Volume 2, Issue 6
November 7, 2016 – November 13, 2016
Jason Mulderrig | Anushka Dasgupta | Devorah Saffern

If Trump Didn’t Hate Wind Power, He’d Love Vestas                                                                                                                                                                                                     https://www.bloomberg.com/gadfly/articles/2016-11-08/if-donald-trump-did-not-hate-wind-power-he-would-love-vestas
November 8, 2016 | Chris Bryant                                                                                                                      If you’re a renewable energy enthusiast, this week’s events likely hit you hard. In need of a little cheering up? This snarky editorial argues that wind energy, for one, is no longer the underdog of the energy sector. Take Vestas Wind Systems, a Danish company which is the largest wind turbine producer in the world. Company stock owners, doubting the future of wind farm investment in the U.S., sold so furiously that Vestas saw a 7% decline in stock prices on Tuesday. After all, a company which depends solely on wind turbine sales for revenue is subject to the ups and downs of regulation and federal incentives. However, much of Vestas’ revenue actually comes from the long-term maintenance of existing installations, a much steadier source of income. In keeping its business model streamlined and contract-based, Vestas has managed a 1,900 percent return since its lowest stock prices in 2012. Meanwhile, the wind industry has recently benefited from using big turbines and better energy transmission, and is already cost-competitive with coal and gas-fired plants in parts of Europe. The wind energy industry is unlikely to receive lots of subsidies and support under President Trump. Then again, it might not even need it. -AD

Trump Can’t Stop the Energy Revolution                                                                                                                                                                                                 https://www.bloomberg.com/gadfly/articles/2016-11-09/trump-cannot-halt-the-march-of-clean-energy
November 9, 2016 | Chris Bryant                                                                                                                     This Bloomberg article is a well-written reminder that the renewable energy industry will still continue to be a viable industry in the years to come, while the coal industry will continue to struggle. This purely comes down to economics. Even though the new president-elect has pledged to cut coal regulation and the Clean Power Plan, the levelized cost of electricity (LCOE) for renewables is still projected to become less than the LCOE for coal and begin to be consistently competitive to the LCOE of natural gas in the coming years due to falling equipment costs and tax credits. With tax credits for renewables, particularly solar and wind, backed by bipartisan support, it is unlikely these tax credits will be repealed in the near future. Given all of these factors, it seems that the renewable energy industry will give the coal industry a fair fight in the next four years. For more information about this subject, read another Bloomberg article here regarding the future of Tesla and energy at large: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-11-11/tesla-s-future-in-trump-s-world -JPM

Energy Policy:
Rule Would Boost Solar and Wind Energy on Public Lands                                                                     http://www.usnews.com/news/business/articles/2016-11-10/rule-would-boost-solar-and-wind-energy-development
November 10, 2016 | Mary Jalonick and Matthew Daly                                                                                                                                     Over one fifth of greenhouse gas emissions come from development on government owned lands, and the Obama administration just declared on Thursday a plan to change that. The Interior Department declared a new project that will enable leasing of public land to be used for more renewable energy sources. These energy programs to be approved under this ruling will produce 20,000 megawatts of power before 2020, on hundreds of thousands of land acres in various states, specifically in places where there would be a lesser effect on the environment. While environmental organizations are excited by the prospect, industrial groups are reviewing the rule, concerned about the economic effects. The hope is that this rule, when implemented, will bring about cleaner and more effective solar power while creating jobs. -DS

Oil and Gas:
Big Oil Slowly Adapts to a Warming World                                                                                                                                                                                  http://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/03/business/energy-environment/big-oil-slowly-adapts-to-a-warming-world.html?ref=energy-environment
November 3, 2016 | Clifford Kraus                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     There is a tendency among proponents of renewable energy to vilify the oil and gas industry. While that viewpoint is not without reason – for example, ExxonMobil has been accused of covering up evidence of climate change resulting from carbon emissions – it is also somewhat narrow-minded. This article takes a broader look at the role of oil and gas in a world increasingly conscious of dwindling resources and climate change. Even if the new presidency bolsters oil production for some time, the oil industry is currently over-supplying demand. Oil companies have already begun to invest in carbon sequestration, geothermal energy, and biofuels. More commonly, they are looking to natural gas as a “cleaner” but cost-efficient energy source. The current energy grid will take time to transition, and even a world running entirely on renewables will need the cooperation of oil and gas companies to get there. They, too, have an important role to play. -AD

Energy Company Looking to Strike Oil on Bears Ears’ Doorstep                                                                                                                                                                               http://www.sltrib.com/home/4554899-155/energy-company-looking-to-strike-oil
November 10, 2016 | Brian Maffly                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                EOG Resources, one of the biggest independent oil and gas companies in the U.S., is planning to drill three wells on the land surrounding the historic town of Bluff, Utah, to search what they believe may contain a valuable hydrocarbon-filled oil resource. The Utah Division of Oil, Gas and Mining granted permission to EOG to do so on state owned land, last May. One of the wells is to be drilled on the location of an archeological site that will potentially be added to the National Register of Historic Places. President Obama is also supposed to soon announce whether the areas around Bears Ears Buttes and Cedar Mesa will be set aside for a Utah monument. Locals are concerned that industrializing the area will ruin the scenic views and the town’s water source, in the event that the drilling accidently result in a spill. EOG is facing pressures from SITLA (School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration), which owns parts of the land, to drill or the company will have to pay a penalty. These potential plans pose real risks to the tourist economy of the town as well as the land itself. -DS

Solar and Storage:
Power Couple: Tie-Up Shows How Batteries and Solar May Link                                                                                                                                                                                http://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/07/business/energy-environment/tesla-solarcity-merger-shows-how-batteries-and-solar-may-link.html?ref=energy-environment&_r=0
November 7, 2016 | Diane Cardwell                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     On November 17, shareholders will vote to approve Tesla’s acquisition of SolarCity. According to Elon Musk, the motivation for the merger came when SolarCity and Tesla began to engage in several large scale solar-storage projects, and realized that the approval and construction process could be streamlined if the companies joined forces. Many people are skeptical that the merger will go successfully because both companies have suffered severe losses this past year and such a merger may put too much strain on Tesla just as Tesla is set to engage production in its Gigafactory. That last point is crucial because reduction in solar-storage projects will have to come from reduced battery prices. And, if everything goes smoothly with the Gigafactory, battery prices will not drop for a few more years at best. Keep an eye out for the shareholders’ decision. -JPM