Celebrating 10 years covering energy and politics in The Lone Star State. 


“The oil and coal-funded Texas Public Policy Foundation incorrectly claims that this transition to clean energy will hurt New Mexico families’ pocketbooks. The truth is that market forces and technological innovation have already reshaped the way we produce electricity. … Residents of Georgetown, Texas – which has moved to 100 percent renewable power by purchasing its power from the growing wind industry – are seeing massive savings in their electric bills. And the city is attracting businesses from around the country who want to run on clean energy.”

— New Mexico US Senator Martin Heinrich, in an Albuquerque Journal op-ed

The TER Buzz:

International energy issues become more complex

By Alex Mills


April 19, 2019


The world of international energy politics became even more intriguing recently with Russia participating in OPEC, the President of the United States calling on OPEC to increase production because gasoline “is too high,” the rapid increase in oil and natural gas production and exports in the U.S. making it a net exporter for the first time, and the acquisition of a leading oil company by Chevron.

A key factor in all of these activities is the price of crude oil, which has been up and down and up again during the past year. Oil closed on Wednesday on the international Brent exchange at $71.82 and $64.24 on the New York Mercantile Exchange very close to last year’s price.

The road has been bumpy. Prices continued to rise in 2018 until October when they dropped to a low in December but rose again to its current level.

The volatility in price was created by a surplus of oil. The increased production in the U.S. was a significant factor. Annual U.S. crude oil production averaged a record 10.96 million barrels per day (b/d) in 2018, 1.6 million b/d (17%) higher than 2017. Texas was the largest producer with 4.4 million b/d (40%) of the national total in 2018.

The increase in production has allowed exports to rise, also. The Energy Information Administration said on Tuesday exports of crude oil rose to 2 million b/d, nearly double the 1.2 million b/d rate in 2017. Natural gas exports have increased 14 percent in 2018 over 2017 and a remarkable 274 percent since 2008.

The increase in exports from the U.S. contributed to the oversupply in the last quarter of 2018, which caused prices to soften.

The member of OPEC met to talk about options available to stop the price from falling further. Officials from Russia were invited to attend the meeting, and eventually agreed to participate in the production cuts of some 1.2 million b/d. It was the first time Russia had agreed with OPEC to cut production….

“National Astroelectricity” — A Reasonable Proposal to Solve Questions Of Our Energy Future?

Avoiding politics but considering all available power sources to date, one engineer says he’s convinced that a smooth transition to sustainable energy must include all of the above for a certain period of time, but the commitment to controlling climate change will eventually require space-based multi-GW solar panels


April 17, 2019


The United States can maintain energy independence and still hold off much of the effects of global warming while still enjoying stable economic and civil systems through planning, ingenuity and use of new technologies — among them, space-based geo-synchronized solar panels that can link electricity to the Earth below along with sustainable electric power to generate synthetic carbon fuels.

That’s the contention in a proposal by a professional engineer and Associate Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, who says he believes the US has appropriately avoided joining the Paris Climate Agreement but still has an obligation to address climate change and can do so efficiently by the year 2100….

Nanosystems Research Yields Device That Can Extract Electricity from Falling Snow

No, seriously — there is electrostatic energy in falling snow, so why not create an opposite charge in a device that can harness the reaction and generate a little power to augment solar during low-generating winter storms?


April 17, 2019


Researchers at the Nanosystems Institute at UCLA are looking ahead — way ahead — for ways to enhance the electricity-generating power of solar panels and one new hope is a device that creates electricity from falling snow….

“Cutting Edge” Smart Cities and Electrical Distribution Systems Research At UTSA to Continue With New Funding

Research grant to augment already-cutting edge research at UTSA into integration of sensitive data-based energy use systems for lowering electricity usage in urban office buildings and in Smart City electricity distribution networks


April 17, 2019


A research grant will help a University of Texas at San Antonio assistant professor achieve his “long-term career goal” of deep research into more holistic approaches to creating energy-efficient “smart cities” after having already developed a commercially-viable data-based power-saving system for urban commercial buildings….