Volume 1, Issue 9
March 28, 2016 – April 3, 2016
Jason Mulderrig | Anushka Dasgupta

Energy Storage:
The Tesla Model 3 May Depend on This Battery Breakthrough                                                                               https://www.technologyreview.com/s/601178/the-tesla-model-3-may-depend-on-this-battery-breakthrough/
April 1, 2016 | Mike Orcutt                                                                                                                                          On Thursday night, Elon Musk held a glitzy launch event for Tesla’s most ambitious project yet, the Model 3. Although the car maintains much of the luxury feel and high mileage of the earlier Model S, Musk emphasized that this will be a mainstream electric vehicle. The sedan’s base price is set at $35,000, half that of the Model S. Where did Tesla cut costs? Experts speculate that the car’s battery may have a high silicon content in addition to the graphite normally found in a lithium-ion battery anode. Adding silicon technically increases battery capacity, but commercial versions have so far failed. If Tesla has found a way to viably incorporate silicon into its batteries, other car companies could soon follow. Some 200,000 cars have already been reserved for purchase, although some are skeptical that Tesla will be able to keep up with demand. -AD

Oil and Gas:
Saudis Moving to Reduce Dependence on Oil Money                    http://www.nytimes.com/2016/04/02/world/middleeast/saudi-aramco-mohammed-bin-salman-public-fund.html?ref=energy-environment&_r=0
April 1, 2016 | Ben Hubbard and Stanley Reed                                                                                                         Prince Mohammad bin Salman, the Saudi prince responsible for the economic policy of Saudi Arabia, announced a comprehensive plan to restructure the Saudi economy in order to reduce the kingdom’s dependence on oil. The plan consists of first selling about 5% of the state oil company – Saudi Aramco – publicly. Then, the Saudi government will divert most of Saudi Aramco’s wealth into a government fund called the Public Investment Fund. The fund currently has about $5 billion. But after the economic restructuring is complete, the fund is estimated to be at least $2 trillion. The economic restructuring is intended to stop the bleeding of $10 to $15 billion per month due to the current depression of the global oil market and to salvage jobs for the large under-25 Saudi population. -JPM

The Disruption in Oil Markets is Just Beginning                   http://www.forbes.com/sites/ucenergy/2016/03/30/the-disruption-in-oil-markets-is-just-beginning/?ss=energy#7a6b07196678
March 30, 2016 | Sam Ori                                                                                                                                           The author of this Forbes article makes a radical claim: the recent disruptions in the oil market are not peculiar anomalies, but rather just the beginning of a permanent restructuring of the oil market. The support behind the thesis is twofold. First, electric vehicle (EV) sales grew globally by 60% in 2015 compared to 2014, which includes a quadrupling of EV sales in China in that period of time. The author claim that future falling battery prices, increased funding for EV development, and high fuel taxes will push EVs to the forefront. I personally am skeptical about the emphasis given to EVs here, especially considering the very small portion of the global sales they occupy currently. The second (more convincing) supporting topic to the thesis is the steady increase of resource recovery factors of today’s US shale industry. With this increase not poised to stop in the foreseeable future, the shale industry is set to usurp the oil sands and deepwater projects as the backbone of production of the global industry. Will the big oil companies be ready? -JPM

Energy Policy:
Your State Could Lose Big Bucks by Stalling on Clean Energy                  http://www.wired.com/2016/03/state-lose-big-bucks-stalling-clean-energy/
March 28, 2016 | Nick Stockton                                                                                                       We’re currently waiting on the Supreme Court decision on whether states will be compelled to follow the Clean Power Plan –  a set of rules which aim to cut carbon pollution from power plants. Read this opinion piece to learn about how one state’s policies could influence those of its neighbors. States could follow rate-based or mass-based systems for taxing carbon production; the second has a more direct impact on consumer prices. Were a state such as Nevada to adopt a rate-based system, it could sell cheap excess energy to California for a profit. On the other hand, Nevada would have competition from states with high renewable energy production. Finally, if the Clean Power Plan goes into action, policymakers will have to move fast to find and remedy loopholes in the plan before utilities do. The author argues that in the end, money talks. -AD

Technology to Make Clean Energy From Coal is Stumbling in Practice         http://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/30/business/energy-environment/technology-to-make-clean-energy-from-coal-is-stumbling-in-practice.html?ref=energy-environment 
March 29, 2016 | Ian Austen                                                                                                                        In the middle of Saskatchewan near the North Dakota border lies a unique electricity generation station. The Boundary Dam Power Station, owned by the company SaskPower, became the world’s first full scale carbon capture and storage coal power plant when it went online in September 2014. The plant uses a CCS process owned by Shell. The process uses machinery to remove most of the soot and ash from the plant’s exhaust. The exhaust would then become decarbonized by passing through a proprietary chemical using amines. The carbon would quickly become separated from the chemical, compressed, and either pipelined elsewhere or buried underground. However, issues with the CCS technology arose from the start, which has hampered the intended amount of carbon to sequester. These issues were secretly kept under wraps until confidential documents were released in a Canadian election season this past November. -JPM