Monthly Archives: November 2019

Illinois Clean Energy Jobs Act will improve the state’s economic climate

The Illinois Clean Energy Jobs Act is one of the most ambitious climate bills in the country, but it is also a jobs and economic improvement bill. Most legislation gets mired down in talk of price tags, but with CEJA the better question is — how much will the Illinois economy benefit from its passage?

A recent study developed by The Accelerate Group measured the economic impact of CEJA and found the answer — it’s tens of billions of dollars. The new economic impact report released by the Illinois Clean Jobs Coalition shines a light on just how much CEJA would contribute to the state’s economy. Here’s the bottom line: the legislation, if enacted, would result in $39 billion in new private investment in Illinois through 2030.

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

New study finds elevated health risks due to pollution from oil and gas activity in Colorado

By Ananya Roy and Tammy Thompson

As production of oil and gas in the United States has expanded, it’s no longer uncommon to see rigs and well pads nestled in communities. For example, Weld County in Colorado ranked fourth in the nation for population growth in 2017, and has issued thousands of new permits for oil and gas extraction in the past few years. Emissions from the intensive energy development sprouting along highways, in fields and within sight of homes, playgrounds and school yards has led to concerns about rising pollution from this industry and the subsequent health risks.

Communities are concerned about all of the emissions from these operations but focus on the brew of volatile organic compounds that include benzene, toluene and ethyl benzene, since some are known carcinogens or have established impacts on the brain, lungs and blood. VOC emissions, however, vary considerably between different processes. Well sites and changing weather conditions either spread or concentrate the pollution over different distances and directions, suggesting that intermittent measurement campaigns are inadequate to capture population exposures and risks.

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Posted in Air Quality, Colorado, Methane / Comments are closed

Long considered a “clean” energy source, hydropower can actually be bad for climate

A new EDF study published this week in Environmental Science and Technology shows that hydropower — the leading renewable energy technology projected to grow rapidly — is not always as good for the climate as broadly assumed. Moreover, continuing to assume that it is could mean that projects meant to reduce greenhouse emissions will unintentionally increase them instead.

Motivated by pervasive misconceptions of the climate impacts of hydropower, we assessed the warming impacts over time of sustained greenhouse gas emissions estimated from nearly 1,500 existing hydropower plants around the globe. We also looked at the implications of future hydropower development.

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Posted in Methane, Water / Comments are closed

How companies are using electric trucks to reduce air pollution and save money

Earlier this year, Amazon announced it would purchase 100,000 electric trucks like this one as part of its efforts to reduce the company’s carbon footprint.

What do Amazon, Goodwill and PepsiCo have in common? They’re all investing in heavy-duty electric trucks. It’s a move that’s making great strides to reduce air pollution and save money.

Fortunately for these companies, making the switch to electric fleets is about to get a whole lot easier. The California Air Resources Board has just proposed a new standard that will require heavy-duty automotive manufacturers to produce more electric, zero-emission vehicles. Beginning in 2024, there could be thousands more new electric fleet vehicles on the market in California.

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

Illinois PUC decision may signal changing tide for natural gas utilities

While economic and environmental concerns have driven significant electric sector improvements, climate impacts of continued reliance on natural gas for heating and cooking has gone largely unchecked. A recent decision by the Illinois Commerce Commission sends a signal that natural gas utilities will not be permitted to invest customer dollars unchecked.

State public utilities commissions regulate natural gas distribution utilities and set their rates of return, one component of which is “return on equity.” These regulators thus have a tremendous influence on the long-term profitability of utilities and their investment decisions. Higher rates of return incentivize greater system buildout — the more the utility builds, the greater their profit.

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

California fires, electricity outages need not be “the new normal”

A dire, almost defeatist thread has been running through social media and other commentary around the California wildfires and the widespread, preemptive electricity outages across the state. The sense of urgency about catastrophic side effects of climate change is right on. And it is true that fixing our electric grid will be a long and mighty task.

But we do not —and should not — have to accept this as “the new normal.”

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