Energy & Commodities

Funding Is The Biggest Hurdle For Clean Energy

Today’s energy tech scene is on fire. The sector is in the midst of an absolute flurry of activity and innovation, with new and novel devices, approaches, and cutting-edge software, and hardware popping up more and more frequently. As the need for clean energy alternatives becomes more urgent, with global leading experts like the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warning that the tipping point towards catastrophic environmental damage is right around the corner, clean energy researchers have responded in kind, publishing a litany of research pointing to a myriad of potential solutions for replacing fossil fuels. So why is the world still running on oil?

Let’s back up and take a look at some of the incredible energy innovations that have been unveiled in recent years. We’ll start with one that’s currently a hot topic, as it’s being touted as one of the most exciting prospects for clean power production, and that’s wave energy. This novel technique harnesses the ebb and flow of ocean tides in order to produce an extremely clean form of renewable energy. Interestingly enough, wave energy is in itself a form of solar energy and wind energy combined. As explained by World Finance, “when the Sun’s rays hit the Earth’s atmosphere, they heat it up. Around the globe, a difference in temperature naturally occurs, causing air to move from hotter regions to cooler ones, resulting in wind. As winds move across the seas, some of their kinetic energy is transferred to the water, creating waves.” Creating energy from harnessing the vertical movements of the ocean holds major potential for transforming our energy landscape for the better. As Sea Wave Energy CEO Adamos Zakheos told World Finance, “Wave energy, when harnessed correctly, can produce an abundance of environmentally friendly, cheap, renewable energy, significantly reducing the dependence on fossil fuels. We all see the effects of global warming; by exploiting blue energy, nations can take a responsible step towards securing a brighter future for their citizens – and their heirs.” CLICK for complete article

Billionaires Are Licking Their Chops Over Distressed U.S. Oil And Gas Assets

Like the vultures Elizabeth Warren claims they are, billionaires are now circling over the soon-to-be dead corpses of companies in the U.S. oil and gas patch, as they look to pick up assets on the cheap.

This comes at the same time that the volatility (read: decimation) of the oil and gas industry has scared off many other investors, according to Bloomberg.

Names like Sam Zell, Tom Barrack Jr., and Jerry Jones are all being tossed around as investors who are looking at distressed assets. Zell has teamed up with Barrack Jr. to look at oil assets in California, Colorado and Texas. Jones’ company, Comstock Resources, is looking to acquire natural gas assets from Chesapeake Energy.

Companies are eager to sell at cheap prices to try and get ahead of an upcoming credit crunch. 

The U.S. has become the world’s largest oil producer due to the shale revolution, but the investors behind that drive have little to show for their efforts. Many companies have plowed through their cash while providing poor returns, as independent oil and gas drillers are down more than 40% since 2014.

Easy money enabled the boom, and we have noted here on Zero Hedge over the last several years how poor resource allocation, crowded wells and overly optimistic estimates have caused a turn for the worse for U.S. oil and gas investors. Now, its time to face the consequences.

With oil prices still low, the number of active drilling rigs in the U.S. has declined and some of the biggest players in the industry have lowered their growth plans… CLICK for complete article

Tech’s New Frontier? Oil and Gas

According to a new report from Lux Research, the oil companies of the future may resemble the tech companies of today. Moreover, if these companies fail to adapt to the changing digital landscape faced by all industries, they could be left behind.

In the new report, The Digital Transformation of Oil and Gas, Lux analysts make a strong case for oil and gas companies to embrace the global economy’s shift toward a more digital-friendly way of doing business.

“No industry is immune to the rapidly shifting digital landscape, including very traditional ones such as oil and gas,” said Harshit Sharma, analyst at Lux Research and the lead author of the report. “If the world’s major oil and gas producers don’t embrace these changes and implement systems and processes that will help them scale digitally, they very much risk failing to meet the needs of their global customers, and they will likely lose market share to their counterparts that do adapt.

Not unlike the continually evolving landscape of Silicon Valley, Lux predicts that these changes will be swift, and that leaders at the helm of oil and gas companies will have to move quickly and efficiently.

“The companies that do this right and meet the challenges and opportunities posed by the digital age will have to be leaders in innovation,” said Sharma. “Like their peers in other industries that have undergone these changes, the leaders who continually push the envelope and force their operations to keep evolving will likely be most successful.”  CLICK for complete article

Why Banning Fossil Fuel Investment Is A Huge Mistake

Activist global warming strategies have now caused the European Investment Bank to ban its fossil fuel project funding. After more than a year of internal and external lobbying by several EU member states and an ever-growing list of activist NGO and pressure groups, the EIB has decided to cut its financial support for all new fossil fuel projects by 2021. It will also support €1 trillion of investments in climate action and environmental sustainability. This is meant to force European countries to put an end to new gas-fueled power projects and keep in line with the Paris Agreements and EU CO2 emission targets. EIB VP Andrew McDowell stated to the press that the EIB’s new energy lending policy, seen as a landmark decision, has been approved with “overwhelming” support. He reiterated that it will bar investments or financing for most fossil fuel projects, including those that employ the traditional use of natural gas.

There is still a small loophole for fossil fuel projects, as the EIB funding will still be available for projects that can show they can produce one kilowatt-hour of energy while emitting less than 250g of carbon dioxide. New technologies could therefore be the savior in the end for traditional gas-burning power plants.

The significance of this decision by the EIB cannot be understated. As a major financial institution, a wide range of energy-related projects inside and outside of the EU, such as gas pipeline projects in Central Asia, Turkey and the recent discussions on East Med offshore gas projects, are now being endangered. While various Green Parties and environmental NGOs are celebrating this move as a major victory, it is a victory that comes with some real risks. The decision, which was largely inevitable after that EU finance ministers unanimously agreed to initiate stricter measures to combat climate change, will put more pressure on all parties to phase out gas, oil and coal projects…CLICK for complete article

Seoul Is Putting Solar On All Public Buildings and 1 Million Homes

In Seoul, South Korea, every public building and 1 million homes will have solar panels by 2022. South Korea, the world’s fourth-largest coal importer, is making a concerted effort to shift to green energy after public pressure to do so and aims to generate 35% of its electricity from renewables by 2040.

South Korea is Asia’s fourth-largest economy, and it currently relies on nuclear, gas, and coal for power. The government had originally planned to retrofit 20 of its 60 coal plants with anti-pollution gear when they reached 30 years of age, but this idea has been abandoned, as it’s not cost-effective. According to a June Reuters article:

“To have more renewable power, we can make coal power plants run lower,” said Kang Seung-jin, energy professor at Korea Polytechnic University, who is helping to map out the 2019 plan.

According to the World Economic Forum:

The World Economic Forum’s Energy Transition Index, which benchmarks countries’ energy systems and supports them as they move to cleaner power sources, ranks South Korea 48th out of 115 nations surveyed. Its capital wants to lead the transition.

In November 2017, the capital city’s government announced the 2022 Solar City Seoul Plan, in which it said it would add 1 GW of solar capacity by 2022. This has already cut more than 100 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions…CLICK for complete article

6 Technology Trends Revolutionizing The Transportation Sector

The transportation industry boasts this inglorious claim to fame: It’s responsible for nearly 30 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions in the United States.

Of that, cars and trucks alone are believed to be responsible for nearly one-fifth of all U.S. emissions.

It’s not profit loss. It’s how much Americans lost on average every year due to traffic congestion.

Americans have lost an average of 97 hours a year due to congestion, which costs them roughly $87 billion, or an average of $1,348 per driver, according to 2018 INRIX National Traffic Scorecard.

And it’s about to get worse.

The market now is all about doing two things at once: cleaning up and getting out of traffic. The tech advance that makes both possible wins on all levels.

Here are the 5 cleanest modes of travel right now…CLICK for complete article