Volume 1, Issue 1
February 1, 2016 – February 7, 2016
Jason Mulderrig | Anushka Dasgupta

Oil and Gas:
Obama to Propose a $10-a-Barrel Fee on Oil http://www.nytimes.com/2016/02/05/business/energy-environment/obama-to-propose-a-10-a-barrel-fee-on-oil.html?ref=energy-environment
February 4, 2016 | Coral Davenport                                                                                                 This past Thursday, the White House released a statement stating that Obama’s budget request to Congress will include a $10 fee on oil companies for every barrel of oil they produced. The money will help support the Highway Trust Fund, bridge and rail projects, and advanced vehicle research. Opposition from the right and petrol companies has been vocalized, while support for the measure as a vehicle to bring more revenue to the Highway Trust Fund was also vocalized. -JPM

Energy Policy:
Wind, Sun and Fire                                                   http://www.nytimes.com/2016/02/01/opinion/wind-sun-and-fire.html?ref=energy-environment
February 1, 2016 | Paul Krugman                                                                                                       In this New York Times Op-Ed, Paul Krugman claims that we, in America, are “achingly close to achieving a renewable-energy revolution” due to rapidly falling prices for the cost of wind power and solar power in recent years. Krugman also addresses the issue of intermittency with renewables by noting that improved storage technology and the policy of “demand response” can diminish the problem. Krugman excitedly points out that the shift to renewables can be painless by continuing tax breaks on renewables and implementing the EPA’s Clean Power Plan. While the sentiment of the op-ed is commendable, it is a little overly-optimistic in my view. -JPM

Senate Democrats Block Energy Bill in Dispute Over Aid for Flint http://www.nytimes.com/2016/02/05/us/politics/senate-democrats-block-energy-bill-flint-aid.html?ref=energy-environment
February 4, 2016 | Coral Davenport                                                                                             Senate Democrats blocked a comprehensive bipartisan energy bill – the first major energy legislation in the past decade to travel through the Senate – due to disputes about how to handle aid for the Flint water crisis. However, the measure is not blocked, but simply delayed for consideration until next week. The measure, if passed, would help fund modernization efforts of the national power grid, expand renewable energy production, and provide aid to Flint, among other things. -JPM

Obama to Seek Double Funding for Clean Energy R&D by 2020 http://www.bloomberg.com/politics/articles/2016-02-06/obama-seeks-12-8-billion-to-expand-clean-energy-research
February 6, 2016 | Darlene Superville                                                                                               The news that President Obama will be seeking additional funding for clean energy research comes on the heels of Wednesday’s White House statement about a proposed $10-a-barrel tax on oil. In his weekly media address, Obama announced that his final budget includes plans to double current levels of investment aimed at the growth of the renewable power industry. Although several other nations committed to similar budget changes at last year’s Paris climate conference, the plan is likely to face setbacks in Congress. Look out for its unveiling on Tuesday. – AD

Morocco Unveils a Massive Solar Power Plant in the Sahara       http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2016/02/04/465568055/morocco-unveils-a-massive-solar-power-plant-in-the-sahara
February 4, 2016 | Camila Domonoske                                                                                     Morocco recently turned on the first phase of a three phase concentrated solar power plant, which is projected to provide energy to a million Moroccans. When completed, the Noor Power Plant project will be the largest concentrated solar power plant in the world (you can even see it from space!). Morocco (with the World Bank’s money) is investing in concentrated solar because the country relies on imported resources for nearly all of its energy consumption. As a result, the solar plant helps Morocco to save money, be less reliant on the oil giants in the Middle East, and reduce its long-term carbon emissions. -JPM

Energy Storage:
The scientists harvesting energy from humans to power our wearables http://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/2016/feb/04/harvesting-energy-humans-walking-charge-wearables-bending-mit
February 4, 2016 | Ucilia Wang                                                                                                            A team of scientists from MIT, led by Sangtae Kim and Ju Li, have created a prototype of a stamp-sized Lithium-ion based device that produces an electrical current when the device is physically bent. The intention is for the device to be attached to the human body, or to an article of clothing on the body, in order to make electricity locally for wearable devices. This breakthrough is a step towards reducing the price for batteries for wearable devices, which is currently a huge hurdle for the wearable tech industry. -JPM

Other Renewable Energies:
Planes Could Finally Make Hydrogen Fuel Cells Useful          http://www.wired.com/2016/02/planes-could-finally-make-hydrogen-fuel-cells-useful/
February 3, 2016 | Alex Davies                                                                                                        It’ll be a while before engineers seriously consider powering large aircraft in flight with hydrogen fuel. However, EasyJet, a British budget airline, may eventually use hydrogen fuel cells to power its planes as they taxi on the runway. Plans for the trial incorporate regenerative braking and fuel cells stored in the hold of each plane. Successfully implemented, they will lower EasyJet’s fuel consumption by at least 4 percent. -AD