Prolonged Dimming of Ukrainian Urban Illumination: A Measure of Conflict’s Impact
Payne Institute Earth Observation Group Researcher Mikhail Zhizhin writes about how natural disasters such as earthquakes, hurricanes or pandemics trigger a short-term dimming of city lights, followed by a rapid recovery. The war in Ukraine, however, has induced a novel pattern of city lights changes: an abrupt and sustained decline in illumination from the outset of the conflict, persisting for two years with partial recovery observed in some cities. November 15, 2023.
EMPOWERING OR REPRESSIVE: NAVIGATING THE COMPLEXITIES OF RENEWABLE PORTFOLIO STANDARDS IN THE US 11/13/2023
Empowering or Repressive: Navigating the Complexities of Renewable Portfolio Standards in the US
Payne Institute Student Researcher Siddhant Kulkarni and Program Manager Anna Littlefield write about how Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS) represent a strategic push by governments to usher in an era of clean, renewable energy. While RPS are not the only policy-mechanisms that incentivize renewable energy, they have been in place for decades across the world. Data from the International Renewable Energy Association (IRENA) shows that worldwide installed renewable energy capacity has almost doubled in the last decade, thanks in part to the RPS policies implemented. In the US these regulations are particular to individual states and aim to combat increasing greenhouse gas emissions and by extension, climate change. November 13, 2023.
GOVERNMENTS’ RECENT STEPS TO ADVANCE CLIMATE IMPACT; SELECT WORLD INVESTMENT FORUM HIGHLIGHTS 10/25/2023
GOVERNMENTS’ RECENT STEPS TO ADVANCE CLIMATE IMPACT; SELECT WORLD INVESTMENT FORUM HIGHLIGHTS
Payne Institute Sustainable Finance Lab Program Manager Brad Handler writes about the 8th World Investment Forum focused on spurring sustainable development across low and middle income economies. The challenges loomed large, as speakers noted that not only were absolute spending levels far short of what was needed to be “on track” to meet energy transition and SDG targets, but that recent spending in the developing world was far too concentrated in select economies. October 25, 2023.
Modular Carbon Capture and The Inflation Reduction Act
Payne Institute Program Manager Anna Littlefield writes about how as the field of carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS) continues to evolve, the importance of modular carbon capture technologies has become increasingly apparent. August of 2023 marked the one-year anniversary of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) being signed into law, and its potential to incentivize smaller-scale capture systems is manifesting in modular capture innovation. October 12, 2023.
STRATEGY AND PLANNING TO REDOUBLE CLIMATE ADAPTATION IN AFRICA
Payne Institute Fellow Jamal Saghir, Julia Eichhorn, Daniel Flores, and Ede Ijjasz-Vasquez write about how mounting evidence continues to show that Africa is the most vulnerable continent to the adverse impacts of climate change. Ramping up climate finance flows for adaptation is critical to addressing the irreversible impacts of climate change, but financing alone will not be enough to protect the continent. Having a clear set of priorities, with institutions that have the capacity to plan properly and take adaptation actions at scale, is equally important. October 1, 2023.
The African Climate Summit – Averting the Climate Crisis
Payne Institute Research Associate Juliet Akamboe and Director Morgan Bazilian write about how climate change poses a significant threat to Africa, a continent already grappling with challenges including poverty and a lack of access to basic human needs like clean water, healthcare, education, jobs and electricity. Africa is already witnessing severe environmental consequences with changing rainfall patterns, severe droughts and extreme weather conditions, which are stalling socio-economic development. The inaugural Africa Climate Summit (ACS) taking place in Nairobi, this week is a great forum to discuss the role Africa can play in bridging the gap between the Global North and South in addressing the climate crisis. September 5, 2023.
NIGER, URANIUM, AND THE COUP D’ETAT
Payne Institute ESG Researcher Baba Freeman writes about how the recent coup d’etat in Niger, a key supplier of uranium, has created some level of anxiety in the market and brought forward new questions for stakeholders across the industry and the West African sub-region. The event calls for a fresh look at the potential market impact and the way forward to resolving the current disputation in a manner that preserves Niger’s development agenda, minimizes political risk to investors, and aids the emergence of a more resilient global critical minerals supply chain. September 1, 2023.
PROPOSED WEST AFRICA-EUROPE GAS PIPELINES WILL FAIL WITHOUT A RADICAL SHIFT IN THINKING
Payne Institute ESG Researcher Baba Freeman writes about how the Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2022 injected a renewed urgency into Western European countries’ energy security concerns and led to an increase in demand for non-Russian sources of oil and gas. Consequently, Europe is expected to take a larger share of future LNG supplies even as greenfield pipeline projects are being conceived to supply West African gas to Western Europe. These projects include the Trans-Sahara Gas Pipeline (TSGP) and the Nigeria-Morocco Gas Pipeline (NMGP) but may not be able to adequately meet these projects’ future obligations. August 29, 2023.
INVESTORS IN AFRICAN MINING VENTURES MUST REFRESH THEIR RISK MANAGEMENT PROCESSES
Payne Institute Research Associate Baba Freeman writes about how the frequency of coup d’etats in the Sahel region is troubling and calls for mining investors to refresh their political risk assessment processes. The recent trend of militarization must surely prod investors to further assess the likelihood and possible impact of military interventions and incorporate key takeaways from current events into their risk management tools and processes. While the risk of a total loss of capital due to outright warfare can be assessed deterministically, subjective measures of political instability can substantially impact the “country risk” premium that mining investors must pay over and above the risk-free cost of capital. August 17, 2023.
Rising Costs’ Impact on Renewable Power Generation
Payne Institute Program Manager Brad Handler and student researcher Mason Shandy write about how the inflationary pressures that have gripped the global economy over the last 18 months, along with central banks’ efforts to lessen them, are weighing on the economics of building new power generation. Despite recent evidence of some moderation in these inflationary pressures, it is reasonable to expect that they will persist for some time. These higher costs disproportionately impact development of variable renewable energy (VRE), such as wind and solar, and in emerging market (EM) economies. June 27, 2023.
Colorado (CDPHE/AQD) Rule Making Verifying Methane Emissions Reporting
Payne Institute Faculty Fellow Jim Crompton, and Student Researchers Ebenezer Manful-Sam, Wyatt Lindsey and Pierluigi Nichilo write about how reducing greenhouse gases, especially methane emissions, from oil and gas production activities is one of the major themes of regulatory actions both at state, provincial and federal levels in North America as part of society’s path for addressing climate change. One of the biggest barriers for methane reduction is not financial or technology, but rather a lack of rigorous and transparent data. In 2021, Colorado’s Air Quality Control Commission adopted a rule that limits how much greenhouse gas can be emitted per barrel of oil and gas produced. June 5, 2023.
Ambitious EPA Rules to Face Stark Permitting Reality
Payne Institute Program Manager’s Anna Littlefield and Brad Handler, and Director Morgan Bazilian write about how in early May EPA proposed major new carbon emissions standards for coal and many gas-fired electric power plants. Prominent among the options is carbon capture and storage (CCS)—this represents a unique and significant possibility for the technology. The proposal highlights the pressing need to accelerate permitting of CO2 pipelines and injection wells. May 17, 2023.
The Mining Boom is Coming, but Where Can Their Workers Live?
Payne Institute Research Associate Caitlin McKennie writes about how building out a robust talent pipeline for the mining sector through providing quality jobs to workers and advancement opportunities (i.e., training, upskilling, and next skilling efforts) will be a central factor for ramping up domestic critical mineral production and strengthening U.S. energy security. Yet, the labor force associated with nonfuel mineral mining in the U.S. has remained roughly stagnate over the last five years, and aligns with new statistics coming from employers. April 28, 2023.
Burning Landfill in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan detected by VIIRS Nightfire
Payne Institute Earth Observation Group Director Christopher Elvidge writes about a landfill burning in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan as seen through the VIIRS Nightfire satellite imaging systems as part of their global monitoring program. April 13, 2023.
The Regulation of CO2 Pipelines and Ensuring Public Safety
Payne Institute CCUS Program Manager Anna Littlefield and student researcher Dwi Nuraini Siregar write that the 45Q tax credit is anticipated to play an important role in accelerating the expansion of the CO2 pipeline network in the United States by providing a financial incentive for businesses to invest in carbon capture utilization and storage (CCUS) technologies and supporting infrastructure.The Inflation Reduction Act’s amplification of this credit has already increased the number of CCUS projects. March 15, 2023.
VIIRS Day/Night Band Power Outage Analysis for the February 6, 2023 Earthquake in Turkey and Syria 2/16/2023
VIIRS Day/Night Band Power Outage Analysis for the February 6, 2023 Earthquake in Turkey and Syria
Payne Institute Earth Observation Group Research Associates Tilottama Ghosh and Mikhail Zhizhin, and Director Christopher D. Elvidge use satellite imagery to look at the power outage in Turkey and Syria caused by the 7.8 magnitude earthquake that struck in the Gaziantep province in Turkey. February 16, 2023.
Policy Guidelines for Accelerating the Energy Transition in Sub-Saharan Africa: Lessons from the Mobile Telecoms Sector 1-26-2023
Policy Guidelines for Accelerating the Energy Transition in Sub-Saharan Africa: Lessons from the Mobile Telecoms Sector
Payne Institute ESG Research Associate Baba Freeman writes about how Sub-Saharan Africa faces immense challenges in its bid to attract capital to develop its energy resources and grow its economy. Relative to the pace of market penetration of cell phone services in the recent past, the growth in the share of the population with access to electricity has been rather dismal. The comparisons between both sectors are not new and have been made repeatedly over the years. This commentary recognizes that there are substantial differences between both sectors that make direct comparisons and a transfer of policy lessons difficult. January 26, 2023.
Ukraine Power Outages Viewed From the NASA/NOAA Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite at Night 1/10/2023
Ukraine Power Outages Viewed From the NASA/NOAA Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite at Night
Payne Institute Earth Observation Group Director Christopher Elvidge, Research Associate Tilottama Ghosh and Mikhail Zhizhin, and student researcher Elijah Mt.Castle write about how as the Russia-Ukraine war approaches the 1 year mark the electrical grid in Ukraine has taken devastating damage. Russia has hit more than 200 targets in the electrical infrastructure. This has left millions of Ukrainian citizens without power in the cold winter months. In the early days of the war Russia captured the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, which is the largest nuclear power plant in Europe. Russia has now militarized the facility installing several Grad rocket launchers around the dry storage for spent nuclear fuel. Protective structures were erected to defend the launchers, but these structures violate international nuclear and radiation safety regulations. January 10, 2023.
Developing Hydrogen and Carbon Capture and Storage Projects in the State of Colorado
Payne Institute CCUS Program Manager Anna Littlefield and student researcher Chiang Cheng Siew write about how over the past two years, both the hydrogen and carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS) industries have gained momentum in the US. Project development in these industries has been rapidly accelerating with the growing financial incentives from policymakers for the commercial deployment of these projects. The signing of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), also known as the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, in November of 2021 marked the US Department of Energy’s largest single investment in carbon management, along with significant investments funding clean hydrogen development. December 9, 2022.
Climate Change: Toward a More Resilient Africa
Payne Institute Fellow Jamal Saghir and Ede Ijjasz-Vasquez write about how the impacts of the climate emergency continue to intensify in Africa, compounding and amplifying other crises. Africa can still prosper and thrive in a world of climate change. This development is dependent on understanding, preparing, and adapting to oncoming climate impacts. November 29, 2022.
A New Paradigm for Managing Mineral Trade Routes in Africa
Payne Institute ESG Research Associate Baba Freeman writes about how the African Copper belt is a major supplier of key minerals such as Copper, Nickel, and Cobalt to the world economy. Extracting and transporting these minerals to market will be essential to the success of the energy transition as demand for solar and wind energy, and battery metals soar exponentially over the next three decades. In contrast, the dismal state of road infrastructure for transporting the minerals from mine to port creates a major impediment to the commercial competitiveness of miners in the region and threatens economic rents accruable to host countries and communities. This commentary describes a new paradigm that could radically transform the design of solutions to ease logistics problems in the region. November 16, 2022.
Africa’s Energy Transition & Critical Minerals
Payne Institute Critical Minerals Research Associate Caitlin McKennie and student researchers Al Hassan Hassan, and Mama Nissi Abanga Abugnaba write about how as the energy crisis perseveres and governments around the world attempt to meet net zero emission timelines, there are many eyes on Africa’s natural resource supply. Africa is resource rich. The continent is endowed with significant hydrocarbon reserves and critical minerals required for low-carbon technologies. As political and environmental developments around the world seek to decarbonize supply chains, pivoting investments over time towards critical minerals in Africa can help and bridge the gap between emerging/developing economies and energy security. November 3, 2022.
On Equal Footing: The Impact of FERC Order 841 on Grid Battery Installations
Payne Institute Faculty Fellow Ian Lange, student researcher Anuja Oke, and Critical Mineral Research Associate Caitlin McKennie write about how new technologies don’t often “fit” within market designs as well as the incumbent technologies. As a result, subtle changes in market rules can have large impacts on new technology adoption, and their associated supply chains. This research measures the impact on grid battery installations, and the resulting lithium demand – both generated by the June 2020 Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) Order 841. October 26, 2022.
The Keys to the Future Oil and Gas Production Facility: The Colorado Story
Payne Institute Faculty Fellow Jim Crompton, and Mines Student Researchers Wyatt Lindsey and Chiang Cheng Siew and write about how with the growing concern about climate change, the need for a diversified energy portfolio for energy security and the expectation for an energy transition away from fossil fuels to non-carbon energy solutions, such as renewables, all signals suggest that the energy transition has already begun. States like Colorado has been rewriting regulations to include stricter rules on oil and gas production. While the energy industry is transitioning due to market forces, public policies, and technological advances, fossil fuels are not yet out of the picture for the total energy supply of the future. October 26, 2022.
The Future of Oil and Gas Production in Urban and Suburban Environments: “Is Colorado an Example of Where the North American Crude Oil and Natural Gas Industry Might be Headed?”
Mines Student Researcher Wyatt Lindsey, Alumni William Jordan, Student Researcher Chiang Cheng Siew and Payne Institute Faculty Fellow Jim Crompton write about how there has and is much discussion about the future of fossil fuels, specifically the oil and gas industry. With growing concern on climate change, the need for a diversified energy portfolio, incorporation of clean energies into energy production, and the expectation for an energy transition away from fossil fuels to non-carbon energy solutions, such as renewables, signifies that the energy transition has already begun. While the energy industry is transitioning due to market forces, public policies, and technological advances, fossil fuels are not yet forgotten in the total energy supply of the future. October 25, 2022.
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DISCLAIMER: The opinions, beliefs, and viewpoints expressed are those of the author alone and do not reflect the opinions, beliefs, viewpoints, or official policies of the Payne Institute or Colorado School of Mines.