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Weekend Highlights: October 24, 2014; Midweek Update: October 22, 2014; Vol. 3, No. 40, October 20, 2014

Weekend Highlights Posted; Read the Speech of Former U.K. Environment Minister on Climate Change;

Weather Channel Founder Coleman Challenges UCLA to be Balanced on Climate Change Facts; Read Details in Spotlight Section.

 Pub Note-10-20-1Pub Note-10-20-2

(Credit: NOAA)

The winter weather forecasts are out. Are you looking for trends due to Climate Change?

Below average temperatures are favored in parts of the south-central and southeastern United States, while above-average temperatures are most likely in the western U.S., Alaska, Hawaii and New England, according to the U.S. Winter Outlook, issued today by NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center.

While drought may improve in some portions of the U.S. this winter, California's record-setting drought will likely persist or intensify in large parts of the state. Nearly 60 percent of California is suffering from exceptional drought – the worst category – with 2013 being the driest year on record. Also, 2012 and 2013 rank in the top 10 of California’s warmest years on record, and 2014 is shaping up to be California’s warmest year on record. Winter is the wet season in California, so mountainous snowfall will prove crucial for drought recovery. Drought is expected to improve in California’s southern and northwestern regions, but improvement is not expected until December or January.

“Complete drought recovery in California this winter is highly unlikely. While we’re predicting at least a 2 in 3 chance that winter precipitation will be near or above normal throughout the state, with such widespread, extreme deficits, recovery will be slow,” said Mike Halpert, acting director of NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center. “This outlook gives the public valuable information, allowing them to make informed decisions and plans for the season. It's an important tool as we build a Weather-Ready Nation.”

El Niño, an ocean-atmospheric phenomenon in the Tropical Pacific that affects global weather patterns, may still develop this winter. Climate Prediction Center forecasters announced on Oct. 9 that the ocean and atmospheric coupling necessary to declare an El Niño has not yet happened, so they continued the El Niño Watch with a 67 percent chance of development by the end of the year. While strong El Niño episodes often pull more moisture into California over the winter months, this El Niño is expected to be weak, offering little help.

This seasonal outlook does not project where and when snowstorms may hit or provide total seasonal snowfall accumulations. Snow forecasts are dependent upon the strength and track of winter storms, which are generally not predictable more than a week in advance.

So, keep betting on Climate Change!!!

A few weeks ago, Smart Energy Universe revamped the layout for articles in the Oil and Gas category and is grouping articles together in the following areas:

  • Pipelines
  • Exploration and Production
  • LNG/Shale
  • Financials/Operations

This has made it faster to locate articles in the area readers are looking for. We continue to receive positive responses on this change.

Similarly, the restructured Renewable section is presenting articles in specific sub-groups. This has made it useful convenient to our readers. Similarly, SEU is planning to restructure Utility News and Smart Grid Categories and rearrange news items appropriate to these Categories. You will be informed soon when we make this change.

As before, this week’s edition of Smart Energy Universe features all our popular features:

This Week in Climate Change –Climate Change continues to make headlines. We are bringing some news items on Climate Change which may be of interest to our readers.

“Editor’s Choice” has the ‘Feature Articles’ highlighted in green to make them easy find. To read the articles click on the Spotlight or appropriate Category Button this will take you to the page with the Spotlight or Feature Articles. Be sure to read Editors Choice to catch up with the top happenings of the week.

SEU’s Smart Energy Virtual Townhall: Poll results of the latest SEU Question of the Week deals with whether subsidies for nuclear power stations is good public policy. SEU will publish the results on Monday. (Spotlight)

SEU “Viewpoint”:This week’s ViewPoint deals with “Rainfall and Floods: Observations More Reliable than Climate Models”, and asks for a commonsense analysis of Climate Change.

White House Issues Key Cyber Security Actions: The new BuySecure Initiative will provide consumers with more tools to secure their financial future by assisting victims of identity theft, improving the Government’s payment security as a customer and a provider, and accelerating the transition to stronger security technologies and the development of next-generation payment security tools. (Spotlight)

Stern Delivers U.S. Climate Vision: The United States’ lead climate negotiator, Todd Stern, unveiled the nation’s new climate vision in a televised speech from the Yale Law School. Stern detailed the government’s new diplomatic model for international climate order. (Spotlight)

European Commission Adopts Internal Energy Market Report; but Regulators have Questions: Together with the Commission's earlier report on drivers for energy prices, we now have a set of data on subsidies and costs in the field of energy that is more solid and comprehensive than anyone before. We are now better informed about the size of public subsidies in recent years and the costs for power generation across all technologies, said EU. (Spotlight)

Energy Sector is Key to Powering Prosperity in Sub-Saharan Africa: Modern forms of energy is crucial to unlocking faster economic and social development in sub Saharan Africa, according to the International Energy Agency’s (IEA) Africa Energy Outlook, sys a Special Report in the 2014 World Energy Outlook series. (Spotlight)

Department of Transportation Needs to Pay More Attention to Pipeline Safety, says GAO: Due to the increased oil and gas production, construction of larger, higher-pressure gathering pipelines (pipelines that transport products to processing facilities and other long-distance pipelines) has increased. However, these pipelines, if located in rural areas, are generally not subject to U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) safety regulations that apply to other pipelines, including emergency response requirements. (Spotlight)

Northern Sea Route: The Northern Sea Route is a promising shipping lane alternative to existing routes between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans through the Suez and Panama Canals. Recent years have demonstrated a substantial increase in transits across the Northern Sea Route, with large-capacity vessels escorted by Russian nuclear icebreakers. (Spotlight)

The Environmental Outlook for the EU Emissions Trading Scheme: Sandbag recommendations are:Improve the orderly functioning of the carbon market, Protect the competitiveness of European industry, Increase EU climate ambition. (Spotlight)

Analysis of EU ETS: Strengthening the EU ETS: The decline of the carbon price has significantly reduced the credibility of the EU ETS and virtually eliminated the investment incentives created by the scheme. (Spotlight)

Exporting U.S. Natural Gas: The Benefits Outweigh the Risks": The Progressive Policy Institute (PPI) released a new policy report that examines the liquefied natural gas (LNG) export debate and concludes with policy recommendations that strike a pragmatic balance between the needs of the American economy and legitimate environmental concerns. (Spotlight)

Cooperation is Key to Cope with Energy Supply Interruption in Europe:The European Commission's report on the resilience of the European gas system issued, gives answers to supply interruptions: More gas will continue to be delivered to homes and companies, if Member States cooperate and allow the market forces to work as long as possible. Government intervention should be carefully prepared on a regional basis and only kick in, if needed. The report includes concrete short-term recommendations for the most vulnerable EU Member States and neighboring countries. (Spotlight)

NRC Yucca Mountain Safety Evaluation Report (Utility/Feature): The reportcontains the staff’s finding that the Department of Energy’s repository design meets the requirements that apply after the repository is permanently closed, including but not limited to the post-closure performance objectives in NRC’s regulations. These performance objectives include the requirement that the repository be composed of multiple barriers to isolate radioactivity from the environment.

USDA Invests $1.4 Billion to Improve Rural Electric Infrastructure (Utility/Feature): Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack disclosed $1.4 billion in USDA loan guarantees to improve the delivery of electric power to rural communities in 21 states.

Estimating Energy System Costs of RES and EE Targets in the Context of Energy and Climate Targets for 2030 (Utility/Feature): European policy makers currently shape the 2030 framework for climate and energy policies. This includes the question, whether dedicated targets for renewable energies (RES) and energy efficiency (EE) should be set besides a binding greenhouse gas (GHG) target and which ambition level should be fixed.

New Studies Show That a Higher 2030 Energy Efficiency Target is Cost-Effective (Utility News/Feature): Two studies have surfaced showing that increasing energy efficiency is cost-effective with binding targets, contradicting the European Commission’s impact assessment for the 2030 climate and energy policy framework.

ACER Supports the European Commission’s Call for the Full Implementation of the Third Energy Package (Utility/Feature): In its report the Commission also highlights how the single energy market has started to hake solid shape thanks to the cooperative efforts at European level of national administrations, the energy regulators under the umbrella of the Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators (ACER) and the network operators (ENTSOs).

IETA’s Views on the EU’s Framework for Climate and Energy Policies Post-2020 (Utility News/Feature): IETA endorses the EU’s 2050 vision for a low-carbon economy, and supports a consistent, binding, economy-wide GHG emissions reduction target for 2030 and beyond, while ensuring that the EU ETS remains the central pillar for achieving these targets cost effectively.

Climate Change Can Affect Security Environment, Hagel Says (Utility News/Feature): When there is any natural disaster event that occurs, there always is some element of a security risk -- law and order, individuals attempting to take advantage of those catastrophes, adjusting to shifts in security requirements, said Defense Secretary Hagel.

ERCOT Starts 2013-2014 Retail Demand Response and Dynamic Pricing Project (Utility News/Feature): This report provides estimates of the amount of demand response that is occurring outside of ERCOT’s formal markets for energy and ancillary services and outside of ERCOT’s Emergency Response Service (ERS) program.

Read more...

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