Energy Exchange

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

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 

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

Does new NOAA study really show that methane emissions have been overestimated? No.

By David Lyon and Stefan Schwietzke

A new study published this week in the journal Geophysical Research Letters sheds useful light on some of the technical challenges involved in understanding past trends in methane emissions, but the reporting by industry groups and some media outlets describes conclusions that are at odds with what the researchers themselves actually found.

Led by scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the paper itself represents a solid analysis. But some of the secondary interpretations of the work have been vastly over-simplified, downplaying or papering over the substantial emissions increases reported by the authors.

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Posted in Methane, Methane regulatons / Comments are closed

Jobs, equity and economic justice are at the core of new Illinois Clean Energy Jobs Act

By Christie Hicks and Andrew Barbeau 

Illinois has once again put itself at the forefront of the movement to promote a clean energy economy. In March, we wrote about the Clean Energy Jobs Act (CEJA), a groundbreaking bill that Environmental Defense Fund was proud to play a central role in developing.

Like its predecessor, the Future Energy Jobs Act (FEJA), CEJA recognizes that growing the clean energy economy is not just a core solution for climate change. It can also be a vehicle for expanding equitable access to quality jobs, economic opportunity and wealth creation — especially in economically disadvantaged communities and communities of color that have borne the heaviest burden of dirty fossil fuel pollution.

Simply put: jobs, equity and economic justice are at the core of this legislation.

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

This new bill is the next step on Illinois’ path to becoming a clean energy leader

By Christie Hicks and Andrew Barbeau

It’s been just over two years since Illinois enacted the groundbreaking Future Energy Jobs Act (FEJA), which set bold new goals for solar, wind and energy efficiency. Already, substantial gains from FEJA are being seen across the state.

But, a just-completed lottery for renewable energy credits demonstrates that there is a voracious demand for solar and wind energy in Illinois that far exceeds current capacity. Meanwhile, other states are poised to act on clean energy, threatening to catch up with – or pass – Illinois in the race for jobs and investments. This is the precise moment for Illinois to redouble its commitment to renewable energy and claim its spot as an undisputed clean energy leader.

The next important step for Illinois is passing the Clean Energy Jobs Act (CEJA), which will create more clean energy jobs, enhance equity and achieve more reductions in climate and air pollution. CEJA recognizes and addresses many of the challenges workers, customers and members of the community face as we transition away from old, dirty electricity.

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