Power Surge 5.10

Power Surge 5.10

Volume 5, Issue 10
April 29, 2018 – May 5, 2018
Anushka Dasgupta '19 | Amy Amatya '21 | Neha Chauhan '21 | Joseph Kawalec '21


  All of the ways embattled EPA chief Scott Pruitt has changed energy policy   April 26, 2018 | PBS | Joey Mendolia  Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Chief Scott Pruitt is known for enacting a diverse array of changes to energy policy, as well as influencing the administration’s stance on international energy affairs, such as the Paris Climate Accord. However, his decisions have provoked scandals and investigations that may eventually result in his stepping down. These potential ethics violations include spending an inordinate amount of money on first-class flights and using his security team unnecessarily. But even if he steps down or if fired by Trump, his impact on the United States’ energy policies remains to be profound - notably in his opposition to the Clean Power Plan and in changing fuel emission standards. By considering some of his lesser-known deregulations, such as those on methane and pesticides, it is clear that Scott Pruitt has left his mark as the Chief of the EPA. -JK    For the First Time, Maritime Shipping Has a Climate Target    April 15, 2018 | Forbes | Dave Keating   The International Maritime Organization (IMO) has finally decided to set emission goals for maritime shipping after years of contention. On April 13th, 170 countries agreed to halve shipping emissions by 2050 as an attempt to meet Paris Agreement goals. While this is a step up from opposition to the European Union’s 2005 Emissions Trading System (enacted to try to reduce pollution from air and sea transport), the promise falls short in outlining a specific and immediate plan. Notably, the United States has opposed measures proposed by the organization. Nevertheless, recent attempts to tackle emissions in the shipping industry, which accounts for 80% of global trade, show steady progress toward realization of the Paris Agreement’s goals, and long-term decarbonisation. -AA

All of the ways embattled EPA chief Scott Pruitt has changed energy policy
April 26, 2018 | PBS | Joey Mendolia
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Chief Scott Pruitt is known for enacting a diverse array of changes to energy policy, as well as influencing the administration’s stance on international energy affairs, such as the Paris Climate Accord. However, his decisions have provoked scandals and investigations that may eventually result in his stepping down. These potential ethics violations include spending an inordinate amount of money on first-class flights and using his security team unnecessarily. But even if he steps down or if fired by Trump, his impact on the United States’ energy policies remains to be profound - notably in his opposition to the Clean Power Plan and in changing fuel emission standards. By considering some of his lesser-known deregulations, such as those on methane and pesticides, it is clear that Scott Pruitt has left his mark as the Chief of the EPA. -JK

For the First Time, Maritime Shipping Has a Climate Target
April 15, 2018 | Forbes | Dave Keating
The International Maritime Organization (IMO) has finally decided to set emission goals for maritime shipping after years of contention. On April 13th, 170 countries agreed to halve shipping emissions by 2050 as an attempt to meet Paris Agreement goals. While this is a step up from opposition to the European Union’s 2005 Emissions Trading System (enacted to try to reduce pollution from air and sea transport), the promise falls short in outlining a specific and immediate plan. Notably, the United States has opposed measures proposed by the organization. Nevertheless, recent attempts to tackle emissions in the shipping industry, which accounts for 80% of global trade, show steady progress toward realization of the Paris Agreement’s goals, and long-term decarbonisation. -AA


  Husky Energy Refinery Blast in Wisconsin Results in Injuries    April 26, 2018 | Wall Street Journal | Erin Ailworth and Dan Molinski  An oil refinery in Superior, WI was rocked by an explosion on Thursday. There were no fatalities but a dozen people were hurt, and most of the town was evacuated. The refinery, which was fined for safety violations in 2015, was bought last year by Canadian company Husky Energy. -AD

Husky Energy Refinery Blast in Wisconsin Results in Injuries
April 26, 2018 | Wall Street Journal | Erin Ailworth and Dan Molinski
An oil refinery in Superior, WI was rocked by an explosion on Thursday. There were no fatalities but a dozen people were hurt, and most of the town was evacuated. The refinery, which was fined for safety violations in 2015, was bought last year by Canadian company Husky Energy. -AD


  Nanoparticle Breakthrough Could Capture Unseen Light for Solar Energy Conversion   April 23, 2018 | Lawrence Berkeley National Lab | Glenn Roberts Jr.  Scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have successfully identified and recreated an atomic phenomenon that could make solar cells more efficient and have applications in biological imaging and optogenetics. They have successfully replicated the mechanism by which nanoparticles coated with organic dyes gather a broader range of light. The subject of the work was upconverting nanoparticles (UCNPs), which efficiently absorb near-infrared light to convert it into visible light. This was found in 2012 to be significantly more efficient when the particles’ surfaces are coated with dyes. Scientists were clued into the mechanism of this phenomenon by the absorption spectrums of the particles because they matched electron emission spectrums of the dyes. After ten years of work on the topic, the scientists were able to reproduce the effect, which increases the brightness of the converted light by 33,000 times and the efficiency of its conversion by 100 times. -NC

Nanoparticle Breakthrough Could Capture Unseen Light for Solar Energy Conversion
April 23, 2018 | Lawrence Berkeley National Lab | Glenn Roberts Jr.
Scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have successfully identified and recreated an atomic phenomenon that could make solar cells more efficient and have applications in biological imaging and optogenetics. They have successfully replicated the mechanism by which nanoparticles coated with organic dyes gather a broader range of light. The subject of the work was upconverting nanoparticles (UCNPs), which efficiently absorb near-infrared light to convert it into visible light. This was found in 2012 to be significantly more efficient when the particles’ surfaces are coated with dyes. Scientists were clued into the mechanism of this phenomenon by the absorption spectrums of the particles because they matched electron emission spectrums of the dyes. After ten years of work on the topic, the scientists were able to reproduce the effect, which increases the brightness of the converted light by 33,000 times and the efficiency of its conversion by 100 times. -NC


  As Hawaii Aims for 100% Renewable Energy, Other States Watching Closely   April 27, 2018 | Scientific American | John Fialka  This week, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) released the results of a study on how electric grids in Hawaii will be affected by the incorporation of high levels of intermittent renewable energy sources. Hawaii once generated all its power from expensive imported oil and gas; now, there are days on which 60 percent of its electricity comes from renewable sources, and the state’s ambitious Clean Energy Initiative sets a goal of 100% renewable energy generation by 2040. Using models, researchers recommended modifications to existing operational practices and utility equipment to best mitigate the variability of wind and solar power. -AD

As Hawaii Aims for 100% Renewable Energy, Other States Watching Closely
April 27, 2018 | Scientific American | John Fialka
This week, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) released the results of a study on how electric grids in Hawaii will be affected by the incorporation of high levels of intermittent renewable energy sources. Hawaii once generated all its power from expensive imported oil and gas; now, there are days on which 60 percent of its electricity comes from renewable sources, and the state’s ambitious Clean Energy Initiative sets a goal of 100% renewable energy generation by 2040. Using models, researchers recommended modifications to existing operational practices and utility equipment to best mitigate the variability of wind and solar power. -AD

Power Surge 5.9

Power Surge 5.9

Volume 5, Issue 9
April 22, 2018 – April 28, 2018
Anushka Dasgupta '19 | Amy Amatya '21 | Neha Chauhan '21 | Joseph Kawalec '21


  Senators ask Trump to suspend EPA's use of biofuel waivers   April 9, 2018 | Reuters | Jarrett Renshaw and Chris Prentice  A group of five Republican senators issued a letter to President Donald Trump asking him to suspend the use of biofuel waivers. These waivers exempt oil refineries from a Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) requirement to mix a certain amount of corn ethanol with gasoline. Exemptions are typically granted to about six to eight small refineries a year that face financial hardship. Last year, the EPA issued 25 exemptions following a federal appeals court ruling that required it to loosen exemption requirements. Some of these exemptions were to small refineries belonging to large companies like Andeavor.  -NC

Senators ask Trump to suspend EPA's use of biofuel waivers
April 9, 2018 | Reuters | Jarrett Renshaw and Chris Prentice
A group of five Republican senators issued a letter to President Donald Trump asking him to suspend the use of biofuel waivers. These waivers exempt oil refineries from a Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) requirement to mix a certain amount of corn ethanol with gasoline. Exemptions are typically granted to about six to eight small refineries a year that face financial hardship. Last year, the EPA issued 25 exemptions following a federal appeals court ruling that required it to loosen exemption requirements. Some of these exemptions were to small refineries belonging to large companies like Andeavor.  -NC


  States are Breathing New Air Into Nuclear Energy To Preserve Jobs and Environment   April 13, 2018 | Forbes | Ken Silverstein     With natural gas being a cheap, relatively stable energy source in recent years, many sources of renewable energy, especially nuclear power plants, at being put at a disadvantage. Plus, the environmental impact of nuclear reactors on the surrounding area, along with their expensive nature, leaves them unwanted by traditional environmentalists. However, states are still passing legislation to keep these plants operating - such as New Jersey, who recently voted to keep PSE&G’s Salem and Hope Creek plants alive. The effects of power plants to create jobs for local communities, supply power to a wealth of communities, and produce an alternative to carbon-based power is encouraging states across the nation, including New York and Illinois, that their usage of nuclear power has not reached an end just yet. -JK   Total, With Energy Industry in Flux, Makes $1.7 Billion Bet on a Utility    April 18, 2018 | The New York Times | Stanley Reed  Giant corporations in the oil and gas industry are trying to stay ahead of regulations and quell public demand by making investments in clean energy. The latest in the trend? French multinational company Total, which is clubbed in with the likes of ExxonMobil and Chevron in a group known as the “supermajors” in the oil industry. Unlike the others, which are investing in clean energy generation (BP in solar, Statoil in offshore wind), Total just made a deal with a utility company and recently put its money behind energy storage in the past. -AD

States are Breathing New Air Into Nuclear Energy To Preserve Jobs and Environment
April 13, 2018 | Forbes | Ken Silverstein 
With natural gas being a cheap, relatively stable energy source in recent years, many sources of renewable energy, especially nuclear power plants, at being put at a disadvantage. Plus, the environmental impact of nuclear reactors on the surrounding area, along with their expensive nature, leaves them unwanted by traditional environmentalists. However, states are still passing legislation to keep these plants operating - such as New Jersey, who recently voted to keep PSE&G’s Salem and Hope Creek plants alive. The effects of power plants to create jobs for local communities, supply power to a wealth of communities, and produce an alternative to carbon-based power is encouraging states across the nation, including New York and Illinois, that their usage of nuclear power has not reached an end just yet. -JK

Total, With Energy Industry in Flux, Makes $1.7 Billion Bet on a Utility
April 18, 2018 | The New York Times | Stanley Reed
Giant corporations in the oil and gas industry are trying to stay ahead of regulations and quell public demand by making investments in clean energy. The latest in the trend? French multinational company Total, which is clubbed in with the likes of ExxonMobil and Chevron in a group known as the “supermajors” in the oil industry. Unlike the others, which are investing in clean energy generation (BP in solar, Statoil in offshore wind), Total just made a deal with a utility company and recently put its money behind energy storage in the past. -AD