Volume 2, Issue 5
October 17, 2016 – November 6, 2016
Jason Mulderrig | Anushka Dasgupta | Devorah Saffern

Energy Policy:
New Air Quality Rules Have Dramatically Changed the Demand Response Resource Mix                                                                                                                                                                                                     https://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/air-quality-rules-change-the-demand-response-mix
November 3, 2016 | Olivia Chen                                                                                                                        Behind-the-meter generation systems are being used less frequently for demand response programs ever since the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) began to regulate the use of reciprocating internal combustion engines (RICE) due to the air toxics and pollutants produced. Since the EPA added these rules in May 2016, organizations such as PJM and MISO (Midcontinent Independent System Operator) have been using significantly less RICE generators, clear from the recent GreenTech Media’s U.S. Wholesale DER Aggregation Report. PJM has turned to using a majority of natural gas resources, with less diesel generators, in their recent delivery.  The California Public Utilities Commission also plans to decrease their use of fossil fuel backup generators in their demand response programs, in an attempt to maintain carbon-free systems. -DS

The Historic Paris Climate Change Agreement Just Became International Law                                                                                                                                                                                                    http://www.pri.org/stories/2016-11-05/historic-paris-climate-change-agreement-just-went-effect
November 5, 2016 | Agence France-Presse                                                                                                                           On Friday, the UN established the Paris Agreement as binding international law. The Agreement, edited and endorsed in Paris last December at the UNFCCC (United Nations Climate Change Conference), seeks to lower global temperature increase and greenhouse gas emission rates. 97 parties from the UNFCCCratified the Agreement, above the 55 needed for this to take effect. To effect these changes, companies may need to limit burning of coal, oil and gas and to look to more eco friendly resources that use less carbon. The recent push from the UN is because of the increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide levels in the past year, seen in recent reports. The International Energy Agency predicts that a 40% increase in energy sector spending will become necessary in order to produce the new technology. -DS

Thermal Energy:
Iceland drills hottest hole to tap into energy of molten magma                                                                         https://www.newscientist.com/article/2109872-iceland-drills-hottest-hole-to-tap-into-energy-of-molten-magma/
October 21, 2016 | Fred Pearce                                                                                                                                      Iceland has long been a leader when it comes to renewable energy – about 99% of its electricity is generated from renewables, with over a quarter of that coming from geothermal sources. Conventional geothermal relies on hot springs, reached by drilling through rock layers, to power pumps and heat water. A new project will go one step further by drilling into lava flows at a plate tectonic boundary, in the hopes of reaching seawater that’s been heated to temperatures between 800 and 1200 F. In fact, researchers expect temperature and pressure conditions extreme enough to generate supercritical steam. In previous issues of the Power Surge, we’ve discussed the beauty of supercritical steam, which is easily manipulated with small changes in temperature and improves generator efficiency by operating at high pressures. Boreholes with supercritical steam could improve power plant capacity by an order of magnitude, and the Iceland Deep Drilling Project anticipates drilling the hottest hole yet. -AD

Oil and Gas:
How Eni Bet Big and Won Big on Natural Gas off Egypt                                                                                                                                                                                     http://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/19/business/energy-environment/how-eni-bet-big-and-won-big-on-natural-gas-off-egypt.html?ref=energy-environment&_r=0&mtrref=www.nytimes.com
October 19, 2016 | Stanley Reed                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     In a matter of eight years, the Italian oil company Eni has gone from a midplayer in the oil industry to a bigtime player thanks to several major oil and natural gas finds made by the company worldwide. In fact, Eni has discovered the most oil and gas in volume in the past decade in the oil industry. These finds were orchestrated by Claudio Descalzi, who became responsible for exploration and production for Eni in 2008. Immediately, Descalzi invested his resources into exploration over buying into other oil companies to keep production up. In particular, he built up a massive computing center in Italy, and hired computer scientists to analyze its big data. The analysis from the computing center has been the key factor behind the recent finds for Eni. As a result of its big data analysis, Eni has become revolutionized as a company and has found oil where other companies doubted oil would be found. -JPM

Saudi Arabia’s Energy Minister Warns of Oil Shortage                                                                                                                                                                                  http://www.wsj.com/articles/saudi-minister-sees-end-of-oil-price-slump-1476870790
October 19, 2016 | Benoit Faucon and Kevin Baxter                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Last week, London hosted the Oil and Money conference, where speakers discussed the future of an oil industry that is just emerging from a two-year slump. In a highly anticipated talk, Saudi Arabia’s energy minister, Khalid al-Falih, predicted an oil shortage and a rise in prices due to new dynamics in supply and demand. He points to energy companies’ drastic cuts in spending during the slump, and has promised his nation’s assistance in averting a shortage, although Saudi Arabia has already upped its oil production in recent years. Officials from ExxonMobil disagreed with Mr. al-Falih’s premise, indicating that U.S. oil and natural gas production will supplant any shortage in the world oil supply. In the meantime, Saudi Arabia continues to attempt a regulation of oil production through OPEC. -AD

After Lean Years, Big Oil May Emerge Stronger Than Ever                                                                                                                                                                              http://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/19/business/energy-environment/after-lean-years-big-oil-may-emerge-stronger-than-ever.html?ref=energy-environment&mtrref=www.nytimes.com
October 19, 2016 | Nelson D. Schwartz                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                After the past two years of oil price crash and ensuing price volatility, big oil companies are finally starting to financially stabilize and look towards strong profit making again. Several factors are behind this. First, oil prices are stabilized at $40 per barrel and are poised to slowly but steadily rise in the next few years. Second, big oil companies have become more efficient with their operations and reduced their exploration and production costs as a result of the crash of the past two years. Third, the growing global middle class will keep oil demand high. And fourth, big oil companies bought smaller firms that struggled during the past two years, and are poised to put those cheaply acquired resources to use. If oil prices do not blow up in volatility again in the near future, then Big Oil is poised to emerge better than ever from the past two years. -JPM