Smuttynose Brewery in New Hampshire uses clean energy incentives to succeed.
By Roger Stephenson, EDF’s senior adviser for New Hampshire affairs
In New Hampshire, the clean energy economy is at a crossroads. On one hand, the legislature and governor remain ambivalent at best about clean energy and its role in our state moving forward. But local businesses are confident that renewable energy and energy efficiency choices already are making a positive impact. And many are calling for clean energy policies in the state to be strengthened.
Several owners were kind enough to share their time and explain what clean energy means to them and their businesses. Through a series of videos, Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) is now sharing those stories with lawmakers, fellow business community leaders, and the clean energy sector.
Last fall, EDF sought out businesses that were growing, competing, and thriving in the Granite State with the help of existing clean energy policies. We worked closely with The Nature Conservancy, New Hampshire’s Community Development Finance Authority, and the NH Clean Tech Council.
The search did not take long: Manufacturers; restaurants; construction companies and hotels; advanced manufacturing facilities; and Main Street mom and pops are investing in their competitive future with clean energy.
Here are two samples of these enlightening clean energy videos. Read More
By Jon Goldstein and Ben Ratner
Much ink has been spilled recently about big new oil and gas investments in the Permian Basin across West Texas and Southeastern New Mexico. What some are dubbing “Permania” includes a more than $6 billion investment by ExxonMobil in New Mexico acreage and an almost $3 billion one by Noble Energy across the border in Texas, among others. But a large question remains: will these types of big bets also come with the needed investments to limit methane emissions?
It’s not just an academic question. The answer will go a long way toward revealing if industry actors plan to operate in a way that serves the best interest of local communities and taxpayers. Unfortunately, New Mexico is currently the worst in the nation for waste of natural gas resources from federal lands (such as those that are found in large parts of the state’s Permian Basin). Largely avoidable venting, flaring and leaks of natural gas from these sites also puts a big hole in taxpayers’ wallets, robbing New Mexico taxpayers of $100 million worth of their natural gas resources every year and depriving the state budget of millions more in royalty revenue that could be invested in urgent state needs like education. Read More
By Andrew Williams and Isabel Mogstad
For decades, the polluter lobby has argued that environmental regulations are too costly and kill jobs. A new report out today is calling their bluff.
The report, from international consulting firm Datu Research, looks at a sector of the economy that focuses on finding and fixing oil and gas leaks – which contribute to climate change, waste energy, and damage local air quality. A growing number of states have been requiring companies to reduce emissions by regularly checking their equipment for leaks. In those regions, companies that provide pollution control services have grown up to 30%.
This could mean big things for Pennsylvania – which has committed to implementing its own oil and gas pollution protections targeted at cutting methane from new and existing natural gas infrastructure. Read More
By Andrew Barbeau, senior clean energy consultant
How does the electric utility fit in to a rapidly-evolving energy system? That’s what the Illinois Commerce Commission is trying to determine with its new effort, “NextGrid.” Together, we’re rethinking the roles of the utility, the customer, and energy solution providers in a 21st-century electric grid.
In some ways, NextGrid will follow in the footsteps of New York’s innovative Reforming the Energy Vision (REV) process, a multi-year effort to re-examine how electric utilities and customers interact. A new approach is essential to accelerating the adoption of clean energy technologies and services in the state.
Like REV, NextGrid is gaining national attention for stakeholder-driven processes to reveal new ways to value distributed energy resources (DER), like rooftop solar and batteries. New York and Illinois’ efforts also seek alternatives to simply building more and more wires, poles, and power plants to meet the energy needs of tomorrow.
Yet, Illinois is may go a few steps beyond New York, creating a comprehensive framework for utilities to measure how DER are making the grid smarter and more efficient. Here is what we know will happen so far.
By Joe Rudek and David Lyon
A new peer-reviewed paper in Environmental Science and Technology suggests that methane emissions from natural gas power plants and oil refineries may be significantly higher than accounted for in current inventories. The report estimates average hourly methane emissions 11 to 90 times higher for refineries, and 21 to 120 times higher for natural gas power plants than those calculated from data provided by facility operators to Environmental Protection Agency’s Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program.
By multiplying total CO2 emitted annually by all US natural gas power plants and refineries (as tallied by EPA) by the methane-to-CO2 emission ratio determined in the study, the authors estimate yearly methane emissions from the nation’s refineries and gas-fired power plants are twenty times higher than currently reported. Read More