Energy Exchange

New bill provides California with a powerful tool to reduce emissions and improve air quality

A new bill (AB 1328) just passed in the California legislature and is awaiting Gov. Newsom’s signature. The bill requires California’s Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources, in consultation with the California Air Resources Board, to initiate an independent evaluation of the climate and health pollution impacts from idle, deserted and abandoned wells Just like active production sites, these inactive oil and gas wells can leak pollution, affecting communities through climate change and health impacts.

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Also posted in Air Quality, Methane, Natural Gas / Comments are closed

Strategies for smarter, cleaner buildings in California

California’s buildings are one of the largest remaining emitters of greenhouse gases. Building emissions come from appliances that combust gas, such as water heaters and furnaces, but are also from our refrigerators, air conditioners and other heavy-duty appliances that are either always on or use a lot of electricity.

California has spent decades making our appliances more efficient through robust energy efficiency programs and other projects. But at a recent hearing at the California Energy Commission, lead Commissioner Andrew McAllister suggested a new vision for reducing the greenhouse gas pollution coming from our homes and buildings: What if the electrified devices in our home could talk to the electric grid?

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Also posted in Demand Response, Gas to Clean, Natural Gas / Comments are closed

California implements revolutionary new utility model for gas leaks

It is widely expected that the Environmental Protection Agency will soon release a proposal to weaken methane standards from oil and gas production. Such a blunder would result in increased climate pollution, energy waste and regulatory uncertainty. So, while the federal government looks to take another step backwards on oil and gas climate pollution, California just took another big leap forward.

Last week, California’s Public Utilities Commission adopted a rule that not only implements a new way to look at methane emissions from utility systems, it fundamentally alters the utility business model for leak control and sets an approach for the rest of the nation to follow.

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Also posted in Energy Efficiency, Methane, Natural Gas / Comments are closed

How to decarbonize California’s economy without breaking the bank

As temperatures rise and the impacts of climate change become more prevalent, California is aggressively implementing solutions that will take more greenhouse gases out of the atmosphere. California has one of the most ambitious climate goals of any state in the country, pledging to get to 100% clean electric power by 2045.

To get to 100% clean electricity, California will have to remove carbon (or “decarbonize”) in two major areas: vehicles and buildings. For California’s residential and commercial buildings – which, combined, make up about 25% of the state’s total greenhouse gas pollution — decarbonizing means changing how we heat (space heating for warmth, water heating and clothes drying are the best examples) and how we cook.

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Also posted in Clean Energy, Natural Gas / Comments are closed

California fixes a major problem with oilfield wastewater injection

A new rule goes into effect today that will help protect California’s groundwater.

The rule applies to injection wells – the underground facilities that enable enhanced oil recovery and the long-term disposal of the oil industry’s wastewater. California has around 55,000 oilfield injection wells, nearly one-third of the nation’s total, and the state’s oil industry injects over 100 billion gallons of water a year into them. The Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources (DOGGR) came under scrutiny in recent years when the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) discovered state regulators accidentally allowed thousands of wells to pump oilfield wastewater directly into drinking water aquifers, along with other program deficiencies.

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Also posted in Natural Gas, Water / Comments are closed

The right way for California to divest from natural gas

As California’s drive to wean itself from fossil fuels continues, important new challenges are emerging in its wake. Part of a broader effort to shift the state’s electric grid entirely to clean energy by 2045, for example, includes the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power’s recent announcement to retire three gas-fired power plants, while making a series of local investments to manage and balance the electric load. And with the grid getting cleaner, efforts are now getting underway to electrify as many of the other residential, commercial and industrial activities that currently depend on gas.

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Also posted in Climate, Gas to Clean, Natural Gas / Tagged , , | Comments are closed