Five Far Reaching Opportunities to Modernize California Natural Gas Policy

top5As he settles into his final two years as California’s longest-serving Governor, Jerry Brown has limited time to finalize his energy and climate policy legacy. Meanwhile, with a new crop of state legislators and two new appointees at the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), California has a fresh set of actors who will be actively questioning the way things are — and the way things should be.

While there are a lot of economic sectors that will be under the microscope for the next two years, for natural gas policy, these five key opportunities will likely have the most relevance. Read More »

Posted in Air Quality, Aliso Canyon, California, Cap and Trade, Clean Energy, Climate, Gas to Clean, Methane, Natural Gas| Comments are closed

New President, New Electric Grid?

wire-164966_1280A new set of leaders today entered the White House. As they consider measures to enhance roads and bridges, they also should focus on America’s electricity infrastructure. By focusing on investment, efficiency, and markets as their policy foundation, the U.S. will have a world-class electricity system that will advance our economy into the 21st century.

Electricity is a marvel, something even physicists don’t fully understand, yet it is the foundation for our entire economy. Think for a moment about how many interactions you’ve had just this morning with electric power – from your alarm clock, to your radio or television, to your hair dryer or shaver, to your computer or smart phone, and on and on.

Moreover, electricity generation and delivery constitute our nation’s largest industry in terms of capital investment. Less flattering, electric generators are the biggest source of harmful pollution.

U.S. electricity infrastructure is old and frayed. More than 70 percent of our grid – the lines and transformers that deliver electricity to our homes and businesses – is at least 25 years old. The average power plant in this country is 34 years old. Luckily, modern technologies are transforming the grid. And what’s more, new players are entering – and bringing innovation into – the once-monopolized and risk-adverse electricity industry. Unfortunately, its regulation is still stuck in the past. Let’s change that, starting at the federal level. Read More »

Posted in Clean Energy, Grid Modernization| Read 2 Responses

The Future is California – How the State is Charting a Path Forward on Clean Energy

29812927675_a0c937acac_kThe late California historian Kevin Starr once wrote, “California had long since become one of the prisms through which the American people, for better and for worse, could glimpse their future.” These words have never felt truer. Just ask Gov. Jerry Brown or the leaders of the state legislature, who are all issuing various calls to action to protect and further the state’s leading climate and energy policies.

California is the sixth largest economy in the world and the most populous state in the nation. What’s more, we’ve shown that strong climate and energy policy is possible while building a dynamic economy. We’ve proved that clean energy creates far more jobs than fossil fuels – nationwide, more than 400,000, compared with 50,000 coal mining jobs – while protecting the natural world for all people.

It’s no shock our leaders are fired up. There’s too much at stake. With our state’s diverse, booming yet unequal economy, we are not unlike the rest of the nation. State-level leadership is more important than ever, and other states can and should learn from California to drive action across the U.S. Read More »

Posted in California, Clean Energy, Demand Response, Energy Efficiency, Energy Equity, Energy Innovation, Solar Energy, Time of Use| Read 2 Responses

Aliso Canyon Decisions Must Be About More Than Just Near-Term Safety

openclosedAfter months of speculation, the California agency in charge of setting standards for oil and gas operations (“DOGGR”) this week announced a pair of meetings to take public comment on the reopening of the Aliso Canyon Natural Gas Storage Facility.

This development stems from legislation passed in 2016 (SB 380), and is expected to be among the final steps before Southern California Gas Corporation (SoCalGas) is allowed to restart limited use of the facility. So, while it’s critical for the state to get its decisions right for safety and near-term electric reliability related to Aliso, to fully comply with SB 380, the decisions being made also need to take into account the larger issues facing California today. Read More »

Posted in Aliso Canyon, California, General, Methane, Natural Gas| Comments are closed

Super-emitters Are Real: Here Are Three Things We Know

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As part of our landmark 16-study series and ongoing work in measuring methane emissions, we previously published a paper that compared and reconciled top-down (airborne-based measurements ) with bottom-up (emissions inventory, using ground-based measurements) emissions.

This paper found that 1% of natural gas production sites accounted for 44% of total emissions from all sites, or 10% of sites 80% of emissions; emission estimates were based on facility-wide (site-based) measurements. Sites or equipment that produce disproportionate shares of total emissions are often called “super-emitters”. A big question that remained was what caused some sites to become a super-emitter; this remained a “black box” without additional knowledge about which components or operational conditions within a site could trigger the high-emissions.

Read More »

Posted in General, Methane, Natural Gas| Comments are closed

A Tale of Two Countries – China’s Betting on Renewable Energy While Trump Dreams of Coal’s Glory Days

solar-panels-1794467_1280That whoosh you just heard was China passing the United States in the race for the 21st century energy economy. Or is it the 21st century jobs race? Or the “world’s only superpower” race? Unfortunately, it might be all three.

Last week, China announced it will invest $361 billion over the next three years in renewable power generation. Compared to the $90 billion dedicated to clean energy in the 2009 stimulus package that was spread over several years, it dwarfs America’s commitment to an industry that nearly every country on Earth agrees will dominate the global energy landscape.

Surely, China’s air quality is playing a role in its government’s planning. The country has a severe air pollution problem – its hazy city skies are as famous as its Great Wall. Still, it would seem strangely out-of-character for China – given its history on environmental issues – to spend three times as much money as the United States on a tree-hugger pipedream.

Read More »

Posted in Clean Energy, General| Comments are closed
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