COVID-19 IS A REMINDER THAT INTERCONNECTIVITY IS UNAVOIDABLE
The spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has been a disaster for the economy, shown weaknesses in public health systems, and killed several thousand people worldwide. It has also made clear how interconnected the modern world has become. Walls are futile for preventing the rapid movement of the virus around the globe. March 12, 2020.
OIL PRICE COLLAPSE COULD CUT DEEPLY INTO WELD COUNTY JOBS, TAX REVENUE
As Occidental Petroleum, county’s largest oil producer, loses half its stock price Monday; a series of oil announcements halfway around the world has cratered global oil prices, and they could reverberate through Weld County’s economy and tax coffers over the next several years. March 9, 2020.
REVIEWING THE MATERIAL AND METAL SECURITY OF LOW-CARBON ENERGY TRANSITIONS
The global transition to a low-carbon economy will involve changes in material markets and supply chains on a hitherto unknown scale and scope. With these changes come numerous challenges and opportunities related to supply chain security and sustainability. To help support decision-making as well as future research, this study employs a problem-oriented perspective while reviewing academic publications, technical reports, legal documents, and published industry data to highlight the increasingly interconnected nature of material needs and geopolitical change. The paper considers a broad set of issues including technologies, material supplies, investment strategies, communal concerns, innovations, modeling considerations, and policy trends to help contextualize policy decisions and regulatory responses. March 4, 2020.
CONSIDERING NON-POWER GENERATION USES OF COAL IN THE UNITED STATES
The economics of alternatives to coal combustion, coupled with concerns about coal’s significant role in climate change emissions and air pollution, have put intense downward pressure on coal markets, especially in the United States. As coal power generation in much of the world is declining (China being the largest exception), there is renewed interest in how to sustainably, and effectively, use coal without combusting it. A non-exhaustive review of various possible uses for coal across the chemical and material sectors, is provided. March 2, 2020.
POWER GRAB: POLITICAL SURVIVAL THROUGH EXTRACTIVE RESOURCE NATIONALIZATION
Payne Fellow Paasha Mahdavi has written a new book titled Power Grab: Political Survival through Extractive Resource Nationalization. The book is about the political calculus behind extractive resource nationalization, with a focus on the oil industry but with implications for minerals needed for the clean energy transition. March 2020.
A RETROSPECTIVE ANALYSIS OF ENERGY ACCESS WITH A FOCUS ON THE ROLE OF MINI-GRIDS
Achieving universal access to electricity by 2030 is a key part of the Agenda for Sustainable Development, and has its own Sustainable Development Goal, SDG 7.1. This is because electricity services are required for almost all aspects of a modern economy, from the cooling of vaccines to irrigation pumping, to manufacturing and running a business. The achievement of SDG 7.1 will require a thoughtful mix of policy, finance, and technology to be designed and implemented at scale. February 27, 2020.
PODCAST – THE 5 W’S OF THE PAYNE INSTITUTE – WHO, WHAT, WHERE, WHEN, AND WHY
A new Payne Institute Mines Energy Future podcast. Director Morgan Bazilian discusses the Payne Institute and Colorado School of Mines’ perspective on the global energy future. Highlights includes how the Payne Institute is influencing public policy through collaboration, partnerships, and a solutions oriented approach. February 26, 2020.
CONNECTING THE CONTINENTS – A GLOBAL POWER GRID
Payne Fellow Paul Deane writes about the dream of a globally connected power grid that was once the stuff of science fiction. But today with powerful computer software, open data and international collaboration the concept of a global grid is moving one step closer to reality. February 25, 2020.
PART 2: HOW AUCTIONS HELPED SOLAR BECOME THE CHEAPEST ELECTRICITY IN THE WORLD
This article is the second installment in a two-part series. Unit-cost solar electricity for less than two US cents per kilowatt hour (kWh) is the cheapest electricity in the world, but most of the recent ultra-low bids in the global solar market likely required the stars to align to breach this barrier. Using very high efficiency or bifacial modules in some of the sunniest parts of the world, combined with aggressive forward module pricing and system cost assumptions, a transparent and supportive national policy environment, and access to concessional terms for finance, taxes, land, or labor, has driven capital expenditures down significantly. February 25, 2020.
BAYSWATER COMMITS TO CONDUCT CONTINUOUS AIR MONITORING AT COLORADO OIL AND GAS PRODUCTION SITES February 24, 2020
BAYSWATER COMMITS TO CONDUCT CONTINUOUS AIR MONITORING AT COLORADO OIL AND GAS PRODUCTION SITES
The Payne Institute and Project Canary announce a partnership with Bayswater Exploration and Production for continuous air emissions monitoring for its Colorado operations. Bayswater chose to engage with Payne and Project Canary because of the tremendous learning opportunity it provides them to know even more about improving the efficiency of their operations so that they can engage more effectively with the communities where they operate and the regulators who oversee their activities. February 24, 2020.
PART 1: HOW AUCTIONS HELPED SOLAR BECOME THE CHEAPEST ELECTRICITY IN THE WORLD
This article is the first installment in a two-part series. The global energy transition has reached an inflection point. In numerous markets, the declining cost of solar photovoltaics (PV) has already beaten the cost of new-build coal and natural gas and is now chasing down operating costs of existing thermal power plants, forcing a growing crowd of thermal generation assets into early retirement. Perfect comparability between dispatchable and non-dispatchable resources invites debate, but the cost declines in solar PV are irrefutable: the global average unit cost of competitively-procured solar electricity declined by 83 percent from 2010 to 2018. February 24, 2020.
ANALYTICAL APPROACHES TO BLENDING POLITICAL SCIENCE WITH THE STUDY OF ENERGY MARKETS February 18, 2020
ANALYTICAL APPROACHES TO BLENDING POLITICAL SCIENCE WITH THE STUDY OF ENERGY MARKETS
The Payne Institute co-hosted a workshop with KAPSARC to encourage new research that examines the relationships between energy markets and geopolitical phenomena such as sanctions, diplomatic activity, and cross-border disputes. February 18, 2020.
GEOPOLITICAL RAMIFICATIONS OF ENERGY TRANSITION HARD TO EXAGGERATE: EXPERTS
The geopolitical landscape is likely to be significantly modified by the energy transition from fossil fuels to renewable and low-carbon resources, both on the global and sub-national level, experts said during the University of Texas Energy Week’s second day of sessions. February 18, 2020.
GOVERNMENTS HAVEN’T MANAGED TO REDUCE GREENHOUSE GASES. HERE’S WHO’S TAKING CHARGE IN THE NEXT PHASE. February 17, 2020
GOVERNMENTS HAVEN’T MANAGED TO REDUCE GREENHOUSE GASES. HERE’S WHO’S TAKING CHARGE IN THE NEXT PHASE.
Payne Institute Fellow Jeff Colgan writes about an uncertain climate future that makes investors nervous. Multiple events in the past few months indicate that we’re in a new phase in the global effort to address climate change. The action is happening largely outside the United Nations’ negotiations. What changed, and what are the consequences? February 17, 2020.
THE GEOPOLITICS OF RENEWABLES: NEW BOARD, NEW GAME
This policy perspective sums up the main input of four members of the Research Panel for IRENA’s Global Commission on the Geopolitics of the Energy Transformation. The geographic and technical characteristics of renewable energy systems are fundamentally different from those of coal, oil, and natural gas. This has implications for interstate energy relations and will require early attention if states are to exploit opportunities and address challenges. We point to six clusters of renewables’ geopolitical implications that will manifest themselves over different time horizons. Overall, a generally positive disruption is foreseen, but also one that raises new energy security challenges. February 10, 2020.
FRACKING CONTROVERSIES: ENHANCING PUBLIC TRUST IN LOCAL GOVERNMENT THROUGH ENERGY JUSTICE February 10, 2020
FRACKING CONTROVERSIES: ENHANCING PUBLIC TRUST IN LOCAL GOVERNMENT THROUGH ENERGY JUSTICE
Payne Faculty Fellow Jessica Smith co-authors a paper on Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs) that are a policy tool for local governments to gain more control over unconventional oil and gas development. MOUs ideally empower local governments to minimize potential risks by negotiating more stringent best management practices directly with the operators, who benefit from a more stable regulatory landscape. This study investigates the energy justice dimensions of these MOUs as they were negotiated in the midst of community conflicts in Colorado. February 10, 2020.
PARTISANSHIP AND PROXIMITY PREDICT OPPOSITION TO FRACKING IN COLORADO
Oil and gas development has grown rapidly in recent years in the United States, generating substantial debate over its risks and benefits. A large body of research has surveyed individuals living in and around producing regions to evaluate their views on the industry, with somewhat mixed results. Here, we present the first detailed analysis on this topic using real-world voting data, drawing from precinct-level results of a 2018 election in Colorado that included a vote on Proposition 112, which would have set very large setback requirements on new oil and gas activity. February 7, 2020.
PAYNE INSTITUTE FOR PUBLIC POLICY – POST-DOCTORAL RESEARCHER POSITION AVAILABLE
Post-Doctoral Researcher sought for full-time position at the Payne Institute for Public Policy at the Colorado School of Mines. The research will focus on multi-dimensional aspects of the increasing demand for minerals and metals due to the global transition to more renewable energy. How this changing demand affects markets, trade, security, geopolitics, prices, and technology development are key questions that will be the focus of further research. January 29, 2020.
IS THERE AN ENERGY PARTISAN DIVIDE?
Payne Institute Faculty Fellow Kathleen Hancock comments that the United States seems to be regressing when it comes to renewable energy with Republicans leading the way. But this picture is incomplete. There is strong evidence that the current White House antipathy toward renewables, and support for coal, is off-set by state-led initiatives, even in solidly Republican states. January 27, 2020.
TRASHY DATA, AN EXAMINATION OF ORGANIC COMPOST DIVERTED FROM MUNICIPAL SOLID WASTE STREAMS January 27, 2020
TRASHY DATA, AN EXAMINATION OF ORGANIC COMPOST DIVERTED FROM MUNICIPAL SOLID WASTE STREAMS
Payne Institute student John Massale comments about the recycling policy regarding Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) varies by region, county, and city. This research examined the type of policy that leads to the largest diversion of compostable materials from landfills. The data was gathered by performing small case studies of a handful of US cities that have established voluntary, mandatory, or incentivized composting programs. January 27, 2020.
NEW INITIATIVE TO TRACK GHG EMISSIONS IN MATERIALS SUPPLY CHAIN
The Payne Institute is pleased to announce a new partnership with the Rocky Mountain Institute, MIT Sustainable Supply Chains, and the Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment. The Coalition on Materials Emissions Transparency (COMET) aims to build a standard method for measuring greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in materials, “an important step in decarbonising mineral and industrial supply chains”, the partners said. January 22, 2020.
SUPPORTING ELECTRIFICATION POLICY IN FRAGILE STATES: A CONFLICT-ADJUSTED GEOSPACIAL LEAST COST APPROACH FOR AFGHANISTAN January 21, 2020
SUPPORTING ELECTRIFICATION POLICY IN FRAGILE STATES: A CONFLICT-ADJUSTED GEOSPACIAL LEAST COST APPROACH FOR AFGHANISTAN
Roughly two billion people live in areas that regularly suffer from conflict, violence, and instability. Infrastructure development in those areas is very difficult to implement and fund. As an example, electrification systems face major challenges such as ensuring the security of the workforce or reliability of power supply. This paper presents electrification results from an explorative methodology, where the costs and risks of conflict are explicitly considered in a geo-spatial, least cost electrification model. We also identify inflection points, quantify key decision parameters, and present policy recommendations for universal electrification of Afghanistan by 2030. January 21, 2020.
CRESTONE PEAK RESOURCES ANNOUNCES NEW PARTNERSHIP FOR REAL-TIME WELL SITE AIR QUALITY MONITORING January 16, 2020
CRESTONE PEAK RESOURCES ANNOUNCES NEW PARTNERSHIP FOR REAL-TIME WELL SITE AIR QUALITY MONITORING
Crestone Peak Resources today announced an innovative partnership with the Payne Institute for Public Policy for a large-scale test of real-time continuous air quality monitoring at its oil and natural gas production sites in Colorado. Crestone is the first operator to commit to continuous emissions testing for a substantial majority of its production. January 16, 2020.
BIG DATA AND THE ELECTRICITY SECTOR IN AFRICAN COUNTRIES
A number of “disruptive” data science and sensor technologies are creating new opportunities for addressing global challenges. The emergence of abundant computing power made possible the generation and storage of “big data,” enabled the explosion of sensors and networked devices, and powered major breakthroughs in the application of Artificial Intelligence, and Machine Learning techniques. These developments have led to a new trend best described as the seamless interplay between the physical and the digital world—also known as the Fourth Industrial Revolution (Industry 4.0) (Deloitte, 2015). This has paved the way for potential radical transformation of whole sectors and industries across the globe. January 14, 2020.
THE ROLE OF ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE IN ACHIEVING THE SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOALS
Payne Institute Fellow Francesco Fuso-Nerini writes on the emergence of artificial intelligence (AI) and its progressively wider impact on many sectors requires an assessment of its effect on the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. Using a consensus-based expert elicitation process, we find that AI can enable the accomplishment of 134 targets across all the goals, but it may also inhibit 59 targets. January 13, 2020.
COLORADO EMISSION REDUCTION TARGETS: LOFTY GOALS OR REACHABLE TARGETS?
Payne Institute student Anna Evans comments on Colorado’s relative position in setting emission reduction targets, an analysis of Colorado’s potential reduction strategies, and looking specifically at the effects that improved insulation or the adoption of LED lighting in residential homes would have on residential emissions. January 9, 2020.
THE WORLD’S NEXT ENERGY BONANZA
The Payne Institute Director co-authored an argument that tapping oceanic methane hydrates is the next big energy resource. The fracking of shale gas may have substantially shifted the global energy landscape, but another hydrocarbon resource—oceanic methane hydrates—has the possibility to do even more to change the picture, and upend the global energy landscape. January 9, 2020.
DENVER, LYFT, AND THE ELECTRIC FUTURE
Payne Institute student Will Callahan comments about emissions from the transportation sector that pose a great risk to global health. Vehicle electrification is one way to mitigate tailpipe emission, thereby reducing the health risk. Gov. Jared Polis and Lyft recently announced Lyft’s plan to add 200 electric vehicles (EVs) to the Denver fleet. Data from EVI Pro Lite, Auto Alliance, and a doctoral dissertation on ride-hailing were used to estimate the impact of Lyft’s decision on Denver’s emission profile and existing charging infrastructure. An initial injection of 200 EVs will have a small but non-negligible effect on emissions. January 6, 2020.
SUSTAINABLE MINERALS AND METALS FOR A LOW-CARBON FUTURE
Climate change mitigation will create new natural resource and supply chain opportunities and dilemmas, because substantial amounts of raw materials will be required to build new low-carbon energy devices and infrastructure. The global low-carbon revolution could be at risk unless new international agreements and governance mechanisms are put in place to ensure a sustainable supply of rare minerals and metals, a new academic study has warned. January 3, 2020.
MINING’S HUMAN ELEMENTS: ANTHROPOLOGIST SEEKS TO BRIDGE DIVIDE BETWEEN INDUSTRY, SMALL-SCALE OPERATIONS January 2, 2020
MINING’S HUMAN ELEMENTS: ANTHROPOLOGIST SEEKS TO BRIDGE DIVIDE BETWEEN INDUSTRY, SMALL-SCALE OPERATIONS
Assistant Professor Nicole Smith is the only social scientist in Mines’ Mining Engineering Department, but that’s par for the course for any anthropologist worth his or her salt. “I’ve always been interested in why people do what they do and how it differs across the world,” said Smith, who earned a bachelor’s degree in anthropology from the University of Minnesota. January 2, 2020.
ATYPICAL VARIABILITY IN TMY-BASED POWER SYSTEMS
This paper presents the results of an analysis that explores how Typical Meteorological Year (TMY) informed power system models perform when exposed to atypical variability. A simplified power system planning model is tested for two case studies in Guinea-Bissau and Turkey. A TMY proxy is compared against 24-year timeseries datasets containing hourly resolution solar PV and wind capacity factor data. December 16, 2019.
PAYNE FACULTY FELLOW – LINDA BATTALORA NAMED FRYREAR CHAIR FOR INNOVATION AND EXCELLENCE December 10, 2019
PAYNE FACULTY FELLOW – LINDA BATTALORA NAMED FRYREAR CHAIR FOR INNOVATION AND EXCELLENCE
Mines alumnus Ben Fryrear ’62 endowed the chairship in 2017 to recognize and support highly accomplished faculty members driving institutional change. Payne Faculty Fellow Linda Battalora, teaching professor of petroleum engineering, has been awarded a Ben L. Fryrear Endowed Chair for Innovation and Excellence to lead efforts to increase alumni engagement on campus. December 10, 2019.
KEY CHARACTERISTICS INFLUENCING RISK PERCEPTIONS OF UNCONVENTIONAL ENERGY DEVELOPMENT December 10, 2019
KEY CHARACTERISTICS INFLUENCING RISK PERCEPTIONS OF UNCONVENTIONAL ENERGY DEVELOPMENT
Payne Faculty Fellow Jessica Smith co-authors a paper assessing the sustainability of energy systems that must include attention to the local social and environmental impacts of such energy production, though these do not always easily align with more regional and global concerns. Social science research demonstrates that public perceptions of the social and environmental risks associated with unconventional oil and gas development (glossed by critics as “fracking”) vary both at an individual and community level. This article provides a comparative analysis of three proposed factors that influence risk perceptions: trust in government institutions, socioeconomic profile, and historical experiences with industry. December 10, 2019.
THE GREEN TRANSITION: WHO WILL BE THE GEOPOLITICAL WINNERS – AND LOSERS?
Beyond any doubt, the green transition will have consequences for geopolitics – international power relations and competition influenced by geography. But who stands to gain, or lose, the most – geopolitically speaking? December 2, 2019.
MINING PLASTIC: HARVESTING STORED ENERGY IN A RE-USE REVOLUTION
To spur action, the perception of discarded plastics must change from burdensome waste to a physical store of non-renewable resources. Major investment in developing catalysts, processes, and infrastructure for energetically efficient chemical recycling is critical. It is time for governments to commit to “mining” plastics. December 2, 2019.
THE SHIFTING ENERGY LANDSCAPE AND THE GULF ECONOMIES’ DIVERSIFICATION CHALLENGE
Payne Fellow Samantha Gross writes about the hydrocarbon-dependent countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) face challenges in adjusting to the new reality in energy markets. Growing oil and gas production in the United States and growing concern about climate change mean that their hydrocarbon revenues are likely to decline over the long run. At the same time, growing populations and a rentier social contract make declining revenues a challenge for governance and stability. December 2019.
Reversible solid oxide cell systems for integration with natural gas pipeline and carbon capture infrastructure for grid energy management November 28, 2019
REVERSIBLE SOLID OXIDE CELL SYSTEMS FOR INTEGRATION WITH NATURAL GAS PIPELINE AND CARBON CAPTURE INFRASTRUCTURE FOR GRID ENERGY MANAGEMENT
Payne Fellow Robert Braun writes about how Electrical energy storage (EES) is necessary to enable greater penetration of renewables and as a grid-balancing solution, but current EES technologies suffer from capacity or geological limitations and high cost. Reversible solid oxide cells (ReSOCs) are an electrochemical energy conversion technology that can produce both electricity from fuel (gas-to-power) and fuel from electricity (power-to-gas), depending on resource availability and demand. This study proposes a ReSOC system integrated with both natural gas pipeline and carbon capture and storage (CCS) infrastructure to render a flexible, grid energy management resource.November 28, 2019.
NEW OIL FINDS COULD MEAN A TRIPLING OF GUYANA’S GDP
This year, ExxonMobil announced its 11th and 12th oil finds in the small South American country of Guyana. The estimates of recoverable crude in the country now stand at roughly 5 billion barrels. On a per capita basis, this would put Guyana among the top 10 oil producers in the world. Whether the people of Guyana see much benefit from the windfall could have much to say about the fate of the oil industry, which is facing an uncertain future during an ongoing energy transition. November 26, 2019.
PAYNE INSTITUTE PARTNERS WITH THE ATLANTIC COUNCIL GLOBAL ENERGY CENTER TO LAUNCH THE VETERANS ADVANCED ENERGY PROJECT November 22, 2019
PAYNE INSTITUTE PARTNERS WITH THE ATLANTIC COUNCIL GLOBAL ENERGY CENTER TO LAUNCH THE VETERANS ADVANCED ENERGY PROJECT
The Payne Institute is proud to partner with the Atlantic Council Global Energy Center in a new initiative to incubate a new generation of veterans to lead the advanced energy economy. November 22, 2019.
NEW COALITION IN GULF MAY NOT FARE AS WELL AS OLD
Representatives from Australia, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, Albania and the United States opened a command center in Bahrain November 7, launching Operation Sentinel, a security initiative for protecting the Strait of Hormuz. The operation is a response to recent attacks on ships in the strait and Saudi facilities. Vessels watch chokepoints and maintain patrols in the strait that is 21 nautical miles wide and territorial waters for Iran and Oman, within their regulatory control under international law. “While such security coalitions have been successful in the past, applying the same approach in the Middle East may not improve conditions and may even exacerbate tensions,” explain Gregory Clough and Morgan D. Bazilian. November 21, 2019.
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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.