“Robot Overlords” don’t know where copper comes from.  Team Tshibaka/Palin.

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Today’s Key Takeaways:  Massive influx of energy storage by 2030.  Cook Inlet oil critical supply for in-state refineries.   IGU to truck LNG from AK North Slope. ChatGPT fails simplest of mining tests. Kelly Tshibaka and Sarah Palin team up to repeal ranked choice voting in Alaska. 


This Will Be The Decade Of Energy Storage, Woodmac Believes
Bojan Lepic, Rigzone, January 24, 2023

The 2020s will be remembered as the energy storage decade. By 2030, the installed energy storage is supposed to increase fifteen-fold when compared to 2021.

At the end of 2021 about 27 gigawatts/56 gigawatt-hours of energy storage was installed globally and by 2030, that total is expected to increase to 411 gigawatts/1,194 gigawatt-hours.

A report made by Woodmac and Sungrow stated that an array of drivers is behind this massive influx of energy storage. Arguably the most important driver is necessity – by 2050, nearly 90 percent of all power could be generated by renewable sources. Sufficient energy storage will be vital to balance such large volumes of variable generation from wind and solar.

In the US, public policy is also an important driver of more ambitious energy storage deployments. The recently-passed Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) delivers much-needed certainty to the energy storage market by providing a 30 percent Investment Tax Credit (ITC) for the next decade for projects that pair solar-and-storage as well as standalone storage installations. In the past, only solar-plus-storage projects qualified for the ITC.

After the passage of the IRA, Wood Mackenzie upgraded its US energy storage market forecast to over 191 gigawatt-hours between the years 2022 and 2026.



Oil production in Cook Inlet will continue to decline as North Slope holds steady, state says
Sabine Poux, KDLL, January 23, 2023

Alaska is expecting to see an average of 501,000 barrels of oil produced per day on its lands and waters through the next five years — representing a slight increase due to an expected new slate of projects on the North Slope. That’s according to a presentation from the Alaska Division of Oil and Gas to the Alaska House Finance Committee today.

Travis Peltier is a petroleum reservoir engineer with the division. He told committee members the vast majority of oil production in Alaska — about 492,000 barrels per day — will come from the North Slope.

But he said the few thousand barrels per day produced in Cook Inlet have an important use in the state.

“Oil from the Cook Inlet basin is critical to the supply of in-state refineries,” Peltier said. “So a lot of usage comes out of the oil that we generate in the Cook Inlet itself.”

The production forecast is part of a group of presentations requested at the start of each legislative session, to help the legislature determine how to shape the budget for the next fiscal year.

Oil production in Cook Inlet doesn’t factor much into the state’s budgeting process, since it contributes relatively little revenue.

The basin produced an average 9,406 barrels of oil a day in the last fiscal year, according to the division’s presentation, down from a recent peak of 16,585 barrels in FY2016. The division estimates those numbers to hold somewhat steady over the next five years, with a gradual decline over the next decade.



Fairbanks utility signs deal to buy liquefied natural gas trucked from the North Slope
Alex DeMarban, Anchorage Daily News, January 23, 2023

Amid concerns over future supplies of natural gas from Cook Inlet, a small Fairbanks utility has signed unprecedented agreements with affiliates of Hilcorp to buy gas trucked from Alaska’s North Slope oil fields.

An official with the Interior Gas Utility said that the uncertain outlook for gas from Cook Inlet prompted it to find a new solution.

On Wednesday, the utility inked agreements with Hilcorp North Slope, the operator of the huge Prudhoe Bay oil field, and Harvest Alaska LNG, a subsidiary of petroleum shipper Harvest Midstream, a Hilcorp affiliate.

The agreements call for the construction of a small gas-liquefaction plant near Deadhorse, the industrial town that’s the jumping-off point for North Slope oil fields. At the plant, natural gas will be chilled into a liquid, called liquefied natural gas or LNG.

Truck shipments of LNG to Fairbanks, a distance of 500 miles largely along the gravel Dalton Highway, could begin as early as late 2024, said Elena Sudduth, head of public relations for the Interior Gas Utility.

The utility is small but growing, she said. It distributes natural gas for home and residential heating in Fairbanks and North Pole.

Sudduth said the deal is historic because it will be the first time that North Slope natural gas has been shipped out of the region for sale. A small amount of North Slope gas is already being used by North Slope communities, she said.



ChatGPT doesn’t know where the world’s copper comes from, AI images show mining stuck in the Great Depression
Frik Els, Mining.Com, January 20, 2023

There’s no shortage of breathless reports about the latest advances in artificial intelligence ushering in the 4th industrial revolution (whatever that is) and changing the world of work forever. 

Even the most skilled workers are supposed to fear for their jobs as chatbots like ChatGPT answer questions and solve problems that would take humans hours or days, instantly. Likewise, image generators like Midjourney can interpret our world and provide cutting edge visuals on any topic or peer into the future. 

  Time to meet your new robot overlords.

A simple prompt to OpenAIs ChatGPT suggests machine learning needs a bit more study time. The same question was asked multiple times and weeks apart in case the millions of conversations since the natural language bot was opened to the public may have taught it something. 

It still got the simplest of questions on mining’s most important metal wrong. 

A quick crosscheck with the USGS bible finds not only the country level production volumes to be wrong (China has never produced more than 2 million tonnes in a year, the Chile figure is off by a half a million tonnes) but there is also a glaring omission. 

Where is the Congo? If the fact the USGS uses “Congo (Kinshasa)” to name the country threw it off, it’s a rudimentary mistake. The DRC produced 1.6m tonnes in 2020 – that’s a lot of metal to go missing. 



Signature drive begins to rid Alaska of ranked choice voting
Liz Ruskin, Alaska Public Media, January 24, 2023

Alaska Lt. Gov. Nancy Dahlstrom has certified an application for a petition that, if successful, would get rid of the state’s ranked choice voting system and non-partisan primary.

Sponsor Art Mathias wants to go back to the traditional election, where a candidate from each officially recognized party has a spot on the general election ballot in each race. 

He said the new system forced candidates to hold their tongues, to avoid rankling the supporters of their opponents.

“You got to be nice to them, or they won’t rank you second. They won’t rank you third,” Mathias said. “If you do anything, any disagreement with the other people and their views, they’re not gonna like you and their people aren’t going to rank you second or third. It shuts down all free expression.”

At the same time, Mathias blames the new election system for making Alaska politics meaner.

“It was the primary season that lasted the entire election cycle,” he said. “Just dirty nastiness the entire time. And no honest exchange of ideas.”

Alaska voters adopted the new voting system in 2020 and used it for the first time in 2022. Proponents of ranked choice voting and the non-partisan primary say the new system tends to produce consensus candidates as it curbs extremism on the left and right. Fans say it encourages civil discourse and gives candidates an incentive to appeal beyond their base of voters.

Mathias’s group, Alaskans for Honest Elections, is now waiting for its petition booklets and then will have a year to collect nearly 27,000 signatures to put the measure on the ballot in 2024. The group plans to launch its campaign with an event on Feb. 16.