Volume 2, Issue 3
October 3, 2016 – October 9, 2016
Jason Mulderrig | Anushka Dasgupta

Energy Policy:
Clean Up Energy Innovation                                                                                                                                                                                                      http://www.nature.com/news/clean-up-energy-innovation-1.20718
October 5, 2016 | Lucien Georgeson, Mark Maslin, and Martyn Poessinouw                                                                                                                             By signing the 2020 Paris Agreement, nations agreed to a significant commitment: to achieve zero carbon emissions by 2080. Two partnerships will form to take on this challenge. Mission Innovation includes the U.S., China, India, Saudi Arabia, Denmark, and 15 others – currently producers of 75 percent of world emissions. The participants in Global Apollo have yet to be decided. Somewhat cheesy names aside, these programs are our best shot at preventing a global temperature increase over 2°C (commonly regarded as the tipping point in climate change). Both proposals currently have issues, leaving wiggle room for nations with regard to how much R&D funding they will commit and where it will go. Apollo scores points for focusing in on solar, energy storage, and the grid, but has a one-size-fits-all approach to spending. Both proposals neglect the importance of commercial R&D in making new technologies viable. Read the article for more detailed criticism and discussion on the two proposals. -AD

H is for Hero: Five Little-Known Hydrogen Superpowers                                                                             http://www.energy.gov/articles/h-hero-five-little-known-hydrogen-superpowers
October 7, 2016 | Nicole Stricker                                                                                                                                         A cute and informative read on “humble little hydrogen” from Idaho National Labs – this gas plays an important role in many transformative energy technologies. Did you know that there are 1,600 miles of hydrogen pipelines in operation in the U.S.? Water-splitting and hydrogen storage can help utilities manage energy fluctuations during the day, and the reaction can be powered by waste heat. Hydrogen can even be used to mitigate carbon emissions from environmentally harmful processes. -AD

Oil and Gas:
Oil Glut? Here Comes Some More!                                                                                                                                                                                         http://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/06/business/energy-environment/oil-glut-here-comes-some-more.html?ref=energy-environment&_r=0
October 5, 2016 | Clifford Krauss                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     This past month, two oil corporations announced the discovery of two previously untapped oil reserves in America. First, the Apache Corporation found a reserve containing at least 3 billion barrels of oil and 75 trillion cubic feet of gas in the west Texas Permian Basin oil field. The Corporation is poised to take advantage of this reserve as evidenced by its purchasing of several hundred thousand acres of drilling rights for dirt cheap prices per acre. Meanwhile, Caelus Energy found a reserve in the North Slope of Alaska containing at least 2.4 billion barrels of oil. The find is located in state waters, which gives Alaska the incentive to encourage drilling and earn a royalty on the oil, which would jump start its state’s economy. Not everyone is too overjoyed. Environmentalists and Paris climate conference supporters would love to keep that oil in the ground, and OPEC is undoubtedly worried that the oil in these new finds could further saturate the supply of oil in the world market. -JPM

The U.S. Shale Cartel – The Only Cartel That Matters Anymore http://www.forbes.com/sites/davidblackmon/2016/10/05/the-u-s-shale-cartel-the-only-cartel-that-matters-anymore/#2f73af0424dc
October 5, 2016 | David Blackmon                                                                                                                                              In this Forbes article, David Blackmon considers how US shale producers will respond if OPEC comes to a cohesive agreement on oil production caps. If OPEC solidifies such an agreement, then the price of oil will rise, and US shale producers will activate new shale wells or reactivate idled shale wells in order to produce oil economically. In fact, as oil prices have risen above the recent price minimum of $20/barrel, more and more shale wells have been turned on in the United States. Then, as more US oil becomes delivered on the market, OPEC will be left in the same position it was in during 2014, when it had to chose to either cap its production to keep oil prices stable, or overproduce in order to flush out the US shale producers but kill oil prices in the process. Another clash between US shale producers and OPEC may be on the horizon. -JPM

New Jersey lawmakers push bill to revamp solar program                                                                                                                                                                                       http://www.utilitydive.com/news/new-jersey-lawmakers-push-bill-to-revamp-solar-program/427738/
October 6, 2016 | Robert Walton                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    The state Princeton resides in, New Jersey, is experiencing a shift in its power supply. Coal-fired generation is being replaced by natural gas and nuclear, with a small amount of renewable energy in the mix. However, New Jersey politicians want to see renewable energy sources bear a bigger role of the state’s power generation. As a result, the New Jersey Senate passed a bill in the beginning of 2016 that commits New Jersey to 80% renewable energy generation by 2050. Then, this past week, state New Jersey politicians are looking into a bill that would deploy more solar panels in the state. This way, the state can revitalize the thriving solar industry that crashed 5 years ago in order to strive to meet the large renewable energy goals it has set for itself. -JPM

Why It’s So Hard to Get Solar in Florida (That’d Be the Sunshine State)                                                                                                                                                                                   https://www.wired.com/2016/10/florida-sunshine-state-hard-get-solar-energy/
October 6, 2016 | Nick Stockton                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Here’s a quick read about why some states – including Florida – have been reluctant to incorporate rooftop solar into the grid. Because solar energy has a high start-up cost, most homeowners lease the panels from a third party, such as SolarCity. Why have Florida and others prohibited this kind of third-party ownership? The problem is that utilities pay to construct and maintain their infrastructure for 24-hour-ready power through a portion of users’ energy costs. When customers switch to solar, they keep using those power lines, but their energy costs often drop to a bare minimum. As a compromise of sorts, power companies have been lobbying for legislation that allow third-party leases, but will force solar users to pay an extra fee to compensate. Of course, one of solar’s selling points is that it brings down costs for homeowners. Keep on eye out for how Florida votes on the amendment this November. -AD