Energy Exchange

FirstEnergy shamelessly begs DOE to prop up uneconomic coal and nukes

By Michael Panfil, Dick Munson

Yesterday, FirstEnergy submitted an outrageous request to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).

The Ohio-based utility giant wants DOE to bail out not only its uneconomic coal and nuclear plants, but all ailing plants across the PJM Interconnection region – which includes 13 states and Washington D.C. FirstEnergy’s request, if granted, would fundamentally undermine important energy policy and represent a major step backwards for the American electric grid.

Federal regulators and many, many experts agree there is no imminent threat to the electric grid’s resilience. Yet FirstEnergy is attempting to mislead the government and American public by arguing its outdated plants are needed to keep the lights on.

This is far from the first time the company has requested a bailout, but this latest effort is its most shameless yet. By arguing that the federal government got it wrong earlier this year – when it declined to provide profit guarantees for the company’s expensive coal and nuclear plants – FirstEnergy is attacking the agency that oversees the interstate electric grid, ignoring evidence, making an illegal recommendation, and asking the American public to foot the bill for a multibillion-dollar-a-year bailout. Read More »

Posted in FirstEnergy, Washington, DC / Comments are closed

National Academy of Sciences urges collective research improvements to track U.S. methane emissions

This week the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine (NAS), the nation’s most prestigious scientific organization, issued a report calling for a stepped-up nationwide research effort to develop a gridded and verifiable inventory of U.S. methane emissions.

The NAS report, sponsored by the U.S. EPA, Department of Energy (DOE), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and NASA, noted atmospheric methane has risen dramatically in the 20th century, hitting a spike in 2016 that has tripled since pre-industrial times.  Methane is a potent greenhouse gas responsible for about 25% of current global warming.

The report discusses all the major U.S. sources of anthropogenic methane emissions, including petroleum and natural gas systems, agriculture, landfills, and coal mines. Researchers acknowledged the rapid increase in natural gas production in the U.S. during the past decade has triggered the need for a better understanding of the energy industry’s methane footprint. The NAS report classified oil and gas as one of three primary research priorities for the future, along rice farming, and livestock.

Read More »

Posted in Methane, Natural Gas / Comments are closed

Why one oilfield service provider sees opportunity in managing methane

This post was co-authored by Drew Pomerantz, a research scientist at Schlumberger.

Isabel Mogstad, a Project Manager with EDF+Business, who previously worked as a management consultant for Schlumberger, and Drew Pomerantz, a research scientist with Schlumberger, took this opportunity to have a conversation about why an oilfield service company wants to get involved with methane detection.

Read More »

Posted in Methane, Natural Gas / Comments are closed

Meet the women of the clean energy and sustainability workforce

By Ellen Shenette, Manager, EDF Climate Corps

I remember some of the first interactions I had with companies working in the clean energy industry. I was an analyst at the time, which meant the conversations were more often than not, very technical, wonky, and with men. At first, this was overwhelming. But my all-women MBA program prepared me for the male-dominated business world. I turned these initial concerns into motivation, and I built my technical expertise so that I could hold my own in conversations. If my knowledge was questioned, I was ready with an answer.

I’m not alone in this experience. Like many other STEM industries, women are underrepresented in the energy workforce, counting for only roughly 20-35 percent. The good news is that this trend is changing, and clean energy is leading the way. The clean energy sector is the farthest along in closing this gender gap compared to other energy sectors, opening up numerous opportunities for women looking to start their careers in this field, and I’m proud to be helping to make this possible.

EDF Climate Corps is working to build the next generation of sustainability leaders, and we’re making sure that includes women. Why? Research has found that more gender equity leads to higher performing companies, and female leaders rank the highest in their ability to take initiative and drive results.

Since EDF Climate Corps started in 2008, women have represented 41 percent of our fellows. I decided to reach out to these women from our alumni network, a group of nearly 850 sustainability experts, and learn more about their jobs and gather any advice they have for women looking to join the industry. Read More »

Posted in Clean Energy, EDF Climate Corps / Comments are closed

Tech for change video series: Game changer

This post is part 4 of EDF’s Tech for Change series, which aims to spotlight the way pollution-sensing technology can protect public health and the environment in California. Watch parts 1, 2, and 3.

Los Angeles has long been a city defined by creativity and innovation. Now, that same spirit of innovation promises to help the region tackle the threat of pollution from the 3,500+ active oil and gas wells in LA County.

Technical advances are driving down prices and increasing the precision of pollution monitoring technology, which could enable industry and communities to understand what chemicals may be leaking from nearby oil and gas equipment. According to Elias Tobias of Safety Scan USA, “We are seeing the first wave of lower cost, real time oil and gas pollution monitors right now. Other waves will come and make it even better, faster, and cheaper.”

Read More »

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

Still cheaper than coal – a report on the economics of solar power in Colorado

By Rama Zakaria, Graham McCahan

A newly-updated report is shedding light on what President Trump’s solar trade tariffs may mean for one state – and underscoring a tremendous opportunity to move forward toward clean energy, with all the benefits it can bring.

Xcel Energy filed its 30-day bid report update with the Colorado Public Utilities Commission on March 1. The update follows Xcel’s filing at the end of last year, in response to an “all-source solicitation,” as part of its Electric Resource Plan and its proposed Colorado Energy Plan.

Xcel’s plan would shut down two units at the Comanche coal plant in Pueblo, Colorado, and replace the capacity with a mix of lower-carbon resources. Earlier results were unprecedented, with more than 80 percent of the bids coming from renewable energy and storage at incredibly cheap prices.

Xcel then provided bidders an opportunity to refresh their bids following President Trump’s final decision in the Suniva/SolarWorld trade case in January, which imposed tariffs on imported solar equipment.

The refreshed bids in Xcel’s updated report show minimal change relative to last year’s results and confirm that new wind and solar power in Colorado continues to be cheaper than existing coal plants – despite the trade tariffs. Read More »

Posted in Clean Energy, Colorado, Energy Equity, Solar Energy / Comments are closed