Energy Exchange

California’s new methane leakage requirements for gas utilities are already delivering benefits

EDF Schneider fellow Scott Roycroft co-authored this post

California’s gas utilities have had their share of problems in recent years – so improvements in environmental impacts, operations, and safety are important to track.

In 2014, the California legislature passed a law to require utility companies to publicly disclose data on gas leaks and emissions while working to actually cut those emissions.  Now, three years later, utility reporting has been standardized, an emissions trend has emerged, and the results are significant.

Graphic 1: A depiction of the volume of methane emissions from California utilities between 2015 and 2016. Emissions from the Aliso Canyon blowout are shown as a separate category.

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Also posted in California, Data Access, Methane, Natural Gas / Comments are closed

How Los Angeles is walking the walk on climate

Cities across the U.S. are taking the reins on climate leadership, and Los Angeles has emerged as a hotbed for new solutions that will improve air quality and move the needle toward reaching local and state climate goals.

Strong mayoral commitment across the country

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti has made it clear that growing the city sustainably is a priority. In his State of the City address in April, he assured that “if the White House pulls out of the Paris climate agreement, we’re going to adopt it right here in L.A.” – and so far he has shown commitment to that promise. The Mayors National Climate Action Agenda, co-founded by Garcetti, established a network of 367 U.S. mayors and counting, representing over 67 million Americans, committed to implementing the Paris climate agreement of limiting atmospheric temperature increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius in their own localities. This commitment from cities across the country demonstrates that local solutions are leading the way, and Los Angeles is at the forefront.

Looking to a clean energy future in the City of Angels

Under the LA Sustainability Plan, Los Angeles must cut greenhouse gas emissions by 45% by 2025, 60% by 2035 and 80% by 2050. A crucial part of reaching these aggressive goals is transitioning to a clean energy future. To that end, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) in partnership with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), launched a study to analyze how the largest municipal utility in the U.S. can run on 100% clean energy. Read More »

Also posted in Clean Energy / Comments are closed

New study confirms (again): New Mexico’s methane hot spot largely tied to oil and gas pollution

In 2014, NASA scientists published their discovery of a methane “hot spot” hovering over New Mexico’s San Juan Basin. The 2,500-square-mile methane cloud is the largest area of elevated methane concentration ever measured in the U.S., and is so big scientists can spot it from space.

While some have tried to debate the cause of the hot spot, it is more than mere coincidence that the San Juan Basin is one of the most productive natural gas fields in North America, and that oil and gas development is the leading industrial cause of methane emissions nationally.

Manmade methane emissions  are an urgent concern for scientists and policy makers since they are responsible for about a quarter of current global warming, which is why Scientists from NASA and NOAA embarked on a series of studies to try to pinpoint the source of New Mexico’s methane cloud. Read More »

Also posted in Air Quality, Methane, Natural Gas, New Mexico / Comments are closed

Trump budget breakdown: Time to defend the clean energy economy and American innovation

This post was updated on June 5, 2017.

My first week on the job at Environmental Defense Fund was also the week the Trump administration released its full federal budget proposal. I joined the EDF+Business team after working at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), implementing technology-to-market innovation partnerships for the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE). The proposal slashes EERE and related offices and programs that have been at the forefront of successful public-private partnerships. At a time when the U.S. is backing out of the Paris Climate Agreement and federal clean energy technology investments are critically and urgently needed, this budget threatens American innovation.

Funding that nurtures new businesses without requiring their owners to give up any stake in their companies can be make-or-break for the early-stage startups that drive innovation. When government, well-positioned to make this kind of unique investment, puts forth tax-payer dollars, it encourages the private sector to buy-in as well—oftentimes with a multiplying effect. DOE has created opportunities like these that reduce risks for both entrepreneurs and investors. It is through this public-private collaboration that meaningful partnerships and lasting progress are possible for clean energy and our nation’s economy. Read More »

Also posted in Clean Energy, Energy Efficiency, Energy Innovation, Renewable Energy / Comments are closed

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 California, 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.

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Also posted in Aliso Canyon, California, Energy Storage, Methane, Natural Gas / Comments are closed