Canceling Keystone XL
Payne Institute Senior Research Associate Dr. Sara Hastings-Simon contributes to the discussion of how President Biden finally wants to put the Keystone XL pipeline to bed. But if the last 12 years of environmental fights are any indication, it won’t be easy. February 26, 2021.
Mt. Etna Erupts 4 Times in Four Days
Payne Institute Earth Observation Group student worker Elijah Mt. Castle writes about how Mt. Etna, in the Sicilian province of Catania, has been intermediately erupting for four days now. The eruptions began on February 16th 2021. At this time the volcano is no danger to any of the surrounding villages and the lava is flowing into the uninhabited valley below the summit. February 26, 2021.
Questions in Colorado after the big chill
Payne Institute Director Dr. Morgan Bazilian contributes to this article about Colorado’s situation during the cold spell of mid-February was not nearly as dire as that of Texas and other parts of the country, but how questions are being asked. One question is whether the utilities should have seen the storm coming and taken precautions to minimize the impact to ratepayers. But the case also poses questions about the ability of utilities to ensure reliable power as they toward carbon-free goals. February 25, 2021.
In Search of a Trusted Messenger
Payne Institute Faculty Fellow Jim Crompton writes an opinion piece how the world’s 7.5 billion people need a vaccine for COVID-19 as soon as possible, but surveys of Americans suggest that not all of us are ready for the jab. He looks at how the institutional trust context applies to the environmental impact of oil and gas production in the United States. February 25, 2021.
Why a trickle-down approach to vaccine access is not a viable strategy
Payne Institute Advisory Board member Mimi Alemayehou writes about how it’s probably understandable that many people missed the news earlier this month that the AU had secured 300-million doses of Covid-19 vaccine. That’s a reflection of much of the way in which the pandemic in Africa has been covered. While the pages of the world’s press has been gripped by the way in which the world’s richest and most powerful countries have grappled their way through the pandemic, the continent with some of the world’s poorest countries has largely been left to face the crisis alone. February 25, 2021.
What can the Texas electricity crisis tell us about the future of energy markets?
Payne Institute Fellow Alex Gilbert and Director Morgan Bazilian write an opinion piece about the extreme winter weather in Texas that has caused energy shortages and threatened health and safety. The energy system failures suggest that better grid planning is needed to meet demand during these difficult conditions, write two experts. A variety of energy sources should be considered moving forward, such as nuclear energy, carbon capture and enhanced geothermal systems. February 23, 2021.
PART I: Energy Infrastructure and the Epistemological Pillars of Peace
Payne Institute Fellow Griffin Thompson and Director Morgan Bazilian write a two part series about policies for energy service delivery that have for too long been governed by a restrictive sense of the energy system—one that isolates energy from the broader socio-political and diplomatic environments in which they evolve. The energy needs of Israel and the Palestinian Territories and their quest for cleaner, more resilient energy systems offer an opportunity to redefine the way we think about energy systems. Solutions, in turn, help highlight the multiple domestic and foreign policy benefits of a low carbon energy system. February 22,2021.
Power cuts in Texas and elsewhere could cost Colorado energy consumers
Payne Institute Director Morgan Bazilian contributes to this article about how Xcel Colorado was hit with $650 million in added fuel costs early last week. Colorado residents were spared from the massive power outages last week and have fared well. But Colorado consumers likely won’t get off scot-free. The lack of adequate preparation in other states could show up in higher fuel costs on utility bills in the coming months, depending on how much regulators allow to pass through. February 20, 2021.
The Texas electricity crisis and the energy transition
Payne Institute Fellow Alex Gilbert and Director Morgan Bazilian write an opinion piece about the severe winter weather in Texas that caused the worst energy shortages in the United States since the 2003 blackout in the Northeast and Midwest. Millions of people suffered power outages, which frequently extended beyond 24 hours in areas with freezing temperatures. Although the political and national debate is turning into a proxy debate on energy resources, the most immediate concern is that the current failure threatens public health and safety. February 19, 2021.
Understanding and Disrupting Key Convergence Nodes of the Illicit Gold and Mercury Supply Chains in Latin America and Africa 2/18/2021
Understanding and Disrupting Key Convergence Nodes of the Illicit Gold and Mercury Supply Chains in Latin America and Africa
Payne Institute Faculty Fellows Nicole Smith, Sebnem Duzgun, Strategy and Operations Manager Greg Clough, William Soud, and Katy Seguin have received an NSF award for their research on “Disrupting Operations of Illicit Supply Networks (D-ISN)” that will enhance national health, prosperity and welfare by contributing to a better understanding of illicit supply chains and the ability to detect, disrupt, and disable them. The project involves an examination and comparison of key convergence nodes in the global supply chains for illicit gold and mercury in Latin America and Africa. It specifically focuses on Peru and Kenya because of the similar characteristics they share on their respective continents as important trading hubs to other regional markets via both air and maritime transport, as well as acting as trading hubs for other illicit commodities and goods. February 18, 2021.
What’s next in the Texas power crisis
The Payne Institute Earth Observation Group Research Associate Feng Chi (David) Hsu contributes images to this article about the unprecedented winter storm in Texas, and the human tragedy that’s also quickly reaching Beltway energy discussions and responses and jostling oil markets. February 18, 2021.
The real reasons Texas went dark
Payne Institute Fellow Alex Gilbert contributes to this article about the power outages in Texas. The differences point to some of the key failures that have forced the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, the state’s primary grid operator, to enforce sustained blackouts since Monday. It also highlights the challenge facing the Biden administration and climate activists as they seek to decarbonize America’s collection of electric grids. February 18, 2021.
Satellite Photos Show Extent of Texas Power Outages From Space
The Payne Institute Earth Observation Group Research Associate Feng Chi (David) Hsu contributes to this article about the unprecedented winter storm in Texas. Using the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) detection system, he was able to see the change in nighttime lights due to the power outages. February 17, 2021.
Climate change and industrial F-gases: A critical and systematic review of developments, sociotechnical systems and policy options for reducing synthetic greenhouse gas emissions 2/13/2021
Climate change and industrial F-gases: A critical and systematic review of developments, sociotechnical systems and policy options for reducing synthetic greenhouse gas emissions
Benjamin K. Sovacool, Payne Institute Fellow Steve Grifﬁths, Jinsoo Kim, and Morgan Bazilian write about how humanity has come to depend on synthetic, factory made gases that have extremely signiﬁcant global warming potential. Fluorinated greenhouse gases, or F-gases, such as hydroﬂuorocarbons (HFCs), perﬂuorocarbons (PFCs), sulfur hexaﬂuoride (SF6), and nitrogen triﬂuoride (NF3) have been termed “super pollutants” and “super greenhouse gases” given their severe and powerful impact on the climate. February 13, 2021.
Oil prices and demand may be up, but the industry has a host of issues to sort out in 2021 – 2/10/21
Oil prices and demand may be up, but the industry has a host of issues to sort out in 2021
Payne Institute Fellow Brad Handler contributes to this article about how Colorado’s new rules make for a “tricky” business environment. Tighter spending and the focus on free cash flow that were prevalent in the oil and gas industry before the pandemic are expected to continue even as demand and prices start to rise. February 10, 2021.
Canada uniquely positioned to hit net-zero emissions in 2050 if it makes right moves now
Payne Institute Senior Research Associate Sara Hastings-Simon contributes to this article about how an independent study finds multiple paths on how Canada can hit its Paris Agreement goal. Canada is in an advantageous position to reach its goal of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, a new report suggests, if governments capitalize on the right opportunities today. February 8, 2021.
Payne Institute Launches Mines Global Energy Future Initiative
The Payne Institute for Public Policy recently launched the Mines Global Energy Future Initiative, which will include an online seminar every Thursday, featuring energy policy leaders from around the world. The initiative, developed in combination with Mines’ Office of Global Initiatives and Business Development, aims to integrate the goals of the Payne Institute with the broader Mines campus on a deeper level and make Mines a more widely recognized leader in the global energy space. February 8, 2021.
Welcome to the Era of Competitive Climate Statecraft
Payne Institute Fellow Carolyn Kissane writes an opinion piece about how in trade, finance, development, and security, governments are racing to get closer to net-zero. The varying and shambolic responses illustrate the global system’s dysfunction when seeking to respond to a worldwide crisis. Will climate change be a different story? February 8, 2021.
Gravity Wave over United States
Payne Institute Earth Observation Group student worker Elijah Mt. Castle has detected a propagation of a gravity wave in cloud cover over the Eastern United States. A gravity wave is a wave generated in a fluid by the force of gravity or buoyancy attempting to restore equilibrium in the medium, i.e. the waves are caused by the fluid attempting to return to its resting place. February 7, 2021.
HAWAIIAN VOLCANO BECOMES ACTIVE ONCE MORE
Payne Institute Earth Observation Group student worker Elijah Mt. Castle looks at the Hawaiian volcano Kīlauea that has become active. Kīlauea has been erupting since December 30th 2020. All lava flows are currently in the uninhabited lava lake and pose no threat. Kīlauea last erupted in 2018, when it erupted for 3 months straight. It was believed that a volcano the size of Kīlauea would only stop erupting when it was out of magma. February 3, 2021.
Technical Working Groups to Prepare Roadmap for Universal Energy Access and Energy Transition in Lead-up to UN High-level Dialogue 2/2/2021
Technical Working Groups to Prepare Roadmap for Universal Energy Access and Energy Transition in Lead-up to UN High-level Dialogue
Payne Institute Director Morgan Bazilian was named to the Technical Working Group on Just Energy Transitions as part of the United Nations process for Universal Energy Access and Transition. February 2, 2021.
Federal land leasing pause is an opportunity
Payne Institute Fellow Brad Handler and Director Morgan Bazilian write about how the Biden administration’s recent pause on new oil and gas leases on federal lands amounts to only a small step in achieving our climate change goals but represents an opportunity to devise a sustainable strategy that can support environmental stewardship, help foster green energy development, and help impacted communities effectively — and successfully — transition away from fossil fuels. February 2, 2021.
The Oxford Handbook of Energy Politics
Payne Institute Faculty Fellow Dr. Kathleen J. Hancock and Juliann Emmons Allison have written a book looking at everything we once knew about energy resources and technologies that has been impacted by: the longstanding scientific consensus on climate change and related support for renewable energy; the affordability of extraction of unconventional fuels; increasing demand for energy resources by middle- and low-income nations; new regional and global stakeholders; fossil fuel discoveries and emerging renewable technologies; awareness of (trans)local politics; and rising interest in corporate social responsibility (CSR) and the need for energy justice. January 2021.
What Biden’s Climate Plans Means for Alberta
Payne Institute Senior Research Associate Dr. Sara Hastings-Simon is featured on this podcast discussing Biden’s plan “net zero to 2050” with the key elements vehicle electrification and a zero carbon electricity sector, both framed around jobs and economy. January 29, 2021.
ADAPTATION TO CLIMATE CHANGE IN THE MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA
Payne Institute Fellow Jamal Saghir writes about how climate change will have dire and severe impacts on the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region threatening all countries in the region, impacting human lives and health, and causing serious damage to natural and human-made infrastructure and resources. The climate change challenge for the MENA countries is making development climate resilient. January 29, 2021.
Concerns Emerge Over European Power System Reliability
Payne Institute Fellow Peri-Khan Aqrawi-Whitcomb writes about how we should be expecting a major blackout for Europe within the next five years. This will eventually happen, even though the European grid system is considered to have one of the most reliable electricity networks worldwide. January 29, 2021.
Payne Institute Named in 2020 Global Go To Think Tank Index Report
The Payne Institute for Public Policy is honored to be named in the annual University of Pennsylvania 2020 Global Go To Think Tank Index Report. The Global Go To Think Tank Index is the result of an international survey of over 1,950 scholars, public and private donors, policy makers, and journalists who helped rank more than 6,500 think tanks using a set of 18 criteria developed by the Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program (TTCSP). January 28, 2021.
In Colorado, President Biden’s Energy Leasing moratorium on public lands brings praise, lawsuit 1/27/2021
In Colorado, President Biden’s Energy Leasing moratorium on public lands brings praise, lawsuit
Payne Institute Fellow Brad Handler contributes to this article on how the White House ordered a leasing pause while oil, gas, and leasing practices undergo a review. The order makes tackling climate change a priority and will be in place for public lands and waters while leasing and permitting practices for fossil fuel development undergo a “rigorous review.” January 27, 2021.
Beyond Keystone XL, U.S. policy poses challenges for Alberta oil sector
Payne Institute Senior Research Associate Sara Hastings-Simon writes an opinion piece on the United States new administration’s plan for vehicle electrification that will trigger a dramatic decrease in oil consumption. U.S. President Joe Biden’s move to rescind the approval of the Keystone XL pipeline has been in the spotlight lately, but domestic actions from his new government are poised to have a much more significant impact on the Alberta oil industry. The new administration has announced its intention to dramatically accelerate the electrification of transportation, including passenger vehicles, buses, light and heavy trucks, and rail, and support the build-out of new transportation infrastructure such as high-speed rail across the country. January 27, 2021.
RAISING GLOBAL ENERGY AMBITIONS: THE 1,000 KWH MODERN ENERGY MINIMUM
Payne Institute Fellows Todd Moss, Johannes Urpelainen, Director Morgan Bazilian, and others write about how energy is fundamental to modern living and any competitive prosperous economy. The SDG7 calls for modern energy for all, but the indicator for tracking progress against this goal is meeting a very low level of residential electricity consumption. They propose a new Modern Energy Minimum of 1,000 kWh per person per year, inclusive of both household and non-household electricity consumption. January 26, 2021.
Veterans Advanced Energy Project’s 2020 Year in Review, “Leading from the Front”
Payne Institute Director Morgan Bazilian is a member of the Veterans Advanced Energy Project Advisory Board. The Veterans Advanced Energy Project continued to see momentous growth in its impact and reach while adapting to the challenging virtual environment during the Coronavirus pandemic. January 25, 2021.
A Big Year for Transformational Change
Payne Institute Fellow Dolf Gielen and Director Morgan Bazilian write about how despite the virus, 2020 was a great year for climate commitments. While COP26, the UN Climate Change Conference, was postponed to 2021, many large economies announced net-zero emissions goals for mid-century. 2021 will be the year that these ambitions need to be translated into action. January 25, 2021.
Why the US rejoining the Paris climate accord matters at home and abroad — 5 scholars explain 1/22/2021
Why the US rejoining the Paris climate accord matters at home and abroad — 5 scholars explain
Payne Director Morgan Bazilian, Deb Niemeier, Edward R. Carr, Kristie Ebi, and Walt Meier describe what U.S. involvement in the Paris Agreement means for the nation and the rest of the world, and for food security, safety and the future warming of the planet. January 22, 2021.
Rethinking Energy Solutions: Energy demand and decentralized solutions
Payne Institute Fellow Dolf Gielen, Advisory Board member David Victor, and Director Morgan Bazilian and others collaborated on this paper that identified three areas for rethinking energy solutions for immediate action. All three are designed to address the drivers of demand and consumption through measures like remote working, digitalization, and the reshaping of urban spaces and their use; maximizing sustainable energy independence at local and individual levels through, for instance, decentralized renewable energy solutions and efficiency enhancing measures; and influencing behavior towards responsible consumption such as encouraging new trends in mobility, less material consumption, and sharing vs. ownership models. January 22, 2021.
Canadian Officials React To Biden Revoking Keystone XL Permit
Payne Institute Senior Research Associate Sara Hastings-Simon contributes to this podcast on how Canadian officials say they’re disappointed that President Biden revoked the Keystone XL Pipeline permit — but they’re also looking forward to working with the new administration on climate change. January 22, 2021.
Changing behaviour is the key to solving the climate challenge
Payne Institute Senior Research Associate Greer Gosnell and Director Morgan Bazilian write about how American citizens in their everyday lives are driving 40–50% of US emissions. How can policymakers encourage choices—from household energy efficiency investments to vehicle purchases—that are consistent with climate goals? January 21, 2021.
What does a Biden presidency mean for Alberta?
Payne Institute Senior Research Associate Sara Hastings-Simon contributes to this news video on how the inauguration of a new American president always sends ripples across the border and many Canadian businesses will be keeping a watchful eye now that Joe Biden is officially the president of the United States. Reporter Michael King takes a look at what some experts are anticipating. January 20, 2021.
Silver lining: Biden’s scrapping of Keystone pipeline allows Canada’s Trudeau to move on
Payne Institute Senior Research Associate Sara Hastings-Simon contributes to this article about how U.S. President Joe Biden’s move to scrap the Keystone XL oil pipeline, while a blow to Canada’s energy sector, is a blessing in disguise for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who is eager to embrace the new administration. January 20, 2021.
EMBARRASSMENT OF RICHES
Payne Institute Senior Research Associate Sara Hastings-Simon contributes to this video about green energy and how Alberta-based fossil fuel companies are on one side and a green economy on the other, right? There may be more crossover between the two mindsets than you think. January 18, 2021.
Enormous wind turbines may be coming to a coast near you
Payne Institute Senior Research Associate Sara Hastings-Simon contributes to this article about the Haliade-X wind turbines — nearly the size of the Eiffel Tower — that are a game changer for the global offshore wind industry. A single turbine can power about 16,000 homes at competitive rates. January 14, 2021.
Initial Findings from Continuous Monitoring of Oil and Gas Operations
Payne Institute Researcher William Daniels, Faculty Fellows James Crompton and Dorit Hammerling, and Director Morgan Bazilian look at the wide deployment of air quality monitoring technology, we can better address greenhouse gas emissions from the oil and gas industry. There is considerable public pressure, industry engagement, and government regulation surrounding the push for more sophisticated and transparent monitoring. While much focus has been given to the technological development of monitoring devices and the use of airplane and LDAR resources, less focus has been given to the data acquisition, management, and analysis from these monitoring technologies. This paper presents an exploratory analysis of continuous monitoring data from two oil and gas sites in Colorado. January 13, 2021.
Why even a pandemic couldn’t stop the renewable energy boom
Payne Institute Advisory Board member Nawal Al-Hosany writes an opinion article on how investor interest in clean energy is soaring, and the world needs to seize the moment. Despite being generally accepted as one of the most difficult years on record for many industries, 2020 demonstrated the inherent resilience of renewable energy solutions. January 11, 2021.
COUNTRY WIDE POWER OUTAGE IN PAKISTAN
Payne Institute Earth Observation Group’s Feng Chi Hsu and Elijah Mt. Castle satellite research showed that Pakistan’s national power grid experienced a blackout lasting 18 hours in most areas. The power failure was caused by “an engineering fault” in southern Pakistan. The fault engaged safety systems across the grid and shut down the power plants across the country. The blackout left millions of people in the dark. January 11, 2021.
Colorado School of Mines Launches Global Energy Future Initiative
In collaboration with the Payne Institute of Public Policy, Colorado School of Mines today is announcing a new initiative aimed at bringing together some of the world’s foremost global thought leaders and decision makers in the energy sector to discover, collaborate and network around key aspects of our energy future. The Mines Global Energy Future Initiative will produce annual programming focused on the role of oil and gas, renewable energy, carbon capture utilization and storage, supply chain transparency, emissions monitoring, circular economy and more – themes that all reflect Mines’ scientific and technical expertise across the energy system and demonstrates the university’s cradle-to-cradle approach to creating a sustainable global energy future. January 8, 2021.
Forget a Fracking Ban
Payne Institute Senior Research Associate Jordy M. Lee and Director Morgan D. Bazilian write an argument that the key to greening the energy industry is getting better at pinpointing which natural gas firms and states are acting responsibly—and which aren’t. January 4, 2021.
Is Canada betting big on small nuclear reactors? Here’s what you need to know
Payne Institute Senior Research Associate Sara Hastings-Simon contributes to this article about how small modular reactors are variously described as a clean energy solution, a waste of time and a new danger. The Canadian federal government could be preparing to bet big on small modular nuclear reactors, or SMRs. There have been rumblings about the technology for years, but the SMR Action Plan, due to be released this month, is expected to lay out Ottawa’s role in advancing the technology. January 4, 2021.
Dr. Morgan Bazilian has been named to the CLEER University Advisory Board
Payne Institute Director Dr. Morgan D. Bazilian has been appointed to the Energy Council University Advisory Board. The Energy Council is a non-partisan legislative organization comprised of 14 energy-producing states in the United States and two Canadian provinces. Formed in 1975, the Council serves as a forum for energy and related environmental policy dialogue. January 1, 2021.
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.