Educational Blog

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]

FERC’s 1999 Pipeline Policy Could Face Environmental Headwinds

Sailing in rough seas
While FERC and the gas pipeline industry believe that the policy will be tweaked, I see some serious NEPA challenges ahead. The issues seem similar to what FERC's hydropower program faced when the Commission was asked to analyze cumultive impacts in the mid 1980s. Also, the outcome of FERC's review will also spill over to LNG Export Terminals, especially with respect to the need to anlyze greenhouse gas and climate change in FERC environmental reviews.
 
Russo, T. (2018, May). FERC's 1999 pipeline policy could face environmental headwinds. Natural Gas & Electricity 34/10,  p. 18.

Will NAFTA Renegotiation Stop Greening of Mexico’s Power Sector?

Mexico decouples CO2 emissions with electricity generation

Today trade representatives from Canada, Mexico and the United States are meeting in Washington DC to begin renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Everyone is focused on jobs, competitiveness and modernizing the agreement. Few people are tuned into the environmenal side of things at this time, but they should be because of the environmental benefits. [node:read-more:link]

Use of Natural Gas Indices

How Natural Gas was priced in 2016

Recently the FERC held a technical conference on Natural Gas Indices. Back in March 2017, I was asked by the the Natural Gas & Electricity Journal to write about natural gas indices. I hope the article below will provide a good overview of the issues and stimulate discussion.

"Russo, T. (2017, August). Using natural gas price indices. Natural Gas & Electricity 34/1, ©2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc., a Wiley company."  [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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