Geoscience Policy Monthly Review
july 2013

The Monthly Review is part of a continuing effort to improve communications about the role of geoscience in policy.
Current and archived monthly reviews are available online.

Subscribe to receive the Monthly Review directly.


Draft Advanced Fossil Energy Solicitation

The Department of Energy (DOE) released its Draft Advanced Fossil Energy Solicitation, outlining a proposed loan guarantee solicitation for innovative and advanced fossil energy technologies that avoid, reduce, or sequester air pollutants or anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions. The program would provide up to $8 billion in loan guarantees. This program is part of President Obama’s Climate Action Plan, which includes actions designed to reduce domestic greenhouse gas emissions. The Draft Advanced Fossil Energy Solicitation offers loans for projects and facilities that employ new or significantly improved technologies compared to current U.S. practices.

The draft lists four main areas for funding consideration: Advanced Resource Development, which includes projects that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions associated with developing fossil fuels. Carbon Capture, which seeks projects to enhance carbon capture technologies at a variety of points during production. Low-Carbon Power Systems, which will include projects that utilize ideas such areas as hydrogen turbines, chemical looping, and coal or natural gas oxycombustion that can integrate with CO2 storage or beneficial reuse. The last area, Efficiency Improvements, seeks projects that will improve the efficiency of fossil-based systems while also reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

A series of public meetings will be held to receive comments on the draft. The public meetings will be held at DOE's Forrestal Building.

DOE releases 2013 Annual Plan for Ultra-Deepwater and Unconventional Natural Gas and Other Petroleum Resources Research and Development

The DOE Office of Fossil Energy has released the Ultra-Deepwater and Unconventional Natural Gas and Other Petroleum Resources Research and Development Program 2013 Annual Plan. The goal of the Program is, broadly, to maximize the value of domestic resources of natural gas and other petroleum resources. 

New study indicates "peak oil" driven by demand, not supply

Researchers from Stanford University and the University of California-Santa Cruz have released a study that provides a new perspective on the future of Earth’s oil supply. The study concludes that the demand for oil, rather than the supply, will reach a peak and then begin to decline.

In marked contrast to other peak oil studies that generate a wide range of possible scenarios as the world reaches, and then passes, peak oil production, the team of researchers predict that “limits on consumption by the wealthy, better fuel efficiency, lower priced alternative fuels and the world's rapidly urbanizing population” will decrease the demand for oil before a supply peak is reached.

Those interested can project global oil demand, using the study’s model and their own set of assumptions, located on the Stanford University Environmental Assessment and Optimization Group webpage. Although the study makes no predictions concerning oil prices, its conclusions on customer demand would likely be interesting to the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee which held a hearing on domestic oil production earlier this month. 

Energy efficiency bill revised and reintroduced as vote looms

Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Rob Portman (R-OH) recently revised their energy efficiency legislation, the Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act of 2013 (S. 761), in response to concerns that the original bill would not successfully pass the Senate. The new bill, S. 1392, was introduced on July 30, 2013 and is almost identical to the original bill introduced back in March. The new bill, however, excludes a provision providing state grants to implement energy efficiency standards in buildings. The Senate is expected to consider the bill after the August recess. The Senate has not passed any significant energy legislation since the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (Public Law 110-140).