Essays, Blogs, and Stories
ENERGY TRANSITIONS AND LOCAL ACTION: THE CASE OF COLORADO’S COAL TRANSITION
The energy transition is underway. While this transition is occurring across many dimensions of the energy value chain having a dynamic impact on consumers and producers alike, it is often simply described as a move to a cleaner, low- or zero-carbon system. The contours of the pathway remain unclear, but certain aspects are already visible. The dramatic rise in solar and wind power generation in electricity systems and the rise of electric vehicles are occurring in multiple economies across the globe as is an increased focus on energy efficiency. August 21, 2019.
GLOBAL ENERGY TRANSPORT SECURITY
A series of attacks and detentions for oil cargo ships this year have made the Strait of Hormuz a geopolitical hotspot once again, harkening back 35 years to the so-called “tanker wars,” part of the Iran-Iraq War. And while Hormuz’s role as the world’s primary most important oil transit route has not changed, much else about the energy security landscape has – especially growth in liquefied natural gas markets. The concerns around disruptions to oil markets are now salient for natural gas markets as well. August 20, 2019.
ELECTRICITY AS COERCION: IS THERE A RISK OF STRATEGIC DENIAL OF SERVICE?
Increasing the interconnection of electricity systems both within and between countries has much promise to help support clean energy power systems of the future. If the sun isn’t shining or the wind isn’t blowing in one place, an electricity grid with high voltage transmission lines can move electricity to where it is needed. This shared infrastructure and increased trade can possibly serve as a basis for peace between neighbors in conflict, but it may also serve as a tool of coercion if the electricity can be cut off by one party. August 20, 2019.
APPLYING MACHINE LEARNING TO GEOTHERMAL EXPLORATION
Payne Institute Faculty Expert Sebnem Duzgun, professor and Fred Banfield Distinguished Endowed Chair of Mining Engineering at Colorado School of Mines, has been awarded funding from the U.S. Department of Energy to apply new machine learning techniques to geothermal exploration. Duzgun will receive $500,000 over 18 months for her project, which was one of 10 nationwide recently selected for DOE funding. August 8, 2019.
THE UNITED STATES’ GAS FLARE-UP: WHY AN ENVIRONMENTAL AND ECONOMIC PROBLEM THAT WAS ON THE DECLINE IS BACK WITH A VENGEANCE July 28, 2019
THE UNITED STATES’ GAS FLARE-UP: WHY AN ENVIRONMENTAL AND ECONOMIC PROBLEM THAT WAS ON THE DECLINE IS BACK WITH A VENGEANCE
When companies drill for oil, the process can also release natural gas (primarily composed of methane) as a byproduct, called associated gas. For safety reasons and to release pressure in the system, the associated gas needs to be removed. Typically, this has been done by venting (releasing) or flaring (burning) the gas. Of the two, flaring is preferable, since it converts methane, a very powerful greenhouse gas to carbon dioxide, a less powerful one. But natural gas flares are still wasteful and environmentally harmful. July 28, 2019.
ROCKEFELLER DATA INITIATIVE AIMS TO TRANSFORM ELECTRICITY SYSTEMS
$3.8 Million Grant from The Rockefeller Foundation Will Enable Top Researchers at Four Leading Universities – including Colorado School of Mines – to Use Enhanced Data Modeling to Transform Electricity Systems in Emerging Economies. June 18, 2019.
INCREASED SHALE OIL PRODUCTION AND POLITICAL CONFLICT CONTRIBUTE TO INCREASE IN GLOBAL GAS FLARING June 12, 2019
INCREASED SHALE OIL PRODUCTION AND POLITICAL CONFLICT CONTRIBUTE TO INCREASE IN GLOBAL GAS FLARING
Newly released estimates from satellite data show global gas flaring increased by 3% in 2018 to 145 billion cubic meters (bcm), which is equivalent to the total annual gas consumption of Central and South America. June 12, 2019.
OIL’S POWER PLAYERS
Payne Institute initiative on the Future of Oil and Gas partnered with Natural Resource Governance Institute on an essay on the role of National Oil Companies in the energy transition in Foreign Policy. The United States may be a growing force in energy markets, but national oil companies still reign supreme. June 5, 2019.
FOUR META-CHALLENGES TO POWER SECTOR REFORM IN SUB-SAHARAN MARKETS
Sub-Saharan African countries urgently need more electricity services to foster economic growth and job creation. While plugging the energy gap is not sufficient to address all the region’s economic woes, it is a fundamental building block to the wider aspirations of these societies. Still, reforming power sector regulations and governance across the region continues to be fraught with problems. May 17, 2019.
NIGHT LIGHT VESSEL DETECTION FROM THE EARTH OBSERVATION GROUP AT THE PAYNE INSTITUTE
Global Fishing Watch’s new night light vessel detection layer uses satellite imagery from the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to reveal the location and activity of brightly lit vessels operating at night. Because the vessels are detected solely based on light emission, we can detect individual vessels and even entire fishing fleets that are not broadcasting AIS and so are not represented in the AIS-based fishing activity layer. May 11, 2019.
THESE ARE THE 4 MOST LIKELY SCENARIOS FOR THE FUTURE OF ENERGY
The pressures on the global energy system are unprecedented. Demand is being fuelled by a growing population and economic growth, but powering the world still depends on fossil fuels, and creates two-thirds of global emissions. Emissions resulting from human activity will need to be at net zero by 2050 to limit global warming, according to the recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report. But last year, global energy-related CO2 emissions rose to the highest level ever. Added to this is a shifting geopolitical landscape, which has seen the transition to an inclusive, sustainable, affordable and secure energy system slow down. May 9, 2019.
POWER-TO-X IN GERMAN EXPERIENCE: ANOTHER IN THE LIST OF GROWING ENERGY TRANSITION STRATEGIES May 8, 2019
POWER-TO-X IN GERMAN EXPERIENCE: ANOTHER IN THE LIST OF GROWING ENERGY TRANSITION STRATEGIES
Winds of change continue to blow across the global energy landscape as firms, the general public, and policymakers shift strategic directions to address goals of environmental sustainability that also recognize economic priorities. May 8, 2019.
PAYNE INSTITUTE DIRECTOR SPEAKS AT PRIVATE CRITICAL MINERALS ROUNDTABLE
Morgan Bazilian attends private event at the Atlantic Council Headquarters to lead a private lunch roundtable on the trade and security implications of the rising demand for critical minerals.
INTERNET OF THINGS: ENERGY BOON OR BANE?
Since the dawn of the internet, a digital revolution has transformed life for millions of people. Digital files have replaced paper, email has replaced letters, and cell phones provide access to many services that facilitate daily life. This digital revolution is not over, and there is now a growing deployment of technologies grouped under the term “Internet of Things” (IoT)—a worldwide network of interconnected objects that are uniquely addressable via standard communication protocols. April 29, 2019.
THE MISSING INTERNATIONAL PIECE OF THE GREEN NEW DEAL
When U.S. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Senator Ed Markey released the text of the Green New Deal in February 2019, they were paying homage to the policies that lifted the United States out of the Great Depression. The resolution tied action on climate change to a wider set of social objectives, including creating jobs in renewables and other clean technologies, targeting the country’s vast need for improved infrastructure, and addressing issues as varied as sources of income and health care inequality. This essay focuses on what is missing—an international dimension. April 29, 2019.
PAYNE INSTITUTE, KAPSARC HOST ROUNDTABLE ON ENERGY MARKETS
The Payne Institute for Public Policy at Colorado School of Mines in collaboration with the King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center (KAPSARC) recently brought together global experts to discuss analytical approaches to blending political science with the study of energy markets. April 16, 2019.
SENSITIVE INTERVENTION POINTS IN THE POST-CARBON TRANSITION
We propose to examine how to exploit similar sensitive intervention points (SIPs) and amplification mechanisms in socioeconomic, technological, and political systems to advance climate change mitigation. We focus on research and policies in which an intervention kicks or shifts the system so that the initial change is amplified by feedback effects that deliver outsized impact. April 12, 2019.
GRAD STUDENT CONTRIBUTES TO WORLD ECONOMIC FORUM INDEX
A Colorado School of Mines graduate student got an unique inside look at the World Economic Forum as a member of the team that produced the global organization’s 2019 report on the energy transition. Steve Dahlke, a PhD candidate in the Mineral and Energy Economics program and a Payne Institute Research Fellow, was among the core team that produced “Fostering Effective Energy Transition 2019,” which summarizes insights from WEF’s annual Energy Transition Index. April 3, 2019.
HOW DO WE DESIGN AN INCLUSIVE ENERGY TRANSITION?
The need to accelerate the global energy transition is urgent, as highlighted by the World Economic Forum’s Fostering Effective Energy Transition 2019 report. It summarizes findings from the 2019 Energy Transition Index (ETI), now in its eighth year. March 25, 2019.
MORGAN BAZILIAN SPEAKS ABOUT THE CHANGING GEOPOLITICAL LANDSCAPE FOR MINERALS AND METALS IN THE ENERGY TRANSITION March 15, 2019
MORGAN BAZILIAN SPEAKS ABOUT THE CHANGING GEOPOLITICAL LANDSCAPE FOR MINERALS AND METALS IN THE ENERGY TRANSITION
Morgan D. Bazilian speaks about emerging changes in demand and trade patterns for the mineral and metal inputs into core technologies of the energy transformation, such as batteries and solar PV. These changes will have impacts on technology development, markets, security, and geopolitics at the Innovation Agora during Ceraweek by IHS Markit. March 11-15, 2019.
DEBATING THE FUTURE OF ELECTRIC VEHICLES IN OIL COUNTRY
Major oil companies are boosting their investments in EV charging tech. The trajectory of EVs will also influence global oil demand growth (although they’re just one of many factors like growth in petrochemicals, shipping, and aviation). March 13, 2019.
BLACKOUT IN SYRIA
Payne Institute Earth Observation Group reports on the Blackout in Syria. At night, the NASA/NOAA Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) collects visible wavelength low-light imaging data in a Day / Night Band (DNB). The DNB is designed for cloud imaging using moonlight (instead of sunlight) as the illumination source. The DNB also detects electric lighting and features like gas flares. The Earth Observation Group (EOG) generates monthly global cloud-free averages of the DNB radiance. March 7, 2019.
THE GROWING PAINS ALBERTA FACES AS IT SHEDS ITS BOOM-AND-BUST PAST
Here in Calgary, in particular, we have come to accept that economic roller-coaster. But this time, somehow, the wild ride feels different. And it’s not just the sense you get from people swapping anecdotes in coffee shops and bars. It’s different decisions being made by individuals, institutions, government and industry. Those involved in the energy business, especially, are making changes based on the expectation of new realities. February 21, 2019.
NEW SPACE MINING POLICY NEEDED, SAYS COLORADO SCHOOL OF MINES
At Colorado School of Mines in the US, home to the world’s first graduate programme in space resources and the Payne Institute for Public Policy, a group of researchers are calling for policies to be developed now to ensure the advancement of the burgeoning industry. February 21, 2019.
NEW POLICY NEEDED TO ADVANCE SPACE RESOURCES INDUSTRY
CLIMATE CHANGE IMPACTS ON POWER SYSTEMS
Climate change threatens all industries with storms, wildfires, droughts, heat waves and rising seas, and the energy industry has no special standing. “Together, these risks can lead to power outages, increased electricity prices and increased maintenance, and capital costs – along with damaging economic, environmental, and public health consequences,” explain Debabrata Chattopadhyay, Morgan Bazilian and Mohar Chattopadhyay. “Growing evidence now suggests the entire energy supply chain, particularly power generation transmission and distribution, is vulnerable to climate change and disaster events. February 5, 2019.
REENVISIONING THE ROLE FOR NATURAL GAS IN A CLEAN ENERGY FUTURE
To meet climate goals, enormous changes to the world’s energy systems are required. The impacts will no doubt be significant for fossil fuels ranging from coal, to oil, to natural gas. With regard to natural gas, various regional and national pipeline systems represent important and large infrastructures with long life spans. February 1, 2019.
STRENGTHENING THE EU RESPONSE TO ENERGY POVERTY
Energy poverty in the European Union poses a distinct challenge across member states and requires tailored, targeted action. EU policymakers need to strengthen the response to energy poverty and engender action across member states, moving beyond the focus on vulnerable consumers in energy markets. January 14, 2019.
QATAR WILL LEAVE OPEC – HERE’S WHAT THIS MEANS
Payne Institute Fellow Jeff D. Cogan reports on Is OPEC dead or alive? Oil markets watched closely this week as the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries worked with Russia to try to cut back production, which suggests the group still has some vitality. But earlier in the week, longtime member Qatar decided to quit OPEC. It’s the surprise move by Qatar that is a better indicator of the group’s situation. Here’s what these developments mean for OPEC — and the rest of the world. December 6, 2018.
The Payne Institute experts are regional, national, and international leaders in applied research in natural resources, energy, and the environment. Our team is involved in a wide variety of research projects in these fields, and are committed to sharing these results with academic and professional audiences.
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.