And 2.4% was from hydropower. If you’ve done the quick math on that, that means that 100% of new power capacity came from renewable energy sources in June. (Toggle the dropdown button in the interactive chart below to also see charts for January–June 2020, January–June 2019, and total installed capacity in the United States.)

Policy and solutions / Re: Oil and Gas Issues
« on: September 15, 2020, 12:57:58 AM »
BP is forecasting that we reached peak oil demand in 2019.

The world may never consume more oil than in 2019, BP says
by Hanna Ziady, CNN Business
Mon September 14, 2020

London (CNN Business)Demand for oil may have peaked last year, according to BP, which says the global market for crude might never recover from the coronavirus pandemic.

In a new report published on Monday, the company lays out three scenarios for energy demand, all of which forecast a decline in demand for oil over the next 30 years. The scale and pace of the decline will be driven by the increasing efficiency and electrification of road transportation, BP (BP) said.

The new report is a major change from last year, when BP expected growth in oil demand to continue into the 2030s.

The shift reflects the profound effect that the pandemic, which brought travel and manufacturing to a near standstill, has had on global energy markets. Analysts think the crisis will accelerate the shift away from fossil fuels towards renewable forms of energy, particularly as governments and investors heap pressure on companies to tackle the climate crisis amid growing evidence of its devastating effects.

Policy and solutions / Re: Oil and Gas Issues
« on: September 11, 2020, 08:00:40 PM »
Construction of a new oil pipeline in the Texas Permian oil field has been cancelled.  That's a sign that we've seen peak production from this oil field.

Enterprise cancels major Permian crude pipeline project
By Sheela Tobben on 9/10/2020

(Bloomberg) --Enterprise Products Partners LP became the first to abandon a major crude pipeline in the heart of America’s shale patch on Wednesday in what may be yet another sign that the pandemic-fueled rout in U.S. oil markets isn’t over.

With lockdowns across the nation eviscerating fuel demand, Enterprise shelved plans to add 450,000 barrels a day of capacity to a system that carries oil from Texas’s Permian basin to the U.S. Gulf Coast. It joins scores of oil explorers, contractors and pipeline giants that have slashed billions of dollars in investments amid a swelling supply glut that sent crude prices plummeting earlier this year.

But the loss of demand cannot only be blamed. Even before Covid-19, tight oil production growth had been declining with investors demanding higher dividends and spending discipline.

Supply has slumped enough to create a “vision that oil infrastructure is in surplus,” said Raoul LeBlanc, an analyst at IHS Markit Ltd. Infrastructure was set up to meet the needs for oil output and demand of about 100 million barrels a day globally, but that has declined to about 90 million barrels a day now, so another pipeline is not needed, he said.

Policy and solutions / Re: Coal
« on: September 11, 2020, 07:42:18 PM »
US coal production is down more than 20% from last year.

Weekly US coal production totals 10.7 million st, down 20.5% on year: EIA

in Commodity News 11/09/2020   

Houston — Weekly US coal production was estimated at 10.7 million st in the week ended Sept. 5, down 3.4% from the previous week, Energy Information Administration data showed Sept. 10.

Over 36 weeks, total US output was estimated at 366 million st, down 23.7% year on year. Annualized, production is projected at 528 million st, down 24.9% from 2019.

Policy and solutions / Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
« on: September 11, 2020, 07:37:57 PM »
This article on the energy transition still misses the point about natural gas, but the statistics on the growth of renewables are quite revealing.  Keep in mind that renewables only became less expensive than fossil fuels in some areas in 2018 and around 75% of the world in 2019.  It also doesn't address the efficiency edge that renewables have over fossil fuels.

September 11, 2020
Global energy transition already well underway: Kemp

By John Kemp

LONDON (Reuters) - Policymakers still tend to talk about the global energy transition in the future tense, as something that might or will happen in the next few decades, but the transition is already well underway and shows signs of accelerating.

Global energy consumption from natural gas and renewables (mostly wind, solar and biofuels) grew much faster than energy consumption as a whole over the five years between 2014 and 2019.

Renewables increased at a compound annual rate of more than 12.5% while gas increased at a rate of 2.9%, both much faster than total energy consumption growth of 1.6%.

Gas accounted for 43% of all the extra energy consumed in 2019 compared with 2014, while renewables and oil each accounted for an extra 29%.

In recent years, the shift has accelerated, with renewables accounting for 41% of extra energy consumed in 2019, gas accounting for 36%, while oil accounted for just 21%.

Policy and solutions / Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
« on: September 11, 2020, 07:19:36 PM »
Moving to all renewable energy sources reduces energy needs by 57%.  The linked study, from 2019, demonstrates that 80% renewables by 2030 is doable, with 100% by 2050.

Impacts of Green New Deal Energy Plans on Grid Stability, Costs, Jobs, Health, and Climate in 143 Countries
Mark Z.Jacobson, Mark A.Delucchi, Mary A.Cameron, Stephen J.Coughlin, Catherine A.Hay, Indu Priya Manogaran, Yanbo Shu, Anna-Katharinavon Krauland


Global warming, air pollution, and energy insecurity are three of the greatest problems facing humanity. To address these problems, we develop Green New Deal energy roadmaps for 143 countries. The roadmaps call for a 100% transition of all-purpose business-as-usual (BAU) energy to wind-water-solar (WWS) energy, efficiency, and storage by 2050 with at least 80% by 2030. Our studies on grid stability find that the countries, grouped into 24 regions, can match demand exactly from 2050 to 2052 with 100% WWS supply and storage. We also derive new cost metrics. Worldwide, WWS energy reduces end-use energy by 57.1%, aggregate private energy costs from $17.7 to $6.8 trillion/year (61%), and aggregate social (private plus health plus climate) costs from $76.1 to $6.8 trillion/year (91%) at a present value capital cost of ∼$73 trillion. WWS energy creates 28.6 million more long-term, full-time jobs than BAU energy and needs only ∼0.17% and ∼0.48% of land for new footprint and spacing, respectively. Thus, WWS requires less energy, costs less, and creates more jobs than does BAU.

Policy and solutions / Re: Oil and Gas Issues
« on: September 11, 2020, 06:24:52 PM »
Oil demand is not recovering as quickly as predicted.  Storage is filling up again because producers increased production but demand didn't increase.

Floating Storage Begins To Fill Up As Oil Demand Wavers
By Irina Slav - Sep 10, 2020

Huge floating oil storage builds earlier this year became a major cause for oil price falls as the pandemic wiped out demand. Then, as OPEC+ started cutting production and countries began emerging from lockdowns, floating storage inventories began to decline, boosting prices. Now, they’re creeping up again--but this time, it’s fuel inventories.

It’s not just diesel and gasoil. All distillate fuel stocks are a problem. In the United States, refiners have been struggling with rising distillate inventories for weeks now as air travel remains severely restricted, jet fuel demand is in the ditch, and there are no alternative venues for the oil product. Refiners have been raising their gasoline production, but demand for gasoline has also been slow to recover and inventories there also remain above the five-year average despite several hefty draws.

The trend is certainly worrying for those banking on an oil price rebound driven by fuel demand recovery, which is pretty much everyone who produces fuels. Demand was expected to recover more or less consistently after the lockdowns barring a second wave of infections. But while some countries have indeed experienced what looks like two distinct waves of Covid-19 infections, for others, including the world’s largest oil consumer globally, the U.S., it has been a single but prolonged wave. Uncertainty about pretty much everything from employment to vaccine development remains ample, and this is affecting oil demand.

What this suggests is that refiners restarted crude buying earlier this year in anticipation of a rebound in demand for fuels. This rebound, however, never came to pass, and now refiners—and commodity traders—are stuck with millions of barrels of fuels they can’t sell. What makes things worse is that the latest data on oil demand, particularly from China, is not encouraging at all. Earlier this month Saudi Arabia’s Aramco served an unpleasant surprise to oil markets by announcing it was sharply cutting its official selling prices for oil. The cuts would affect Asian, U.S., and northwestern European clients. Meanwhile, worry has been growing that China had stuffed itself with cheap oil and its buying spree, which helped prices stay stable during the summer, was coming to an end.

Policy and solutions / Re: Coal
« on: September 10, 2020, 07:28:21 PM »
South Korea will close 10 coal plants by the end of 2022.  It will close at least half of its currently operating coal-fired power plants by 2034.  Renewables will replace them.

South Korea Will Close Half Its Coal-Fired Fleet
Sep 8, 2020
by Darrell Proctor

South Korea’s president said the country will shutter 30 more coal-fired power plants by 2034, and bring additional solar and wind power resources online in the next five years in order to meet emissions reductions targets.

President Moon Jae-in made the announcement Sept. 8 in a speech he delivered virtually for the United Nations’ International Day for Clean Air for blue skies event. The president said his administration will close 10 of those operating coal-fired plants by the end of 2022. He also has called for the country to phase out nuclear power.

South Korea has about 60 operating coal plants, which generate about 40% of the country’s electricity. The country over the past three years has implemented temporary shutdowns of plants that are more than 30 years old, including idling about half the coal-fired fleet earlier this year in an effort to reduce air pollution.

Jae-in’s administration has ended construction of any new coal-fired power plants—the country in 2017, the year Jae-in took office, reached a new high for coal-fired power generation—while supporting renewable energy resources, including the use of fuel cells. He said in his speech Monday that climate change has become “the most important problem in our generation,” noting the country has been hit with three major typhoons in a two-week period in late August and early September. He emphasized that the country needs clean air, in part to help combat the coronavirus pandemic, and also to promote economic growth.

Policy and solutions / Re: Oil and Gas Issues
« on: September 10, 2020, 07:11:28 PM »
No new LNG projects have been approved in the North America this year, the first time that's happened since 1998.

Opinion: LNG investments vanish in 2020 as coronavirus slashes oil and gas prices

In a stark contrast to last year's record level of approvals for LNG production plants, 2020's dramatic oil and gas price drop has forced companies to delay decisions on new projects and write down investments in existing plants
September 10, 2020

LONDON/NEW YORK: No new liquefied natural gas (LNG) export projects could be approved this year for the first time in at least two decades, banking and industry sources said, after the COVID-19 pandemic drove down energy demand and knocked prices to all-time lows.

In a stark contrast to last year's record level of approvals for LNG production plants, 2020's dramatic oil and gas price drop has forced companies to delay decisions on new projects and write down investments in existing plants.

The last year in which no new LNG exports plants were approved was 1998, consultancy Wood Mackenzie told Reuters, while the International Energy Agency estimated it was at least two decades ago.

Giovanni Bruni and Alessandro Agosta, partners at McKinsey & Company, said they expect all pre-FID projects to be delayed by 1 to 2 years due to CAPEX cuts and deferrals, plus difficulty in securing buyers.

In the United States, there may be no room for new projects until the middle of the decade after record new capacity was added last year, with a delay in investments helping the market balance, analysts say.

Policy and solutions / Re: Oil and Gas Issues
« on: September 10, 2020, 07:02:39 PM »
I'm linking to an interesting article with some forecasts of peak oil demand before 2030 and proposals in the USA and Canada to plug abandoned oil and gas wells.


09.09.20  /  Common Resources
Look Before You Leap: Three Governance Challenges for Taxpayer-Funded Cleanup of Oil and Gas Wells

Daniel Raimi and Nathan Lemphers

These are challenging times for the oil and gas industry. While volatility is no stranger to the sector, the bust of 2020 may signal the beginning of a new era, especially for high-cost producers. Global oil prices have plunged in response to a glut of supply and a historic drop in demand, driven by fears over COVID-19. At the same time, investors and consumers are increasingly pressuring governments and companies to move toward net-zero emissions by 2050.

Even before the pandemic, expected declines in oil demand from the increased use of electric vehicles and other policy-driven market shifts were causing some firms, such as energy advisor DNV GL, to project the demand for oil to peak in the early 2020s. Under scenarios that achieve the Paris Agreement’s target of limiting global warming to “well below” 2 degrees Celsius in this century, oil demand will peak in the mid-2020s, according to modeling by BP, Equinor, and the International Energy Agency. In the wake of this near-term drop and deep uncertainty about the future, oil and gas companies around the world are taking write-downs worth tens of billions of dollars, and many US firms are entering bankruptcy.

These trends have illuminated a longstanding problem for the oil and gas industry in North America: the challenge of managing millions of abandoned and orphaned oil and gas wells.

Interest in the issue has grown in Washington, DC. The House of Representatives recently passed the “Moving Forward Act” (see Section 84101), which earmarks $400 million for reclaiming wells. Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden has similarly pledged to create hundreds of thousands of jobs by directing federal funds to clean up wells. In the meantime, states like North Dakota are using federal recovery funds to plug newly orphaned wells.

Lawmakers in Canada have moved more quickly. The Canadian federal government has allocated $1.3 billion (C$1.7 billion) to British Columbia, Alberta, and Saskatchewan to clean up orphaned and abandoned wells. This announcement received unusually broad political support at the provincial and federal levels, as well as praise from environmental groups and the oil industry.

But despite the potential appeal of these efforts across both countries, considerable challenges could get in the way of rapidly carrying out a large-scale plugging program, reforming existing laws and regulations, and addressing the lack of incentives for companies to manage this problem on their own. We discuss each of these issues, and options for addressing them, below.

To ease this capacity crunch, state regulators could raise additional funds from companies to pay for increased regulatory capacity. Although the prospect of increasing costs for a struggling industry may not appeal to some policymakers, two recent studies have found that increasing bonding requirements in Texas and North Dakota had little to no effect on the rate of new drilling in those states.

Policy and solutions / Re: Oil and Gas Issues
« on: September 03, 2020, 07:44:44 PM »
Sometimes a headline fails to capture the essence of a story.

The headline:
U.S. Jet Fuel Demand Recovers Faster Than Expected
By Charles Kennedy - Sep 02, 2020

The rosy lead supporting the headline:

Jet fuel demand in the United States is recovering faster than in many other regional markets such as Europe and Asia minus China, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) said on Tuesday.

The supporting data:

Consumption of jet fuel by U.S. commercial passenger flights was approximately 612,000 barrels per day (bpd) as of August 16, which was 43 percent of the estimated volumes of jet fuel consumed on the same date last year, the EIA has estimated using raw flight data from Cirium. From the end of April through May, U.S. jet fuel consumption by commercial flights was below 20 percent, the estimates show.   

Granted, it is a recovery of sorts from April and May, but that headline and first paragraph implied that demand is much higher than the data show.

The story also has data from China, which we've been lead to believe is consuming nearly as much oil as last year:

China’s jet fuel consumption was 60 percent of the volumes consumed last year, the EIA has estimated.

The story concludes:

A very slow recovery in jet fuel demand will drag on global oil demand for at least another two years as overall passenger traffic numbers continue to be low, and mandatory quarantines continue to prevent people from traveling on international flights.

Policy and solutions / Re: Oil and Gas Issues
« on: September 03, 2020, 12:53:34 AM »
Bankruptcies continue in the US shale patch.  And unlike previous economic downturns, other companies aren't buying the bankrupt companies assets.

Why No One Is Buying Up Shale Assets
By Irina Slav - Sep 02, 2020

Since the start of the year, 57 oil production and oilfield services companies have filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Many more bankruptcies are on the way, all in the shale patch. And there does not seem to be even a shred of light at the end of this tunnel. The U.S. shale patch was the pride and joy of the nation’s energy industry. Rightly called a shale revolution, the boom in oil and gas production fueled by hydraulic fracturing turned the United States into the world’s largest oil and gas producer. But this had a cost—a cost that is now being paid with a flurry of bankruptcies.

Rystad Energy said last month it expected another 150 U.S. shale oil companies would file for Chapter 11 protection by the end of the year unless prices rise above $50 a barrel. Others have suggested we might see consolidation, the way the industry consolidates during every crisis, but this time around, that seems unlikely.

The last oil price crisis, the one that did spark a consolidation wave after 2014, was a typical one. Prices dropped, some companies failed, others were bought up by bigger ones, prices rebounded, and production growth was back on track. Investors, however, began to insist on returns instead of growth. Producers were trying to get there when this year’s crisis hit. It is no surprise that potential buyers are wary.

Debt is a major turn-off. Shale drillers took on debt the way squirrels store nuts for winter. Shale oil production is a capital-intensive business, but this aspect of it was for a long time overshadowed by the fact that oil starts flowing a lot more quickly from a fracked shale well than a conventional one. So drillers took on debt and boosted production to repay this debt. It became a vicious circle that the last crisis may have well put a stop to.

Banks became reluctant to extend shale oil drillers’ credit lines even before the Saudis turned the taps on and Covid-19 spread across the world. New wells were not yielding as much as borrowers had said they would, and debt piles were growing. Then the pandemic came, and drillers started falling under the twin weight of billions in debt and $20 oil.

Again, these falls mean there is cheap acreage for sale, and some of it may well be excellent acreage. But there is one more reason in addition to general wariness why there are few buyers: the industry does not seem to believe that there will be a third shale revolution.

Policy and solutions / Re: Batteries: Today's Energy Solution
« on: September 02, 2020, 07:37:23 PM »
Lithium prices are still low due to oversupply despite the huge increases in battery production in the past few years.

50% Of Hard-Rock Miners Are Losing Money As Lithium Prices Slump
By - Sep 02, 2020

Investment in battery manufacturing plants and electric vehicle factories continues to boom around the world, but for now the market for lithium shows no signs of emerging from its multi-year slump.

Hard rock miners have been hardest hit, with the price of spodumene concentrate (feedstock for lithium hydroxide manufacture) continuing to fall on the back of break-neck expansion in Australia, which quickly became the number one producer of lithium over South American brine producers.

Policy and solutions / Re: Oil and Gas Issues
« on: September 02, 2020, 07:29:53 PM »
Globally, oil demand is around 90% of pre-Covid shut-in demand.

Russia Wants OPEC+ To React To Oil Demand Recovery
By Tsvetana Paraskova - Sep 02, 2020

Russia will propose to OPEC+ to react to the recovery in global oil demand, which has now reached 90 percent of the levels seen before the pandemic, Russia's Energy Minister Alexander Novak said on Wednesday.

According to Russia's energy minister, global oil demand will return to pre-pandemic levels at some point in 2021.

As part of the OPEC+ deal, Russia's oil production will drop by 13.8 percent year-on-year between August and December 2020, Novak added. Russia's full-year oil production will be 10 percent lower in 2020 than it was in 2019, he said.

In August, when OPEC+ started easing the record cuts by 2 million bpd, Russia's oil production rose by 5 percent from July, to reach 9.86 million bpd, according to Reuters' estimates of energy ministry data in tons.

Policy and solutions / Re: Oil and Gas Issues
« on: September 02, 2020, 07:26:51 PM »
US gasoline demand has flatlined well-below pre-Covid levels.  Hopes for a "V-shaped" economic recovery have fizzled as reality is settling in for the oil industry.

Oil Price Rally Stalls As U.S. Fuel Demand Falters
By Tsvetana Paraskova - Sep 02, 2020

Oil prices rallied after touching multi-decade lows in April, but they have been stuck in a narrow trade band for two months now as the pent-up U.S. demand rebound in June has fizzled out with flattening fuel consumption that continues to struggle to reach pre-pandemic levels.   Analysts and economists have already largely ruled out the idea of a V-shaped recovery in demand that could drive oil prices up.

COVID-19 related travel restrictions and continued consumer caution in some U.S. states after the resurgence of coronavirus infections have kept U.S. gasoline demand well below year-ago levels in the summer driving season. Gasoline demand had materially improved from the April lows until June, but after that it has been stuck at below 9 million bpd between end-June and mid-August, before rising to 9.161 million bpd in the week to August 21, EIA data shows.

Despite the rise in that week, demand is still off the 9.9-million-bpd seen during the same week last year, suggesting that this summer driving season will end without gasoline demand returning to pre-pandemic levels.

Crude oil inputs at U.S. refineries are still 15 percent lower than they were at this time last year, while refinery capacity utilization was 82.0 percent in the week to August 21 compared to 95.2 percent in same week of 2019, EIA data shows.

The original story was an exaggeration, as explained below:

Article by CNN exaggerates study’s implications for future Greenland ice loss with “point of no return” claim

As described by the reviewers below, the CNN article also overlooks the role of human-caused greenhouse gas emissions in altering the future rate of ice loss from the Greenland Ice Sheet as well the consequences for global sea level rise. For example, one study found that under a low-emissions scenario (RCP 2.6) the Greenland Ice Sheet will lose 8-25% of its present-day mass over the long-term, compared to a loss of 72-100% under a high-emissions scenario(RCP 8.5)[2].


However, the CNN article’s suggestion that Greenland has passed a tipping point is not well established. For example, a paper published in Nature Climate Change in 2018 by Pattyn and coauthors found that the tipping point (that is, the point where potentially irreversible change is set in motion) would be in the neighborhood of 1.5 to 2°C warming above pre-industrial[3]. We’re close, but not quite there yet.

OK, last point first. We will easily hit that because we are much too slow in our actions to curb CO2.

Then the scenarios. They range from 8% loss to 100% loss.
So we are going to lose at least a big chunk.
If we rule out both 2.6 and 8.5 then we will lose between 25-70%. So lets say 40%. That is already a calamity.

If we want to stop it melting we have to go zero carbon and then negative.

So in a very practical way it is unstoppable for the near future.

If you look closely at the graph, we're on the SSP1-2.6 track now and the stated policies are under the SSP2-4.5 path.  And the stated policies haven't really caught up with the economics of the energy transition, in part because the fossil fuel industry had a lot of cash with which to influence politicians in the democracies.

A lot has changed since that graph was published. The energy transition is well underway.  We've already seen peak coal and peak oil is probable in the 2020s.  Renewable electricity generation, which was thought to be too expensive to provide a significant amount of capacity when the RCPs were developed, is now cheaper than fossil fuels and last year renewables were 2/3s of all new electric generation built globally.  Fossil fuel companies are going bankrupt at a record rate as the Covid shut-ins have destroyed demand, particularly for aviation fuel and gasoline.

Regenerative agriculture (both in ranching and in staple crops) which will sequester billions of tons of CO2 is becoming more widely used.  Reforestation and afforestation is already being done (and has helped reverse desertification in Africa) which will also sequester a significant amount of carbon.  And there is research being done on accelerated weathering (olivine on beaches and other minerals elsewhere), to help decrease CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere.

Don't give up.  That's what a certain group of deniers (often those closely tied to the fossil fuel industry) want you to do.

One line in the quoted material caught my attention:
When the ice sheet shrinks, it will withdraw further and further from the coast and ice discharge into the ocean will become less important.
This phenomenon would apply to East Antarctica, but not to Greenland or West Antarctica.  The later two regions are largely iced over archipelagos, so the ice sheet won't 'withdraw from the coast', in fact, the coast will become more and more icy (less rocky) as the ice sheet retreats (until only a handful of mountain glaciers remain and there is no ice sheet).

There's a huge difference between West Antarctica, which has a great deal of exposure to the ocean and retrograde slopes beneath the ice sheet, to Greenland, which has fewer outlet glaciers to the central portion of its ice sheet.

Greenland appears to be less at risk than east Antarctica, based on the topographic maps with the ice sheets removed.

Policy and solutions / Re: Renewable Energy
« on: September 01, 2020, 08:24:58 PM »
Solar and wind power were 67% of the new electricity capacity additions globally in 2019.  Fossil fuels were 25%.

Solar outshines wind to become world's biggest new power source: BNEF

Clean-energy technologies now together account for 2.5TW of installed capacity globally, more than coal or gas, says new report
1 September 2020

Solar energy stormed ahead last year to become the leading new power-generating source in the world, carrying clean-energy technologies including wind and hydro to overtake coal in global installed capacity, according to latest calculations by research consultancy BloombergNEF (BNEF).

PV added 118GW of new plant in 2019 on its way to reaching 651GW of capacity, outpacing wind’s total 644GW, to become the fourth largest power source on the planet, behind coal’s 2.1TW, gas’ 1.8TW and hydro’s 1.2TW.

Solar and wind together accounted for 67% of new capacity added globally in 2019, while fossil fuels slide to 25%, according to BNEF’s new Power Transition Trends 2020 report, which tracks capacity and generation data over the past decade. Taken together with hydro dams, the clean-energy sector has built out some 2.5TW of plant worldwide.

PV eclipsed all-comes in new-build terms and was the most popular technology deployed in 33% of nations, with 81 countries building at least 1MW of solar during the last calendar year and representing nearly half of all new power generation capacity constructed worldwide.

Policy and solutions / Re: Coal
« on: September 01, 2020, 08:12:12 PM »
Australia is more coal dependent than most countries, due to the outsize influence that coal mining companies have on its government.  Even there, coal is declining because it cant compete economically with renewables.

Influx of renewables sees coal power plants run well below capacity, increasing chance of closures
Coal generation at power plants in NSW and Queensland may be falling faster than anticipated
Adam Morton Environment editor
31 Aug 2020

Coal power plants in New South Wales are running less than 60% of the time due to an influx of renewable energy, increasing the likelihood some could become economically unviable and close earlier than planned.

An analysis by Hugh Saddler, an energy consultant and ANU honorary associate professor, also found coal generation in Queensland had dropped to less than 70% of capacity as more cheap solar and wind came online.

AGL’s Liddell coal plant is scheduled to close by early 2023 after the company resisted a campaign by the Morrison government for it to extend its life. Saddler said the fall in demand for coal over the past two years suggested other plants that have yet to confirm closure plans could follow.

He said coal could be running at 50% capacity in NSW by 2022 and 60% capacity in Queensland by 2025 on current trends.

The Australian Energy Market Operator this year found solar and wind were the cheapest forms of new electricity generation, and that the national grid had the technical capacity to run on at least 75% renewable energy and could at peak times reach this level by 2025.

The move from coal to renewable energy has been more rapid in the southern states than in NSW and Queensland. The proportion of wind and solar in Victoria and South Australia has almost doubled in the past four years to reach 29%, while coal’s share fell from 72% to 53%.

By comparison, NSW and Queensland get just 14.5% of their energy from wind and solar. But that was expected to grow as the states promised new renewable energy zones that would put further pressure on coal.

Policy and solutions / Re: Coal
« on: September 01, 2020, 08:05:01 PM »
The EIA has an update on coal power plant retirements.  In the US, 95 GW of coal-fired power plants were retired from 2011 to June 2020 and another 25 GW are planned to be retired by 2025.

September 1, 2020
As U.S. coal-fired capacity and utilization decline, operators consider seasonal operation

Coal-fired electricity generating capacity in the United States is retiring, as tighter air emission standards and decreased cost-competitiveness relative to other power resources make coal-fired power plants less economical. From 2011 to mid-2020, 95 gigawatts (GW) of coal capacity was closed or switched to another fuel and another 25 GW is slated to shut down by 2025, based on information power plant operators reported to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). The closures will decrease the capacity of the U.S. coal fleet to less than 200 GW, more than one-third lower than its peak of 314 GW in 2011. As the coal-fired fleet is retired and remaining plants are utilized less, plant owners are evaluating new operating models, such as seasonal operation.

The coal power plant fleet is used much less during electricity’s shoulder months of spring (March, April, and May) and fall (September, October, and November). During the winter and summer months, the coal fleet operates at an average capacity factor, or utilization rate, of more than 60%. However, in the spring and fall, the average capacity factor has been less than 50%.

Whether or not seasonal operation sufficiently improves the economics of coal plants remains to be seen. In 2018, owners of a plant in Wisconsin and a plant in Texas switched to seasonal operation. However, the practice lasted for less than a year because both facilities were completely shut down shortly thereafter.

Policy and solutions / Re: Renewable Energy
« on: September 01, 2020, 07:51:31 PM »
The Netherlands will have the world's largest offshore windfarm operational in 2023.

Netherlands plans to have the world’s largest offshore wind farm.
By Cukia M
Aug 31, 2020

The Netherlands has announced plans to construct the world’s largest offshore wind farm that will be located in the country’s Dutch North Sea. The wind farm named the Hollandse Kust Zuid 1-4 offshore wind energy project will be constructed by Vattenfall without any subsidy and will have a capacity of 1.5 GW, making it the largest offshore wind farm both in the Netherlands and on the globe. It is expected to begin operations by 2023  with 140 11 MW wind turbines from manufacturer Siemens Gamesa, which will be the first to be installed offshore.

Policy and solutions / Re: Renewable Energy
« on: September 01, 2020, 06:24:30 PM »
Reposted from Aug 28th
EIA shows US battery storage in June at 1053 MW in operation.

And with more under construction, it shouldn't be too difficult to get to the 1.2 GW by the end of the year as forecast in the article I posted above.  Given the flow of investments and project announcements, 100 GW of battery storage in the US by 2030 seems doable.

Again, a new non-fossil fuel energy technology growing far faster than the fossil fuel industry "experts" project.

This explanation is clearer.

Greenland’s Demise – Some Clarification
August 17, 2020

A new paper about Greenland has been released with headlines about “Greenland’s point of no return”.
We are definitely in trouble, but…don’t wave the white flag just yet.

Paleo Climate expert Stefan Rahmstorf and NASA’s Gavin Schmidt have a number of useful qualifiers – a lot to digest here, so I’m going to bookmark this one and keep as a reference:

Stefan Rahmstorf on Twitter:

    News about the death of the Greenland Ice Sheet is greatly exaggerated. What the new paper shows is an observed increase in solid ice discharge into the ocean, which has been at a higher rate than before during the past 15 years. The authors basically say: if this continues, ……then the Greenland Ice Sheet will continue to lose mass.

    But due to that, the ice front retreats from the ocean, as nicely shown e.g. in Andy Aschwanden’s detailed simulations (Above).

    And when the ice loses contact with the ocean, the ice discharge stops.

    The tipping point for losing the Greenland Ice Sheet altogether therefore depends on surface melt permanently exceeding snowfall and does not involve solid ice discharge. Whether this real tipping point of Greenland has been crossed, we do not know.

Gavin Schmidt on Twitter:

A lot of interest in the Greenland ice loss study from King et al.

This is an analysis of 35 years of data, not a modeling study, and so while it can do a good job at attributing the current rates of loss to dynamic responses of the ice sheet, it says nothing about where the process would end up in the future under any plausible scenario.
Nonetheless, it is a very valid question (and subject of much research) to ask at what point the Greenland ice sheet is unviable.

From the Pliocene records, we know that a global mean of ~3ºC above the pre-industrial does not seem to be compatible with a substantial GIS.From the history of past interglacials, with differing temperature changes, the ice sheet responded to different extents:

From the last interglacial, we suspect that an Arctic warming of > 6ºC is compatible with a loss of ~1/3 of the GIS (ie. ~2m of global sea level rise). (fig from…)

The original story was an exaggeration, as explained below:

Article by CNN exaggerates study’s implications for future Greenland ice loss with “point of no return” claim

Analysis of "Greenland's ice sheet has melted to a point of no return, according to new study"
Published in CNN, by Brandon Miller, Max Claypool on 14 August 2020

Three scientists analyzed the article and estimate its overall scientific credibility to be 'low'.
A majority of reviewers tagged the article as: Exaggerating.

As described by the reviewers below, the CNN article also overlooks the role of human-caused greenhouse gas emissions in altering the future rate of ice loss from the Greenland Ice Sheet as well the consequences for global sea level rise. For example, one study found that under a low-emissions scenario (RCP 2.6) the Greenland Ice Sheet will lose 8-25% of its present-day mass over the long-term, compared to a loss of 72-100% under a high-emissions scenario(RCP 8.5)[2].

These comments are the overall assessment of scientists on the article, they are substantiated by their knowledge in the field and by the content of the analysis in the annotations on the article.

Stefan Rahmstorf, Professor, Potsdam University:
While most of this article is correct, I have to give it a low credibility rating because the attention-grabbing headline conclusion is not supported by the study the article is about: “Greenland’s ice sheet has melted to a point of no return, and efforts to slow global warming will not stop it from disintegrating.”

What the paper actually finds is well described in its press release: “Even if humans were somehow miraculously able to stop climate change in its tracks […] the ice sheet would continue to shrink for some time.”[1]

The key phrase here is “for some time”. Based on the study, I conclude that the time scale meant here is decades, maybe a century. However, complete loss of the ice sheet would take about a millennium even with unmitigated warming, and the process which decides over the complete ice loss is surface melt—not the ice discharge by glaciers flowing into the ocean at the margins of the ice sheet, which the study is about. When the ice sheet shrinks, it will withdraw further and further from the coast and ice discharge into the ocean will become less important. This is shown by model simulations that continue all the way until complete ice loss.

Luke Trusel, Assistant Professor, Pennsylvania State University:
Greenland ice sheet melt and its discharge of ice into the ocean has increased over the last few decades, making it one of the largest contributors to global sea level rise. This is important and concerning, and there’s a clear human fingerprint on Greenland ice sheet mass trends. The referenced study by King and coauthors represents important new observations of Greenland’s mass loss and the large increases that have recently occurred[1].

However, the CNN article’s suggestion that Greenland has passed a tipping point is not well established. For example, a paper published in Nature Climate Change in 2018 by Pattyn and coauthors found that the tipping point (that is, the point where potentially irreversible change is set in motion) would be in the neighborhood of 1.5 to 2°C warming above pre-industrial[3]. We’re close, but not quite there yet.

Policy and solutions / Re: Renewable Energy
« on: August 31, 2020, 07:40:24 PM »
In 2019, the US added more than 9 GW of new wind power.  Capacity factors continue to increase and costs continue to decrease.

Nine gigawatts of wind turbines were added last year in the US
The 2019 numbers show projects are up, costs are down.

Scott K. Johnson - 8/28/2020

The topline number is that a little over nine gigawatts of wind capacity was added last year—slightly more than in each of the four previous years. Wind accounts for about one-third of all new generation added in 2019, and it ticked up to seven percent of all electricity generated in the US.

Over 1,800 older turbines were retrofitted last year, mostly with longer blades. That slightly increases their maximum capacity, but more importantly it leads to more consistent generation. These changes have boosted “capacity factors”—the average fraction of a turbine’s maximum capacity that it is generating as the winds vary over the days and seasons. The report notes that the average capacity factor of turbines built 2014-2018 was 41 percent, beating out turbines built 2004-2012 that come in at 31 percent. Newer turbines are also aging more gracefully, maintaining their output better than wind farms built before 2008.

Costs, meanwhile, continue to tick down from a 2010 peak, reaching about $850 per kilowatt for turbines and $1,400 per kilowatt on the project scale. That brings the average cost of electricity produced from wind to $36 per megawatt-hour. Wind has maintained its cost lead over natural gas electricity, although solar electricity has caught up in the last few years.

Policy and solutions / Re: Renewable Energy
« on: August 31, 2020, 07:30:49 PM »
When looking at the nicely colored graphs that are frequently posted here, keep in mind that the power being produced today is based on financial decisions that were made many years ago.  Given the low cost of renewables, most of the fossil fuel (and nuclear) assets in operation today will be phased out of operation well before the end of their useful lives.

In the US, new renewables are now less expensive than new fossil fuel plants without subsidies.  And the costs of renewables is continuing to decrease.  That's going to result in a massive shift in investment to renewables and away from other forms of electrical production.

Where Will Renewable Energy Be in 5 Years?
If the recent past is any indication, renewable energy has a very bright future.
Matthew DiLallo
Aug 30, 2020

The renewable energy industry has evolved over the years. It wasn't all that long ago that it was so expensive to install new capacity that it required a massive amount of government subsidies to make it worth the investment. However, those costs have come down so dramatically in recent years that most renewable energy projects don't need incentives to survive.

That trend will probably become even more pronounced over the next five years. Here's a look at where the sector appears to be headed by 2025.

Renewable energy companies fully expect those costs to continue coming down over the next five years. According to industry forecasts, by 2025, onshore wind will be the cheapest form of electricity even with the phase-outs of production tax credits. Meanwhile, solar will fall from its current level of slightly more expensive than natural gas to the bottom of the cost curve by 2025, making it the second cheapest power source even after the expiration of investment tax credits.

The industry also expects the cost of battery storage to keep declining. Ten years ago, it cost $71 to $81 per megawatt-hour (MWh) for a four-hour battery storage adder. That cost has plunged over the years and is currently between $8 and $14 per MWh. By 2022, it should be down to $4 to $9, according to an industry forecast.

Given that outlook, leading renewable energy producer NextEra Energy (NYSE:NEE) expects that near-firm wind and solar (i.e., with a four-hour battery storage adder) will be cheaper to build than all but the most efficient natural gas power plants within the next five years. In its view, near-firm wind will cost between $20 to $30 per MWh, while near-firm solar will be between $30-$40 per MWh, which puts them at or below the cost of natural gas at $30 to $40 per MWh.

This dramatic improvement in costs compared to fossil fuels should power a significant investment surge in the coming years. After spending $2 trillion over the past five years on new renewable energy capacity, the industry could invest $5 trillion to $10 trillion over the next 10 years. Though with costs coming down, these dollars will stretch much further, enabling companies and governments to build significantly more capacity over prior years, meaning the pace of new wind and solar additions should accelerate. According to one estimate, the industry will go from building an average of 10 gigawatts (GW) apiece of wind and solar per year in the 2019 to 2022 time frame to 12-15 GW per year of wind and 18-20 GW per year of solar between 2023 and 2030.

Policy and solutions / Re: Renewable Energy
« on: August 31, 2020, 07:23:40 PM »
The US energy storage capacity could grow to 100 GW by 2030.  There is currently only 500 MW installed with projects underway to increase that to just over 1 GW.

According to CAISO battery storage actually delivered ~300 MW peak during the August 15th "rolling blackout" event:

CAISO is the California grid operator.  It would appear that California alone has 300 MW capacity, so not too hard to see the rest of the US with another 200 MW with more under construction.

Policy and solutions / Re: Renewable Energy
« on: August 28, 2020, 08:57:53 PM »
The US energy storage capacity could grow to 100 GW by 2030.  There is currently only 500 MW installed with projects underway to increase that to just over 1 GW.

The U.S. Energy Storage Boom Is About To Begin
By Tsvetana Paraskova - Aug 27, 2020

The rise of renewable energy sources and the decarbonization of the grid will need new energy storage installations in the coming years to provide flexible energy and capacity. Alongside rising shares of solar and wind power in the electricity mix, the U.S. is set to see increased energy storage installation as storage is critical to ensuring more solar and wind power generation.

America has the potential to see 100 gigawatts (GW) of new energy storage deployed by 2030, the U.S. Energy Storage Association (ESA) said in a new white paper this month.

That is an ambitious target, considering that in its previous estimate from 2017, ESA projected 35 GW of energy storage – including batteries, thermal, mechanical, and pumped storage hydro – installed by 2025.

The most recent U.S. Energy Storage Monitor from Wood Mackenzie Power & Renewables and the ESA shows that a total of 523 MW of energy storage was deployed in the United States. This year, the storage deployment is set to double to nearly 1.2 GW, despite the coronavirus crisis that has changed and challenged energy markets and company plans. In 2025, energy storage deployment is set to reach 7 GW, representing six-fold growth compared to the new storage installations in 2020.


It's based in the US, and the US is currently lead by a climate change denier.  Hopefully that will change next year and there will be more grant money available for these types of projects.

I just Googled Project Vesta and their website came up immediately.

Given the news stories, I think it's a legitimate organization.  It claims to be a registered 501c3 (the legal name for) non-profit organization in the US.

I hope it works.  In addition to cutting our emissions of greenhouse gases down to as close to zero as we can, we're going to need to take a lot of CO2 out of the atmosphere.  Reforestation, afforestation, rapid weathering (including olivine on beaches), improved agricultural methods to restore soil carbon (including bio-char) could all help.  They're much better options than trying to capture carbon dioxide from the air, liquifying it, and injecting it into the ground in hopes that it stays there (CCS).

Policy and solutions / Re: Renewable Energy
« on: August 26, 2020, 06:00:48 PM »
Well designed solar farms over agricultural land can help increase crop yields while producing clean energy.

How Solar Farms Can Coexist With Agriculture
By Tsvetana Paraskova - Aug 25, 2020

One of the main arguments against extensive solar power installations is that solar farms require a lot of land—land that the agriculture industry craves as well.

But what if it doesn’t have to be an either/or choice? What if solar farms could co-exist with agricultural farms? 

They can. Recent studies and pilot projects in Europe and the United States have shown that dual-use solar farm/farming is possible.

The so-called agrophotovoltaic (agroPV) projects can benefit crops because the solar modules serve a dual purpose—not only do they generate electricity, but they also protect crops from hail and keep shade-loving crops such as leafy vegetables out of direct sunlight while still providing some light via semitransparent solar modules.

For those concerned that solar modules could overheat and dry up crops, the guide says that solar modules actually cool crops and vegetation due to shading, and keep them warmer at night. Studies have also shown that there was no impact on crop growth rates. In addition, grazing sheep can be used to control vegetation, as they do not climb or harm the installations.

AgroPV may not be feasible for huge single-crop farms, but it can boost the yield from certain plants. Preliminary results suggest that cherry tomato yields at an Arizona site of NREL solar farm/farm project have doubled and need less water when grown in the shade of solar panels.

Still, various studies have shown that low-impact solar modules can benefit crop yields. The Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE in Germany found last year that the performance of an agroPV system at a project in the very hot summer of 2018 was beneficial to both crops and power generation.

“Based on the 2018 potato yield, the land use efficiency rose to 186 percent per hectare with the agrophotovoltaic system,” Stephan Schindele of Fraunhofer ISE said. Another Fraunhofer ISE pilot study carried out for the Indian state of Maharashtra showed that shading effects and less evaporation result in up to 40 percent higher yields for tomatoes and cotton crops.

Policy and solutions / Re: Oil and Gas Issues
« on: August 25, 2020, 10:41:26 PM »
Global oil demand is not expected to reach previous highs due to Covid inspired changes.

IHS: Oil Demand Growth Will Taper Off
By Julianne Geiger - Aug 25, 2020

Global oil demand growth—the very thing on which the entire state of the oil industry hinges—is expected to taper off, IHS Markit has said in its latest forecast.

Global oil demand is currently sitting at 89% of pre-pandemic levels, IHS Markit said. It is then expected to rise and level off at between 92% and 95% of the demand pre-pandemic.

Oil demand growth, therefore, will wane and plateau through Q1 2020 as fewer people are commuting to work, and as air travel slumps considerably amid remaining travel restrictions and people’s subdued appetite for air travel—particularly international air travel.

The forecast is borne out by the current data coming out of China, where jet fuel exports hit their lowest point since November 2011. So far, from January to July, China’s jet fuel exports were down 18% from the same period a year ago. And the monthly trend isn’t great either, with July down 77% from a year earlier, and 60% down from June.

Policy and solutions / Re: Renewable Energy
« on: August 25, 2020, 07:23:32 PM »
Namibia and Botswana are partnering to develop a 5GW solar photovoltaic project.

NAMIBIA/BOTSWANA: Authorities fast-track solar PV mega-project of 5 GWp
By Jean Marie Takouleu - Published on August 25 2020

Namibia and Botswana are on the verge of developing one, if not the largest solar photovoltaic project on the African continent. The two neighboring countries in southern Africa want to take advantage of their favorable environment to produce 5,000 MWp of solar energy. Afrik 21 has announced the launch of negotiations for the implementation of the project in September 2019. Tom Alweendo, Namibia’s Minister of Mines and Energy announced a few days ago that the signing of an agreement between Namibia was imminent.

Policy and solutions / Re: Renewable Energy
« on: August 25, 2020, 07:08:13 PM »
The cost of solar power continues to decrease.

Portugal’s second PV auction draws world record low bid of $0.0132/kWh

According to financial newspaper Expresso, the lowest bid in the exercise was €0.0112/kWh, slightly lower than the $0.0135/kWh submitted by French energy group EDF and China’s JinkoPower in a 2 GW tender held in Abu Dhabi, a price which was confirmed last month.
August 24, 2020 Emiliano Bellini

Although Portugal’s second solar energy auction is not expected to be finalized until tomorrow, financial newspaper Expresso has revealed the 700 MW procurement round secured a world record lowest bid of €0.0112/kWh ($0.0132).

If confirmed, that price would be $0.0003 lower than the $0.0135/kWh bid submitted by French energy group EDF and China’s JinkoPower in a 2 GW tender held in Abu Dhabi, which was cofirmed in July.

Portugal’s first solar auction, last summer, saw the Directorate General for Energy and Geology allocate 1.15 GW of solar generation capacity – less than the 1.4 GW originally planned despite the exercise being oversubscribed. That procurement round delivered a solar electricity price tariff of €0.0147/kWh, marking a new world record for that time.

Policy and solutions / Re: Oil and Gas Issues
« on: August 25, 2020, 06:00:35 PM »
Layoffs continue in the shale patch.  If the US had decent economic and energy policies (which may happen in January 2021), those laid off oil workers could be re-employed drilling wells for geothermal power plants or fixing leaking abandoned oil and gas wells.

Two Major Shale Drillers Plan Layoffs
By Irina Slav - Aug 25, 2020

Two shale producers have plans to start cutting jobs, sources in the know who wished to remain unnamed have told Reuters.

Parsley Energy plans to cut 10 percent of all 496 jobs it has created. The number of layoffs at Pioneer Natural Resources remains a secret, but its total workforce is about 2,300 people.

Parsley, which had earlier called for mandatory production cuts in Texas, reported a net loss of some $400 million for the second quarter of the year. On the positive side, the company boasted positive free cash flow during the quarter and a lease operating expense of just $3.69 per barrel. Still, this was not enough to make it optimistic for the immediate future and the company kept its oil price assumptions for the remainder of 2020 low, at $35 per barrel.

This is too low for most producers in the shale patch so the job cuts come as no surprise. They are only the latest additions to an already strong trend across the industry: the Texas Alliance of Energy Producers said earlier this year job losses since February exceeded 41,000. In April alone—the hardest month for oil prices—Texas oil shed as many as 25,000 jobs.

Policy and solutions / Re: Renewable Energy
« on: August 24, 2020, 07:43:05 PM »
Australia currently has more than 100 GW of renewable energy projects in development.

Australia To Lead Energy Transition
By Tsvetana Paraskova - Aug 24, 2020

“Australia currently has a strong renewable pipeline of 102GW, comprising of projects in nascent and advanced stages. Out of this, 102G of wind and solar PV represent almost 90% of the pipeline,” said Somik Das, Senior Power Analyst at GlobalData.

“The government has put the final nail in the coffin for coal-fired power plants, having no plans to continue coal and gas generators beyond the planned retirement dates. In fact, there is potential for coal and gas generators to retire earlier if renewables provide greater cost benefits before the 2040 horizon,” Das noted.

Under the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) 20-year blueprint for Australia’s power generation, by 2034-35, renewable generation may, at times, deliver 85 percent of generation. By 2040, in the step-change scenario, variable renewable energy could account for up to 94.2 percent of electricity generation. 

Policy and solutions / Re: Renewable Energy
« on: August 24, 2020, 06:30:26 PM »
A Chinese coal mining company is building a solar panel manufacturing plant with an initial capacity of 3 GW of panels per year.  The company plans to expand the capacity to 10 GW per year.

A Chinese Coal Miner Is Getting Into Solar Production
Bloomberg News
August 23, 2020

Mid-tier Chinese coal miner Shanxi Coal International Energy Group is planning a significant investment in the competing business of making high-tech solar power cells.

The state-owned firm will lead a joint venture to build a 3-gigawatt solar manufacturing plant for 3.19 billion yuan ($461 million), according to a statement on Friday. It’s the first phase of a project that will grow to 10 gigawatts -- the equivalent of the generating power of 10 nuclear power plants -- producing high-efficiency cells through so-called heterojunction technology.

Permafrost / Re: Arctic Methane Release
« on: August 21, 2020, 11:34:28 PM »
Here's the title:
Massive Ice Control on Permafrost Coast Erosion and Sensitivity.

It will be in GRL. A lot of it is from my PhD research,though I'm further down the author list as more senior people take the main authorship positions:(. This one is primarily based on our use of passive seismics to detect and map out variations in subsurface layers of ice. This was used with DEMs and historical shoreline analysis to describe how these ice layers alter the variations in shoreline retreat rates and vertical mass loss at our field site. Being able to detect where and how thick these ice layers are is important for determining how much carbon is in the soil too. Lots of ice = less carbon. Little ice = more carbon.

Congratulations on being published!  I'm looking forward to reading it.

Policy and solutions / Re: Coal
« on: August 21, 2020, 07:41:13 PM »
The energy transition is happening faster than the experts expected.  Renewables are on pace to produce more electricity than coal in the US this year, something the EIA didn't expect to happen until 2031.

Coal’s Days May Be Over in the U.S.

Renewables will most likely surpass the fossil fuel in electricity generation this year despite the Trump administration’s efforts to prop it up.
By Justin Fox
August 17, 2020

Last year, there were 38 days when U.S. utilities got more electricity from hydroelectric, wind and solar generation than from coal, according to the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis. So far this year, according to the IEEFA and my own crunching of U.S. Energy Information Administration data, it’s already 122 — including every day in the month of April and all but three in May.

n the summer months, higher electricity demand and decreased production from wind turbines and dams give coal a seasonal boost, but expect renewables to start outgenerating it again in the fall. The EIA is now projecting that renewables will produce more electricity than coal for 2020 as a whole — a milestone that as recently as last year it didn’t anticipate coming until 2031.

Permafrost / Re: Arctic Methane Release
« on: August 20, 2020, 06:42:14 PM »
Continuing the quotes from Saunois et al 2020, they also discuss methane hydrates:

Among the different origins of oceanic methane, hydrates have attracted a lot of attention. Methane hydrates (or clathrates) are ice-like crystals formed under specific temperature and pressure conditions (Milkov, 2005). Methane hydrates can be either of biogenic origin (formed in situ at depth in the sediment by microbial activity) or of thermogenic origin (non-biogenic gas migrated from deeper sediments and trapped due to pressure–temperature conditions or due to some capping geological structure such as marine permafrost). The total stock of marine methane hydrates is large but uncertain, with global estimates ranging from hundreds to thousands of Pg CH4 (Klauda and Sandler, 2005; Wallmann et al., 2012).

Concerning more specifically atmospheric emissions from marine hydrates, Etiope (2015) points out that current estimates of methane air–sea flux from hydrates (2–10 Tg CH4 yr−1 in Ciais et al., 2013, or Kirschke et al., 2013) originate from the hypothetical values of Cicerone and Oremland (1988). No experimental data or estimation procedures have been explicitly described along the chain of references since then (Denman et al., 2007; IPCC, 2001; Kirschke et al., 2013; Lelieveld et al., 1998). It was estimated that ∼ 473 Tg CH4 has been released in the water column over 100 years (Kretschmer et al., 2015). Those few teragrams per year become negligible once consumption in the water column has been accounted for. While events such as submarine slumps may trigger local releases of considerable amounts of methane from hydrates that may reach the atmosphere (Etiope, 2015; Paull et al., 2002), on a global scale, present-day atmospheric methane emissions from hydrates do not appear to be a significant source to the atmosphere, and at least formally, we should consider 0 (< 0.1) Tg CH4 yr−1 emissions.

Permafrost / Re: Arctic Methane Release
« on: August 20, 2020, 06:38:23 PM »
Thank you Ken. I bookmarked it.
I think India really need to cut down on their cows. Holy Cow! But I guess some of that must also come from oil and gas exploitation in the middle east?

The arctic looks surprisingly void of Methane. That's interesting. I didn't expect that...

A lot is from oil and gas production in the Middle East.  I think the Himalayan Mountains probably block some of the airflow and increase the concentrations.  And don't forget, most of the population in south Asia rely on rice as their main staple crop, and rice paddies produce methane.  There are also a lot of wetlands in the coastal areas, which also produce a lot of methane.

The methane seeps and bubbles get a lot of hype in the media, but when you compare the amount of methane produced, the Arctic Ocean doesn't really contribute a lot of methane to the atmosphere.  Most of the methane from the subsea permafrost is eaten by microbes before it gets to the ocean floor and then a lot of it is absorbed by the ocean as it bubbles toward the surface.

Estimates for methane emissions for all of the oceans are around 5 to 10 million tons annually.  Total global emissions are around 576 million tons of which  359 million tons are from anthropogenic sources.

The Global Methane Budget 2000–2017
Saunois et. al 2020

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Understanding and quantifying the global methane (CH4) budget is important for assessing realistic pathways to mitigate climate change. Atmospheric emissions and concentrations of CH4 continue to increase, making CH4 the second most important human-influenced greenhouse gas in terms of climate forcing, after carbon dioxide (CO2). The relative importance of CH4 compared to CO2 depends on its shorter atmospheric lifetime, stronger warming potential, and variations in atmospheric growth rate over the past decade, the causes of which are still debated. Two major challenges in reducing uncertainties in the atmospheric growth rate arise from the variety of geographically overlapping CH4 sources and from the destruction of CH4 by short-lived hydroxyl radicals (OH). To address these challenges, we have established a consortium of multidisciplinary scientists under the umbrella of the Global Carbon Project to synthesize and stimulate new research aimed at improving and regularly updating the global methane budget. Following Saunois et al. (2016), we present here the second version of the living review paper dedicated to the decadal methane budget, integrating results of top-down studies (atmospheric observations within an atmospheric inverse-modelling framework) and bottom-up estimates (including process-based models for estimating land surface emissions and atmospheric chemistry, inventories of anthropogenic emissions, and data-driven extrapolations).

For the 2008–2017 decade, global methane emissions are estimated by atmospheric inversions (a top-down approach) to be 576 Tg CH4 yr−1 (range 550–594, corresponding to the minimum and maximum estimates of the model ensemble). Of this total, 359 Tg CH4 yr−1 or ∼ 60 % is attributed to anthropogenic sources, that is emissions caused by direct human activity (i.e. anthropogenic emissions; range 336–376 Tg CH4 yr−1 or 50 %–65 %). The mean annual total emission for the new decade (2008–2017) is 29 Tg CH4 yr−1 larger than our estimate for the previous decade (2000–2009), and 24 Tg CH4 yr−1 larger than the one reported in the previous budget for 2003–2012 (Saunois et al., 2016). Since 2012, global CH4 emissions have been tracking the warmest scenarios assessed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Bottom-up methods suggest almost 30 % larger global emissions (737 Tg CH4 yr−1, range 594–881) than top-down inversion methods. Indeed, bottom-up estimates for natural sources such as natural wetlands, other inland water systems, and geological sources are higher than top-down estimates. The atmospheric constraints on the top-down budget suggest that at least some of these bottom-up emissions are overestimated. The latitudinal distribution of atmospheric observation-based emissions indicates a predominance of tropical emissions (∼ 65 % of the global budget, < 30∘ N) compared to mid-latitudes (∼ 30 %, 30–60∘ N) and high northern latitudes (∼ 4 %, 60–90∘ N). The most important source of uncertainty in the methane budget is attributable to natural emissions, especially those from wetlands and other inland waters.

Some of our global source estimates are smaller than those in previously published budgets (Saunois et al., 2016; Kirschke et al., 2013). In particular wetland emissions are about 35 Tg CH4 yr−1 lower due to improved partition wetlands and other inland waters. Emissions from geological sources and wild animals are also found to be smaller by 7 Tg CH4 yr−1 by 8 Tg CH4 yr−1, respectively. However, the overall discrepancy between bottom-up and top-down estimates has been reduced by only 5 % compared to Saunois et al. (2016), due to a higher estimate of emissions from inland waters, highlighting the need for more detailed research on emissions factors. Priorities for improving the methane budget include (i) a global, high-resolution map of water-saturated soils and inundated areas emitting methane based on a robust classification of different types of emitting habitats; (ii) further development of process-based models for inland-water emissions; (iii) intensification of methane observations at local scales (e.g., FLUXNET-CH4 measurements) and urban-scale monitoring to constrain bottom-up land surface models, and at regional scales (surface networks and satellites) to constrain atmospheric inversions; (iv) improvements of transport models and the representation of photochemical sinks in top-down inversions; and (v) development of a 3D variational inversion system using isotopic and/or co-emitted species such as ethane to improve source partitioning.

The production of methane at the seabed is known to be significant. For instance, marine seepages emit up to 65 Tg CH4 yr−1 globally at seabed level (USEPA, 2010b). What is uncertain is the flux of oceanic methane reaching the atmosphere. For example, bubble plumes of CH4 from the seabed have been observed in the water column, but not detected in the Arctic atmosphere (Fisher et al., 2011; Westbrook et al., 2009). There are several barriers preventing methane from being expelled to the atmosphere (James et al., 2016). From below the seafloor to the sea surface, gas hydrates and permafrost serve as a barrier to fluid and gas migration towards the seafloor; microbial activity around the seafloor can strongly oxidize methane releases or production; further oxidation occurs in the water column; the oceanic pycnocline acts as a physical barrier towards the surface waters, including efficient dissolution of bubbles; and finally, surface oceans are aerobic and contribute to the oxidation of dissolved methane. However, surface waters can be more supersaturated than the underlying deeper waters, leading to a methane paradox (Sasakawa et al., 2008). Possible explanations involve (i) upwelling in areas with surface mixed layers covered by sea ice (Damm et al., 2015), (ii) the release of methane by the degradation of dissolved organic matter phosphonates in aerobic conditions (Repeta et al., 2016), (iii)  methane production by marine algae (Lenhart et al., 2016), or (iv) methane production within the anoxic centre of sinking particles (Sasakawa et al., 2008), but more work is still needed to be conclusive about this apparent paradox.

For geological emissions, the most used value has long been 20 Tg CH4 yr−1, relying on expert knowledge and literature synthesis proposed in a workshop reported in Kvenvolden et al. (2001); the authors of this study recognize that this was a first estimation and needs revision. Since then, oceanographic campaigns have been organized, especially to sample bubbling areas of active seafloor gas seep bubbling. For instance, Shakhova et al. (2010, 2014) infer 8–17 Tg CH4 yr−1 in emissions just for the Eastern Siberian Arctic Shelf (ESAS), based on the extrapolation of numerous but local measurements, and possibly related to thawing sub-seabed permafrost (Shakhova et al., 2015). Because of the highly heterogeneous distribution of dissolved CH4 in coastal regions, where bubbles can most easily reach the atmosphere, extrapolation of in situ local measurements to the global scale can be hazardous and lead to biased global estimates. Indeed, using very precise and accurate continuous land shore-based atmospheric methane observations in the Arctic region, Berchet et al. (2016) found a range of emissions for ESAS of ∼ 2.5 Tg CH4 yr−1 (range [0–5]), 4–8 times lower than Shakhova's estimates. Such a reduction in ESAS emission estimate has also been inferred from oceanic observations by Thornton et al. (2016b) with a maximum sea–air CH4 flux of 2.9 Tg CH4 yr−1 for this region. Etiope et al. (2019) suggested a minimum global total submarine seepage emission of 3.9 Tg CH4 yr−1 simply summing published regional emission estimates for 15 areas for identified emission areas (above 7 Tg CH4 yr−1 when extrapolated to include non-measured areas). These recent results, based on different approaches, suggest that the current estimate of 20 Tg CH4 yr−1 is too large and needs revision.

Therefore, as discussed in Sect. 3.2.2, we report here a reduced range of 5–10 Tg CH4 yr−1 for marine geological emissions compared to the previous budget, with a mean value of 7 Tg CH4 yr−1.

Policy and solutions / Re: Renewable Energy
« on: August 19, 2020, 05:58:27 PM »
Turkey has opened it's first solar panel manufacturing plant.  It has a capacity to manufacture 500 MW of panels annually.

Turkey opens 1st integrated solar panel manufacturing facility
Aug 19, 2020

Turkey on Wednesday witnessed the opening of the country's first and Europe and the Middle East’s only integrated solar panel manufacturing facility, which promises to further develop the country's renewable energy resources.

The facility will be operated through an investment of $400 million (TL 2.9 billion) at a 100,000-square-meter (nearly 25-acre) closed area and will employ 1,400 people, Erdoğan said in his speech.

Turkey has managed to become ninth in the world and third in Europe among countries that have increased their installed solar power capacity since it started bringing solar plants into action in 2014, Dönmez said.

With the commissioning of the plant, the share of solar energy in electricity production in Turkey will increase by 25% and the annual emission of 2 million tons of carbon dioxide will be prevented, the minister added.

Kalyon's facility will produce components for Turkey’s biggest solar power plant, which will be established in the Karapınar district of the central Anatolian province of Konya as part of the first solar Renewable Energy Resource Zone (YEKA) tender with a capacity of 1,000 megawatts.

Permafrost / Re: Arctic Methane Release
« on: August 19, 2020, 05:31:56 PM »
Is there any information available yet on the release of methane in the ESS this year? All those storms in the ESS these last few weeks must be mixing up all that hot water there and causing a massive amount of methane to be released, no?

You can see it daily from the Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service.  Here's today's forecast (North Pole view):,3,2020081803&projection=classical_north_pole&layer_name=composition_ch4_totalcolumn

And then compare that view to the NOAA globally averaged measurement.

ESAS methane emissions are less than the global average.  Areas with large concentrations of people and lots of agricultural and industrial activity are more than global average.

Policy and solutions / Re: Renewable Energy
« on: August 18, 2020, 08:12:30 PM »
Solar capacity is increasing rapidly in Texas.

Texas Solar Hits a Turning Point
As the coronavirus pandemic devastates the state’s already flailing oil and gas industry, solar energy production is on a trajectory for record growth.

Nancy Nusser
Aug 13, 2020

According to the  Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), the nonprofit that oversees Texas’s electrical grid, the state’s utility-scale solar capacity (the big solar farms that connect to the grid) is expected to increase 150 percent this year to 5,777 megawatts. Next year, installed solar capacity is expected to grow more than 130 percent to 13,449 megawatts, according to ERCOT, which relies on information provided by developers.

Momentum has slowed slightly since COVID-19 began spreading across Texas in March, quarantining workers and disrupting supply chains. But unlike the oil and gas industry, the solar industry has not been devastated. “There have been impacts,” says Charlie Hemmeline, executive director of the Texas Solar Power Association. “But big picture, 2020 was slated to be solar’s best year in Texas, and we’re still on track for that to be the case.”

Policy and solutions / Re: Oil and Gas Issues
« on: August 18, 2020, 08:06:39 PM »
LNG demand remains low.

COVID-19 mitigation efforts keep liquefied natural gas demand low

Published on August 13, 2020 by Chris Galford

A new report from the United States Energy Information Administration (EIA) brought mixed news for the natural gas sector, noting that liquefied natural gas exports for the United States remain low due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but with the hope that normality should return in November.

In January 2020, before COVID-19 went into full swing across the world, U.S. exports of LNG hit a record high of 8 billion cubic feet per day (bcf/d). By July, they were down to 3.1 billion bcf/d, and at one point — the week of July 12-18 — only 2 bcf/d were loaded. About 50 cargoes were canceled in July, exceeding the reported number of expected cancelations, according to the EIA.

Worldwide demand has also tanked in response to COVID-19 mitigation efforts.

Policy and solutions / Re: Oil and Gas Issues
« on: August 18, 2020, 08:03:38 PM »
Many oil refineries are idling or closing permanently due to the demand destruction caused by the Covid pandemic.

Refinery Closures Continue Amid Oil Demand Slump
By Tsvetana Paraskova - Aug 17, 2020

Refiners are shutting down permanently or converging oil refineries as the demand crash from the pandemic continues to crush refining margins.

Several refiners and oil majors have recently announced permanent closures in the United States and Asia, while analysts believe that some high-cost refineries in Europe could also be shut down over the next few years as margins for processing crude into fuels are expected to remain depressed.

Some refiners have already announced closures. Last week, Phillips 66 said it plans to shut down the Rodeo Carbon Plant and Santa Maria refining facility in Arroyo Grande, California, in 2023. Phillips 66 plans to reconfigure its San Francisco Refinery in Rodeo, California, to produce renewable fuels.

Marathon Petroleum is idling the Gallup and Martinez refineries indefinitely and is evaluating the strategic repositioning of Martinez to a renewable diesel facility.

In Asia, Shell plans to transform its Tabangao oil refinery in the Philippines into a full import terminal to optimize its asset portfolio.

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