Energy Exchange

Electrifying big trucks and buses could spark a $47B global market

We should thank Ford, GMC and Tesla for capturing the world’s attention with flashy promotions of their upcoming all-electric F-150 pickup, Hummer and Cybertruck. If there’s one thing that will make you think differently about electric vehicles, it’s the image of a Hummer owner plugging in instead of filling up.

But when it comes to electric trucks, the consumer market is just the tip of the iceberg.

The electrification of the medium- and heavy-duty truck sector — everything from semis and delivery vans to transit buses and garbage trucks — is already underway, and analysts say it could spark a $47 billion global industry.

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Posted in Electric Vehicles / Comments are closed

The connection between jobs and addressing orphan oil and gas wells

All across the country right now, there are tens of thousands of officially documented “orphan” oil and gas wells creating environmental hazards for their communities. These are wells that the oil and gas industry walked away from because they became uneconomic over time. Rather than properly sealing them, they left state and federal taxpayers holding the bag. These wells can be big sources of air, water and climate pollution if left unaddressed.

And this is just the tip of the iceberg. There are hundreds of thousands and perhaps millions more of these inactive, unplugged wells that need to be addressed. This is not to mention the potential for adding hundreds of thousands of currently active wells to the orphan well inventory as oil and gas producers struggle to survive the downturn in petroleum prices.

Luckily, efforts are underway in Congress and within the presidential transition plan to address these orphan wells. In his economic plan, President-elect Joe Biden laid out his vision for a cleaner and healthier future.

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Posted in Air Quality, Methane, Natural Gas, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas / Comments are closed

Will Trudeau make good on Canada’s 2025 climate promises?

This piece was originally published in The Hill Times

A lot can change in a short period of time.

Just a few months ago, I lauded Canada’s leadership on climate, in general, and on methane pollution in particular. In 2018, the Trudeau government introduced the world’s first national oil and gas regulations limiting emissions of methane, a powerful climate pollutant intensifying near-term global warming.

Then, in the wake of the global health and economic crisis, Prime Minister Trudeau announced a $1.7 billion Emission Reduction Fund to help put oil and gas workers back to work cleaning up tens of thousands of leaky abandoned wells. The investment combined with a $750 million fund to reduce methane and other pollution from oil and gas infrastructure would create up to 10,000 jobs and help stabilize the climate.

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Posted in Air Quality, Canada, Methane, Methane regulatons / Comments are closed

New report shows truck and bus manufacturers are readying for a zero-emission future

The North American truck and bus market is on the cusp of a zero-emission future. There is a clear and urgent need to drive down pollution from medium- and heavy-duty vehicles, which contribute to climate change and cause serious harm to human health. Companies, transit agencies and other organizations that operate large fleets understand this, and are moving swiftly to zero-emission alternatives. Manufacturers, recognizing the growing demand for zero-emission vehicles, are racing to bring more of these vehicles to market.

A new report from Environmental Defense Fund, The International Council on Clean Transportation and Propulsion Quebec demonstrates the magnitude of manufacturer investments. Race to zero: How manufacturers are positioned for zero-emission commercial trucks and buses in North America shows that every major truck and bus manufacturer is now developing at least one all-electric vehicle model or is part of an industry collaboration to bring zero-emission vehicles to market.

This growth in model availability demonstrates a marked change in an industry that, just a few years ago, had only a handful of zero-emission options on offer.

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

Another study reveals Permian methane levels are abnormally high, reinforcing need for action

By Jon Goldstein and David Lyon

A new peer-reviewed study published today once again confirms the Permian Basin has some of the leakiest oil and gas wells in the country.

For the study, researchers with the University of Wyoming used a mobile methane laboratory to quantify emissions from 46 randomly selected well pads in New Mexico and 25 in Texas. They found those sites are emitting between 5 to 9 times more methane pollution than The Environmental Protection Agency estimates suggest.

This granular look at well pad emissions is a critical part of understanding what is causing the emissions. Earlier this year, EDF used this data to estimate total methane emissions across New Mexico and concluded the state was likely emitting up to one million metric tons of methane per year.

When combined with other measurement techniques, we can get an even clearer sense of the entire region’s methane footprint. The satellite-based TROPOMI methane instrument, as well as aerial surveys conducted through our PermianMAP project — can detect emissions from other types of oil and gas equipment.

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

Two chemicals that remind us why we should exercise caution with the oil industry’s wastewater

Over the past few years, we’ve written a lot about the wastewater generated from oil and gas production — specifically, how little is known about what’s in it and the potential risks of exposure.

But as states try to set standards for how to safely treat and dispose of this waste, there are two chemicals in particular that deserve to be among the regulatory priorities.

The first is a class of synthetic chemicals known as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances — PFAS for short. Members of this class, often referred to as “forever chemicals” because they are highly persistent in the environment, are known to cause adverse health impacts in humans. This can include a range of symptoms, including damage to the immune system, low infant birth weights and cancer.

The second chemical is 1,4-dioxane. Short-term exposure to this carcinogen can cause immediate health impacts, like eye, nose and throat irritation and impaired lung function. Prolonged exposure can lead to liver and kidney damage, as well as cancer.

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Posted in Colorado, Natural Gas, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, produced water, Texas / Comments are closed