Energy in the news friday, may 4 university of michigan energy institute gas density at stp


This parched patch of land, under which lies the largest oil-producing rock formations in the United States, is the epicenter of a growth binge that shows just how tight the link remains between low unemployment, rising wages, and upward pricing pressure.

After a two-year crash, the price of crude CLc1 began to recover in 2016 and pierced $60 a barrel early this year. But oil is still far cheaper than at the peak of the previous eight-year boom that began in 2006 North Dakota’s Bakken oil patch and supercharged the city of Williston.

The Trump administration‘s efforts to weaken vehicle pollution requirements could set up a split U.S. market, concentrating fuel-efficient cars in mostly Democratic states and gas guzzlers in the red states. President Trump’s plans could drastically skew how much consumers pay for the same cars, depending on where they live.

For example, a person walking into a showroom in New York might see discounted electric vehicles and small cars; someone shopping in Ohio could get a cheaper truck or SUV. It’s a divide that already partly exists: Manufacturers introduce EVs in California first because it has a zero-emission vehicles sales quota.

Hydrogen is the cleanest-burning fuel, with water as its only emission. But hydrogen production is not always environmentally friendly. Conventional methods require natural gas or electrical power. The method advanced by the new device, called direct solar water splitting, only uses water and light from the sun.

Fifty years ago, the engineering community thought the concrete they incorporated into U.S. roads and bridges would last for a long time, said Sherif El-Tawil, a University of Michigan professor of civil and environmental engineering. But the state’s roads were given a grade of D- earlier this year by the American Society of Civil Engineers Michigan Section. A full 39 percent of them are in poor condition.

Agrawal is the Samuel Trask Dana Professor at the School for Environment and Sustainability. His research and teaching emphasize the politics of international development, institutional change and environmental sustainability. He has written critically on indigenous knowledge, community-based conservation, common property, resource governance, and environmental beliefs and identities.

It’s almost seems inevitable these days that the popular small eco-conscious company will eventually end up as a subsidiary of a multinational corporation. In the past two decades, more than 13 small companies that gained global notoriety through their “local” sustainability values have been bought by big, mainstream corporations – and often, by corporations that didn’t get their start using the same eco-conscious sourcing.

Stateside has been looking into changes to the Public Utility Regulatory Policy Act (PURPA). The federal act requires electric utility companies to buy energy from solar, wind, and other renewable generators as long as they don’t have to pay more than it costs to generate that power themselves.

In addition, “current law places a cap on how many customers can participate in a utility’s distributed generation program,” Barrett said Monday in a statement. “We are quickly outgrowing the arbitrary limit to net metering, and my bill removes that cap."

In an action that has been in the works for years, the EPA on Monday declared seven counties of metro Detroit, and three communities in west Michigan, in non-attainment of tighter standards for ground-level ozone, which mixes with sunshine, typically on hot summer days, to make smog.

The Trump administration has drafted a proposal that would freeze fuel-efficiency standards for automobiles starting in 2021 and challenge California’s ability to set its own fuel-efficiency rules, changes that would hobble one of the Obama administration’s most significant initiatives to curb climate change.

The draft document, while not final, suggests the Trump administration is poised to make significant changes to planned auto standards over the next decade. A federal official who has reviewed the document described it in detail to The Washington Post.

Drafted in large part by the Transportation Department’s National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA), the plan outlines a preferred alternative in which the federal government would freeze fuel-efficiency standards for cars and light trucks at levels now set for model year 2021, keeping them there through 2026.

Alison Silverstein, a Texas-based consultant, and Rob Gramlich and Michael Goggin, former top staff at the American Wind Energy Association, prepared an analysis for the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Environmental Defense Fund. The report is meant to expand a debate around how to ensure the power grid is reliable overall and resilient when pipes freeze or a hurricane strikes.

The issue of power grid resilience has been kicking up dust in policy circles since President Trump entered the White House with a directive for his appointees to reverse the decline of U.S. coal. The Energy Department has tied that political goal to the complex issues associated with bringing more natural gas generation and renewable energy onto the grid.

U.S. solar and wind energy companies have donated far more money to Republicans than Democrats in congressional races this election cycle, according to a Reuters analysis of campaign finance data, an unprecedented tilt to the right for an industry long associated with the environmental left.

Renewable energy has typically depended on government subsidies and policies to help fuel its growth, and the donations come at a time when Republicans control both houses of Congress as well as a majority of state houses across the country. Republicans have so far left subsidies for the industry largely intact.

If the right factors come together, solar power could provide 15 percent of the global electricity mix by the 2030s, rather than the business-as-usual rate of 5 percent, said MJ Shiao, Wood Mackenzie’s global lead for renewables and emerging technologies, during a presentation at GTM’s Solar Summit in San Diego Tuesday.

Achieving that level would make crucial strides toward global climate-change mitigation, but requires overcoming notable obstacles. In recent months, module prices have actually risen, growth in the U.S. has slowed, and policy fluctuation has introduced uncertainty.

Cobalt could enter a "significant deficit" as early as next year, with existing deficits of copper and nickel also likely to grow as battery makers — and, in the case of copper, manufacturers of charging units and wiring — seek them out in greater quantities.

When parent company Daimler launched Mercedes-Benz Energy Americas in November 2016, it raised the stakes on the promising — if also untested — market. Tesla dominated public awareness with its Powerwall, even though few customers were actually buying it or any of the competing home battery products.