Green & Sustainab...
731 views | +0 today
Scooped by Duane Tilden
onto Green & Sustainable News!

Surplus fossil fuels expected to exceed carbon budget

Surplus fossil fuels expected to exceed carbon budget | Green & Sustainable News |

It won’t be difficult to blow by the 1-trillion ton threshold based on the amount of fossil fuels still in the ground. As Amy Myers Jaffe remarks, “scarcity will not be the force driving a shift to alternative energy. Climate and energy policy initiatives will have to take into consideration the possibility of oil and gas surpluses and lower fossil fuel prices.”

Duane Tilden's insight:

>The lesson here is that the economics are still in favor of producing fossil fuels. The cyclical nature of energy prices suggests that higher prices will spur development of technologies to reach more difficult energy deposits. This doesn’t mean that oil and natural gas prices will be low for the rest of time, but it does reflect how high energy prices in the 2000s led not only to funding and research in alternative fuels (particularly biofuels), but also in oil and gas technologies. This investment coupled with decades of U.S. government and academic research proved fruitful with the combination of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing becoming a deployable technology.


We have now entered a period of energy surplus where we produce energy from “unconventional sources” using technological breakthroughs like horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing in places like North Dakota, south Texas, Lousiana, and Pennsylvannia. (and soon to be California?).<

No comment yet.
Green & Sustainable News
Current topics in Green Building, Sustainability, and energy in our communities and built environment.
Curated by Duane Tilden
Your new post is loading...
Your new post is loading...
Scooped by Duane Tilden!

EPA Proposes to Cut Methane Emissions from New and Existing Landfills

EPA Proposes to Cut Methane Emissions from New and Existing  Landfills | Green & Sustainable News |

Methane is a potent greenhouse gas with a global warming potential more than 25 times that of carbon dioxide. Climate change threatens the health and welfare of current and future generations. Children, older adults, people with heart or lung disease and people living in poverty may be most at risk from the health impacts of climate change. In addition to methane, landfills also emit other pollutants, including the air toxics benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene and vinyl chloride. 


Image Source:

Duane Tilden's insight:

>"Release Date: 08/14/2015
Contact Information: Enesta Jones 202-564-7873 202-564-4355

WASHINGTON – As part of the President’s Climate Action Plan – Strategy to Reduce Methane Emissions, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued two proposals to further reduce emissions of methane-rich gas from municipal solid waste (MSW) landfills. Under today’s proposals, new, modified and existing landfills would begin collecting and controlling landfill gas at emission levels nearly a third lower than current requirements.  [...]

Municipal solid waste landfills receive non-hazardous wastes from homes, businesses and institutions. As landfill waste decomposes, it produces a number of air toxics, carbon dioxide, and methane. MSW landfills are the third-largest source of human-related methane emissions in the U.S., accounting for 18 percent of methane emissions in 2013 – the equivalent of approximately 100 million metric tons of carbon dioxide pollution. 

Combined, the proposed rules are expected to reduce methane emissions by an estimated 487,000 tons a year beginning in 2025 – equivalent to reducing 12.2 million metric tons of carbon dioxide, or the carbon pollution emissions from more than 1.1 million homes. EPA estimates the climate benefits of the combined proposals at nearly $750 million in 2025 or nearly $14 for every dollar spent to comply. Combined costs of the proposed rules are estimated at $55 million in 2025.

Today’s proposals would strengthen a previously proposed rule for new landfills that was issued in 2014, and would update the agency’s 1996 emission guidelines for existing landfills. The proposals are based on additional data and analysis, and public comments received on a proposal and Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking EPA issued in 2014. 

EPA will take comment on the proposed rules for 60 days after they are published in the Federal Register. The agency will hold a public hearing if one is requested within five days of publication.  "<

No comment yet.
Scooped by Duane Tilden!

Increasing Heat Island Effect's Influence on Urban Temperature Records Introduces Bias in Climate Studies

Increasing Heat Island Effect's Influence on Urban Temperature Records Introduces Bias in Climate Studies | Green & Sustainable News |
When it comes to human-caused climate change, urban warming is a big player.
Duane Tilden's insight:

>"Perhaps no other climatic variable receives more attention in the debate over CO2-induced global warming than temperature. Its forecast change over time in response to rising atmospheric CO2 concentrations is the typical measure by which climate models are compared. It is also the standard by which the climate model projections tend to be judged; right or wrong, the correctness of global warming theory is most often adjudicated by comparing model projections of temperature against real-world measurements. And in such comparisons, it is critical to have a proper baseline of good data; but that is easier acknowledged than accomplished, as multiple problems and potential inaccuracies have been identified in even the best of temperature data sets.

One particular issue in this regard is the urban heat island effect, a phenomenon by which urban structures artificially warm background air temperatures above what they normally would be in a non-urbanized environment. The urban influence on a given station’s temperature record can be quite profound. In large cities, for example, urban-induced heating can be as great as Tokyo’s 10°C, making it all the more difficult to detect and discern a CO2-induced global warming signal in the temperature record, especially since the putative warming of non-urbanized areas of the planet over the past century is believed to be less than 1°C.  Yet, because nearly all long-term temperature records have been obtained from sensors initially located in towns and cities that have experienced significant growth over the past century, it is extremely important that urbanization-induced warming – which can be a full order of magnitude greater than the background trend being sought – be removed from the original temperature records when attempting to accurately assess the true warming (or cooling!) of the natural non-urban environment. A new study by Founda et al. (2015) suggests this may not be so simple or straightforward a task. 

Working with temperature records in and around the metropolitan area of Athens, Greece, Founda et al. set out to examine the interdecadal variability of the urban heat island (UHI) effect, since “few studies focus on the temporal variability of UHI intensity over long periods.” Yet, as they note, “knowledge of the temporal variability and trends of UHI intensity is very important in climate change studies, since [the] urban effect has an additive effect on long term air temperature trends.”


Such findings as these are of significant relevance in climate change studies, for they clearly indicate the UHI influence on a temperature record is not static. It changes over time and is likely inducing an ever-increasing warming bias on the temperature record, a bias that will only increase as the world’s population continues to urbanize in the years and decades ahead. Consequently, unless researchers routinely identify and remove this growing UHI influence from the various temperature data bases used in global change studies, there will likely be a progressive overestimation of the influence of the radiative effects of rising CO2 on the temperature record. "<

No comment yet.
Scooped by Duane Tilden!

Japan Set to Restart First Nuclear Reactor Since Industry Shut-Down Following Fukushima Disaster

Japan Set to Restart First Nuclear Reactor Since Industry Shut-Down Following Fukushima Disaster | Green & Sustainable News |
Japan is due to switch on a nuclear reactor for the first time in nearly two years on Tuesday, as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe seeks to reassure a nervous public that tougher standards mean the sector is
Duane Tilden's insight:

>" [...] 

Abe and much of Japanese industry want reactors to be restarted to cut fuel imports, but opinion polls show a majority of the public oppose the move after the nuclear crisis triggered by the earthquake and tsunami in March 2011.

In the worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl 25 years earlier, the meltdowns at the Fukushima Daiichi plant caused a release of radioactive material and forced 160,000 from their homes, with many never to return.

The crisis transfixed the world as the government and the Fukushima operator, Tokyo Electric Power (Tepco), fumbled their response and took two months to confirm that the reactors had undergone meltdowns.

Kyushu Electric Power said it aimed to restart its No. 1 reactor at its Sendai plant at 0130 GMT on Tuesday (2130 ET on Monday).

The plant on the west coast of Kyushu island is the furthest away of Japan's reactors from Tokyo, where protesters regularly gather outside Abe's official residence to oppose atomic energy.

At nearly 1,000 km (600 miles) from the capital, Sendai is closer to Shanghai or Seoul.

A successful restart would mark the culmination of a process whereby reactors had to be relicensed, refitted and vetted under tougher standards that were introduced following the disaster.

While two reactors were allowed to restart for one fuelling cycle in 2012, the whole sector has been shut down since September 2013, forcing Japan to import record amounts of expensive liquefied natural gas.

As well as cutting energy costs, showing it can reboot the industry safely is crucial for Abe's plans to export nuclear technology, said Malcolm Grimston, a senior research fellow at Imperial College in London.

"Japan also has to rehabilitate itself with the rest of the world's nuclear industry," said Grimston.

At the Sendai plant, Kyushu Electric expects to have power supply flowing within a few days if all goes to plan. It aims to start the station's No. 2 unit in October.

The head of Japan's atomic watchdog said that the new safety regime meant a repeat of the Fukushima disaster would not happen, but protesters outside the Sendai plant are not convinced.

"You will need to change where you evacuate to depending on the direction of the wind. The current evacuation plan is nonsense," said Shouhei Nomura, a 79-year-old former worker at a nuclear plant equipment maker, who now opposes atomic energy and is living in a protest camp near the plant.

Of Japan's 25 reactors at 15 plants for which operators have applied for permission to restart, only five at three plants have been cleared for restart. [...]"<

No comment yet.
Scooped by Duane Tilden!

Energy Efficiency is Key to Educational Institutions' Core Mission as Most Cost Effective Strategy to Meet Energy Needs

Energy Efficiency is Key to Educational Institutions' Core Mission as Most Cost Effective Strategy to Meet Energy Needs | Green & Sustainable News |

CHICAGO, Aug. 4, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- According to a new study ... energy efficiency is recognized among U.S. higher education institutions as key to fulfilling their schools' core mission, with almost 9 out of 10 respondents expecting to increase or maintain energy efficiency investments next year. 

Photo:  Lillis Complex, University of Oregon

Duane Tilden's insight:

>" [...] Eighty-eight percent of respondents also agree that energy efficiency is the most cost effective way to meet their energy needs while at the same time reducing greenhouse gas emissions and cutting costs. 

The biggest factor driving schools' energy efficiency efforts is cost savings, according to the survey conducted with higher education facility leaders, with environmental benefits and industry standards rounding out the top three reasons for becoming more energy efficient. However, obstacles exist to achieving these objectives. While 92 percent of respondents stated that their school had a culture that encourages energy efficiency practices, organizational barriers are challenging their ability to achieve efficiency goals. Fifty-nine percent view this as the biggest obstacle, with insufficient funding and lack of a clear definition of success also ranking highly.

Another factor impacting institutions is aging infrastructure, with 59 percent indicating that the average age of their buildings exceeds 15 years, and only one in five reporting that the average age of their building is below 10 years. As facility leaders look to upgrade existing buildings, compatibility with new technology ranks as most important when considering making an investment. Compatibility with legacy systems outranked quality of the product and technology advancements of the solution.

"A majority of the higher education buildings that stand today are expected to be in operation for the next few decades," said Tara Canfield, Segment Director, Education and Commercial Office Buildings at Schneider Electric. "Tremendous opportunities exist to improve energy efficiency and reduce waste in these existing buildings. In particular, by integrating building systems, facility managers can view energy use from a single interface, identify long-term opportunities for savings and continuously optimize their facility to yield the highest levels of efficiency over time. This integration also enables organizations to better use data from the Internet of Things, turning building insights into meaningful action that will improve operations." [...]

This survey was conducted by Redshift Research in June 2015 among 150 U.S. facilities leaders in higher educational establishments. Respondents have responsibility related to purchasing energy solutions, and their biggest responsibilities included facility management and operations management. Results of any sample are subject to sampling variation. [...]"<


No comment yet.
Scooped by Duane Tilden!

Alberta Pipeline Spills 5 Million Liters in Major Leak Near Oil Sands

Alberta Pipeline Spills 5 Million Liters in Major Leak Near Oil Sands | Green & Sustainable News |
Nexen Energy apologized Friday for a major leak in an Alberta pipeline that was only installed last year and said a warning system failed to detect it.
Duane Tilden's insight:

>" [...] A contractor discovered the leak Wednesday about 35 kilometres southeast of Fort McMurray, Alta. Nexen shut down the pipeline soon after, but not before some five million litres of bitumen, produced water and sand spilled into muskeg.

Nexen, which was taken over by China’s CNOOC Ltd. in 2013, says the affected area is about 16,000 square metres, mostly along the pipeline’s route. [...]

John Bennett, national program director of the Sierra Club Canada Foundation, said he was worried.

“We’re always concerned when petroleum products get spilled into the environment. There’s always damage, and it’s usually permanent of some nature,” said Bennett. “It’s full of toxic elements that should not be released into the environment.” "<

No comment yet.
Scooped by Duane Tilden!

Airplane Contrails Boost Global Warming by Trapping Earth's Heat Energy

Airplane Contrails Boost Global Warming by Trapping Earth's  Heat Energy | Green & Sustainable News |
The warming effects of aircraft vapor trails could be eased with fewer night flights, especially during winter, the report says.
Duane Tilden's insight:

>" [...] 

Nicola Stuber, first author of the study, to be published in tomorrow's edition of the journal Nature, suggests that contrails' overall impact on climate change is similar in scope to that of aircrafts' carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions over a hundred-year period.

Aircraft are believed to be responsible for 2 to 3 percent of human CO2 emissions. Like other high, thin clouds, contrails reflect sunlight back into space and cool the planet.

However, they also trap energy in Earth's atmosphere and boost the warming effect, the study says. [...]

Contrails are artificial clouds that form around the tiny aerosol particles in airplane exhaust.

They appear only in moist, very cold (less than 40ºF/4ºC) air—usually at altitudes of 5 miles (8 kilometers) or higher.

Some contrails can last for a day or longer, though they gradually disperse and begin to resemble natural clouds.

Contrails Mystery Scientists disagree about the extent of contrails' climate impact.

"The jury is out on the impact of contrails," said Patrick Minnis, an atmospheric scientist at NASA's Langley Research Center in Langley, Virginia.

David Travis, a climatologist at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, notes that some recent studies suggest that contrails have little impact on global climate change but have a greater regional warming impact.

"I prefer to think of contrails as a regional-scale climate problem, as they are most common in certain regions of the world, such as western Europe, eastern and central U.S., and parts of eastern Asia," he said.

"This is due to a combination of dense air traffic in these areas and favorable atmospheric conditions to support contrail persistence once they form."

Because of their locations and short life spans, contrails are a difficult study subject.

"The greatest impediment to understanding the contrail impacts on weather and climate is the poor state of knowledge of humidity in the upper troposphere [3.8 to 9.3 miles/6 to 15 kilometers in altitude]," NASA's Minnis said.

"Until we can measure it properly and extensively, and model it and its interaction with cirrus clouds and contrails, we will continue to have large uncertainties about the effect of contrails."

Winter is Contrail Season

At the high altitudes favored by commercial airlines, the air is much more humid in winter, so contrails are twice as likely in that season, study co-author Stuber said.

"We also found that flights between December and February contribute half of the annual mean climate warming, even though they account for less than a quarter of annual air traffic," she said of her U.K.-based research.

Study leader Piers Forster, of England's University of Leeds, suggests that contrails' current impact on the atmosphere is likely to increase as air traffic grows. [...]"<

No comment yet.
Scooped by Duane Tilden!

EPA and the Petroleum Industry: Fracking, Cover-ups and Academic Freedom

EPA and the Petroleum Industry:  Fracking, Cover-ups and Academic Freedom | Green & Sustainable News |
Thyne says he’s not the only one who’s been subjected to undue pressure from the oil and gas industry. He says he knows of faculty around the nation who have been targeted as well, including an engineer at Cornell University who called for an outright fracking ban in his state.

“Industry did a bunch of nasty pieces on him, trying to make him look like a wild-eyed, pistol-waving lunatic,” Thyne says.

There was even one woman from the tiny town of Raton, N.M., who claimed she was being followed and harassed after complaining about her water well being contaminated by nearby drilling operations.

“This ain’t shit,” Thyne says of his own situation. “I’ve talked to people who’ve been shot at. … It’s a real sticky situation, because there are some people getting jobs in the community, because of the development, and they’re good-paying jobs, and this is changing our economy, so it’s all positive, and then you say, ‘Yeah, well, so-and-so screwed up my well, and they won’t compensate me for it, so I’m going to take them to court, or I’m going to make waves.’ And you’ve got your neighbors mad at you.”

In addition, taking a big oil or gas company to court isn’t a walk in the park.

“You’ve got to have really deep pockets, you’ve got to go to court for a couple of years,” Thyne says. “They’re going to push it back and push it back and push it back, and then they’re going to wait until the last second, literally, and they’re going to settle. And they’re probably going to simply buy your land for what you paid for it, and get you to sign a nondisclosure [agreement] and say bye bye.”
No comment yet.
Scooped by Duane Tilden!

Venture Capital from GE, Autodesk Invest in Smart Building Technology Boom

Venture Capital from GE, Autodesk Invest in Smart Building Technology Boom | Green & Sustainable News |
Sales of smart building technologies almost could triple to $17.4 billion between 2014 and 2019. That’s driving a flood of investment from corporations and venture capitalists alike.
Duane Tilden's insight:

>" [...] As of this week, you can add cloud software company Lucid to the list of energy-efficiency startups — particularly those that monitor building power consumption for lighting and climate-control systems — attracting substantial cash infusions this year.

Among those contributing to the $14.2 million Series B round disclosed by Lucid this week: GE Ventures, Autodesk, Formation 8 and Zetta Venture Partners.  

Lucid plans to use the new funds for enhancements to BuildingOS, a cloud service that analyzes data from more than 160 hardware and software building technologies.

“Lucid’s technology is rapidly connecting many disparate building systems together, making the vision of truly connected buildings and real-time management possible,” said Ben Sampson, an associate with GE Ventures.

Its reference accounts include Genentech, along with more than a half-dozen educational institutions such as Cornell University and Stanford University.

Lucid joins a respectable list of companies attracting private capital this year, as businesses and organizations become more comfortable with gathering data from the Internet of Things.

Research firm Mercom Capital Group reports that startups focused on smart grid and energy efficiency raised more than $325 million in the first quarter.

Two deals last quarter that explicitly focused on building management or analytics: Blue Pillar, which scored a $14 million deal after more than 250 deployments; and Enbala Power Networks, which raised $11 million.

All told, the last year has been incredibly active in the sector, reaching $944 million in 2014. Those investments covered more than 111 deals at a time when the broader field of cleantech has suffered a decline in available capital, according to a separate report from Lux Research.

“While cleantech is declining from its peak of 291 deals in 2008, building energy deals have risen steadily since then, growing by 208 percent over the same period,” Lux wrote in its presentation about funding trends.

One of the more notable deals over the past two years was Distech Controls, which raised about $37 million in May 2013. [...]

Why so active?

The spike in funding reflects the rather bullish revenue projects for building energy management technologies over the next decade. Depending on how broadly you view the market, projections vary dramatically.

If you focus just on building energy management, revenue is likely to reach around $2.4 billion this year, growing almost fivefold to $10.8 billion by 2024, according to the forecast from Navigant Research.

Players in the space include not only a slew of startups, but also multinational companies such as Siemans and Intel.

“Building energy management systems (BEMS) represent an important evolutionary step in the approach to facilities and operations management,” said Casey Talon, senior analyst, commenting on that projection. “As the market matures, more integrated and sophisticated BEMS solutions are delivering energy efficiency improvements while also enabling comprehensive business intelligence and strategic management.”

Indeed, if you consider smart buildings from a more holistic perspective, the growth potential is much larger — up to $17.4 billion by 2019, compared with $6.3 billion last year, according to IDC Energy Insights. In North America, spending is being driven by large corporate operational efficiency initiatives. "<

No comment yet.
Scooped by Duane Tilden!

IMF Reports Global Energy Subsidies are Unmanageable, Inefficient and Reinforce Inequality

IMF Reports Global Energy Subsidies are Unmanageable, Inefficient and Reinforce  Inequality | Green & Sustainable News |

A new report from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) urged policymakers the world over to reform subsidies for products from coal to gasoline, arguing that this could translate into major gains both for economic growth and the environment.

Image Source:

Duane Tilden's insight:

>" [...] 

In a speech at the Peterson Institute for International Economics in Washington D.C., marking the release of the paper, IMF First Deputy Managing Director David Lipton noted that “subsidy reform can lead to a more efficient allocation of resources, which will help spur higher economic growth over the longer term.” Removing energy subsidies can also strengthen incentives for “research and development in energy-saving and alternative technologies,” he said. He also noted that, while intended to benefit consumers, subsidies are often inefficient and “could be replaced with better means of protecting the most vulnerable parts of the population.”

“The paper shows that for some countries the fiscal weight of energy subsidies is growing so large that budget deficits are becoming unmanageable and threaten the stability of the economy,” Mr. Lipton said, adding that IMF research shows that 20 countries maintain pre-tax energy subsidies that exceed 5 percent of GDP. For other emerging and developing countries, he said, the share of the scarce government resources spent on subsidies remains “a stumbling block” to higher growth and fundamentally impairs their future. “Because of low prices, there is little investment in much-needed infrastructure. More is spent on subsidies than on public health and education, undermining the development of human capital.”

Energy subsidies also reinforce inequality because they mostly benefit upper-income groups, which are the biggest consumers of energy. “On average, the richest 20 percent of households in low- and middle-income countries capture 43 percent of fuel subsidies,” said Mr. Lipton.

At the same time, Mr. Lipton warned that an increase in prices which can result from subsidy reform can have a significant impact on the poor and that “mitigating measures to protect them as subsidy reform is implemented” must be an integral part of any successful and equitable reform program.

In addition, Mr. Lipton noted that “subsidies aggravate climate change and worsen local pollution and congestion.” The study finds that eliminating pre-tax subsidies would reduce global CO2 emissions by about 1-2 percent which would, by itself, represent “a significant first step in reducing emissions by delivering about 15-30 percent of the Copenhagen Accord’s goal.” As for advanced economies, he noted that subsidies most often take the form of taxes that are too low to capture the true costs to society of energy use (“tax subsidies”), including pollution and road congestion. “Eliminating energy tax subsidies would deliver even more significant emissions reductions said Mr. Lipton, reducing “CO2 emissions by 4&frac12; billion tons, a 13 percent reduction.” [...]"<

No comment yet.
Scooped by Duane Tilden!

Economist reports proposed Site C Dam ‘dramatically’ more costly than BC gov't claims

Economist reports proposed Site C Dam ‘dramatically’ more costly than BC gov't claims | Green & Sustainable News |

Peace Valley Landowners Association commissioned leading U.S. energy economist, Robert McCullough, to look at the business case for what will be province’s most expensive public infrastructure project


Image source:

Duane Tilden's insight:

>"Just weeks before BC Hydro plans to begin construction of the $8.8-billion Site C project, a new report says the Crown corporation has dramatically understated the cost of producing power from the hydroelectric dam.


...Mr. McCullough, in his report, said it appears the Crown corporation BC Hydro had its thumbs on the scale to make its mega project look better than the private-sector alternatives.

“Using industry standard assumptions, Site C is more than three times as costly as the least expensive option,” Mr. McCullough concluded. “While the cost and choice of options deserve further analysis, the simple conclusion is that Site C is more expensive – dramatically so – than the renewable [and] natural gas portfolios elsewhere in the U.S. and Canada.”

The report challenges a number of assumptions that led the government to conclude that Site C is the cheapest option. Mr. McCullough noted that the province adopted accounting changes last fall that reduced the cost of power generated by Site C. He said those changes are illusory and the costs will eventually have to be paid either by Hydro ratepayers, or provincial taxpayers.

Mr. McCullough, a leading expert on power utilities in the Pacific Northwest, also disputes the rate that BC Hydro used to compare the long-term borrowing cost of capital for Site C against other projects, noting that other major utilities in North America use higher rates for such projects because they are considered risky investments. The so-called discount rate is critical to the overall cost projections, and he said the paper trail on how the Crown arrived at its figure “can only be described as sketchy and inadequate.”

The report, obtained by The Globe and Mail, will be released on Tuesday by the PVLA.

The group will call on Premier Christy Clark to delay construction to allow time for a review by Auditor-General Carol Bellringer.

Ken Boon, president of the association, said the government needs to put the project on hold because it has approved the project based on poor advice. [...]"<



No comment yet.
Scooped by Duane Tilden!

Water Prices in 2015 Up 6 Percent in 30 Major U.S. Cities

Water Prices in 2015 Up 6 Percent in 30 Major U.S. Cities | Green & Sustainable News |

Continuing a trend that reflects the disrepair and shows no sign of slowing, the price of residential water service in 30 major U.S. cities rose faster than the cost of nearly every other household staple last year …

Duane Tilden's insight:

>" [...] The economics of water — particularly the cost of treatment, pumping, and new infrastructure, as well as the retail price for consumers — gained renewed prominence as California and Texas, America’s two most populous states, face historic droughts and water managers seek to rein in water consumption, with price increases as one tool in their arsenal.

The average monthly cost of water for a family of four using 100 gallons per person per day climbed 6 percent, according to data collected from the utilities. It is the smallest year-to-year change in the six-year history of the Circle of Blue survey but comparable to past years. The median increase this year was 4.5 percent. In comparison, the Consumer Price Index rose just 1.8 percent in the 12 months ending in March, not including the volatile food and energy sectors. Including food and energy, prices fell by 0.1 percent.

For families using 150 gallons and 50 gallons per person per day, average water prices rose 6 percent and 5.2 percent, respectively.

The survey results reflect broad trends in the municipal water industry that nearly every U.S. utility must grapple with, according to Andrew Ward, a director of U.S. public finance for Fitch Ratings, a credit agency.

Distribution pipes, which can branch for thousands of miles beneath a single city, have aged beyond their shelf life and crack open daily. Some assessments peg the national cost of repairing and replacing old pipes at more than $US 1 trillion over the next two decades. In addition, new treatment technologies are needed to meet Safe Drinking Water Act and Clean Water Act requirements, and cities must continue to pay down existing debts. At the same time, conservation measures have proven successful. Utilities are selling less water, but they still need big chunks of revenue to cover the substantial cost of building and maintaining a water system. All together, these and other factors amount to a persistent upward pressure on water rates. [...]


No comment yet.
Scooped by Duane Tilden!

China's Switch to LNG From Coal Will Cut Global Pollution

China's Switch to LNG From Coal Will Cut Global Pollution | Green & Sustainable News |

To many people, natural gas seems to be more of the same, a continuation of the old fossil fuel path that has driven industrialization, air pollution and global warming. 

Duane Tilden's insight:

"> [...] 

China is currently producing twice the greenhouse gases of the United States. And its emissions are growing rapidly. Its emissions surpassed those of the U.S. in 2006, reached double the U.S. in 2014, and are expected to rise by seven per cent per year for the foreseeable future. China obtains 70 per cent of its electricity from burning coal, by far the worst polluter. China has plans for doubling its use of coal in the next 10 to 15 years. Meanwhile, the emissions from the U.S. have stabilized, partly from a slowing economy, but the biggest effect came from a switch from coal to natural gas. If you replace an old coal power plant with a modern natural gas one, you can cut carbon dioxide emissions by a factor of three.

Natural gas doesn’t cut emissions to zero; it is still a fossil fuel. But it obtains much of its energy from hydrogen, an atom that out numbers the carbon atoms in methane (the key component of natural gas) by 4:1. Natural gas can be burned with much higher efficiency than coal, by use of a combined cycle turbine that harnesses both gas and steam power generation.

China wants to move away from coal, to natural gas, nuclear, and solar. Their chief concern is not global warming, but the horrific air pollution that is killing an estimated 4,000 people per day in China, 1.6 million per year. [...]"<

Read more:

No comment yet.
Scooped by Duane Tilden!

Woodfibre LNG Plant: Old Technology, Design Flaws and Environmental Issues

Woodfibre LNG Plant:  Old Technology, Design Flaws and Environmental Issues | Green & Sustainable News |
Speakers at a presentation in West Vancouver on the risks associated with the proposed LNG project in Howe Sound voiced concerns, Wednesday, over everything from environmental contamination to the risk of explosions from transporting natural gas.
Duane Tilden's insight:

>"[...] “Canada doesn’t have a whole pile of rules about LNG because it doesn’t have a whole pile of plants,” said Eoin Finn a seasonal resident of Bowyer Island in Howe Sound, and speaker at the event. Finn holds a PhD in physical chemistry and is a close follower of the LNG project.

He said an LNG plant of this size has never before existed in Canada. He has concerns over the country’s lack of environmental regulations in place against this particular resource.

“There are no plants on the West Coast of Canada nor on the U.S. except a tiny one in Alaska but that’s 100 miles from anywhere and it’s about one-tenth (the size of) Woodfibre.”

When it comes to the risks associated with the proposed development, Finn said there are many, including emissions output, the risk of shipping accidents and the plant’s cooling system, which would use seawater.

“One of the big issues is that the plant will be cooled by seawater from the sound. This is pretty old technology that’s been dismissed and refused and abandoned in California and Europe.”

He said that the current proposed cooling system for the plant would suck in 17,000 tonnes of seawater (3.7 million gallons) per hour, and chlorinate it while it circulates through the system, before releasing it back into Howe Sound. 

Finn explained that any such practice would be “extremely damaging” to marine life and that similar systems down the coast in California have been banned.  

Although the plant will be powered by electricity, Finn said it will still produce emissions, including 140,000 tons of carbon dioxide a year.

Among Finn’s other concerns was tanker traffic associated with the project, which would see between six and eight tankers navigating through the sound per month.

He cited a risk of explosions associated with the ships, which could have potential negative effects on area property values. Large waves generated from those vessels could also be a problem for the area, something Finn compared to the BC Ferries Fast Cat situation years before.  [...]

Wade Davis, Bowen Island resident and professor of anthropology, said the issue of whether or not the plant will go in place holds a deeper meaning than simply a local environmental danger.

“This is not simply about a local issue in Howe Sound, this is a metaphor for who we are to be as a people,” he explained to the audience. “If we are actually prepared to invest our lives in this way, the most glorious fjord in the world, what else in our country will be immune to such violations?” he asked.  [...]"<


No comment yet.
Scooped by Duane Tilden!

New EPA Emissions Rules To Cut GHG Methane Emissions By 40 Percent in Oil and Gas Sector

New EPA Emissions Rules To Cut GHG Methane Emissions By 40 Percent in Oil and Gas Sector | Green & Sustainable News |
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will propose regulations on Tuesday aimed at cutting methane emissions from the oil and gas sector by 40 to 45 percent over the next decade
Duane Tilden's insight:

>"WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will propose regulations on Tuesday aimed at cutting methane emissions from the oil and gas sector by 40 to 45 percent over the next decade from 2012 levels, a source familiar with the issue said on Monday.

The regulations on methane are one part of the Obama administration's strategy to curb greenhouse gases and combat climate change.

The targets in Tuesday's proposal are in line with a January announcement by the Obama administration that it wanted to reduce oil and gas industry methane emissions by up to 45 percent from 2012 levels by 2025, the source said.

Earlier this month, President Barack Obama unveiled the final version of his plan to tackle greenhouse gases from coal-fired power plants, requiring carbon emissions from the sector be cut 32 percent from 2005 levels by 2030.

 (Reporting By Valerie Volcovici; Writing by Mohammad Zargham; Editing by Peter Cooney)"<

No comment yet.
Scooped by Duane Tilden!

96 Million ‘Shade Balls’ Installed to Cover L.A.’s Reservoirs

96 Million ‘Shade Balls’ Installed to Cover L.A.’s Reservoirs | Green & Sustainable News |
A California woman, for one, who wants to ease the drought, put disabled vets to work, and make some money
Duane Tilden's insight:

>" [...] The shade balls of Los Angeles are 4 inches in diameter, hollow, polyethylene orbs [...] The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power has now dumped 96 million balls into local reservoirs to reduce evaporation and block sunlight from encouraging algae growth and toxic chemical reactions. The balls are coated with a chemical that blocks ultraviolet light and helps the spheres last as long as 25 years. Las Virgenes, north of L.A., now uses shade balls, too. [...]

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has encouraged the nation’s water managers in recent years to find ways to cover or contain their resources, to prevent sunlight from reacting with chlorine and possibly creating carcinogens, says Ed Osann, a senior policy analyst at the Natural Resources Defense Council. The shade balls shouldn’t pose a pollution problem in themselves, he says, since “everything that comes in contact with drinking water has to be a certified material.” Chase says the balls are designed not to degrade.

The shade balls are a novel way to protect drinking water, and Californians’ latest attempt to adjust to their four-year drought. [...]"<

No comment yet.
Scooped by Duane Tilden!

Natural Gas Sector Gets Congressional Action on LNG Tax Rate Drop

Natural Gas Sector Gets Congressional Action on LNG Tax Rate Drop | Green & Sustainable News |
Liquefied natural gas (LNG) as a transportation fuel option is back on the competitive race track, thanks to a part of the temporary (three-month) highway funding bill passed by the U.S. Senate Thursday, according to natural gas vehicle (NGV) advocates. The House-passed version had a similar provision.


Image Source:

Duane Tilden's insight:

>" [...] At a Congressional hearing last December, the global energy and procurement director for Atlanta-based UPS called for "removing barriers" to NGVs, adding that if Congress really wanted to accelerate the adoption of LNG use in heavy-duty trucks and more use of U.S.-produced natural gas supplies, it needed to eliminate "disproportionate taxing of LNG compared with diesel fuel."

Noting that President Obama was expected to sign the latest measure, Newport Beach, CA-based Clean Energy Fuels Corp. said the new leveling provision will effectively lower the tax on LNG by 14.1 cents/gal. Twenty-six state legislatures have already taken similar action, a Clean Energy spokesperson told NGI.

Clean Energy CEO Andrew Littlefair said the use of LNG in heavy-duty trucks, locomotives and large marine vessels has been growing steadily in North America, and "anyone who cares about a cleaner environment and energy independence should be very grateful for what the U.S. Congress has done, making LNG much more competitive."

Executives with America's Natural Gas Alliance (ANGA), and the NGVAmerica and American Gas Association (AGA) trade associations echoed Littlefair's sentiments.

"We applaud Congress for including language to equalize the federal highway excise tax on LNG," said ANGA CEO Marty Durbin. "This provision has garnered strong bipartisan support over the years, and we are thrilled to see it become law."

Calling the action a "common-sense change" that will mean greater fuel cost savings, NGVAmerica President Matt Godlewski said the passage of the LNG provision is great news for trucking fleets that are looking for clean-burning fuels. His calculation places the excise tax on LNG at 24.3 cents/DGE, compared to its current 41.3 cents/DGE level, Godlewski said.

"Currently, fleets operating LNG-powered trucks are effectively taxed for their fuel at a rate 70% higher than that of diesel fuel," he said.

An AGA spokesperson clarified the number to point out that the current federal excise tax on both diesel and LNG is 24.3 cents/gallon, but because LNG does not have the same energy content/gallon of fuel, it takes 1.7 gallons of LNG to equal a gallon of diesel. "Since the excise tax is based on volume (gallons) -- not energy content -- LNG is taxed at 170% of the rate of diesel on an energy equivalent basis," he said.

"This provision provides the level playing field that natural gas has needed to reach its full potential as a transportation fuel," said Kathryn Clay, AGA vice president for policy strategy.

Each of the trade groups has been lobbying Congress for some time to take this corrective action on LNG. Under the new provision, the energy equivalent of a diesel gallon of LNG is defined as having a Btu content of 128,700, which AGA said is equal to 6.06 pounds of LNG.

Separately, the new measure defines the energy equivalent of a gallon of compressed natural gas (CNG) as having a Btu content of 115,400, or 5.66 pounds of CNG. [...]"<

No comment yet.
Scooped by Duane Tilden!

Cover-up: Fukushima Nuclear Meltdown a Time Bomb Which Cannot be Defused

Cover-up:  Fukushima Nuclear Meltdown a Time Bomb Which Cannot be Defused | Green & Sustainable News |

Four years after the Fukushima nuclear disaster which has caused incredible an ongoing destruction, in the meantime authorities have tried to cover up the serious consequences...


Image source:

Duane Tilden's insight:

>" [...] 

Fukushima will likely go down in history as the biggest cover-up of the 21st Century. Governments and corporations are not leveling with citizens about the risks and dangers; similarly, truth itself, as an ethical standard, is at risk of going to shambles as the glue that holds together the trust and belief in society’s institutions. Ultimately, this is an example of how societies fail.

Tens of thousands of Fukushima residents remain in temporary housing more than four years after the horrific disaster of March 2011. Some areas on the outskirts of Fukushima have officially reopened to former residents, but many of those former residents are reluctant to return home because of widespread distrust of government claims that it is okay and safe. [...]

According to Japan Times as of March 11, 2015: “There have been quite a few accidents and problems at the Fukushima plant in the past year, and we need to face the reality that they are causing anxiety and anger among people in Fukushima, as explained by Shunichi Tanaka at the Nuclear Regulation Authority. Furthermore, Mr. Tanaka said, there are numerous risks that could cause various accidents and problems.”

Even more ominously, Seiichi Mizuno, a former member of Japan’s House of Councillors (Upper House of Parliament, 1995-2001) in March 2015 said: “The biggest problem is the melt-through of reactor cores… We have groundwater contamination… The idea that the contaminated water is somehow blocked in the harbor is especially absurd. It is leaking directly into the ocean. There’s evidence of more than 40 known hotspot areas where extremely contaminated water is flowing directly into the ocean… We face huge problems with no prospect of solution.”

At Fukushima, each reactor required one million gallons of water per minute for cooling, but when the tsunami hit, the backup diesel generators were drowned. Units 1, 2, and 3 had meltdowns within days. There were four hydrogen explosions. Thereafter, the melting cores burrowed into the container vessels, maybe into the earth. [...]

Following the meltdown, the Japanese government did not inform people of the ambient levels of radiation that blew back onto the island. Unfortunately and mistakenly, people fled away from the reactors to the highest radiation levels on the island at the time.

As the disaster happened, enormous levels of radiation hit Tokyo. The highest radiation detected in the Tokyo Metro area was in Saitama with cesium radiation levels detected at 919,000 becquerel (Bq) per square meter, a level almost twice as high as Chernobyl’s “permanent dead zone evacuation limit of 500,000 Bq” (source: Radiation Defense Project). For that reason, Dr. Caldicott strongly advises against travel to Japan and recommends avoiding Japanese food.

Even so, post the Fukushima disaster, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton signed an agreement with Japan that the U.S. would continue importing Japanese foodstuff. Therefore, Dr. Caldicott suggests people not vote for Hillary Clinton. One reckless dangerous precedent is enough for her. [...]

Mari Yamaguchi, Associated Press (AP), June 12, 2015: “Four years after an earthquake and tsunami destroyed Japan’s Fukushima nuclear power plant, the road ahead remains riddled with unknowns… Experts have yet to pinpoint the exact location of the melted fuel inside the three reactors and study it, and still need to develop robots capable of working safely in such highly radioactive conditions. And then there’s the question of what to do with the waste… serious doubts about whether the cleanup can be completed within 40 years.” [...]

According to the Smithsonian, April 30, 2015: “Birds Are in a Tailspin Four Years After Fukushima: Bird species are in sharp decline, and it is getting worse over time… Where it’s much, much hotter, it’s dead silent. You’ll see one or two birds if you’re lucky.” Developmental abnormalities of birds include cataracts, tumors, and asymmetries. Birds are spotted with strange white patches on their feathers.

Maya Moore, a former NHK news anchor, authored a book about the disaster:The Rose Garden of Fukushima (Tankobon, 2014), about the roses of Mr. Katsuhide Okada. Today, the garden has perished: “It’s just poisoned wasteland. The last time Mr. Okada actually went back there, he found baby crows that could not fly, that were blind. Mutations have begun with animals, with birds.” [...] "<

No comment yet.
Scooped by Duane Tilden!

Water Quantities Used for Hydraulic Fracturing Varies According to Drilling Methods

Water Quantities Used for Hydraulic Fracturing Varies According to Drilling Methods | Green & Sustainable News |
The amount of water required to hydraulically fracture oil and gas wells varies widely across the country, according to the first national-scale analysis and map of hydraulic fracturing water usage detailed in a new USGS study accepted for publication in Water Resources Research, a journal of the American Geophysical Union.
Duane Tilden's insight:

>" [...]  from 2000 to 2014, median annual water volume estimates for hydraulic fracturing in horizontal wells had increased from about 177,000 gallons per oil and gas well to more than 4 million gallons per oil well and 5.1 million gallons per gas well. Meanwhile, median water use in vertical and directional wells remained below 671,000 gallons per well. For comparison, an Olympic-sized swimming pool holds about 660,000 gallons.

“One of the most important things we found was that the amount of water used per well varies quite a bit, even within a single oil and gas basin,” said USGS scientist Tanya Gallegos, the study’s lead author. “This is important for land and resource managers, because a better understanding of the volumes of water injected for hydraulic fracturing could be a key to understanding the potential for some environmental impacts.”

Horizontal wells are those that are first drilled vertically or directionally (at an angle from straight down) to reach the unconventional oil or gas reservoir and then laterally along the oil or gas-bearing rock layers. This is done to increase the contact area with the reservoir rock and stimulate greater oil or gas production than could be achieved through vertical wells alone.

However, horizontal wells also generally require more water than vertical or directional wells. In fact, in 52 out of the 57 watersheds with the highest average water use for hydraulic fracturing, over 90 percent of the wells were horizontally drilled.

Although there has been an increase in the number of horizontal wells drilled since 2008, about 42 percent of new hydraulically fractured oil and gas wells completed in 2014 were still either vertical or directional. The ubiquity of the lower-water-use vertical and directional wells explains, in part, why the amount of water used per well is so variable across the United States.

The watersheds where the most water was used to hydraulically fracture wells on average coincided with parts of the following shale formations:

Eagle Ford (within watersheds located mainly in Texas)Haynesville-Bossier (within watersheds located mainly in Texas & Louisiana)Barnett (within watersheds located mainly in Texas)Fayetteville (within watersheds located in Arkansas)Woodford  (within watersheds located mainly in Oklahoma)Tuscaloosa  (within watersheds located in Louisiana & Mississippi)Marcellus & Utica (within watersheds located in parts of Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and within watersheds extending into southern New York)

Shale gas reservoirs are often hydraulically fractured using slick water, a fluid type that requires a lot of water. In contrast, tight oil formations like the Bakken (in parts of Montana and North Dakota) often use gel-based hydraulic fracturing treatment fluids, which generally contain lower amounts of water. [...]"<

No comment yet.
Scooped by Duane Tilden!

Jet Contrails Worse for Climate Change Than Planes' Carbon Emissions

Jet Contrails Worse for Climate Change Than Planes' Carbon Emissions | Green & Sustainable News |
By John Timmer, Ars Technica Air travel has come under fire for its potential contributions to climate change. Most people probably assume that its impact comes through carbon emissions, given that aircraft burn significant amounts of fossil fuel to stay aloft. But the carbon released by air travel remains a relatively minor part of the…
Duane Tilden's insight:

>" [...]Others include the emissions of particulates high in the atmosphere, the production of nitrogen oxides and the direct production of clouds through contrail water vapor.

Over time, these thin lines of water evolve into “contrail cirrus” clouds that lose their linear features and become indistinguishable from the real thing.

Although low-altitude clouds tend to cool the planet by reflecting sunlight, high-altitude clouds like cirrus have an insulating effect and actually enhance warming.

To figure out the impact of these cirrus clouds, the authors created a module for an existing climate model (theECHAM4) that simulated the evolution of aircraft-induced cirrus clouds (they could validate some of the model’s output against satellite images of contrails).

They found hot spots of these clouds over the United States and Europe, as well as the North Atlantic travel corridor.

Smaller affects were seen in East Asia and over the northern Pacific. Over central Europe, values peaked at about 10 percent, in part because the output of the North Atlantic corridor drifted in that direction.

On their own, aircraft-generated cirrus produces a global climate forcing of about 40 milliwatts per square meter. (In contrast, the solar cycle results in changes of about a full watt/M2.) But these clouds suppressed the formation of natural cirrus clouds, which partially offset the impact of the aircraft-generated ones, reducing the figure to about 30 mW/M2. That still leaves it among the most significant contribution to the climate produced by aircraft.

Some reports have suggested we might focus on makingengines that emit less water vapor, but the water is a necessary byproduct of burning hydrocarbon. We’ll almost certainly be accomplishing that as a result of rising fuel prices, and will limit carbon emissions at the same time.

The nice thing is that, in contrast to the long atmospheric lifespan of CO2, if we can cause any changes in cloud formation, they’ll have an impact within a matter of days. [...]"<

No comment yet.
Scooped by Duane Tilden!

E.P.A. Proposal to Regulate GHG Emissions and Fuel Economy for HD Trucks

E.P.A. Proposal to Regulate GHG Emissions and Fuel Economy for HD Trucks | Green & Sustainable News |
The Environmental Protection Agency is expected to propose rules requiring heavy trucks to increase their fuel economy by up to 40 percent by 2027.
Duane Tilden's insight:

>" [...] This week, the E.P.A. is expected to propose regulations to cut greenhouse gas emissions from heavy-duty trucks, requiring that their fuel economy increase up to 40 percent by 2027, compared with levels in 2010, according to people briefed on the proposal. A tractor-trailer now averages five to six miles a gallon of diesel. The new regulations would seek to raise that average to as much as nine miles a gallon. A truck’s emissions can vary greatly, depending on how much it is carrying.

The hotly debated rules, which cover almost any truck larger than a standard pickup, are the latest in a stack of sweeping climate change policy measures on which President Obama hopes to build his environmental legacy. Already, his administration has proposed rules to cut emissions from power plants and has imposed significantly higher fuel efficiency standards on passenger vehicles.

The truck proposals could cut millions of tons of carbon dioxide pollution while saving millions of barrels of oil. Trucks now account for a quarter of all greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles in the United States, even though they make up only 4 percent of traffic, the E.P.A. says.

But the rules will also impose significant burdens on America’s trucking industry — the beating heart of the nation’s economy, hauling food, raw goods and other freight across the country.

It is expected that the new rules will add $12,000 to $14,000 to the manufacturing cost of a new tractor-trailer, although E.P.A. studies estimate that cost will be recouped after 18 months by fuel savings.

Environmental advocates say that without regulation, the contribution of American trucks to global warming will soar.

“Trucking is set to be a bad actor if we don’t do something now,” Jason Mathers, head of the Green Freight program at the Environmental Defense Fund.

But some in the trucking industry are wary.

“I’ll put it this way: We told them what we can do, but they haven’t told us what they plan to do,” said Tony Greszler, vice president for government relations for Volvo Group North America, one of the largest manufacturers of big trucks. “We have concerns with how this will play out.”

The E.P.A., along with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, began its initial phase of big truck fuel economy regulation in 2011, and those efforts have been widely seen within the industry as successful. But meeting the initial standards, like using more efficient tires, was not especially difficult by comparison. [...]"

No comment yet.
Scooped by Duane Tilden!

California's Carbon Cap-and-Trade Fund Attracts Energy Industry Project Proposals

California's Carbon Cap-and-Trade Fund Attracts Energy Industry Project Proposals | Green & Sustainable News |

With California’s growing cap-and-trade program expected to yield a budgetary bonanza, lawmakers and interest groups have ample ideas for how to spend the money. Floating proposals ahead of a pivotal period for budget negotiations, they say they want to fund port improvements, pay for heavy-duty trucks and ferries, nurture urban rivers, sponge up carbon in soil and provide discounted bus passes.


Image source:

Duane Tilden's insight:

>"[...] Seeking to counteract climate change, lawmakers in 2006 authorized California to establish its first-in-the-nation carbon auction program, compelling businesses to purchase allowances for what they pump into the atmosphere.

By this time last year, the system already had generated hundreds of millions of dollars that were parceled out via the budget, including a controversial annual outlay to support high-speed rail. But this year is different: Oil and gas producers have been obligated to buy permits for the first time, likely generating a multibillion-dollar influx.

“With transportation fuels coming under the cap, there will be more money for years to come. That changes the dynamic,” said Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León, D-Los Angeles. “Because there’s going to be a lot more money, there’s going to be that many more projects competing for dollars.”

Gov. Jerry Brown’s January proposal underestimated the amount available in the coming fiscal year by as much as $3.9 billion and most likely by around $1.3 billion, according to the Legislative Analyst’s Office. The updated numbers will come this week in Brown’s May revision.

Per a formula established in last year’s budget agreement, 60 percent of the auction dollars will flow to areas such as high-speed rail, urban transit and housing. The remaining 40 percent is up for debate in the Legislature.


The competing proposals raise a larger question about what type of project qualifies. Money spent out of the cap-and-trade fund must verifiably work to curtail the greenhouses gases that fuel climate change.

“It is a fee, and we want to spend it appropriately,” said Sen. Fran Pavley, D-Agoura Hills, who carried the bill establishing the program.

Critics assailed Brown last year for directing revenue to the high-speed rail project, arguing that carbon reductions wouldn’t materialize for years. Legislative leaders are scrutinizing ideas this year and filtering out proposals that don’t pass muster.

At de León’s prodding, a Senate bill seeking to clean up urban watersheds was amended to seek funding from a different source. Another proposal floated by a range of environmental and community activist groups argued for subsidized bus passes.

“We know that the biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions in California is from transportation, so there a number of ways we are addressing that, and one way of getting cars off the road is improving the choices in public transit,” said Magavern, whose organization was among those making the proposal.

In his January budget, Brown proposed using the money over which lawmakers have control on an array of areas, including energy-efficiency upgrades for public buildings, waste diversion and fire prevention (forest fires pour huge amounts of carbon-thick smoke into the air). That largely holds the line on last year’s proposals.

A potential addition would direct dollars to help water resources. As a prolonged drought has prompted extraordinary conservation mandates from Brown, the administration has been studying the ways in which energy and water overlap.

There, too, policymakers have experts working to quantify how much energy is used in transporting and heating water. If they can establish they’re reducing emissions, they can tap into the cap-and-trade money.

“There are a lot of really smart people working on getting this right,” said Pavley, who has a bill directing the state to study the energy footprint of water systems. “I think it opens up an amazing possible win-win for expenditure of auction revenues.”

With a growing pile of money spurring interest, Pavley said, officials must be vigilant about keeping their focus on cutting greenhouse gases. Sacramento suffers from no shortage of ideas for spending money, but not all of them fit that framework. [...]"<

Read more here:


No comment yet.
Scooped by Duane Tilden!

The Hidden Costs of Fossil Fuel Dependency

The Hidden Costs of Fossil Fuel Dependency | Green & Sustainable News |
It is estimated that 80 to 85 percent of the energy consumed in the U.S. is from fossil fuels. One of the main reasons given for continuing to use this energy source is that it is much less expensive than alternatives. The true cost, however, depends on what you include in the calculation, and there are so many costs not figured in the bills we pay for energy.
Duane Tilden's insight:

>" [...] Just last week, on May 19, a pipeline rupture caused over 100,000 gallons to spill into Santa Barbara waters. The channel where the spill occurred is where warm water from the south mixes with cold water from the north, creating one of most bio-diverse habitats in the world, with over 800 species of sea creatures, from crabs and snails to sea lions and otters, and a forest of kelp and other undersea plants; it's also a place through which 19,000 gray whales migrate this time each year. [...]

Hidden Costs of Using Fossil Fuels for Energy

It is estimated that 80 to 85 percent of the energy consumed in the U.S. is from fossil fuels. One of the main reasons given for continuing to use this energy source is that it is much less expensive than alternatives. The true cost, however, depends on what you include in the calculation. According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, there are so many costs not figured in the bills we pay for energy. The following includes just some of them:

Human health problems caused by environmental pollution. Damage to the food chain from toxins absorbed and passed along.Damage to miners and energy workers.Damage to the earth from coal mining and fracking.Global warming caused by greenhouse gasses.Acid rain and groundwater pollution.National security costs from protecting oil sources and from terrorism (some of which is financed by oil revenues).

Additional Costs From Continued Subsidies

That's not all. In addition to the above costs, each and every U.S. taxpayer has been subsidizing the oil industry since 1916, when the oil depletion allowance was instituted. Government subsidies in the U.S. are estimated to be between $4 billion and $52 billion annually. The worldwide figure is pegged between $775 billion and $1 trillion. Why don't oil and gas companies and governments around the world divert at least some of these subsidies to invest in alternative clean energy sources? Rather than invest in the depleting and damaging energy sources of the past, isn't it time to look to the future and stop "kicking the can down the road"?

More Hidden Costs

While some call it an urban legend, others say quite emphatically that the oil industryconspired with the automobile industry and other vested interests to put streetcars out of business so that people would be forced to use automobiles and buses to get from point A to B -- selling more automobiles, tires, fuel, insurance, etc. Fact or fiction, many big cities (and especially Los Angeles, where alternatives are sparse) are choking from traffic gridlock. The first study on this subject determined that traffic congestion robbed the U.S. economy of $124 billion in 2013. That's an annual cost of $1,700 per household. This is expected to waste $2.8 trillion by 2030 if we do not take immediate measures to reverse the situation. For those who are skeptical, visit Los Angeles and try to drive around. Even with Waze, much more time and energy is wasted sitting in traffic than you could ever imagine. A commute that formerly took five to 10 minutes can now take upwards of an hour. 

There Is a Solution

The solution to many of the problems related to gridlock, damage to the environment and human health includes the following:

Clean energy and storage. [...]More effective and efficient transportation (clean and safe mass transit [...]Better marketing of, and accounting for, the true cost of the alternatives.Investment to do it.Political vision and will to transparently tell the truth and make the investment.

Doing the Right Thing Is Rarely Easy

While what is most worthwhile is rarely easy, it is necessary for the planet and living things that call it home.  [...]"<

No comment yet.
Scooped by Duane Tilden!

Water Waste, Leaking Pipes and Infrastructure Maintenance

Water Waste, Leaking Pipes and Infrastructure Maintenance | Green & Sustainable News |
Imagine Manhattan under 300 feet of water, not from a flood or rising sea level, but from the 2.1 trillion gallons of water lost from leaky pipes every year. That is nearly 6 billion gallons a day! The majority of leaks are a result of old infrastructure, pressure changes in the water mains, and small household leaks.
Duane Tilden's insight:


Infrastructure leaks

About 14-18% of water treated in the United States is wasted through aging and damaged infrastructure, as well as faulty meters. The American Society of Civil Engineers recently gave the US a “D” grade for water infrastructure. Let’s take a look at a few cities around the US.

Chicago wastes about 22 billion gallons of treated water a year, enough to serve 700,000 individual needs for a whole year.The state of California loses about 228 billion gallons a year, which is more than the city of LA uses in a year. On average the state loses 49 gallons a day for every service connection, and Sacramento loses a whopping 135 gallons per connection.In 2013 San Francisco experienced over 100 water main breaks and New York averages over 400 a year.Houston lost 22 billion gallons of water in 2013, 15% of its total water supplyAccording to the EPA we lose about 34 billion gallons of drinking water a day in the United States, about 1/6 of public water systems supply.

Household water waste

Average household leaks can add up to over 10,000 gallons of water a year, enough water to wash 270 loads of laundry. Nationally, household water waste totals over a trillion gallons - or the equivalent of 11 million households' yearly usage. The most common types of leaks at the household level are worn toilet flappers, dripping faucets, and leaky showerheads. 10% of US homes waste over 90 gallons a day just from these small fixtures. Here are some quick facts:

Faucets: 1 drip/second adds up to over 3,000 gallons a year (you can take 180 showers with that water!)Speaking of showers… a showerhead leaking at 10 drips/minute wastes over 500 gallons a year (that’s 60 loads of dishes)Old inefficient toilets can water up to 13,000 gallons a yearIrrigation leaks just the size of a dime will waste nearly 6,300 gallons a month

[...] Fixing easy leaks can save about 10% on your monthly water bill. Replacing that old toilet with a new efficient toilet could save you upwards of $2,400 over the toilet's lifetime. [...]"<

No comment yet.
Scooped by Duane Tilden!

DOE Energy Review Report Recommends Grid Modernization and Transmission System Upgrades

DOE Energy Review Report Recommends Grid Modernization and Transmission System Upgrades | Green & Sustainable News |
The Department of Energy (DOE) recently released its first installment of its Quadrennial Energy Review (QER) - a comprehensive report examining how the United States can modernize energy infrastructure to promote economic competitiveness, energy security, and environmental responsibility. This installment...
Duane Tilden's insight:

>" [...] 

Electric grid reform is timely due to a confluence of factors. First, our grid infrastructure is old and in dire need of upgrade. We could just patch up the existing system by replacing old poles and wires with new ones and call it a day. But given evolving customer preferences for more control over energy usage and newly available efficiency-enabling technologies, doing that would be like replacing an old rotary phone with a newer one instead of upgrading to a smart phone. Grid reform should also consider the changing environment, as grid reliability is increasingly threatened by severe weather. The continuing shift in the energy generation mix to include the benefits of more roof-top solar and remote wind generation will also require changes to our transmission grid.


QER electric grid modernization findings and recommendations


Here are some QER highlights relevant to FERC and what it can do to support a clean electricity grid. (Our Sustainable FERC Project coalition submitted comments to DOE on some of these items before the QER was finalized.)


The necessary transmission build-out for a low-carbon future is likely consistent with historic investment


To access wind and solar renewable resources far from populated cities, we need long-distance transmission infrastructure. But how much is enough? The QER studied a variety of clean energy future cases, including scenarios with high penetrations of wind and solar power, a cap on climate-warming carbon dioxide emissions to achieve a 40 percent reduction in 2030, and increased natural gas prices. The scenarios produced a range of new transmission requirements, all consistent with our historic investment in transmission infrastructure. In other words, the needed transmission infrastructure build-out to get to a low-carbon future is reasonable. So it boils down to this: the nation will continue to invest billions of dollars in grid infrastructure updates whether we build for a clean energy future or ignore the potential for it - which will it be? We'd argue for the clean pathway to clean our air and stave off the worst effects of climate change


We can more efficiently use existing infrastructure to avoid unnecessary and costly transmission construction


Just as the highways clog at rush hour, the electric grid gets congested when customer power demand is at its peak. The QER emphasizes that there are a number of ways to alleviate congestion on transmission wires without building costly new infrastructure. These include managing energy use through energy efficiency (smarter use of energy) and demand response (customer reduction in electricity use during high congestion times in exchange for compensation), locally supplying energy through distributed generation (such as rooftop solar), or using stored energy when the transmission lines are constrained. These alternatives not only reduce new transmission construction requirements, but come with the added bonus of improving electric service reliability and reducing pollution from electricity generation. Indeed, three important DOE-funded planning studies show that scenarios combining high levels of these resources can reduce the expected costs of new transmission investment (see a description of the Eastern Interconnection study here).


We can also avoid costly transmission construction by using existing transmission more efficiently through improved operations. Without getting into the wonky details, this means grid operators can adopt smart network technologies and better network management practices to minimize electricity transmission bottlenecks.


We need to appropriately value and compensate energy efficiency, demand response, energy storage, and other resources providing cleaner, cheaper grid services


Unlike traditional power plants, energy efficiency, demand response, energy storage and other resources can nimbly respond to unanticipated grid events or meet energy demand without requiring extra transmission capacity at peak times. But these resources often offer more to the grid than they receive in compensation. Accurately valuing the services these resources provide would allow regulators and utilities to incent their participation in grid markets. The QER therefore recommends that DOE help develop frameworks to value and compensate grid services that promote a reliable, affordable, and environmentally sustainable grid. [...]"<

No comment yet.
Scooped by Duane Tilden!

Russian Energy Producer Rosneft LNG Plant Reported Delayed for Two to Five Years

Russian Energy Producer Rosneft LNG Plant Reported Delayed for Two to Five Years | Green & Sustainable News |

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian energy producer Rosneft may have to delay development of its liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant on the Pacific island of Sakhalin for at least two years, sources said, after prices fell and financing all but dried up due to Western sanctions.

Duane Tilden's insight:

>"[...] Rosneft, which has spearheaded President Vladimir Putin's drive to increase oil and gas output and secure Russia's energy dominance, signed an agreement with Exxon in 2013 that aimed at starting production of 5 million tonnes per year of LNG from 2018 at Sakhalin.

Russia is the world's largest exporter of natural gas but mostly exports it by pipeline to customers in Europe. Once liquefied, natural gas can be transported by ship to customers in Asia, helping fulfill the Kremlin's goal of finding new markets.

Two sources with direct knowledge of the project said the 2018 target was no longer realistic.

A source at Rosneft, who declined to be named because he was not authorized to speak to the media, said the plant would most probably "be postponed for three to five years because of lack of funds and low fuel prices".

A second source said it could be delayed for two years.

"This is not a surprise," the source said. "The year 2018 had never been seen as the final deadline. All the stuff that's happening - a decline in LNG prices, a slump in demand, the economic crisis - only confirms that."

A Rosneft company spokesman said there had been no change to the project's timeline: "Rosneft has not revised the terms for the implementation of the far east LNG project."

Exxon's Moscow office declined to comment. A spokesman at Exxon's headquarters in Texas also declined to comment.

In May 2014, Rosneft and Exxon signed a deal to continue work on the LNG plant, which will be partly fed from gas produced at Sakhalin-1, an oil and gas project in which Exxon is a major investor. [...]"<

No comment yet.