Energy Exchange

Fossil fuel industry failed Texans during the freeze, now it’s using the crisis to attack renewables

February’s energy crisis did something no Texas politician has done in decades: It brought Texans together to demand our leaders in Austin fix the flawed energy system that failed so miserably, caused nearly $300 billion in damage and killed more than 200 Texans.

Unfortunately, fossil fuel interests and their willing allies in the Texas Legislature are pushing bills that would have absolutely zero impact on the problems that caused the crisis and would instead place additional costs on producers and customers of electricity generated by solar and wind. The Houston Chronicle called the bills a “cheap shot at renewable energy” and “shameless political opportunism aimed at helping the oil and gas industry profit off Texans’ misery.”

At issue are Senate Bill 1278 and House Bill 4466, companion bills that would force onto wind and solar power generators a disproportionate percentage of ERCOT’s “ancillary service” costs — costs that are currently divided equally among all electricity generators and then passed on to their customers.

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Also posted in Clean Energy, Texas / Comments are closed

Cutting methane emissions from natural gas gives EU global climate leverage

Policymakers around the world increasingly recognize that along with carbon dioxide, cutting emissions of methane is critical for reaching the temperature goal of the Paris Agreement. Methane is a key element in the reinvigorated U.S. climate strategy and — for the first time — discussed in China’s latest five-year plan.

Now the EU has a chance to significantly influence methane emission reductions not only within Europe, but globally.

Methane from human activities is responsible for at least 25% of today’s warming. One of the largest emitters is the oil and gas industry. The European Commission Methane Strategy released last October identifies the global oil and gas sector as the most cost-effective opportunity for methane emission reductions.

The key to the EU’s global methane leverage lies in the continent’s vast gas market. A new policy brief by the Florence School of Regulation and Environmental Defense Fund describes policy pathways to unlock the opportunity, while a separate analysis prepared for EDF by Germany’s Enervis Energy Advisors illustrates how a comprehensive policy could offer far-reaching climate benefits.

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Also posted in Europe, Methane, Methane regulatons / Comments are closed

Annular pressure monitoring and testing makes for safer wells

There are nearly a million active oil and gas wells in the United States, and if not correctly designed and maintained, they can leak harmful substances that will irreversibly pollute our land, air and water.

A new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences looked at data from over 100,000 wells and estimates that at least 14% experienced some loss of integrity, which could indicate a leak.

The study’s authors were able to determine the functionality and health of these wells based on data collected from annular pressure tests. In fact, the study analyzed almost 500,000 pressure tests conducted across three different basins — one of the largest studies of well integrity conducted to date.

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Also posted in California, Colorado, Methane, New Mexico, Pennsylvania / Comments are closed

What does it really mean for a gas utility to go net-zero?

SoCalGas – the nation’s largest gas utility recently pledged to go net-zero on their greenhouse gas emissions. At face value, this is a great move, but what does this really mean for a gas-only company that has had some major climate missteps in the past? And what are the implications for current and future SoCalGas customers?

Today, customers use natural gas for a variety of purposes — to warm our homes, to take hot showers, to cook hot meals. But as part of the transition to a cleaner energy economy, more and more customers are shifting to electric appliances to perform those same functions. That shift means that they will be leaving the gas system to a decarbonized electric grid.

That’s great news for the climate, but it’s less great news if you’re a gas-only company or if you’re one of the few gas customers left on the system, especially if you are a large industrial customer and there is not an electric alternative available for your business process.

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Also posted in California, Gas to Clean, New Jersey, New York / Comments are closed

Curbing methane emissions is a climate opportunity for national oil companies

By Ratnika Prasad

The energy transition is accelerating, as social, political and economic pressures build on political and corporate leaders to meet the Paris goal of limiting global temperature rise to well below two degrees Celsius.

While carbon dioxide is often the focus, at least a quarter of today’s warming is caused by methane emissions from human sources. Methane is 84 times more potent than carbon dioxide in the first two decades after its release, making methane reductions especially useful in slowing the rate of warming.

As a major source of global methane emissions, the oil and gas industry bears a special responsibility for urgent action to bring methane leakage and flaring under control. Some operators are embracing the challenge. However, barring a few exceptions, national oil companies — those that are fully or majority-owned by a national government — have largely lagged behind their privately owned counterparts.

A new report by Carbon Limits explores the critical role NOCs can play in mitigation of methane emissions. Over half of total global oil and gas production comes from NOCs, with an estimated 75% of industry’s methane emissions stemming from the countries they operate in, according to IEA data. This outsized relationship between emissions and production underscores the need for concerted action by NOCs to curb methane emissions.

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Also posted in Methane / Comments are closed

A U.S. economy-wide methane target: essential, achievable, affordable

The Biden administration is preparing to announce a new U.S. greenhouse gas emissions target for 2030 under the Paris Agreement — a pledge known as a Nationally Determined Contribution, or NDC — in advance of this year’s United Nations climate talks. Given the last four years of U.S. climate inaction and denial, it is important that the U.S. put forward an ambitious yet credible target and restore its position as a global leader on climate.

Although many countries pledge a single headline target that includes all greenhouse gas emissions, we believe that a complementary methane target is an essential addition that will considerably benefit the climate. Although it would include methane, a combined target is not sufficient to ensure that immediate and strong actions are taken to reduce methane emissions at the extent warranted.

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Also posted in Methane, Methane regulatons / Comments are closed