Energy Exchange

Rogue methane leaks from idle wells carry four big takeaways for policymakers

An ongoing methane leak involving several long-term idle wells in Southern California is raising safety concerns for nearby residents and highlights an important climate issue. Southern California has some of the worst air quality in the country, and leaks like these compound the negative impacts on some of the country’s most vulnerable populations. Both in California and across the country, many hundreds of thousands of end-of-life oil and gas wells are idle. That means that they are just sitting around awaiting proper site closure, which involves plugging the wells with cement to prevent gases or liquids from escaping and threatening the environment and public health.

Several such wells were recently found to be leaking methane — a powerful greenhouse gas that often escapes from oil and gas facilities alongside other toxic pollutants — in the Morningstar section of Bakersfield, CA. Local residents are concerned about the possibility of subsurface methane migration to homes and other structures in the vicinity.

While CalGEM and other agencies work to investigate and remediate the situation, four takeaways are already emerging:

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Also posted in California, Methane, Natural Gas / Language: / Comments are closed

California policymakers want feedback on how to make it easier to finance electric trucks, buses

Update: The California Air Resources Board is hosting a public work group meeting on May 4 at 1:00pm PST to discuss the new Proposed Zero Emission Loan Pilot within the Truck Loan Assistance Program. Stakeholder input is needed to determine how loans should work under SB372. There will be future meetings on other elements of SB372 to come. Please click here for more information.

Last year the California State Legislature passed Senate Bill 372, an important new bill that will help finance the next generation of zero-emission trucks. The law directs the California Air Resources Board and the California Pollution Control Financing Authority in the State Treasurer’s Office to offer financial and non-financial tools to help owners of medium- and heavy-duty trucks and buses pay for the costs of replacing their diesel-fueled fleets with cleaner, ZEV alternatives.

This bill is meant to bring key stakeholders to the table — environmental justice groups, truck manufacturers, fleets, financiers, nonprofit organizations and others — to find the solutions that will work for fleets to transition to zero-emission MHD vehicles.

Based on conversations EDF had with fleets, financiers and others, about what they need to invest in ZEV trucks, we discovered that it is critical to bring stakeholders to the table in order to find out what works, recognizing that multiple options are needed, because when it comes to fleets, one size does not fit all.

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Also posted in California, Electric Vehicles / Language: / Comments are closed

This week, all eyes are on zero-emission trucks. It’s time for policymakers to go bold.

As leaders from government, business and tech meet this week at CERA Week, The Work Truck Show and the ATA Technology and Maintenance Council annual meeting, the growing availability of zero-emission trucks will be center stage.

The last five years have seen tremendous progress in the availability of and fleet interest in large, zero-emission vehicles. This electric truck revolution is being spurred by growing private sector investment, rapidly maturing technology and clear government leadership. As a result, these trucks are moving from the showroom floor to highways and local streets across North America.

Among the many signs of progress are:

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Also posted in Electric Vehicles / Language: / Comments are closed

New Rystad cost analysis makes case for EPA to end routine flaring in final methane rule

By Jon Goldstein and Grace Weatherall

Reducing the amount of methane emitted from oil and gas infrastructure is among the cheapest and simplest solutions we have to reduce global warming quickly while protecting public health. The Environmental Protection Agency is in the midst of developing rules to curb these emissions from oil and gas producers across the country.

A new analysis commissioned by EDF and conducted by Rystad Energy makes it clear that eliminating routine flaring — a major source of rogue emissions — should be part of EPA’s methane rulemaking.

Though there are valid safety reasons for some minimal flaring, most of it occurs via routine flaring — when oil producers simply don’t have a place to put the natural gas that emerges from the ground during oil production and simply burn it off. More than $1 billion of natural gas is wasted at flares every year, driving unnecessary and harmful climate and local air pollution — including methane, an extremely potent greenhouse gas — when natural gas is not fully burned.

Rystad’s report includes two key findings that should inform EPA’s rulemaking.

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Also posted in Colorado, Methane, Methane regulatons, Natural Gas, New Mexico, Texas / Language: / Comments are closed

Solving the EV charging challenge: A how-to guide for regulators

By Larissa Koehler and Pamela MacDougall

We are at a pivotal moment in the electric vehicle revolution. Demand for electric cars outpaced their fossil fuel alternatives in the United States, Europe and China last year. And, demand for electric trucks and buses could jump tenfold over the next decade as interest among business and government surges.

Yet the complexities around charging still remain a major barrier to wide-scale adoption.

While state and federal legislators are setting ambitious goals for the electrification of vehicles, utility regulators across the country are the ones untangling many of the (literal) wires of how to achieve these targets. Via utility commission proceedings to consider aspects of vehicle electrification, utility plans to electrify vehicles, and stakeholder working groups, regulators are increasingly being tasked with figuring out how to integrate the tsunami of EVs plugging into the grid.

A new report from EDF, Accelerating Electric Vehicle Infrastructure: A How-to Guide for Regulators, offers guideposts for policymakers as they navigate this unprecedented transition in a way that’s clean, equitable, reliable and cost-effective.

A few highlights include:

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Also posted in Electric Vehicles / Language: / Comments are closed

New electricity rate will make truck and bus charging cheaper, cleaner in California

State regulators just approved a first-of-its-kind charging rate for electric trucks and buses in northern California that will make it more affordable for fleet operators to make the switch from diesel to electric.

This new “dynamic” rate changes on an hourly basis, offering more opportunities for fleet operators to charge their vehicles when electricity is cheap (for example, when the grid is underutilized or when clean electricity is plentiful). In 2019, state regulators authorized Pacific Gas and Electric Company to offer a commercial electric vehicle time of use rate; regulators also directed the utility to request a more dynamic rate option, which is what was just approved. PG&E offering a menu of options tracks with EDF’s recent recommendation that multiple options — to accommodate many different operational use cases — are needed to make commercial vehicle electrification as affordable and clean as possible.

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Also posted in California, Electric Vehicles / Language: / Comments are closed