Monthly Archives: March 2020

Public health crisis underscores need to protect vulnerable Texans. Here’s how the PUC is responding.

As Texans contend with the threat of the COVID-19 virus and an economic downturn, the state’s Public Utility Commission has adopted a proposal to prevent customers from having their power shut off in the midst of the current crisis.

Chairman DeAnn Walker initially put forward a set of policies on Tuesday to protect the state’s most vulnerable while keeping our competitive electricity market healthy and resilient. Today, the PUC advanced those policies with some changes.

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Posted in Electricity Pricing, Regional Grid, Texas / Comments are closed

EDF issues new framework to help make oil and gas wells safer

The United States onshore oil and gas industry operates nearly one million production wells across 30 states. To protect our health and environment, these wells must be designed, constructed, operated, maintained and closed in a way that prevents leaks and explosions.

To help regulators keep current on leading practices for protecting our environment from the risks associated with oil and gas production, EDF teamed up with Southwestern Energy and dozens of experts in industry, government, academia and advocacy to develop a Model Regulatory Framework for Hydraulically Fractured Hydrocarbon Production Wells in 2014. The framework has been used by states around the country as they have developed or updated well integrity regulations — notably, when Texas adopted several dozen ideas from the framework, blowouts fell 40% (and injuries from blowouts 50%) the next year.

EDF recently launched a new edition of the framework, which contains around 60 improvements based on the latest research and recommendations from oil and gas industry’s technical societies.

Here are some of the key changes in this new edition.

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Posted in Air Quality, Natural Gas, produced water, Water / Comments are closed

Report shows Texas leadership on solar and wind is helping safeguard our power grid

Last summer, Texas’ electric grid was put to the test by scorching temperatures that sent power demand soaring and raised the specter of potential brownouts. Thankfully, the grid did what it was designed to do and pulled through without any major issues.

This week, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas released its projection for how we’ll fare this summer. Thanks to massive growth of solar and wind resources made possible by Texas’ competitive electricity market, the outlook is much improved.

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Posted in Clean Energy, Solar Energy, Texas, Wind Energy / Comments are closed

Illinois’ Clean Energy Jobs Act puts people and climate first

Last week was a big one for Illinois energy advocacy. Hundreds of activists from around the state descended on the Capitol to rally and knock on legislators’ doors to persuade them to pass the Clean Energy Jobs Act now. Then, the Illinois House and Senate each held hearings where EDF and our partners in the Illinois Clean Jobs Coalition spoke with legislators to share a similar message: Momentum for clean energy legislation is picking up and CEJA is the only comprehensive piece of legislation on the table that protects both the environment and consumers’ pocketbooks.

In 2016, Illinois took bold action through the Future Energy Jobs Act, embracing of wind, solar and energy efficiency. By enacting this law, Illinois put itself on the front lines of the clean energy revolution.

However, transforming the energy sector is an ever-evolving, momentous task. It cannot be addressed in one fell swoop.

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

If we’re not careful, EPA’s new water reuse plan could lead to more pollution

Last week, the Environmental Protection Agency released details of a new plan that aims to address concerns about future water shortages. The Water Reuse Action Plan suggests that by recycling and reusing more wastewater, we can “improve the availability of freshwater” and avoid a water access crisis.

There are certainly a number of opportunities we can and should seize to make better use of our water resources, but the plan leaves out a lot of crucially important details that must be a part of any truly sustainable water plan.

One of the biggest concerns EDF has is how the plan frames (or, more specifically doesn’t frame) important issues with reusing the oil and gas industry’s wastewater.

Oil and gas wastewater is extremely complicated. It’s very salty and it can contain radioactive chemicals from deep underground, toxic substances used in the drilling process, and a slew of other concerning pollutants. What’s in the water varies from day-to-day, well site-to-well site and state-to-state, which makes it even more difficult to set any kind of safety standard for how to treat it.

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

Latest research leaves questions about some sources of atmospheric methane unsettled, but need to act remains

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A pair of new scientific papers published in the journals Nature and Science argue that levels of so-called fossil methane coming from naturally occurring sources — underground seeps, volcanoes, and so forth — are much lower than previous estimates, and that human-made emissions from the fossil energy industry account for a much larger share of the global methane budget.

The widely reported findings arrive in the midst of a robust debate among researchers in which a great deal is still unsettled. Whether these latest findings eventually prove correct remains to be seen. But the ongoing discourse leaves no doubt about the continued need to dramatically reduce the vast amounts of methane that we know are currently emitted by oil and gas production and distribution.

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Posted in Methane / Comments are closed