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Hydrogen: Hype or a Glide Path to Decarbonizing Natural Gas – Part 2

We continue the analysis of hydrogen which began in Part 1. This time we cover the following topics:

  • The status of efforts to blend hydrogen in the U.S. grid,
  • What hydrogen blending means for decarbonizing natural gas,
  • Regional opportunities to increase hydrogen in the U.S. and to serve Fuel-Cell Electric Vehicles (FCEV), and
  • The Disconnect between hydrogen policy and green hydrogen production shortages

Hydrogen: Hype or a Glide Path to Decarbonizing Natural Gas – Part 1

Blue Hydrogen

Existing technologies that produce blue hydrogen with carbon capture, use, and storage (CCUS) could be a bridge to widespread production of green H2, which is produced with renewable energy without carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. By incentivizing and encouraging higher production of blue H2, which primarily uses natural gas, and green H2, the transportation sector could be decarbonized to combat the adverse effects of climate change. [node:read-more:link]

Regulatory Challenges Facing Renewable Natural Gas

Renewable Natural Gas- where are the regulators?

Why aren't state regulators getting behind renewable natural gas as they have for wind, solar and other renewable energy projects? The answer may be a one-size fits all mindset where electrification is viewed as the only solution to a successful energy transition. I'm not so sure that this is the case. The conventional wisdom is that RNG is the domain of state regulators, but a closer look at the challenges that RNG projects face shows that the FERC could reduce the costs of RNG projects wishing to interconnect to interstate natural gas pipelines. [node:read-more:link]

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]

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]

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Tom has a diverse and valued history at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. His expertise ranges from hydropower development to cyber security issues. Anyone dealing with the complexities of FERC's regulatory regime would be well served to discuss their issues with Tom.

Principal, JMR Energy Infra, LLC

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