Energy Exchange

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 Clean Energy, Renewable Energy / 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, Electric Vehicles / Comments are closed

DOE’s SuperTruck 3 can help us reach a zero-emission future – if we have the right clean truck standards too

Cleaning up pollution from the U.S. trucking industry is an urgent need for the country. For the past decade, the Department of Energy’s SuperTruck Program has helped showcase solutions for a cleaner future. Now Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm has announced a new generation of the DOE SuperTruck program – SuperTruck 3 – that will focus on higher efficiency and zero-emission solutions.

Through the SuperTruck 3 program, DOE will provide $162 million in funding to “pioneer electrified medium- and heavy-duty trucks and freight system concepts that achieve even higher efficiency and lower emissions.” The funding focuses on a range of approaches, including all-electric systems, plug-in hybrid systems using renewable biofuels and hydrogen and fuel cell technologies.

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

Annular pressure monitoring and testing makes for safer wells

There are nearly a million active oil and gas wells in the United States, and if not correctly designed and maintained, they can leak harmful substances that will irreversibly pollute our land, air and water.

A new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences looked at data from over 100,000 wells and estimates that at least 14% experienced some loss of integrity, which could indicate a leak.

The study’s authors were able to determine the functionality and health of these wells based on data collected from annular pressure tests. In fact, the study analyzed almost 500,000 pressure tests conducted across three different basins — one of the largest studies of well integrity conducted to date.

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

Gearing up for a zero-emission world

President Biden’s sweeping infrastructure package includes $174 billion for electric vehicles, an investment that will speed the transition away from polluting gas and diesel vehicles and toward cleaner forms of road transportation. The upfront cost of infrastructure is a key barrier to rapid deployment of zero-emission vehicles and the health and climate benefits that an electrified vehicle future will provide.

The proposal includes a wide array of vehicle electrification issues — from research and development to manufacturing to increased capability to purchase clean vehicles. But when it comes to maximizing the environmental, health and equity potential of electric transportation, it leaves some critical considerations on the table. Most notably, the potential impact of medium- and heavy-duty vehicles, or trucks and buses.

First and foremost, it is crucial that the country’s investment in zero-emission vehicles includes more than passenger cars and is ambitious in cleaning up all medium- and heavy-duty trucks and buses. President Biden’s call to modernize transit and expand clean school buses is well placed, but the call should extend beyond buses — and as soon as possible. This will require investment in all aspects of the supply chain as well as increased funding and programs to deploy increasing numbers of zero-emission vehicles and charging stations throughout the nation —as well as ensuring that communities of color have the tools needed to benefit from the increased deployment of these vehicles.

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Also posted in Electric Vehicles / Comments are closed

4 things every utility, fleet and energy regulator should know about heavy-duty truck charging

The transition to electric heavy-duty trucks is upon us, sparked by a steady decline in battery costs, continuous improvements in electric truck and charging technology, and growing recognition of the climate and local air quality impact of diesel trucks. But even as household names like FedEx, PepsiCo and Amazon have made public pledges to electrify their truck fleets, concerns that charging infrastructure will be able to meet fleets’ needs cost effectively threaten to slow the market-wide transition.

A study commissioned by EDF and conducted by Gladstein, Neandross and Associates addresses these charging questions and provides a pathway to ensuring heavy duty trucks can electrify.

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Also posted in Electric Vehicles, Grid Modernization / Comments are closed