Monthly Archives: September 2017

This trade dispute could upend America’s booming solar industry. Here’s what it means for you.

If you work in the solar industry, want to buy solar panels or care about climate change, you may want to pay attention.

Two floundering solar manufacturers, with no concerns but their corporate bottom line, are about to pull the rug from under one of America’s fastest-growing industries and tens of thousands of well-paid jobs.

The manufacturers petitioned the U.S International Trade Commission this spring to take action against foreign competitors, claiming overseas rivals export products to America’s solar market at prices they can’t match. This at a time when the United States solar industry as a whole is booming.

In a decision that shook the industry and a host of free-trade advocates, ITC agreed with these single two petitioners and it’s now up to President Trump to decide whether to retaliate with an import tariff or other punitive options.

There’s a good chance he will – and this would be really bad news for American solar companies and consumers alike. Read More »

Posted in Clean Energy, Solar Energy / Read 1 Response

Experts weigh in: we need to learn about chemicals in oilfield wastewater before reusing it outside the oilfield

Oil and gas companies are looking for new ways to reuse salty, toxic wastewater — including crop irrigation.

A recent publication of the Air and Waste Management Association (AMWA) contained a number of articles by academia and industry experts about the many challenges of managing the nearly 900 billion gallons of wastewater (also called produced water) generated every year by oil and gas production. This wastewater is not only very salty but also contains a number of chemicals (many toxic) and potentially radioactive material.

The majority of this wastewater is disposed in deep underground wells to minimize the risks of it coming into contact with humans or the environment (though leaks and spills at the surface are still a big concern). But in hope of lowering costs, in recent years industry has been trending toward finding other ways to either dispose of or recycle this waste – in part because demand for water resources is increasing in drought prone areas and because disposal wells have been linked to a rise in earthquakes.

The articles in AWMA’s magazine suggest that recycling oilfield wastewater to complete new wells is the most viable alternative to traditional disposal methods. Definitely more viable than reusing this water in other ways outside oil and gas operations. Read More »

Posted in Natural Gas, Water / Comments are closed

Massive Pennsylvania gas leak proves industry requires more oversight

Yet again, another energy company is serving up tangible proof that some in the industry fail to take steps to operate responsibly and protect public health from oil and gas pollution.

According to a September 24 Associated Press article, a malfunction at a natural gas compressor station in Northeastern Pennsylvania resulted in a massive gas leak that — in just a few hours — produced more air pollution than most facilities emit in an entire year.

Most Pennsylvanians never know about these types of malfunctions. In fact, if it were not for the AP story, you might not have heard about this leak in part because DTE Energy – the out-of-state energy company that owns the facility – failed to immediately notify the Susquehanna County Emergency Management Agency. Instead, they waited over a week to report the problem to the county and downplayed the magnitude of the episode, referring to it as a merely a “minor” leak. Read More »

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

The power of energy data in Illinois and beyond

The U.S. electricity industry is experiencing unprecedented innovation and change. The grid is getting smarter and customers can play a more active role in how their electricity is made, moved, and used. Between all the initiatives that utilities, cities, and states are pursuing and the new services and products that entrepreneurs are creating, it can be difficult to keep up.

That’s why I enjoy connecting with and learning from colleagues at events like the Demand Response and Distributed Energy Resources World Forum. Held in Costa Mesa, California on Oct. 10-11 this year, the forum brings together stakeholders from across the clean energy industry to discuss the latest technology and business strategies for increasing distributed energy resources – like solar panels and batteries – and demand-side resources like demand response. Read More »

Posted in Data Access, Illinois / Comments are closed

Leading methane commitment from Exxon’s U.S. driller: Why it matters

The degree to which the oil and gas industry can be trusted to play a constructive role in a low carbon future depends in no small measure on whether and how it reduces climate pollution today. That’s why company insiders, investors, and policy makers should take careful note of the sensible and innovative commitments announced by XTO Energy, the ExxonMobil subsidiary that leads the United States in natural gas production.

The industry’s many outside stakeholders both in the U.S. and around the world are increasingly calling for emission reductions and greater commitment to cleaner production. Companies that heed those calls, and advance new technologies, will be much better positioned to answer society demands for responsibility.

Political Pendulum

Unfortunately, the current picture for much of the rest of the industry is less bright. Oil and gas trade associations—of which companies like Chevron, BP, ExxonMobil and many others are members—have  egged on a Trump administration ideologically bent on eliminating national methane safeguards. Read More »

Posted in Methane, Natural Gas / Comments are closed

How Illinois is working toward a cleaner, more equitable energy future

By Tyler Fitch, 2017 EDF Climate Corps Fellow

EDF Climate Corps fellows are designing clean energy solutions that reduce pollution and save money across the country. And at my summer fellowship with Environmental Defense Fund’s (EDF) Midwest clean energy team as a part of the Illinois Clean Jobs Coalition, I pursued ways to make clean energy benefit more than just one bottom line.

My work resulted from the Future Energy Jobs Act, a monumental piece of bipartisan legislation that aims to transform Illinois’ clean energy economy and “benefit all citizens of the State, including low-income [communities].” Those lofty goals were enshrined in law in December 2016, the result of hard work and negotiation from the Clean Jobs Coalition, a group of more than 200 environmental, business, and faith organizations dedicated to promoting clean energy in the state.

The energy landscape is changing in Illinois, and – if the Future Energy Jobs Act achieves what it set out to do – the future will be brighter for everyone. Here’s how. Read More »

Posted in EDF Climate Corps, Energy Equity, Illinois / Comments are closed