Morning Volt for 05/18/2017

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Morning Volt

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OPEC vs. Shale — Round 3

Adam Ritchie, Energy Intelligence

Opec ministers meet in Vienna next week to debate an extension to their current output agreement, a decision that will once again be taken with half an eye on the state of US shale production. Opec faces a dilemma. If it maintains or deepens output cuts to support prices, it risks also supporting the economics of US shale producers and encouraging another surge in production. But the alternative, a return to the laissez-faire market forces strategy it famously adopted in November 2014, risks hurting its own members more than any of its problematic peers in the US shale patch.

Lessons from the Dakota Access Pipeline

Bette Grande, RealClearEnergy

The Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) is expected to begin carrying crude oil from western North Dakota to Illinois by May, but the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe plans to pursue efforts in and out of court…

OPEC Lost $76 Billion Last Year Due to US Fracking

Andrew Follett, Daily Caller

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) lost $76 billion in 2016 due to low oil prices caused by rising U.S. oil production, according to a report published Monday by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).EIA’s report estimates that in 2016, OPEC earned about $433 billion in net oil export revenues. That’s 15 percent lower and $76 billion less than the $509 billion the cartel earned in 2015. This is the lowest earnings posted by OPEC since 2004.

Venezuela’s Melt Down Explained by the ‘Oil Curse’

Ellen Wald, Forbes

Venezuela is starving. The people of the once prosperous nation are now literally sufferingand in some cases, dyingfrom hunger. The socialist government, under President Nicolas Maduro, will not allow foreign relief aid, presumably because the government fears losing control. Protests continue, despite the lack of attention from much of the rest of the world, and the government continues to kill dissidents at a slow but steady pace.

Oil Traders Are Getting Ahead of Themselves

Naeem Aslam, CNBC

Oil prices have spiked once again on the news that Saudi Arabia and Russia have agreed that the current oil cut needs to remain in place beyond this year.On one hand, this is good news because we are looking at a situation where we won’t have to worry about oil production and its baggage for some time and the supply glut which has been building over the years could be reduced.

Environmentalists Change Their Tune on Obama Climate Plan

John Siciliano, WE

Environmentalists changed their legal strategy Monday in urging a federal appeals court to completely shut down a legal case over former President Barack Obama’s climate change regulations.The groups told the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals that they would prefer if it sent the Clean Power Plan back to the Environmental Protection Agency to do to the climate regulations as the Trump administration sees fit. That would have the effect of ending the Supreme Court’s February 2016 stay of the rules, which the Trump administration doesn’t want.

Brazil Acts to Protect Ethanol Producers as U.S. Imports Jump

L. Costa, Reuters

Brazil is toughening requirements for ethanol importers to protect domestic producers from an incoming surge of U.S. corn ethanol, a minister said on Monday, adding that he opposed the idea of new tariffs that could trigger costly retaliation.Buyers of foreign ethanol will now have to follow a rule applied to Brazilian ethanol producers regarding minimum stocks to guarantee supplies in the market, according to a government decision published in the official gazette on Monday.

Don’t Subsidize Money-Losing Nuclear Reactors

Mark Perry, Washington Examiner

What could push up energy costs and stall the growth of manufacturing in the United States? Dangers abound, but what’s most ominous is a deliberate effort to increase the cost of electricity to support uncompetitive power plants.Subsidizing money-losing nuclear reactors is the latest misstep in the long history of overzealous government intervention in the energy marketplace. State legislatures in New York and Illinois have approved as much as $10 billion in subsidies through zero-emission credit programs to keep aging nuclear plants open for the next decade. Lawmakers in Ohio, Pennsylvania,…

How Scottish Wind Power Beat Trump But Lost the War

Jess Shankleman, Bloomberg

Scotland was so bullish about becoming Europe’s wind energy hub its politicians fell out with a brash real-estate developer and reality TV star called Donald Trump.Five years on, Trump’s ambitions have taken him to the White House. But instead of the 950 offshore turbines Scotland envisioned by the end of 2017, it has only 63 because of legal battles, geographical challenges and caps on government aid.

Why is Energy-From-Waste Slow to Catch On in the U.S.?

Nithin Coca, TriplePundit

Energy-from-waste (EfW) is growing fast in Europe and parts of Asia. But it’s relatively stagnant here in the United States. In fact, the percentage of waste we burn for energy is actually slightly down in the past five years. What’s holding the U.S. back from this potentially sustainable solution?This stagnation is even more surprising when you consider that the past decade has seen a real energy shift in the U.S., as coal usage falls and renewable energy grows.

China’s Continuing Stunning Green Shift in Electric Power

Energy Post

We have been tracking China’s green shift across the power sector now for several years.1 The 2016 data are now in, released by the China Electricity Council and the National Energy Administration.2 The new data reveal a strong continuation of China’s green shift within the power sector as greening trends at the margin exceed blackening trends. In other words, even as China’s 7 percent annual growth and its growing coal consumption continues to drive the output of the world’s leading producer of greenhouse gases, China’s domestic dependence of power generation on fossil fuels, with their…

What the End of the Atomic Renaissance Means for Nuclear Power

New Scientist

The next generation of nuclear reactors was meant to bring cheaper, safer power. Where are they, and can they save the industry from bankruptcy and closure?

It’s Smarter to Invest in Renewable Energy in India Than the US


India has zoomed past the US to take the second spot on a list of the world’s most attractive renewable energy markets.In their annual ranking of the world’s top 40 markets for investing into renewable energy, consultancy firm EY named China (pdf) the world’s most attractive renewables market for 2017, followed by India. The US, which held the top rank last year fell to third, mostly due to a shift in domestic energy policy under president Donald Trump.

Struggling Nuclear Industry Lobbies State Governments For Help

M. Cusick, NPR

Just like coal companies, America’s nuclear power industry is having a tough time. It faces slowing demand for electricity, and competition from cheaper natural gas and renewables. And now, touting itself as a form of clean energy, the nuclear industry is lobbying state legislatures with a controversial pitch for help."Nobody’s in the mood for a bailout," says anti-nuclear activist Eric Epstein, as he considers where to put up a poster in the Amtrak station in Harrisburg, Pa. It has the iconic image of Uncle Sam pointing at the viewer, and saying, “I want you to stop the bailout of nuclear…

The Fight to Rethink (and Reinvent) Nuclear Power

Andy Murdock, Vox

In 2011, following the Fukushima Disaster in Japan, Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel announced that the country would completely phase out its use of nuclear power by 2022. This move was hailed by anti-nuclear activists, but criticized by some environmentalists: At a critical moment in the fight against climate change, it took away a working clean power source.

Saudi Arabia’s Finance Minister Says Could Live With $40 Oil in 2020

CNN Money

Saudi Arabia still loses sleep over the price of oil. Not for much longer.The kingdom says it is making good progress on a plan to break its oil dependency and won’t be bothered if the price drops to $40 a barrel by 2020."We will not really care much whether the price is 40, 45, 50, 55 at that time because we have gone significantly out of our way to be independent of the oil price," Saudi finance minister Mohammed Al Jadaan told CNNMoney’s Emerging Markets Editor John Defterios.

Oil Demand’s New Elasticity

Sarah Miller, Energy Intelligence

For decades now, changes in the oil price have had little, if any noticeable effect on demand. Prices could double — or halve — and oil consumption remained on a slow, steady growth track, slipping only slightly in times of major economic stress. The reason was simple — nearly two-thirds of global oil demand is for transportation, where there has been virtually no interfuel competition, rather than in power generation, where usage of different fuels can swing sharply in reaction to relatively small price moves. Oil’s privileged position above the competitive fray of the power sector is now…

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