Energy Exchange

Another study reveals Permian methane levels are abnormally high, reinforcing need for action

By Jon Goldstein and David Lyon

A new peer-reviewed study published today once again confirms the Permian Basin has some of the leakiest oil and gas wells in the country.

For the study, researchers with the University of Wyoming used a mobile methane laboratory to quantify emissions from 46 randomly selected well pads in New Mexico and 25 in Texas. They found those sites are emitting between 5 to 9 times more methane pollution than The Environmental Protection Agency estimates suggest.

This granular look at well pad emissions is a critical part of understanding what is causing the emissions. Earlier this year, EDF used this data to estimate total methane emissions across New Mexico and concluded the state was likely emitting up to one million metric tons of methane per year.

When combined with other measurement techniques, we can get an even clearer sense of the entire region’s methane footprint. The satellite-based TROPOMI methane instrument, as well as aerial surveys conducted through our PermianMAP project — can detect emissions from other types of oil and gas equipment.

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Posted in Air Quality, Methane, Methane regulatons, Natural Gas, New Mexico, Texas / Comments are closed

A 100% clean transportation future requires smart electricity pricing for trucks and buses

By Elizabeth B. Stein and Beia Spiller

Zero-emission solutions for trucks and buses have arrived. But converting fleets from fossil fuels to electricity requires more than new vehicles and chargers. It will require smart electricity pricing to ensure that new demand from these power-hungry vehicles doesn’t break the grid, and that costs remain manageable for fleet owners, utilities and all customers.

Making good use of the grid at times when it would otherwise be underutilized keeps electric rates low for all customers. For passenger vehicles that are charged at homes, pricing structures that encourage charging when demand is low and clean electricity is plentiful have produced great results for car owners, the electric system and the planet.

Getting similar win-win-win outcomes for trucks and buses will be more complex, though achievable with the right policies and rate structures.

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Posted in California, Electric Vehicles / Comments are closed

California ramps up the speedometer on the electric vehicle future

By Larissa Koehler and Pamela MacDougall 

California recently made history when it committed to making every car across the state electric, with a specific goal for electrifying all operating trucks and buses by 2045. The move — along with a number of other clean vehicle initiatives — will eliminate a huge amount of climate pollution as well as other emissions that deteriorate air quality and impact public health. But what comes next?  How should the state prepare for this 100% electric vehicle future?

Rolling out more medium- and heavy-duty electric vehicles will not be possible without building out more charging infrastructure.  This is a complex process for many reasons. For one, passenger vehicles have different charging needs than larger trucks and buses.  Additionally, more vehicle charging will also lead to higher electricity demand. Finally, some communities and neighborhoods — like those situated near transit hubs or high-traffic areas — are more directly affected by diesel pollution and may need clean vehicle solutions more urgently than other places. California needs to account for all of these factors to develop a plan that maintains a clean, reliable and affordable electric grid, and delivers clean air benefits to the communities that need it most. Read More »

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

The path to zero-emission trucks and a 100% clean energy future

By Felice Stadler

The transportation sector is at a crossroads: zero-emission trucks have the potential to cut pollution that causes climate change and harms human health. However, a transition away from diesel pollution will require strong leadership from policymakers and private sector executives alike.

That opportunity was front and center last week, when EDF hosted a Climate Week 2020 panel discussion on new initiatives that will spur electrification in the transportation sector. So, too, was the urgent need to act: The transportation sector accounts for one-quarter of global carbon dioxide emissions. And urban cargo trucks burning dirty diesel are fouling the air, causing the deaths of nearly 10,000 people annually in the U.S. alone.

Here are four major takeaways from the panel, which included representatives from Air Alliance Houston, Northeast States for Coordinated Air Use Management, and Ryder trucks.

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

Tax credits for carbon capture? Not without these 3 important rules.

By Adam Peltz and Scott Anderson

Removing carbon emissions from the air — a process known as carbon capture, utilization and sequestration — is one of the most important things we can do to battle climate change, and the Internal Revenue Service is currently developing regulations around tax incentives that could make or break the success of U.S. efforts to do this effectively.

CCUS is a suite of technologies that can capture carbon dioxide from the air and industrial sources. Companies can either reuse carbon dioxide or permanently store it in deep underground rock formations. The International Energy Agency estimates that by 2050, 9% of all necessary climate mitigation will come from CCUS activities. In other words, most versions of a carbon neutral economy will include a healthy amount of capturing carbon dioxide and putting it underground.

But CCUS can be a climate solution only if the carbon is securely stored once removed from the atmosphere. Any regulation or tax incentive offered to companies who practice CCUS must assure that.

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Posted in Carbon capture, Climate, Natural Gas / Comments are closed

Puerto Rico can achieve reliable and equitable clean energy. Here’s what it’ll take.

By Fred Krupp and Ramón Cruz, Sierra Club President

En Español

Puerto Rico sits in the eye of what’s been the busiest hurricane season on record with an old and historically unreliable power system. The all too common occurrence of blackouts left more than 400,000 people in San Juan in the dark hours before Tropical Storm Isaias made landfall on the U.S. territory this week. Isaias is the latest storm to test Puerto Rico’s preparedness after Hurricane Maria tore apart its electric grid in 2017.

Lack of funding to rebuild critical infrastructure and the Trump administration’s ongoing neglect have elevated the risk that unimaginable human suffering awaits with the next storm.

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Posted in Air Quality, Clean Energy, Energy Equity, Grid Modernization, Puerto Rico, Solar Energy / Comments are closed