Identifying “Known Unknowns” in the Natural Gas Revolution

Last week, my colleagues and I released a new RFF report, The Natural Gas Revolution: Critical Questions for a Sustainable Energy Future. At one point, I began referring to this document as the “Known Unknowns” report, in reference to a widely quoted Donald Rumsfeld speech. As the former secretary of defense noted, there are certain […]

Russia and Ukraine: The Energy Dimension

Russian incursion into Crimea, potential counter-measures by the United States and other Western countries, and retaliatory Russian responses to such counter-measures have, unsurprisingly, spotlighted the role of energy in the conflict. In the case of oil, Russia, it is accurately noted, is the world’s largest producer and second ranking exporter (behind Saudi Arabia). In the case […]

Misplaced Obsessions

The environmental movement has long been and will remain a crucial engine behind environmental policy, but I believe it really needs to reorient itself toward policies that matter, and in the process give up on its misplaced obsessions. First, environmentalists’ obsession with reducing carbon emissions is NOT misplaced. I am not just worried, but scared […]

Using Natural Gas to Lower Fuel Costs

With low-cost, abundant natural gas now available in the United States and the promise of new fuel and vehicle technologies on the rise, an opportunity may soon exist for industry (and consumers) to expand the use of natural gas in the form of a liquid fuel for passenger cars and trucks. In new research, RFF’s […]

Best of the Above

It looked like a reverse make-me-do-it  – President Obama in his State of the Union address saying don’t-do-that-again to some of his most committed supporters.  An array of groups had written to him just two weeks earlier about the failings of an “all of the above” energy policy, and the first words in his speech […]

How the Cold Snapped Clean Currents

Renewable power retailer Clean Currents will no longer provide electricity to its 15,000+ customers, as it had reliably done since 2005. Co-founders Gary Skulnik and Charlie Segerman announced on Friday that the company has shut its doors forever. Why? In a blog post to its customers, the duo explains that the recent severe cold weather […]

Unconventional Fuel Production and Water Resources

Crude oil and natural gas production from unconventional reservoirs is experiencing accelerated growth in North America, much of which is expected to continue for the foreseeable future. This shift in the energy industry has been accompanied by rising concerns over its potential impact on water resources. Developing these fuels is thought to require more water […]

Industry Fracking Messages Need Improving

Last week, Department of the Interior Secretary Sally Jewell called upon industry to provide better information to the public about the fracking process. She said the public debate is “confused” and “not well-informed,” stating that industry is responsible for making sure “that the public understand what it is, how it’s done, and why it’s safe.” […]

Shale Gas Development Linked to Traffic Accidents in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania has seen the development of more than 5,000 7,000 hydraulically fracked shale gas wells since 2004. The fracking process itself requires water and other liquids to work, not to mention rigs, other equipment, and labor, to fully develop the well. The water used in hydraulic fracturing is primarily brought to and from a well via […]

Update: EPA NSPS Proposal -Does- Separate Coal and Gas

On Friday, I wrote that EPA’s newly-proposed performance standards for GHG emissions from new power plants (NSPS) mostly preserved the agency’s earlier approach of putting gas- and coal-fired plants in the same “source category”: It’s true that the new proposal would revert to EPA’s past approach of separating steam plants, including natural gas combined cycle plants […]