Blog

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

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

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]

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

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

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

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

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.

Pages

Subscribe to Russo on Energy RSS

Not sure yet?
Get in touch with us.