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Insights

Is Electric Battery Storage Overrated as a Clean Technology?

The U.S. and the world are undergoing an accelerated energy transition with high stakes regarding energy security. Concerns about climate change and greenhouse gas emissions are dominating the debate about which energy technologies are politically most acceptable to meet energy needs. Renewable energy, energy efficiency, and electric battery storage technologies appear to be the preferred technologies. However, we believe the notion that renewables and electric storage (batteries) are “clean” has been overstated. [node:read-more:link]

Pumped Storage Hydro: Reliable Choice for the New Electric Storage Era

Pumped Storage Hydro Projects

The use of electric storage is a critical component to the integration of intermittent clean energy technologies on the electric grid. That being said, however, just mentioning Pumped Storage Hydro (PSH) to some stakeholders often unleashes a torrent of criticism of how its use adversely affects riverine and lake aquatic systems. Nevertheless, PSH deserves another look, especially the Closed-Loop variety which does not affect rivers and lakes. [node:read-more:link]

Challenges of Decarbonizing the U.S. Natural Gas Industry

Keep It In The Ground

I believe most US natural gas industry executives largely discount decarbonization of natural gas since the U.S. withdrew from the Paris Agreement. Given the pace if shale gas, LNG export and infrastructure investments, some executives might believe a future without natural gas is unrealistic. Despite natural gas' superior qualities, it might be risky to think the fuel has gotten a pass for replacing coal in power plants. [node:read-more:link]

Gas from shale drilling to face strong headwinds next decade

Oil rigs in Permian produce associated gas

The US Energy Information Administration said in October that US crude oil production had climbed to 11.3 million barrels a day. That also means production of associated gas from shale wells is increasing as well. That would put the United States on a par with Russia, which surpassed Saudi Arabia to become the world’s largest producer of crude oil last year. With news like this, it’s fairly easy for shale oil producers to get caught up in day-to-day challenges associated with production and its challenges, like moving crude, associated gas, and natural gas liquids to market.

Developers often don’t focus on large-scale changes that have drastically affected the oil industry. However, historically certain events have radically changed the oil industry. I believe that a growing “green wave” may change global power and transportation and adversely affect shale oil’s future in the next 10–15 years. With breakthroughs in technology, changes may come even sooner.

Read article at Russo, T. (2019, February). Gas from shale drilling to face strong headwinds next decade. Natural Gas & Electricity 35/.7.  [node:read-more:link]

Reworking NEPA in the Age of Uncertainty

NEPA lacks a dispute resolution process

Implementing the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) over the years has produced a lot of paper, delays, and high costs to make sure that projects consider the environment and adequately mitigate project impacts on proposed energy projects, including renewable energy. Current attempts by the President's Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) to revise the NEPA regulations and procedures will fail unless a cooling-off period coupled with dispute resolution with state agencies is established. [node:read-more:link]

Overlooked Environmental Improvements from US Liquefied Natural Gas Exports

Landed Global LNG Prices May 2018

We often overlook or take for granted the environmental improvements that will occur in developing countries that import LNG or countries that choose not to develop their shale gas resources. LNG imports to China, India and Mexico are largely driven by environmental concerns and government mandates. However, LNG prices are very high compared to pipeline gas. Now that Beijing has decided to impose tariffs on US LNG, China may turn to other suppliers or even develop its own shale gas resources. I discuss the pros and cons of these alternatives in:

Russo, T. (2018, September). Overlooked environmental improvements from US liquefied natural gas exports.Natural Gas & Electricity 35/2. Read the article [node:read-more:link]

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Tom is a very thoughtful, conscientious professional in the energy industry, knowledgeable on a wide variety of matters relating to the regulation of energy systems, including oil, petroleum products, natural gas, electricity and hydroeletricity. He has shown great leadership in understanding and using technology to improve regulation, and had expanded that competency to address issues related to cyber security. He is particularly aware of the impact of regulation on businesses, the economy, and consumers.

Vice President, Regulatory Affairs at American Gas Association

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