Research

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.

BIG DATA AND THE ELECTRICITY SECTOR IN AFRICAN COUNTRIES January 14, 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 January 13, 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.

SUSTAINABLE MINERALS AND METALS FOR A LOW-CARBON FUTURE January 3, 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.

ATYPICAL VARIABILITY IN TMY-BASED POWER SYSTEMS December 16, 2019

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.

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.

COMMITTED EMISSIONS AND THE RISK OF STRANDED ASSETS FROM POWER PLANTS IN LATIN AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN November 5, 2019

COMMITTED EMISSIONS AND THE RISK OF STRANDED ASSETS FROM POWER PLANTS IN LATIN AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN

In this paper, we assess committed CO2 emissions from existing and planned power plants in LAC. Those are the carbon emissions that would result from the operation of fossil-fueled power plants during their typical lifetime. November 5, 2019.
Committed emissions and the risk of stranded assets from power plants in Latin America and the Caribbean
Las emisiones comprometidas y el riesgo de activos abandonados en el sector eléctrico de América Latina y el Caribe

ECONOMIC VOLATILITY IN OIL PRODUCING REGIONS: IMPACTS AND FEDERAL POLICY OPTIONS October 30, 2019

ECONOMIC VOLATILITY IN OIL PRODUCING REGIONS: IMPACTS AND FEDERAL POLICY OPTIONS

This report is an outcome from the Payne Institute/Columbia|SIPA/Resources for the Future event held earlier this year. The report analyzes the impact of “large, rapid, and unpredictable changes in local economic conditions” due to changes in the oil industry and offers guidance for how the federal government could support these communities. October 30, 2019.

Light pollution in USA and Europe: The good, the band and the ugly 10/15/2019

LIGHT POLLUTION IN USA AND EUROPE: THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY

Light pollution is a worldwide problem that has a range of adverse effects on human health and natural ecosystems. Using data from the New World Atlas of Artificial Night Sky Brightness, VIIRS-recorded radiance and Gross Domestic Product (GDP) data, we compared light pollution levels, and the light flux to the population size and GDP at the State and County levels in the USA and at Regional (NUTS2) and Province (NUTS3) levels in Europe. October, 2019

THE GEGALO INDEX: GEOPOLITICAL GAINS AND LOSSES AFTER ENERGY TRANSITION October 15, 2019

THE GEGALO INDEX: GEOPOLITICAL GAINS AND LOSSES AFTER ENERGY TRANSITION

This article presents the GeGaLo index of geopolitical gains and losses that 156 countries may experience after a full-scale transition to renewable energy. The following indicators are considered for inclusion in the index: fossil fuel production, fossil fuel reserves, renewable energy resources, governance, and conflict. October 15, 2019.

THE EVOLVING ROLES AND STRUCTURES OF UNIVERSITY-AFFILIATED ENERGY AND ENVIRONMENT INSTITUTES September 26, 2019

THE EVOLVING ROLES AND STRUCTURES OF UNIVERSITY-AFFILIATED ENERGY AND ENVIRONMENT INSTITUTES

Payne Institute for Public Policy at CO School of Mines, in conjunction with Carnegie Mellon University and Rice University, are pleased to host the University Energy Institute Leadership Summit in downtown Pittsburgh, PA. The purpose of this workshop is to explore the synergistic opportunities that are possible with the organization of a national consortium. Both the research and operational leadership at each institute will discuss the role of an organizational framework to advance research and education, funding pursuits, decarbonization strategies, public policy and advocacy, innovation, and partnerships. September 25-26, 2019.

 

ENERGY SPHERES OF INFLUENCE September 13, 2019

ENERGY SPHERES OF INFLUENCE

For several decades, energy security has been defined and pursued in a multilateral world with relatively open markets and technology transfer, where energy relations have become increasingly commodified. But that world may soon disappear—energy relationships might become more political, open trade might give way to friction, and great powers might leverage energy relations or energy technology to gain an edge over each other. September 13, 2019.

DEEP-SEA MINING: THE BASICS August 30, 2019

DEEP-SEA MINING: THE BASICS

The deepest parts of the world’s ocean feature ecosystems found nowhere else on Earth. They provide habitat for multitudes of species, many yet to be named. These vast, lightless regions also possess deposits of valuable minerals in rich concentrations. Deep-sea extraction technologies may soon develop to the point where exploration of seabed minerals can give way to active exploitation. August 30, 2019.

URBAN ELECTRIFICATION: KNOWLEDGE PATHWAY TOWARD AN INTEGRATED RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT AGENDA August 22, 2019

URBAN ELECTRIFICATION: KNOWLEDGE PATHWAY TOWARD AN INTEGRATED RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT AGENDA

This paper outlines a vision for advancing a research and development (R&D) agenda to thoroughly examine the characteristics and relationships among urbanization, electrification, and cities, including the imperative of shifting renewable sources for electricity. It uses a systems approach to trace current knowledge and identifies knowledge gaps on diverse and not yet connected elements of this emerging field, while calling for a more active collaboration among engineering, and physical and social sciences in the development of an integrated R&D agenda. August 22, 2019.

CREATING A NATIONAL ELECTRICITY MARKET: INDIA’S MOST IMPORTANT POWER SECTOR REFORM August 19, 2019

CREATING A NATIONAL ELECTRICITY MARKET: INDIA’S MOST IMPORTANT POWER SECTOR REFORM

Important work by Payne Institute Expert Kartikeya. India’s general election is over, and the newly reelected Modi administration has a slew of reforms that are ripe for implementing to shore up India’s teetering power sector. In the first term of the Modi administration, the government focused on providing electricity connections to all houses, aiming to deploy 175 gigawatts (GW) of new renewable energy capacity (mainly from solar and wind) by 2022 and to enact the Ujwal DISCOM Assurance Yojana, also known as UDAY, a reform meant to improve the technical and financial performance of the cash-strapped state-owned utilities (discoms).  August 19, 2019.

WASTING LESS ELECTRICITY BEFORE USE August 12, 2019

WASTING LESS ELECTRICITY BEFORE USE 

Payne Institute Expert Constantine Samaras writes a piece on new research that finds that global inefficiencies in power transmission and distribution infrastructure result in nearly a gigatonne of CO2-equivalent annually. Countries can use this overlooked mitigation opportunity in their transition to a clean power sector. August 12, 2019.

CASE STUDY OF THE ENERGY TRANSITION: PUEBLO, COLORADO August 1, 2019

CASE STUDY OF THE ENERGY TRANSITION: PUEBLO, COLORADO

Pueblo, Colorado is undergoing a major transformation towards becoming a clean energy hub, with lessons for the whole country.  We consider the evolution of the city’s relationship with energy and manufacturing, and conclude with some lessons learned about partnership, government engagement, utility collaboration, and energy transition leadership. August 1, 2019.

LIGHT POLLUTION IN USA AND EUROPE: THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE UGLY July 27, 2019

LIGHT POLLUTION IN USA AND EUROPE: THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE UGLY

Payne Institute Earth Observation Group article on light pollution. Light Pollution is a worldwide problem that has a range of adverse effects on human health and natural ecosystems. Using data from the New World Atlas of Artificial Night Sky Brightness, VIIRS-recorded radiance and Gross Domestic Product (GDP) data, we compared light pollution levels, and the light flux to the population size and GDP at the State and County levels in the USA and at Regional (NUTS2) and Province (NUTS3) levels in Europe. July 27, 2019.

RESERVOIR DESIGN AND OPERATION FOR THE FOOD-ENERGY-WATER NEXUS July 17, 2019

RESERVOIR DESIGN AND OPERATION FOR THE FOOD-ENERGY-WATER NEXUS

As populations grow concurrently with changing climates, expanding economies and urbanization, competition for food, energy, and water resources increases. The intersection of these areas, sometimes referred to as the food-energy-water nexus, poses significant challenges. July 17, 2019.

WHAT DOES CLIMATE CHANGE MEAN FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT? July 15, 2019

WHAT DOES CLIMATE CHANGE MEAN FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT?

Payne Institute Expert Francesco FusoNerini writes an article, while climate change is likely to hinder progress towards nearly all SDGs, well-planned climate mitigation and adaptation could help unlock the large majority of the SDGs targets. But to do so, climate action needs to be harmonized with other sustainable development policy. July 15, 2019.

A REVIEW OF CLOSE-RANGE AND SCREENING TECHNOLOGIES FOR MITIGATING FUGITIVE METHANE EMISSIONS IN UPSTREAM OIL AND GAS June 26, 2019

A REVIEW OF CLOSE-RANGE AND SCREENING TECHNOLOGIES FOR MITIGATING FUGITIVE METHANE EMISSIONS IN UPSTREAM OIL AND GAS

Fugitive methane emissions from the oil and gas industry are targeted using leak detection and repair (LDAR) programs. Until recently, only a limited number of measurement standards have been permitted by most regulators, with emphasis on close-range methods (e.g. Method-21, optical gas imaging). Although close-range methods are essential for source identification, they can be labor-intensive. June 26, 2019.

EDITORIAL: DARK SKIES BRIGHTEN THE WORLD 6/15/2019

EDITORIAL: DARK SKIES BRIGHTEN THE WORLD

light pollution map of the world produced by the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences at the University of Colorado Boulder depicts a bulbous blot of artificial light that stretches from Fort Collins to Pueblo. The map indicates that 80 percent of Americans and a third of all humanity can no longer see the Milky Way through the soup of illumination that muddies the night sky. And the problem in the United States is said to be growing by up to 5% a year.

This is one of the reasons Gov. Jared Polis is to be commended for proclaiming June the state’s first Dark Sky Month.

SHORT RUN EFFECTS OF CARBON POLICY ON U.S. ELECTRICITY MARKETS June 5, 2019

SHORT RUN EFFECTS OF CARBON POLICY ON U.S. ELECTRICITY MARKETS

This paper presents estimates of short run impacts of a carbon price on the electricity industry using a cost-minimizing mathematical model of the U.S. market. Prices of $25 and $50 per ton of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions cause electricity emissions reductions of 17% and 22% from present levels, respectively. June 5, 2019.

INSTREAM FLOW RIGHTS WITHIN THE PRIOR APPROPRIATION DOCTRINE: INSIGHTS FROM COLORADO May 17, 2019

INSTREAM FLOW RIGHTS WITHIN THE PRIOR APPROPRIATION DOCTRINE: INSIGHTS FROM COLORADO

This article rigorously analyzes the case of Colorado, one of the most active programs in the US within the most regimented water right systems. Despite relatively few acquisitions, the junior ISF appropriations have protected numerous miles of streams by 1) deflecting future diversionary rights, 2) requiring protection of any upstream transfers, and 3) reducing upstream withdrawals from existing diversion rights despite ISF’s junior status. May 17, 2019.

A COMPARISON OF LOW CARBON INVESTMENT NEEDS BETWEEN CHINA AND EUROPE IN STRINGENT CLIMATE POLICY SCENARIOS May 13, 2019

A COMPARISON OF LOW CARBON INVESTMENT NEEDS BETWEEN CHINA AND EUROPE IN STRINGENT CLIMATE POLICY SCENARIOS

Payne Fellow Keywan Riahi writes about the radical change in recent global climate governance that calls for China and Europe to ramp up their efforts in leading the world to reach the long-term climate goals. By analyzing the results from the state-of-the-art global integrated assessment model, MESSAGEix-GLOBIOM, this paper aims to understand the future levels of financial investment needed for building and maintaining energy-related infrastructure in the two regions for fulfilling stringent targets consistent with ‘well below 2 °C’. May 13, 2019.

MODEL AND MANAGE THE CHANGING GEOPOLITICS OF ENERGY May 1, 2019

MODEL AND MANAGE THE CHANGING GEOPOLITICS OF ENERGY

We present here four geopolitical scenarios to illustrate how varied the transition could be by 2030 (see ‘Four futures’). To minimize conflict and maximize equity, states’ policy choices over the next decade will be crucial. Researchers and decision-makers should widen their focus to examine the implications of such alternative pathways to decarbonization — issues that go well beyond technology. Smoothing the road will take multilateral agreements, generous funding and cooperation. May 1, 2019.

Cross-matching VIIRS Boat Detections with Vessel Monitoring System Tracks in Indonesia 4/26/2019

LIGHT POLLUTION IN USA AND EUROPE: THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY

A methodology had been proposed for cross-matching visible infrared imaging radiometer suite (VIIRS) boat detections (VBD) with vessel monitoring system (VMS) tracks. The process involves predicting the probable location of VMS vessels at the time of each VIIRS data collection with an orbital model. April 26, 2019

CROSS-SCALE WATER AND LAND IMPACTS OF LOCAL CLIMATE AND ENERGY POLICY – A LOCAL SWEDISH ANALYSIS OF SELECTED SDG INTERACTIONS March 27, 2019

CROSS-SCALE WATER AND LAND IMPACTS OF LOCAL CLIMATE AND ENERGY POLICY – A LOCAL SWEDISH ANALYSIS OF SELECTED SDG INTERACTIONS

This paper analyses how local energy and climate actions can affect the use of water and land resources locally, nationally and globally. Each of these resource systems is linked to different Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs); we also explore related SDG interactions. March 27, 2019.

PLANNING POWER SYSTEMS IN FRAGILE AND CONFLICT-AFFECTED STATES March 18, 2019

PLANNING POWER SYSTEMS IN FRAGILE AND CONFLICT-AFFECTED STATES

Novel approaches are necessary to accelerate the provision of reliable electric power in fragile and conflict-affected countries. Existing approaches to planning power system investment tend to ignore conflict-related risk and its serious consequences. Here, we propose a framework for identifying power system investment strategies in fragile and conflict-affected countries, and apply it to South Sudan. Our results show that investment strategies that explicitly consider the challenges posed by potential conflict may improve the reliability of electricity service over the status-quo approach. Our analysis suggests investing in a diverse mix of supply types in the medium term, and building a power system with redundancies or a higher share of local resources in the long term, to reduce vulnerability to conflict and socio-political fragility. March 18, 2019.

Extending Nighttime Combustion Source Detection Limits with Short Wavelength VIIRS Data 2/15/2019

LIGHT POLLUTION IN USA AND EUROPE: THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY

The Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) collects low light imaging data at night in five spectral bands. The best known of these is the day/night band (DNB) which uses light intensification for imaging of moonlit clouds in the visible and near-infrared (VNIR). The other four low light imaging bands are in the NIR and short-wave infrared (SWIR), designed for daytime imaging, which continue to collect data at night. VIIRS nightfire (VNF) tests each nighttime pixel for the presence of sub-pixel IR emitters across six spectral bands with two bands each in three spectral ranges: NIR, SWIR, and MWIR. February 15, 2019

EXTENDING NIGHTTIME COMBUSTION SOURCE DETECTION LIMITS WITH SHORT WAVELENGTH VIIRS DATA February 15, 2019

EXTENDING NIGHTTIME COMBUSTION SOURCE DETECTION LIMITS WITH SHORT WAVELENGTH VIIRS DATA

The Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) collects low light imaging data at night in five spectral bands. The best known of these is the day/night band (DNB) which uses light intensification for imaging of moonlit clouds in the visible and near-infrared (VNIR). The other four low light imaging bands are in the NIR and short-wave infrared (SWIR), designed for daytime imaging, which continue to collect data at night. VIIRS nightfire (VNF) tests each nighttime pixel for the presence of sub-pixel IR emitters across six spectral bands with two bands each in three spectral ranges: NIR, SWIR, and MWIR. In pixels with detection in two or more bands, Planck curve fitting leads to the calculation of temperature, source area, and radiant heat using physical laws. An analysis of January 2018 global VNF found that inclusion of the NIR and SWIR channels results in a doubling of the VNF pixels with temperature fits over the detection numbers involving the MWIR. The addition of the short wavelength channels extends detection limits to smaller source areas across a broad range of temperatures.  February 15, 2019.

HOW OECD COUNTRIES SUBSIDIZE OIL AND NATURAL GAS PRODUCERS AND MODELING THE CONSEQUENCES: A REVIEW February 11, 2019

HOW OECD COUNTRIES SUBSIDIZE OIL AND NATURAL GAS PRODUCERS AND MODELING THE CONSEQUENCES: A REVIEW

In this paper, we focus on oil and gas producer subsidies of OECD countries and their effects; and to categorize the upstream models we have found, compare their main features, as well as recommending best in class models for analyzing the effects of each type of upstream producer subsidy. February 11, 2019.

PRODUCTION OF SYNTHETIC NATURAL GAS FROM CARBON DIOXIDE AND RENEWABLY GENERATED HYDROGEN: A TECHNO-ECONOMIC ANALYSIS OF A POWER-TO-GAS STRATEGY February 2019

PRODUCTION OF SYNTHETIC NATURAL GAS FROM CARBON DIOXIDE AND RENEWABLY GENERATED HYDROGEN: A TECHNO-ECONOMIC ANALYSIS OF A POWER-TO-GAS STRATEGY  

Payne Fellow Robert Braun writes about how power-to-gas to energy systems are of increasing interest for low carbon fuels production and as a low-cost grid-balancing solution for renewables penetration. However, such gas generation systems are typically focused on hydrogen production, which has compatibility issues with the existing natural gas pipeline infrastructures. This study presents a power-to-synthetic natural gas (SNG) plant design and a techno-economic analysis of its performance for producing SNG by reacting renewably generated hydrogen from low temperature electrolysis with captured carbon dioxide. February 2019. 

THE ROLE OF RENEWABLE ENERGY IN THE GLOBAL ENERGY TRANSFORMATION January 31, 2019

THE ROLE OF RENEWABLE ENERGY IN THE GLOBAL ENERGY TRANSFORMATION

This paper explores the technical and economic characteristics of an accelerated energy transition to 2050, using new datasets for renewable energy. The analysis indicates that energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies are the core elements of that transition, and their synergies are likewise important. Favourable economics, ubiquitous resources, scalable technology, and significant socio-economic benefits underpin such a transition. January 31, 2019.

BALANCING CLEAN WATER-CLIMATE CHANGE MITIGATION TRADE-OFFS January 11, 2019

BALANCING CLEAN WATER-CLIMATE CHANGE MITIGATION TRADE-OFFS

Payne Fellow Keywan Riahi writes about the energy systems that support technical solutions fulfilling the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal for clean water and sanitation (SDG6), with implications for future energy demands and greenhouse gas emissions. The energy sector is also a large consumer of water, making water efficiency targets ingrained in SDG6 important constraints for long-term energy planning.  January 11, 2019.

INTERFIRM LEARNING ECONOMIES IN DRILLING AND ENVIRONMENTAL SAFETY January 9, 2019

INTERFIRM LEARNING ECONOMIES IN DRILLING AND ENVIRONMENTAL SAFETY

This paper examines whether firm learning economies lead to reduced environmental incidents in Bakken unconventional oil drilling. We model the relationship between environmental safety and learning in preventing environmental incidents. We do not find evidence that firm or interfirm learning leads to increased environmental safety. We do find evidence that idiosyncratic quality of matches between firms and subcontractors is associated with improved environmental safety. January 9, 2019.

NEW POLICIES NEEDED TO ADVANCE SPACE MINING January 1, 2019

NEW POLICIES NEEDED TO ADVANCE SPACE MINING

Space is viewed as a frontier of economic opportunity as scientists, technologists, and entrepreneurs invest their ingenuity and wealth to bring the vastness of space within human grasp.  Accessing space resources is increasingly important as the world confronts the finite nature of resources and the increasing environmental and social costs to develop them. Winter 2019.

Light Pollution Is Stealing the Night 12/5/2017

LIGHT POLLUTION IS STEALING THE NIGHT

The extent of light pollution is evidenced by a November 2017 study in the journal Science Advances, in which researchers used measurements taken by satellites to study the artificial brightness of Earth’s surface during nighttime. They found that between 2012 and 2016, the outdoor area that was artificially lit grew at a rate of 2.2 percent per year. As more spaces are being illuminated, they’ve become brighter as well, with the radiance of those areas increasing at an annual rate of 1.8 percent. December 5, 2017

 

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.