Energy Exchange

California fixes a major problem with oilfield wastewater injection

A new rule goes into effect today that will help protect California’s groundwater.

The rule applies to injection wells – the underground facilities that enable enhanced oil recovery and the long-term disposal of the oil industry’s wastewater. California has around 55,000 oilfield injection wells, nearly one-third of the nation’s total, and the state’s oil industry injects over 100 billion gallons of water a year into them. The Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources (DOGGR) came under scrutiny in recent years when the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) discovered state regulators accidentally allowed thousands of wells to pump oilfield wastewater directly into drinking water aquifers, along with other program deficiencies.

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

As electric trucks and buses charge ahead, how can we help them avoid roadblocks?

The business and environmental case for electrifying large electric vehicles – such as buses, delivery trucks, garbage trucks and regional “day cab” tractors used at ports – is gaining traction, and there’s good reason to be excited about this momentum.

FedEx recently announced that it’s adding 1,000 EV delivery vans to its fleet. Amazon announced a $700 million investment in an electric truck start-up and then pledged to have half of its deliveries be zero-emissions by 2030. And in California, all new municipal buses will be zero-emissions within a decade, the result of a bold new program adopted by the state’s Air Resources Board last year.

As companies and local governments move from piloting electric fleets to full deployment, their climate potential is becoming clearer. For example, a recent Bloomberg report found that by the end of 2019, a cumulative 270,000 barrels a day of diesel demand will have been displaced by electric buses globally. That’s more than three times the displacement by all the world’s passenger electric vehicles.

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Posted in Air Quality, Electric Vehicles, Grid Modernization / Comments are closed

Momentum building on methane, Europe’s climate blind spot

In a new resolution on the European Union’s (EU) net-zero strategy, the European Parliament once again acknowledged the political urgency for legislation on what has, to date, been Europe’s climate blind spot: methane emissions. This vote on March 14, is the fourth significant development in the space of the last six months, raising expectations that the EU is finally embracing a major opportunity to better characterize emissions of methane and take action to unlock cost-effective mitigation.

Methane is a short-lived climate pollutant. Increases of methane in the atmosphere from human activity account for more than 25 percent of the warming we currently experience. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), over a 20 year period, methane has a global warming potential (GWP) up to 87 times higher than CO2. While methane breaks down in a decade, carbon dioxide sticks around for more than a century. To avert climate catastrophe in the near term and long term, we must reduce both.

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Posted in Europe, Methane, Methane regulatons / Comments are closed

New Mexico legislation marks new focus on improved oil and gas oversight under Gov. Lujan Grisham

By Jon Goldstein and Nichole Saunders

When New Mexico legislators adjourned last Saturday, they had a long list of accomplishments for the first session under Gov. Lujan Grisham’s executive leadership. Near the top of that list is a bill that, once signed, will mark the first major legislative reform for the state’s oil and gas industry in over a decade.

House Bill 546 has significant implications for how the state oversees its large and growing oil and gas industry. This includes restoring crucial powers to the state’s main oil and gas regulator and enabling it to protect the state’s air and water resources from oil and gas pollution, as well as clarifying how New Mexico manages the massive volume of oilfield wastewater, or “produced water,” generated by operators. These reforms, championed by Sen. Richard Martinez, Rep. Nathan Small and Rep. Matthew McQueen will begin to deliver oil and gas policy that New Mexicans can be proud of.

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Posted in Natural Gas, New Mexico, produced water, produced water / Tagged , | Comments are closed

Report reveals heavy burden of energy waste, methane emissions on Navajo communities

By Matt Miccioli, EDF Stanford Schneider Fellow

A recent study of oil and gas methane emissions on the Navajo Nation reveals companies operating on tribal lands pollute 65 percent more than the national average, wasting millions in tribal resources every year and underscoring the opportunity for tribal leaders to reduce emissions.

The analysis, conducted by Environmental Defense Fund and released in conjunction with Grand Canyon Trust, Dinè CARE and Native American Voters Alliance, quantifies the volume of natural gas burned off, vented or leaked from oil and gas production on Navajo lands. It found that companies are wasting about 5.2 percent of their natural gas, generating about 13,000 tons of methane pollution.

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Posted in Air Quality, General, Methane, Methane regulatons, Natural Gas, New Mexico / Tagged , , | Comments are closed

A new energy future for Puerto Rico beyond recovery

By Daniel Whittle and Ronny Sandoval

Hurricane Maria’s devastation of Puerto Rico in 2017 was overwhelming. Nearly 3,000 people lost their lives. Basic services, including power and water, were knocked out for months and the economy ground to a halt.

Power and other services have since been restored to nearly all parts of the island, but the long-term recovery continues. This recovery may not attract as much news as the disaster that led to it, but for Puerto Rico’s long-term prosperity, it is just as important and urgent as restoring basic services.

Puerto Rico’s grid was outdated and fragile before the hurricane, so simply rebuilding and restoring it to pre-Maria condition would be a mistake. Instead, the people of Puerto Rico have an opportunity to build a new energy system that can better protect residents from future super storms, improve the quality of life for everyone and support the island’s economy for decades to come. This will take local leadership, collective action and a new approach to how the energy system is designed, financed and managed.

Communities have been making remarkable progress towards rebuilding. Following their lead is key to making any solution to Puerto Rico’s energy crisis successful in the long term. Together, investors, businesses and nonprofit organizations can add to these efforts by sharing their experiences and new ideas to create a better energy future for Puerto Rico. Read More »

Posted in Clean Energy / Tagged , , | Comments are closed