Energy Exchange

Puerto Rico communities and Energy Bureau chart path to a clean, resilient future

En español

Last month marked a major victory in Puerto Rico’s pursuit of a reliable and sustainable energy system, as the Puerto Rico Energy Bureau issued its resolution on the long-term plans laid out by the Electric Power Authority.

Thanks to the long-standing engagement of local communities and vigorous advocacy from an array of organizations on the island, regulators in San Juan issued an order largely responsive to public calls to accelerate renewables, reject fossil fuels and embrace distributed energy generation via innovative solutions like microgrids and virtual power plants.

The Energy Bureau’s order on the Integrated Resource Plan, which will guide the development of Puerto Rico’s energy resources over the next two decades, puts the archipelago’s energy future on a cleaner, more resilient path with a renewed emphasis on accountability, transparency and customer-centric solutions.

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Posted in Clean Energy, Puerto Rico, Renewable Energy, Solar Energy / Comments are closed

Las comunidades locales y el Negociado de Energía de Puerto Rico trazan la ruta hacia un futuro limpio y resiliente

En inglés

El mes pasado marcó una gran victoria para el progreso hacia un sistema de energía fiable y sostenible en Puerto Rico, debido a que el Negociado de Energía de Puerto Rico emitió su resolución sobre los planes a largo plazo establecidos por la Autoridad de Energía Eléctrica (PREPA por sus siglas en inglés).

Gracias al compromiso que las comunidades locales han mostrado desde hace tiempo, y a la enérgica defensa de una serie de organizaciones en el archipiélago, los reguladores de San Juan emitieron una orden que responde en gran medida al llamado público para acelerar el uso de energía renovable, rechazar los combustibles fósiles y adoptar la generación de energía distribuida a través de soluciones innovadoras como microrredes y plantas de energía virtual.

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Posted in Clean Energy, Puerto Rico, Renewable Energy, Solar Energy / Comments are closed

BP, Shell and investment giants call for Texas zero flaring regulations. Will others follow?

The first time I saw a natural gas flare in the oilfield was in 2015. Our team at Environmental Defense Fund was beginning to study methane emissions and collaborate with companies to solve the problem. Early one morning, we loaded into a van with industry collaborators and technology entrepreneurs, venturing out into the Eagle Ford Shale in south Texas.

Outside the van windows, flares dotted the landscape. A company representative explained that natural gas, or methane, was being burned on the spot rather than sent on for productive use in the economy. Why? Because there was no infrastructure in place to handle the gas coming from the region’s wells, most of which were built to produce only oil for market.

The good news, he explained, was that the problem was just temporary. Infrastructure would soon catch up with oil well drilling. The flares would soon be extinguished for good.

But more than five years later, flares are still burning nonstop.

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

Tax credits for carbon capture? Not without these 3 important rules.

By Adam Peltz and Scott Anderson

Removing carbon emissions from the air — a process known as carbon capture, utilization and sequestration — is one of the most important things we can do to battle climate change, and the Internal Revenue Service is currently developing regulations around tax incentives that could make or break the success of U.S. efforts to do this effectively.

CCUS is a suite of technologies that can capture carbon dioxide from the air and industrial sources. Companies can either reuse carbon dioxide or permanently store it in deep underground rock formations. The International Energy Agency estimates that by 2050, 9% of all necessary climate mitigation will come from CCUS activities. In other words, most versions of a carbon neutral economy will include a healthy amount of capturing carbon dioxide and putting it underground.

But CCUS can be a climate solution only if the carbon is securely stored once removed from the atmosphere. Any regulation or tax incentive offered to companies who practice CCUS must assure that.

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Posted in Carbon capture, Climate, Natural Gas / Comments are closed

A stronger CEJA will help combat dirty fuel and dirty money

We have written on many occasions about the need for the Clean Energy Jobs Act (HB3624/SB2132). This legislation — widely considered to be the boldest climate bill currently pending in any state — empowers communities and protects the environment and consumers’ pocketbooks.

The bill was worthy of passage the moment it was introduced in February 2019. Since then, it has become even more evident that the bill should be adopted, especially in the wake of COVID-19. CEJA would have an enormous impact on the job market at a time of high unemployment, and it will generate billions of dollars in state and local tax revenue at a time when these dollars are desperately needed.

With this much going for it, promoters of CEJA would have been easily justified in leaving the bill as is. This is especially true given that it enjoys overwhelming public support, with 82% of Illinoisans backing the bill in a recent poll.

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Posted in CEJA, Clean Energy, Energy Efficiency, Illinois / Comments are closed

Texas oil and gas regulators offer a weak fix to flaring

This post was originally published in The Dallas Morning News

After months of promising talk about curbing the oil and gas industry’s wasteful and polluting flaring habit, the Texas Railroad Commission unveiled a plan that does little to fix the problem. Despite calls from mineral owners, the public and even some in the industry itself to end routine flaring, the commission instead embraced largely empty measures advanced by an oil and gas trade group.

Flaring, setting fire to natural gas produced as an oil byproduct, is a colossal waste of resources and releases both carbon dioxide and methane into the atmosphere. In recent years, the Railroad Commission has served as little more than a rubber stamp for oil and gas flaring in Texas. Since 2013, operators have obtained 35,000 flaring permits without a single denial.

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Posted in Air Quality, Methane, Methane regulatons, Natural Gas, Texas / Comments are closed