News

CREEK FIRE CONTAINMENT DATE PUSHED BACK 11/4/2020

CREEK FIRE CONTAINMENT DATE PUSHED BACK

The Payne Institute Earth Observation Group reports that the California fire season is well underway. The Creek Fire has been burning since September 4th. The fire is now the largest single fire in California history. Over 900 structures have been damaged or destroyed and the fire has caused 45,000 people to be evacuated from surrounding areas.  November 4, 2020.

Pandemic disruptions in energy and the environment 11/2/2020

Pandemic disruptions in energy and the environment

Payne Institute Fellows Dustin Mulvaney, Joshua Busby, and Director Morgan Bazilian write about how public health measures implemented during the coronavirus pandemic have had significant global impacts on energy systems. Some changes may be ephemeral: as industries go back to work and supply chains relink once production resumes, energy use and emissions have and will continue to rebound. November 2, 2020.

The private sector can help light the way for forcibly displaced people. Here’s how 11/2/2020

The private sector can help light the way for forcibly displaced people. Here’s how

Payne Institute Director Morgan Bazilian and Nicole Bouris write about how the vast majority of forcibly displaced people around the world have limited or zero access to electricity, and together, they represent a vast and untapped market for energy producers, and how the private sector can help to meet this demand.  November 2, 2020.

COVID exposes chink in US metal armor 10/29/2020

COVID exposes chink in US metal armor

Payne Director Morgan Bazilian is quoted in this article on how the COVID-19 pandemic has shined a spotlight on a chink in the United States’ economic and security armor – an overreliance on foreign countries for the minerals and metals that lie at the frontend of American supply chains.  October 29, 2020.  

Labor’s evolving support of a clean energy transition 10/28/2020

Labor’s evolving support of a clean energy transition

Payne Institute Fellow Brad Handler and Director Morgan Bazilian write an opinion piece about the concepts of a “just transition” for fossil fuel workers and promoting social equity have evolved to be key tenets of labor platforms in the U.S and Europe. Support for fossil fuel projects have been the basis of dissonance among unions, but common ground is now being found at the state level for well-designed policies.  October 28, 2020.

EAST TROUBLESOME FIRE GROWS OVER 100,000 ACRES OVERNIGHT 10/25/2020

EAST TROUBLESOME FIRE GROWS OVER 100,000 ACRES OVERNIGHT

Payne Institute Mines student worker Elijah Mt. Castle utilized the Earth Observation Group VIIRS Nightfire technology to see that the East Troublesome Fire grew over 100,000 acres overnight October 21. The fire is threatening various towns and national parks in the area and is currently the fourth largest fire in Colorado History.  October 25, 2020.

America’s Zero-Carbon Action Plan (ZCAP) 10/23/2020

America’s Zero-Carbon Action Plan (ZCAP)

Payne Institute Director Morgan Bazilian is co-chair with Fellow David Victor of the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) ZCAP power sector chapter.  The ZCAP transition to a low-carbon future centers on four core elements: technological change, federalism, foreign policy, and industrial policy. The Plan is based on regulations and market incentives to promote high-speed innovation and rapid adoption of zero-emission technologies.  October 23, 2020.

An Age of Actorless Threats: Rethinking National Security in Light of COVID and Climate 10/23/2020

An Age of Actorless Threats: Rethinking National Security in Light of COVID and Climate

Payne Institute Advisory Board member Cullen Hendrix and Director Morgan Bazilian write about how climate change and the COVID pandemic are highlighting key weaknesses in U.S. national security strategy and policy. Addressing these issues will not just require making traditional national security agencies more climate- and pandemic-aware, but a reimagining of the concept of national security itself.  October 23, 2020.

What is Responsibly Sourced Gas (RSG) and Why does it matter? 10/22.2020

What is Responsibly Sourced Gas (RSG) and Why does it matter?

The Payne Institute is a collaborator of Project Canary to help the oil and gas industry operate on a cleaner, more efficient, more sustainable basis.  The Independent Environmental Standards and Project Canary participated in a webinar sponsored by the Northwest Gas Association covering Responsibly Sourced Gas (RSG) – What is it and why does it matter? Panel discussion members include Chris Romer, Project Canary CEO & Co-Founder, Jory Caulkins, IES Executive Chairman and Steve Wilson, IES Head of Outreach.  October 22, 2020.

Power planning in fragile and conflict-affected states 10/20/2020

Power planning in fragile and conflict-affected states

Payne Institute Director Morgan Bazilian and Sarah Logan, write about traditional methods of energy planning that are likely to provide results that may be inappropriate in fragile and conflict-affected countries. The risks of violence and damage, significant delays and cancellations in infrastructure projects, or projects coming in at very high cost, are rife in these states. Security issues can significantly hamper, or make infeasible, the delivery of power system plans. We look at how traditional power system planning and expansion models could be augmented to better consider the deep uncertainty associated with development in fragile contexts.  October 20, 2020.

Battery Storage for Resilient Homes 10/20/2020

Battery Storage for Resilient Homes

Payne Institute Director Morgan Bazilian and Emon Chatterji write about small-scale battery energy storage systems (BESS), especially for behind-the-meter applications, that are still relatively expensive, but we show that it can be a potent solution to render homes resilient to storm related power outages. We present a stochastic programming model formulation to optimize PV/BESS explicitly accounting for resilience benefits these investments entail, over and above their ability to reduce cost of supply.  October 20, 2020.

Regulation to play a key role in India’s gas ambitions 10/15/2020

Regulation to play a key role in India’s gas ambitions

Payne Institute Senior Research Associate Greer Gosnell and Payne Faculty Fellow Ian Lange write about how India’s government has in recent months reaffirmed its commitment to the development of an expanded domestic gas grid and cross-border interconnections such as the long-mooted Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India pipeline. But the experience of the US gas market suggests that smart and considered government gas transport regulation could play as crucial a role in boosting Indian gas demand as simply increasing pipeline capacity.  October 15, 2020.

Sebnem Duzgun one of the 100 Resilience Fellows of the Resilience Engineering (RE) community 10/14/2020

Sebnem Duzgun one of the 100 Resilience Fellows of the Resilience Engineering (RE) community

Payne Institute Faculty Fellow Sebnem Duzgun has been appointed appointed as one of the 100 Resilience Fellows of the Resilience Engineering (RE) community!  As a resilience Fellow, Dr. Dugun is now part of the 4TU-programme DeSIRE which was set-up by the 4TU.RE Centre. The 4TU.DeSIRE programme and the 4TU.RE Centre aim to establish and foster an international network of top-level academic scholars, engineers, practitioners and decision-makers who serve as ambassadors of the RE paradigm.  October 14, 2020.  

Sociotechnical typologies for national energy transitions 10/14/2020

Sociotechnical typologies for national energy transitions

Norbert Edomah, Payne Institute Director Morgan Bazilian, and Ben Sovacool write about the energy landscape and how it is changing dramatically. It is populated by many different and discrete energy transitions happening simultaneously in across different sectors, with dynamically different drivers, and across varying locations. This Perspective proposes a new three-part categorization to help better understand the myriad socio-technical changes being witnessed, which cut across user and market behaviour as well as institutions and technologies. We express energy transitions in three categories: Interim energy transitions, shaped by policies without necessarily public acceptance, mostly within non-democratic regimes. October 14, 2020.

Responsible or reckless? A critical review of the environmental and climate assessments of mineral supply chains 10/13/2020

Responsible or reckless? A critical review of the environmental and climate assessments of mineral supply chains

Payne Institute Senior Research Associate Jordy Lee, Director Morgan Bazilian, Ben Sovacool, and Suzanne Greene write a paper that critically reviews and identifies gaps in the methodologies used to analyze the environmental impacts of mineral and metal global supply chains. Of specific focus are assessments of the extraction and production of minerals and metals needed for a low-carbon energy future. Current trends and projections suggest that the future low-carbon energy system will have greater material needs than the current one. October 13, 2020.

The Dimming of Lights in India during the COVID-19 Pandemic 10/10/2020

The Dimming of Lights in India during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Payne Institute Earth Observation Group researchers Tilottama Ghosh, Christopher Elvidge, Feng-Chi Hsu, Mikhail Zhizhin, and Morgan Bazilian wrote how the monthly Suomi National Polar-orbiting (NPP) Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) Day–Night Band (DNB) composite reveals the dimming of lights as an effect of the lockdown enforced by the government of India in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The changes in lighting are examined by creating difference maps of a pre-pandemic pair and comparing it with two pandemic pairs.  October 10, 2020. 

REFRESHING GLOBAL ENERGY SECURITY POLICY AND INFRASTRUCTURE FOR THE ENERGY TRANSITION 10/6/2020

REFRESHING GLOBAL ENERGY SECURITY POLICY AND INFRASTRUCTURE FOR THE ENERGY TRANSITION

Payne Institute Director Morgan Bazilian was a collaborator on the T20 Saudi Arabia 2020 THINK policy briefing Refreshing Global Energy Security Policy and the Infrastructure for the Energy Transition for the G20.  The Group of 20 (G20) members have discussed energy security for many years, and now have an opportunity to modernize and redefine global, regional, and national energy security frameworks to align with the transition to a lower-carbon energy system. Member countries should take steps to ensure that emerging vulnerabilities stemming from the rapid growth of new energy forms can be understood and managed both collectively and within their specific contexts. As all energy sectors transition, collective efforts toward energy security can progress by (i) developing a timely, transparent, and objective approach to data gathering and dissemination for the production, consumption, and trade of new energy forms and key mineral inputs; (ii) establishing an expert international advisory panel to the G20 on the topic of energy security in the context of energy transitions; and (iii) launching an effort on forward-looking energy security policy.  October 6, 2020. 

A lot of Jason Kenney’s claims about the oil and gas industry are cherry-picked, misleading or wrong 10.5.2020

A lot of Jason Kenney’s claims about the oil and gas industry are cherry-picked, misleading or wrong

Payne Institute Senior Research Associate Sara Hastings-Simon contributes to this article on the Alberta Premier’s, Jason Kennedy, claims about the oil and gas industry.  The Alberta premier may veer into hyperbole, but his general point still stands: oil, of course, is a major driver of Alberta’s economy. Despite tens of thousands of layoffs in recent years, the industry remains a massive employer.  October 5, 2020.

Indicators of Electric Power Instability from Satellite Observed Nighttime Lights 9/30/2020

Indicators of Electric Power Instability from Satellite Observed Nighttime Lights

Payne Institute Earth Observation Group writes about how electric power services are fundamental to prosperity and economic development. Disruptions in the electricity power service can range from minutes to days. Such events are common in many developing economies, where the power generation and delivery infrastructure is often insufficient to meet demand and operational challenges. Yet, despite the large impacts, poor data availability has meant that relatively little is known about the spatial and temporal patterns of electric power reliability. Here, we explore the expressions of electric power instability recorded in temporal profiles of satellite observed surface lighting collected by the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) low light imaging day/night band (DNB). September 30, 2020.  

Chinese Fishing Fleet Threatens Biodiversity in Galapagos 9/29/2020

Chinese Fishing Fleet Threatens Biodiversity in Galapagos

Payne Institute Mines student worker Elijah Mt. Castle worked with the Earth Observation Group utilized VIIRS Nightfire technology to see a a fishing fleet hailing from China that has been forced away from the Galapagos Islands by Ecuador’s navy. In recent years, Chinese fishing vessels have begun fishing for giant squid during the summer near the protected area of the Galapagos islands. This year’s fleet was the largest on record, according to Rear Admiral Daniel Ginez, the Ecuadorian Commander of Naval Operations. September 29, 2020.

Colorado School of Mines ranked among nation’s elite energy universities 9/29/2020

Colorado School of Mines ranked among nation’s elite energy universities

Colorado School of Mines has been named one of the elite energy universities in the nation by the American Energy Society (AES).  The report, Top Energy Universities 2020, recognized Mines for “excellence in all fields, from fossil to sustainable materials and renewable energy” and its “small but mighty programs.”  September 29, 2020.  

Strategic Intelligence – Mining and Metals 9/23/2020

Strategic Intelligence – Mining and Metals

Payne Institute Senior Research Associate Jordy Lee has documented the paradigm shift in the mining and metals industry, as it incorporates greater sustainability, absorbs technical innovation from other sectors, and seeks a way forward in the midst of a pandemic. By focussing on modernization, digitalization, and transparency, the industry can strengthen its foundational role in a rapidly evolving global economy. However, effectively managing related changes will require greater adaptability, transformative thinking, and building stronger relationships in a global context.  September 23, 2020. 

The Era of Commercial Space Mining Begins 9/23/2020

The Era of Commercial Space Mining Begins

Payne Institute Fellow Alex Gilbert and Morgan Bazilian write a commentary on NASA’s most recent announcement of a ground-breaking solicitation: NASA wants to buy lunar regolith extracted by a private company. In order to spur commercial space resources technology, NASA’s procurement is for the purchase of 50-500 grams of lunar regolith, or rock materials, from the surface of the Moon. September 23, 2020.

Are We Running Out of Natural Gas Storage? 9/23/2020

Are We Running Out of Natural Gas Storage?

Payne Institute Senior Research Associate Greer Gosnell writes a commentary on how the US burned the most natural gas for electricity in its history this summer, but current month-to-month natural gas price spreads suggest we may be running low on natural gas storage.  September 23, 2020. 

It’s time for states that grew rich from oil, gas and coal to figure out what’s next 9/23/2020

It’s time for states that grew rich from oil, gas and coal to figure out what’s next

Payne Institute Fellow Brad Handler, Matt Henry, and Morgan Bazilian write about the very challenging times for U.S. fossil fuel-producing states, such as Wyoming, Alaska and North Dakota. The COVID-19 economic downturn has reduced energy demand, with uncertain prospects for the extent of its recovery. Meanwhile, rising concern about climate change and the declining cost of renewable energy are precipitating a sharp decline in demand for coal in particular.  September 23, 2020. 

Podcast – Space Resources: Exploring the Final Frontier, with Alex Gilbert 9/22/2020

Space Resources Podcast: Exploring the Final Frontier, with Alex Gilbert

Payne Institute Fellow Alex Gilbert is on the Resources Radio podcast discussing the emerging field of space resources development. Although essential resources likely are plentiful on the moon, Mars, and elsewhere in outer space, we have less certainty over where, precisely, these resources are; what technology is necessary to extract them; and what types of economic development are legally permissible in outer space. Still, Gilbert contends that boundless opportunities exist for commercial exploration outside Earth—and that the United States, with its innovative rocket companies and long-running government space agency, could be the nation that leads the way.  September 22, 2020.  

11 WAYS TO MEASURE CLEAN GROWTH 9/22/2020

11 WAYS TO MEASURE CLEAN GROWTH

Payne Institute Senior Research Associate Sara Hastings-Simon contributes to this report from the Canadian Institute for Climate Choices that highlights the multiple facets of clean growth by unpacking the connections between economic growth, climate change, and human well-being. We identify 11 data-driven indicators that, together, can guide efforts by governments, businesses, and communities to not only tackle climate change but to do so in a way that achieves sustained growth and the best overall outcomes for people and society as a whole.  September 22, 2020.  

Colorado School of Mines launches Integrated Carbon Capture, Utilization and Storage Initiative 9/18/2020

Colorado School of Mines launches Integrated Carbon Capture, Utilization and Storage Initiative

Led by the Payne Institute for Public Policy and the Mines’ Office of Global Initiatives, the Integrated CCUS initiative will be interdisciplinary across Mines departments.  Global interest in carbon capture, utilization and storage is unprecedented as one of the key strategies for addressing climate change. The need for detailed scientific and engineering research, coupled with cross-cutting work on policy, markets and regulation of the technology is equally critical.  September 18, 2020.

Cameron Peak Fire in Colorado 9/15/2020

Cameron Peak Fire in Colorado

Payne Institute Mines student workers Joseph Hall and Elijah Mt. Castle worked with the Earth Observation Group utilized VIIRS Nightfire technology to not only pinpoint fire hotspots, but accurately calculate average temperatures of the flames within the Cameron Peak Fire in Larimer County, Colorado, just outside of Estes Park, and about 60 miles from The Payne Institute for Public Policy headquarters in Golden. September 15, 2020.

BP Releases Energy Outlook 9/14/2020

BP Releases Energy Outlook

Payne Institute Fellow Michael Cohen, Chief U.S. Economist and Head of Oil Analysis at BP, produced the Energy Outlook that explores the forces shaping the global energy transition out to 2050 and the key uncertainties surrounding that transition. The global energy system is likely to undergo a fundamental restructuring in order to decarbonize, which will create challenges and opportunities for the industry. Three main scenarios – Rapid, Net Zero, and Business-as-usual – provide a range of possible outcomes to understand the range of uncertainties ahead.  September 14, 2020. 

Why Canada’s geothermal industry is finally gaining ground 9/12/2020

Why Canada’s geothermal industry is finally gaining ground

Payne Institute Senior Research Associate Sara Hastings-Simon contributes to this article about how the heat from below the Earth’s surface has provided a reliable source of electricity for decades in many countries — but not Canada. Now, several projects underway in western provinces could herald a new era for this untapped resource and offer job opportunities for former oil and gas workers.  September 12, 2020.  

Innovation to Drive Water Security in the Arab Region

Innovation to Drive Water Security in the Arab Region

Payne Institute Fellow Jamal Saghir writes about how the Arab world is now the world’s driest region, with several countries being among the world’s most water scarce, where per capita renewable water availability is already less than 500 cubic meters per year. This is the level set by the World Health Organization for severe scarcity at which water becomes a hurdle to economic growth and beyond which water scarcity becomes a key concern in people’s lives and begins to affect the development process.  September 11, 2020.

Beware of climate delay, masquerading as climate action 9/10/2020

Beware of climate delay, masquerading as climate action

Payne Institute Senior Research Associate Sara Hastings-Simon writes an opinion piece about the slow-walking action on climate has almost the same impact as outright denial.  As political leaders face growing calls for climate action, we must be careful to understand where investments in technological development are, in fact, a form of climate delay, masquerading as action.  September 10, 2020.

Mines researcher contributing to $4M DOE project for energy-efficient steelmaking 9/9/2020

Mines researcher contributing to $4M DOE project for energy-efficient steelmaking

Payne Institute Faculty Fellow Sridhar Seetharaman has been awarded a $4 million dollar grant to prove the economic viability of increased renewal energy usage in steel production.  Researchers believe the de-carbonization of the steel industry can be achieved by connecting ironmaking to renewable electric power through electrolytically produced hydrogen.  September 9, 2020.

3.5 BILLION PEOPLE LACK RELIABLE POWER 9/8/2020

3.5 BILLION PEOPLE LACK RELIABLE POWER

Payne Fellow Todd Moss, Morgan Bazilian, Jacob Kincer, and John Ayaburi write about the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal 7 that commits the world to ending energy poverty by “ensuring access to affordable, reliable, sustainable, and modern energy for all by 2030.” The dominant measurement of progress against SDG7 is the access rate, which measures the number of people with basic household electricity. There is no accepted international indicator for reliability. A new approach will help to fill this gap. September 8, 2020.

The Dimming of Lights in China during the COVID-19 Pandemic 9/7/2020

The Dimming of Lights in China during the COVID-19 Pandemic

The Payne Institute Earth Observation Group research on satellite surveys of the cumulative radiant emissions from electric lighting across China reveals a large radiance decline in lighting from December 2019 to February 2020—the peak of the lockdown established to suppress the spread of COVID-19 infections. To illustrate the changes, an analysis was also conducted on a reference set from a year prior to the pandemic.  September 7, 2020.

Country Spotlight: Gas Flaring in India 9/3/2020

Country Spotlight: Gas Flaring in India

The Payne Institute looks at the gas flaring in India.  According to the IEA, India is the fourth largest refiner of oil (behind the US, Russia, and China), and the third largest importer of crude oil and LNG (behind China and the US), though is outranked by 24 other countries on oil production, with declining trends.  September 3, 2020. 

Bouncing Forward Sustainably: Pathways to a post-COVID World Sustainable Energy 8/31/2020

Bouncing Forward Sustainably: Pathways to a post-COVID World Sustainable Energy

Payne Institute Director Morgan Bazilian was a co-author on the Second Consultative Science Platform of the IIASA-ISC “Bouncing Forward Sustainably: Pathways to a post-COVID-19 World” that aims to harness the transformative power of crisis to imagine a more sustainable world. The authors gathered with a focus on science -to deliberate on the following overarching questions: How should COVID-19 and related stimulus and/or recovery packages be directed to build back better to create the maximum impact on the  transition to sustainable development; and how can a decarbonized, decentralized, and digitalized energy system make our society more resilient? How can the ability of science, policy and governance systems be enhanced to rapidly respond to unforeseen shocks? August 31, 2020.

CSIS Energy 360° Podcast – Getting to Reliable Electricity Access 8/31/2020

Energy 360° Podcast – Getting to Reliable Electricity Access

Payne Institute Advisory Board Member Sarah Ladislaw and the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) host Morgan Bazilian for a podcast to discuss energy access globally and some of the metrics used to measure access. The Payne Institute recently released ‘Measuring “Reasonably Reliable” Access to Electricity Services,’ which provides an in-depth view of the gaps in global electricity access and how quality of access matters as much as quantity.  August 31, 2020.

The oil-sands fundamentals are dire and stark – and Canada shouldn’t spend to revive a dying dream 8/29/2020

The oil-sands fundamentals are dire and stark – and Canada shouldn’t spend to revive a dying dream

Payne Institute Senior Research Associate Sara Hastings-Simon, David Keith, and Ed Whittingham write an opinion piece on Alberta’s potential move to build a greener industry with a major public investment in decarbonizing oil production. There is widespread support for this approach. After all, many of Alberta’s oil producers are in the high-cost, high-carbon quadrant, and for them to follow the world in moving to low-carbon energy, the public needs to help with the Herculean adjustment effort. August 29, 2020. 

Hurricane Laura from Space 8/28/2020

Hurricane Laura from Space

The Payne Institute Earth Observation Group has been viewing the power outages following Hurricane Laura.  One of the consequences of many natural disasters are power outages, which result in losses in electric lighting that can be detected with low light imaging data.  This paper looks at the nighttime light images of the impacted areas.  August 28, 2020.

 

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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.