Last week the California Air Resources Board unanimously voted to finalize new regulations to reduce oil and gas methane emissions. This is the first major environmental regulation that has been issued since the new Administration took office, and sends a clear message that states aren’t going to take the new administrations attacks on the environment lying down.
Every signal from the Trump Administration – from pledging to kill the Clean Power Plan, to the recent executive orders that order EPA to begin reversing important climate protections, to the massive proposed budget cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency– indicate that the United States government is keen to undo some of the fundamental environmental protections that are critical to our health and prosperity. And yet, through these signals, California is moving forward with sensible policies that will hold oil and gas companies accountable for their operations, and their pollution. Read More
Barely a month after his inauguration, President Trump is proceeding with plans to dismantle protections under the Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act. The targets include limiting pollution into streams and wetlands that flow into drinking water for a hundred million Americans, automobile fuel economy standards that cut tailpipe pollution, and performance standards under the Clean Power Plan that would boost renewable power and fight climate change. Trump and his EPA Administrator, Scott Pruitt, have drawn up reckless plans to slash EPA’s budget—greeted with derision even by some Republicans in Congress. With the tragic story of Flint still fresh in people’s minds, the President is betraying the demands of his own supporters — fully 64% of Trump voters want to maintain or increase spending on environmental protection.
These actions are a tragic wrong turn for the country — and not just because they threaten to roll back decades of progress on air and water pollution, and the recent steps forward on climate change.
What I especially worry about are the lost opportunities for economic growth, new jobs, and the competitiveness of American companies — at a time when China and others are stepping up.
If music has taught us nothing else, it is that more is better. Three Dog Night taught us that “one is the loneliest number,” the Beatles taught us that we need help from our friends to get by, and Rob Base and DJ E-Z Rock reminded us that “it takes two to make a thing go right.”
Those lyrics apply just as easily to our electric grid. That’s because on the grid, it is best to have a bigger, varied group of resources.
Through the Integrated Resource Plan proceeding, the California Public Utilities Commission is requiring California’s big three utilities – Pacific Gas & Electric, Southern California Edison, and San Diego Gas & Electric – to create energy portfolios that are balanced, cost-effective, and position the utilities to meet state climate and energy targets. This was codified in SB 350 (De León), which required the Commission and utilities to develop these integrated resource plans (IRPs). Accordingly, the Commission has set forth the following specifications: Read More
Also posted in Clean Energy
A new study, jointly conducted by the California Independent System Operator (CAISO) – the entity responsible for overseeing much of California’s electric grid – First Solar, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), demonstrates the untapped potential of utility-scale solar. The study shows that utility-scale solar can provide key services needed to ensure electric grid stability and reliability – better known as ancillary services – at levels comparable to conventional, fossil fuel driven resources.
California needs to reduce reliance on natural gas for ancillary services
In CAISO’s market, ancillary services are overwhelmingly provided by natural gas-fired resources, and their share of the pie has been increasing in recent years.
This growing reliance on natural gas for ancillary services merits attention for many reasons. Read More
California’s Air Resource Board (ARB) recently released a strong and likely final draft of new regulations that will reduce methane pollution from new and existing oil and gas facilities across California.
Methane essentially is natural gas — wasting it is tantamount to wasting an energy resource. California producers report losing about 75,000 metric tons of methane every year, while nationally companies on publicly owned lands reportedly waste more than $1 million worth of natural gas every day. Alongside methane, oil and gas facilities also emit a list of toxic pollution like hydrogen sulfide, toluene, xylene, and benzene, all of which can be harmful to public health. Read More
As he settles into his final two years as California’s longest-serving Governor, Jerry Brown has limited time to finalize his energy and climate policy legacy. Meanwhile, with a new crop of state legislators and two new appointees at the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), California has a fresh set of actors who will be actively questioning the way things are — and the way things should be.
While there are a lot of economic sectors that will be under the microscope for the next two years, for natural gas policy, these five key opportunities will likely have the most relevance. Read More