Energy Roundup – Welcome Back from Thanksgiving!

Welcome back from Thanksgiving break, energy enthusiasts! In this week’s energy roundup, we bring you the latest news on the OPEC deal, ongoing energy events in California and some cool energy ideas to change the world. But first, check out the Thanksgiving carbon footprint as a warm-up!


OPEC and U.S.

This past Thanksgiving makes U.S. average gasoline prices the second-lowest in eight years. However, oil prices soared as much as 10 percent this Wednesday after OPEC finalized a production cut deal. According to traders and analysts, the prices are unlikely to skyrocket further in reaction to the deal and the rally may even be short-lived. There is a lot to expect from the oil markets next, including the possibility that high-cost producers outside OPEC will further ramp up production. For example, this deal, making it more economically enticing to pump additional crude, might give a lifeline for the U.S. shale-oil drillers. Recently, the U.S. Geological Survey has announced Permian Basin’s Wolfcamp formation contains 20 billion barrels of oil and 16 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, making it the biggest shale oil field in the United States.


Ongoing Energy Events in California

As the nation’s largest milk-producing state, California has launched a new regulation targeting greenhouse gases produced by dairy cows and other livestock to combat global warming. Dairy farmers, however, are concerned if this will drive up costs when they’re already struggling with five years of drought, low milk prices and rising labor costs.

To help California meet its renewable energy goals, the state and local leaders joined executives from NextEra Energy Resources and its partners to commission the Blythe and McCoy Solar Energy Centers, which created hundreds of construction jobs.

However, the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant is not so lucky to get support. Given increased energy efficiency in the state and the growing availability and affordability of solar and wind power and other renewable energy, PG&E has agreed to pay $85 million to neighboring cities and a school district affected by the closure of the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant.


Cool Energy Ideas to Change the World

There are several exciting discoveries in the field of clean energy batteries. New technology has been developed which uses nuclear waste to generate electricity in a nuclear-powered battery. Potential applications would be in low-power electrical devices where long life of the energy source is needed, such as pacemakers and satellites. In addition, Toyota has made a breakthrough on observing the movements of the tiny particles in batteries used to power electrical vehicles. This discovery could lead to a new lithium ion battery which will improve the battery-powered range of an electric vehicle by 15%.