Energy Exchange

A rare opportunity to improve the health of Mexico’s environment and economy

This post originally appeared in Spanish on El Universal.

Not often is a pollutant referred to as an environmental and economic opportunity. But that’s exactly what methane is for countries looking for cost-effective climate solutions and a way to prepare for the 21st century energy economy. And it’s especially important for Mexico right now, as changes in energy laws have opened the doors to a slew of new exploration projects that could reshape Mexico’s oil and gas industry and boost economic growth through 2025.

Methane is the main ingredient of natural gas. When burned, natural gas emits less carbon dioxide than other fossil fuels. But when it escapes unburned, as it does across the global oil and gas industry, methane is 80 per cent more powerful a heat-trapper than carbon dioxide in the short term. Methane also contributes to local air pollution, including smog, and the health impacts that come with it. It’s not just countries that are aware of this. A growing number of investors and energy companies are responding to the reputational threat of uncontrolled methane emissions.

Released last week, the International Energy Agency’s latest World Energy Outlook articulates the methane challenge very powerfully. Its analysis shows that with current technologies the oil and gas industry can drastically reduce methane emissions by 75 percent worldwide – and that up to two thirds of those reductions can be realized at zero net cost. What’s more, the IEA says that just the cost-effective reductions would have the same climate impact in 2100 as immediately closing all the coal plants in China.  Read More »

Also posted in Methane, Natural Gas / Tagged , | Comments are closed

Methane waste: New Mexico’s multi-million dollar opportunity to increase funding and cut pollution

A new analysis is taking a closer looking at the scope of New Mexico’s methane problem and the financial impact it's having on the state’s taxpayers.

We have known for some time that New Mexico had a problem with methane waste and pollution from the state’s oil and gas industry. A 2015 report from business consulting firm ICF International found that more methane gas was wasted from oil and gas production on federal and tribal lands in New Mexico than any other state. And the infamous hot spot of methane pollution over the state’s San Juan Basin is the highest concentration of this pollution found anywhere in the U.S. But a new report is providing the first-ever comprehensive, statewide view of methane emissions and waste from New Mexico’s oil and gas industry.

This new analysis, which is based on industry-reported inventory data and an extensive review of recent scientific research, estimates that the excessive leaking, venting and flaring of natural gas has resulted in New Mexico’s oil and gas industry emitting 570,000 tons of methane each year. Read More »

Also posted in Methane, Natural Gas, New Mexico / Comments are closed

Whether you love or hate natural gas, stopping methane emissions now is crucial

The International Energy Agency’s new 2017 World Energy Outlook contains the agency’s strongest language yet about the urgent need to reduce methane emissions from the oil and gas sector, and the huge opportunities that exist to do so.

Some have taken issue with IEA projections on the overall role of natural gas, suggesting they are beyond what is environmentally sustainable. Others think IEA is underestimating growth potential. Whatever you believe the trajectory for gas is — or should be — the benefits of reducing methane emissions are both enormous and irrefutable.

The good news: IEA estimates the industry can reduce their worldwide emissions by 75 percent – and that up to two thirds of those reductions can be realized at zero net cost. “These emissions are not the only anthropogenic emissions of methane,” says the report, “but they are likely to be among the cheapest to abate." Read More »

Also posted in Methane, Natural Gas / Tagged | Comments are closed

Data reveals real-time electricity pricing would help nearly all ComEd customers save money

Over the past few years, Illinois has taken great strides to not only modernize its electric grid, but also to provide people and businesses with access to energy data.

In February, the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) approved the release of anonymous, aggregate energy-use data on a large scale, broken out in half-hour increments, 24 hours a day. Sensing an opportunity to unlock innovation, Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) and the Citizens Utility Board (CUB), Illinois’ utility watchdog, dove into that treasure trove of granular data.

Specifically, we wanted to see how the customers of Illinois’ largest electric utility, ComEd, would have fared under a “real-time pricing” program in which power prices change hourly. Anonymous data from over 300,000 homes revealed several interesting tidbits that we’re sharing in our new whitepaper, The Costs and Benefits of Real-Time Pricing.

Most importantly, the study shows that real-time prices would have saved 97 percent of customers money in 2016 – even if the customers made no changes to how they use electricity. Read More »

Also posted in Clean Energy, Electricity Pricing, Illinois / Read 1 Response

We already know which grid fixes can keep lights on during bad storms. Here are 3.

After a record-breaking hurricane season and catastrophic wildfires in California, the vulnerabilities of our electric system – and the urgent need to upgrade it – have never been clearer.

It took more than 10 days of around-the-clock work to restore electricity to 350,000 customers after fires struck California wine country last month. Returning service to all 4.4 million power customers in Florida after Hurricane Irma took almost as long – and 70 percent of Puerto Ricans still lack power six weeks after Hurricane Maria.

Such crippling outages contribute to $250 billion in economic losses globally every year.

But there are solutions available on the market today that can reduce the impact of these outages. By investing in technologies that modernize our electric grid, and with careful planning, we can also create a cleaner and more efficient electricity system overall. Read More »

Also posted in Clean Energy, Grid Modernization, Renewable Energy, Voltage Optimization / Tagged , | Comments are closed

Methane momentum builds, time for Canada to follow through with strong action

The call to reduce oil and gas methane emissions landed a one-two punch this week that should provide Canada all the motivation it needs to get ahead of this global trend and prepare its energy industry for the future.

First, the International Energy Agency’s (IEA) World Energy Outlook analysis stated the future of the natural gas industry will depend on “industry demonstrating credibly that methane emissions from oil and gas operations are being minimised.” IEA reports as much as 76 million metric tons of methane is emitted around the world each year from both oil and gas facilities. For customers and companies, that’s $34 billion dollars of lost product and profit. There are also significant health and air quality benefits to reducing these emissions as hazardous air pollutants and smog-inducing toxins are removed when companies control methane pollution.

IEA also highlighted that a 75 percent reduction of those emissions is possible today using existing technologies. To put that in context, a reduction on that order would have the same short term climate impact as removing all the vehicles in the world from the road. For all of us, it’s one of the quickest and most affordable opportunities to slow climate change. Read More »

Also posted in Methane, Natural Gas / Tagged , , | Comments are closed