Peru Declares Environmental Emergency in Amazon
After years of being plagued by some of the Amazon's most productive and destructive oil fields, Peru declared an environmental state of emergency this week.
According to Peru's Environment Ministry, contamination from oil fields operated by Argentina-based Pluspetrol has included high levels of lead, barium and chromium in addition to other petroleum-related compounds. Indigenous groups in the Plastaza River basin, including the Quichua and Ashuar, have complained about the pollution for years.
The 90-day emergency orders Pluspetrol to take immediate action to reduce the contamination in the surrounding population, following an $11 million fine levied against the company in January.
"We know that there has been bad environmental behavior by the company," Environment Minister Manuel Pulgar-Vidal said in a radio interview. "If indeed at some point remediation was done, it was not done adequately and that includes inadequate action by the authorities from 2003-2005."
Though the fields have been operated for nearly 12 years by Pluspetrol, the field's previous operator, Occidental Petroleum, had not exactly operated under any better circumstances. Since Pluspetrol took over in 2001, constant oil spills and contamination of local rivers has continued. Unfortunately, in a country lacking requisite environmental quality standards, government has historically failed to address the problem.
“The government is to blame because it has permitted this,” Rep. Marisol Perez Tello told the media.
For the first time, environmental quality standards were set for contaminants in Peruvian soil, published in the Peruvian TV news magazine Panorama on Monday. The country has also lacked an environment ministry until 2008.
Although former president Alan Garcia opened up the Amazon to mining and oil exploration, current President Ollanta Humala has come under immense pressure to reverse some of the damage.
Hydrostor receives $4m funding for A-CAES facility in Canada
Hydrostor has received $4m funding to develop a 300-500MW Advanced Compressed Air Energy Storage (A-CAES) facility in Canada.
The funding will be used to complete essential engineering and planning, and enable Hydrostor to plan construction.
The project will be modeled on Hydrostor’s commercially operating Goderich storage facility, providing up to 12 hours of energy storage.
Hydrostor’s A-CAES system supports Canada’s green economic transition by designing, building, and operating emissions-free energy storage facilities, and employing people, suppliers, and technologies from the oil and gas sector.
The Honorable Seamus O’Regan, Jr. Minister of Natural Resources, said: “Investing in clean technology will lower emissions and increase our competitiveness. This is how we get to net zero by 2050.”
A-CAES has the potential to lower greenhouse gas emissions by enabling the transition to a cleaner and more flexible electricity grid. Specifically, the low-impact and cost-effective technology will reduce the use of fossil fuels and will provide reliable and bankable energy storage solutions for utilities and regulators, while integrating renewable energy for sustainable growth.
Curtis VanWalleghem, Hydrostor’s Chief Executive Officer, said: “We are grateful for the federal government’s support of our long duration energy storage solution that is critical to enabling the clean energy transition. This made-in-Canada solution, with the support of NRCan and Sustainable Development Technology Canada, is ready to be widely deployed within Canada and globally to lower electricity rates and decarbonize the electricity sector."
The Rosamond A-CAES 500MW Project is under advanced development and targeting a 2024 launch. It is designed to turn California’s growing solar and wind resources into on-demand peak capacity while allowing for closure of fossil fuel generating stations.
Hydrostor closed US$37 million (C$49 million) in growth financing in September 2019.