Vietnam Renewables: Investment Priorities
Centre for Climate Finance & Investment at Imperial College Business School led a team, including the Payne Institute Sustainable Finance Lab Program Manager Brad Handler, to write “Vietnam Renewables: Investment Priorities”, a review of prospects and challenges to deploy more renewable energy in the country. The report offers specific steps for further renewable power deployment in Vietnam in the context of its economic growth and incredible resource potential (solar and wind), through a combination of policy and market mechanisms. December 6, 2023.
OGCI accelerates action to tackle global oil and gas methane emissions
The Oil and Gas Climate Initiative (OGCI) announced today at COP28 that it has stepped up activities on methane detection and flaring to help more companies reduce methane emissions from their oil and gas operations. OGCI expanded its flagship Satellite Monitoring Campaign (SMC) to include more countries and assets. This was complemented by work with the World Bank’s Global Flaring and Methane Reduction Partnership (GFMR) and US-based Payne Institute for Public Policy to launch a more accessible platform on global gas flaring data. December 5, 2023.
U.S. EV Makers Are Still Stuck on China. The Stakes Are Rising.
Payne Institute Student Researcher Isabel Guajardo, Program Manager Brad Handler and Director Morgan Bazilian write about how U.S. automakers are dependent on China for important aspects of EV construction. It’s in the interests of the U.S. economy to accommodate the current shortcomings, work with allies, and make long-term investments toward more robust and resilient sourcing. December 5, 2023.
Where the World Is (and Isn’t) Making Progress on Climate Change
Payne Institute Director Morgan Bazilian contributed to this article about how emissions from electricity and transportation are projected to fall over time, a new report finds, but industry remains a major climate challenge. To tackle dangerous global warming, countries have started to clean up their power plants and cars. But emissions from heavy industry — like cement, steel or chemical factories — have been harder to curb and are now on pace to become by far the world’s largest source of planet-warming pollution. November 30, 2023.
AS AMERICA’S MILITARY REARMS, IT NEEDS MINERALS—AND LOTS OF THEM
Gregory Wischer, Payne Institute Director Morgan Bazilian and Macdonald Amoah write about how the US military is attempting to quickly replenish diminished weapons stocks in its largest production ramp-up in decades. To ensure a secure, resilient, and sufficient mineral supply for its platforms and munitions, the Department of Defense should refine its approach to mineral stockpiling, its engagement with mineral mining and refining, and its implementation of mineral recycling. November 29, 2023.
Tesla’s Cybertruck Is Two Years Late and Still Crazy
Payne Institute Faculty Fellow John Speer contributed to this article about how after years of delays, Tesla will livestream its Cybertruck delivery event Thursday. Car experts still can’t believe it’s trying to mass-produce a vehicle with such a challenging design. One theme of the Cybertruck’s off-kilter aesthetic is simplicity—straight lines, bare surfaces, sharp corners. Taking that approach actually makes building the thing a lot more complex. November 29, 2023.
Net-Zero Industry Tracker 2023
Payne Institute Director Morgan Bazilian, a World Economic Forum Advisory Council Member, contributed to the second edition of the Net-Zero Industry Tracker report provides a detailed analysis of the progress heavy industrial and transport sectors are making worldwide, in their efforts to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. These sectors, which account for more than 40% of global greenhouse gas emissions, need multifaceted solutions that accelerate the speed of technology development, build supporting infrastructure, and raise necessary capital to finance the transformation. November 28, 2023.
Forever chemical study planned for Schriever Space Force Base focused on soils
Payne Institute Faculty Fellow Christopher Higgins contributes to this article about how PFAS or “forever chemicals” leach into the groundwater and pose a health risk, they sit in soils — where they can be washed out or otherwise treated before they reach an aquifer. The chemicals can cause a range of health problems at high levels in humans. Researchers from the Colorado School of Mines and Clarkson University expect to compare nine different strategies for removing firefighting foam from the soils at the Schriever Space Force Base to help inform how soils at other sites could be treated in the future. November 26, 2023.
Align the VCM with internal carbon pricing
Payne Institute Sustainable Finance Lab Program Manager Brad Handler writes about how companies can boost confidence in the voluntary market by using their internal carbon prices as reference points against which to measure the implied climate contribution of their purchased offsets. November 21, 2023.
Students tackle energy problems at GEFI Innov8x Challenge
Mines Global Energy Future Initiative and the McNeil Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation hosted the 2023 Global Energy Future Initiative (GEFI) Innov8x Challenge on November 3. The challenges were presented by two energy companies: Chevron and ConocoPhillips. Chevron asked the teams to find creative ways to re-purpose produced water in the Permian Basin, while ConocoPhillips had teams envision ways to make a heater treater used in oil and gas operations more efficient and produce less emissions. In addition to providing students with real-world opportunities to innovate for the likes of Chevron and ConocoPhillips, companies gain fresh perspectives and practical, out-of-the-box solutions. November 21, 2023.
The Fifth National Climate Assessment
Payne Institute Director Morgan Bazilian was one of the contributing authors of the U.S. Government’s preeminent report on climate change impacts, risks, and responses. It is a congressionally mandated interagency effort that provides the scientific foundation to support informed decision-making across the United States. However, without deeper cuts in global net greenhouse gas emissions and accelerated adaptation efforts, severe climate risks to the United States will continue to grow. November 14, 2023.
How can Colorado attack “forever chemicals” tainting military soil? School of Mines is leading the way to find out. 11/13/2023
How can Colorado attack “forever chemicals” tainting military soil? School of Mines is leading the way to find out.
Payne Institute Faculty Fellow Chris Higgins contributes to this article about how nine different techniques for getting PFAS out of toxic dirt will be tested next year at Schriever Space Force Base near Colorado Springs. Even the environmental watchdogs cataloging the depressing toll of “forever chemicals” throughout the food chain say they are encouraged by the School of Mines test. November 13, 2023.
EMPOWERING OR REPRESSIVE: NAVIGATING THE COMPLEXITIES OF RENEWABLE PORTFOLIO STANDARDS IN THE US 11/13/2023
Empowering or Repressive: Navigating the Complexities of Renewable Portfolio Standards in the US
Payne Institute Student Researcher Siddhant Kulkarni and Program Manager Anna Littlefield write about how Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS) represent a strategic push by governments to usher in an era of clean, renewable energy. While RPS are not the only policy-mechanisms that incentivize renewable energy, they have been in place for decades across the world. Data from the International Renewable Energy Association (IRENA) shows that worldwide installed renewable energy capacity has almost doubled in the last decade, thanks in part to the RPS policies implemented. In the US these regulations are particular to individual states and aim to combat increasing greenhouse gas emissions and by extension, climate change. November 13, 2023.
Project to test technologies to clean up contaminated materials set to start at Colorado Springs-area military base 11/10/2023
Project to test technologies to clean up contaminated materials set to start at Colorado Springs-area military base
Payne Institute Faculty Fellow Chris Higgins contributes to this article about how a project headed by the Colorado School of Mines to test the best clean up methods for PFAS-contaminated materials is set to begin next summer on Schriever Space Force Base. According to Christopher Higgins, a School of Mines professor working on the Department of Defense-funded project, those working on the project will be testing six different PFAS clean up technologies on soils they say the base has set aside for testing in an effort to see which is the most effective on a larger scale. November 10, 2023.
WHAT IF AMERICA’S MINERAL-INTENSIVE MILITARY RUNS OUT OF MINERALS?
Payne Institute Director Morgan Bazilian, Macdonald Amoah, Gregory Wischer, and Juliet Akamboe write about how minerals still undergird warfighting technology, including defense platforms and munitions. Like previous junctions in human history, the current period will be defined by minerals and the warfighting technology that they enable. November 10, 2023.
Fighting Climate Change with Carbon Offsets and Fossil Fuel Retirement Credits
Payne Institute Sustainable Finance Lab Program Manager Brad Handler is one of two guests today on the S&P Global Energy Evolution podcast. They are talking about carbon offset markets and oil and gas retirement credits. What function do these tools serve in the broader decarbonization push, and how exactly are we calculating them anyway? November 10, 2023.
How Cutting Methane Emissions Became Good For Business
Payne Institute Director Morgan Bazilian, Sustainable Finance Lab Program Manager Brad Handler, and Responsible Gas Program Manager Simon Lomax write about how methane is a powerful greenhouse gas, and fast reductions will help stabilize the climate more than any other action we can take in the short term. November 9, 2023.
Native American Energy Sovereignty is key to American Energy Security
Payne Institute Program Manager Rick Tallman, Daniel Cardenas, and Director Morgan Bazilian write about how as the energy transition plays out across the United States, tribal communities see both a tremendous opportunity and a direct threat to their sovereignty. The immense natural resources of tribal lands will almost certainly be needed to help secure the future of American energy security. At the same time, a history of energy exploitation has left reservation communities with systemic problems and unmet needs that energy policy makers, regulators and industry leaders must acknowledge, understand, and address in any go-forward plans. November 9, 2023.
A Pathway to Responsible Mining in Indian Country
Payne Institute Program Managers Rick Tallman and Brad Handler, Director Morgan Bazilian and Daniel Cardenas write about how the demand for minerals critical to both the energy transition and U.S. national security is growing rapidly. At the same time, the reliability of the global supply chain is being challenged by geopolitical events. The result is a growing call to bring more mining for these critical minerals back to the United States, where the vast majority of critical mineral reserves are located on or within 35 miles of Native American reservations. November 9, 2023.
Tabares-Velasco awarded two DOE grants for work toward energy efficiency at any income level 11/7/2023
Tabares-Velasco awarded two DOE grants for work toward energy efficiency at any income level
Payne Institute Faculty Fellow Paulo Tabares-Velasco is featured in this article about receiving funding from the DOE Buildings Energy Efficiency Frontiers & Innovation Technologies (BENEFIT) program, for two projects specifically aimed at making energy efficiency, electrification and resiliency possibility for communities in Colorado: a home battery energy storage system for retrofitted housing in in Colorado and a new heat pump water heater with latent heat storage in low-income housing. November 7, 2023.
Rebuilding after disaster: Mines professor working on low-emissions plan for earthquake-damaged area 11/2/2023
Rebuilding after disaster: Mines professor working on low-emissions plan for earthquake-damaged area
Payne Institute Faculty Fellow H. Sebnem Düzgün is featured in an article about how she is part of a team evaluating efficient and low-emission rebuilding plan for southeastern Türkiye. November 2, 2023.
Measurement-based differentiation of low-emission global natural gas supply chains
Payne Institute Fellow Arvind P. Ravikumar, Erin E. Tullos, David T. Allen, Ben Cahill, Steven P. Hamburg, Daniel Zimmerle, Thomas A. Fox, Manfredi Caltagirone, Lara Owens, Robert Stout, Andrew J. Grimes, Tania M. Fernandez, Carrie Jenks, Riley Duren, Antoine Halff, Payne Institute Director Morgan D. Bazilian, and Stefanie Rucker write about how a differentiated natural gas market is emerging as a key mechanism to reduce greenhouse gas emissions across global natural gas supply chains. Trust in such voluntary markets across civil society, industry and governments depends on a transparent framework for reporting independently verifiable and accurate emissions data. November 2, 2023.
Colleges and companies collaborate to study PFAS soil purification methods at Schriever SFB 11/1/2023
Colleges and companies collaborate to study PFAS soil purification methods at Schriever SFB
Payne Institute Faculty Fellow Chris Higgins contributes to this article about how a team of scientists at the Colorado School of Mines alongside other major universities will be testing out soil purification technologies at Schriever Space Force Base. It’s an international effort to defeat what is commonly known as “Forever Chemicals.” The three universities and five companies, both foreign and domestic, are testing technologies to get these chemicals out of soils. The work is funded by the Department of Defense. November 1, 2023.
‘Lunar gold rush’: NASA wants to mine the moon
Payne Institute Faculty Fellow Angel Abbud-Madrid contributes to this article about how mining the moon isn’t just fodder for the movies. Scientists at NASA and the U.S. Geological Survey are using their Earthly expertise to identify and catalog resources on the celestial body to look for valuable materials — from minerals and crushed rock that can be used to make dwellings and equipment, to ice that can be turned into drinking water and even rocket fuel. November 1, 2023.
9 PFAS treatment, destruction technologies to be tested side by side at Colorado military base 11/01/2023
9 PFAS treatment, destruction technologies to be tested side by side at Colorado military base
Payne Institute Faculty Fellow Chris Higgins is featured in this article about how the Colorado School of Mines is leading a multi-institutional research effort to test the effectiveness of treatment technologies in PFAS-contaminated soil. November 1, 2023.
Critical mineral demand estimates for low-carbon technologies: What do they tell us and how can they evolve? 10/31/2023
Critical mineral demand estimates for low-carbon technologies: What do they tell us and how can they evolve?
Mines Student Researcher Jordy Lee Calderon, Faculty Fellows Nicole Smith and Elizabeth Holley, and Payne Institute Director Morgan Bazilian write about how the transition to low-carbon energy systems will increase demand for a range of critical minerals and metals. As a result, several quantitative demand models have been developed to help understand the projected scale of growth and if, and to what extent, material shortages may become an obstacle to the deployment of clean energy technologies. October 31, 2023.
Circumventing the Chokepoint: Can the US Produce More Rare Earths?
Payne Institute Director Morgan Bazilian and Gregory Wischer write about China’s dominance in the production of heavy rare earths affords it leverage over US national security and economic prosperity. To reduce this vulnerability, the US government has sought to increase domestic rare production, but to limited effect. To better encourage private sector investment in American rare earth projects, the industry’s high barriers to entry—including capital costs, technical challenges, and an incumbent oligopoly—must be addressed. October 30, 2023.
VCMs’ other fragmentation problem
Payne Institute Sustainable Finance Manager Brad Handler writes about how in mid-October, he had the opportunity to attend and present at the biannual World Investment Forum (WIF), sponsored by the UN Conference on Trade and Development. The WIF’s goal is to spur more sustainable development investment in low- and middle-income economies. The agenda included full-throated support for voluntary carbon markets (VCMs), to lure capital towards the energy transition and to help countries meet decarbonisation commitments set out under their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs). October 27, 2023.
GOVERNMENTS’ RECENT STEPS TO ADVANCE CLIMATE IMPACT; SELECT WORLD INVESTMENT FORUM HIGHLIGHTS 10/25/2023
GOVERNMENTS’ RECENT STEPS TO ADVANCE CLIMATE IMPACT; SELECT WORLD INVESTMENT FORUM HIGHLIGHTS
Payne Institute Sustainable Finance Lab Program Manager Brad Handler writes about the 8th World Investment Forum focused on spurring sustainable development across low and middle income economies. The challenges loomed large, as speakers noted that not only were absolute spending levels far short of what was needed to be “on track” to meet energy transition and SDG targets, but that recent spending in the developing world was far too concentrated in select economies. October 25, 2023.
America’s Trade War With China Spills Into Clean Energy
Payne Institute Director Morgan Bazilian contributes to this article about how what began as a dispute over world-leading computer chips is now rocking the auto and clean energy industries. The new restrictions show that America and China’s growing trade battle over “dual-use technologies” — tools and materials that can be used by both civilians and the military — is proving difficult to contain. What began as a dispute over world-leading computer chips is now rocking the auto and clean energy industries. October 24, 2023.
Things Are Looking Up for Asteroid Mining
Payne Institute Faculty Fellow Ian Lange contributed to this article about how asteroids are rich with the metals used in clean energy technologies. As demand soars, advocates argue that mining them in space might be better than mining them on Earth. While some companies are exploring the controversial idea of scooping cobalt, nickel, and platinum from the seafloor, some asteroids could harbor the same minerals in abundance—and have no wildlife that could be harmed during their extraction. October 20, 2023.
China limits exports of graphite, a key mineral for EV batteries
Payne Institute Director Morgan Bazilian is featured on this podcast about how China said Friday that it would start requiring stricter permits on exports of graphite, a key mineral component of pencils, but perhaps more importantly, a key mineral component of electric vehicle batteries. It’s the latest development in a China-U.S. trade war that’s making the transition to a green economy more expensive. October 20, 2023.
Are PFAS really ‘forever chemicals’? It’s complicated. Here’s what to know
Payne Institute Faculty Fellow Christopher Higgins contributed to this article about how for the past five years, public awareness around PFAS, or “forever chemicals,” has been growing in the U.S. A growing body of evidence has shown that long-term exposure, even to low traces of these chemicals, can cause severe health issues that include cancer, developmental effects and reproductive disorders. October 19, 2023.
TAKING THE FIGHT TO FOREVER CHEMICALS
Payne Institute Faculty Fellow Chris Higgins is featured in an article about how Mines launched a broad-based research initiative earlier this year to advance scientific understanding of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFASs, and develop practical engineering solutions to address these so-called “forever chemicals,” one of the largest-scale environmental and public health challenges facing the U.S. today. October 16, 2023
SHAPING THE NEXT TECHNOLOGICAL LANDSCAPE
Payne Institute Faculty Fellow Sebnem Düzgün is featured in an article about how the world is now in the midst of the Fourth Industrial Revolution: a cyber-physical expansion that is, according to the World Economic Forum, “blurring the lines between the physical, digital and biological spheres.” October 16, 2023
Modular Carbon Capture and The Inflation Reduction Act
Payne Institute Program Manager Anna Littlefield writes about how as the field of carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS) continues to evolve, the importance of modular carbon capture technologies has become increasingly apparent. August of 2023 marked the one-year anniversary of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) being signed into law, and its potential to incentivize smaller-scale capture systems is manifesting in modular capture innovation. October 12, 2023.
Energy Security, Critical Minerals, and Energy Policy
Payne Institute Director Morgan Bazilian is on this podcast discussing domestic and international energy security, critical minerals, and energy policy. A lot of the narrative on critical minerals revolves around the supply chain demand that comes from the 17 rare earth minerals needed for computer chips, batteries, solar energy, and other needs. October 11, 2023.
Mining execs warn of disconnect between metals appetite, pace of new projects
The Payne Institute Director Morgan Bazilian contributed to this article about how lithium, like that extracted from the Silver Peak mine in Nevada, plays a major role in energy transition technologies. However, it is just one of many metals needed by the sector and mining companies fret that permitting is not happening fast enough to keep up with demand for several commodities. October 5, 2023.
Energy Security at the UN High-Level Week: More Heat Than Light
Payne Institute Director Morgan Bazilian and Fellow Cullen Hendrix write about how U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken called the 78th United Nations General Assembly High-Level Week a “one-of-a-kind opportunity each year to harness the power of diplomacy and collaborate on solutions to global challenges.” But from an energy security perspective, the meetings only spotlighted the mismatch between the nature of the world’s shared problems and the institutions and tools designed to address them. October 3, 2023.
Mines researchers get $2M from NASA to advance technology for extracting aluminum from lunar soil 10/02/2023
Mines researchers get $2M from NASA to advance technology for extracting aluminum from lunar soil
Payne Institute Faculty Fellow Jihye Kim is featured in an article about Molten regolith electrolysis – which processes melted lunar soil to extract the metals within – is one of the leading processes for in situ resource utilization of lunar metals and oxygen. October 2, 2023.
Iron batteries offer an energy transition lesson
Payne Institute Program Manager Simon Lomax writes about how to build a zero-carbon economy, we need technologies that can store large amounts of energy for a long time. But in Colorado, a promising new battery technology is being prepared for use by the state’s largest utility, Xcel Energy. It’s called an “iron-air” battery and, quite fittingly, it will be built in the iron and steel town of Pueblo. October 2, 2023.
Payne Institute report assesses supply chain variables for critical minerals
The Payne Institute for Public Policy at Colorado School of Mines released The State of Critical Minerals Report 2023. The analysis examines how the increasing demand for the critical minerals necessary to power a green economy will impact global communities, markets, national security, and geopolitics. The United States Geological Survey suggests that lithium, nickel, cobalt, manganese, and graphite are the metals needed to power electric vehicles. Alternatively, arsenic, gallium, germanium, indium, and tellurium are essential to constructing solar panels. September 29, 2023.
PAYNE INSTITUTE TO CONVENE TALKS ON DIFFERENTIATED GAS VERIFICATION STANDARDS IN COLLABORATION WITH EEMDL RESEARCH PARTNERSHIP 9/28/2023
PAYNE INSTITUTE TO CONVENE TALKS ON DIFFERENTIATED GAS VERIFICATION STANDARDS IN COLLABORATION WITH EEMDL RESEARCH PARTNERSHIP
As part of its ongoing work with the Energy Emissions Modeling and Data Lab (EEMDL), the Payne Institute for Public Policy at the Colorado School of Mines is commencing a new stakeholder dialogue focused on the independent verification of standards and other governance issues in the rapidly evolving differentiated gas market. EEMDL was established in early 2023 to improve the accuracy of greenhouse gas measurement and accounting across global energy supply chains, starting with methane emissions. September 28, 2023.
Payne Institute for Public Policy Releases First Annual State of Critical Minerals Report
The Payne Institute at the Colorado School of Mines released today its first annual State of Critical Minerals Report on the growing demand for critical minerals and their impact on energy transitions, communities, markets, national security and geopolitics. The energy transition—and increased demand for electric cars, solar panels and other low-carbon technologies—is reliant on critical minerals. Many of these minerals, however, are mined and processed in adversarial nations or countries with low environmental, labor and human rights standards. In fact, of the 50 minerals identified on the U.S. Geological Survey Critical Minerals List, the U.S. is 100 percent reliant on imports for 12 and more than 50 percent dependent for 31. September 26, 2023.
THE STATE OF CRITICAL MINERALS REPORT 2023
The Payne Institute for Public Policy and the Colorado School of Mines has released our inaugural annual State of Critical Minerals Report. The report is aimed at contributing to the important discourse on critical minerals and how to harness them in a more sustainable manner as a catalyst to the energy transition and by extension, climate action. It explores various parts of the critical minerals value chain and the interplay of these segments in driving a successful minerals industry. The report covers geopolitics and what that means for national security, the demand and supply dynamics of critical minerals markets, financial markets and investments, the future of sustainable mining and the environment, and social governance (ESG) factors confronting the industry. September 26, 2023.
Prospects for American cobalt Reactions to mine proposals in Minnesota and Idaho
Payne Institute Research Associate Aaron Malone, Faculty Fellows Nicole Smith and Elizabeth Holley, and Student Researcher Tinzar Htun write about how cobalt is a critical mineral for electric vehicles and the transition to renewable energy. Two leading prospective regions for U.S. cobalt production, in Minnesota and Idaho. Our central aim is to understand why reactions to mining proposals have been divergent, with polarized, intractable debates that have stalled projects in Minnesota while proposed mines in Idaho have advanced with minimal controversy. We summarize the geology and mining methods of each project before analyzing similarities and differences in responses, organizing our analysis around facets of environment, identity and legitimacy, politics, and economy. September 25, 2023.
FIRST ANNUAL CRITICAL MINERALS SYMPOSIUM
The Colorado School of Mines Payne Institute for Public Policy hosted the first annual Critical Minerals Symposium in Golden, Colorado. The event brought together more than 200 leaders from industry, academia, and government to address a broad range of complex challenges associated with critical minerals. The event was opened with remarks from Senate Committee on Energy & Natural Resources Chairman, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Ranking Member, Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY), watch their video replays here. September 21 and 22, 2023.
What Does Energy Transition Mean To You?
Payne Institute Faculty Fellow Jim Crompton is a co-host on this podcast hosting Dr. Ershaghi, Director of the Ershaghi Center for Energy Transition (E-CET), on the history of the energy transitions; where we stand in the race to net zero; the role that governments, private sector, and individuals play in the energy transition; and the importance of combating misinformation. Also featured, Mathew Davis, a Master’s student in petroleum engineering at USC, on how he defines energy transition and the role that petroleum engineering plays in the energy transition. September 18, 2023.
U.S. House debates which minerals should be considered “critical”
Payne Institute Faculty Fellow Dr. Roderick Eggert contributes to this article about how a recent U.S. House hearing that centered on a relatively unknown segment of federal energy policy quickly evolved into a discussion on how much the government should prioritize mining. The Committee on Natural Resources focused on the U.S. Geological Survey’s list of critical minerals. The tally list includes several dozen well-known elements like aluminum, platinum and titanium. It also has lesser-known minerals – like lithium, cobalt and neodymium – that are used in modern technologies such as cell phone batteries and semiconductors. September 14, 2023.
Mines faculty member testifies before U.S. House committee on critical minerals
Payne Institute Faculty Fellow Dr. Roderick Eggert testified before the U.S. House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Energy & Mineral Resources on critical minerals and the structure and role of the U.S. Geological Survey’s critical minerals list. As the United States rapidly accelerates its transition to a clean energy future, there is a growing focus on the role of critical minerals, many of which are mined, processed, and transported around the globe through complex supply chains. September 13, 2023.
How Big Oil’s wastewater could fuel the EV revolution
Payne Institute Faculty Fellow Ian Lange contributes to this article about how since oil and gas drilling began nearly 150 years ago, the salty wastewater it produces has been a nuisance for operators. Now, the electric vehicle revolution could turn the industry’s billions of barrels of brine into dollars. Oil and gas companies are eyeing their own byproduct — along with naturally occurring brine found deep underground — as a source of lithium, a highly sought-after metal needed to make EV batteries. September 12, 2023.
New Arizona mines unearth new conflicts: resist climate change or protect fragile landscapes? 9/7/2023
New Arizona mines unearth new conflicts: resist climate change or protect fragile landscapes?
Payne Institute Faculty Fellow Rod Eggert and Director Morgan Bazilian contributed to this article about how South32 is one of many prospective miners in the West in a position to capitalize on a national appetite for homegrown US sourced minerals. However, in Arizona, It also would change a landscape that many prize as a unique biological mixing zone in forested mountain ranges like the Patagonias. Arizona’s Sky Islands form an archipelago of oases above the desert, alive with migratory birds, bats and big cats. September 7, 2023.
The African Climate Summit – Averting the Climate Crisis
Payne Institute Research Associate Juliet Akamboe and Director Morgan Bazilian write about how climate change poses a significant threat to Africa, a continent already grappling with challenges including poverty and a lack of access to basic human needs like clean water, healthcare, education, jobs and electricity. Africa is already witnessing severe environmental consequences with changing rainfall patterns, severe droughts and extreme weather conditions, which are stalling socio-economic development. The inaugural Africa Climate Summit (ACS) taking place in Nairobi, this week is a great forum to discuss the role Africa can play in bridging the gap between the Global North and South in addressing the climate crisis. September 5, 2023.
NIGER, URANIUM, AND THE COUP D’ETAT
Payne Institute ESG Researcher Baba Freeman writes about how the recent coup d’etat in Niger, a key supplier of uranium, has created some level of anxiety in the market and brought forward new questions for stakeholders across the industry and the West African sub-region. The event calls for a fresh look at the potential market impact and the way forward to resolving the current disputation in a manner that preserves Niger’s development agenda, minimizes political risk to investors, and aids the emergence of a more resilient global critical minerals supply chain. September 1, 2023.
How Colorado’s oil and gas industry helps and hurts the economy
Payne Institute Faculty Fellow Ian Lange contributes to this article about how economic benefits, like jobs and tax revenue, weigh against costs, like clean-up of environmental damage. As Colorado’s oil and gas industry plans to drill hundreds of new wells along the Front Range in the coming years, residents want to know how the financial benefits and costs of those operations will affect their lives. The answer is complicated, and not all economists agree. August 30, 2023.
PROPOSED WEST AFRICA-EUROPE GAS PIPELINES WILL FAIL WITHOUT A RADICAL SHIFT IN THINKING
Payne Institute ESG Researcher Baba Freeman writes about how the Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2022 injected a renewed urgency into Western European countries’ energy security concerns and led to an increase in demand for non-Russian sources of oil and gas. Consequently, Europe is expected to take a larger share of future LNG supplies even as greenfield pipeline projects are being conceived to supply West African gas to Western Europe. These projects include the Trans-Sahara Gas Pipeline (TSGP) and the Nigeria-Morocco Gas Pipeline (NMGP) but may not be able to adequately meet these projects’ future obligations. August 29, 2023.
The need for balance in the regulation of the oil and natural gas industry
Payne Institute Faculty Fellows Jennifer Miskimins and Jim Crompton write about how to get the balance between environmental action and economic reality right, we all need more collaboration. Over the past several years, Colorado has implemented precedent-setting regulations, from baseline groundwater testing and monitoring, to air regulations targeting methane leak detection and repair. But we still have a long way to go, and while it’s not an easy road for regulators, it’s crucial we stay the course. August 29, 2023.
Faster permits alone won’t build a U.S. clean-energy supply chain
Payne Institute Responsible Gas Program Manager Simon Lomax, Director Morgan Bazilian, and Elizabeth Wilson write about a faster permitting process for U.S. mining projects may be just around the corner, thanks to regulatory reforms that were wrapped into the debt-ceiling compromise between President Joe Biden and congressional Republicans. It’s a major breakthrough for climate action. Mines produce the raw materials used in electric cars, solar panels, power lines and other technologies that cut carbon emissions and slow the pace of climate change. A clean energy revolution is a minerals and mining revolution. August 25, 2023.
Contemporary ice sheet thinning drives subglacial groundwater exfiltration with potential feedbacks on glacier flow 8/18/2023
Contemporary ice sheet thinning drives subglacial groundwater exfiltration with potential feedbacks on glacier flow
Payne Institute Faculty Fellow Matthew Siegfried and Alexander A. Robel, Shi J. Sim, Colin Meyer, and Mines alum Chloe D. Gustafson write about how groundwater-laden sedimentary aquifers are extensive beneath large portions of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets. A reduction in the mechanical loading of aquifers is known to lead to groundwater exfiltration, a discharge of groundwater from the aquifer. Here, we provide a simple expression predicting exfiltration rates under a thinning ice sheet. August 18, 2023.
Discovering Hidden Offshore Lighting Structures with Multiyear Low-Light Imaging Satellite Data 8/18/2023
Discovering Hidden Offshore Lighting Structures with Multiyear Low-Light Imaging Satellite Data
Payne Institute Earth Observation Group Christopher Elvidge, Tilottama Ghosh, Namrata Chatterjee, Mikhail Zhizhin and Morgan Bazilian write about how in 2015, the Earth Observation Group developed the VIIRS Boat Detection (VBD) product and today several fishery agencies use VBD data to monitor fishing activity and compliance with closures. Recently EOG compiled the full record VBD detections as a 15 arc second global grid. The record spans 2012-2021 in Asia and 2017-2021 elsewhere. Upon reviewing the multiyear accumulation of VBD detections we were surprised to find a diversity of previously unseen lighting features. The additional features include lit platforms, transit lanes, and vessel anchorages associated with ports and passage straits. August 18, 2023.
INVESTORS IN AFRICAN MINING VENTURES MUST REFRESH THEIR RISK MANAGEMENT PROCESSES
Payne Institute Research Associate Baba Freeman writes about how the frequency of coup d’etats in the Sahel region is troubling and calls for mining investors to refresh their political risk assessment processes. The recent trend of militarization must surely prod investors to further assess the likelihood and possible impact of military interventions and incorporate key takeaways from current events into their risk management tools and processes. While the risk of a total loss of capital due to outright warfare can be assessed deterministically, subjective measures of political instability can substantially impact the “country risk” premium that mining investors must pay over and above the risk-free cost of capital. August 17, 2023.
Investors in African Mining Ventures Must Refresh Their Risk Management Processes
PAYNE INSTITUTE COMMENTARY SERIES: COMMENTARY
Investors in African Mining Ventures Must Refresh Their Risk Management Processes
By Baba Freeman
August 17, 2023
Despite the spread of democracy in the post-Soviet era, there is a substantial threat of military takeovers in frontier economies. The frequency of coup d’etats in the Sahel region is troubling and calls for mining investors to refresh their political risk assessment processes. The recent coup in Niger and the sudden outbreak of war in Sudan, both in 2023, bring the risk of political instability and a breakdown of law and order into sharp focus. These events are more troubling when viewed within the continuum of recent military takeovers in Mali (2020), Guinea (2021), and Burkina Faso (2022), countries that produce important minerals such as manganese, zinc, uranium, bauxite, iron ore, and gold. Niger, the latest arena for military takeover is an emerging producer of oil and gas as EU countries seek out non-Russian sources of hydrocarbons. Its stability as a host nation is also essential to the success of the proposed Trans Sahara Gas Pipeline (TSGP) which was conceived to carry gas from the Niger Delta to Western European markets.
Military takeovers can dampen return on investment and discourage FDI.
The recent trend of militarization must surely prod investors to further assess the likelihood and possible impact of military interventions and incorporate key takeaways from current events into their risk management tools and processes. While the risk of a total loss of capital due to outright warfare can be assessed deterministically, subjective measures of political instability can substantially impact the “country risk” premium that mining investors must pay over and above the risk-free cost of capital. At present, the African region has the highest risk premium among the regions of the world. At about nine percent, it is more than double the global average risk premium of about four percent ex-U.S. It is likely that the threat of political instability from militarization contributes immensely to this situation.
Furthermore, the possibility of sudden, undemocratic changes to governments increases political risk insurance premiums that investors must pay as the risk of breach of contract, arbitrary changes to tax and royalty rates, political violence, and force majeure disruptions to contracted supply increase. The recent case of the Canadian miner, Global Atomic Corp., (TSX: GLO) which has substantial exposure to uranium operations in Niger, shows how political risk can impact business outcomes over short periods. Its market capitalization dropped by about 50% within two weeks of the military coup in Niger.
Common factors across recent events can be indicative of future coup d’etats.
Given the potential for substantial commercial losses, investors must identify if there are commonalities across Sahelian countries where coups and military takeovers have recently occurred. One visible attribute that cuts across the latter countries is that their armed forces have played an increasing role in public life. Political scientists such as Svolik (2012) had earlier noted that military takeovers are more likely to occur when a country’s political elite increases its reliance on the military to retain political power. In Sudan, the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) was the instrument that the Sudanese government used to assert its power over the Darfur region in Western Sudan in the past. The refusal of the RSF leadership to accept incorporation into the Sudanese army was the immediate cause of the outbreak of war in Sudan.
In Mali, Burkina Faso, and Niger, the profile of the armed forces also rose steadily in the last decade as they were deployed to quash separatists and insurgents that took up arms against national governments across the region. The technical capabilities and the political standing of these militaries may also have been bolstered by military aid flowing steadily from Western countries.
Investors must commit to a deep understanding of political-military interactions and strengthen their risk management tools and processes.
There are several implications of these insights. The first is that an understanding of the politics of military intervention can enhance investors’ assessments of risk outcomes and lead to improvements in risk management. Hence, investors must develop predictive analysis capabilities to address non-trivial questions relating to the possibility of military interventions in a country’s affairs and the potential for diffusion across international boundaries within a subregion. Going by the thesis above, countries such as Cameroun, Ivory Coast, Nigeria, and Benin which are increasingly reliant on their armed forces to battle insurgents, face an elevated risk of military takeovers. It should be noted though that even where some factors may be pointing towards militarization, the potential for such to occur may be equally dependent on other prevailing factors such as the geographic concentration of fighting men and the ideological orientation of a country’s military leaders. For example, while the Pakistani army has controlled political power for long periods, neighboring India has never experienced a military coup. Investors must also note that it is plausible that a prolonged military conflict may also lead to a reduction in a country’s overall risk profile by raising the warfighting proficiency and professionalism of its armed forces. Hence, current conflicts may ultimately raise a country’s ability to provide security to its citizens and enhance its ability to attract foreign direct investment.
Secondly, because of the often-feeble resistance of the Sahelian countries’ populations to military takeovers, investors with long-term commitments in the region should seek opportunities to partner with NGOs, civil society groups and development agencies to strengthen democratic processes, increase government accountability, and boost society-wide preference for democracy over military takeovers.
In conclusion, the benefits of better assessment and management of risks coming from military takeovers cannot be overemphasized. Therefore, investors in extractive industries should consider increasing their capability for geopolitical risk assessment and embrace sustained board-level focus on the character of military-political relationships in the countries where they operate or are planning to operate.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Payne Institute for Public Policy, Energy and Natural Resources Researcher
Baba Freeman is a researcher at the Payne Institute for Public Policy, with a focus on the energy and natural resources sector. He has a background in oil and gas financial management and in management consulting. He has worked internationally in different business and consulting roles in both developed and emerging market countries.
Baba has a bachelor’s degree in Applied Geophysics, and master’s degrees in Mineral Economics and Natural Resources and Energy Policy from the Colorado School of Mines.
ABOUT THE PAYNE INSTITUTE
The mission of the Payne Institute at Colorado School of Mines is to provide world-class scientific insights, helping to inform and shape public policy on earth resources, energy, and environment. The Institute was established with an endowment from Jim and Arlene Payne, and seeks to link the strong scientific and engineering research and expertise at Mines with issues related to public policy and national security.
The Payne Institute Commentary Series offers independent insights and research on a wide range of topics related to energy, natural resources, and environmental policy. The series accommodates three categories namely: Viewpoints, Essays, and Working Papers.
For more information about the Payne Institute please visit:
DISCLAIMER: The opinions, beliefs, and viewpoints expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not reflect the opinions, beliefs, viewpoints, or official policies of the Payne Institute or the Colorado School of Mines.
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Colorado School of Mines partners with Aquagga to commercialize PFAS destruction technology 4/11/2023
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Payne Institute Faculty Fellow Chris Higgins is featured in this article about how Mines researchers developed HALT-PFAS. This promising technology for the destruction of so-called “forever chemicals” developed by Colorado School of Mines researchers has been licensed by a cleantech startup that aims to use the Mines-patented process to halt the growing environmental and public health challenge posed by per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS. April 11, 2023.
Mines to host high-level event on mining and development in the Americas
The Colorado School of Mines and the Payne Institute are hosting a Cities Summit Side Event – Partners in Development – Mining and Cities in the Americas on Tuesday, April 25. U.S. State Department Under Secretary Jose W. Fernandez will be among the high-level representatives in attendance. This event will provide mining sector stakeholders with visibility on past successes and future challenges for the mining industry and cities in the Americas as partners in development. April 10, 2023.
UNLEASH THE DEEP SEA ROBOTS? A QUANDARY AS EV MAKERS HUNT FOR METAL
Payne Institute Faculty Fellow Ian Lange contributes to this article about why car companies are avoiding a vast source of battery components at the bottom of the ocean. EV manufacturers who need the minerals for their batteries are distancing themselves from the practice as diplomats and scientists sound an alarm over the ecological damage that could be caused by rushing to scrape the seafloor. April 5, 2023.
2023 GLOBAL GAS FLARING TRACKER REPORT
The Payne Institute Earth Observation Group satellite data team provided gas flaring data for the 2023 World Bank annual Global Gas Flaring Report. April 5, 2023.
Lithium is becoming more crucial in a warming world, but Maine’s huge deposits may never be mined because of environmental concerns 4/1/2023
Lithium is becoming more crucial in a warming world, but Maine’s huge deposits may never be mined because of environmental concerns
Payne Institute Faculty Fellow Ian Lange contributes to this article about how in Maine, on the north side of Plumbago Mountain, the ore of a newly precious and highly sought metal: lithium, a vital ingredient of a carbon-free future, essential for running electric cars and storing solar energy is in vast supply. But none of their ore is being mined here. The state has refused to allow it, citing Maine’s strict environmental laws. April 1, 2023.
Big questions loom around EV tax guidance
Payne Institute Faculty Fellow Ian Lange contributes to this article about how the Biden administration on Friday released guidance that it hopes will alter the landscape for electric vehicles by pivoting the nation from gas-guzzling cars and bolster its aggressive climate goals. But major questions remain around exactly how the new tax regime will keep out China-linked cars, components and minerals; whether and how the federal government can enforce the law; whether industry can scale up fast enough; and how many EVs will qualify for the $7,500-per-vehicle credit under last year’s landmark Inflation Reduction Act. March 31, 2023.
Voluntary carbon markets’ growth challenges
Payne Institute Sustainable Finance Lab Program Manager Brad Handler writes about how the 20th anniversary of the US’ biggest carbon conference, North America Carbon World, was held last week and conference participants voiced concerns over public perception and difficulties integrating carbon instruments into broad investment portfolios. March 31, 2023.
Six bold steps towards net-zero industry
Benjamin K. Sovacool, Payne Institute Director Morgan D. Bazilian, Jinsoo Kim, and Fellow Steven Griffiths write about how the rapid and deep decarbonization of global industry is key to reaching climate policy targets, yet it remains an incredibly difficult challenge. They propose six bold steps for accelerating progress on achieving net-zero industrial carbon emissions by mid-century with a focus on lessons learned and emerging analysis from both the Global North and Global South, the latter of which we consider as low or middle income countries primarily located in Africa, Asia and Latin America. March 30, 2023.
How to foster US mineral trade with Africa
Payne Institute Sustainable Finance Lab Program Manager Brad Handler, Student Researcher Juliet Akamboe, and ESG Research Associate Baba Freeman write about how Vice President Kamala Harris will be in sub-Saharan Africa this week as part of the Biden administration’s effort to strengthen its diplomatic and economic relationships in the region. The U.S. has the opportunity to leverage trade policy to our advantage, with the potential benefits including strengthening clean energy supply chains — especially in light of intense investment and diplomacy by China on the sub-continent. March 28, 2023.
Samples from Front Range oil and gas wells detect seeping natural gas, benzene and other chemicals 3/22/2023
Samples from Front Range oil and gas wells detect seeping natural gas, benzene and other chemicals
Payne Institute Faculty Fellow Jennifer Miskimins contributes to this article about Colorado regulators say the subset of wells tested were known to be troubled, and many have already been plugged and abandoned. Natural gas and chemicals may be seeping through compromised barriers in northeastern Colorado oil and gas wells, according to a federal study, but state regulators and other researchers caution that analysis may overstate the problem. March 22, 2023.
Samples from Front Range oil and gas wells detect seeping natural gas, benzene and other chemicals 3/22/2023
Samples from Front Range oil and gas wells detect seeping natural gas, benzene and other chemicals
Payne Institute Faculty Fellow Jennifer Miskimins contributes to this article about Colorado regulators say the subset of wells tested were known to be troubled, and many have already been plugged and abandoned. Natural gas and chemicals may be seeping through compromised barriers in northeastern Colorado oil and gas wells, according to a federal study, but state regulators and other researchers caution that analysis may overstate the problem. March 22, 2023.
Mines researchers aim to improve understanding of water’s role in climate change
Payne Institute Faculty Fellow Adrienne Marshall is featured in this article about how as emissions change snowpack melt, hydropower generation could fail in the near future. Marshall’s research, which is supported by a National Science Foundation IGERT grant and the Carnegie Institution of Washington, focuses on understanding how climate change impacts snow hydrology, such as how snow drifts change and how precipitation intensity mitigates or exacerbates the effects of warming on winter snowmelt. March 17, 2023.
America’s Military Depends on Minerals That China Controls
Payne Institute Director Morgan Bazilian, Emily H. Holland, and Fellow Joshua Busby write about how rethinking supply chains is vital for U.S. security. The crucial role of supply chains and logistics in military operations. Simply stated, supply chains win wars and save lives. Materials need to be in the right place at the right time. March 16, 2023.
The Global Competition for Critical Minerals with Morgan Bazilian
Payne Institute Director Morgan Bazilian is featured on the Energy Security Cubed podcast discussing the shift to clean energy, and how America must rethink supply chains amid the growing global competition over critical minerals. March 16, 2023.
How to get the minerals we need in a clean energy future
Payne Institute Director Morgan Bazilian contributed to this article about how securing the critical minerals we need for a green energy future will require cleaning up mining practices, boosting recycling and innovating to be less dependent on them altogether. Technological innovation can help improve the environmental footprint of these processes. March 15, 2023.
Colorado will start putting one of country’s most comprehensive PFAS laws into effect next year 3/15/2023
Colorado will start putting one of country’s most comprehensive PFAS laws into effect next year
Payne Institute Faculty Fellow Chris Higgins contributes to this article about how for the first time, the Environmental Protection Agency Tuesday produced limits on PFAS known as “forever chemicals” in drinking water. It provides guidance for water systems trying to figure out to what level it should limit the presence of the chemicals, which have been connected to serious illnesses including cancer. It will likely mean the addition of costly filtering for many water providers. March 15, 2023.
Filling the hole Silicon Valley Bank left in the climate tech ecosystem
Payne Institute Sustainable Finance Lab Program Manager Brad Handler and Payne Institute Director Morgan Bazilian write about the Silicon Valley Bank playing a critical role in the climate tech industry, particularly for early-stage companies. The bank’s recent collapse will be felt even though its depositors will get their money back, as announced by Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen. March 15, 2023.
EPA announces plans to regulate toxic PFAS “forever chemicals” for the first time, dozens of Colorado water systems affected 3/15/2023
EPA announces plans to regulate toxic PFAS “forever chemicals” for the first time, dozens of Colorado water systems affected
Payne Institute Faculty Fellow Chris Higgins was interviewed for this article about how for the first time, the Environmental Protection Agency is proposing national legal limits on per- and polyflouroalkyl substances — or PFAS — in public water supplies. The proposed changes could affect dozens of public water utilities across the Centennial State. March 15, 2023
The Regulation of CO2 Pipelines and Ensuring Public Safety
Payne Institute CCUS Program Manager Anna Littlefield and student researcher Dwi Nuraini Siregar write that the 45Q tax credit is anticipated to play an important role in accelerating the expansion of the CO2 pipeline network in the United States by providing a financial incentive for businesses to invest in carbon capture utilization and storage (CCUS) technologies and supporting infrastructure.The Inflation Reduction Act’s amplification of this credit has already increased the number of CCUS projects. March 15, 2023.
EPA’s proposed change on PFAS limits would deem dozens of Colorado water sources unsafe
Payne Institute Faculty Fellow Chris Higgins contributes to this article on how water sources across Colorado contain potentially hazardous levels of the toxins under the new standard. Dozens of water sources across Colorado previously thought to be safe would now violate the federal maximum contaminant level for PFAS, or toxic “forever chemicals,” under a new standard proposed Tuesday. March 14, 2023
Christopher Higgins recognized for PFAS research
Payne Institute Faculty Fellow Chris Higgins and PhD candidate Stefanie Shea were co-authors of paper honored by the American Society of Civil Engineers on on poly- and perfluoroalkyl substances, also known as PFAS. The winning paper detailed research on the use of bench-scale experiments to measure and evaluate the desorption rate kinetics from a vadose zone soil exposed decades ago to aqueous film-forming foams (AFFFs). March 14, 2023.
Colorado School of Mines part of multi-university team selected by DoD for social science research 3/13/2023
Colorado School of Mines part of multi-university team selected by DoD for social science research
Payne Institute Director Morgan Bazilian and Faculty Fellow Mark Deinert will be contributing to research on critical minerals, battery technology, and reducing dependence on hostile suppliers in the clean energy supply chain along with Payne Institute Fellow Professor Joshua Busby, LBJ School of Public Affairs and the Strauss Center for International Security and Law, University of Texas, Austin and Professor Emily Holland, U.S. Naval War College. March 13, 2023.
The massive quest for the minerals we need in a clean energy future
Payne Institute Director Morgan Bazilian contributes to this article about how the rush toward a clean energy future means digging, extracting and processing the Earth’s resources faster and better than ever before. He says that there is no fundamental medium or even long-term constraint on the resources themselves, but says there is a constraint on investment into mining and then the associated permitting and social license to operate. March 8, 2023.
Addressing the Need for Accurate and Comparable Greenhouse Gas Data: The COMET Framework
Former Payne Institute Program Manager Jordy Lee Calderon writes about how the Coalition on Materials Emissions Transparency (COMET) began as a collaboration between the Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment (CCSI), the Colorado School of Mines (CSM), RMI (formerly known as the Rocky Mountain Institute), and the Secretariat of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UN Climate Change). Its objective is to advance accurate and transparent greenhouse gas accounting through a harmonized set of principles, standards, and reporting requirements. March 2, 2023.
Aurora, other communities await first US limits on ‘forever chemicals’ spills at military sites 3/2/2023
Aurora, other communities await first US limits on ‘forever chemicals’ spills at military sites
Payne Institute Faculty Fellow Chris Higgins contributes to this article and states that “It is very clear there is PFOS and PFOA (on Buckley) and they are at orders of magnitude above the health advisory — which is really not a surprise, being that that is very typical for a foam-fire-fighting site.” He went on to add that this is a national-scale issue that is being addressed everywhere in the country. March 2, 2023.
Carbon capture utilization and storage in review: Sociotechnical implications for a carbon reliant world 3/2/2023
Carbon capture utilization and storage in review: Sociotechnical implications for a carbon reliant world
Payne Institute Fellow Steve Griffiths, Director Morgan Bazilian, CCUS Program Manager Anna Littlefield, student researchers Hope McLaughlin, Maia Menefee, Austin Kinzer, Tobias Hull, along with Benjamin K.Sovacool, and Jinsoo Kim write about how the decarbonization of industry and industrial systems is a pressing challenge given the relative lack of low-carbon options available for “hard to decarbonize” sectors such as steelmaking, cement manufacturing, and chemical production. This review takes a systematic and sociotechnical perspective to examine how CCUS can support industrial decarbonization and relevant associated technical, economic, and social factors. March 2, 2023.
Exclusive: Mexico’s Pemex increased gas flaring at top field, despite pledge to stop
Payne Institute Earth Observation Group Research Associate Mikhail Zhizhin contributes to this article by analyzing satellite data. State oil company Pemex promised late last year that it would stop burning natural gas from a major field in southeast Mexico by mid-January, amid mounting pressure to improve its poor environmental record. But satellite data analyzed by scientists exclusively for Reuters – as well as a visit by reporters to the site – showed that gas flaring from the vast Ixachi field in Veracruz state not only continued, but it increased. February 28, 2003.
How American energy helped Europe best Putin
Payne Institute Director Morgan Bazilian contributed to this article about how Moscow bet its energy shipments to Europe would stifle the opposition to its invasion of Ukraine. Instead, it sparked a backlash that has dramatically altered global trade. Instead, a flow of American energy has given the United States a growing role in the continent’s economy, while pushing Russia to the side. February 23, 2023.
Better methane accounting will mean a faster and cheaper energy transition
Payne Institute Director Morgan Bazilian, Sustainable Finance Lab Program Manager Brad Handler and Responsible Gas Program Manager Simon Lomax write about how the push for the oil and gas industry to reduce its methane emissions is on. Methane, the major component of natural gas, is 80 times more potent than carbon dioxide over a 20-year timeframe. In the U.S., the oil and gas industry is the second largest contributor of methane emissions after agriculture. According to the International Energy Agency, the energy sector globally was responsible for 135 million metric tons of methane emissions in 2022 2022 — an increase from the year before. February 22, 2023.
What happens if Suncor’s Colorado refinery closes? Less pollution, loss of jobs and tax revenue — and a big cleanup. 2/21/2023
What happens if Suncor’s Colorado refinery closes? Less pollution, loss of jobs and tax revenue — and a big cleanup.
Payne Institute Faculty Fellow Ian Lange contributes to this article about how Suncor’s Colorado refinery and what would happen if it closes. There’s no indication it’ll happen anytime soon, but neighbors and environmental advocates continue to press issue. The suggestion surfaces almost every time Suncor Energy is in the news in Colorado. Close the refinery. It comes up during permit hearings or when the company is tagged with another air pollution violation or, most recently, with the extended shutdown of its Commerce City operations. February 21, 2023.
Night-Time Detection of Subpixel Emitters with VIIRS Mid-Wave Infrared Bands M12–M13
Payne Institute Earth Observation Group Research Associate Mikhail Zhizhin, Director Christopher D. Elvidge and Alexey Poyda talk about a new approach to subpixel infrared (IR) emitter detection in VIIRS mid-wave (MWIR) infrared bands M12–M13 at night, based on the presence of a tightly clustered background diagonal present in full granule scattergrams of M12 versus M13 radiances. This diagonal is found universally in night-time VIIRS data collected worldwide. The diagonal feature is absent during the day due to solar reflectance. The existence of the diagonal is attributed to close spacing in the bandpass centers of the VIIRS’ two MWIR bands. Februay 21, 2023.
Change Gfanz to save it
Payne Institute Sustainable Finance Lab Program Manager Brad Handler writes about how investor alliance must reconcile push for decarbonisation with responsibility to maximise returns for clients. A widely circulated report in mid-January chastises Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero (Gfanz) members for continuing to lend to coal and, oil and gas development. February 21, 2023.
The Global Crux of the Energy Transition: Making Sure Everyone Benefits From the Coming Mining Boom 2/19/2023
The Global Crux of the Energy Transition: Making Sure Everyone Benefits From the Coming Mining Boom
Payne Institute Global Energy Future Initiative Director John Bradford and Payne Institute Faculty Fellow Jessica Smith write about how calls to quickly transition from oil and gas to renewable energy sources grow more urgent, a harsh reality is setting in. The amount of raw materials needed to build out solar panels, wind farms, charging stations, batteries and the like is enormous. The other, often overlooked requirement of the energy transition is the infrastructure needed to manage carbon capture, utilization, and storage. Many of the materials needed for these two infrastructure builds are the same, which only amplifies the challenge. February 19, 2023.
Opinion: To regulate methane emissions, Colorado needs clear data
Payne Institute Faculty Fellows Jim Crompton and Jennifer Miskimins write about how greenhouse gas reporting from upstream oil and gas production isn’t new; it’s been required in the United States and Canada since 2010. The long-accepted method of understanding these emissions from industrial sources is a well-established process based on estimates. But recent academic studies have cast doubt on the accuracy of this approach. Now, regulatory agencies are moving towards measuring and moving away from estimating emissions. Yet simply collecting data on methane is not enough. We need to understand the context of where measurements are taken from production operations, what the limitations of new measurement technologies are, and how to use data to tell an accurate and actionable story. February 15, 2023.
Conflict and Copper
Payne Institute Director Morgan Bazilian and Payne Institute Research Associate Aaron Malone write about how the global demand for copper has climbed dramatically in recent years, a trend that is likely to continue apace. Peru is the world’s second largest producer of copper. Yet the clamor for copper is an opportunity that the nation is unable to seize upon at present. Peru is now undergoing severe political upheaval and protests that have brought new attention to the underlying risks in extractive industries and supply chains. Production cuts stemming from protests and blockades could amount to 3 percent of global copper output. February 13, 2023.
A critical review of natural gas emissions certification in the United States
Payne Institute Faculty Fellows Jim Crompton and Ben Gilbert, write how concerns about the climate and local air impacts of emissions from the oil and gas supply chain have caused a reevaluation of natural gas’ role in a low carbon future. In response, some producers, large purchasers, and investors have pushed to certify some gas deliveries as ‘responsibly-sourced’ or ‘green’, which could give rise to a differentiated gas market. Third-party oil and gas certifications have been under development for several years, however, their focus has historically been on a broader set of societal impacts and risks, and they have typically focused on the upstream sector. Recent advances have been focused on methane emissions and supply chains into the certification process. In this paper they provide a critical review of several prominent natural gas certification processes. February 10, 2023.
Towards multi-scale measurement-informed methane inventories: reconciling bottom-up inventories with top-down measurements using continuous monitoring systems 2/10/2023
Towards multi-scale measurement-informed methane inventories: reconciling bottom-up inventories with top-down measurements using continuous monitoring systems
Payne Institute Student Researcher Will Daniels, Fellow Arvind Ravikumar and Faculty Fellow Dorit Hammerling write this article that discusses how government policies and corporate strategies aimed at reducing methane emissions from the oil and gas sector increasingly rely on measurement-informed emissions inventories, as conventional bottom-up inventories poorly capture temporal variability and the heavy-tailed nature of methane emissions. This work is based on an 11-month methane measurement campaign at oil and gas production sites. They find that basin and operator-level top-down measurements show lower methane emissions during end-of-project than during baseline 9-months earlier. February 10, 2023.
UK scientists found a way to slash nearly 90% of carbon emissions from the country’s steel industry 2/9/2023
UK scientists found a way to slash nearly 90% of carbon emissions from the country’s steel industry
Payne Institute Faculty Fellow Jihye Kim contributes to this article and gives her take on steel production that doesn’t use fossil fuels. She finds the strategy very innovative and promising, but also acknowledges there are a few disadvantages. In the end, she says different strategies are needed to decarbonize steel and that multiple techniques can be used at the same time. February 9, 2023
Company moves to Colorado with asteroid mining in its sights
Payne Institute Faculty Fellow Angel Abbud-Madrid is featured on this podcast to talk about the new era of space exploration. February 8, 2023
Nature-Based Carbon Offset Momentum Defies Critics
Payne Institute Sustainable Finance Lab Program Manager Brad Handler writes about how a recent trend towards offset crediting at a jurisdictional level is raising funds at a much larger scale than traditional project-based programmes. Climate solutions company Anew Climate in January announced it will deploy a $640mn investment to anchor social enterprise Terra Global Capital’s Terra Bella NBS Carbon Pool. The scheme seeks to preserve forests by committing to purchase carbon offset credits. It is part of a recent movement in offset crediting to work at a jurisdictional level (i.e., an entire country or region) and thus is raising funds at a much larger scale than traditional project-based programmes. February 7, 2023.
Colorado School of Mines, American Gem Trade Association unveil strategic relationship
Payne Institute Faculty Fellow Nicole Smith will lead the effort in a multiyear project, that will examine supply chain for at least 10 colored gemstones — sapphire, ruby, emerald, tanzanite and more – supply chains in Kenya, Tanzania, Madagascar, Nigeria and Sri Lanka. Different types of mining and sizes of operations will be examined as well as different environmental and social contexts. In each location, data on the top colored gemstone export will be analyzed — a minimum of 10 different colored stones will be scrutinized. February 7, 2023.
A forward looking perspective on the cement and concrete industry: Implications of growth and development in the Global South 2/3/2023
A forward looking perspective on the cement and concrete industry: Implications of growth and development in the Global South
Payne Institute Fellow Steve Griffiths, writes about how the cement and concrete industry serves as the foundation for modern infrastructure. Hence, it has a massive global impact on both energy demand and carbon emissions and so is a key focus of industrial decarbonization efforts. The relationship between cement and concrete production and societal development is made more apparent as a result of the limited degree of international trading of these products. 2/3/2023.
Managing the future of water — in the West and beyond
Payne Institute Faculty Fellow Adrienne Marshall is among Mines alumni and researchers that are at the forefront of U.S. water management challenges, whether that’s through mitigation, water reuse, new water systems or alternative renewable energy systems. The Colorado River is the lifeblood of the southwestern U.S., with nearly 40 million Americans in Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming relying on the Colorado River System for drinking water and to support farming and recreation. However, the Colorado River Basin water supply is dwindling, leading to water management challenges and an uncertain future of water in the West. February 2, 2023.
Hydrogen liquefaction and storage: Recent progress and perspectives
Payne Institute Fellow Steve Griffiths, write about how the global energy sector accounts for ∼75% of total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Low-carbon energy carriers, such as hydrogen, are seen as necessary to enable an energy transition away from the current fossil-derived energy paradigm. Thus, the hydrogen economy concept is a key part of decarbonizing the global energy system. 2/16/2023
The UAE has been a first mover on sustainability
Payne Institute Advisory Board Member Nawal Al-Hosany writes an opinion article on how the term sustainability didn’t enter the UAE discourse until the 1980s, but has always been at the heart of the country’s development plans. From an ever-more conscious civil society to governments responsible for planning the long-term prosperity of their citizens, we are all thinking of ways we can meet the needs of today, without compromising the capacities of future generations to thrive. It is fitting then, that with Cop28 to be hosted in the Emirates later this year, the country’s leadership announced 2023 as the Year of Sustainability. February 1, 2023.
With EV batteries in demand, some in GOP say ‘no’ to China
Payne Institute Faculty Fellow Ian Lange contributes to this article about how meeting U.S. goals for electric vehicle adoption may require supplies from China. As Americans snap up electric cars, some Republicans are adopting a tough-on-China stance even for projects that would create jobs for Americans and perhaps advance U.S. battery-manufacturing prowess. Experts say the Chinese presence in the electric-vehicle market is already nearly ubiquitous, that corporate partnership between Chinese and foreign automakers, including those in the U.S., is standard and that reaching America’s climate goals without Chinese technology would be exceedingly difficult. January 30, 2023.
Musical chairs: Analyzing the evolution of stakeholders in Peru’s mining sector through dialogue tables 1/30/2023
Musical chairs: Analyzing the evolution of stakeholders in Peru’s mining sector through dialogue tables
Payne Institute Research Associates Alicia Polo y La Borda Cavero and Aaron Malone, Yezelia Caceres Cabana, and Ronaldo Quinta Soto write about how mining is an important but often contentious activity. Despite substantial research on mining dynamics and conflict, there has been less analysis of the stakeholders. This paper centers stakeholders and analyzes the case of Peru, asking: Who are the stakeholders in dialogues and conflicts around Peru’s mining sector? How have stakeholders changed over time, and how do they vary across contexts? January 30, 2023.
IFC Net Zero Roadmap for Copper and Nickel Value Chains
The Payne Institute is a collaborator in the creation of the IFC Net Zero Roadmap for Copper and Nickel Value Chains. The Roadmap is a net zero transition guide that sets out a science-based decarbonization strategy for copper and nickel mining value chain actors. It highlights how mining sector actors can lower their emissions footprints, including scopes 1 and 2, and a subset of scope 3. It shows how to take advantage of the growth in demand coming from end users such as EVs, solar, wind, and storage. And it demonstrates how a net zero strategy offers opportunities to improve broader ESG impacts and performance, access sustainable finance, and contribute to a just energy transition. January 30, 2023.
Pathways to net-zero emissions from aviation
Candelaria Bergero, Payne Institute Fellow Greer Gosnell, Dolf Gielen, Seungwoo Kang, Director Morgan Bazilian and Steven J. Davis write about how international climate goals imply reaching net-zero global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by roughly mid-century (and net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by the end of the century). Among the most difficult emissions to avoid will be those from aviation given the industry’s need for energy-dense liquid fuels that lack commercially competitive substitutes and the difficult-to-abate non-CO2 radiative forcing. Here we systematically assess pathways to net-zero emissions aviation. January 30, 2023.
Policy Guidelines for Accelerating the Energy Transition in Sub-Saharan Africa: Lessons from the Mobile Telecoms Sector 1-26-2023
Policy Guidelines for Accelerating the Energy Transition in Sub-Saharan Africa: Lessons from the Mobile Telecoms Sector
Payne Institute ESG Research Associate Baba Freeman writes about how Sub-Saharan Africa faces immense challenges in its bid to attract capital to develop its energy resources and grow its economy. Relative to the pace of market penetration of cell phone services in the recent past, the growth in the share of the population with access to electricity has been rather dismal. The comparisons between both sectors are not new and have been made repeatedly over the years. This commentary recognizes that there are substantial differences between both sectors that make direct comparisons and a transfer of policy lessons difficult. January 26, 2023.
Are we about to see a mining boom for EV minerals in the West?
Payne Institute Faculty Fellow Ian Lange contributes to this podcast discussing critical minerals and mining in the West. Lange directs the mineral and energy economics program at the Colorado School of Mines and is an expert in mining economics. He discusses what’s going on in the world of critical minerals—specifically those used in electric vehicle batteries. These include cobalt, copper, lithium, and nickel and are mostly mined overseas, but we do have some of them here in the U.S. And we could see a big increase in domestic mining for them thanks to the Inflation Reduction Act, which included subsidies aimed at stimulating mining at home. January 26, 2023.
Financing Utility Scale RE in Developing Countries
Payne Institute Sustainable Finance Lab Program Manager Brad Handler on a podcast discussing how multilateral development banks (MDBs) like the World Bank are increasingly under pressure to find ways that more capital can move into emerging market renewable energy projects. Brad walks the listeners through some recent Energy Transition Mechanisms (or ETMs) and Just Energy Transition (or JET) refinancing projects that aim to close coal plants in the developing world long before the end of their expected lifespans, and replace their generation with renewable power. January 25, 2023.
Batteries Are the Battlefield
Payne Institute Director Morgan Bazilian and Fellow Cullen Hendrix contribute to this article about how the next geopolitical contest may be over green technology, and China, for now, is poised to win control of those supply chains. In the quest for the clean energy revolution, the United States is one of many countries that have ramped up investment in electric vehicles manufacturing and renewable energy sources to power the shift away from fossil fuels. But that is an industry that has already been staked out by another power: China. January 25, 2023.
DOE offers loan to Nevada lithium mine
Payne Institute Faculty Fellow Ian Lange contributed to this article about how the move by the US Department of Energy (DOE) is an effort to build up US production of minerals needed for batteries. The DOE is offering the Australian mining company Ioneer a $700 million loan to build a lithium carbonate plant at its proposed lithium mine in Nevada. The DOE issued guidance in 2020 that encouraged companies developing “critical mineral” projects to apply for loans. January 19, 2023.
Battle at the bottom of the sea
Payne Institute Faculty Fellow Ian Lange contributed to this article about how the treasures of a deep ocean floor pit green energy proponents against environmentalists. Companies are interested in the Clarion-Clipperton Zone (CCZ) where potato-sized manganese rocks line the ocean floor and play host to innumerable sea creatures. Also known as polymetallic nodules, the rocks contain manganese, cobalt, nickel, copper, zinc, and rare earth metals, all vital for making the rechargeable batteries that undergird the global push toward green energy. January 12, 2023.
$50M partnership with UT Austin, CSU to tackle oil & gas greenhouse gas emissions accounting. 1/10/2023
COLORADO SCHOOL OF MINES ALONG WITH UT AUSTIN, CSU TO TACKLE OIL & GAS GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS ACCOUNTING IN A $50 MILLION PARTNERSHIP
Payne Institute Faculty Fellow Dorit Hammerling and Fellow Arvind Ravikumar and the Payne Institute has partnered with the University of Texas at Austin and Colorado State University to stand up a new $50 million multidisciplinary research and education initiative that will address the growing need for accurate, timely and clear accounting of greenhouse gas emissions across global oil and natural gas supply chains. Data and analysis from this major new endeavor will help both public and private institutions develop climate strategies and actions informed by accurate data, identifying both opportunities for emissions reductions and verification. The Energy Emissions Modeling and Data Lab (EEMDL) will be hosted at UT Austin. January 10, 2023
Space mining startups see a rich future on asteroids and the moon
Payne Institute Faculty Fellow Angel Abbud-Madrid is featured in the article about how nobody wants to think about a future in which humans don’t thrive. So it’s time for us to go into space. Space mining has matured to the point where there are dozens of startup companies, even larger firms, addressing aspects of what’s called the “space resources value chain.” January 7, 2023.
Comparison of the Gaussian plume and puff atmospheric dispersion models on oil and gas facilities 1/6/2023
Comparison of the Gaussian plume and puff atmospheric dispersion models on oil and gas facilities
Payne Institute Student Researchers Meng Jia and Will Daniels, and Faculty Fellow Dorit Hammerling write about how characterizing methane emissions on oil and gas facilities often relies on a forward model to describe the atmospheric transport of methane. Here we compare two forward models: the Gaussian plume, a commonly used steady-state dispersion model, and the Gaussian puff, a time varying dispersion model that approximates a continuous release as a sum over many small “puffs”. We compare model predictions to observations from a network of point-in-space continuous emissions monitoring systems (CEMS) collected during a series of controlled releases. January 6, 2023.
The Missing Minerals
Gregory Brew and Director and Morgan Bazilian write about how as America shifts to clean energy, America must rethink supply chains. After decades of foot-dragging in the United States, there is now momentum to tackle climate change. In August 2022, Congress passed the Inflation Reduction Act, a landmark piece of legislation that directs more than $1 trillion in subsidies and incentives toward clean energy production. January 6, 2023.
CRITICAL MINERALS & ENERGY TRANSITION – A LOOK AT AFRICA & WESTERN & CENTRAL ASIA
The Payne Institute and the Future Minerals Forum collaborate on this paper about how as energy systems evolve on a global scale, the shift to a clean energy economy will depend on fulfilling critical mineral supply needs. Demand for raw materials such as Lithium, Nickel, Cobalt, Copper, Graphite, Silicon, Platinum Group Metals, and Rare Earth Elements are expected to increase fivefold over the next two decades. To meet the level of demand set forth in the Paris Agreement, the world looks to mineral-rich countries for reliable sourcing of inputs along the value chain. In the short to medium term, economies across Africa and Western and Central Asia can aim to play an important role in critical minerals supply chains. January 5, 2023.
We must change how we think to solve the plastic waste crisis
Payne Institute Faculty Fellow Michael McGuirk writes this opinion piece on how the world has a plastic waste problem. Most single-use plastics, which represent about 50 percent of all plastic production and include everyday items like straws and shampoo bottles, wind up in landfills, incinerated, or leaked into the environment. In the U.S. alone, we discard 40 million tons of single-use plastics every single year — the visual equivalent of throwing away 100 Empire State buildings. By 2050, we are estimated to have more plastic in our oceans than fish. Yet despite this grim situation, we now have more reason to fundamentally change the way we think about plastic waste — not just as a burden, but as an opportunity to harvest valuable resources and energy. December 28, 2022.
Methane emission detection, localization, and quantification using continuous point-sensors on oil and gas facilities 12/27/2022
Methane emission detection, localization, and quantification using continuous point-sensors on oil and gas facilities
Payne Institute Student Researchers William Daniels and Meng Jia, with Faculty Fellow Dorit Hammerling write about how they propose a generic, modular framework for emission event detection, localization, and quantification on oil and gas facilities that uses concentration data collected by point-in-space continuous emissions monitoring systems (CEMS). The framework uses a gradient-based spike detection algorithm to estimate emission start and end times (event detection) and pattern matches simulated and observed concentrations to estimate emission source location (localization) and rate (quantification). Potential uses for the proposed framework include near real-time alerting for rapid emissions mitigation and emission quantification for data-driven inventory estimation on production-like facilities. December 27, 2022.
New rule for electric car tax incentive delayed
Payne Institute Director Morgan Bazilian contributes to this podcast about how the Joe Biden administration wants half of all new vehicles sold by 2030 to be zero-emission. It’s pouring billions into the industry to incentivize car companies to make electric vehicles and get customers to buy them. However, this week, the administration delayed announcing the details of a new rule requiring that a certain percentage of battery components be sourced in the U.S. or countries that have free-trade agreements with the U.S. December 20, 2022.
Markets for Critical Minerals Are Too Prone to Failure
Payne Institute Fellow Cullen Hendrix and Director Morgan Bazilian write this commentary on how in March, the London Metals Exchange suspended nickel trading after prices spiked over 250% in two days. Much of the spike occurred in an 18-minute window. The nickel debacle highlights one of the underappreciated financial challenges that green-energy transitions will bring: Markets for many critical minerals are small, thin, and opaque. Markets with these structures are prone to failures such as cornering, natural disaster- and geopolitically-induced supply disruptions, and murky, inefficient price discovery processes. December 17, 2022.
Statistical Moments of VIIRS Nighttime Lights
Payne Institute Earth Observation Group Director Christopher D. Elvidge, Feng Chi Hsu, Mikhail Zhizhin, Tilottama Ghosh, and Tamara Sparks write about how they generated VIIRS day/night band multiyear and annual statistical moments for a widely dispersed set of test areas. The moments were calculated from 15 arc second nightly temporal profiles spanning 2012-2020, filtered to exclude cloudy and sunlit data, with radiance adjustments to reduce view angle and lunar illuminance effects. The moment data were examined in two ways: 1) Geospatial grids-which reveal zonation and temporal changes present in urban areas, and 2) Scattergrams of moment pairs. December 16, 2022.
How to Avoid Gas Shortages in the European Union in 2023
The Payne Institute contributed data and insights to this IEA report on the latest analysis of the extent of the EU’s potential gas supply-demand gap in 2023 and sets out the practical actions that can close that gap while avoiding excessive strains for European consumers and for international markets. The analysis includes real-world examples of measures that could be implemented and quantifies their impacts. The measures offer a pathway to a more secure and balanced EU gas market in 2023 and are consistent with the EU’s climate goals. December 13, 2022.
Company starting to recover oil from Kansas pipeline spill
Payne Institute Fellow Jennifer Miskimins contributed to this article about how Canada-based TC Energy operating a pipeline that spilled about 14,000 bathtubs’ worth of oil into a Kansas creek during a test for potential problems is recovering at least a small portion of the crude. Canada-based TC Energy has recovered 2,598 barrels of oil mixed with water from the 14,000-barrel spill on a creek running through rural pastureland in Washington County, Kansas, about 150 miles (240 kilometers) northwest of Kansas City. Last week’s rupture in Kansas forced the company to shut down the Keystone system, and it hasn’t said when it will come back online. December 13, 2022.
Fusion Energy Breakthrough Could be an Inflection Point for Clean Fuel Technology
Payne Institute Fellow Alex Gilbert is featured on this news show about a fusion energy breakthrough that could be an inflection point for clean fuel technology. The Department of Energy is expected to announce a major development regarding fusion energy on Tuesday December 13th, and Alex Gilbert, discusses the significance of this potential discovery. He further explains how scientists have produced net energy gain using fusion and how nuclear fusion power could be the key to clean energy. December 12, 2022.
Developing Hydrogen and Carbon Capture and Storage Projects in the State of Colorado
Payne Institute CCUS Program Manager Anna Littlefield and student researcher Chiang Cheng Siew write about how over the past two years, both the hydrogen and carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS) industries have gained momentum in the US. Project development in these industries has been rapidly accelerating with the growing financial incentives from policymakers for the commercial deployment of these projects. The signing of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), also known as the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, in November of 2021 marked the US Department of Energy’s largest single investment in carbon management, along with significant investments funding clean hydrogen development. December 9, 2022.
By 2025, coal will no longer be the main way to generate the world’s electricity
Payne Institute Faculty Fellow Ian Lange contributes to this podcast on how the International Energy Agency released a report this week saying renewables would overtake coal and become the world’s biggest source of electricity generation by 2025. The U.S. Inflation Reduction Act includes billions in subsidies and tax credits to encourage development of technologies like advanced nuclear power and hydrogen generation in the U.S. December 8, 2022.
Saudi Arabia’s Future Minerals Forum partners with global think tanks ahead of January conference 12/5/2022
Saudi Arabia’s Future Minerals Forum partners with global think tanks ahead of January conference
Saudi Arabia’s global conference Future Mineral Forum has partnered a host of major think tanks to drive innovation and thought leadership, according to a statement. Launched in 2022 by the Kingdom’s Ministry of Industry and Mineral Resources, the FMF has now joined forces with the Development Partner Institute, the Center for Energy Studies at Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy, Clareo, and the Payne Institute at the Colorado School of Mines. Through these partnerships with the think tanks and research institutions, the FMF is targeting to provide dynamic insights that propel the development of the industry in line with strict environmental, social and governance principles. December 5, 2022.
How to Avoid a New Cold War Over Critical Minerals
Payne Institute Fellow Cullen Hendrix writes how to prevent a return to the zero-sum logic of Cold War resource politics, critical mineral supply chains must be widened at every step. Will the 21st century be the century of the green great game? In the early 20th century, then-First Lord of the Admiralty Winston Churchill oversaw the conversion of the United Kingdom’s Royal Navy from coal- to oil-powered ships. Oil was comparatively more energy-dense, easier to transport, and allowed ships to travel farther faster. But the transition to oil-fueled navies in the 20th century meant that, for the first time, projecting military might would require most major powers to rely on energy sources over which they were not sovereign. November 22, 2022.
Mines graduate student named one of 100 Global Inspirational Women in Mining
Payne Institute student researcher Juliet Akamboe has been recognized as one of the 100 Global Inspirational Women in Mining in 2022 by Women in Mining UK. Akamboe currently lives in Colorado, where she is pursuing a master’s degree in mineral and energy economics at Mines. While in school, she has been involved in research around sustainable finance, building ESG frameworks, securing critical minerals and shaping policy for a more sustainable future. November 22, 2022.
Geopolitics of Green Energy
Payne Institute Faculty Fellow Ian Lange contributes to this report on how the postwar, U.S.-dominated geopolitical order shaped by oil is yielding to a new system built on carbon-free renewable energy and electric vehicles. In the emerging international scramble for so-called green energy, China is leading, with its control over many supplies of minerals essential for batteries, wind turbines and other technologies. To counter China, the United States is rallying allies and friendly mineral-rich countries to forge alternative supply chains that can enable green energy industries to scale up. November 18, 2022.
Retiring Coal? The Prospects Are Brighter Than They Appear
Payne Institute Program Manager Brad Handler and Director Morgan Bazilian write about how as COP27 draws to a close, the conference is proving to be a disappointment for environmental advocates focused on eliminating the planet’s number one emitter: coal-fired power. In the tumult of international uncertainty, governments have looked to coal as a security blanket of sorts. Coal’s ability to deliver power 24/7 compares favorably to some renewable energy, like solar and wind, that is variable and, at least to some degree, unpredictable. November 17, 2022.
A New Paradigm for Managing Mineral Trade Routes in Africa
Payne Institute ESG Research Associate Baba Freeman writes about how the African Copper belt is a major supplier of key minerals such as Copper, Nickel, and Cobalt to the world economy. Extracting and transporting these minerals to market will be essential to the success of the energy transition as demand for solar and wind energy, and battery metals soar exponentially over the next three decades. In contrast, the dismal state of road infrastructure for transporting the minerals from mine to port creates a major impediment to the commercial competitiveness of miners in the region and threatens economic rents accruable to host countries and communities. This commentary describes a new paradigm that could radically transform the design of solutions to ease logistics problems in the region. November 16, 2022.
MOVING BEYOND ‘ALL OR NOTHING’: FINDING THE PRAGMATIC MIDDLE GROUND ON GAS IN AFRICA
Payne Institute and Mines/NREL Advanced Energy Systems student researcher Bonnie Powell, Program Manager Brad Handler, and Director Morgan Bazilian write about how Europe’s energy crisis is aggravating a decades-old tension between the developed and the developing world. As wealthy countries increase natural gas imports (including from Africa), many of them are maintaining policies that restrict development finance for gas-fired infrastructure projects in poorer nations. This hypocrisy is not lost on African leaders. November 15, 2022.
Highest heating bills in years, U.S. Energy agency predicts
Payne Institute Faculty Fellow Ian Lange contributes to this article discussing the how the Energy Information Administration is predicting the average U.S. household will spend $900 on natural gas or $1,366 on electricity between Oct. 2022-March 2023. The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) is forecasting a spike in this winter’s heating costs, across the board. EIA’s forecast shows the average household will pay roughly $900 between October and March when using a gas heater, or roughly $1300 for electricity. That’s higher than at least the last seven winters, EIA data shows. November 15, 2022.
GLOBAL RESILIENCE INDEX INITIATIVE LAUNCHES NEW DEMONSTRATOR; CALLS FOR CLIMATE DATA COLLABORATION 11/12/2022
GLOBAL RESILIENCE INDEX INITIATIVE LAUNCHES NEW DEMONSTRATOR; CALLS FOR CLIMATE DATA COLLABORATION
Payne Institute Fellow Ben Caldecott comments on how the UN launched their new Global Resilience Index Initiative at COP 27. The new GRII initiative calls for worldwide climate data collaboration. The GRII is a global public-private partnership to address the climate data emergency with consistent, accessible and reliable risk information for use by governments, the financial sector and wider communities to create a new climate risk data architecture to provide globally consistent, open baseline datasets on climate risk and resilience metrics as a public good. November 12, 2022.
7 Keys to the Future Oil and Gas Production Facility: The Colorado Story
Payne Institute Faculty Fellow Jim Crompton, and Mines Student Researchers Wyatt Lindsey and Chiang Cheng Siew write about how seven facilities design and public engagement principles are identified as key elements for the future oil and natural gas production facilities for the DJ Basin, and maybe even as a guide for other North American onshore shale basins. With growing concern about climate change, the need for a diversified energy portfolio for energy security and the expectation for an energy transition away from fossil fuels to noncarbon energy solutions, such as renewables, all suggest that the energy transition has already begun. November 11, 2022
Oil and Gas Industry Being a Good Neighbor: Getting a License To Operate Through Proactive Community Engagement 11/10/20022
Oil and Gas Industry Being a Good Neighbor: Getting a License To Operate Through Proactive Community Engagement
Mines Student Researcher Wyatt Lindsey and Payne Institute Faculty Fellow Jim Crompton, write about how operators have increased stakeholder engagement by participating in proactive and continued communication with relevant stakeholders, which has led to positive unintended outcomes for operators, communities, and regulators. In the DJ Basin in Colorado, there has been a collision of industry activities and community development due to the “mini-boom” of oil and gas development, stemming from hydraulic fracturing of the Niobrara Formation and the growing population along the Front Range. November 10, 2022.
Climate bill boosts Biden’s credibility at COP27 as countries look to US to deliver
Payne Institute Director Morgan Bazilian contributes to this article about how this year, President Biden heads to the United Nations climate summit with major legislation to tackle the issue he can trumpet. The passage of the inflation Reduction Act gives Biden something concrete to point to, a sharp contrast to former President Trump’s climate denial. Biden will give a special COP27 address on American efforts to reduce emissions and help the vulnerable build resilience to climate change. November 10, 2022.
CONCRETE SOLUTIONS TO INFRASTRUCTURE CHALLENGES
Payne Institute Faculty Fellow Lori Tunstall is featured in this article about how she is developing novel methods of improving concrete to help lower its overall environmental footprint. She’s trying to help make concrete more durable so it can stand up to the punishing freeze-thaw cycle that exists in many cold climates, as well as other causes of degradation that, over time, cause concrete to crack, crumble and break apart. Concrete that lasts longer doesn’t need to be replaced as often which, in turn, will help reduce the demand for the heavy CO2-emitting production process. November 8, 2022.
The Mining Gap: Critical Minerals and Geopolitical Competition
Gregory Brew and Payne Institute Director Morgan Bazilian write about how this year’s COP-27 conference carries with it the weight of the climate challenge, an enormous threat facing humanity, but also comes at a time of growing volatility in global energy markets, rising energy prices, a food security crisis, and war. As a result, countries both rich and poor will be focused on immediate security and economic threats. November 7, 2022.
As EV sales accelerate, battery makers face a new shortage of a crucial mineral: graphite
Payne Institute Morgan Bazilian contributes to this podcast about how Ford Motor Co. reports that it sold twice as many electric vehicles in the month that just ended as it did in October of last year. But as demand for electrics is surging, manufacturers are facing yet another shortage of yet another crucial material — not lithium this time, but graphite. November 3, 2022.
Africa’s Energy Transition & Critical Minerals
Payne Institute Critical Minerals Research Associate Caitlin McKennie and student researchers Al Hassan Hassan, and Mama Nissi Abanga Abugnaba write about how as the energy crisis perseveres and governments around the world attempt to meet net zero emission timelines, there are many eyes on Africa’s natural resource supply. Africa is resource rich. The continent is endowed with significant hydrocarbon reserves and critical minerals required for low-carbon technologies. As political and environmental developments around the world seek to decarbonize supply chains, pivoting investments over time towards critical minerals in Africa can help and bridge the gap between emerging/developing economies and energy security. November 3, 2022.
How Critical Minerals Became So Critical
Payne Institute Program Manager Jordy Lee writes about how critical minerals are minerals and metals that are designated by governments as being “essential to economic or national security” – but also have supply chains vulnerable to interruption and play important roles in manufacturing everything from jet engines to fiber-optic cables. In short, they are the raw ingredients for dozens of engineering miracles that, while often unfamiliar to non-specialists, are vital to modern technologies. October 31, 2022.
Oil & Gas Industry being a Good Neighbor: Getting a License to Operate Through Proactive Community Engagement 10/27/2022
Oil & Gas Industry being a Good Neighbor: Getting a License to Operate Through Proactive Community Engagement
Payne Institute student researcher Wyatt Lindsey and Faculty Fellow Jim Crompton write about how in the DJ Basin in Colorado, there has been a collision of industry activities and community development due to the “mini-boom” of O&G development, stemming from hydraulic fracking of the Niobrara Formation and the growing population along the Front Range. After the O&G industry was challenged by regulatory agencies and environmental activists that many traditional practices were no longer going to be accepted, operators had to make a greater effort towards new forms of proactive community and local government engagement to prevent permit delays and operational downtime. October 27, 2022.
On Equal Footing: The Impact of FERC Order 841 on Grid Battery Installations
Payne Institute Faculty Fellow Ian Lange, student researcher Anuja Oke, and Critical Mineral Research Associate Caitlin McKennie write about how new technologies don’t often “fit” within market designs as well as the incumbent technologies. As a result, subtle changes in market rules can have large impacts on new technology adoption, and their associated supply chains. This research measures the impact on grid battery installations, and the resulting lithium demand – both generated by the June 2020 Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) Order 841. October 26, 2022.
The Keys to the Future Oil and Gas Production Facility: The Colorado Story
Payne Institute Faculty Fellow Jim Crompton, and Mines Student Researchers Wyatt Lindsey and Chiang Cheng Siew and write about how with the growing concern about climate change, the need for a diversified energy portfolio for energy security and the expectation for an energy transition away from fossil fuels to non-carbon energy solutions, such as renewables, all signals suggest that the energy transition has already begun. States like Colorado has been rewriting regulations to include stricter rules on oil and gas production. While the energy industry is transitioning due to market forces, public policies, and technological advances, fossil fuels are not yet out of the picture for the total energy supply of the future. October 26, 2022.
The Future of Oil and Gas Production in Urban and Suburban Environments: “Is Colorado an Example of Where the North American Crude Oil and Natural Gas Industry Might be Headed?”
Mines Student Researcher Wyatt Lindsey, Alumni William Jordan, Student Researcher Chiang Cheng Siew and Payne Institute Faculty Fellow Jim Crompton write about how there has and is much discussion about the future of fossil fuels, specifically the oil and gas industry. With growing concern on climate change, the need for a diversified energy portfolio, incorporation of clean energies into energy production, and the expectation for an energy transition away from fossil fuels to non-carbon energy solutions, such as renewables, signifies that the energy transition has already begun. While the energy industry is transitioning due to market forces, public policies, and technological advances, fossil fuels are n