Energy Exchange

Regionalize and resist: A regional power grid could unlock 100 percent clean energy across the West

Captain Planet taught us that when our powers combine, we can defeat any villain.

That’s hopeful news for those of us who want a livable planet for the future, because times are fraught: Our president has called global warming a “hoax,” withdrew the U.S. from a global climate agreement, and installed former fossil fuel lobbyists and CEOs to the highest positions of power.

Meanwhile, carbon pollution is at an 800,000-year high (the highest concentration of C02 in human history), and climate change is ravaging the world in the form of record-breaking heatwaves, extreme drought, and severe storms. Scientists warn that we need a dramatic decrease in carbon pollution and fossil fuels to avoid runaway climate change – which needs to happen at the fastest pace possible, and at the most efficient cost.

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Also posted in Clean Energy / Read 1 Response

What this summer's heat waves tell us about America's electric grid

With another triple-digit heat wave scorching the Southwest this week, fears of widespread outages are back.

California’s grid operator has urged homes and businesses to crank up thermostats and avoid running power-hungry appliances during evening peak hours – all in an effort to avoid disruptions like the ones we saw earlier this month.

The dangerous and expensive outages that left 80,000 Los Angeles residents in the dark then may have been limited to Southern California, but they should sound alarms nationwide. The world is changing, affecting how our grid works.

Utilities are taking steps to adapt and expand their power systems to maintain reliability and accommodate the growth of renewables, but they need to pick up the pace – and fast. Read More »

Also posted in Clean Energy / Comments are closed

As L.A. temperatures rise, so does interest in cleaner air and cleaner energy

This blog was co-authored by Annie Cory, Princeton Environmental Institute (PEI) Intern for EDF's Oil & Gas Program

Just like many cities that have experienced record high temperatures in 2018, Los Angeles was hit with a heat wave of record proportions in early July, with temperatures topping 113 degrees in several parts of the county. As air conditioners across the region struggled to keep up, the heat pushed our energy grid over the brink, with blackouts leaving at least 80,000 Angelinos sweltering without electricity.

Such elevated temperatures are not typical for Los Angeles. Yet weather events like these are becoming both more frequent, and more intense. Burning more fossil fuels, of course, only compounds the warming problem.

To put a dent in the causes and impacts of man-made climate change, cities, states and nations will need to implement a portfolio of solutions aimed at cutting carbon across the board and boosting the resiliency of our energy grid. By increasing the share of renewable energy used to power our homes and businesses, and incentivizing technology like battery storage while expanding focus on energy conservation, the threat of blackouts can be greatly diminished during hot summer days.

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Also posted in Air Quality, Clean Energy, Climate, Community Solar, Energy Equity, Energy Storage, Methane, Natural Gas, Renewable Energy, Solar Energy / Comments are closed

California sets new standards for natural gas storage sites

Data visualization shows the methane plume from the Aliso Canyon gas leak in red.

Three years ago, a blowout at the Aliso Canyon natural gas storage facility forced thousands of nearby families to evacuate their homes and leaked over 100,000 tons of methane and other harmful pollutants into the atmosphere. The facility’s operator, Southern California Gas, wasn’t prepared for the scope or scale of the disaster that unfolded over four months.

The disaster demonstrated the risks of under-regulated natural gas storage sites, as well as the importance of not being over-reliant on natural gas. Regulators in California and across the country realized the need for better oversight and management.

As a result, California’s Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources (DOGGR) recently finalized new rules for managing the risky, industrial enterprise of underground gas storage. These rules are a foray into an underdeveloped policy space, and are the product of collaboration with stakeholders including national laboratories, the environmental community, and the federal government.

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Also posted in Aliso Canyon, General, Methane, Natural Gas / Comments are closed

A regionalized energy grid creates a home for California’s wasted renewables

By Andy Bilich, Lauren Navarro

These days, California’s renewable energy records are regularly broken.

During the summer solstice on June 21, California utility scale solar power set a generation record with solar producing equivalent to about 16 percent of all electricity consumed during the day.

And earlier this year, on April 27, California set two renewable energy records for both instantaneous solar generation: about 10.5 gigawatts), and instantaneous renewable generation: 73 percent of the state’s total electricity demand came from renewable energy.

With renewables deployment poised for more growth, it’s likely even these new records will be surpassed sometime soon. However, to ensure the state’s investment in clean energy is put to use, and not wasted, California has some work to do. Read More »

Also posted in Clean Energy, Regional Grid, Solar Energy, Wind Energy / Comments are closed

Bipartisan western governors agree methane reductions benefit states

Yesterday the Western Governors Association, a bipartisan organization representing the Governors of the 19 western states, announced a policy resolution recognizing the importance and economic benefits of efforts to cut methane pollution from oil and gas facilities – the nation’s largest industrial source of methane.

The resolution states:

There are environmental and economic benefits of reducing methane emissions and opportunities for the beneficial use of this natural resource. Many western states – in cooperation with industry in those states – have already implemented regulatory strategies that reduce methane emissions from oil and gas operations, while expanding the use and sale of methane.

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Also posted in Colorado, General, Methane, Natural Gas, New Mexico, State, Texas, Wyoming / Comments are closed