Category: Commentary Series

Monitoring of Portovaya Gas Flares 9/12/2022

Monitoring of Portovaya Gas Flares

Payne Institute Earth Observation Group Christopher Elvidge, Mikhail Zhizhin, Communications Associate Kelly Tabor, and Director Morgan Bazilian write about how using a proprietary Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) Nightfire clustering algorithm, Payne Institute scientists are monitoring two flares from Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) production facilities owned by Gazprom near Portovaya, Russia.  September 12, 2022.

Closing the Energy Poverty Gap in Africa Using Landfill Gas 9/8/2022

Closing the Energy Poverty Gap in Africa Using Landfill Gas

Payne Institute ESG Research Associate Baba Freeman writes about how energy poverty is widespread in African countries and power generation capacity has continued to lag population and economic growth. The prospects for adding generation capacity are currently diminished as global financial institutions reduce lending for carbon-based energy developments in response to the adverse effects of climate change. This paper looks at the economic feasibility assessments of African landfill power generation projects from literature and develops options for policymakers to boost landfill gas power penetration on the continent.  September 8, 2022.

Shifts in the Energy Workforce 9/6/2022

Shifts in the Energy Workforce

Payne Institute Critical Minerals Research Associate Caitlin McKennie, Director Morgan Bazilian, and Sustainable Finance Lab Program Manager Brad Handler write about how the recent passage of the Inflation Reduction Act heralds an unprecedented era of climate investment for the U.S. Such investment brings with it the promise of new jobs across the clean energy landscape. For rural communities that have historically depended on fossil fuel development or use, however, included several in Colorado, the outlook is at least more complicated.   September 6, 2022.

Carbon Capture Utilization and Storage in the New Inflation Reduction Act 8/5/2022

Carbon Capture Utilization and Storage in the New Inflation Reduction Act

Payne Institute CCUS Program Manager Anna Littlefield writes about how the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 should offer an immense boost to the carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS) industry.  With $369 billion allocated to energy security and climate change, the expectation is to ‘lower energy costs, increase cleaner energy production, and reduce carbon emissions by roughly 40% by 2030.”  August 5, 2022.

Interest Group Power and the Passage of Nigeria’s Petroleum Industry Act (PIA): A Multiple Streams Approach 8/4/2022

Interest Group Power and the Passage of Nigeria’s Petroleum Industry Act (PIA): A Multiple Streams Approach

Payne Institute Research Associate Baba Freeman writes about how after about 20 years of slow and staggered progress, Nigeria’s Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) was ratified into law in 2021 and became the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA). This paper examines the dynamic political context in which the bill finally came into being through the lens of the Multiple Streams Framework (MSF). It identifies the key interest groups in the context of the bill’s passage and describes the changes in the preference enforcement power of these groups that opened the way for the passage of the bill. Finally, it sheds light on the PIA’s survival prospects after the 2023 presidential elections based on the backgrounds of the top candidates and their likely policy inclinations.  August 4, 2022.

A View from the Ground Along the Proposed Trans-Saharan Gas Pipeline (TSGP) Route 7/15/2022

A View from the Ground Along the Proposed Trans-Saharan Gas Pipeline (TSGP) Route

Payne Institute ESG Research Associate Baba Freeman writes about how the proposed Trans-Saharan Gas Pipeline (TSGP) has been conceived to transport gas from the Niger delta in Nigeria, across Niger and Algeria to supply Europe as it reduces its dependence on Russian gas while transitioning to lower carbon energy. Technical risks to the pipeline’s success can also be substantially mitigated through engineering studies before the final investment decision is made. A case can be made that beyond these latter risk categories, that there would be residual risks to the TSGP’s success that are non-market and non-technical in nature. July 15, 2022.

Clearing the Non-Technical Hurdles for CCS 7/15/2022

Clearing the Non-Technical Hurdles for CCS

Payne Institute Communications Associate Brooke Bowser, Sustainable Finance Lab Program Manager Brad Handler, CCUS Program Manager Anna Littlefield, and Director Morgan Bazilian write about how the oil and gas industry began injecting carbon dioxide into the ground in the 1970s as a technique to produce more oil (now called enhanced oil recovery), but today there is a renewed interest in CO2 injection for carbon capture and storage (CCS) projects — this time as a way to address climate change. Despite CCS technology itself being decades-old, persistent regulatory and liability questions paired with limited economic viability threaten development, even as the industry appears to be gathering momentum for large-scale growth.  July 15, 2022.

Less is More: The Impact of Auto Lender Risk on Household Auto Purchases

Less is More: The Impact of Auto Lender Risk on Household Auto Purchases 

Payne Institute Faculty Fellow Ian Lange, Payne Institute Researcher Caitlin McKennie, and Mirko Moro write about how credit risk can be an impediment to new auto purchases, especially for electric vehicles. This paper looks at the elimination of auto loan cramdowns for Chapter 13 bankruptcy proceedings, where the loan value is made equal to the auto value, on three outcomes: auto value, likelihood of new auto, and loan-to-value ratio of new autos. Using a difference-in-difference approach based on a state’s historical use of Chapter 13 bankruptcy, we show that household’s secure better loan-to-value ratios and acquire higher valued autos due to lower credit risk following the reform. July 5, 2022.

Can African countries benefit from the coming boom in battery minerals demand? 6/27/2022

Can African countries benefit from the coming boom in battery minerals demand?

Payne Institute Research Associate Baba Freeman writes about how many African nations are falling further behind developed countries in providing economic opportunities for their citizens despite having substantial mineral and energy endowments. Accepting the view that increasing commodity exports can help close the gap, this commentary examines the availability of cobalt, lithium, and nickel resources, reserves and production in African countries and their potential for meeting the future demand for electric vehicle batteries. June 27, 2022.

The Dimming of Lights in Afghanistan 2022 versus 2021 6/24/2022

The Dimming of Lights in Afghanistan 2022 versus 2021

Payne Institute’s Earth Observation Group Senior Research Associate Christopher Elvidge and Research Associates Tilottama Ghosh and Mikhail Zhizhin write a Commentary “The Dimming Lights in Afghanistan 2022 versus 2021”.  Included is a color composite image to identify Afghanistan cities or towns where the lighting has dimmed during the first part of 2022 relative to a year ago using VIIRS day / night band cloud-free average radiances.   June 24, 2022.