By Jayant Kairam and Timothy O’Connor.
Adding insult to injury, Californians learned this spring that the disastrous four-month methane leak at the sprawling Aliso Canyon natural gas storage facility could result in a new problem: outages.
The failure at Southern California Gas Company’s massive storage site exposed a critical weakness in the state’s energy system. Densely populated Southern California is over-dependent on natural gas from a single provider.
As a result, a vast area stretching from San Diego in the south to Los Angeles and San Bernardino County in the east may face power and gas shortages during the hot summer and cold winter months, a recent report by a group of state regulatory agencies warned. Read More
By Mark Brownstein and Steve Hamburg
An organization in North Carolina this week asked the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to examine questions about the accuracy of measurements from a device used in two of the large and growing list of studies published in recent years quantifying the enormous amounts of methane released into the atmosphere by the U.S. oil and gas industry each year.
That long list of studies is a major reason why EPA recently increased its official estimates of industry emissions by 34 percent, and why the agency is pursuing new rules to start fixing the problem. In fact oil and gas methane emissions have moved from obscurity to center stage with remarkable speed, thanks to rush of compelling data.
The particular papers at issue were written by a team of scientists led by Dr. David Allen of the University of Texas. They are among of a group of studies on oil and gas industry methane emissions organized and coordinated by EDF. Possible complications involving a piece of sampling equipment (among several that were used) have been discussed by researchers in both academic literature and the news media for more than a year. You can read the blog that EDF wrote on it back in 2015 here. Read More
Posted in General Tagged Methane
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 June:
June 19-21: Citizens’ Climate Conference & Lobby Day (Washington, D.C.)
Speaker: Michael Panfil, Director of Federal Energy Policy and Senior Attorney
- Citizens’ Climate Lobby is a non-profit, non-partisan, grassroots advocacy organization focused on national policies to address climate change. Attendees will hear speakers and receive training to speak on this issue on behalf of future generations. The conference’s keynote speaker is Dr. Michael Mann, Distinguished Professor of Atmospheric Science at Penn State University and director of the Penn State Earth System Science Center. In 1998, it was his research – conducted with Raymond Bradley and Malcolm Hughes – that led to the famous “hockey stick” graph that shows the alarming rise in average global temperatures during the 20th Century.
John A. Nicholson, Col., USMC (Ret), and EDF consultant (fourth from left), pictured with fellow Board members of the NC Heroes Fund, which provides grants to service members and their families who are experiencing financial difficulties as they transition from active duty back into civilian life.
By: John A. Nicholson, Col., USMC (Ret), and EDF consultant
I cringed when I read this quote, attributed to a senior military representative in Scientific American. I understood what he was trying to say, but the sound bite could easily be misinterpreted.
The Department of Defense (DoD) most certainly “does green,” and it has for some time now. At the highest level of leadership, there is recognition that energy and environmental conservation is important. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have reinforced and brought to the forefront the importance of energy planning and, more importantly, its use and integration by our deployed forces. Furthermore, improved energy planning and use has played a significant role in reducing costs and improving the efficiency, resiliency, and security of military bases, facilities, and other installations that prepare DoD forces for their missions. Read More
By: Roger Stephenson, EDF’s Senior Advisor for New Hampshire Affairs
New Hampshire’s solar industry has an opportunity to stand as an example of the economic gains and consumer savings that are possible when lawmakers reach across the aisle.
But the state’s public utilities commission must act quickly and responsibly.
Earlier this year, Republican and Democrat state lawmakers reached across the aisle to move forward on clean energy “net metering” legislation allowing the solar industry to continue growing in the state. (As many readers of this blog know, net metering is a policy that allows solar-equipped businesses and homes to sell their unused solar energy back to the grid.)
As it has in many other states, the solar industry in New Hampshire has seen tremendous growth in recent years. There are more than 73 solar related companies in New Hampshire, employing about 770 people. Last year, more than $45 million was invested in solar installation in the Granite State. But also, like other states, New Hampshire remained handcuffed by policies that stacked the deck in favor of legacy utilities and kept solar energy from truly taking off. Read More
By: Jayant Kairam and Jorge Madrid
American cities have made excellent progress in installed solar. For example, the top 20 solar cities, which account for less than a 0.1 percent of total land area, account for six percent of solar capacity. But what’s really exciting is the potential, which is figured to be nearly 1,200 GW, or enough power 790 million homes a year – more than double the current population. If we are able to tap this potential and harness more of our power from this clean, renewable resource, we could avoid substantial amounts of harmful pollution from the electricity sector.
One huge barrier to utilizing all this potential is “soft costs.” These are costs associated with processing applications, issuing permits, inspections, and regulatory procedures. Laurence Berkeley National Lab finds soft costs related to permitting can increase typical rooftop installation prices by $700 and, combined with other soft cost factors, can increase a system price by as much as $2,500. These additional fees account for 50 to 70 percent of total rooftop solar costs in the U.S. today.
By expediting these processes, cities and third parties can reduce soft costs of solar installation, helping to spread this clean energy resource to more households and communities. Read More