Higher, cheaper, sleeker: wind turbines of the future – in pictures | Guardian Sustainable Business | The Guardian

May 12, 2017

The cost of energy from offshore wind in Britain has fallen by a third since 2012, and wind accounts for over 40% of new capacity in the US, representing an annual investment of $13bn. Now next-generation wind technologies promise to make wind energy safer and more affordable – if they can make the difficult jump from research prototypes to commercial products

Source: Higher, cheaper, sleeker: wind turbines of the future – in pictures | Guardian Sustainable Business | The Guardian

Dakota Access protests poised to become political debacle for American oil and gas industry – The American Energy News : The American Energy News

Industry leaders, including Kelcy Warren, have mishandled Dakota Access pipeline protest right from the beginning Six weeks ago, I warned that the Dakota Access pipeline protest was going to be the next Keystone XL issue for the American oil and gas industry. I was wrong. It’s going to be much worse. Eco-activists have acknowledged that opposing …

Source: Dakota Access protests poised to become political debacle for American oil and gas industry – The American Energy News : The American Energy News

7 charts show new renewables outpacing rising demand for first time. Renewables. 

by Simon Evans.
For the first time ever, investment in new renewables was more than enough to cover rising global electricity demand in 2015. That’s according to the first World Energy Investment report, published by the International Energy Agency (IEA). While fossil fuels still dominate energy supplies, the IEA says changing investment flows point towards a “reorientation of the energy system”.

Carbon Brief has seven charts showing why the IEA thinks an energy shift is underway. Energy investment World energy investment amounted to $1.8tn in 2015, the IEA says, equivalent to 2.4% of global GDP. Around half went towards fossil fuel extraction and distribution, mainly for oil and gas.

Renewables accounted for 17% of the total, around $300bn. The vast majority of this was in the electricity sector, where nearly 70% of investment in power stations went towards renewables. Global energy investment in 2015, by sector. Source: World Energy Investment 2016, IEA.

Oil slide

Investment in energy was down 8% year-on-year in 2015 (around $150bn), largely because of falling investment in oil and gas. Soft demand and Saudi Arabia’s determination to squeeze competitors has created a prolonged period of cheap oil that has decimated incomes.

Reductions have been particularly steep in North America, the IEA says, with investment halving in the past two years. The smaller companies that dominate the US shale industry have been particularly hard-hit by the falling oil price, with scores of firms filing for bankruptcy. Upstream oil and gas investment in 2015, by region. Source: World Energy Investment 2016, IEA.

Falling costs

The Saudi strategy has only been partially successful. Some two-thirds of the fall in oil and gas investment has been absorbed by cost reductions, particularly in the shale sector. Upstream oil and gas costs fell 15% in 2015, the IEA says.

These recent oil and gas cost reductions have been easily outpaced by those for new energy technologies. Costs for onshore wind are down by nearly 40% since 2008, solar by more than 80%, LEDs more than 90% and grid-scale batteries by 70%.

The IEA says renewable costs will continue to fall, while the reverse will be true for oil and gas: “IEA medium-term analyses foresee lower costs in renewables, lighting and electricity storage and eventually modest cost increases in upstream oil and gas.” Energy cost developments 2008-2015, by technology. Source: World Energy Investment 2016, IEA.

Power shift

The large clean energy cost reductions are behind a continuing shift in the power sector, where 70% of investment in generating assets goes to renewables and fossil fuel investment is in decline.

Renewable power investment held steady at around $290bn in 2015, the IEA says, yet cost reductions mean more capacity could be bought for the money. Solar investment was lower than  2011 in dollar terms, but 60% more capacity was added.

Last year, rising renewable additions combined with weakening power demand growth in a landmark way. The IEA says:

“For the first time, investment in renewables-based capacity generates enough power to cover global electricity demand growth in 2015.”

New renewables commissioned in 2015 have the capacity to generate 350 terawatt hours (TWh), against an increase in demand of less than 250TWh. This means all other capacity brought online in 2015 was effectively surplus to requirements.

(It’s worth adding a couple of qualifiers: first, 40% of investment was to replace ageing assets; second, renewables often generate power intermittently rather than on demand).

See charts and read more here…

Source: 7 charts show new renewables outpacing rising demand for first time

Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s Lawyer: Judge’s Ruling Allows Dakota Access to “Desecrate” Sacred Ground | Democracy Now!

In Washington, D.C., a federal judge has ruled that construction on sacred tribal burial sites in the path of the $3.8 billion Dakota Access pipeline can continue. Yesterday, U.S. District Judge James Boasberg issued a temporary restraining order that halts construction only between Route 1806 and Lake Oahe, but still allows construction to continue west of this area. The ruling does not protect the land where, on Saturday, hundreds of Native Americans forced Dakota Access to halt construction, despite the company’s security forces attacking the crowd with dogs and pepper spray. This part of the construction site is a sacred tribal burial ground. We get an update from Stephanie Tsosie, associate attorney with Earthjustice who helps represent the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in its lawsuit against the Army Corps of Engineers over the Dakota Access pipeline.

Read more…

Source: Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s Lawyer: Judge’s Ruling Allows Dakota Access to “Desecrate” Sacred Ground | Democracy Now!

Brexit Just “Killed” London as the Energy Capital of the World – Oil & Energy Investor by Dr. Kent Moors

…. On the broad front, the impact has been staggering.

First, David Cameron has already announced he will be stepping down as British Prime Minister and new elections will be called (probably for early fall).

Second, Brussels (the seat of the EU) will now go into damage control and the animosity between the continent and London will ramp up significantly.

Third, this may be the first of several “shoes to fall.” The Spanish parliamentary election this weekend will provide us the initial read on similar views elsewhere in the EU. My contacts now expect Ireland, Portugal, and even the Netherlands to experience similar exit pressures.

Fourth, this morning Spain has also already fired the first salvo. It is now demanding control over Gibraltar – the UK’s exclave at the southern tip of Spain – in the wake of the British departure from the EU.

Fifth, the Bank of England has promised “unlimited” liquidity support for the British pound sterling after it collapsed worse than at any time over the three decades. Nonetheless, the currency will be under pressure for some time and that will have a toll to exact from the British economy.

Sixth, hundreds of thousands of trade, investment, business, banking, and fiduciary arrangements ae now in limbo…as are hundreds of thousands of jobs. Seventh, the Euro will come under intense pressure as the contagion spreads throughout Europe. But it gets worse… London’s Significance will Fade

Oh yes, Daesh (the name for ISIS that the group itself hates) issued a statement applauding the “death of Europe.” This time around, on the other hand, it could not find a way to claim responsibility.

Other ducks will be falling shortly. Markets throughout the world are awash in tidal waves of red ink. The dollar and U.S. fixed instruments (bonds) are once again becoming a “safe haven” for international investors. Against this backdrop, rapid aftershocks are occurring in energy. Following hours of discussions with contacts in Europe and Asia, these are the immediate consequences:

Both WTI (West Texas Intermediate) and Brent, the two leading international benchmarks for oil trading, posted 5% losses in overnight markets. The losses have since leveled off. You see, the sudden drop in both pounds and the Euro is strengthening the dollar, which makes oil more expensive abroad, pushing demand and prices down. This is likely to rebalance, but there will be some choppy forex waves to overcome.

On the plus side, global demand is increasing and supply balance is taking shape. But the volatility spawned by the UK exit vote will provide some hefty headwinds for oil in the short-term.

The vote has also done major, perhaps fatal, damage to “The City” (London’s financial district) and its position as the world’s preferred location to raise energy project capital. For years more money has been raised for energy projects within a radius of two miles from Liverpool Station and St. Paul’s than anywhere on earth. This will now end. Banking and fiduciary action will move to New York (almost initially by default) and Dubai (the more moderate-term beneficiary). Frankfurt and even the Russian fledgling exchange in St. Petersburg will also increase in activity.

Meanwhile, a range of cross-border holdings based in London and involving oil, natural gas, and renewable controlling structures are now in jeopardy. And the pound sterling collapse will linger, having an adverse impact on Brent remaining as the dominant international benchmark. Since the vast majority of contracts are denominated in dollars, the exchange problems will be gravitating toward spreads favoring WTI.

Now, the effects won’t be limited to just Europe…

reposted from Source: Brexit Just “Killed” London as the Energy Capital of the World – Oil & Energy Investor by Dr. Kent Moors

Canada’s Mordor: European Report Slams Alberta’s ‘Dirty Oil’

New scathing European report compares the Alberta Tar Sands to the dark realm of Mordor from Lord of the Rings. Pressures are looming over Alberta to clean up its environmental act. This is an S.O.S.

Source: Canada’s Mordor: European Report Slams Alberta’s ‘Dirty Oil’

How do we grieve the death of a river? — Spotted Horse Press by Winona LaDuke

How do we grieve the death of a river? Written by Winona LaDuke   “Our people blocked the road. When the troops arrive, we will face them .”– Ailton Krenak, Krenaki People, Brazil  This eighteen months saw three of the largest mine tailings pond disasters in history.  Although they have occurred far from northern Minnesota’s pristine waters, we may want to take heed as we look at a dozen or more mining projects, on top of what is already there, abandoned or otherwise. These stories, like many, do not make headlines. They are in remote communities, far from the media and the din of our cars, cans and lifestyle.  Aside from public policy questions, mining safety and economic liability concerns, there is an underlying moral issue we face here:the death of a river. As I interviewed Ailton Krenak, this became apparent. The people in southeastern Brazilian call the river Waatuh or Grandfather. “We sing to the river, we baptize the children in this river, we eat from this river, the river is our life,”  That’s what Ailton Krenak, winner of the  Onassis International Prize, and a leader of the Indigenous and forest movement in Brazil, told me as I sat with him and he told me of the mine waste disaster. I wanted to cry. How do you express condolences for a river, for a life, to a man to whom the river is the center of the life of his people? That is a question we must ask ourselves. November 2015’s Brazilian collapse of two dams at a mine on the Rio Doco River sent a toxic sludge over villages, and changed the geography of a world.  The dam collapse cut off drinking water for a quarter of a million people and saturated waterways downstream with dense orange sediment. As the LA Times would report, “Nine people were killed, 19 … listed as missing and 500 people were displaced from their homes when the dams burst.” The sheer volume of water and mining sludge disgorged by the dams across nearly three hundred miles is staggering: the equivalent of 25,000 Olympic swimming pools or the volume carried by about 187 oil tankers. The Brazilians compare the damage to the BP oil disaster, and the water has moved into the ocean – right into the nesting area for endangered sea turtles, and a delicate ecosystem. The mine, owned by Australian based BHP Billiton, the largest mining company in the world, (and the one which just sold a 60-year-old coal strip mine to the Navajo Nation in 2013) is projecting some clean up. Renowned Brazilian documentary photographer Sebastiao Salgado, whose foundation has been active in efforts to protect the Doce River, toured the area and submitted a $27 billion clean-up proposal to the government.  “ Everything died. Now the river is a sterile canal filled with mud,” Salgado told reporters. When the mining company wanted to come back, Ailton Krenak told me,  “we blocked the road.” They didn’t get the memo. – Read more at: http://americanindiansandfriends.com/news/how-do-we-grieve-the-death-of-a-river-written-by-winona-laduke#sthash.oVTqm8uZ.dpuf

Source: How do we grieve the death of a river? — Spotted Horse Press by Winona LaDuke

Eco-tourism worth billions trumps value of Kinder Morgan project, new report argues | National Observer

Jan 22, 2016,  Charles Mandel

A new report tears into the Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline extension application, saying the company’s environmental assessments show a lack of scientific rigour and unsubstantiated assumptions surrounding the fate, behaviour and toxicity of diluted bitumen.

“Their conclusions are fraught with an unacceptable degree of uncertainty, are not supported by the scientific literature, and often not supported by their own information,” asserts the executive summary of the report from the British Columbia-based Raincoast Conservation Foundation.

Titled Our Threatened Coast: Nature and Shared Benefits in the Salish Sea, the report shows an oil spill of diluted bitumen would have devastating consequences for the region’s wildlife and coastal tourism.

The report contends a large oil spill near Turn Point at the northern end of Haro Strait – which separates Vancouver Island and the B.C. Gulf Islands from Washington State’s San Juan Islands – has a 95 per cent chance of reaching killer whales if they are anywhere near the area at the time.

A 60 per cent chance exists of oil contamination on the surface within a 3,800 kilometre centred on Haro Strait after a spill at Turn Point. The report notes that Haro Strait is one of the most routinely traveled areas in the Salish Sea for resident killer whales.

The report cited a City of Vancouver estimate that the economic impact of a large oil spill in the city’s Burrard Inlet could exceed $2-billion.

Ali Hounsell, a spokesperson with Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain Expansion Project, told National Observer: “Trans Mountain has been diligent in assessing risks posed by oil tankers in a comprehensive manner and developed and proposed a number of risk control measures to mitigate such risks.”

The report defines the Salish Sea as one of the world’s largest coastal seas, spanning from the western entrance of the Juan de Fuca Strait to the top of Georgia Strait and bottom of Puget Sound.

The name reflects and honours the Coast Salish, the areas’s first human inhabitants.

“We really need to look at the real value of this place,” said Ross Dixon, a program manager at Raincoast and a co-author of the report with Raincoast biologist Misty MacDuffee.

“Everyone is making decisions on Kinder Morgan and all these other proposals, the shipping of fossil fuels through the region, and we don’t really understand the true value of this place.”

Among the examples cited in the report is the Tsleil-Waututh Nation – the People of the Inlet – whom the report says have acted as stewards of their rivers, streams, forests and beaches with an “over-arching obligation to ancestors and future generations alike.”

The report notes that those obligations form the basis for the nation’s Sacred Trust Initiative, which is sanctioned by the Tsleil-Waututh chief and council and specifically developed to stop the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline project.

Carleen Thomas of the Scared Trust Initiative told National Observer: “Our ancestors have taken care of this home place for us for millennia and so it is our sacred obligation to continue that work.

“It is the heart of our people. It’s the heart of our traditional territory. It means everything to us.”

read more: Eco-tourism worth billions trumps value of Kinder Morgan project, new report argues | National Observer

The oil pricequake – Michael Klare in Le Monde diplomatique – English edition

…. keep in mind that the tremors from the oil pricequake have undoubtedly yet to reach their full magnitude. Prices will, of course, rise someday. That’s inevitable, given the way investors are pulling the plug on energy projects globally. Still, on a planet heading for a green energy revolution, there’s no assurance that they will ever reach the $100-plus levels that were once taken for granted. Whatever happens to oil and the countries that produce it, the global political order that once rested on oil’s soaring price is doomed. While this may mean hardship for some, especially the citizens of export-dependent states like Russia and Venezuela, it could help smooth the transition to a world powered by renewable forms of energy.

Source: The oil pricequake – Le Monde diplomatique – English edition