Energy Exchange

4 opportunities for gas utilities to accelerate the energy transition today

A troubling story recently emerged about a group of gas utilities whose mission is to fight electrification. While the leaked materials alone don’t explain the full extent of the group’s efforts, it was unsettling to see baseless, fear-driven tactics such as “take advantage of power outage fear,” to make people wary of electrification. Instead of blocking progress to safe, affordable, clean energy, gas utilities concerned with the future should be taking steps today to accelerate the energy transition.

Several analyses make clear that electrification of commercial and residential buildings will play a predominant role in achieving state climate goals. Take New Jersey, for example, where residential and commercial buildings account for the second largest share of the state’s greenhouse gas emissions. According to modeling done by the state, in order to achieve its climate goals of 80% emission reductions by 2050, residential and commercial sector emissions must be reduced by 89%.

To achieve this level of emission reductions, New Jersey has found that “policies requiring net-zero emissions for new construction must be paired with aggressive requirements for electrification of older residential and commercial buildings as soon as practicable.” In other words, the last thing we should be doing is fighting efforts to electrify.

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Also posted in Gas to Clean, Methane, Natural Gas, New Jersey, New York / Comments are closed

Illinois can step up as environmental leader in truck and bus electrification

Yesterday, Illinois State Senator Celina Villanueva and House Representative Edgar Gonzalez, Jr. introduced a resolution to encourage Gov. Pritzker to sign on to a memorandum of understanding that would commit the state to a goal of transitioning all medium- and heavy-duty trucks and buses to zero-emission models by 2050. Spearheaded largely by the Little Village Environmental Justice Organization and the Illinois Environmental Council, the resolution will encourage a key step towards a clean transportation future.

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Also posted in Electric Vehicles, Illinois / Comments are closed

Clean firm power is the key to affordable, reliable grid decarbonization in California

California has ambitious efforts underway to decarbonize our electric grid by 2045. The choices we make today will help determine how affordably, equitably and reliably we can get there.

Renewables are an important piece of the puzzle, but we will also need something else. Renewable energy supplies can drop up to 60% between summer and winter months, due to cloudier skies and less-powerful winds. Short duration storage batteries can complement renewable generation production on a day-to-day basis, but they cannot pull the state through several weeks of reduced supply.

According to a recent study published in the journal Issues in Science and Technology, California will need to increase its renewable energy generation capacity while also tapping into clean firm power resources to meet these goals.

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Also posted in California, Clean Energy, Renewable Energy / Comments are closed

Maximizing the historic job creation opportunity waiting in our nation’s old and leaking oil and gas wells

After over 150 years of boom and bust oil and gas development, there are over a million inactive, unplugged oil and gas wells across the country. A new study published in the journal Elementa describes how, when not properly plugged, these wells can contaminate groundwater and emit methane as well as harmful chemicals into the atmosphere that endanger the economy and public health in communities where they are found. It also provides suggestions for how to maximize the environmental benefits of efforts to plug these wells.

There are 57,000 documented “orphan” wells across the country, meaning they have no owner of record, at least not one that’s still in business, and hundreds of thousands more orphan wells that are not documented. State, federal and tribal governments are left with the responsibility of plugging these wells – some of which have been abandoned for decades.

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Also posted in Methane, Natural Gas, Pennsylvania / Comments are closed

New innovative tool empowers utilities to reduce emissions in investment planning

By Erin Murphy and Christie Hicks

As the United States moves toward decarbonization, cities and states must use all means available to reduce climate pollution, and natural gas utilities should be at the forefront of this rapid energy transition. Gas utilities are the subject of increasing scrutiny because plans to expand and fortify their infrastructure could lock in greenhouse gas emissions and costs for decades. As the industry reckons with its role in a decarbonized future, advocates, utilities and regulators alike are calling for a carefully-managed transition that avoids costly long-term investments. New York has been at the forefront of this effort, seeking to balance ambitious climate goals with outdated natural gas investment planning processes.

To help utility planners align business decisions with environmental targets, EDF engaged MJ Bradley and Associates to develop the Gas Company Climate Planning Tool, an innovative new framework for New York and other states.

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Also posted in Gas to Clean, General, Methane, Natural Gas, New York / Comments are closed

New bill will make it easier, cheaper to buy electric trucks and buses

By Michael Colvin and Lauren Navarro

A new bill making its way through the California Legislature has the potential to help accelerate the much-needed transition to electric vehicles.

The law, Senate Bill 372, would create state programs that help owners of medium- and heavy-duty trucks and buses pay for the costs of replacing their diesel-fueled fleets with cleaner, zero-emissions alternatives.

Medium- and heavy-duty trucks create massive amounts of air pollution. This pollution deteriorates air quality and can exacerbate serious health problems for people who suffer from asthma and other respiratory conditions. The pollution is particularly bad along shipping routes and near warehouses, many of which are located in and around low-income communities. So replacing these vehicles with cleaner, zero-polluting versions will immediately improve outcomes for these vulnerable populations.

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Also posted in Air Quality, California, Electric Vehicles / Comments are closed