Market Forces are Driving Coal’s Demise and Cleaning Up the Grid in Texas

power lines unsplash croppedWhat do economists and environmentalists have in common? When it comes to Texas’ energy future, more than you may think.

According to a new study from the Brattle Group, a reputable, national economics consulting firm with extensive experience in Texas’ electricity sector, market forces are leading to coal’s rapid decline in the Lone Star State. Moreover, rapidly-growing cleaner electricity sources like natural gas and renewable energy will be able to entirely meet Texas’ additional power needs – without increasing electric bills. We couldn’t agree more.

That said, we’re confident the impacts are going to be even more powerful in terms of Texas’ wind, solar, and energy efficiency. And the latest report from Texas’ main grid operator, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), continues to support that expectation. Read More »

Posted in Air Quality, Natural Gas, Renewable Energy, Texas| Leave a comment

As SoCal Braces for Aliso Canyon-Related Blackouts, These Energy Programs Can Help


blackout2By Jayant Kairam and Timothy O’Connor

Adding insult to injury, Californians learned this spring that the disastrous four-month methane leak at the sprawling Aliso Canyon natural gas storage facility could result in a new problem: outages.

The failure at Southern California Gas Company’s massive storage site exposed a critical weakness in the state’s energy system. Densely populated Southern California is over-dependent on natural gas from a single provider.

As a result, a vast area stretching from San Diego in the south to Los Angeles and San Bernardino County in the east may face power and gas shortages during the hot summer and cold winter months, a recent report by a group of state regulatory agencies warned. Read More »

Posted in California, Demand Response, Electricity Pricing, Energy Efficiency, Energy Storage, Grid Modernization, Methane, Natural Gas| Leave a comment

Mexico Methane Reductions: An Opportunity For North American Leadership

Mapa_Mexico_Con_BanderaIn partnership with Mexico’s Mario Molina Center and Canada’s Pembina Institute, EDF released a policy brief in Mexico City this week that illustrates that national action in the United States, Canada and Mexico could cheaply and quickly eliminate 232 billion cubic feet of methane from the North American oil and gas industry.

Titled “North American Climate Leadership: A road map for global action,” the brief synthesizes analyses included in ICF’s North American report and its research conducted in the U.S. (2014), Canada (2015) and Mexico (2015). All of ICF’s analyses found that reducing methane from the oil and gas supply chain is cost-effective and environmentally beneficial. Even at today’s historically low gas prices, the cost of capturing methane would add just one penny to the current price of gas, based on the cost of solutions and the ability to sell the recovered gas. Read More »

Posted in General, Methane, Natural Gas| Leave a comment

Texas’ Evolving Energy Reality: Clean Energy Uses Less Water

wind water flickrIt’s been an interesting time for water in Texas. Beyond the incredibly wet and cool spring we’ve been having, Memorial Day saw the second year in a row of record-breaking floods.

And a few weeks ago, the Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) asked for comments on the draft 2017 State Water Plan. The TWDB is the state agency responsible for water planning, and every five years it produces a strategy that “addresses the needs of all water user groups in the state – municipal, irrigation, manufacturing, livestock, mining, and steam-electric power.”

In the five years since the last state water plan, Texas has gone from one extreme to the other in terms of water: from the throes of a devastating drought to historic flooding that resulted in some reservoirs being full for the first time in 15 years.

In this climate of feast or famine, we need to better understand our water supplies and conservation efforts, both of which have a strong tie to our energy choices. That’s why Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) weighed in on Texas’ draft water plan. Not only does the state significantly overestimate the amount of water needed to make electricity, but a more comprehensive view of energy in relation to water demand and supply would benefit the 2017 State Water Plan and future plans. Read More »

Posted in Energy-Water Nexus, Natural Gas, Renewable Energy, Texas| 1 Response

3 Clean Energy Ideas the Left and Right Agree On

6964013353_e7ec857740_oAmericans across the political spectrum support clean energy. They know it’s good for our economy, our environment and our health. And they know that for too long it’s been held back by partisan politics.

That’s the message from groups that announced the Clean Energy Commitment this week. The broad spectrum of groups – from Mom’s Clean Air Force to Young Conservatives for Energy Reform – rolled out a set of proposals to promote clean energy, give consumers more choices, save taxpayers money, and reduce carbon pollution.

While Washington sees nearly everything through the lens of partisanship, most Americans don’t.

It’s an agenda that can unite us in the cause of giving our kids a healthier future, and producing jobs today. Read More »

Posted in Climate, Solar Energy, Wind Energy| 2 Responses

Keeping an Important Methane Research Question in Proper Perspective

 

By Mark Brownstein and Steve Hamburg

An organization in North Carolina this week asked the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to examine questions about the accuracy of measurements from a device used in two of the large and growing list of studies published in recent years quantifying the enormous amounts of methane released into the atmosphere by the U.S. oil and gas industry each year.

That long list of studies is a major reason why EPA recently increased its official estimates of industry emissions by 34 percent, and why the agency is pursuing new rules to start fixing the problem.  In fact oil and gas methane emissions have moved from obscurity to center stage with remarkable speed, thanks to rush of compelling data.

The particular papers at issue were written by a team of scientists led by Dr. David Allen of the University of Texas. They are among of a group of studies on oil and gas industry methane emissions organized and coordinated by EDF. Possible complications involving a piece of sampling equipment (among several that were used) have been discussed by researchers in both academic literature and the news media for more than a year. You can read the blog that EDF wrote on it back in 2015 here. Read More »

Posted in General| Tagged | Comments are closed
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