Energy Exchange

Energy efficiency goldmine hiding in plain sight in half a million NYC apartments

By Rory Christian and Ferit Ucar

Replacing regular light bulbs with compact fluorescent or LED lamps and upgrading to energy efficient appliances are approaches anyone can take to use less electricity and lower greenhouse gas emissions. And significant new opportunities to save energy are becoming available to New Yorkers thanks to Reforming the Energy Vision (REV), the state’s initiative to transform the way electricity is generated, moved, and used. But, for 20 percent of New Yorkers who don’t receive an electric bill from their utility, these benefits are not an option. Without properly metering these apartments, New York will miss out on opportunities to make significant energy reductions and risk falling behind in achieving its ambitious environmental goals.

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Also posted in Clean Energy, New York / Read 2 Responses

Satellite data confirms Permian gas flaring is double what companies report

A new analysis of satellite data reveals natural gas waste and pollution in the Texas Permian Basin is two times higher than what industry reports to the Texas Railroad Commission (RRC). In 2017 alone, Permian oil and gas operators burned enough gas to serve all the heating and cooking needs of the state’s seven largest cities. That’s roughly $322 million dollars of natural gas that went up in smoke.

Using National Oceanic and Atmospheric (NOAA) Earth Observation Group satellite data, Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) analyzed flaring rates and volumes in the Permian for 2017. The results are eye-opening. The satellite data indicates Permian operators burned 104 billion cubic feet of natural gas—4.4 percent of all gas produced. However, industry only reported 55 billion cubic feet of gas burned to the RRC in that same year.

It gets worse. In the Delaware Basin portion of the Permian, which accounts for about half of all gas produced in the basin, satellite data shows operators burning almost eight percent of their gas. That means some individual operators are wasting even more.

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Also posted in Natural Gas, Texas / Comments are closed

New report highlights potential for energy storage in North Carolina

North Carolina recently took another key step in its push for a clean energy future with the publication of a long-awaited study on the opportunities, challenges and value of energy storage for the state. The report, which was mandated under the 2017 Competitive Energy Solutions Act (House Bill 589), is the culmination of a year-long research effort led by a multidisciplinary team of researchers from North Carolina State University in partnership with the North Carolina Policy Collaboratory.

The report finds that North Carolina is at a critical juncture in its clean energy future, with energy storage poised to play a key role. However, in order to develop market opportunities for storage and ensure its full benefits are realized, policymakers must take key steps to wisely accelerate the adoption of energy storage in North Carolina.

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Also posted in Clean Energy, Energy Storage, North Carolina / Tagged | Comments are closed

Conservative Wyoming rises to the occasion as feds roll over on oil and gas pollution

Lost amid the wrapping paper this holiday season was a very important move in Wyoming to step up and better regulate air pollution from the state’s oil and gas wells. It was one more reason to pop some champagne corks as we rang in the New Year.

Without much fanfare on Dec. 27, Wyoming finalized new requirements that will mean significant reductions in oil and gas air pollution – including methane – statewide. These newly finalized rules require oil and gas producers to regularly check new and modified oil and gas wells and associated infrastructure for leaks, an improvement that EDF and partners like the Wyoming Outdoor Council have been advocating for several years.

And beyond the holidays, the timing of this move could not be better. That is because while Wyoming is requiring twice-yearly leak inspections at new and modified well sites statewide, the Trump administration’s EPA is working to significantly weaken these same leak inspection requirements at the federal level.

The message here is clear: sensible requirements to regularly find and fix leaks make sense in conservative Wyoming, and they should all across the U.S.

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Also posted in Air Quality, Methane, Natural Gas, Wyoming / Comments are closed

How oil & gas states did (and did not) protect land and water in 2018

By Adam Peltz & Nichole Saunders

Keeping an eye on what happens with domestic oil and gas regulation is a bit like herding cats. We’ve seen encouraging progress on air quality issues related to oil and gas, but an equally critical front that’s seen major action is protection of our land and water resources.

More than 30 states actively regulate oil and gas development but their practices and rules vary significantly. Add the recent attention around industry’s impact on local communities – from earthquakes and the risk of spills to increased traffic and local air pollution – and it’s easy to miss the big trends that dominated regulatory agendas in 2018.

EDF devotes a significant amount of time tracking this activity, and 2018 was a busy year. Over a dozen states completed rule updates and other types of improvements this year on a variety of topics.

Here are the big things we saw in 2018.

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Also posted in Aliso Canyon, California, Colorado, Methane, Natural Gas, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, produced water, produced water, Texas, Water, Wyoming / Tagged , , | Comments are closed

Will the Ohio Supreme Court shut down FirstEnergy’s bailout once and for all?

Update: The oral argument for FirstEnergy’s case at the Ohio Supreme Court – described below – will begin on January 9, 2019, and a ruling is expected later this year. 

For years, FirstEnergy has been seeking a bailout for its uneconomic coal and nuclear plants. The Ohio-based utility finally got its wish in late 2016, when the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) approved more than $600 million in customer-funded subsidies.

The money was intended to help improve the credit ratings of FirstEnergy and its parent company, FirstEnergy Corp. But the parent company’s supposed financial hardship is not the responsibility of the utility’s customers, nor is it under the PUCO’s purview.

In their brief to the Ohio Supreme Court, Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), Ohio Environmental Council (OEC), and Environmental Law and Policy Center (ELPC) explain why the bailout is unreasonable and should be overturned – which would send a clear signal to other subsidy-seeking coal companies across the country. Read More »

Also posted in FirstEnergy, Ohio / Read 4 Responses