Energy Exchange

As L.A. temperatures rise, so does interest in cleaner air and cleaner energy

This blog was co-authored by Annie Cory, Princeton Environmental Institute (PEI) Intern for EDF's Oil & Gas Program

Just like many cities that have experienced record high temperatures in 2018, Los Angeles was hit with a heat wave of record proportions in early July, with temperatures topping 113 degrees in several parts of the county. As air conditioners across the region struggled to keep up, the heat pushed our energy grid over the brink, with blackouts leaving at least 80,000 Angelinos sweltering without electricity.

Such elevated temperatures are not typical for Los Angeles. Yet weather events like these are becoming both more frequent, and more intense. Burning more fossil fuels, of course, only compounds the warming problem.

To put a dent in the causes and impacts of man-made climate change, cities, states and nations will need to implement a portfolio of solutions aimed at cutting carbon across the board and boosting the resiliency of our energy grid. By increasing the share of renewable energy used to power our homes and businesses, and incentivizing technology like battery storage while expanding focus on energy conservation, the threat of blackouts can be greatly diminished during hot summer days.

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Posted in Air Quality, California, Clean Energy, Climate, Community Solar, Energy Equity, Energy Storage, Methane, Natural Gas, Renewable Energy, Solar Energy / Comments are closed

Tech for change video series: Sensing solutions

This post is part 5 of EDF’s Tech for Change series, which aims to spotlight the way pollution-sensing technology can protect public health and the environment in California. Watch part 4.

Pollution from oil and gas production can pose serious health risks to nearby communities. In Los Angeles, nearly 600,000 people live within ½ mile of an active oil well. That’s why a combination of smart policy and smart technology is needed to safeguard the region’s public health.

The good news is that California is already a national leader on environmental issues – and it must continue to be one as it listens to and cares for communities near urban oilfields. These communities are standing up and demanding clear air and the accurate, real-time pollution monitoring that can make it a reality.

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Posted in Air Quality, California, Methane, Natural Gas / Comments are closed

Tech for change video series: Game changer

This post is part 4 of EDF’s Tech for Change series, which aims to spotlight the way pollution-sensing technology can protect public health and the environment in California. Watch parts 1, 2, and 3.

Los Angeles has long been a city defined by creativity and innovation. Now, that same spirit of innovation promises to help the region tackle the threat of pollution from the 3,500+ active oil and gas wells in LA County.

Technical advances are driving down prices and increasing the precision of pollution monitoring technology, which could enable industry and communities to understand what chemicals may be leaking from nearby oil and gas equipment. According to Elias Tobias of Safety Scan USA, “We are seeing the first wave of lower cost, real time oil and gas pollution monitors right now. Other waves will come and make it even better, faster, and cheaper.”

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Posted in Air Quality, California, Methane, Natural Gas / Comments are closed

Tech for change video series: Left in the dark

This is part 3 of EDF’s Tech for Change series, which aims to spotlight the way pollution-sensing technology can protect public health and the environment in California. Watch part 2 or 4.

Los Angeles sits atop the nation’s largest urban oilfield, and over 3,500 oil and gas wells are sprinkled throughout LA County. They exist in neighborhoods ranging from posh Beverly Hills to less affluent areas like Compton, but not all of these wells are created equal.

More affluent areas benefit from stronger regulations that minimize the impact of oil and gas development, but there is often much less oversight of wells that sit in lower-income neighborhoods. It’s a difference one can’t help but notice:

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Posted in Air Quality, California, Methane, Natural Gas / Comments are closed

Tech for change video series: No peace of mind

This post is part 2 of EDF’s Tech for Change series, which aims to spotlight the way pollution-sensing technology can protect public health and the environment in California. Watch part 1 or 3

Oil and gas operations have existed for decades in California’s Central Valley and the greater Los Angeles area, but many people may not realize that over 3,500 active oil and gas wells dot LA County alone. These wells exist near schools, hospitals, and homes – which is cause for concern since oil and gas wells are known to emit dangerous chemicals like benzene, a known carcinogen.

So, what’s being done to ensure we have accurate, timely information about pollution coming from these oilfields? Very little. Few regulations require pollution monitoring at California’s oil and gas wells.

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Posted in Air Quality, California, Methane, Natural Gas / Comments are closed

Tech for change video series: Backyard oilfields

This post is the first of EDF’s Tech for Change series, which spotlights the way pollution-sensing technology can protect public health and the environment in California. Watch part 2 here.

Imagine having an oilfield in your backyard. That’s a fact of life for many Los Angeles residents. Nearly 600,000 people in the city live within ½ mile of an active oil well, and the city is home to the country’s largest urban oilfield (view on Google Maps).

Living so close to active oil and gas facilities is not without its risks. Public health studies have shown that communities near oil and gas operations are at increased risk of exposure to harmful pollution. The problem is that a lack of pollution monitoring near these well sites means neighboring residents don’t know what’s leaking into the air they breathe.

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Posted in Air Quality, California, Methane, Natural Gas / Comments are closed