Our Interpretation of the UT Study Still Holds. Here’s Why.

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In 2012, EDF spearheaded its largest scientific pursuit to date—a collaborative 16-study effort designed to better understand how much methane is being leaked across the natural gas supply chain (and from where). In the coming months, we plan to wrap up and summarize that work, packaging all that we have learned from this undertaking and the growing body of work from other researchers.

The first study was led by the University of Texas (UT Study) and found that methane emissions from equipment leaks and pneumatic devices were larger than previously thought. The study also found that techniques to reduce emissions from hydraulically fractured well completions are effective at capturing 99% of the methane that was previously vented to the atmosphere, and provided a data-based example of EPA regulations working.

After publication of the findings from the UT Study, public debate about the results ensued, with one criticism suggesting that the UT Study underestimated emissions because of a possible malfunction of one of the instruments used for measuring emissions, the Hi Flow Sampler. Read More »

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WATCH: New Mexico Residents Cheer BLM for Tackling Methane Waste

Last month the Bureau of Land Management took a much needed step to prevent the oil and gas industry from needlessly wasting American energy resources.

For oil and gas companies operating on public and tribal lands, the new standards will reduce the amount of methane that operators can leak, vent or burn into the atmosphere. These methane emissions result in massive amount of energy waste that translates to lost revenues for federal taxpayers and tribes. One recent analysis suggests that without these standards, taxpayers could lose out on more than $800 million in royalty revenue over the next decade. Read More »

Posted in Air Quality, Methane, Natural Gas| Tagged , | Comments are closed

Groundbreaking Study Shows New Coal Plants are Uneconomic in 97 Percent of US Counties

wind-energy-pixabayAt Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), we understand that market forces can drive either a healthy environment – or harmful pollution. I recently wrote about how generating electricity often creates pollution, which comes with environmental and health costs that are usually not paid for by the polluters. That’s why EDF works to identify and correct market failures, like the failure to understand – as well as account for – all of the costs pollution imposes on society.

The Energy Institute at the University of Texas at Austin (UT) just released a useful tool in that pursuit: a study that aims to capture the full cost of new electric power generation – including environmental and public health costs – on a county-by-county basis in the United States. The study evolves traditional ways of estimating new generation costs by 1) incorporating pollution costs, and 2) breaking data down to the county level.

The results show economics are leading the U.S. to a cleaner energy economy, in which there is no role for new coal plants. Let’s break it down. Read More »

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Illinois’ Future Energy Jobs Bill Shows States are Taking the Lead to Build the Clean Energy Economy

By Andrew Barbeau, senior clean energy consultant

For a breakdown of the bill's renewable energy details, see here.

Two years, three competing major energy reform bills, more than 300 diverse organizations and companies, and countless hours of negotiations have now come down to one important moment: Illinois’ Future Energy Jobs Bill is signed into law today.

A clean energy economic development package of monumental size, the Future Energy Jobs Bill will create thousands of homegrown jobs, save billions of dollars in wasted energy, and secure Illinois’ place at the forefront of the nation’s clean energy economy.

In fact, Environmental Defense Fund’s (EDF) analysis estimates Illinois will see an additional $12 billion to $15 billion in new private investment as a result of the new clean energy priorities in this bill. That’s the greatest economic development package in Illinois in years, and likely will be the largest for the foreseeable future.

It’s also the most significant climate bill in Illinois history. We estimate it will reduce harmful carbon dioxide emissions by more than 33 million metric tons annually in 2030. Combined with the ongoing impact of market changes on the fossil fuel industry, this means Illinois will reduce its carbon emissions by more than 50 percent from 2012 levels by 2030.

Oh, and did I mention customers’ bills will go down? Based on extensive analysis from the Illinois Commerce Commission and Illinois’ consumer watchdog Citizens Utility Board, the Future Energy Jobs Bill’s energy efficiency initiatives will lower customers’ electric bills.

At a time when President-elect Trump is threatening to roll back federal environmental protections, state victories like the Future Energy Jobs Bill are more critical than ever.

That’s the ultimate win, win, win.

At a time when President-elect Trump is threatening to roll back federal environmental protections, state victories like the Future Energy Jobs Bill are more critical than ever. And, with strong bipartisan support in the Illinois General Assembly and being signed into law by a Republican governor, the deal is a clear signal that Illinois is ready to reap clean energy’s economic rewards – even if federal leaders refuse to join us in this endeavor. Read More »

Posted in Energy Efficiency, Illinois, Solar Energy, Wind Energy| Leave a comment

Warning: Unnecessary Pipelines Could Leave Consumers Holding the Bag

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U.S. Natural Gas Pipeline Network, 2009

New oil pipelines are very much in the national spotlight. There’s been less attention on big pipes to transport natural gas. So far, debates over gas pipelines have been mostly local and regional affairs, even though there are dozens of gas pipeline applications pending before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). The traditional concerns with both types of pipelines are largely the same: safety, routing, and environmental impacts

But even before you get to those questions, there’s a more fundamental one we should be asking:  Have the pipeline developers established a true need for the project? Read More »

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10 Clean Energy Facts to Bring Us Together This Holiday Season

rp_solar-photo-300x173.jpgBeing a democrat in Texas – a historically red state – can sometimes result in tense family gatherings around the holidays.

It’s why many of us agree to simply “not talk politics.” But this approach is exactly what’s gotten us where we are today: a divided nation in which neither side understands the other. If we want to heal this divide, we have to start talking about our conflicting points of view – even if it’s uncomfortable.

One way to do this in a respectful, level-headed way (besides having this conversation before the second or third glass of wine) is to bring some facts to family gatherings. Allow the facts – instead of emotional arguments – to speak for themselves.

We still don’t know exactly what a Trump administration could mean for clean energy and the solar or wind industries. But the president-elect has promised to roll back the Clean Power Plan – the nation’s first-ever limits on carbon pollution – and “bring back coal,” both of which could slow our transition to a clean energy economy.

This isn’t just unfortunate for the future health of our kids and grandkids; it’s flat out not what most people want. Over 80 percent of Americans favor expanding renewable sources like wind and solar to provide electricity. Here are a few reasons why that you can bring to family gatherings this holiday season. If you’re going to have a ten-gallon mouth, you may as well fill it with facts.

Read More »

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