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

28 August 2021

The Global Energy Transition

Jon Alterman: Dan Yergin is the vice chairman of IHS Markit and a director of the Council on Foreign Relations. He’s a Pulitzer prize winning author for his book, The Prize: The Epic Quest for Oil, Money, and Power, and he’s the author of the new book, The New Map: Energy, Climate and the Clash of Nations. Dan, welcome to Babel.

Daniel Yergin: Thank you. Glad to join you today.

Jon Alterman: I was surprised to read in your book that fracking was only first commercially successful as recently as 1998, and within 10 years it completely changed the energy industry. Has there ever been a demand driven shift that works that quickly, and could there be?

Daniel Yergin: I don't think so. What happened with fracking is certainly the biggest energy innovation of the twenty-first century, and it happened fast. A lot of people—including in the Middle East—were quite taken by surprise. Even the people who promoted and developed it never imagined at the beginning that it could achieve the scale and have the impact that it has had. In 2008, the United States was importing 60 percent of its oil. Today, the United States is the world's largest producer of oil. The United States is the world's largest producer of natural gas, and it exports both. It’s quite an amazing change. There have been other times in history when big new volumes of oil have come into the market rather unexpectedly. Usually, when that happens you do have a price collapse because the supply overwhelms demand. That's what we saw here, but it is really quite remarkable that it happened so fast.

9 August 2021

Like It or Not, Biden Will Have to Live With Russia’s Energy Exports

Nikolas Gvosdev

History does not repeat itself, as Mark Twain remarked, but it does rhyme. And when it comes to its policies on Russia, climate and energy, the Biden team is dealing with Obama-era echoes.

Seven years ago, in my then-weekly column for WPR, I called attention to the internal tensions in the Obama administration’s climate, energy and geopolitical priorities. Back then, the United States was trying to square several irreconcilable circles. One had to do with reducing Russia’s global influence by constraining its sales of energy. Another was putting the brakes on domestic U.S. energy projects that would both increase hydrocarbon usage and despoil the environment. Still another was making sure Americans weren’t paying the price for these two policies at the pump.

On top of all this, the Obama administration’s overriding foreign policy priority at the time was to put significant economic pressure on the Iranian regime in order to secure the nuclear deal formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA. That meant that the U.S., in asking allies and partners to significantly reduce their energy purchases from Iran, could not easily object to them substituting Russian sources of supply. At the same time, Washington could also not afford to alienate Moscow, which played a key role in the multilateral negotiations for the nuclear deal.

7 August 2021

Tangled Wires: Preparing India’s Power Sector for the Clean Energy Transition


Almost none of the world’s largest polluters have enacted policies compatible with the Paris Agreement’s target of limiting global warming to within 2 degrees Celsius, a threshold past which climate disruption is projected to become even more frequent, severe, and unpredictable.

Fortunately, despite the absence of adequate government support, renewable energy has grown at an astonishing pace in recent years thanks to its plummeting cost. India, for example, has more than doubled its stock of wind and solar power in the last five years, driven less by sustainability concerns than by clean energy’s potential for cost-effectively meeting citizens’ pressing development needs.

However, the low prices of wind and solar projects disguise the structural costs renewable energy poses for grids when deployed at larger scales. The intermittent, unpredictable nature of the electricity generated by such technologies—in contrast to the stable, on-demand flow of power from traditional fossil fuel generation—requires fundamental changes to how countries invest in and operate their grids.

6 August 2021

Incentivizing Solar: Catalyzing Solar Energy Technology Adoption to Address the Challenge of Climate Change

Liam Regan, Brian Wong, Benjamin Lee Preston, Aimee E. Curtright

The U.S. energy landscape has changed markedly, and solar power is rapidly growing as a sector: In 2021, solar power is expected to make up 39 percent of new installed generation capacity. In this Perspective, the authors provide an overview of the U.S. solar energy market, the rapid changes that it has undergone over the past decade, and the challenges that lie ahead as the broader energy system evolves. In addition, they examine different incentives for increasing solar power and the roles that different stakeholders, particularly the federal government, play in incentivizing solar markets. The authors explore the potential implications of these incentives for different solar technologies and private-sector business models and identify characteristics of federal incentives that are consistent with the objective of achieving deep decarbonization of the U.S. economy. They also explore the reliability and resiliency of solar power, its co-benefits for the jobs market, and its availability to disadvantaged and vulnerable communities.

1 February 2020

Injecting Electromagnetic Pulses into the Electric Grid and Infrastructure: The Poor Man’s EMP Nuke

By Paul F. Renda

The United States has experienced disruptions from electromagnetic pulses (EMP) due to high-altitude hydrogen bomb explosions and also space weather. The first time that this occurred with the hydrogen bomb was the starfish test detonation experiment. This explosion was over 800 miles away from Hawaii, and it still disrupted many electrical devices. Solar storms also create EMP events that upset these devices. These storms come about from solar flares and coronal mass discharges from the sun.
There is a way for a novice or terrorist to generate an EMP that can disrupt a computer.

The United States has underestimated the ability of an amateur or terrorist to launch an EMP attack on the infrastructure or the electric grid. In addition to the phenomena introduced above, a Tesla coil or Marx generator can easily supply the EMP to disable the infrastructure or a part of the electric grid. Another device that can be an EMP source is the camera flash. This device may be an issue if a terrorist connects it to the wiring of a fly-by-wire jet.

What is an EMP?

An EMP is a high energy, very short duration (in the microsecond range) discharge of radiofrequency energy. This event disables electromechanical devices, but it's particularly toxic at lower energy levels to microprocessors and computers. It can be created by a hydrogen bomb explosion at an altitude far above the surface of the Earth. A Marx generator or Tesla coil can also generate it. Other sources of EMP can be naturally occurring phenomena: Lightning, solar flares, and coronal mass discharges from the Sun can also produce EMP.

18 December 2019

Infographic Of The Day: The Lithium-Ion Supply Chain

Battery minerals are set to become the new oil, with lithium-ion battery supply chains becoming the new pipelines. Today's infographic explores the current energy landscape and America's position in the new energy era.

24 November 2019

The Production Gap

The Production Gap Report addresses the necessary winding down of the world’s production of fossil fuels in order to meet climate goals.

Though coal, oil, and gas are the central drivers of climate change, they are rarely the subject of international climate policy and negotiations. This report aims to expand that discourse and provide a metric for assessing how far the world is from production levels that are consistent with global climate goals.

The first Production Gap Report assesses the discrepancy between government plans for fossil fuel production and global production levels consistent with 1.5°C and 2°C pathways. This production gap tells us the magnitude of the challenge.

The report reviews, across 10 fossil-fuel-producing countries, the policies and actions that expand fossil fuel production and, in turn, widen the gap. It also provides policy options that can help countries better align production with climate goals. This is especially relevant over the next year, as countries prepare new or updated nationally determined contributions (NDCs), which set out their new emission reduction plans and climate pledges under the Paris Agreement. Report

28 October 2019

The Sun Is Shining Bright On Solar Energy Growth

IEA estimates that by 2024 the global combined capacity of renewable sources of energy will add 1,200 GW of capacity, the equivalent of installed power capacity in the United States today. Power capacity refers to how much power each energy source would be able to supply under ideal conditions. As of last year, renewable capacity was just over 2,500 GW of power globally. Over the next five years, the newly released report anticipates renewable energy to grow by 50 percent.

Solar photovoltaic energy is expected to account for about 60 percent of the renewable growth over the next five years. The falling average cost of installation and implementation for solar will aid in its expansion. Back in 2010, SEIA reports that each watt produced by solar cost about $5.00. That price dropped to right around $1.00 per watt by the second quarter of this year. The increased focus on renewables by governments is expected to help continue the downward trend in costs.

18 September 2019

The Clean-Energy Fast Track


LONDON – The global transition from carbon-intensive fossil fuels to cleaner, more reliable renewables like wind and solar is already well underway. But the big question – for the 2020s and beyond – is how fast it will happen. A slow transition would mean that energy-sector incumbents continue to flourish, and we would all but certainly miss the emissions-reduction targets enshrined in the 2015 Paris climate agreement. But if the transition is rapid, incumbents will experience varying degrees of disruption – the price of keeping the Paris targets well within reach. As matters stand, both scenarios are possible, representing two paths that lie before us.

In a new report for the World Economic Forum’s Global Future Council on Energy, we and our co-authors identify four key areas that will determine which path we take. The Speed of the Energy Transitionoffers compelling evidence that the transition is coming fast, and that all stakeholders in the global energy system – which is to say, everyone – must start preparing.

One area where the gradual and rapid scenarios diverge is adoption of renewable energy. When will renewables start displacing incumbents? For markets, the key moment will be when renewables make up all of the growth in energy supply, as well as all the growth in electricity supply. That, most likely, will happen in the early 2020s, long before fossil fuels lose their dominant share of total energy supply. As renewables become the leading growth industries in the energy sector, financial markets will increasingly reallocate capital accordingly.

17 June 2019

The International Politics of Energy and Resource Extraction

Despite concerns over the environmental impact of industrial mining and the contribution that fossil fuels make to global warming, resource extraction continues to be a major source of revenue for both developing countries and wealthier nations alike. In fact, new data show that the amount of resources being pulled from the earth has tripled since 1970, though the global population has only doubled in that time. 

Despite global efforts to reduce carbon emissions as part of climate change diplomacy, fossil fuels remain among the most prized extractives, for a simple reason: Global demand combined with the wealth they generate continues to give some countries, including members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, outsized global influence. 

The lucrative contracts associated with the extractive sector help to explain why resource extraction remains central to many developing countries’ strategy to grow their economies. But the windfalls don’t come without risks, most prominent among them being the “resource curse” that can plague countries that fail to diversify their economies to generate alternate sources of revenue. Corruption can also thrive, especially when government institutions are weak. And when the wealth generated from resource extraction isn’t fairly distributed, it can entrench a permanent elite, as in Saudi Arabia, or fuel persistent conflicts, as in the Democratic Republic of Congo. 

13 March 2019

The geopolitical implications of the global energy transition


Energy has traditionally played an important role in global geopolitics, contributing to the rise of great powers, the formation of alliances and, in many cases, also to the emergence of wars and conflicts. Every international order in modern history has been based on an energy resource. This piece discusses how the ongoing low-carbon energy transformation could reshape global geopolitics in the future.

Since the First World War, oil has undoubtedly been the cornerstone of global energy geopolitics. The decision of the then First Lord of Admiralty Winston Churchill to change the fuel source of the Royal Navy warships from coal to oil, in order to make the fleet faster than its German counterpart, marked the opening of a new era. The shift from secure coal supplies from Wales to uncertain oil supplies from what was then Persia, has led to the Middle East becoming an important epicentre of global geopolitics and to oil becoming a key issue for national security.

10 February 2019

Bank Of America: Oil Demand Growth To Hit Zero Within A Decade

By Nick Cunningham

By 2030, oil demand could hit a peak and then enter decline, according to a new report.

For the next decade or so, oil demand should continue to grow, although at a slower and slower rate. According to Bank of America Merrill Lynch, the annual increase in global oil consumption slows dramatically in the years ahead. By 2024, demand growth halves, falling to just 0.6 million barrels per day (mb/d), down from 1.2 mb/d this year.

But by 2030, demand growth zeros out as consumption hits a permanent peak, before falling at a relatively rapid rate thereafter.

The main driver of the destruction in demand is the proliferation of electric vehicles.

Bank of America did offer a few caveats and uncertainties. The growth of EVs hinges on a handful of key metals. Lithium, for instance, is mined and produced in large concentrations in a few Latin American countries.

2 February 2019

Infographic Of The Day: Mapped - Every Power Plant In The United States

Every year, the United States generates 4,000 million MWh of electricity from utility-scale sources.

While the majority comes from fossil fuels like natural gas (32.1%) and coal (29.9%), there are also many other minor sources that feed into the grid, ranging from biomass to geothermal.

Do you know where your electricity comes from?

The Big Picture View

Today’s series of maps come from Weber State University, and they use information from the EPA’s eGRID databases to show every utility-scale power plant in the country.

Use the white slider in the middle below to see how things have changed between 2007 and 2016:

The biggest difference between the two maps is the reduced role of coal, which is no longer the most dominant energy source in the country. You can also see many smaller-scale wind and solar dots appear throughout the appropriate regions.

Here’s a similar look at how the energy mix has changed in the United States over the last 70 years:

Up until the 21st century, power almost always came from fossil fuels, nuclear, or hydro sources. More recently, we can see different streams of renewables making a dent in the mix.

30 January 2019

America’s Short-Lived Oil Resurgence

By Deepak Gopinath

NEW DELHI: Celebration of America’s reemergence as an oil superpower riding on shale oil production may be cut short.

Last year may well have been the high-water mark of US preeminence. Burgeoning shale oil production helped transform the United States into a net exporter of oil and fuels in November and pushed crude output to a record of almost 12 million barrels per day – more than Saudi Arabia or Russia – positioning it firmly on the path of energy independence. America’s newfound status as major oil producer and exporter translated into geopolitical influence, giving President Donald Trump a handy club to wield when pressuring OPEC and Russia to lower oil prices or more broadly pursuing US strategic interests.

25 January 2019

Huge Backlog Could Trigger New Wave Of Shale Oil – Analysis

By Nick Cunningham

The number of drilled but uncompleted wells (DUCs) in the U.S. shale patch has skyrocketed by roughly 60 percent over the past two years. That leaves a rather large backlog that could add a wave of new supply, even if the pace of drilling begins to slow.

The backlog of DUCs has continued to swell, essentially uninterrupted, for more than two years. The total number of DUCs hit 8,723 in November 2018, up 287 from a month earlier. That figure is also up sharply from the 5,271 from the same month in 2016, a 60 percent increase. The EIA will release new monthly DUC data on January 22, which will detail figures for December.

Some level of DUCs is normal, but the ballooning number of uncompleted wells has repeatedly fueled speculation that a sudden rush of new supply might come if companies shift those wells into production. The latest crash in oil prices once again raises this prospect.

21 January 2019

The Future of Shale


Over the last ten years, the United States has become the world’s leading producer of oil and gas, going from energy import dependence to energy dominance. This shift is due to the ability to produce from shale plays, a story which started in Texas and grew to have global ramifications. In a new report, The Future of Shale: The US Story and Its Implications, Global Energy Center Senior Fellow Ellen Scholl looks at the factors which enabled the rise of oil and gas production from shale deposits, focusing on the developments which have transpired in Texas. 

This Global Energy Center report examines the Texas experience to draw lessons learned for countries hoping to utilize their shale resource potential and implications for global energy markets and geopolitics. The report concludes that the US case illustrates the challenges of operating in both a rural and an urban environment, underscores the unique advantages of the enabling ecosystem in the country, and demonstrates the importance of size and scale.

14 January 2019

How Is China Securing Its LNG Needs?

In 2017, China surpassed South Korea to become the world’s second-largest liquefied natural gas (LNG) importer. In a few years, it might overtake Japan. But how is China securing its LNG needs? This is an important question for several reasons. First, when Chinese companies go overseas, they often trigger geopolitical anxiety, so it is worth asking whether Chinese companies are going out more than before; and if so, where and doing what deals? Second, China is the main growth market for LNG, and so Chinese companies can set a tone for the market as a whole; is there a shift in buying behavior or risk? And third, some U.S. project developers worry that the trade war with China will hurt their ability to progress to final investment decision (FID), while others, like Alaska, place their hopes on China; how real are those hopes and concerns?

China’s foray into LNG started in the early 2000s. China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) was the first national oil company (NOC) to venture into LNG buying an equity stake in two projects in Indonesia and Australia and contracting to purchase LNG on a long-term basis from those projects (for a full list of the deals used for this analysis, see appendix). From 2006 to 2009, China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) and Sinopec joined CNOOC to sign long-term contracts but without acquiring any equity. In 2008 CNOOC also signed the first portfolio deal, where the LNG is not tied to any source but is delivered by a company with multiple options. From 2010 to 2014, the NOCs signed one or two long-term contracts a year, while also acquiring equity stakes in Australia, Russia, Mozambique, and Canada. Other Chinese companies started to sign contracts in 2010, and, from 2015 to 2017, non-NOCs accounted for most of the contracts LNG into China but without buying equity stakes. The NOCs came back to the market for long-term contracts in 2018 but again with no equity positions. In short, there have been a few twists and turns in these 18 years, and while it is not easy to compress this story into a few paragraphs, some clear patterns can be observed in how Chinese companies have gone about securing LNG.

12 January 2019

How Is China Securing Its LNG Needs?

In 2017, China surpassed South Korea to become the world’s second-largest liquefied natural gas (LNG) importer. In a few years, it might overtake Japan. But how is China securing its LNG needs? This is an important question for several reasons. First, when Chinese companies go overseas, they often trigger geopolitical anxiety, so it is worth asking whether Chinese companies are going out more than before; and if so, where and doing what deals? Second, China is the main growth market for LNG, and so Chinese companies can set a tone for the market as a whole; is there a shift in buying behavior or risk? And third, some U.S. project developers worry that the trade war with China will hurt their ability to progress to final investment decision (FID), while others, like Alaska, place their hopes on China; how real are those hopes and concerns?

14 December 2018

Energy Opportunities under the Free and Open Indo-Pacific Vision

Jane Nakano

Energy has emerged as a key element in the economic agenda under the Trump administration’s Free and Open Indo-Pacific strategy, which essentially seeks to marshal a counteroffensive to China-led multi-billion-dollar energy and energy infrastructure outreach in the region. In July 2018, the U.S. administration announced several economic initiatives to “support foundational areas of the future: digital economy, energy, and infrastructure.” In particular, Asia EDGE (Enhancing Development and Growth through Energy) is an initiative that aims to strengthen energy security and promote energy access across the Indo-Pacific by growing regional markets and boosting U.S. energy exports, such as natural gas that is a lower carbon alternative to coal, whose demand is on rise in the region.

5 December 2018

Is Chechnya Finally Going to Control Its Own Oil Reserves—and Thus Its Destiny?

Paul Goble

In one pivotal scene in David Lean’s 1962 film Lawrence of Arabia, Thomas. E. Lawrence asks the British general in Cairo, Sir Edmund Allenby, to provide the Arab revolt with artillery. The general’s political advisor says that if he gives the Arabs artillery, he will have effectively given them independence. In that case, Allenby says, he cannot do it. That dramatized exchange springs to mind after Chechnya’s leader, Ramzan Kadyrov, said in Grozny on October 28 that his republic is on the brink of acquiring a 100 percent stake in a petrochemical extraction company. That state acquisition will crucially allow the Chechens to pump, process and sell oil on their own (RBC, October 28).