David Wallace-Wells has a useful summary in the Times – also recommend the Energy Gang Podcast on this topic.

David Wallace-Wells in New York Times:

I don’t think many Americans appreciate just how tense and tenuous, how very touch and go the energy situation in Europe is right now.

For months, as news of the Ukraine war receded a bit, it was possible to follow the energy story unfolding across the Atlantic and still assume an uncomfortable but familiar-enough winter in Europe, characterized primarily by high prices.

In recent weeks, the prospects have begun to look darker. In early August the European Union approved a request that member states reduce gas consumption by 15 percent — quite a large request and one that several initially balked at. In Spain, facing record-breaking heat wave after record-breaking heat wave at the height of the country’s tourist season, the government announced restrictions on commercial air-conditioning, which may not be set below 27 degrees Celsius, or about 80 degrees Fahrenheit. In France, an Associated Press article said, “urban guerrillas” are taking to the streets, shutting off storefront lights to reduce energy consumption. In the Netherlands a campaign called Flip the Switch is asking residents to limit showers to five minutes and to drop air-conditioning and clothes dryers entirely. Belgium has reversedplans to retire nuclear power plants, and Germany, having ruled out the possibility of such a turnabout in June, is now considering itas well.

Below, the UK is particularly vulnerable due to lack of fossil gas storage.

Can confirm – after driving across the deep heartland of the US, from Michigan to Missouri. Gasoline prices are now well below 4 dollars for most Americans.
But there are concerns – see above.
The real energy crisis emerging in Europe – I’ll be posting on that elsewhere.

NYTimes:

Gas prices in the United States fell below $4 a gallon on Thursday, retreating to their lowest level since March, a drop that has brought relief to Americans struggling with the skyrocketing cost of everything from groceries to rent.

The national average cost of a gallon of regular gasoline now stands at $3.99, according to AAA, after 58 consecutive daily declines. That’s higher than it was a year ago but still well below a peak of nearly $5.02 in mid-June. Energy costs feed into broad measures of inflation, so the drop is also good news for policymakers who have struggled to contain the price increases and for President Biden, who has pledged to lower gas costs.

The national average includes a wide range of prices, from nearly $5 a gallon in Oregon and Nevada to about $3.50 in Texas and Oklahoma. But, broadly speaking, the drop reflects a number of factors: weaker demand, because high costs have kept some drivers off the roads; a sharp decline in global oil prices in recent months; and the fact that a handful of states have suspended taxes on gasoline.

Solar Farm under construction in Michigan, 2019

Ford Motor Company:

  • Through its MIGreenPower program, DTE to add 650 megawatts of new solar energy in Michigan for Ford, increasing the total amount of installed solar in Michigan by nearly 70%
  • By 2025, every Ford vehicle manufactured in Michigan will be assembled with the equivalent of 100% carbon-free electricity, 10 years earlier than Ford’s global goal
  • Ford’s purchase of carbon-free electricity will avoid as much as 600,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually
  • While advancing Ford’s progress towards carbon neutrality, the purchase will also create jobs and tax revenue in Michigan

DETROIT, August 10, 2022 — Through a new clean energy agreement with DTE Energy (NYSE: DTE), Ford Motor Company will soon be able to attribute all its electricity supply in Michigan to clean energy, a major step toward Ford’s goal to reach carbon neutrality. As part of the new agreement announced today, DTE will add 650 megawatts of new solar energy capacity in Michigan for Ford by 2025. The purchase is a strategic investment in Michigan through DTE’s MIGreenPower program and is the largest renewable energy purchase ever made in the U.S. from a utility.* According to data collected by the Solar Energy Industries Association, once installed, the arrays will increase the total amount of installed solar energy in Michigan by nearly 70%. 

“This unprecedented agreement is all about a greener and brighter future for Ford and for Michigan,” said Jim Farley, president and CEO, Ford Motor Company. “Today is an example of what it looks like to lead… to turn talk into action.”

Since 2009, DTE’s investments in renewable energy have created more than 4,000 Michigan jobs. DTE estimates that the construction of the solar arrays will create 250 temporary jobs and 10 permanent jobs. Local communities that host DTE’s renewable energy projects also benefit from the additional tax revenue these projects generate. This revenue can be used for community support services including roads, schools, libraries and first responders.

“We want to congratulate Ford Motor Company for its environmental leadership and commitment to clean energy,” said Jerry Norcia, chairman and CEO, DTE Energy. “Ford was the first large industrial customer to enroll in our MIGreenPower program in 2019 and we thank Ford for its continued commitment to using MIGreenPower to help decarbonize its operations and meet its sustainability goals.”

Telegraph:

Germany’s Rhine river will become impassable for barges carrying coal, oil and gas later this week, in a devastating blow to factories upriver.

Levels at Kaub, a key point along the waterway west of Frankfurt, are predicted to fall to below 40cm on Friday, according to the German Federal Waterways and Shipping Administration.

At that chokepoint, the river becomes effectively impassable for many barges, which use the Rhine to move a range of goods including coal, oil and gas.

Water levels will then fall further to 37cm on Saturday, officials warned.

The river runs from Switzerland through France and Germany to the Netherlands, where it joins the North Sea.

UPDATE:

Read the rest of this entry »
Economic Development expert Connie Neininger presenting to leaders in Clinton, Indiana, in support of solar energy

All is not well in the Heart of America.
I’ve been criss crossing the upper midwest this summer in support of renewable energy, and can confirm what a lot of people already know – things have not been going well in small town America, nor have they for a long time.
Economies have been hollowed out over the last 30 years, communities are hurting, young people are leaving.

And yet these are some of the most beautiful, fruitful, abundant landscapes in the world. What’s the disconnect?

Mostly tax base. Manufacturing has been drawn overseas in recent decades, and nothing has replaced it to supply the economic underpinning for local infrastructure – schools, roads, fire-rescue, law enforcement, senior services, libraries.

The solution, of course, is renewable energy – providing tax base for communities, payments to farmers in good years and bad, keeping farmers on the land, and keeping the agricultural character of local communities.

Read the rest of this entry »

August 10, 2022

Washington Post:

A series of blasts hit the plant on Friday, causing some damage and partially disconnecting a reactor from Ukraine’s electricity grid — although no radioactive leak was detected. Russian forces control the complex, which has six nuclear reactors and is the largest of its kind in Europe, but Ukrainian staff still operate the plant.

U.N. chief António Guterres on Monday called any attack on a nuclear facility “suicidal” and demanded that inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency, the U.N.’s nuclear watchdog, be allowed to enter Zaporizhzhia.

“Russia must immediately cease occupation of Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant and withdraw its military equipment,” Poland’s Foreign Affairs Ministry said Monday on Twitter.

Over the weekend, IAEA director Rafael Grossi warned in a statementthat the shelling raised the “very real risk of a nuclear disaster that could threaten public health and the environment in Ukraine and beyond.”

Both Russia and Ukraine have blamed each other for the explosions. Ukraine accused Russia of using the plant as a shield for artillery and rocket fire, while Russia says Ukraine has launched its own strikes in the area.

Moscow indicated Monday that it would allow IAEA inspectors to access the site but offered no details on how it would facilitate a visit. Ukraine relies heavily on nuclear energy — its 15 functional reactors, six of them in Zaporizhzhia, provide about half of the country’s electricity, according to the IAEA.

A spokesman for Ukraine’s Foreign Affairs Ministry, Oleg Nikolenko, also told The Washington Post that Kyiv supports a U.N. team coming to the nuclear site “as soon as possible.”

Aboe, monologue includes Alex Jones observations.

Below, interview with Senator Chris Murphy. “I knew that our time is running out to do something on climate.”
Dark Brandon meme involved.

Above, CNN report on emerging rush of development in Greenland around minerals and mining.

Below, EV manufacturers have particular concerns about supplies of critical materials.

New York Times:

Vulnerable incumbent Democratic senators like Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire and Catherine Cortez Masto of Nevada are already planning events promoting the landmark legislation they passed over the weekend. Democratic ad makers are busily preparing a barrage of commercials about it across key battlegrounds. And the White House is set to deploy Cabinet members on a nationwide sales pitch.

The sweeping legislation, covering climate change and prescription drug prices, which came together in the Senate after more than a year of painfully public fits and starts, has kicked off a frenetic 91-day sprint to sell the package by November — and win over an electorate that has grown skeptical of Democratic rule.

For months, Democrats have discussed their midterm anxieties in near-apocalyptic terms, as voters threatened to take out their anger over high gas prices and soaring inflation on the party in power. But the deal on the broad new legislation, along with signs of a brewing voter revolt over abortion rights, has some Democrats experiencing a flicker of an unfamiliar feeling: hope.

“This bill gives Democrats that centerpiece accomplishment,” said Ali Lapp, the president of House Majority PAC, a Democratic super PAC.

In interviews, Democratic strategists, advisers to President Biden, lawmakers running in competitive seats and political ad makers all expressed optimism that the legislation — the Inflation Reduction Act — would deliver the party a necessary and powerful tool to show they were focused on lowering costs at a time of economic hardship for many. They argued its key provisions could be quickly understood by crucial constituencies.

“It is easy to talk about because it has a real impact on people every day,” Jennifer O’Malley Dillon, the White House deputy chief of staff, said in an interview. The measure must still pass the House and could come up for a vote there later this week. “It’s congressional Democrats who’ve gotten it done — with no help from congressional Republicans.”