Energy Exchange

VW settlement funds spark string of North Carolina electrification projects

By Michelle Allen

After years of legal and legislative wrangling at state and federal levels, the first round of Volkswagen settlement funds will soon begin to flow to grantees. Thanks to the leadership of Rep. Chuck McGrady (R-Hendersonville), the General Assembly unanimously passed legislation in June to release $31 million to fund the first of a three-phase plan to utilize the state’s settlement allocation. The funds are part of the settlement Volkswagen agreed to after six years of deliberately programming vehicle models to deceive tailpipe inspectors by dramatically under representing their nitrogen oxide emissions — a pollutant linked to respiratory diseases and a key element for the formation of smog and acid rain.

The settlement dictated that allocated dollars only be spent on projects that reduce air pollution. In North Carolina, that first round of funds has been earmarked to replace the state’s oldest transit and school buses with a combination of improved efficiency and zero-emission models. Of the total $31 million, lawmakers also allocated $3.4 million to install electric vehicle charging infrastructure across the state.

Read More »

Posted in Air Quality, Clean Energy, Electric Vehicles, North Carolina, Renewable Energy, Solar Energy, Wind Energy / Comments are closed

Resilience in the eye of the storm: how Puerto Rico can build a stronger, more sustainable energy future

By Agustín Carbó and Amalia Saladrigas

En español

The Atlantic hurricane season is under way and scientists predict it will be one of the strongest in recent memory, as climate change makes more frequent and severe storms the new normal. For communities across Puerto Rico, already battered by an array of crises, the need to plot a more resilient future is urgent.

Energy is a critical lifeline for Puerto Ricans, and residents’ health and well-being depend on a stable and reliable source of power. Previous disasters, from hurricanes to earthquakes, have shown how unreliable and fragile the current centralized energy system is.

Now, the archipelago has an opportunity to reimagine its electric infrastructure in a way that puts communities first with more sustainable and resilient solutions.

Read More »

Posted in Clean Energy, Community Solar, Grid Modernization, Puerto Rico, Renewable Energy, Solar Energy / Comments are closed

To fix flaring, Railroad Commission must tackle the incentive problem

Previously published in Shale Magazine

By Colin Leyden and Scott Anderson

A remarkable thing happened at the Texas Railroad Commission these past few weeks. Throughout the contentious debate over proration, a growing chorus of voices on both sides was calling on the commissioners to address flaring — an incredibly wasteful, environmentally damaging practice that has been giving producers a black eye for years.

During the epic 10-hour proration hearing on April 14, it wasn’t just environmental and health groups banging the drum on flaring. Large and small producers (both for and against proration), mineral rights groups and investors all called for action on flaring. So while proration may be off the agenda for now, the need and desire to address flaring lives on.

Read More »

Posted in Air Quality, Climate, Methane, Methane regulatons, Natural Gas, PermianMAP, Texas / Comments are closed

New report offers insights to improve environmental integrity and safety of underground gas storage facilities

By Dan Mueller and Hanling Yang

点击这里用中文阅读

For more than a century, the United States has been storing vast amounts of natural gas in large, underground storage facilities. Underground gas storage is an essential tool for providing reliable natural gas supply, but these facilities must be rigorously designed, maintained and managed to minimize potential failures that can significantly impact our health and environment. This was made abundantly clear in 2015 when a failure at an underground gas storage facility in Southern California sent massive amounts of methane and other toxic chemicals into the air for months on end, resulting in the largest gas leak in modern history.

U.S. UGS regulatory programs and practices continue to improve, drawing on recent lessons learned, and that has important implications for other countries looking to develop and enhance their own gas storage programs.

Read More »

Posted in China, Methane, Natural Gas / Tagged | Comments are closed

Satellites and state regulators: New data spotlights extreme emissions and need for action in nation’s largest oilfield

By Jon Goldstein and Colin Leyden

This week a study drawing on nearly a year’s worth of satellite data revealed that Permian methane emissions are the highest ever measured from a U.S. oil and gas basin.

As the federal government continues its rollback of methane safeguards, public attention is now trained on policymakers and companies in Texas and New Mexico — two leading oil producing states that straddle the Permian Basin.

While New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham forges ahead on nation-leading rules to curb oil and gas methane waste and pollution, state leaders in Texas have yet to get serious about a problem that could undermine the industry’s viability in an economy that increasingly prioritizes cleaner sources of energy.

Read More »

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

New York is developing a gas planning framework, an important step to achieve its climate goals

By Erin Murphy

As New York implements a sweeping new climate law and moves toward decarbonization of its energy systems, state regulators are beginning to develop a framework to ensure the natural gas system is part of the transition.

EDF has long advocated that the New York Public Service Commission harmonize its natural gas policies with the state’s ambitious climate goals because natural gas distribution and combustion is a significant contributor to the state’s greenhouse gas footprint. Last month, the commission took a major step forward by initiating such a proceeding to develop a long-term planning framework for gas utilities.

Read More »

Posted in Climate, Natural Gas, New York / Comments are closed