By: John Hall, Texas state director, clean energy, and Colin Leyden, senior manager, state regulatory & legislative affairs – natural gas
When it comes to clean air and clean energy, Texas cities – and their encompassing counties – know what’s good for them.
San Antonio’s Bexar County Commissioners, for example, recently approved a resolution supporting the nation’s first-ever limits on carbon pollution from power plants, the Clean Power Plan.
Bexar County includes the City of San Antonio and adjoining areas. By endorsing the plan, the broader San Antonio community joins Texas’ largest cities Houston and Dallas, whose mayors are also supporting the sensible, cost-effective clean air measure. (In fact, Houston and Dallas filed an amicus brief together with a large coalition of cities to support the Clean Power Plan in court).
All of this comes in the face of staunch opposition from Texas state leaders, who have used taxpayers’ money to sue the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) over these safeguards. Meanwhile, Bexar County Judge Nelson W. Wolff and commissioners passed the resolution unanimously, meaning members from both sides of the aisle put politics aside and voted for healthier air for our communities and families. Read More »
Each month, the Energy Exchange rounds up a list of top clean energy conferences around the country. Our list includes conferences at which experts from the EDF Clean Energy Program will be speaking, plus additional events that we think our readers may benefit from marking on their calendars.
Top clean energy conferences featuring EDF experts in May:
Each year, RPA brings together more than 1,000 civic and business leaders from around the New York metropolitan area to discuss major issues affecting the prosperity and quality of life in the region. This year’s assembly includes preliminary recommendations of the Fourth Regional Plan: a long-range vision for the shared prosperity of the New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut metropolitan region. It will also outline actions the region should take to ensure sustainability, good governance, and shared prosperity over the next 25 years.
Washington Post science writer Chris Mooney weighs in today with a deep-dive on rising methane emissions from America’s surging natural gas production, calling it “most important mystery about U.S. climate change policy.” This story is just the latest to highlight the need to address this urgent climate threat. It follows Bill McKibben’s compelling piece in the Nation exploring the same question and suggesting methane has overwhelmed the benefits of carbon dioxide reductions.
McKibben raises a crucial question, one we’ve spent a lot of time looking at ourselves. He’s right that methane is one of the most pressing fronts in the fight against disastrous warming, and one of the many reasons we need to speed the transition to clean energy. But we are more hopeful than Bill is about prospects for effectively addressing the methane problem in the meantime.
Big Problem, Critical Opportunity
Oil and gas methane emissions are a huge threat. But the very same properties that make methane such a danger to the climate also mean it’s an opportunity — a chance to reduce the rate of temperature increase in the next two decades while we simultaneously do the hard work of reducing CO2 emissions. Tackling methane is the single most impactful move we can make to alter the trajectory of climate change we experience now, even as we continue to accelerate the shift to low- and zero-carbon energy. Read More »
Electricity markets around the world are transforming from a model where electricity flows one way (from electricity-generating power plants to the customer) to one where customers actively participate as providers of electric services. But to speed this transformation and maximize its environmental and cost benefits, we need to understand how customer actions affect the three distinct parts of our electric system: generation, transmission, and distribution. Read More »
Drive by an oil or gas well pad, and it may not look like much — a couple of storage tanks, some pipes, maybe a see-sawing pump jack. But fly over one of these facilities with an infrared camera and you might see something different: methane pollution.
We did exactly that for a new study accepted today in Environmental Science and Technology. In the largest sample size of any methane emissions study to date, we hired one of the nation’s most experienced leak detection companies to fly a helicopter over 8,000 well pads in seven regions across the country using infrared technology to capture images of methane and other pollutants. The goal was to better characterize the prevalence of “super emitters” – the large, enigmatic sources responsible for a big portion of industry’s methane pollution – so we could figure out how to stop them.
Ongoing fallout from the catastrophic failure at the Southern California Gas Company’s Aliso Canyon storage facility is exposing a critical weakness in the state’s energy system. Overdependence on natural gas – and on one provider of that gas – means we don’t have the flexibility we need to cope if things go wrong. And now that they have gone wrong, because of SoCalGas’ mismanagement of the Aliso Canyon storage facility, a group of state agencies says the region could be facing power shortages this summer as a result.
A new report released today by the California Energy Commission (CEC), California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), California Independent System Operator (CAISO,) the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) and Southern California Gas (SoCalGas) describes the problem. While a separate report released by CEC, CPUC, CAISO and LADWP, begins to lay out the short-term response plan. (Some of the efforts already under way are documented here, here, and here). Read More »
From time to time, the Energy Exchange blog includes posts from infrequent contributors, such as other EDF scientists and staff. Since these authors vary, we use this standard author bio profile for guest posts. For more information about this author, please see his/her link at the beginning of the post.
About this Blog
EDF's energy experts discuss how to accelerate the transition to a clean, low-carbon energy economy.