Energy Exchange

A stronger CEJA will help combat dirty fuel and dirty money

We have written on many occasions about the need for the Clean Energy Jobs Act (HB3624/SB2132). This legislation — widely considered to be the boldest climate bill currently pending in any state — empowers communities and protects the environment and consumers’ pocketbooks.

The bill was worthy of passage the moment it was introduced in February 2019. Since then, it has become even more evident that the bill should be adopted, especially in the wake of COVID-19. CEJA would have an enormous impact on the job market at a time of high unemployment, and it will generate billions of dollars in state and local tax revenue at a time when these dollars are desperately needed.

With this much going for it, promoters of CEJA would have been easily justified in leaving the bill as is. This is especially true given that it enjoys overwhelming public support, with 82% of Illinoisans backing the bill in a recent poll.

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Posted in CEJA, Clean Energy, Energy Efficiency, Illinois / Comments are closed

Texas oil and gas regulators offer a weak fix to flaring

This post was originally published in The Dallas Morning News

After months of promising talk about curbing the oil and gas industry’s wasteful and polluting flaring habit, the Texas Railroad Commission unveiled a plan that does little to fix the problem. Despite calls from mineral owners, the public and even some in the industry itself to end routine flaring, the commission instead embraced largely empty measures advanced by an oil and gas trade group.

Flaring, setting fire to natural gas produced as an oil byproduct, is a colossal waste of resources and releases both carbon dioxide and methane into the atmosphere. In recent years, the Railroad Commission has served as little more than a rubber stamp for oil and gas flaring in Texas. Since 2013, operators have obtained 35,000 flaring permits without a single denial.

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Posted in Air Quality, Methane, Methane regulatons, Natural Gas, Texas / Comments are closed

SoCalGas wants a lifeline to stay in business — suing California is not the answer.

Earlier this month, the largest gas utility in the country filed a lawsuit against the state of California for its efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Southern California Gas Company claims in its suit that the California Energy Commission has not properly considered what role natural gas can play in a clean energy future.

It is a pretty bold move from SoCalGas — the company that supplies a fossil fuel that inherently runs counter the long-term benefit of the environment, and was responsible for the massive 2015 Aliso Canyon gas leak that for months on end sent nearly a hundred thousand tons of potent methane gas into the atmosphere.

This is a spurious argument aimed at advancing the false notion that gas utilities should continue to provide customers with gas, whether they want it or not.

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Posted in California, Methane, Natural Gas / Comments are closed

Rolling blackouts in California prove conventional power plants need to become extinct

On Monday this week, I got into my electric car and the following image popped up.

Image courtesy of electrek

My car was encouraging me to shift my charging patterns. Why?

California, along with large chunks of the rest of the West, is experiencing one of the worst heat storms on record. The weather pattern was abnormal, with less wind to cool people off at night. Since the heat storm hit most of the West, the ability to import power from our neighbors was also greatly compromised. The weather pattern also created over 11,000 lightning strikes, which sparked several wildfires throughout the state. In turn, those wildfires resulted in changed grid operations. Last, with more people staying home due to the Covid-19 pandemic, energy demands are higher and different than normal. As a result of all of these factors, the state’s electric grid operator issued an emergency alert, which triggered the state’s first rolling blackout in nearly two decades.

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Posted in Air Quality, California, Electric Vehicles, Natural Gas / Comments are closed

Walmart and J.B. Hunt give glimpse of trucking’s future

It’s an everyday scene in Southern California: a big rig hauling a metal shipping container from a port facility to a distribution center or rail yard. Last week, this old story got a new twist with a 120-mile emission-free haul featuring two shipping behemoths from Northwest Arkansas: Walmart and J.B. Hunt.

Our nation’s two biggest marine ports – the Port of Los Angeles and the Port of Long Beach – operate right next door to each other in a complex known as the San Pedro ports. Nearly 40% of the shipping containers coming into the U.S. enter through this complex. These containers are packed with goods destined for homes and business across the country, with stops along the way at distribution centers, fulfillment centers and retail shelves.

The consumption and movement of these goods has profound equity implications. This is acutely the case around the San Pedro ports. A recent report found that “freight movement accounts for about 42% of NOx emissions in the South Coast Air Basin, with heavy-duty trucks that service the ports the single-largest source within that category.” These trucks, known as drayage trucks, are a mere 0.1% of the vehicles on the road but contribute 5% of total NOx pollution. Addressing the impact of drayage trucks is an environmental and equity imperative. Thankfully, we have the technical means to do so. Read More »

Posted in Air Quality, Clean Energy, Electric Vehicles / Comments are closed

Climate, capital and COVID: What’s an energy executive to do?

Mark Brownstein co-authored this post.

We’re hearing more oil and gas companies pledging to reinvent themselves for a new, low carbon energy era. This conversation is unfolding as those same companies grapple with massive impacts of the global pandemic, as well as competitive challenges from cleaner, often cheaper alternatives that had been gaining steam well before the current crisis.

So how can investors and other stakeholders tell which companies are genuinely rising to the occasion? Each producer is going to have to find its own way to navigate the profound transformation of their industry and still make money doing it. But we think there are four key elements (below) that every company must engage to compete in this decade and beyond.

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Posted in General / Comments are closed