Supply Chain Bottlenecks, Permitting Delays for Clean Energy Installation. 

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Today’s Key Takeaways:  Supply chain issues slow clean energy installations.  Oil slides on debt ceiling and OPEC worries.  2022 Memorial Day gas demand lower than 2021.  AI exploring for minerals?  Permitting reforms included in debt ceiling deal. 


Chart: US clean energy installations fall for first time in 5 years
Dan McCarthy, Maria Virginia Olano, Canary Media, May 27, 2023

Clean energy is still the country’s dominant new source of power, but the slowdown is concerning since climate goals demand record installations every year.

For the U.S. energy transition, 2022 was a year that contained multitudes.

On the one hand, the country passed a historic climate law that has already spurred billions in clean energy investment and inspired copycats around the world. On the other hand, U.S. utility-scale clean energy installations dropped for the first time in five years — a worrisome development when the world must set a new record for clean energy deployment every year to meet climate goals.

In 2022, the U.S. installed nearly 26 gigawatts of utility-scale wind, solar and battery storage capacity, according to a new report from American Clean Power, a trade group. That’s down about 15 percent from 2021’s record-setting total of 30 GW, making last year the third-best year for clean energy deployment in the U.S.

The slowdown was the result of a tangle of familiar challenges, including supply-chain bottlenecks, interconnection queues and permitting delays, per ACP. Solar deployment was also hampered by last spring’s solar tariff kerfuffle, which temporarily ground the industry to a halt.



Oil slides 4% on worries about US debt ceiling, OPEC+ talks
Stephanie Kelly, Reuters, May 30, 2023

  • Republicans speak out against US debt-ceiling deal
  • Saudi warns speculators of more pain as OPEC+ meeting looms
  • Russia leaning towards leaving oil output unchanged -sources

NEW YORK, May 30 (Reuters) – Oil prices fell by about 4% on Tuesday on concerns about whether the U.S. Congress will pass the U.S. debt ceiling pact and as mixed messages from major producers clouded the supply outlook ahead of the OPEC+ meeting this weekend.

Brent crude futures fell $3.09, or 4%, to $73.98 a barrel by 11:03 a.m. EDT (1503 GMT). U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude was down $2.84, or 3.9%, from Friday’s close, to $69.83 a barrel. There was no settlement on Monday because of a U.S. public holiday.



Gasoline Demand Over Memorial Day Weekend Lower Than In 2022
Tsvetana Paraskova, OilPrice.Com, May 30, 2023

U.S. gasoline demand over the Memorial Day weekend is estimated to be 1.1% lower than demand for the same weekend last year, despite the surging gas prices at the start of the driving season in 2022, data from fuel-saving app GasBuddy showed early on Tuesday.

“According to GasBuddy data, US gasoline demand over the Memorial Day weekend (Thur-Mon) so far is down 1.1% from 2022. Once Tuesday is complete, we’ll add it to see the total weekend,” GasBuddy’s head of petroleum analysis, Patrick De Haan, said. 

On Memorial Day on Monday, gasoline demand in the United States was down by 3.6% compared to Memorial Day 2022, according to GasBuddy data, De Haan noted.



AI helps find untapped mineral deposits
Staff Writer, Battery Metals/Mining.Com, May 30, 2023

Researchers at the Carnegie Institution for Science and other universities and organizations across the US have developed a machine learning model that can predict the locations of minerals on earth—and potentially other planets—by taking advantage of patterns in mineral associations.

In a paper published in the journal PNAS Nexus, the scientists explain that, for a long time, finding occurrences of specific minerals has been both an art and a science, as the task relies on individual experience, along with a healthy dose of luck.

Their tool, however, uses data from the Mineral Evolution Database, which includes 295,583 mineral localities of 5,478 mineral species, to predict previously unknown occurrences based on association rules. The authors tested their model by exploring the Tecopa basin in the Mojave Desert, a well-known Mars analog environment.

“Mineral association analysis quantifies high-dimensional multi-correlations in mineral localities across the globe, enabling the identification of previously unknown mineral occurrences, as well as mineral assemblages and their associated paragenetic modes,” the article reads.



Debt ceiling deal includes permitting reforms
Emma Dumain, Manuel Quiñones, Nico Portuondo, E & E news, May 27, 2023

The deal between House Republicans and the White House to raise the debt ceiling includes changes to environmental permitting for energy projects, according to people familiar with the details.

Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), in remarks from the Capitol, said negotiators would finish writing the legislation by Sunday for a House vote Wednesday.

“I believe this is an agreement in principle that’s worthy of the American people,” said McCarthy. “It has historic reductions in spending, consequential reforms and will lift people out of poverty into the workforce, rein in government overreach.”

McCarthy did not provide details about the agreement, but people familiar with the provisions, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the language includes review timelines and a lead agency charged with shepherding a project’s environmental review.

The deal includes a one-year deadline for producing environmental impact assessments and a two-year maximum for environmental impact statements. The legislation would also expand an existing program to expedite federal permitting for infrastructure projects.

The bipartisan agreement includes language to ease transmission deployment and address storage for renewable energy development, but the particulars remain under wraps.

It was unclear until Saturday evening whether any permitting changes would make the deal. One person familiar with the discussions said Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (I-Ariz.) got involved in the issue.

Both sides of the aisle are now looking to convince their members to vote on the legislation. Many lawmakers on both the right and left are unlikely to approve.

McCarthy, who held a conference call with House Republicans after his remarks, is looking to sell the deal as forcing Democrats into making tough concessions.

Democrats, for their part, are circulating talking points about the White House not giving in on judicial reviews for energy projects and protecting key portions of the National Environmental Policy Act and other landmark laws.

The deal would raise the debt ceiling into 2024. It would mean roughly flat spending for the next fiscal year.

“The agreement represents a compromise, which means not everyone gets what they want,” said President Joe Biden in a statement. “That’s the responsibility of governing.”