Selected category: California

The secret sauce for preventing another Aliso Canyon-sized gas leak in California

More than a year and a half after the Aliso Canyon natural gas storage facility caused more than 100,000 tons of methane to leak into the atmosphere – amounting to be our nation’s largest-ever gas leak,  California regulators continue to labor away at improving the rules  that could prevent another gas storage disaster.

That leak was a wake up call to regulators around the country charged with protecting workers, people and the environment from gas storage facility accidents.   Read More »

Also posted in Aliso Canyon, Natural Gas| Comments are closed

How cities are using clean energy commitments to prosper

Cities have long been testing grounds for policy innovation. That identity is critical as we barrel headfirst into an urbanized world. As of 2014, 54 percent of the world’s population lived in urban areas, and the United Nations estimates that by 2050, over 6 billion people will live in cities.

So, it only makes practical and economic sense that local leaders around the world have doubled-downed on addressing one of, if not the, biggest threats to humans and the planet we call home: climate change.

In fact, over 300 U.S. mayors have reaffirmed their commitment to meet the climate reduction goals set forth in the 2016 Paris Agreement. Read More »

Also posted in Clean Energy, Energy Equity, Energy Innovation, Pennsylvania| Comments are closed

New Report: How cities can prosper with 100 percent clean energy

Over 70 cities across the globe have set targets to achieve 100 percent clean energy and made commitments to cut a billion tons of greenhouse gases by 2030. These trend-setting jurisdictions are found across the U.S. – underscoring that local leaders recognize the resiliency, cost-savings, job-creation, and pollution-reduction benefits clean energy investment provides.

That said, making the clean energy transition is something new: Clean energy isn’t an established city service like picking up the trash. Nor has it always been a major focus of cities. Here’s where a new report from Meister Consultants provides some guidance (Environmental Defense Fund staff provided technical guidance to the report’s authors).

The Meister report outlines options for cities pursuing 100 percent clean energy. It explains how to evaluate the clean energy landscape and can help officials understand the value of key actions and policies like renewable portfolio standards, incentives for distributed energy generation like rooftop solar panels, and power purchasing agreements which allow third parties to own clean energy assets like wind turbines and other renewables.  Read More »

Also posted in Clean Energy, Energy Equity| Read 2 Responses

Southern California Edison attempts to delay renewable-friendly electricity rates

By Larissa Koehler and Jamie Fine

California has worked hard to build up a nation-leading clean energy portfolio. And the state has been hugely successful in adding renewable energy, especially solar, to the electric grid. However, having too much solar energy on the grid relative to energy demand can lead to grid operators turning off that clean power. This is costly for customers and makes it harder to meet our clean energy goals. One solution?  By putting price signals in place, such as time-of-use (or TOU) rates, we can encourage customers to use energy at times when solar or wind power is abundant.

TOU pricing does this by making electricity cheaper when the supply of electricity exceeds demand. Times of day when solar panels across the state are generating power will align with predictable low prices. If done right, TOU pricing can give Californians control over their energy bills, avoid pollution from fossil-fuel power plants, and maximize the production of renewable energy without additional cost.

The California Public Utilities Commission – the body that regulates utilities in the state – supports this strategy. In 2015 it decided to transition residential customers to a default TOU rate, with the explicit goal of integrating more renewable energy. Unfortunately, Southern California Edison (SCE) – a utility that serves electricity to over 3 million Californians – is proposing to delay putting some or all of their customers on these rates. This setback could have negative economic and environmental impacts. Read More »

Also posted in Clean Energy, Electricity Pricing, Time of Use| Read 6 Responses

Recent California decision indicates utility’s willingness to address climate pollution

The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) recently approved a settlement requiring Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) to address environmental, as well as safety, factors when fixing natural gas leaks.

This comes on the heels of a similar settlement issued by the New York Public Service Commission in December. Together these decisions are ringing in a trend in which the environmental impacts of methane leaking from pipelines are being recognized.

Methane – the main component of natural gas — is responsible for about a quarter of current global warming, and awareness about the magnitude of methane that leaks from local pipelines has been mounting. Read More »

Also posted in Climate, Methane, Natural Gas| Comments are closed

A cheat sheet for preventing catastrophe at gas storage sites

Today, the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission and the Ground Water Protection Council published a new report entitled “Underground Gas Storage Regulatory Considerations: A Guide for State and Federal Regulatory Agencies.” Like the title says, the report helps regulators make decisions that will ultimately make gas storage facilities across the country safer and more secure.

Gas storage reached many Americans’ attention in the aftermath of the major leak at the Aliso Canyon Storage Facility, which forced thousands of families to evacuate their homes after a massive leak caused more than 100,000 tons of methane to escape into the air.

Read More »

Also posted in Aliso Canyon, Climate, Energy Storage, Methane, Natural Gas| Comments are closed
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