EnergySource

The following is the first installment in a three-part series on the proposed Energy Bridge project, an energy development and regional energy interconnection initiative for Ukraine and its neighbors. The series covers issues and opportunities related to Energy Bridge from three viewpoints: Ukraine, the European Union (EU) and other international parties (e.g., the US), and Poland.

Energy insecurity in Ukraine has the potential to be even more destabilizing in the long-term than the conflict in the Donbass region.

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This blog is the fourth piece in a series examining the global energy transition through the lens of communities with a significant stake in the traditional energy economy. In examining the social, political, and economic dynamics, policy choices that are made or missed, and the approaches that seem most promising and scalable, there is the possibility of strengthening social cohesion and equitable outcomes amid the global energy transition. You can find the previous post here.

For nearly 40 years, Wyoming has been the largest coal producer in the United States. Its communities and their identities have been inextricably tied to the resource, an identity that many people are now grappling with as coal continues to lose its footing in the energy market.

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At least 200 merchant ships around the world have suffered serious, sometimes complete engine failure in recent months. Some of these vessels have been left helplessly adrift in the open sea. Others have run aground. Many have been carrying cargoes—crude oil, fuel, chemicals, containers—that could cause human or environmental catastrophes if the vulnerable ships were damaged in a storm, on a reef, or even in an attack. The cause of these engine failures is not shoddy maintenance or poorly manufactured parts—it is bad fuel. And the bad fuel is not  coming from some scarcely regulated port, but from major hubs: Houston, Panama, and Singapore.

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The transportation sector, and particularly aviation and maritime transport, pose unique challenges in the transition to lower-carbon energy sources. However, California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard has ushered in significant investment and innovation and the state is leading the way in advanced fuels.

In an interview with Randolph Bell, director of the Atlantic Council Global Energy Center, E James Macias, chief executive officer of Fulcrum BioEnergy, discussed how California’s consistent, forward-looking policy environment has turned it into world leader in clean innovation.


Q:  First of all, what does Fulcrum BioEnergy do?

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On September 17, 2018, the leaders of the twelve member countries of the Three Seas Initiative (3SI) will gather in Bucharest for the third Three Seas Summit, in the hopes of achieving concrete progress on some of the initiative’s projects.

Launched in 2016 by the countries bordering the Adriatic, the Baltic, and the Black Seas, the Three Seas Initiative is an exceptional effort to increase interconnectivity in the fields of energy, transport, and digitalization. With the support of the European Union, the initiative aims to deepen integration among the twelve countries to strengthen economic competitiveness of the Central and Eastern European region.

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When President Trump announced that his goal for American energy was not just energy independence, but “energy dominance,” he outlined six steps his administration would pursue with that goal in mind: reviving and expanding the nuclear energy sector, addressing barriers to financing highly efficient overseas coal energy plants, constructing a new pipeline to Mexico, negotiating more American natural gas sales to South Korea, approving applications to export additional natural gas, and creating a new offshore oil and gas leasing program. Although renewables were not mentioned as an important aspect of this strategy at its unveiling, the US Department of the Interior (DOI), a department which is responsible for 20.6 million acres of public land with wind potential through the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and offshore energy development in federal waters through the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), has recently been arguing that wind energy—particularly offshore wind energy—will play a significant role in the administration’s energy strategy.

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This piece is the second by the author on Puerto Rico’s electricity system. You can read the first piece here.

The government of Puerto Rico has selected “concession” as the method of privatizing the transmission and distribution assets of the commonwealth’s electric system, Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA). This privatization through “concession” of transmission and distribution functions will accompany the parallel sale of PREPA’s electric generation assets and the introduction of a new regulatory administration that the Public Service Regulatory Board established in August. However, the direct regulation of electricity is assigned to a new subsidiary Energy Bureau, with five new commissioners.

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Electric vehicles (EVs) will play a central role in any potential global transition away from hydrocarbons and towards a more sustainable energy future. Projections of EV growth are widely bullish: by 2040, Bloomberg New Energy Finance projects 55 percent of new car sales and 33 percent of the global fleet will be EVs, while BP expects 30 percent of car kilometers to be covered by EVs. EV projections have been growing substantially in recent years, thanks in part to decreasing battery costs.

However, the materials needed for advanced EV batteries have come under close watch because of their rarity and geographic concentration. Lithium is one such material.

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This piece is the second in a series examining the opportunities and challenges facing the recently launched “Coal Exit Commission” in Germany. You can read the first piece here.

Earlier this month, former vice president and climate campaigner Al Gore delivered a tough message to Germany, calling the country’s narrative of climate leadership “out of date.” And while Environment Minister Svenja Schulze acknowledged Gore’s statement, she responded that she plans to bring Germany back on track as soon as possible. With coal still playing a key role in the country’s energy mix, many climate advocates have emphasized that the recently established coal phase out commission can serve as a vehicle for Germany reclaim the mantle of climate leadership.

That leadership is currently lagging behind.

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Following the tragic weather events of 2017, the state of Puerto Rico’s infrastructure, particularly energy infrastructure, has been a contentious issue. In fact, even before Hurricane Maria, Puerto Rico’s electric service provider, Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA), had been struggling with mismanagement and teetered on the brink of financial collapse for years. The damage caused to the electric system by Hurricane Maria reflected years of deferred maintenance and the slow recovery exposed the deficiencies of management.

This combination of storm damage and a long history of mismanagement led to bankruptcy, forcing drastic action. While there are key challenges ahead, the government has taken a crucial step, passing the Puerto Rico Electric Power System Transformation Act, which was signed into law by Governor Ricardo Rosello-Nevares on June 20, 2018. 

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