Volume 5, Issue 30
Welcome to Volume 5, Issue 31 of Currents. In today's e-newsletter, we look at Russia and natural gas, the Abandoned Mine Land Fund, plastics and GHG emissions, China's coal bed methane gas pipelines, aviation fueled by hydrogen, and natural gas and the clean energy future.

We would love to have your feedback about what we considered to be important and why. We hope you enjoy reading.
Co-Editor, Currents
Co-Editor, Currents
"Highly anticipated auction results showed Russia’s state gas giant Gazprom had not booked additional gas transit capacity for November either through the Ukrainian pipeline system or lines into western Europe via Poland."

Why this is important: Western Europe needs more natural gas this winter. Russia is happy to supply it, but only through its new Nord Stream pipeline that goes directly to Germany, under the Baltic Sea. Russia wants to avoid shipping gas through, and paying transit fees to, Ukraine or Poland, as it has for years. Russia sees Europe's gas hunger this winter as an opportunity to force acceptance of Nord Stream and effectively kill or diminish other pipelines. --- David L. Yaussy
"That $11.3 billion influx of funding and fee collection reauthorization hang in limbo, along with the bipartisan infrastructure bill advanced by the Senate in August that contains them, amid Democrats’ negotiations over a larger social spending and climate bill."

Why this is important: The Abandoned Mine Lands fee expired on October 1 and its renewal is held up in the pending Infrastructure Bill. The expired tax paid by coal mining companies is 28 cents a ton for surface mined coal and 12 cents for underground mined coal. The funds are used for reclamation of abandoned mines that need reclamation or water treatment. The Infrastructure Bill would renew the tax at 80 percent of the expired rate for 13 more years. The renewal could provide funds for $4.7 billion in reclamation projects in West Virginia and 1,920 jobs. Currently, the fund has $11.67 billion that will still be spent on reclamation projects. But, $2.21 billion is not spendable as it’s kept for its interest to pay to shore up the United Mine Workers of America’s health care funds. Some groups fear a failure to renew the AML fee could lead to abandoned sites not being reclaimed. --- Mark E. Heath
"Experts say that policymakers do not currently account for the impact plastics currently have on climate change and that the issue is flying under the radar."

Why this is important: Environmentalists are pointing out that plastics production generates greenhouse gases, in addition to plastic waste when products are disposed. GHGs from plastics manufacturing could soon exceed the emissions from coal-fired power plants. There is no mention of what will be done to reduce plastic usage or curb growing demand for plastic products. Until that happens, it's unlikely that emissions from plastics manufacturing will drop any time soon. --- David L. Yaussy
"About 200 million cubic meters of natural gas can be supplied to North China this winter."

Why this is important: China has completed a new coal bed methane gas pipeline. The 623-kilometer pipeline will move 5 billion cubic meters of gas when fully operational. Its initial output will be 200 million cubic meters of gas. Coal bed methane could produce 5 percent of China’s gas needs. China continues to have serious energy shortages and it continues to look at new small-to-medium gas and oil fields to develop. --- Mark E. Heath
“The deal sets a solid timeline for the launch of the first zero emission commercial passenger flights between the UK and the Netherlands."

Why this is important: ZeroAvia is developing a 19-seat airplane that will run entirely on hydrogen, powering fuel cells that presumably will turn propellers. Scheduled service is optimistically predicted for 2024, with flights between Rotterdam and London. Others think there will be no meaningful replacement for carbon fuel in aviation for at least the next 10 years, suggesting that those making flight plans for the future should probably plan on using traditionally-fueled planes until then. --- David L. Yaussy
"With the increased use of more sustainable technology and the continued achievements of associations like One Future, Project Canary, American Natural Gas, and Southern Gas Association, natural gas is set to satisfy both sides of the equation."

Why this is important: Affordable natural gas continues to play an indispensable role in our country's transition to renewable energy sources. Energy produced from natural gas provides a low-cost and reliable base load to back up unstable renewable sources. At the same time, natural gas produces substantially lower greenhouse gas emissions than other fossil fuels through its efficient combustion characteristics as well as improved production technology. Clearly, natural gas is the bridge fuel to a cleaner energy future. --- William M. Herlihy
EIA Energy Statistics
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