Energy

Essential energy industry news & intel to start your day.
April 12, 2021
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Top Stories

  • President Joe Biden’s first budget proposal calls for tens of billions of dollars in new spending to mitigate climate change, referencing the phenomenon far more frequently than any other major threat to the country. This includes $1.9 billion to the Department of Energy to create an emissions-free electricity network by 2035; $450 million to the Department of the Interior for a federal jobs program to clean up abandoned mines and orphaned oil and gas wells; and $800 million to the Department of Commerce (home to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) for climate research. (Roll Call)
  • In a deal that will allow two new battery plants to open in Georgia, two South Korean industrial giants have settled a trade secrets case, with SK Innovation Co. Ltd. paying its rival LG Energy Solutions $1.8 billion in cash and future royalties in exchange for the latter dropping its litigation beforeU.S. and South Korean courts. The dispute could have proved politically challenging to Biden, who now will reap the benefits of the 2,600 projected jobs at SK Innovation’s $2.6 billion U.S. manufacturing facilities and a strengthened domestic electric vehicle supply chain without having to take sides in the intellectual property dispute. (The Washington Post)
  • The Saudi Arabian Oil Co. said it will sell a 49 percent stake in its oil pipeline business to a consortium headed by the U.S. investment company EIG Global Energy Partners, which also includes an Abu Dhabi sovereign-wealth fund and is likely to eventually include both Chinese and Saudi investors, according to people familiar with the matter. The $12.4 billion deal will result in Aramco creating a new joint-venture company known as Aramco Oil Pipelines Co., which will have the rights to 25 years of tariff payments for oil transported through its network of pipelines. (The Wall Street Journal)
 

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Events Calendar (All Times Local)

Monday, April 12
AFPM 2021 Annual Meeting Read More
S&P Global Platts 36th Annual Global Power Markets Virtual Conference Read More
RepublicEn virtual chat: Unleashing the Texas Energy Renaissance: How a Growing Consensus for Climate Action Can Benefit Texas Read More 12:00 pm
Atlantic Council event: Reimagining Appalachia: The role of climate infrastructure in modernizing a regional economy Read More 4:00 pm
Tuesday, April 13
AFPM 2021 Annual Meeting Read More
UT Austin Energy Week 2021: Energy Transition: Agents of Change, Changing Agents Read More
S&P Global Platts 36th Annual Global Power Markets Virtual Conference Read More
Bloomberg BNEF Summit Read More
MIT Energy Initiative webinar: Energy @MIT Read More 10:00 am
RMI event: Decarbonizing America’s Buildings: Preparing for a Carbon Neutral Future Read More 10:00 am
Wednesday, April 14
The Hill virtual event: The Sustainability Imperative Read More
UT Austin Energy Week 2021: Energy Transition: Agents of Change, Changing Agents Read More
S&P Global Platts 36th Annual Global Power Markets Virtual Conference Read More
Bloomberg BNEF Summit Read More
Green Building seminar series: Getting Ready for the new Building Energy Performance Standards Read More
USEA event: Unlocking CCUS Commercialization for Success Read More 1:30 pm
 
View Full Calendar
 
 

What Else You Need to Know

General
 

Trudeau Climate Chief Sees North American Alignment Under Biden

Kat Bolongaro, Bloomberg

Just a few months ago, the U.S. government wasn’t participating in a global treaty to reduce harmful gas emissions, and legal challenges were threatening to kill a carbon tax imposed by the Canadian government as the centerpiece of its effort to reach net-zero emissions by 2050.

 

Leaked calls show ALEC’s secret plan to fight Biden on climate

Naveena Sadasivam, Grist

A new ALEC working group is promoting long-shot tactics like nullification and a constitutional convention.

 
Oil, Gas and Alternative Fuels
 

Biden administration punts on DAPL shutdown, likely leaving pipeline’s fate to federal judge

Adam Willis, Duluth News Tribune

In a much-anticipated federal court hearing on Friday, April 9, attorneys from the Department of Justice and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said they have not made up their minds on what to do about the embattled North Dakota pipeline, likely leaving its fate in the hands of a federal judge.

 

Why Investing in Fossil Fuels Is So Tricky

Mark A. Stein, The New York Times

Demand for oil and gas is rising, yet it is expected to decline in the future as the world responds to global warming. Where does that leave investors?

 

A California county, despite the state’s climate goals, further embraces fossil fuels

Miranda Green, The Washington Post

The long shadows cast here in the San Joaquin Valley come from oil derricks, not palm trees.

 
Electricity, Utilities and Infrastructure
 

An open Texas power grid would boost reliability and renewables, experts say

Jeremy Blackman, Houston Chronicle

Since the February power outages, Texas legislators have been busy weighing a host of improvements for the state’s grid, from weatherizing equipment to shaking up oversight to partnering with the billionaire investor Warren Buffett on new emergency-use power plants. But hardly any of them have focused on what some believe could be a more widespread fix: plugging into other U.S. power supplies.

 
Renewables and Storage
 

Solar-Energy Supply Chain Depends on Region Where China Is Accused of Genocide

Phred Dvorak and Matthew Dalton, The Wall Street Journal

Champions of the accelerating push for solar energy around the world are confronting a previously overlooked challenge: The industry’s supply chains are heavily reliant on Xinjiang, a Chinese region the U.S. government and others say is the scene of genocide against local ethnic minorities including the mostly Muslim Uyghur inhabitants.

 

Interior bolsters offshore wind by revoking Trump-era legal opinion

Rachel Frazin, The Hill

The Interior Department on Friday bolstered offshore wind energy by revoking a legal opinion issued during the Trump administration that gave more weight to fishing concerns about that kind of energy development.

 
Coal/Nuclear
 

Indian Point Is Shutting Down. That Means More Fossil Fuel.

Patrick McGeehan, The New York Times

When the Indian Point nuclear power plant shuts, its lost output will be filled primarily by generators that burn fuels that contribute to climate change.

 

For Mexico’s president, the future isn’t renewable energy — it’s coal

Kate Linthicum, Los Angeles Times

Juan Manuel Briones was 14 when he started working in the coal mines in this remote stretch of northern Mexico. He toiled underground for nearly two decades, only to be laid off a few years ago as Mexico began embracing renewable energy and weaning itself off fossil fuels. Briones worried the future had left him behind. Then, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador took office in late 2018 and started turning back the clock.

 
Climate Change and Emissions
 

Out of Trump’s Shadow, World Bank President Embraces Climate Fight

Alan Rappeport, The New York Times

David Malpass, who was met with skepticism when he got the job in 2019, has become increasingly vocal about the risk of climate change.

 

Aggressive U.S. Climate Plan Puts Pressure on China, India

Aaron Clark and Dan Murtaugh, Bloomberg

An ambitious pledge to cut greenhouse-gas emissions under consideration by the U.S. gives President Joe Biden more leverage when he hosts leaders for a climate change summit later this month — presenting a particular challenge to China’s Xi Jinping.

 

The US has a chance fix its broken climate risk disclosure system

Tim McDonnell, Quartz

Government and investors are quickly moving to quantify the risks posed by climate change and make that part of their financial decision-making. But many companies remain unsure how to measure the threat of climate change to their business, and whether or how to report those risks to investors and the public.

 

What a fair climate target looks like for the US, the largest historical carbon emitter

Lili Pike, Vox

Biden is about to announce a new 2030 climate target. Will it go far enough?

 

Native communities confront painful choice: move away, or succumb to rising waters?

Richard Arlin Walker, The Guardian

Throughout Indian Country, where cultures are tied to land and water, plans to relocate are under way as the climate crisis worsens.

 
Environment, Land and Resources
 

The global campaign to make environmental destruction an international crime

Kalina Oroschakoff and Louise Guillot, Politico EU

Campaigners hope the threat of being hauled before the court scares politicians and executives into changing their behavior.

 

‘Negotiating with your worst enemy’: Biden in risky talks to pay Brazil to save Amazon

Jonathan Watts, The Guardian

The US is negotiating a multi-billion dollar climate deal with Brazil that observers fear could help the reelection of president Jair Bolsonaro and reward illegal forest clearance in the Amazon.

 

Haaland return sets up Biden decision on Utah national monuments shrunk by Trump

Zack Budryk, The Hill

Interior Secretary Deb Haaland is a step closer to completing a full report on two national monuments in Utah shrunk by the Trump administration after completing a visit to the two areas.

 
Transportation
 

Huawei to Invest $1 Billion on Car Tech It Says Surpasses Tesla

Bloomberg

Huawei Technologies Co. will invest $1 billion on researching self-driving and electric-car technologies, accelerating plans to compete with Tesla Inc. and Xiaomi Corp. in the world’s biggest vehicle arena.

 
Opinions, Editorials and Perspectives
 

Greater Innovation Is the Solution to Bitcoin’s Carbon Footprint

Michael K. Dorsey (Chief Strategy Officer, Solair), Morning Consult

The growth of blockchain technologies like cryptocurrencies seem to be doubling each year, and this fast growth has revealed the unintended environmental consequences just as quickly. Last month, Elon Musk announced that Tesla is accepting Bitcoin as a form of payment for its fast-selling electric cars. Enthusiasts for cryptocurrencies celebrated it as a milestone for liberating a financial system riddled with friction and exclusion.

 

How to save beaches and coastlines from climate change disasters

Michael W. Beck, Los Angeles Times

The frequency of natural disasters has soared in recent decades. Total damage topped $210 billion worldwide in 2020. With climate change, the costs attributed to coastal storms will increase dramatically.

 






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