Energy Exchange

California’s new long-term gas plan is a win for customers and the environment

As California moves to decarbonize its electric grid by 2045 and implement its broader economy-wide decarbonization targets, state regulators are beginning to develop a coordinated, equitable and cost-effective plan to proactively manage the transition of the legacy gas system.

Tomorrow, the California Public Utilities Commission is set to open a new rulemaking on its long-term gas planning, the first such rulemaking since 2004 — well before the state’s greenhouse gas laws went into effect. The California energy system has evolved dramatically in the last 15 years, which is why this type of planning is so important for customers, workers, the economy, and ultimately, the success of the state’s climate goals.

Read More »

Also posted in California / Comments are closed

The next major ESG opportunity for investors in Europe

In recent years, institutional investors have demonstrated their formidable influence, as companies respond to investor environmental, social and governance demands and governments take note of forceful investor calls to action. Europe’s leading investors have been especially active, stepping to the vanguard to address the climate crisis with a sense of urgency and injection of ambition.

As Europe pursues its bold “Green Deal,” European investors have a powerful chance to help address a climate blind spot and policy vacuum to ensure worthy climate goals are not derailed. Investors can do so in a way that generates shareholder value while mitigating one of the largest near-term sources of climate risk. The opportunity lies in addressing methane emissions from the global oil and gas industry, which emits more than 75 million metric tons of the greenhouse gas every year.

Read More »

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

EPA’s methane rollback sparks opposition from a diverse group of stakeholders

Over the last few months the Environmental Protection Agency has accepted comments on its proposal to deregulate methane from the oil and gas industry. And based upon the volume and content of comments they have received, the agency should realize opposition to this proposal is both widespread and strong.

It is no surprise that more than 300,000 commenters weighed in to oppose this harmful proposal when you consider that EPA themselves admit it will lead to millions of tons of additional air pollution and potentially prevent any future federal methane regulation of hundreds of thousands of older oil and gas facilities. Not to mention that this proposal will supercharge climate change due to the fact that methane is an extremely potent greenhouse gas, responsible for a quarter of the warming that we are experiencing today, and the oil and gas sector is the largest industrial source of methane pollution.

EPA heard from EDF and other environmental groups, but they also heard from a diverse range of other powerful voices explaining why they oppose this rollback.

Read More »

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

New companies oppose methane rollbacks but industry divide remains

The stakes are high for businesses to support strengthened Environmental Protection Agency methane regulations.

While there are multiple pathways to achieve a net zero carbon emissions future by 2050 in the U.S., it’s clear that the oil and gas industry can and must virtually eliminate methane emissions. Not only is methane control an environmental priority, it is the most immediate and cost-effective decarbonization option for natural gas. Action on methane is a litmus test of industry’s ability to make necessary changes, and build the muscle to support responsible public policy that cuts emissions and stimulates innovation.

The late November close of the comment period on EPA’s proposal to eliminate methane regulation and exempt large segments of industry from pollution control requirements shows a growing industry divide. A review of industry filings to EPA reveals three game changers for the politics and policy of federal methane regulation.

Read More »

Also posted in Methane regulatons / Comments are closed

Illinois PUC decision may signal changing tide for natural gas utilities

While economic and environmental concerns have driven significant electric sector improvements, climate impacts of continued reliance on natural gas for heating and cooking has gone largely unchecked. A recent decision by the Illinois Commerce Commission sends a signal that natural gas utilities will not be permitted to invest customer dollars unchecked.

State public utilities commissions regulate natural gas distribution utilities and set their rates of return, one component of which is “return on equity.” These regulators thus have a tremendous influence on the long-term profitability of utilities and their investment decisions. Higher rates of return incentivize greater system buildout — the more the utility builds, the greater their profit.

Read More »

Also posted in Air Quality, Illinois, Methane / Comments are closed

California fires, electricity outages need not be “the new normal”

A dire, almost defeatist thread has been running through social media and other commentary around the California wildfires and the widespread, preemptive electricity outages across the state. The sense of urgency about catastrophic side effects of climate change is right on. And it is true that fixing our electric grid will be a long and mighty task.

But we do not —and should not — have to accept this as “the new normal.”

Read More »

Also posted in Air Quality, California, Grid Modernization / Comments are closed