Volume 2, Issue 9
November 28, 2016 – December 4, 2016
Jason Mulderrig | Anushka Dasgupta | Devorah Saffern

Grand Gulf Nuclear, Source of 20% Of Mississippi’s Power, Gets License Renewed Until 2044                                                                                                                                                                                                 http://www.forbes.com/sites/rodadams/2016/12/01/grand-gulf-nuclear-source-of-20-of-mississippis-power-gets-license-renewed-until-2044/#53a7d34444e7
December 1, 2016 | Rod Adams                                                                                                                The Grand Gulf Nuclear Station, Port Gibson, Mississippi’s boiling water nuclear reactor –the country’s most powerful reactor and one of the top in the world- was just approved for 20 more years of operation. This re-licensing has been in progress for the last 5 years, initiated by System Energy Resources of Entergy Corporation, which owns most of the reactor, and its co-owner, the Cooperative Energy power operator based in Mississippi. (The plant was updated in June 2012, raising its output to this remarkable level). NRC (Nuclear Regulatory Commission), the government agency responsible for overseeing the safety of reactors and other systems involving nuclear energy, approved the request after reviewing the efficiency and general advantages of the plant. The Grand Gulf is the most cost effective plant serving in an area of Mississippi that is in high demand of electricity. The emissions of Carbon Dioxide, Sulfur Dioxide, and Nitrogen Oxide are tons less than that of other plants, due to the use of nuclear energy over fossil fuels that cause climate change. The decision of the NRC will allow the Grand Gulf to continue to produce in this energy efficient way. -DS

Energy Policy:
OPEC Reaches Deal to Limit Production, Sending Prices Soaring                                                                                                                                                                                                http://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/30/business/international/opec-energy-oil-saudi-iran.html?ref=energy-environment&_r=0
November 30, 2016 | Stanley Reed and Clifford Krauss                                                                                                                This past Wednesday, OPEC finalized an oil production cut to last six months starting next month, amounting to a reduction of 4.5% of current production levels, or 1.2 million barrels a day, and sent oil prices up to $50/barrel. Negotiations were reportedly tight between Saudi Arabia and Iran due to both political tensions between the two countries and Iran’s recent increase in oil production since sanctions were lifted earlier this year. However, many analysts believe that this cut will not prove too successful when push comes to shove, for several reasons. First, when oil prices rise, American shale producers will undoubtedly expand production and oversaturate the oil market once again, which will set prices back. Second, some analysts believe that OPEC countries outside of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and the UAE will not strictly adhere to their production limits. And last, the production cut is contingent of several non-OPEC countries taking cuts themselves – most notably Russia, whose cooperation is difficult at best to predict. -JPM

Europe May Rewire Energy Policy                                                                                                                                                                                               http://www.wsj.com/articles/europe-may-rewire-energy-policy-1480503674
November 30, 2016 | Laurence Norman and Zeke Turner                                                                                                                On Wednesday, the European Commission released new proposals for energy use and regulation. Despite recent murmurs by climate change scientists that the Paris accord is reaching for an almost impossible goal, it looks like the E.C. could push for more ambitious targets than ever. Part of its plan calls for increased investments in energy – both public and private. These will take some pressure off consumers, who have faced higher household power prices despite the drop in oil and gas prices. They will also help cities renovate aging and energy-inefficient buildings. Additionally, the E.C. has proposed that public transport shift away from relying on biofuels. A particularly brave recommendation calls for fewer subsidies for coal, nuclear, and gas companies, as well as a freer energy market in general. Clearly, the E.C. believes that renewables are ready to be price-competitive in the energy market. While the call for greater investments (a 400% increase!) is likely unrealistic – especially after negotiations that will now take place between member states – the regulations proposed could revamp Europe’s energy policy entirely. -AD

Despite Climate Change Vow, China Pushes to Dig More Coal                                                                                                                                                                                             http://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/29/business/energy-environment/china-coal-climate-change.html?ref=energy-environment
November 29, 2016 | Keith Bradsher                                                                                                               Due to China’s lack of sufficient electricity resources and stockpiles, the country is turning toward increased coal mining. Demand for electricity increased after a hot summer in China, banks have been offering more mortgages to initiate economic growth, and mines and railroads were also recently flooded, all leading to a rise in coal prices. The National Development and Reform Commission decided this month to allow more active mines. China will unlikely be able to meet emission goals, which is unfortunate because its coal is already the greatest source of carbon emissions in industry of the world. While China has programs in place to utilize wind turbines, solar panels, and hydroelectric dams, 75% of the country’s electricity is generated through coal. China has affirmed that it wants to work on climate change, though, as stated at the UNFCCC (UN Framework Convention on Climate Change). -DS

Scientists Mimic Mother Nature to Create Biocrude From Sewage                                                                                                                                                                                            https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/plugged-in/scientists-mimic-mother-nature-to-create-biocrude-from-sewage/
November 30, 2016 | Melissa Lott                                                                                                               Researchers at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory have successfully demonstrated hydrothermal liquefaction, a technology which mimics the intense underground pressures and temperatures that once created our oil reserves. This biocrude was generated from sewage sludge; this principle could be applied to waste generated from sewage plants, agricultural waste, and other organic waste. The new process bypasses the traditional drying step which has traditionally rendered this sort of waste too “wet” to be feasible for efficient biofuel generation. The process is simple and scalable, essentially pushing the sludge through a hot, pressurized tube; applied to currently operating wastewater treatment plants, it could generate 30 million barrels of biocrude a year. The technology has been licensed and will be scaled up in a prototype plant in Vancouver by 2018. -AD