Climate scientist Susan Avery appointed to ExxonMobil board
26/01/2017 ExxonMobil has appointed a leading atmospheric scientist to its board in response to investor concerns about climate change. ExxonMobil is the largest listed oil company in the world, notorious for its vehement climate change denial and controversial funding for climate change denial groups.
Susan Avery, a former director of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, helped the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration formulate a national plan for climate research and was a member of the scientific advisory board to Ban Ki-moon when he was secretary-general of the UN. Last June she was appointed to a new NOAA committee, advising on a project to monitor the impact of global warming on the US.
She has previously stated that: “Clearly climate science is telling us get off fossil fuels as much as possible.”
The appointment comes at a crucial time in the evolution of the company after the nomination of its chief executive, Rex Tillerson, as a US Secretary of State in the newly formed US Administration, and in a context of dramaticaly reduced dividents due to oil price downfall.
The company is expected to undertake a re-branding campaign to clear its tarnished anti-climate science image. The appointment of Susan Avery, while a key indicator of this strategy might prove insufficient to stop ongoing investigations from the state-attorneys general of New York and Massachussetts into ExxonMobil's operations.
Levelling the intermittency of renewables with coal - costs and risks, IEA Webinar, 08/06/2016
Countries are setting ever higher goals for producing power from clean, renewable energies and some are actively turning their backs on fossil fuels. However, many of these regions are discovering the real challenges of trying to produce baseload power for public consumption from renewable sources which are, at best, intermittent, and, at worse, unpredictable and unreliable. Until large scale energy storage is available and affordable, baseload power from coal, gas, and/or nuclear will remain necessary in many regions for several more years. Obviously this baseload power is required when renewable output is low but also to make up the balance of power in a diverse energy mix. Under the new energy policy regimes in many regions, renewable sources have priority into the grid and sit in the guaranteed dispatch mix in the base region which coal used to occupy. Coal has now been nudged into the dispatchable area of the mix, being asked to ramp up or down or even to idle or run beyond normal capacity, sometimes at short notice, to produce the balance of power required to maintain grid output. And whilst coal plants can run relatively flexibly, this does not come without cost. Most older coal-fired units were designed to run at steady output. Asking these plants to cycle and ramp puts stresses on the plant which can result in added cost, less efficient production, increased wear and tear and, in some cases, damage causing enforced outages for repair and/or upgrade. This webinar, looks at the stresses placed on coal-fired plants as they are asked to help levelise and counterbalance the intermittency of renewable sources, concentrating on the risks and costs. Case studies and examples of issues being encountered in the USA, the UK and Germany are included.
ECEGA's Energy and Geopolitical Agenda
European Parliament: ITRE Committee on Industry, Research and Energy June-July
The last two months before closing for the summer recess will be high on energy for the ITRE’s agenda, with discussions on two key legislative proposals, notably on the Security of Gas Supply Regulation and the LNG and gas storage strategy (both part of the very important Commission's Winter Package) and ITRE’s draft opinion to the directive amending the Emissions Trading System. Moreover, the Committee will vote the own-initiative report on ‘New Energy Market Design’ and the report on ‘Energy Efficiency Labelling’ regulation and dicuss the five proposals making up the ‘Circular Economy package’.
- Measures to safeguard the security of gas supply
- Rapporteur: Jerzy Buzek
- Points of interest: The 125 amendments to the Commission proposal put particular emphasis on (1) the establishment of emergency supply corridors between regions to strengthen the regional approach pursued by the Commission; (2) the introduction of the solidarity clause as a legally-binding principle of last resort; (3) the importance of proper information exchange for risk assessment and for the prevention and mitigation of crises. The amendments also introduce a Union-wide definition of protected customers and propose to give Member States the possibility to give priority to certain gas-fired power plants essential for the integrity of the network. The Rapporteur also endorses joint purchasing as a means of enhancing the negotiating position of companies, countries or regions towards external suppliers. Extending the scope of certain provisions of the Regulation to cover neighbouring countries of the Energy Community is considered as advantegeous.
- Key dates: 11 July - Consideration of amendments; 13 October- Vote in ITRE.
- EU strategy for liquefied natural gas and gas storage
- Rapporteur: András Gyürk
- Points of importance: The rapporteur obviouslsupports the European Energy Security Strategy. The text underlines that an internal energy market, which fully integrates LNG and gas storage, will play a significant role in achieving the ultimate objective of a resilient Energy Union. The rapporteur underlines that priority should be given to market-based solutions and to the utilisation of existing LNG infrastructure on a regional level, and stresses that in order to avoid stranded assets, a careful analysis of LNG supply alternatives and options in a regional perspective should be carried out before deciding about new infrastructure in order to guarantee the most efficient use of existing infrastructure. Furthermore, the rapporteur expresses concern at the proposed doubling of capacity of the Nord Stream pipeline, and the effects this would have on energy security and diversification of supply sources and the principle of solidarity among Member States; highlights that the project runs contrary to the underlying principles of a fully integrated, secure, competitive and sustainable Energy Union and consider that if Nord Stream 2 were to be built, the importance of enabling access to LNG terminals and completing the North-South Gas Corridor in central and south-eastern Europe will significantly increase.
- Key dates: 11-12 July - Consideration of amendments; 26 September - Vote in ITRE
- Seventh International Forum on Energy for Sustainable Development, Baku, Azerbaijan
The Forum, organized by the Government of Azerbaijan, will also include an International Renewable Energy Conference and the annual sessions of the UNECE Group of Experts on Renewable Energy and Group of Experts on Energy Efficiency. The key objective of this Forum is to share perspectives on how the SDGs can be implemented, to explore concretely how countries can make good on their pledges, and how to facilitate integration of these pledges into national action plans. Solutions can then be proposed at an Energy Ministerial at the outset of the Eighth International Forum on Energy for Sustainable Development in Astana, Kazakhstan, on 11 June 2017. More information and registration here.
- The ITRE parliamentary Committee holds a hearing on "The Gas Package - how to strengthen EU's energy Security"
Importance: This hearing is being organised in view of the recent Commission "Gas Package". The package consists of four proposals - two legislative: namely the Regulation on security of supply and the Decision on intergovernmental agreements; and two files concerning LNG and heating and cooling. This package is one of the most important pieces of legislation to be proposed by the Commission this year, with direct implications for EU-wide energy security and with impact on Member States, industry, SMEs and citizens.
- The ENVI parliamentary committee holds an exchange of views with Maroš Šefčovič, Vice-President of the Commission, responsible for Energy Union as part of the structured dialogue.
In plenary, the European Parliament will discuss the Energy Union and how to tackle energy poverty.
Important documents to consult: Report on delivering a new deal for energy consumers; Tackling energy poverty as part of the Energy Union
13/06 - 17/06/2016 European Commission Sustainable Energy Week: Building the Energy Union Together