Energy Exchange

Clean energy bill is key to reinvigorating Illinois’ post-COVID economy

When the Illinois General Assembly met last week, lawmakers addressed the COVID-19 crisis among other priorities. This is, above all, a public health crisis and a human tragedy. More than 100,000 people in the state have been infected with this virus, and heartbreakingly more than 4,000 Illinoisans have lost their lives to it. We salute all of those working to combat this insidious virus.

Of course, the crisis also extends to our economy. Unemployment numbers rival those of the Great Depression. Businesses are fighting to stay afloat. Households face tough choices to afford essentials like rent, utilities and groceries.

A plan to stimulate the economy is urgently needed. Yet, the approach we take will have lasting implications. State leaders need to act quickly — but with an eye toward the years and decades ahead.

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Also posted in CEJA, Clean Energy, Electricity Pricing, Illinois / 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.

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

How FERC’s flawed definition of “subsidy” could reshape the energy future for 65 million Americans

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission issued an order last December that could force many clean energy resources to bid into the nation’s largest wholesale electricity market, PJM, at artificially high prices. State policy makers, consumer and environmental advocates and the clean energy industry alike spoke out in vigorous opposition. Now, that order is being challenged in the courts. In the meantime, PJM must implement its directives in a process that will shape the future energy system for 65 million Americans in a region that spans 13 mid-Atlantic states and the District of Columbia.

While FERC’s December order was already bad policy — replacing competitive bidding with administrative pricing — many aspects of their mid-April order clarifying that policy are illogical and unworkable. As well as threatening competitive markets, these orders undermine state clean energy choices and, if FERC ignores PJM’s latest proposal attempting to soften the impact of the orders, could increase customer costs by billions.

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Also posted in Clean Energy, Market resilience, New Jersey, New York, Regional Grid, Renewable Energy / Comments are closed

A zero flaring policy is long overdue, and investors can help make it reality

As investors take a hard look at the U.S. energy sector during this time of volatility, natural gas flaring is one of the most important and immediate risks to manage.

The eyesore of the oilfield, flaring natural gas destroys shareholder value and creates environmental, social and governance risk — exactly the kind of problem that an increasing number of asset managers, investment banks, and even private equity firms have promised to address.

Routine flaring is damaging the environment in several ways. In addition to the CO2 emissions from combusted gas, flares can release significant amounts of methane into the atmosphere. EDF’s recent helicopter survey found that more than one in every 10 flares at oil and gas sites across the Permian Basin was either unlit — venting uncombusted methane straight to the atmosphere — or only partially burning the gas they were releasing. In fact, the survey suggests that flaring could be among the region’s largest sources of fugitive methane and a troublesome contributor to local air pollution.

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

ERCOT forecast and new analysis show the Texas grid moving away from fossil fuels

A duo of recent announcements underscore the clear direction the Texas grid is headed: toward more renewable energy, storage, energy efficiency and sophisticated demand-side management resources and away from coal.

That means less climate and local air pollution, of course. But it also means more local jobs, less volatile energy costs, a more stable and reliable grid and yet another opportunity for Texas to reap the economic benefits that come with being an energy pioneer.

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Also posted in Clean Energy, Demand Response, Energy Efficiency, Energy Storage, Grid Modernization, Market resilience, Solar Energy, Texas / Comments are closed

However you measure it, Permian oil and gas operations have highest emissions ever measured in a U.S. oilfield

Two fundamentally different methods EDF is using to measure and understand methane emissions in the Permian Basin are producing strikingly similar results. The mutually reinforcing sets of data — one gathered using aircraft, the other by satellite — each show that oil and gas operators in the region are releasing more than 3.5% of the natural gas they extract from the ground into the atmosphere as methane pollution.

That’s roughly twice the average rate found in 11 other major U.S. oil and gas basins. The wasted gas in the Permian is enough to supply 2 million American homes for a year.

The first of these efforts is EDF’s year-long PermianMAP, which tracks emissions from the ground and in the air, and takes the unprecedented step of publishing data online in near-real time to help industry and officials reduce those emissions, while letting the public see the results. The other is the first peer-reviewed scientific study to take direct measurement of Permian emissions, using the European Space Agency’s TROPOMI instrument.

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Also posted in Air Quality, Climate, Methane, Methane regulatons, New Mexico, PermianMAP, Texas / Comments are closed