Energy Exchange

New York is developing a gas planning framework, an important step to achieve its climate goals

By Erin Murphy

As New York implements a sweeping new climate law and moves toward decarbonization of its energy systems, state regulators are beginning to develop a framework to ensure the natural gas system is part of the transition.

EDF has long advocated that the New York Public Service Commission harmonize its natural gas policies with the state’s ambitious climate goals because natural gas distribution and combustion is a significant contributor to the state’s greenhouse gas footprint. Last month, the commission took a major step forward by initiating such a proceeding to develop a long-term planning framework for gas utilities.

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Also posted in Climate, Natural Gas / Comments are closed

These 4 trends prove electric trucks and buses are revving up

To avoid the worst impacts of climate change, we’ll need to accelerate electrification of the fastest growing source of greenhouse gases in the world: medium- and heavy-duty vehicles. These include vehicles from big semitrucks and delivery vans, to city buses and garbage trucks.

Fortunately, this sector looks poised to grow through 2020 and beyond, good news for the climate and the millions of people who live in cities, where trucks and buses are leading contributors to local air pollution.

Here are four trends that I’ll be monitoring in the year ahead.

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Also posted in Air Quality, Electric Vehicles / Comments are closed

New electric buses are a holiday gift for New York City

Early Sunday morning last week I stood on a windy rooftop in the Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood of Manhattan next to a strikingly modern, blue electric bus. It’s the biggest one I’ve ever seen. It is a 60-foot-long articulated bus that bends in the middle and is fully outfitted with state-of-the-art technology and accessories — from USB chargers to heat.

As a climate-solutions advocate, I haven’t been feeling great about the holidays. The news out of Washington, DC isn’t exactly uplifting. The United Nations’ climate talks in Madrid were not easy either and it took too much effort for world leaders to come through with an agreement. Not exactly my idea of holiday cheer.

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Also posted in Air Quality, Congestion pricing, Electric Vehicles / Comments are closed

New climate law, new opportunities for gas supply planning in New York

By Natalie Karas and Erin Murphy

New York recently enacted one of the most ambitious climate targets in the country. The Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act requires an 85% reduction in statewide greenhouse emissions by 2050 (from 1990 levels). All state agencies — including the New York Public Service Commission, which oversees utility companies — must now assess whether every decision they issue will, or will not, interfere with those emissions goals.

Meeting this bold new standard will depend heavily on the state’s natural gas utilities. That’s because residential and commercial heating are major contributors to the state’s greenhouse gas footprint. Unfortunately, utility companies today are continuing to rely on old assumptions, programs and ideas when making multi-billion dollar infrastructure investments that will last for decades. If allowed to continue, these investments will significantly hinder the state from meeting its climate goals, while locking in expensive and potentially unnecessary infrastructure for decades to come.

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Also posted in Methane, Natural Gas / Comments are closed

New and better way to assess the climate impact of new pipelines

The urgent need to decarbonize the energy system makes it imperative for state and federal regulators to understand the climate impacts of proposed energy infrastructure. Officials deciding whether to approve new natural gas pipelines must be able to answer a crucial question: Will a particular pipeline reduce pollution by speeding the demise of more carbon intensive alternatives, or increase greenhouse emissions by locking in dependence on another fossil fuel?

Yet to date, natural gas utilities and pipeline developers have been largely unwilling to provide detailed life cycle greenhouse gas (GHG) assessments to regulators reviewing their supply projects and plans. Nor have regulatory agencies been pressing for this data.

In fact just this morning, Federal Energy Regulatory (FERC) Commissioner Richard Glick testified to Congress that “the Commission is ignoring its statutory mandates under the Natural Gas Act by refusing to analyze reasonably foreseeable greenhouse gas emissions associated with new interstate natural gas pipelines and facilities used to import or export liquefied natural gas.”

But a new analysis released this week of a proposed interstate pipeline project in New York and New Jersey significantly advances this compelling need. The fact that it was commissioned by a utility company makes it even more significant.

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Also posted in Natural Gas, New Jersey / Comments are closed

NYC’s small businesses want congestion pricing

Most people following New York City’s traffic and transit problems understand that more traffic and congestion is bad for air quality and commute times. And they know that the city’s buses and subway system need significant improvements to get people from here to there faster.

The impact of New York City’s traffic and transit woes on small businesses, however, is often overlooked. New York City is teeming with small businesses that depend on quick, smooth and reliable transit for their employees and customers. The harder the commute, the more likely an employee will be late, or the easier it is for a customer to say “not today.”

That’s why small business owners are some of the most enthusiastic supporters of congestion pricing.

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Also posted in Air Quality, Congestion pricing / Comments are closed