The TxEnergyUpdate keeps you up to date on the energy sector's latest news and stories
INTERNATIONAL & NATIONAL ENERGY NEWS
In response to rising energy bills, Germany is cutting its renewable energy tax by over 40%. The tax, which is added on top of standard electricity bills, will go from 6.5 cents down to 3.72 cents per kilowatt hour. The renewable energy tax was created in 2000 to help pay for and produce renewable energy, the main recipients being solar and wind producers. This is the second time the renewable energy tax has been cut. Last year it was lowered 3.9% in response to the pandemic to promote economic growth. Leaders inside the German Government are calling for the entire abolishment of tax. Peter Altmaier, Germany's economy minister, “hopes that the renewable energy tax is phased out in coming years ‘to keep power affordable.’” Currently, Germany has the highest power bills in the European Union.
World leaders turned up the hysteria during opening speeches in Glasgow. At this week’s U.N. Climate Change Conference (COP26), British Prime Minister Boris Johnson compared global warming to a “doomsday device”. U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said we are “digging our own graves.” And President Biden apologized to the attending world leaders for President Trump opting out of the Paris Climate Agreement in 2016. President Biden went on to say, “there’s no time to sit back.” Before being caught possibly dozing off at the event. Other world leaders like Bolivia’s Luis Arce said the real solution “is an alternative to capitalism” and “unfettered consumerism.” Celebrity activist Greta Thunberg offered her own vision on COP26 outside of the meetings saying “Change is not going to come from in there,” and “We say no more blah, blah, blah, blah.” Leaders from Russia and China, some of the world’s largest polluters, opted out of hearing the speeches and protests by not attending COP26 at all.
- "U.S., Energy-Consuming Nations Plan to Push OPEC+ on Output"
As the energy supply crunch continues, U.S. leaders met with other nations during the G20 summit in Rome to try and convince The Organization of Petroleum Countries (OPEC +, including Russia) to ramp up production. But members of OPEC+, like Saudi Arabian King Salaman bin Abdulaziz, remain hard to convince, saying “The Kingdom will continue its leading role in economic and health upturn and recovery from the global crises, and in finding a balance to achieve security and stability in energy markets.” The U.S. and other nations also discussed plans if OPEC+ doesn’t increase production, but there’s no insight to what those plans look like.
In a joint statement last week, DT Midstream, a natural gas pipeline builder and provider, and Mitsubishi Power Americas, Inc., announced they will form a “clean energy strategic partnership to advance hydrogen infrastructure across the United States.” The statement goes on to say the joint development agreement (JDA) will focus on the “production, storage, transportation and use of hydrogen and other commodities.” Mitsubishi Power will produce and store the hydrogen then utilize DT Midstream’s network of interstate and intrastate pipelines to reach “major demand markets.” This is part of a clean energy push by both companies. “Our goal with DT Midstream is to make clean, affordable hydrogen widely available for power generation and other sectors,” said David Hunt, Mitsubishi Power Americas’ Senior Vice President of New Generation Systems Sales and Commercial Operations. David Slater, DT Midstream’s President and CEO, said, “…As the demand increases for low carbon energy such as hydrogen, we have an opportunity working with Mitsubishi Power to apply our natural gas infrastructure development expertise to hydrogen projects. We look forward to combining our complementary technologies and expertise to deliver clean energy solutions to customers.”
The U.S. EIA reported that coal use will jump 20% this year in the U.S., placing it ahead of nuclear to become America’s second largest source of energy, after natural gas. The spike in coal is attributed to a reduction in natural gas production after oil prices crashed last year. But now global demand for gas has raised prices to twice what the average price was last year. This has forced generators to lean on coal as a more affordable option for the time being. But the coal resurgence will not last long as countries like the U.S. pursue net-zero emissions goals. The International Energy Agency forecasts global coal consumption to fall 55% by 2030 and 90% by 2050.
TEXAS ENERGY NEWS
Turns out Texas produces the most renewable energy of any state in the nation, according to Commodity.com. The total electricity produced by renewables was determined by data collected by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). Wind turbines were the largest contributor to Texas’ renewable production. Washington came in second channeling hydroelectricity, California in third with solar, and Oregon came in fourth by harnessing hydroelectricity as well.
An old aluminum smelting facility in Rockdale, Texas is now home to two of the world’s largest bitcoin mining companies. Bitdeer and Riot Blockchain were attracted to the town of 5,600 residents due to pro-crypto policies, cheap electricity, and established infrastructure that’s easily converted into mining centers. The Mayor of Rockdale, John King, says the relationship is mutually beneficial for the miners and the grid manager of Texas, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), saying that “miners regularly consume electrical power that would otherwise be wasted, and they can also shut down operations instantly should power be needed elsewhere.” Texas Senator Ted Cruz is also a vocal supporter of bitcoin miners coming to Texas. Adding that natural gas being flared in West Texas can serve as an untapped resource for mining bitcoin in the future.
Worldoil.com reports Exxon Mobil Corp. is slated to spend $3 billion a year on clean energy investments through 2027. This investment is a quadrupling of Exxon’s previous plan of spreading $3 billion out over five years. The major bump is attributed to a quarter of Exxon’s board being replaced by “activist investor” Engine No. 1. Exxon will also share new emissions targets after achieving its previous goal with four years to spare.
- PUC Open Meeting - 11/4/2021
The Public Utility Commission of Texas will host an open meeting on Thursday, November 4th, 2021 at 9:30 a.m. The meeting will have four main points of discussion before going into individual projects. First, the PUC will discuss “possible action regarding agency review by Sunset Advisory Commission, operating budget, strategic plan, [and] appropriations request,” among other items. Second, the PUC will discuss customer complaints. Third, the PUC will discuss infrastructure reliability. Finally, the PUC will discuss electric reliability, including ERCOT oversight. You can watch the livestream here.