The Impact of Natural Gas Prices on Electricity Consumers and the Environment

Coinciding with the recent increase in US natural gas production, the country has seen a 60 percent decrease in the price of natural gas. Lower natural gas prices have affected electricity prices and emissions rates differently across various regions. For example, during this time period, the Texas Reliability Entity experienced one of the largest decreases […]

The Federal Multiagency Collaboration on Unconventional Oil and Gas Research Strategy: What Have We Learned?

The Department of Energy, the Department of the Interior, and the Environmental Protection Agency recently released the long-awaited research strategy on unconventional oil and gas research. Its mandate was to produce timely, policy-relevant research questions that support sound policy decisions and prudent oil and gas development. It also was to “analyze and synthesize the state of […]

Stimulating Shale Gas Development in China: What Lessons to Learn from the US Experience?

China’s pressing need to reduce coal consumption has created a strong demand for the natural gas trapped in its large shale reserves. The Chinese government has already experimented with a number of policies aimed at promoting shale gas development, but building an industry that can successfully utilize these reserves will be difficult. Although the Ministry […]

EPA’s Clean Power Plan: Breaking Down the Building Blocks

In the graph below, we explore two important aspects of EPA’s Clean Power Plan. EPA’s state targets for CO2 emissions reductions for existing power plants are in terms of emissions rates—mass of CO2 emissions per unit of electricity generation (lb/MWh). An alternative way to measure emissions reductions (and what matters) is mass terms alone (lb […]

Getting Past the “Yuck” Factor: Challenges for Public Acceptance of Recycled Water

A recent article in Slate ran with the attention-grabbing title “Thirsty West: Why Californians Will Soon be Drinking their Own Pee.”  The article was motivated by the planned $142 million expansion of a water reuse facility in Orange County, which will increase the local district’s capacity to take wastewater and convert it into sterile, drinking-quality […]

Assessing Landfill Gas-to-Energy Adoption Policies

Virtually all of us are served by the nation’s vast public and private networks that manage the solid waste we generate—which, in 2012, amounted to about 251 million tons per year, or around 4 pounds per person per day, according to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). From the local city dump that handled waste […]

Managing the Risks of Shale Gas Development Using Innovative Legal and Regulatory Approaches

At the heart of the US shale gas boom is a tense relationship between the desire for its economic benefits and the fear of its environmental costs. Regulatory measures and industry best practices can be adjusted to ease this tension, but the potential for incorporating innovative tools into new measures has been relatively understudied. Both […]

Quick Thoughts on UARG v. EPA

SCOTUS released its decision in UARG v. EPA today, with the majority opinion authored by Justice Scalia. The issue in the case was whether EPA appropriately subjected stationary sources to new source review obligations for their GHG emissions. Here are some quick thoughts. If you’re unfamiliar with the case or with EPA’s regulatory agenda for […]

Energy Efficiency in 111(d): Evaluating Energy Savings for Carbon Reduction

EPA’s Clean Power Plan uses expanded energy efficiency programs as a component of states’ emissions rate targets. States that choose to use energy efficiency for compliance need to develop and provide EPA with a plan for evaluating energy savings that result from the policy. In the technical support document for state plans, EPA describes the […]

Energy Efficiency in 111(d): The Role of End-Use Efficiency in State Compliance Plans

In a prior blog post, I describe the contribution of energy efficiency to state emissions-reduction targets in EPA’s Clean Power Plan. As EPA has pointed out, including energy efficiency in states’ targets does not mean that states will necessarily choose to include energy efficiency programs in the compliance plans they submit to EPA. Many factors […]