Energy Exchange

A clear path to protecting Texas from the next weather crisis

By Colin Leyden and John Hall

The aftermath of the storm we just endured will linger a lot longer than the average Texas winter.

At least 80 people died. Millions of families lost power and water service as broad swaths of our critical infrastructure froze up. Families, businesses and cities are still tallying the damage, but this crisis could surpass Hurricane Harvey’s $125 billion price tag and become the most expensive natural disaster in Texas history. Our most vulnerable communities were hit hardest by outages, and, in a cruel twist, some Texans (many of whom lost service during the crisis) are facing exorbitant electric bills because of disaster-induced market volatility.

This week, Texas began to pick up the pieces, identify what went wrong, and develop a plan to protect our citizens from extreme weather crises in the future.

Texans are mad, and we deserve to be. Preparation could have avoided this disaster. Texas leaders knew what to do, and they didn’t do it.

Texans deserve a comprehensive analysis of what happened, why it happened, and what state leaders and energy industry participants will do to ensure it never happens again. Read More »

Posted in Energy Efficiency, Energy Equity, General, State, Texas / Comments are closed

A year of data and one clear message: Permian flaring remains a major problem

By Colin Leyden and Ben Hmiel

Even amidst a global pandemic and market volatility that reduced oil and gas activity, at least one thing didn’t change in the Permian last year: operators can’t seem to keep their flares lit.

Throughout 2020, EDF conducted aerial surveys of portions of the Permian Basin to determine the performance of natural gas flares. Even when done properly, flaring is a wasteful, polluting practice that has earned industry “a black eye.” But when flares malfunction they also become major sources of highly potent, climate-polluting methane.

Over the course of 2020, we conducted periodic surveys of flares in various parts of the Permian. These took place in February, March, June and November, and included a series of consecutive, repeat surveys of one specific area on November 2, 4 and 6 meant to understand how long flare malfunctions persist. In total, we studied nearly 1,200 flares in the region.

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Posted in Methane, Methane regulatons, Natural Gas, New Mexico, PermianMAP, Texas / Comments are closed

Biden has an opportunity to accelerate recovery in Puerto Rico

By Agustín F. Carbó and Daniel Whittle

En español

It’s a new day for the United States and Puerto Rico. With a new president and a new governor, Puerto Rico can turn a new page, and continue rebuilding — even better than before. This couldn’t come at a better time. President Biden’s climate and clean energy strategy is the boldest, most far-reaching we’ve ever seen from a U.S. President. Under this plan, Puerto Rico should receive federal support in reaching its own far-sighted clean energy goals. In doing so, the island can become a model of resilience and innovation for the nation and the Caribbean.

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Posted in Clean Energy, Energy Equity, Puerto Rico / Comments are closed

Biden tiene la oportunidad de acelerar la recuperación en Puerto Rico

Por Agustín F. Carbó y Daniel Whittle

En inglés

Es un nuevo día para Estados Unidos y Puerto Rico. Con un nuevo presidente y gobernador, Puerto Rico entra en una nueva etapa, mejor que antes, para continuar con su reconstrucción. Esto no podía llegar en un mejor momento. La estrategia del presidente Biden para abordar el cambio climático y la energía es la más audaz y de mayor alcance que jamás hayamos visto de un presidente de E.E.U.U. Según su plan, Puerto Rico debería recibir apoyo federal para alcanzar sus propias metas de energía limpia. Al hacerlo, la isla puede convertirse en un modelo de resiliencia e innovación para la nación y el Caribe.

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Posted in Clean Energy, Energy Equity, Puerto Rico / Comments are closed

Another study reveals Permian methane levels are abnormally high, reinforcing need for action

By Jon Goldstein and David Lyon

A new peer-reviewed study published today once again confirms the Permian Basin has some of the leakiest oil and gas wells in the country.

For the study, researchers with the University of Wyoming used a mobile methane laboratory to quantify emissions from 46 randomly selected well pads in New Mexico and 25 in Texas. They found those sites are emitting between 5 to 9 times more methane pollution than The Environmental Protection Agency estimates suggest.

This granular look at well pad emissions is a critical part of understanding what is causing the emissions. Earlier this year, EDF used this data to estimate total methane emissions across New Mexico and concluded the state was likely emitting up to one million metric tons of methane per year.

When combined with other measurement techniques, we can get an even clearer sense of the entire region’s methane footprint. The satellite-based TROPOMI methane instrument, as well as aerial surveys conducted through our PermianMAP project — can detect emissions from other types of oil and gas equipment.

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Posted in Air Quality, Methane, Methane regulatons, Natural Gas, New Mexico, Texas / Comments are closed

A 100% clean transportation future requires smart electricity pricing for trucks and buses

By Elizabeth B. Stein and Beia Spiller

Zero-emission solutions for trucks and buses have arrived. But converting fleets from fossil fuels to electricity requires more than new vehicles and chargers. It will require smart electricity pricing to ensure that new demand from these power-hungry vehicles doesn’t break the grid, and that costs remain manageable for fleet owners, utilities and all customers.

Making good use of the grid at times when it would otherwise be underutilized keeps electric rates low for all customers. For passenger vehicles that are charged at homes, pricing structures that encourage charging when demand is low and clean electricity is plentiful have produced great results for car owners, the electric system and the planet.

Getting similar win-win-win outcomes for trucks and buses will be more complex, though achievable with the right policies and rate structures.

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Posted in California, Electric Vehicles / Comments are closed