Energy Exchange

Maximizing the historic job creation opportunity waiting in our nation’s old and leaking oil and gas wells

After over 150 years of boom and bust oil and gas development, there are over a million inactive, unplugged oil and gas wells across the country. A new study published in the journal Elementa describes how, when not properly plugged, these wells can contaminate groundwater and emit methane as well as harmful chemicals into the atmosphere that endanger the economy and public health in communities where they are found. It also provides suggestions for how to maximize the environmental benefits of efforts to plug these wells.

There are 57,000 documented “orphan” wells across the country, meaning they have no owner of record, at least not one that’s still in business, and hundreds of thousands more orphan wells that are not documented. State, federal and tribal governments are left with the responsibility of plugging these wells – some of which have been abandoned for decades.

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Posted in Methane, Natural Gas, Pennsylvania / Comments are closed

New innovative tool empowers utilities to reduce emissions in investment planning

By Erin Murphy and Christie Hicks

As the United States moves toward decarbonization, cities and states must use all means available to reduce climate pollution, and natural gas utilities should be at the forefront of this rapid energy transition. Gas utilities are the subject of increasing scrutiny because plans to expand and fortify their infrastructure could lock in greenhouse gas emissions and costs for decades. As the industry reckons with its role in a decarbonized future, advocates, utilities and regulators alike are calling for a carefully-managed transition that avoids costly long-term investments. New York has been at the forefront of this effort, seeking to balance ambitious climate goals with outdated natural gas investment planning processes.

To help utility planners align business decisions with environmental targets, EDF engaged MJ Bradley and Associates to develop the Gas Company Climate Planning Tool, an innovative new framework for New York and other states.

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Posted in Gas to Clean, General, Methane, Natural Gas, New York / Comments are closed

New bill will make it easier, cheaper to buy electric trucks and buses

By Michael Colvin and Lauren Navarro

A new bill making its way through the California Legislature has the potential to help accelerate the much-needed transition to electric vehicles.

The law, Senate Bill 372, would create state programs that help owners of medium- and heavy-duty trucks and buses pay for the costs of replacing their diesel-fueled fleets with cleaner, zero-emissions alternatives.

Medium- and heavy-duty trucks create massive amounts of air pollution. This pollution deteriorates air quality and can exacerbate serious health problems for people who suffer from asthma and other respiratory conditions. The pollution is particularly bad along shipping routes and near warehouses, many of which are located in and around low-income communities. So replacing these vehicles with cleaner, zero-polluting versions will immediately improve outcomes for these vulnerable populations.

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Posted in Air Quality, California, Electric Vehicles / Comments are closed

DOE’s SuperTruck 3 can help us reach a zero-emission future – if we have the right clean truck standards too

Cleaning up pollution from the U.S. trucking industry is an urgent need for the country. For the past decade, the Department of Energy’s SuperTruck Program has helped showcase solutions for a cleaner future. Now Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm has announced a new generation of the DOE SuperTruck program – SuperTruck 3 – that will focus on higher efficiency and zero-emission solutions.

Through the SuperTruck 3 program, DOE will provide $162 million in funding to “pioneer electrified medium- and heavy-duty trucks and freight system concepts that achieve even higher efficiency and lower emissions.” The funding focuses on a range of approaches, including all-electric systems, plug-in hybrid systems using renewable biofuels and hydrogen and fuel cell technologies.

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Posted in Air Quality, California, Electric Vehicles / Comments are closed

Fossil fuel industry failed Texans during the freeze, now it’s using the crisis to attack renewables

February’s energy crisis did something no Texas politician has done in decades: It brought Texans together to demand our leaders in Austin fix the flawed energy system that failed so miserably, caused nearly $300 billion in damage and killed more than 200 Texans.

Unfortunately, fossil fuel interests and their willing allies in the Texas Legislature are pushing bills that would have absolutely zero impact on the problems that caused the crisis and would instead place additional costs on producers and customers of electricity generated by solar and wind. The Houston Chronicle called the bills a “cheap shot at renewable energy” and “shameless political opportunism aimed at helping the oil and gas industry profit off Texans’ misery.”

At issue are Senate Bill 1278 and House Bill 4466, companion bills that would force onto wind and solar power generators a disproportionate percentage of ERCOT’s “ancillary service” costs — costs that are currently divided equally among all electricity generators and then passed on to their customers.

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Posted in Clean Energy, Natural Gas, Texas / Comments are closed

Cutting methane emissions from natural gas gives EU global climate leverage

Policymakers around the world increasingly recognize that along with carbon dioxide, cutting emissions of methane is critical for reaching the temperature goal of the Paris Agreement. Methane is a key element in the reinvigorated U.S. climate strategy and — for the first time — discussed in China’s latest five-year plan.

Now the EU has a chance to significantly influence methane emission reductions not only within Europe, but globally.

Methane from human activities is responsible for at least 25% of today’s warming. One of the largest emitters is the oil and gas industry. The European Commission Methane Strategy released last October identifies the global oil and gas sector as the most cost-effective opportunity for methane emission reductions.

The key to the EU’s global methane leverage lies in the continent’s vast gas market. A new policy brief by the Florence School of Regulation and Environmental Defense Fund describes policy pathways to unlock the opportunity, while a separate analysis prepared for EDF by Germany’s Enervis Energy Advisors illustrates how a comprehensive policy could offer far-reaching climate benefits.

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Posted in Europe, Methane, Methane regulatons, Natural Gas / Comments are closed