Volume 6, Issue 3
October 7, 2018 – October 13, 2018
Anushka Dasgupta '19 | Neha Chauhan '21 | Joseph Kawalec '21 | Amy Amatya '21 | Melanie Porras ‘21 | Patrick Huang ‘21


  Clean Energy is Coming. What’s Exxon Waiting For?   October 4, 2018 | CNN | Matt Egan  European oil companies have been investing billions in renewable energy and electric vehicles, American counterparts are slow to follow suit. Why? While the clean energy revolution is a looming threat to big oil, the Organization of Oil Exporting Countries (OPEC) doesn’t project this substitution happening until 2040, with oil reaching peak demand 15 years from now. So, American companies think they can ride it out and remain on the offensive to maximize oil profits while Europe is playing defense by funding  alternative energy projects  and investing in clean energy markets. However, Chevron said it is taking “prudent actions to address [climate change],” and Exxon has this year unveiled a new biofuel campaign - whether these will result in measurable actions is to be seen. -AA   Singapore Happy to Be `Goldilocks' for Energy Usage Experiment   October 4, 2018 | Bloomberg | Dan Murtaugh and Haslinda Amin  Chan Chun Sing, Singapore’s trade and industry minister, believes his country’s size can be leveraged when it comes to reducing energy use, telling reporters, “We are in what we call a ‘Goldilocks’ position with a city of 5 million where you can try many of these new and innovative solutions.” Singapore hopes to implement change in its power grids in such a way that the experience gained can be used for larger scale projects and to inform the rest of the world. This sentiment is reflected in Singapore’s ambition: the government plans to significantly increase the country’s peak solar generation and levy a carbon tax. -PH

Clean Energy is Coming. What’s Exxon Waiting For?
October 4, 2018 | CNN | Matt Egan
European oil companies have been investing billions in renewable energy and electric vehicles, American counterparts are slow to follow suit. Why? While the clean energy revolution is a looming threat to big oil, the Organization of Oil Exporting Countries (OPEC) doesn’t project this substitution happening until 2040, with oil reaching peak demand 15 years from now. So, American companies think they can ride it out and remain on the offensive to maximize oil profits while Europe is playing defense by funding alternative energy projects and investing in clean energy markets. However, Chevron said it is taking “prudent actions to address [climate change],” and Exxon has this year unveiled a new biofuel campaign - whether these will result in measurable actions is to be seen. -AA

Singapore Happy to Be `Goldilocks' for Energy Usage Experiment
October 4, 2018 | Bloomberg | Dan Murtaugh and Haslinda Amin
Chan Chun Sing, Singapore’s trade and industry minister, believes his country’s size can be leveraged when it comes to reducing energy use, telling reporters, “We are in what we call a ‘Goldilocks’ position with a city of 5 million where you can try many of these new and innovative solutions.” Singapore hopes to implement change in its power grids in such a way that the experience gained can be used for larger scale projects and to inform the rest of the world. This sentiment is reflected in Singapore’s ambition: the government plans to significantly increase the country’s peak solar generation and levy a carbon tax. -PH


  UK government urged not to bury nuclear waste under national parks   September 28, 2018 | The Guardian | Adam Vaughan  U.K. government officials will not rule out national parks when searching for a site for nuclear waste disposal, despite pushback from conservation groups. The search by members of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has been renewed after a similar search five years ago was unsuccessful. Officials have responded to environmental groups’ objections, stating that the U.K. cannot afford to restrict the siting process by excluding national parks and that an underground nuclear waste facility would minimally affect the landscape. However, Roy Payne, executive director of the organization monitoring the search process, said the building of such a facility is extremely unlikely because the final decision is up to local communities. -NC

UK government urged not to bury nuclear waste under national parks
September 28, 2018 | The Guardian | Adam Vaughan
U.K. government officials will not rule out national parks when searching for a site for nuclear waste disposal, despite pushback from conservation groups. The search by members of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has been renewed after a similar search five years ago was unsuccessful. Officials have responded to environmental groups’ objections, stating that the U.K. cannot afford to restrict the siting process by excluding national parks and that an underground nuclear waste facility would minimally affect the landscape. However, Roy Payne, executive director of the organization monitoring the search process, said the building of such a facility is extremely unlikely because the final decision is up to local communities. -NC


  Warming from Large-Scale US Wind Power?   October 4, 2018 | Science Daily | Cell Press  While renewable energy is a promising alternative to coal or gas power, that “doesn’t mean that [its environmental] impacts are negligible.” A  recent study  is one of several recent papers to show that wind turbines can actually negatively affect climate by redistributing heat to the atmosphere, leading to a possible surface temperature increase of 0.24 ℃ in the continental U.S. Solar power has about a tenth of this effect, although it requires denser land use than wind energy generation, which can coexist with agriculture. Authors Lee Miller and David Keith found wind power begins to have a net positive effect on climate after a century of use, and are quick to note that it should not be ruled out. Rather, the study is the “first step in getting more serious about assessing these impacts.” -MP

Warming from Large-Scale US Wind Power?
October 4, 2018 | Science Daily | Cell Press
While renewable energy is a promising alternative to coal or gas power, that “doesn’t mean that [its environmental] impacts are negligible.” A recent study is one of several recent papers to show that wind turbines can actually negatively affect climate by redistributing heat to the atmosphere, leading to a possible surface temperature increase of 0.24 ℃ in the continental U.S. Solar power has about a tenth of this effect, although it requires denser land use than wind energy generation, which can coexist with agriculture. Authors Lee Miller and David Keith found wind power begins to have a net positive effect on climate after a century of use, and are quick to note that it should not be ruled out. Rather, the study is the “first step in getting more serious about assessing these impacts.” -MP


  Natural Gas Prices are on Fire This Week - Here’s Why   October 4, 2018 | CNBC | Tom DiChristopher   Natural gas prices have been rising relatively steadily this past September, surging over 12% to the highest levels since January. However, the rise comes at a traditionally weak period for natural gas demand, and a number of reasons may be contributing to this price “rally.” These factors include low gas stockpiles in the U.S., a hotter-than-usual autumn with air conditioners using up plenty of power, and nuclear power plant outages. With the forecast calling for an intense winter, supply and demand for natural gas will be balanced quite finely and will “take commodity investors on a roller-coaster ride.” -JK   Oil Plunges on Market-Wide Selloff, Rising Inventories   October 4, 2018 | Wall Street Journal | Dan Molinski  Oil prices had a rocky week, first hitting four-year highs on Wednesday, then dropping sharply on Thursday. As with natural gas, the high prices are a delayed response to the U.S. sanctions on Iran and countries which purchase Iranian oil. The sanctions take full effect on November 4th and may dramatically lower global oil supply. Thursday’s slight recovery was due to a new report about U.S. oil production and stockpiles, which experts underestimated earlier. Nonetheless, the Iran sanctions could mean average U.S. gas prices above $3 a gallon by the end of the year. -AD

Natural Gas Prices are on Fire This Week - Here’s Why
October 4, 2018 | CNBC | Tom DiChristopher
Natural gas prices have been rising relatively steadily this past September, surging over 12% to the highest levels since January. However, the rise comes at a traditionally weak period for natural gas demand, and a number of reasons may be contributing to this price “rally.” These factors include low gas stockpiles in the U.S., a hotter-than-usual autumn with air conditioners using up plenty of power, and nuclear power plant outages. With the forecast calling for an intense winter, supply and demand for natural gas will be balanced quite finely and will “take commodity investors on a roller-coaster ride.” -JK

Oil Plunges on Market-Wide Selloff, Rising Inventories
October 4, 2018 | Wall Street Journal | Dan Molinski
Oil prices had a rocky week, first hitting four-year highs on Wednesday, then dropping sharply on Thursday. As with natural gas, the high prices are a delayed response to the U.S. sanctions on Iran and countries which purchase Iranian oil. The sanctions take full effect on November 4th and may dramatically lower global oil supply. Thursday’s slight recovery was due to a new report about U.S. oil production and stockpiles, which experts underestimated earlier. Nonetheless, the Iran sanctions could mean average U.S. gas prices above $3 a gallon by the end of the year. -AD