Monthly Archives: May 2018

Why drinking water standards are the wrong standards for oil and gas wastewater

“It’s so clean I’d drink it.”

Travel to any recent conference or trade show on produced water management and there’s a good chance you’ll hear this line or something similar. I’ve heard it myself, alongside claims that a patented treatment delivers water that’s “fresh” or “meets drinking water standards.”

This sort of talk is on the rise as operators and regulators look for ways to reuse produced water both inside and outside of the oilfield. Some of these uses carry real risks to human health and the environment from chemicals that may be present—even after treatment. At first blush, if the product can be called “fresh” or meets drinking water standards, it doesn’t sound risky. So why the worry? The reality is that these statements tell us very little about the quality of treated produced water.

“Fresh” from a scientific perspective, means next to nothing. And drinking water standards are simply the wrong standards to apply to produced water, or for that matter any treated wastewater – industrial or municipal. Here’s why.

Read More »

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

New report: 5 energy innovations that Ohio can use to attract $25 billion in investment

Why should Ohio ramp up its investment in energy innovation? More than 20,000 jobs and $25 billion in capital are on the line.

That’s according to a new report that outlines a vision for Ohio’s energy future and economic development. The report draws from the insights and experiences of a diverse group of advisors from across the state’s business, regulatory, academic, labor, and manufacturing sectors.

Here’s why now is a prime moment for Ohio to seize this multibillion-dollar opportunity, which will bring about a cleaner, more efficient energy system for Ohioans.

Five big opportunities

With the state’s largest utility constantly asking for a bailout and state legislators repeatedly trying to gut clean energy standards, Ohio isn’t exactly a leader on energy innovation. But it can be.

The report by Synapse Energy Economics, called Powering Ohio: A Vision for Growth and Innovative Energy Investment, highlights five areas for growth:

  1. Attracting investment from corporate clean energy leaders;
  2. Electrifying transportation, with a focus on electric vehicles;
  3. Building new clean electricity generation, like wind and solar power;
  4. Boosting Ohio’s energy productivity through energy efficiency; and
  5. Investing in a 21st century electric grid.

Taking advantage of these five related opportunities will net more than 20,000 jobs and $25 billion in investment dollars for Ohio, while enhancing productivity and lowering costs. Read More »

Posted in Clean Energy, Energy Financing, Energy Innovation, Grid Modernization, Ohio / Read 1 Response

Tesla: Inventor of the Modern

The following is an excerpt from Tesla, Inventor of the Modern, a new book by Dick Munson published in May 2018.

Nikola Tesla gave us the electric motor, long-distance electricity transmission, radio, robots, and remote control — the very foundations of our modern economy. Perhaps less well known is that he also was a clean-energy pioneer, and he remains an inspiration to today’s solar and battery entrepreneurs, including Elon Musk, who views him as a hero and contributed $1 million to help restore Tesla’s laboratory on Long Island.

Tesla marked his clean-energy leadership with a 1900 article in The Century — then the nation’s largest-circulation periodical. Published 118 years ago, “The Problem of Increasing Human Energy, with Special References to the Harnessing of the Sun’s Energy” was one of the earliest, detailed looks at capturing power from the sun and wind.

At his core, Tesla appreciated efficiency and hated energy waste, complaining that we “do not utilize more than 2 percent of coal’s energy” to make electricity. “The man who should stop this senseless waste would be a great benefactor of humanity,” he declared. Read More »

Posted in Clean Energy, Energy Innovation / Comments are closed

Dear FirstEnergy, America doesn’t need your coal plants

Why do grocers mark down the price of asparagus in the spring, or strawberries in the summer? Because they’re in season and stores have excess supply, and they need to increase demand by cutting prices. The lower prices are a sign, or “price signal,” of excess supply, and the grocers are following the economic law of supply and demand.

Electricity markets follow the law of supply and demand, too. Falling electricity prices are a price signal that we have more power plants than we need. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), which oversees our nation’s electric grid, reports on wholesale electricity prices, and their latest State of the Markets report is an eye-opener.

The report shows that we’re retiring old coal plants at a fast clip, but we’re adding new natural gas plants at an even faster clip – causing power prices to plummet. In PJM, the largest regional electricity market in the country, 1.9 GW of coal plants closed in 2017 as 2.8 GW of new natural gas plants were added. Read More »

Posted in Electricity Pricing, FirstEnergy, Illinois, Ohio / Comments are closed

How to measurably improve existing buildings’ energy, water, and waste impacts

Buildings are responsible for a third of harmful greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution from U.S. electricity use, with that percentage rising dramatically in urban centers. Chicago is no exception: Buildings account for approximately 70 percent of the city’s GHG emissions. Moreover, many buildings use more energy than they need to, which is unnecessarily expensive and damaging to the environment.

Although there are programs like Energy Star, LEED, and Green Globes that help buildings manage energy use, they don’t always meet the needs of every building. A large portion of the built environment doesn’t have the resources to pursue complicated certifications. In fact, it’s estimated that less than 1 percent of buildings can achieve LEED certification.

To address this opportunity gap, a group of dedicated built environment professionals – with backgrounds in environmental science, policy, business, and commercial real estate – developed the BIT Building Program (BIT). BIT is a framework that drives the adoption of sustainability best practices in existing buildings, specifically those whose age, resources, and operations put other industry standards out of reach. By following BIT’s guidelines, buildings can achieve measurable improvements in energy, water, and waste impacts. Read More »

Posted in Energy Efficiency, General / Comments are closed

FirstEnergy’s dangerous push for an $8B bailout: What you need to know

A mega utility from Ohio is appealing to the Trump administration for an unprecedented $8-billion, ratepayer-funded bailout, even pointing to a 1950s Korean War Act for relief. It’s FirstEnergy’s last-ditch appeal after losing previous efforts to prop up a fleet of failing coal and nuclear plants.

The company’s Washington-based lobbyists have the ears of Energy Secretary Rick Perry, an avid coal champion, who could make a decision any day.

What neither FirstEnergy nor Perry are telling us is that a government handout of this magnitude could have implications for energy markets nationwide – while saddling Americans with a flurry of bailouts that go far beyond $8 billion. For no valid reason at all. Read More »

Posted in Clean Energy, Market resilience / Read 2 Responses