Energy Exchange

Pipeline damage prevention: A win-win for safety and the environment

By Mishal Thadani, Director of Market Development and Policy, Urbint

Every year in the United States, 400,000 excavation projects damage underground infrastructure like water and gas pipes and electric and cable lines. A strategic mix of best practices, good policy and artificial intelligence will drive that number down.

One of the advantages of burying critical infrastructure underground is that it keeps it safely away from people, cars and other things that could cause damage. Though unaffected by most day-to-day human activity, its concealment renders it highly susceptible to excavation damage like road work and construction. Not only can the damage be expensive and inconvenient, it can create safety and environmental threats for local communities.

The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration estimates that excavation damage caused more than 800,000 leaks on distribution pipes over the last 10 years. For natural gas pipes in particular, reducing damage is an opportunity to improve local safety while simultaneously decreasing the emission of methane, a potent greenhouse gas.

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

New analysis shows golden opportunity for New Mexico to dramatically reduce oil and gas methane pollution

By Jon Goldstein and Hillary Hull

A new EDF analysis reveals that, over the next five years, New Mexico policymakers have the opportunity to eliminate up to 60% of methane emissions stemming from the oil and gas industry by implementing a suite of nationally leading controls.

Methane is a potent climate pollutant and the main ingredient in natural gas. Methane that escapes from oil and gas facilities is damaging to the climate and the state’s economy.

Our analysis finds that by implementing leading practices for methane capture, New Mexico can make a serious dent in its headline-making pollution problem, save more than $5 billion worth of natural gas and add more than $730 million to the state budget over the next decade. These measures will protect children’s health and improve education funding for the next generation of New Mexicans.

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Posted in Air Quality, Methane, New Mexico / Comments are closed

Trump’s EPA moves one step closer to dangerous proposal to eliminate methane pollution standards

By Rosalie Winn

Over the last several weeks, widespread reporting has documented the Trump administration’s efforts to undermine the scientific consensus on climate change. Recent reports have shown White House attempts to block a senior state department official’s testimony on climate change, and documents that EDF recently obtained through Freedom of Information Act requests show Trump administration advisor William Happer coordinating closely with the Heartland Institute to discuss work that sought to undermine climate science.

At the same time, the Trump EPA has likely taken another step towards entirely deregulating a powerful climate pollutant. Last week, the Trump EPA sent to the Office of Management and Budget a proposal that is expected to entirely eliminate direct regulation of methane from the oil and gas sector — an action that is starkly at odds with the overwhelming body of scientific evidence on the harmful nature of methane pollution and one that even some of the biggest industry leaders have come out publicly against.

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

Industrial methane emissions are underreported, study finds

By Amanda Garris

Emissions of methane from the industrial sector have been vastly underestimated, researchers from Cornell and Environmental Defense Fund have found.

Using a Google Street View car equipped with a high-precision methane sensor, the researchers discovered that methane emissions from ammonia fertilizer plants were 100 times higher than the fertilizer industry’s self-reported estimate. They also were substantially higher than the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimate for all industrial processes in the United States.

“We took one small industry that most people have never heard of and found that its methane emissions were three times higher than the EPA assumed was emitted by all industrial production in the United States,” said John Albertson, co-author and professor of civil and environmental engineering. “It shows us that there’s a huge gap between a priori estimates and real-world measurements.”

The researchers’ findings are reported in “Estimation of Methane Emissions From the U.S. Ammonia Fertilizer Industry Using a Mobile Sensing Approach,” published May 28 in Elementa. The work was funded in part by a grant from the Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future’s joint research program with EDF. Read More »

Posted in Climate, Methane / Comments are closed

Illinois’ Clean Energy Jobs Act taps power of energy efficiency

By Christie Hicks and Andrew Barbeau

This post is the fourth in our CEJA series.

The rollout of Illinois’ Clean Energy Jobs Act (CEJA) has focused attention on the bill’s four main pillars: a 100% renewable energy target by 2050, the decarbonization of the state’s power sector by 2030, the electrification of the transportation sector and a focus on equity and economic justice.

But there’s a hidden gem of an opportunity in the bill that is just as promising as solar panels and electric cars: energy efficiency.

Energy efficiency programs and technology are among the most cost-effective routes to lower climate emissions and energy bills. And just like solar, wind and other clean energy tools, it’s a job creator. CEJA recognizes and capitalizes on that potential.

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Posted in CEJA, Energy Efficiency, Ohio / Comments are closed

Equity, innovation can be part of Illinois’ efforts to electrify transportation

By Christie Hicks and Andrew Barbeau 

This post is the third in our CEJA series

As Illinoisans consider ways to drive down pollution and the costs of energy, one place to look is what they drive.

The transportation sector has now overtaken the power sector as the leading source of carbon pollution in Illinois, responsible for nearly one-third of all carbon emissions. Any state-level climate action must address transportation emissions.

That is why electrification of the transportation sector is one of the four key pillars of the newly-introduced Clean Energy Jobs Act (CEJA). By incentivizing electric vehicles (EVs), mass transit and other transportation alternatives, we can remove the equivalent of a million gas and diesel-powered vehicles from the road. Doing so will have immediate air quality benefits, especially in low-income communities and communities of color that bear the biggest burden of this pollution.

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Posted in CEJA, Clean Energy, Electric Vehicles, Illinois / Comments are closed