Volume 6, Issue 5
November 4, 2018 – November 10, 2018
Anushka Dasgupta '19 | Neha Chauhan '21 | Joseph Kawalec '21 | Amy Amatya '21 | Melanie Porras ‘21 | Patrick Huang ‘21


  The Saudi 'oil weapon' and the energy market: What investors need to know   Tim Mullaney | CNBC | October 22, 2018  The alleged murder of Jamal Khashoggi, a Saudi journalist at the Washington Post who wrote critically about the current Saudi Crown Prince, has led to increased uncertainty about how oil prices will behave in the next few months. The oil market has already been dealing with anticipated U.S. sanctions on Iran and Iranian oil, which officially took effect yesterday. This has led crude oil prices to increase, but has had little effect on major oil stocks and exchange-traded funds, which are unresponsive to short-term price changes. A response, on the part of the White House, to the killing of Mr. Khashoggi could lead to severe retaliation from the Saudi government in the form of an oil embargo. This would be detrimental to the U.S. but is unlikely, as Saudi Arabia remains dependent on long-term oil demand. -AD

The Saudi 'oil weapon' and the energy market: What investors need to know
Tim Mullaney | CNBC | October 22, 2018
The alleged murder of Jamal Khashoggi, a Saudi journalist at the Washington Post who wrote critically about the current Saudi Crown Prince, has led to increased uncertainty about how oil prices will behave in the next few months. The oil market has already been dealing with anticipated U.S. sanctions on Iran and Iranian oil, which officially took effect yesterday. This has led crude oil prices to increase, but has had little effect on major oil stocks and exchange-traded funds, which are unresponsive to short-term price changes. A response, on the part of the White House, to the killing of Mr. Khashoggi could lead to severe retaliation from the Saudi government in the form of an oil embargo. This would be detrimental to the U.S. but is unlikely, as Saudi Arabia remains dependent on long-term oil demand. -AD


  Utilities Cut Power to Prevent Wildfires. But Who Wins When the Lights Go Out?   Ivan Penn | New York Times | October 15, 2018  The recent surge in California wildfires is partly the work of drought and climate change, but utilities could also be to blame. Power companies have been on the defensive this year as more and more connections are made between unnatural wildfire occurrence and utility lines and poles, leading to distrust of corporate decisions in the face of life-or-death situations. At least one utility company has gone bankrupt since the accusations  began in 2017 , leading companies like PG&E to cause blackouts deliberately in an effort to prevent wildfires. While some value the reduced fire risk, others oppose the demonstration of PG&E’s monopoly on power in the area through the decision to cut thousands of citizens from the grid without their input. Others think companies instigate blackouts in retaliation against the press and unfavorable legislation. What is the cost, really, to keeping the public in the dark? -AA   A Midwest Energy Transition Will Help Drive Future U.S. Emissions Reductions   Benjamin Storrow | Scientific American | October 26, 2018  The recent dismantling of Obama-era climate change initiatives has included repealing the Clean Power Plan, which would have required carbon emissions reductions on a state-by-state basis. This, combined with the difficulty experienced by many Northeastern states in matching climate-oriented policy with action, means that the Midwest could be the key player when it comes to reducing U.S. emissions. The good economics, alone, of natural gas and renewables are driving companies like Michigan-based DTE Energy Co. to phase out their gargantuan coal-powered plants. Admittedly, installing renewable energy sources, such as wind turbine arrays, poses a hurdle in rural Midwestern areas where they are considered an eyesore and a disturbance. While environmental advocates criticize what they view as a delayed transition - even in the most ambitious plans, some large coal plants will still be online in 2050 - they are optimistic about the ability of the Midwest to move to a more sustainable generation mix and set an example for the rest of the U.S. -AD

Utilities Cut Power to Prevent Wildfires. But Who Wins When the Lights Go Out?
Ivan Penn | New York Times | October 15, 2018
The recent surge in California wildfires is partly the work of drought and climate change, but utilities could also be to blame. Power companies have been on the defensive this year as more and more connections are made between unnatural wildfire occurrence and utility lines and poles, leading to distrust of corporate decisions in the face of life-or-death situations. At least one utility company has gone bankrupt since the accusations began in 2017, leading companies like PG&E to cause blackouts deliberately in an effort to prevent wildfires. While some value the reduced fire risk, others oppose the demonstration of PG&E’s monopoly on power in the area through the decision to cut thousands of citizens from the grid without their input. Others think companies instigate blackouts in retaliation against the press and unfavorable legislation. What is the cost, really, to keeping the public in the dark? -AA

A Midwest Energy Transition Will Help Drive Future U.S. Emissions Reductions
Benjamin Storrow | Scientific American | October 26, 2018
The recent dismantling of Obama-era climate change initiatives has included repealing the Clean Power Plan, which would have required carbon emissions reductions on a state-by-state basis. This, combined with the difficulty experienced by many Northeastern states in matching climate-oriented policy with action, means that the Midwest could be the key player when it comes to reducing U.S. emissions. The good economics, alone, of natural gas and renewables are driving companies like Michigan-based DTE Energy Co. to phase out their gargantuan coal-powered plants. Admittedly, installing renewable energy sources, such as wind turbine arrays, poses a hurdle in rural Midwestern areas where they are considered an eyesore and a disturbance. While environmental advocates criticize what they view as a delayed transition - even in the most ambitious plans, some large coal plants will still be online in 2050 - they are optimistic about the ability of the Midwest to move to a more sustainable generation mix and set an example for the rest of the U.S. -AD


  UK scientists turn coffee industry waste into electricity   Adam Vaughan | The Guardian | October 14, 2018  A team of researchers recently developed fuel cells, devices that convert chemical energy into electricity, that generate electricity from the coffee-making process. The washing of coffee beans or seeds and the production of instant coffee consume large amounts of water that must be cleaned of contaminants before reuse. These scientists from the University of Surrey harnessed microbes that are also found in wastewater treatment plants to produce energy through the breaking down of coffee waste. Although the amount of energy from one unit is relatively small, coffee farms may financially benefit from the extra energy that many fuel cells confer. -PH   How a Technology From Iceland Is Fighting Climate Change    Robert Rapier | Forbes | October 16, 2018  Carbon Recycling International (CRI), an innovative energy producer based in Iceland, is fighting against climate change by using cheap electricity from geothermal plants to convert carbon dioxide in the atmosphere to methanol. The initial settlement of Iceland, as with most new environments, involved the over-exploitation of natural resources such as trees. As a result, modern-day Iceland has virtually no trees and therefore lacks a very important means of removing excess carbon from the atmosphere. CRI obtains the carbon dioxide from geothermal steam that would otherwise vent into the atmosphere and uses it to make methanol, all through the use of cheap power. This cheap power comes from the efficient use of electricity and circumstances that allow for the relative input and output of energy to be economically viable. Technology like this could be adapted to any location in the world with access to carbon dioxide and could be a game-changer as carbon dioxide emissions keep rising. -JK

UK scientists turn coffee industry waste into electricity
Adam Vaughan | The Guardian | October 14, 2018
A team of researchers recently developed fuel cells, devices that convert chemical energy into electricity, that generate electricity from the coffee-making process. The washing of coffee beans or seeds and the production of instant coffee consume large amounts of water that must be cleaned of contaminants before reuse. These scientists from the University of Surrey harnessed microbes that are also found in wastewater treatment plants to produce energy through the breaking down of coffee waste. Although the amount of energy from one unit is relatively small, coffee farms may financially benefit from the extra energy that many fuel cells confer. -PH

How a Technology From Iceland Is Fighting Climate Change
Robert Rapier | Forbes | October 16, 2018
Carbon Recycling International (CRI), an innovative energy producer based in Iceland, is fighting against climate change by using cheap electricity from geothermal plants to convert carbon dioxide in the atmosphere to methanol. The initial settlement of Iceland, as with most new environments, involved the over-exploitation of natural resources such as trees. As a result, modern-day Iceland has virtually no trees and therefore lacks a very important means of removing excess carbon from the atmosphere. CRI obtains the carbon dioxide from geothermal steam that would otherwise vent into the atmosphere and uses it to make methanol, all through the use of cheap power. This cheap power comes from the efficient use of electricity and circumstances that allow for the relative input and output of energy to be economically viable. Technology like this could be adapted to any location in the world with access to carbon dioxide and could be a game-changer as carbon dioxide emissions keep rising. -JK


  These Funds Aim to Power Their Returns With Clean Energy   Tim Gray | The New York Times | October 12, 2018   Increasing demand for renewable energy, such as solar and wind power, is evidenced by the growing number of stock mutual funds and exchange-traded funds concentrating on the clean energy industry. Managed by companies ranging from Invesco to Fidelity, their holdings can include waste management and agricultural stocks in addition to the expected energy efficiency and renewable energy funds. As more people invest in renewable companies, their stock values will increase, making it easier for these companies to raise money. This creates what Jeff Waller, principal in the global climate finance group at Rocky Mountain Institute, calls a “virtuous cycle, potentially pulling in even more money.” An investment in clean energy can provide a win-win situation: win for the investor through a profit and a win for the environment. -MP   EU teams up with Bill Gates to launch $115.2 million clean energy investment fund   Anmar Frangoul | CNBC | October 18, 2018  Breakthrough Energy Ventures (BEV) was established in 2016 as a $1-billion investor-led fund that finances companies working against climate change. In September, the fund  invested in a portfolio  of companies including Fervo Energy, a geothermal energy-focused startup. In the past week, BEV and the European Commission signed a memorandum of understanding as part of their joint establishment of Breakthrough Energy Europe (BEE). BEE is an investment fund focused on reducing greenhouse gas emissions and promoting energy efficiency. It will use 100 million euros of pooled public and private investment to bring new clean energy technology to the European market. -NC   Clean energy is cheap, surging – and headed for a fall    Adam Morton | The Guardian | October 29, 2018  Increasingly, Australian mining and manufacturing projects are relying on a combination of solar and wind energy generation, energy storage, and co-generation for energy. Projects either under construction or soon to be begun in the nation constitute a $15.6 billion investment in clean energy installation, and at the current rate of renewable energy capacity growth Australia should easily reach its target of 50% renewables energy generation by 2030. This unprecedented renewable energy growth is unlikely to continue; the target, which provided investors confidence in long-term contracts between renewable energy generators and utilities, peaks in 2020. After that, investment will only spike on specific occasions, such as when a coal plant is scheduled to close. -AD

These Funds Aim to Power Their Returns With Clean Energy
Tim Gray | The New York Times | October 12, 2018
Increasing demand for renewable energy, such as solar and wind power, is evidenced by the growing number of stock mutual funds and exchange-traded funds concentrating on the clean energy industry. Managed by companies ranging from Invesco to Fidelity, their holdings can include waste management and agricultural stocks in addition to the expected energy efficiency and renewable energy funds. As more people invest in renewable companies, their stock values will increase, making it easier for these companies to raise money. This creates what Jeff Waller, principal in the global climate finance group at Rocky Mountain Institute, calls a “virtuous cycle, potentially pulling in even more money.” An investment in clean energy can provide a win-win situation: win for the investor through a profit and a win for the environment. -MP

EU teams up with Bill Gates to launch $115.2 million clean energy investment fund
Anmar Frangoul | CNBC | October 18, 2018
Breakthrough Energy Ventures (BEV) was established in 2016 as a $1-billion investor-led fund that finances companies working against climate change. In September, the fund invested in a portfolio of companies including Fervo Energy, a geothermal energy-focused startup. In the past week, BEV and the European Commission signed a memorandum of understanding as part of their joint establishment of Breakthrough Energy Europe (BEE). BEE is an investment fund focused on reducing greenhouse gas emissions and promoting energy efficiency. It will use 100 million euros of pooled public and private investment to bring new clean energy technology to the European market. -NC

Clean energy is cheap, surging – and headed for a fall
Adam Morton | The Guardian | October 29, 2018
Increasingly, Australian mining and manufacturing projects are relying on a combination of solar and wind energy generation, energy storage, and co-generation for energy. Projects either under construction or soon to be begun in the nation constitute a $15.6 billion investment in clean energy installation, and at the current rate of renewable energy capacity growth Australia should easily reach its target of 50% renewables energy generation by 2030. This unprecedented renewable energy growth is unlikely to continue; the target, which provided investors confidence in long-term contracts between renewable energy generators and utilities, peaks in 2020. After that, investment will only spike on specific occasions, such as when a coal plant is scheduled to close. -AD