Europe Turns to Russia, and Elsewhere, to Meet Rising Gas Demand in 2017

Europe Turns to Russia, and Elsewhere, to Meet Rising Gas Demand in 2017. Center for Strategic & International Studies. Nikos Tsafos. January 18, 2018.

 In 2017, Europe imported a record amount of natural gas: Russia’s exports rose by 8 percent, reaching an all-time high; Norwegian pipeline exports reached an all-time high as well, up 7 percent; pipeline imports from North Africa were slightly down, but imports of liquefied natural gas (LNG) rose by 16 percent—but still below their 2011 peak.

Higher imports came largely from higher demand. After a decade of almost steady decline, gas demand in Europe has risen three years now—a major reversal. Europe pulled in more gas from most major suppliers since there are no longer any systematic differences in pricing among them. Invariably, the headline take-away is likely that Europe became more dependent on Russian gas, which is true but also beside the point. The real take-away is that demand rose—and that a continent that will rely more on gas needs to remove the final obstacles in the way of a fully functioning internal market. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

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EPA’s Clean Power Plan for Existing Power Plants: Frequently Asked Questions

EPA’s Clean Power Plan for Existing Power Plants: Frequently Asked Questions. Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress. James E. McCarthy et al. December 4, 2017

 On October 10, 2017, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed to repeal the Clean Power Plan (CPP), the Obama Administration rule that would limit carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from existing fossil-fuel-fired power plants. The action came in response to Executive Order 13783, in which President Trump directed federal agencies to review existing regulations and policies that potentially burden the development or use of domestically produced energy resources. Among the E.O.’s specific directives was that EPA review the CPP, which was one of the Obama Administration’s most important actions directed at reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

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Postsecondary Education and STEM Employment in the United States: An Analysis of National Trends with a Focus on the Natural Gas and Oil Industry

Postsecondary Education and STEM Employment in the United States: An Analysis of National Trends with a Focus on the Natural Gas and Oil Industry. RAND Corporation.  Matthew D. Baird, Robert Bozick, Mark Harris. December 6, 2017.

 This report aims to contribute new knowledge to understanding the role that postsecondary education — including bachelor’s degrees, associate’s degrees, and sub-baccalaureate credentialing programs — plays in meeting the increasing demands of the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) workforce, and particularly in the oil and natural gas industry. As the economy becomes increasingly reliant on workers with strong quantitative and analytical skills, there is a growing need for policymakers to identify efficient ways to prepare all youth — including those not continuing on to college — for careers in STEM. As part of the study, the authors analyze data from three national data sources: the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System, the American Community Survey, and the Current Population Survey. The study indicates that the receipt of a bachelor’s degree in a STEM field and the attainment of a certification or license (in any field) are important educational milestones that support success in the STEM labor market. However, in both absolute and relative numbers, women and racial or ethnic minorities are less likely to earn these critical degrees and to enter STEM employment. Without stronger support for these traditionally underrepresented groups, the STEM economy in general and the oil and natural gas industry in particular may fail to optimize the pool of potential workers that it needs to sustain growth and innovation. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

 [PDF format, 100 pages, 1.03 MB].


Energy and Development: Providing Access and Growth

Energy and Development: Providing Access and Growth. Center for Strategic and International Studies. Sarah Ladislaw, Philippe Benoit. November 27, 2017

Energy has played, and will continue to play, a pivotal role in the economic development of the world’s major emerging economies and other developing countries. Increasingly, these countries will serve as the centers of energy-demand growth and energy investments. As such, the decisions they make about how to develop their energy sectors will be important to not only their own development but also in determining future levels of energy consumption, fuel choices, patterns of trade, and other factors. These countries are influenced not only by their own domestic priorities, policies, and regulations, but also by the international investor and donor communities. Several major shifts are taking place in the energy and development landscapes that warrant increased attention from policymakers, academia, and the private sector.

In late 2016 and early 2017, the CSIS Energy and National Security Program conducted research and held workshops to understand these changing dynamics and determine the key questions facing the energy and development sectors about how best to facilitate sustainable strategies for further growth. The initial focus of these workshops was on expanding access, but the issues addressed extended beyond this important poverty-alleviation aspect to broader development objectives. This report summarizes our findings and proposes additional areas for further research. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 32 pages, 10.41 MB].


U.S. Natural Gas in the Global Economy

U.S. Natural Gas in the Global Economy. Center for Strategic & International Studies. Sarah Ladislaw et al. November 1, 2017

This report summarizes a one-day CSIS-International Energy Agency (IEA) workshop held in May 2017, with government, industry, and policy experts exploring the outlook for natural gas markets in the global energy landscape. The workshop addressed key issues concerning the role of natural gas in North America, as well as the evolving strategic role of U.S. natural gas exports and liquefied natural gas markets (LNG) in the global energy system. The workshop was the third in a three-part workshop series, with the first workshop examining key issues concerning the role of U.S. tight oil production in the global economy and the second workshop focusing on the societal and environmental risks associated with U.S. onshore oil and gas development. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 29 pages, 377.34 MB].


Multinational Storage of Spent Nuclear Fuel and Other High-Level Nuclear Waste: A Roadmap for Moving Forward

Multinational Storage of Spent Nuclear Fuel and Other High-Level Nuclear Waste: A Roadmap for Moving Forward. American Academy of Arts & Sciences. Robert D. Sloan. July 2017.

The Academy’s work in its Global Nuclear Future project on the back-end of the nuclear fuel cycle has focused on identifying and developing nuclear waste solutions that are feasible and adoptable by legacy countries as well as by nuclear newcomers. The project acknowledges the fact that nuclear waste is a national responsibility for all countries that have, or are in the process of building, nuclear power plants. However, for many of these countries, domestic nuclear waste solutions (such as interim storage facilities and final repositories) might be difficult to establish—obstacles can include challenging economics for nations with small nuclear fleets (nuclear power, like most other energy technologies, profits from scale), unsuitable geophysical conditions, and public opposition.

Furthermore, there is a lack of international consensus on the importance of spent nuclear fuel. Those who value spent nuclear fuel see it as a potential feedstock, as part of a closed nuclear fuel cycle; others view it as an unattractive nuisance or worse because it contains fissile plutonium, a potential source of material for weapons, and therefore they wish to dispose of it in a permanent, nonretrievable repository. As a result, attempts to fashion a multilateral nuclear waste repository that can respond to these needs have not been successful. The partners or customers of such a permanent facility would have to agree to the nature of this storage: would it allow for retrievable spent fuel or not, and would all agree to the conditions under which such fuel would be permanently stored? [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 60 pages, 1.03 MB].


Implementation Guide for Utilities: Designing Renewable Energy Products to Meet Large Energy Customer Needs

Implementation Guide for Utilities: Designing Renewable Energy Products to Meet Large Energy Customer Needs. World Resources Institute. Priya Barua. June 2017

Large-scale corporate energy buyers are seeking renewable energy as a central element of their overall energy strategy. In a few states, these commercial and industrial (C&I) customers have collaborated with their utilities to create new opportunities to buy renewable energy in ways that deliver more value to the customer.

Building on that experimentation, this guide provides a synthesis of the ways utilities can meet the renewable energy demand of large-scale energy buyers.

The paper first describes some of the existing green tariff designs, addresses why some of the country’s largest shareholder utilities are offering green tariff options, and concludes by outlining the considerations necessary to build an attractive and pragmatic green tariff offering based on learnings to date. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 20 pages, 659.4 KB].