Energy Exchange

Grinch utilities and regulators spoil holidays by forcing customers to pay billions for Midwest coal plants

Thanks to Midwest utilities, regulators and a pair of unprofitable power plants, electricity customers in Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana will get a lump of coal this holiday season. The owners keep running these plants at a big loss – projected at over $5 billion – resulting in higher electricity prices and polluting power that isn’t needed.

A challenging setup

As part of the Ohio Valley Electric Corporation (OVEC), the two plants sit in southern Ohio and Indiana. Nearly 65 years old, these plants were built to power a plant in Piketon, Ohio that enriched uranium for nuclear weapons for the Cold War. The uranium facility ceased operations in 2001, but the power plants continue on.

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Posted in FirstEnergy, General, Ohio / Comments are closed

Joint venture methane risk is also a climate opportunity

With mounting concern about the state of the climate and increasing speculation about natural gas’ role in decarbonizing energy markets, oil and gas companies face growing scrutiny from the public and investors. Some companies are stepping up with pledges to reduce emissions of methane from their worldwide operations.

But there’s a catch.

As our new analysis, The Next Frontier: Managing Methane Risk from Non-Operated Assets, explains, current commitments by the industry’s most forward-looking companies mostly leave out a vast global network of assets owned by those companies but operated by another.

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Posted in Methane, Natural Gas / Tagged , , | Comments are closed

How congestion pricing can help electrify the city’s bus fleet and improve air quality

By Rory Christian, New York Director, Clean Energy, Environmental Defense Fund, and Adriana Espinoza, New York City Program Director, New York League of Conservation Voters

Tons of ink has been spilled on the woes of the New York City subway system and the congestion pricing solution that would help fund its long-overdue improvements.

But congestion pricing can be much more than just a subway-fixing fund. It could also enable the electrification of the city’s entire bus fleet – a move that would save fuel costs, reduce the city’s carbon emissions and improve air quality for millions of New Yorkers that live, work and learn along the city’s maze of bus routes.

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Posted in Air Quality, Congestion pricing, New York / Comments are closed

One year after corporate methane advocacy commitments, serious doubts emerge

The credibility of recent industry methane commitments is under the microscope.

One year ago, many of the world’s top oil and gas companies publicly committed to support methane policies and regulations to reduce emissions from the global oil and gas industry. But today, serious doubts are emerging about whether the companies will keep their promise in the face of extreme regulatory rollbacks in the largest oil and gas producing nation in the world—the United States.

Companies with significant U.S. production—like BP, Chevron, Equinor, ExxonMobil, and Shell—committed to “advocate sound policy and regulations on methane emissions,” including working “constructively” with governments and others “in the development and implementation of effective methane abatement policies or regulations.” EDF, which worked with industry and others to develop the principles, welcomed the companies’ commitments. We noted that “done right, voluntary action is a way for leaders to raise the bar for industry’s performance, but fair competition and a healthy environment are not possible unless all companies meet the same basic standards that only sensible government regulation can achieve.” The five companies noted above have since joined others in the Oil and Gas Climate Initiative in committing to a voluntary methane target. But government regulations are under threat, creating the imperative for an unequivocal industry response.

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Posted in Methane, Natural Gas / Comments are closed

With dynamic electricity pricing, more data can lead to more savings

By Kim Sha and Ben Liu, clean energy interns

Illinois’ largest utility, ComEd, is almost finished deploying advanced metering infrastructure to its customers. In fact, there are now more than 3.8 million installed smart meters in Illinois, feeding anonymized energy-use data – recorded in half-hourly kilowatt-hours – back from the grid.

How to make use of this unwieldy flood of data and enhance the efficiency of the grid? Our new paper, Modelling Marginal System Costs for the Commonwealth Edison Distribution Network, provides a framework for regulators, utilities and other researchers to begin to examine the insights provided by smart meter data, highlighting opportunities to save money for customers and utilities alike. Specifically, our study shows that under real-time electricity pricing, ComEd customers can save money not only by changing how much electricity they use, but by adjusting when they use it.

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Posted in Ohio, Time of Use / Comments are closed

California aims to hit ambitious climate goals through electrification

It’s been a good couple of weeks for clean energy in sunny California, which continues to move buildings and transportation away from dirty fossil fuels. This increased focus is well-placed: emissions from the transportation sector remain unacceptably high, accounting for nearly 40 percent of harmful pollution in the state; buildings are also a significant contributor, responsible for as much as 25 percent of the state’s emissions. Without committing to the electrification of these sectors – quickly – ambitious greenhouse gas reduction targets in the state will be that much more difficult to achieve. Thankfully, a number of recent developments at the state level prove that California has what it takes to transform these sectors for good.

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Posted in California, Electric Vehicles / Comments are closed