Energy & Technology

Water for Energy and Energy for Water: Challenges and Opportunities for Utilities

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2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.Webinar 1: An overview of water/energy issues from national and federal perspectivesSee video here. View slides here.

Webinar 1: An overview of water/energy issues from national and federal perspectives

May 8, 2014

2 p.m. – 3 p.m. ET

Dr. Craig Zamuda from the Department of Energy (DOE) will present key findings from DOE’s recently released water/energy nexus report, attempting to distill some of the key issues and risks of which water and electric utilities should be aware. Dr. Kristen Averyt, Associate Director for Science for the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences and Director of the Western Water Assessment at the University of Colorado, will present her research regarding water-energy challenges that exist currently and are on the horizon.

See video here. View slides here.

Energy in the News

Each week, C2ES provides a roundup of top energy news. Each headline below links to the full story at the original news outlet, which is solely responsible for its content.  Additional links to relevant C2ES resources are also provided.

Week of July 21, 2014

  • China considers cap on coal consumption (New York Times)
    Under pressure to reduce unhealthy air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, the Chinese government is exploring mitigation options, including putting a cap on coal.
    More from C2ES on coal
  • After a slow 2013, global wind power growth expected to resume (Fierce Energy)
    Wind power supplied around 3 percent of the world’s electric power in 2013. According to Navigant Research, this is expected to grow to more than 7 percent by 2018.
    More from C2ES on wind power
  • Administration opens Atlantic to oil and gas exploration (The Hill)
    The Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management announced it will allow the use of air guns and sonic sensors off the East Coast to map hydrocarbon potential in the basin – a key first step toward future drilling.
    More from C2ES on oil
  • Natural gas less polluting than coal in power sector (Climate Wire - Subscription)
    National Renewable Energy Laboratory scientists have performed an apples-to-apples comparison (harmonization) of eight previously reported life-cycle analyses of unconventional natural gas. They found that from production at the wellhead to its burning in power plants shale gas emits about half as much carbon as coal over its life cycle.
  • Natural gas prices continue to decline (Bloomberg Businessweek)
    Below-normal temperatures in many areas of the country, yet again, have lowered demand for natural gas in the power sector (power plants account for 31 percent of natural gas consumption). August futures on the New York Mercantile Exchange settled at $3.78/MMBtu on Friday. Prices have declined 20 percent over the past six weeks.
    More from C2ES on natural gas

Week of July 14, 2014

  • Australia repeals carbon tax (Wall Street Journal)
    Australia's senate voted to repeal the country's politically divisive carbon tax. Australia is the 12th largest economy in the world and one of the largest carbon dioxide emitters on a per capita basis – carbon dioxide emissions divided by GDP – due to its heavy reliance on coal-fired power plants.
    More from C2ES on carbon tax
  • EIA predicts slowdown in power plant growth (Energy Information Administration)
    Business-as-usual modeling from the Energy Information Administration projects that just 351 GW of new electric generating capacity will be built between 2013 and 2040 in the power and end-use sectors. In 2012, the United States had around 1,060 GW of electric generating capacity. The majority of new capacity is projected to be natural gas-fired.
    More from C2ES on electricity
  • Utility-scale solar on course to add 3.8 GW in 2014 (Utility Dive)
    Utility-scale solar projects continue apace according to a new report from GTM Research. In the first half of 2014, around 1.1 GW of utility-scale solar capacity was added, bringing the total to around 7 GW.
    More from C2ES on solar power
  • NRG announces $1 billion Texas carbon capture project (Reuters)
    NRG Energy and JX Nippon Oil & Gas Exploration announced their Petra Nova Carbon Capture Project, which will capture 1.6 million tons of carbon dioxide per year from a refurbished coal-fired power unit for enhanced oil recovery beginning in 2016.
    More from C2ES on Carbon Capture and Storage
  • N.Y. nuclear reactor at risk of retirement (Energywire - Subscription)
    Exelon has requested assistance from the New York Public Service Commission to compel utility Rochester Gas & Electric to negotiate an agreement to purchase power from its Ginna Nuclear Power Plant (581 MW, located in Ontario, NY).
  • Japan completes first safety assessment of nuclear reactors (Bloomberg)
    Japanese Nuclear Regulation Authority has completed its first assessment of a nuclear power plant. The Kyushu Electric Power Company's Sendai facility in southern Japan has passed safety checks. The utility hopes to resume operations this autumn.
    More from C2ES on nuclear power
  • China behind schedule on offshore wind development (Bloomberg)
    With only 429 MW in place at the end of 2013, officials announced that China will not meet its goal to build more than 5,000 MW of offshore wind turbines by 2015.
    More from C2ES on wind power

Week of July 7, 2014

  • EIA forecasts lowest oil imports since 1970 (Energy Information Administration)
    In its latest Short-Term Energy Outlook, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) projects that average U.S. oil production will rise from 7.4 million barrels per day (b/d) in 2013 to 9.3 million b/d in 2015 – the highest production level since 1972. EIA also expects the net imported share to fall from 33 percent in 2013 to 22 percent in 2015 – its lowest level since 1970. In 2005, the imported share was 60 percent of the petroleum products supplied.
    More from C2ES on oil
  • Industrial natural gas use set to spike (Energywire - Subscription)
    Researchers at the University of Texas estimate that industrial consumption of natural gas in 2020 will likely increase by 19 percent above 2012 levels as new petrochemical processing facilities come online.
  • GE, Suncor announce oil sands deal (Energywire - Subscription)
    General Electric and Canada's Suncor Energy announced projects to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and water usage from in situ oil sands extraction facilities.
    More from C2ES on oil sands
  • EU offshore wind targets in doubt (Cimatewire - Subscription)
    According to the European Wind Energy Association, European countries, particularly France and Germany, are falling significantly behind on their offshore wind development targets. This could affect the European Union's binding target of achieving 20 percent of its energy consumption from renewable energy by 2020.
    More from C2ES on wind power
  • China's second-largest hydropower station is now fully operational (Xinhua)
    Xiluodu, China's second-largest hydropower station and the third biggest in the world, started full operation earlier this month. The plant can generate up to 13,860 MW. The Three Gorges Dam, also in China, can generate 22,500 MW and the Itaipu Dam on the Brazil-Paraguay border has an installed capacity of 14,000 MW.
    More from C2ES on hydropower
  • World's largest nuclear plant unlikely to restart this year (Reuters)
    Japan's Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear power plant (7 reactors) is unlikely to restart this year. The newly formed Nuclear Regulation Authority, vetting restart applications from nine utilities, has fallen far behind screening applications.
    More from C2ES on nuclear power

Week of June 30, 2014

  • DOE loan for Cape Wind likely (Department of Energy)
    The Department of Energy (DOE) announced the first step toward issuing a $150 million loan guarantee for the Cape Wind offshore wind project. The controversial 360 megawatt (MW) project off the Massachusetts coast will need around $2.6 billion in project financing according to Bloomberg news.
    More from C2ES on wind
  • North Dakota moves to capture more flared natural gas (Energywire - Subscription)
    North Dakota approved an additional policy aimed at capturing natural gas from oil production sites. Noncompliant drillers will face significant production restrictions.
    More from C2ES on natural gas
  • BNEF report bullish on global renewable growth (CimateWire - Subscription)
    Bloomberg New Energy Finance’s (BNEF) 2030 Market Outlook expects that by 2030 more than half of the world’s electric power capacity will be from zero-emission energy sources. In 2012, the zero-emission share of electric capacity was a little more than a third.
    More from C2ES on energy
  • China looks to natural gas as a fix for air pollution concerns (CimateWire - Subscription)
    China continues to ink deals and create supportive policy for consuming more natural gas. It is hoping to displace more of coal’s share of its overall energy mix, thereby improving air quality and reducing carbon dioxide emissions.
    More from C2ES on natural gas
  • More Nuclear Power for the United Kingdom (New York Times)
    Toshiba and GDF Suez have announced plans to build 3 reactors (~3,400 MW) in the northwest of England. The reactors are expected to begin coming online in 2024, and the facility’s estimated cost is a minimum of $17 billion. According to the World Nuclear Association, the government aims to have around 16,000 MW of new nuclear capacity operating by 2030.
    More from C2ES on nuclear

Week of June 23, 2014

  • Four-decade ban on crude oil exports loosened (Wall Street Journal)
    In a private ruling, the Commerce Commission has reportedly given two U.S. companies permission to ship unprocessed ultralight oil (condensate) from the Texas Eagle Ford Shale formation abroad.
    More from C2ES on oil
  • Texan policy helps expand transmission (Energy Information Administration)
    Over the past four years, the Competitive Renewable Energy Zones program in Texas has spurred the development of new transmission, which has relieved system congestion and led to the reduced occurrence of wind curtailment (excess wind power being restricted by the grid operator due to physical limitations) and negative power prices.
    More from C2ES on electricity
  • DTE to cut its coal fleet by a third (CimateWire - Subscription)
    Michigan’s largest electric utility DTE announced that it plans to cut 2,000 MW of its coal-fired capacity by 2025 due to plant age, market conditions and new regulations from the EPA.
    More from C2ES on coal
  • NOAA report weighs in on global methane emissions (CimateWire - Subscription)
    A new report from researchers at Carnegie Mellon and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Earth Systems Research Lab found that methane emissions from the natural gas industry globally were most likely between 2 and 4 percent of the gas produced since 2000 and trending downward. The report suggests that “further reductions from the natural gas industry may be needed to ensure climate benefits over coal during the next few decades.”
    More from C2ES on natural gas

Week of June 16, 2014

  • Gazprom stops supplying natural gas to Ukraine (New York Times)
    Russian energy company Gazprom stopped supplying natural gas to Ukraine last week after it missed a Monday morning deadline for payment.
  • Sempra Energy wins approval for LNG export (Bloomberg)
    Sempra Energy's Cameron LNG export terminal (Hackberry, LA) became the second facility to win government approval after the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission voted unanimously to let the nearly $10 billion project proceed. The facility will export up to 1.7 billion cubic feet per day. Cheniere's Sabine Pass plant (TX/LA border) is the only other facility approved to ship LNG to non-free-trade agreement (FTA) countries like Japan, India and the European Union; it is expect to begin exporting LNG in late 2015.
    More from C2ES on natural gas
  • Global coal consumption at highest level in decades (Greenwire - subscription)
    In 2013 according to the BP World Statistical Energy Review, global primary energy (oil, natural gas, coal, renewable energy and nuclear electric power) use increased by 2.3 percent. Coal was the fastest growing fossil fuel in 2013, and its share of global energy consumption reached 30.1 percent, its highest share of the mix since 1970.
    More from C2ES on energy
  • Strong growth continues in domestic crude oil production (Energy Information Administration)
    In 2013, for the second year in a row, domestic crude production grew by more than 14 percent from the previous year. In 2013, the United States produced on average nearly 7.5 million barrels of crude oil per day, up nearly 50 percent from 2008 levels, which were around 5 million barrels per day.
    More from C2ES on oil
  • Canada approves KXL alternative (CTV)
    The Canadian federal government announced conditional approval of Enbridge's Northern Gateway pipeline. If constructed, the 730 mile pipeline would carry up to 525,000 barrels of oil per day from Alberta to the port of Kitimat, British Columbia.
    More from C2ES on Keystone XL
  • MISO gives retiring plants a lifeline to preserve system reliability (Midwest Energy News)
    In the past two years, the Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO) has ordered at least seven coal- and gas-fired power plants (which had planned to retire) to keep running in order to preserve electrical system reliability. The plants are designated as "System Support Resources" and the plant operators are compensated for their service.

Week of June 9, 2014

  • “Golden Age” of gas coming to China (International Energy Agency)
    In its latest Medium-Term Gas Report, the International Energy Agency expects natural gas demand to increase 90 percent by 2019 in China, where air quality concerns are prompting government plans to reduce pollution.
  • New rules to reduce ND flaring now in effect (Energywire - subscription)
    As of June 1, permits will only be issued to oil and natural gas producers in North Dakota that can demonstrate to regulators a plan to harness most of the natural gas that comes up during oil drilling. Currently, around one-third of natural gas associated with oil production in the state is flared (burned) directly into the atmosphere.
    More from C2ES on natural gas
  • CAPP lowers oil sands production forecast (Edmonton Journal)
    In its latest annual report, the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) forecasts oil sands production levels to reach 4.8 million barrels per day (b/d) in 2030, which is around 400,000 b/d or 8 percent lower than last year’s 2030 forecast. CAPP cites cost competitiveness and project schedule delays for the shift in 2030 production.
  • Oil prices up on turmoil in Iraq (Reuters)
    Oil futures hit a 9-month high on concerns over escalating violence in Iraq. The OPEC country provides more than 3 million b/d of global crude supply.
    More from C2ES on oil
  • MIT report shows cap-and-trade policy as the low cost option (ClimateWire - subscription)
    A new report from researchers at MIT modeled six climate policy scenarios and found, among other things, that a national cap-and-trade system could reduce emissions at a fraction of the cost of command-and-control regulations.
    More from C2ES on cap-and-trade
  • Google to build tools for electric utilities (Bloomberg)
    Seizing on a market opportunity, Google’s Energy Access team is said to be in the early stages of developing software and hardware tools to manage power lines and other system infrastructure.
    More from C2ES on electricity

Week of June 2, 2014

  • EPA proposes rules for existing power plants (New York Times)
    The Environmental Protection Agency proposed a rule to cut U.S. carbon dioxide emissions 30 percent from 2005 levels by 2030 from existing power plants.
    More from C2ES on carbon pollution standards
  • Domestic energy production continues to rise (Energy Information Administration)
    In 2013, U.S. energy production was enough to satisfy 84 percent of total U.S energy demand. This is up from 69 percent (historical low point) in 2005.
    More from C2ES on energy
  • IEA says Mideast oil investment needed (Wall Street Journal)
    A new report from the International Energy Agency (IEA) highlights the importance of Middle East oil supply in the mid-2020s, as the current U.S. oil boom begins to decline around that time.
    More from C2ES on oil
  • NREL and LBNL analyses the effect of RPS on electricity rates (ClimateWire - Subscription)
    A study by the National Renewables Energy Laboratory (NREL) and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) has found, among other things, that renewable portfolio standards (RPS), which mandate the development of wind, solar and other renewable energy sources, has resulted in electricity rates around 1 percent higher, on average, than they would have been in the absence of the RPS.
    More from C2ES on RPS
  • Dominion considers new natural gas pipeline (Richmond Times Dispatch)
    Dominion Transmission is considering building a $2 billion, 450 mile natural gas pipeline from the Marcellus shale region in West Virginia to end-users in North Carolina.
    More from C2ES on natural gas
  • Global non-hydro renewable power capacity increased nearly 17 percent in 2013 (REN21)
    According to a United Nations report, non-hydro renewable power capacity increased by 80 GW to 560 GW worldwide; in 2013, solar photovoltaic (PV) increased by 39 GW and wind power increased by 35 GW.
    More from C2ES on renewable energy

Week of May 26, 2014

  • DOE proposes changes to LNG export application process (Reuters)
    In an attempt to streamline and expedite the liquefied natural gas (LNG) export application process, the Department of Energy (DOE) has proposed changes. Additionally, the DOE plans to conduct additional studies to determine the economic impact of exporting between 12 and 20 billion cubic feet (Bcf) of U.S. LNG per day. Permits have already been conditionally issued that would result in the export of around 8.5 Bcf per day.
    More from C2ES on natural gas
  • Solar deployment continues apace (Climate Wire - Subscription)
    According to data from the Solar Energy Industries Association in the first quarter of 2014, 1,330 MW of solar PV was installed – 232 MW in the residential sector, 225 MW in the commercial sector and 873 MW in the utility sector – it was the second-largest ever quarterly total. There is currently around 13,400 MW of PV solar capacity in the United States.
    More from C2ES on solar energy
  • Three Exelon nuclear plants fail to clear PJM auction (Energywire - Subscription)
    Exelon’s Quad Cities and Byron nuclear plants in Illinois and its Oyster Creek facility in New Jersey failed to clear in PJM’s annual capacity auction last week. "That means expected revenue for those plants will likely fall short of their costs of operation," said Tim Hanley, an Exelon senior vice president. Capacity markets create important forward price signals and provide compensation to power plants today for the promise of future capacity. Note that the Oyster Creek plant is already scheduled to retire in 2019.
    More from C2ES on Climate Solutions: The Role of Nuclear Power

Week of May 19, 2014

  • Russia signs long-term natural gas deal with China (BBC)
    Russia’s Gazprom and China’s National Petroleum Corporation signed a 30-year deal estimated to be worth in excess of $400 billion. Starting in 2018, Gazprom is expected to deliver around 38 billion cubic meters or around 1.34 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) a year to China. In 2013, the United States consumed 26 Tcf of natural gas, of which 8.15 Tcf (31 percent) was in the electric power sector.
    More from C2ES on natural gas
  • Shell sees no stranded assets in a carbon-constrained future (Energywire - Subscription)
    In a recently released paper, Shell reports that none of its proven oil and gas reserves are at risk of becoming irrelevant even if stringent climate regulations come into effect, such as those associated with the International Energy Administration’s (IEA) World Energy Outlook (WEO) “450” scenario – in which government actions set the energy system on-track to keeping the long-term average global temperature rise to 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit).
    More from C2ES on oil
  • China ups zero-carbon emission energy source targets (Bloomberg)
    According to information posted on the National Development and Reform Commission’s website, China plans to triple its solar capacity to 70 GW by 2017. Additionally, it plans to increase wind capacity to 150 GW from 92 GW (2013), hydropower to 330 GW from 249 GW (2012) and nuclear to 50 GW from 12.5 GW (2012) by 2017. In 2012, 758 GW (66 percent) of 1,145 GW of total installed electricity capacity was coal-fired generation.

Week of May 12, 2014

  • EPA existing power plant emission rules will not harm reliability (Energywire - Subscription)
    A report from the Analysis Group asserts that upcoming EPA rules for carbon dioxide emissions will not threaten electrical system reliability because, among other things, "Section 111(d) [of the Clean Air Act] affords states considerable latitude to mitigate and otherwise resolve reliability concerns."
    More from C2ES on EPA regulations to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from power plants
  • NERC report highlights peak-power issues for Texas and Midwest (Greenwire - Subscription)
    In its summer reliability assessment 2014, The North American Electric Reliability Council (NERC) highlights unit and baseload plant retirements as well as constraints within natural gas infrastructure systems as operational challenges for the Texas and Midwest electrical grid.
    Florida utility gets nod for two new reactors
    (Energywire - Subscription)
  • Last week, Florida Power & Light (FPL) received approval from the governor and his Cabinet to add two 1,100 MW reactors to its Turkey Point nuclear generation facility located 25 miles south of Miami. Federal combined construction and operating licenses (COL) from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) are likely years away from being issued. Still, FPL is hoping to complete the reactors in 2022 and 2023.
    More from C2ES on nuclear power
  • Rhode Island offshore wind farm secures permit (Providence Journal)
    Deepwater Wind moved a step closer to becoming the nation's first offshore wind project when it secured a key permit last Tuesday. The 30 MW, 5 turbine project, to be located 3 miles southeast of Block Island, expects to begin transmission construction in 2014 and offshore construction in 2015.
  • 14 offshore wind projects in advanced stages of development (Utility Dive)
    Navigant consulting has identified 14 offshore wind projects, located off the Mid-Atlantic, New England and Texas coasts, with 3,900 MW of capacity that have reached an advanced stage of development.
    More from C2ES on wind energy
  • China responsible for 49 percent of global coal consumption (Energy Information Administration)
    Increasing for the 13th consecutive year in 2012, China produced 46 percent of global coal and consumed 49 of global coal – almost as much as the rest of the world combined.
    More from C2ES on coal

Week of May 5, 2014

  • EIA outlook for U.S. energy-related carbon dioxide emissions are flat (Energy Information Administration)
    In the business-as-usual scenario of the Energy Information Administration’s Annual Energy Outlook 2014 (full report released last week), energy-related carbon dioxide emissions in 2020 are 8.7 percent below 2005 levels and 6.7 percent below 2005 levels in 2040. Lower economic growth, increased use of renewable technologies and fuels, vehicle efficiency improvements, slower growth of electricity demand and greater use of natural gas (substituted for coal) are factors driving this trend.
  • Natural gas prices fall as inventories increase (24/7 Wall St)
    Last week, natural gas prices eased ($4.63/MMBtu) from their recent April highs ($4.81/MMBtu) as storage levels continue to recover from the massive drawdown during an exceptionally cold winter.
    More from C2ES on natural gas
  • Dominion Resources to study if its nuclear reactors can run 80 years (Power Engineering)
    Dominion Resources is looking into the feasibility of extending the operating licenses of its six reactors (Surry, North Anna, and Millstone) for an additional 20 years.
    More from C2ES on nuclear power
  • U.S. coal shipments to Europe remain strong (Wall Street Journal)
    In 2013, the 28-nation European Union (EU) imported 47.2 million tons of U.S. coal, nearly 3.5 times the amount it imported 10 years ago. Last year, only Russia supplied more coal to the EU than the United States.
    More from C2ES on coal

Week of April 28, 2014

  • Exelon plans to buy Pepco (New York Times)
    Last Wednesday, Exelon announced it would buy Pepco Holdings for $6.8 billion. Pepco provides power to customers in New Jersey, Maryland, Delaware and Washington, DC. The combined companies will have around 10 million customers.
  • More delays for Kemper CCS (Sun Herald)
    Last week, Mississippi Power announced that its 582 MW Kemper County Energy Facility will be delayed around six months and not go online until the first half of 2015. The first-of-its-kind plant will convert locally sourced lignite coal to synthesis gas (syngas), capture the pre-combustion carbon dioxide for enhanced oil recovery, and utilize the syngas to generate electric power. Overall, the technology will reduce carbon dioxide emissions by at least 65 percent.
    More from C2ES on carbon capture and storage
  • U.S. could nearly double its hydropower capacity (Climate Wire - Subscription)
    A report from the Department of Energy estimates that there could be 65 GW of potential new hydropower developed across all 50 states. In 2013, hydropower provided almost 7 percent of U.S. electricity.
    More from C2ES on hydropower
  • New England’s natural gas infrastructure issue (Wall Street Journal)
    Last January (one of the coldest in decades) in New England at one point, nearly 75 percent of natural gas plants were idle because the operators couldn’t get natural gas or buy it at the right price.
    More from C2ES on natural gas
  • NREL and INL collaborating on linking nuclear and renewable power (National Renewable Energy Laboratory)
    The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and Idaho National Laboratory (INL) have been jointly exploring ways of combining nuclear and renewable energy systems into a hybrid energy system. A white paper is expected soon.
    More from C2ES on nuclear energy
  • Report estimates future Chinese nuclear capacity (Wood Mackenzie)
    A new report from research and consulting firm Wood Mackenzie estimates that China could have around 175 GW of installed nuclear capacity by 2030. In comparison, the EIA’s IEO 2013 estimated that China would have an installed nuclear capacity of 120 GW by 2030 and 160 GW by 2040. According to 2013 data from the Chinese National Energy Association, it currently has around 14 GW (1 percent) of nuclear out of a total of 1,244 GW installed capacity.
    More from C2ES on policies in key countries

Week of April 21, 2014

  • Natural gas prices expected to remain around $4/MMbtu (Energy Wire - Subscription)
    In its latest Strategic Natural Gas Outlook, consulting firm ICF sees natural gas prices remaining around $4 per million British thermal units (MMBtu) for the next decade, as efficiencies have improved and drillers are getting more of the gas out of the shale formations.
    More from C2ES on natural gas
  • Solar capacity expanding rapidly (Climate Wire - Subscription)
    According to the EIA, since 2010 U.S. solar capacity increased 418 percent from 2,326 MW, accounting for 0.2 percent of total electric generation, to today's 12,057 MW, or 1.13 percent of generation.
    More from C2ES on solar power
  • U.S. geothermal energy growth lagging (Climate Wire - Subscription)
    In 2013, the United States added just 85 MW of geothermal energy. Globally, geothermal energy added 530 MW last year, and it’s growing at 4 to 5 percent per year.
    More from C2ES on geothermal electricity
  • Capacity market reforms mooted (Energywire - Subscription)
    Nuclear plant operators believe that capacity market reforms are necessary to help preserve electrical system reliability.
    More from C2ES on electric power
  • DOE plans to use loan guarantees to spur energy storage breakthrough (Utility Dive)
    The Department of Energy will use up to $1.5 billion in loan guarantees approved by Congress in 2009 to support energy storage, demand response and efforts to make electrical grids more resilient.
    More from C2ES on energy storage

Older Stories

Electric vehicle consumers - beyond early adopters

Sales of electric vehicles (EVs) in the United States nearly doubled last year—and with consumer acceptance broadening, sticker prices dropping, new models on the way, and policy support growing, the outlook is even better for 2014.  

In 2013, EVs increased their market share by 70 percent from 2012 levels, while all-vehicle sales grew 8 percent to reach a six-year high. Still, EV sales continue to lag forecasts made when these cars hit the market in late 2010, accounting for less than 1 percent of new light-duty vehicle sales. The strong growth in vehicle sales is mostly due to rising sales of gas-guzzling pickup trucks.

Optimism for EV market expansion is warranted, however, not only due to steady sales growth but also due to three key developments in 2013.

'60 Minutes' story on clean tech omits climate change

A recent "60 Minutes" story highlighted the demise of a few high-profile clean-tech companies that received federal funding. The story neglected to report why clean technology is vital to the future of our economy and environment in the first place, and therefore why it makes sense for the government to promote the development of wind and solar energy, electric vehicles, and other clean tech. Simply put, the goal is to transform our economy from one based on fossil fuels that emit heat-trapping gases to one based on clean energy that won't contribute to global climate change.

Meeting our energy needs

The United States is moving toward meeting all of its energy needs from domestic resources even faster than was predicted just a year ago.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) said last year that the U.S. would become the world’s largest oil producer, surpassing Saudi Arabia and Russia, by 2017. Its new World Energy Outlook moves that up to 2015. The U.S. is already the world’s top producer of natural gas, a position it reached in 2012 thanks to an expanding supply of shale gas. The IEA sees the United States holding both top spots at least until the early 2030s and being energy self-sufficient by 2035.

This huge shift didn’t happen by accident, and it will have implications for both the economy and the environment.

The opportunities of distributed generation

When the vast majority of Americans turn on the lights, the electricity is coming from a centralized, fossil fuel power plant.

However, there is a big change on the horizon that will alter that - distributed (also called decentralized) generation. This is when power is produced much closer to where it is used, such as with rooftop solar panels or natural gas-fired combined heat and power systems, including fuel cells and microturbines.

Currently, less than 7 percent of U.S. electricity is generated outside a centrally located power plant. Expanding distributed generation will bring exciting opportunities to increase efficiency, improve our resilience to extreme weather, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It will also bring challenges for our existing grid on which we must continue to depend.

These opportunities and challenges were the focus of a discussion I participated in this week at the World Alliance for Decentralized Energy annual conference with WADE Executive Director David Sweet, Duke Energy Chairman James Rogers, and PSEG President Ralph LaRossa.

Efforts to limit aviation emissions advance at ICAO

The United Nations’ body that oversees civil aviation has reached an important milestone in international efforts to craft effective and equitable solutions to climate change from this fast-growing sector. And this success last week in Montreal should send a hopeful signal to other UN organizations as they grapple with the challenges of limiting greenhouse gas emissions.

At the 38th General Assembly of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), governments endorsed a comprehensive set of actions aimed at achieving an aspirational mid-term goal of zero carbon emissions growth for the aviation industry beginning in 2020. The October 4 accord brings together a number of measures being developed by ICAO, including: a certification requirement for a global CO2 efficiency standard for aircraft; support for an updated, more efficient air traffic control regime; continued development of sustainable biofuels; and updating national action plans laying out country strategies to reduce emissions.

Proud of what we've done, but there's still more to accomplish

When I founded a new nonprofit organization 15 years ago, the United States and the world urgently needed practical solutions to our energy and climate challenges. That need has only grown more urgent.

Earlier today, I announced my plans to step aside as the President of the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES) once my successor is on board. As I look back, I find we have come a long way. That said, any honest assessment of our progress to date in addressing one of this century’s paramount challenges must conclude that we have much, much further to go.

When our organization, then named the Pew Center for Global Climate Change, first launched in 1998, 63 percent of the world’s electricity generation came from fossil fuels. Incredibly, that number is even higher today – 67 percent. The concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, the main driver of climate change, is also higher than it was then – in fact, at its highest level in more than 2 million years.

Scientists around the globe have just reaffirmed with greater certainty than ever that human activity is warming the planet and threatening to irreversibly alter our climate. Climate change is no longer a future possibility. It is a here-and-now reality. It’s leading to more frequent and intense heat waves, higher sea levels, and more severe droughts, wildfires, and downpours.

We at C2ES have believed from the start that the most effective, efficient way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and spur the innovation needed to achieve a low-carbon economy is to put a price on carbon. It’s a path that a growing number of countries, states, and even cities are taking.

U.S. Department of Energy Investment in Carbon, Capture and Storage

 

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) oversees federal efforts to advance the deployment carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology. In addition to working on the research and development of CCS component technologies, DOE has provided financial support to multiple commercial-scale CCS projects in the power and industrial sectors. This brief examines DOE’s support for CCS through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 and through its annual budget.

 

 

 


   
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Congressional Testimony of Judi Greenwald on the Future of Coal: Carbon Capture, Utilization and Storage

Testimony of Judi Greenwald, Vice President for Technology and Innovation
Center for Climate and Energy Solutions
Subcommittee on Energy
Committee on Science, Space, and Technology
U.S. House of Representatives
July 25, 2013

Click here to view video of the testimony.

Hearing on The Future of Coal: Utilizing America's Abundant Energy Resources

Carbon Capture, Utilization and Storage

Madam Chairman, Rep. Swalwell, and members of the Subcommittee, thank you for the opportunity to testify on carbon capture, utilization, and storage. My name is Judi Greenwald, and I am Vice President for Technology and Innovation at the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES – formerly known as the Pew Center on Global Climate Change).

My testimony today will focus on the most important climate and energy solution that no one knows about. I will emphasize two main points:

  • Carbon capture and storage (CCS) is a critical technology for solving climate change, while allowing continued reliance on fossil fuels.
  • Carbon dioxide enhanced oil recovery (CO2-EOR) can advance CCS, while boosting domestic oil production and generating net federal revenue.

C2ES is an independent, nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to advancing practical and effective policies and actions to address our global climate change and energy challenges. We perform multifaceted research and analysis of the scientific, technological, economic, and policy aspects of these issues. Our work is informed by our Business Environmental Leadership Council (BELC), a group of 34 major companies, most in the Fortune 500, that work with C2ES on climate change and energy risks, challenges, and solutions. The views I am expressing, however, are those of C2ES alone.  

C2ES has been analyzing CCS for over a decade and has recently focused on how CO2-EOR can advance CCS. With the Great Plains Institute, C2ES co-convenes the National Enhanced Oil Recovery Initiative, or NEORI, a coalition of businesses, environmental NGOs, labor representatives, and state officials advocating for incentives to use captured CO2 in EOR. You can find more information on NEORI at www.neori.org. I would like to submit NEORI’s CO2-EOR analysis and consensus recommendations for the record. In addition, C2ES serves as the advisor and facilitator to the Sequestration Working Group of the North America 2050 Initiative, a collaborative of states and provinces exploring options for CCS regulations and incentives. C2ES recently completed a summary of state-level regulations and incentives that can be found at www.na2050.org/sequestration.[1]

C2ES also has authored research and publications related to CCS and CO2-EOR. For example, C2ES developed a comprehensive framework for calculating CO2 emissions from CCS based on input from experts in industry, academia, and the environmental community.[2] C2ES also publishes a CCS Climate TechBook,[3] a brief report that explains in layman’s terms how CCS technology works, why its development is needed to address climate change, and how it might be advanced.  

CCS is a critically important technology

The United States and the rest of the world are getting 80 percent of our energy from coal, oil and gas, and our dependence on, and overall use of, these fossil fuels globally is growing rapidly. Under a business-as-usual scenario, the Energy Information Administration expects fossil fuels will continue to provide more than 65 percent of U.S. electricity in 2040 – with 35 percent coming from coal-fired generation. Globally, coal consumption is expected to increase nearly 60 percent over the next two decades, led by developing countries like China and India, which together will comprise 62 percent of the total global coal demand in 2035. This poses an enormous challenge, because the CO2 emissions from the combustion of these fossil fuels are the major contributor to global climate change. While we can and should become more energy-efficient and shift our energy mix toward inherently zero-emitting sources like nuclear power and renewables, it will be difficult to do that fast enough and at a reasonable enough cost to avoid the worst climate impacts.

Hence the critical need for CCS, a suite of technologies that captures CO2 and stores it deep underground in geological formations. CCS can capture up to 90 percent of emissions from stationary sources, such as power plants and industrial facilities, thereby allowing coal and natural gas to remain part of our energy mix. The International Energy Agency (IEA) and others have demonstrated through detailed technology and economic scenario analyses that CCS is likely an essential component of an affordable and effective response to global climate change. In fact, IEA estimates that CCS could provide one-sixth of the requisite GHG emissions reductions by 2050.

What is needed to advance CCS?

CCS has been established and commercialized for the capture of CO2 from some industrial processes such as natural gas processing, chemical, fertilizer and ethanol production, and the gasification of coal. The use of man-made CO2 in EOR has been practiced for several decades. However, CCS in other contexts – for example, coal- and natural gas-powered electricity generation – is a relatively expensive technology that is just reaching maturity. Further R&D is important, but the key challenge for CCS is to get a sufficient number of commercial-scale projects up and running to demonstrate the emerging technologies at scale and bring down their costs. The first large-scale commercial CCS power projects are under construction. Yet, it is still unclear whether more commercial-scale CCS projects will be built after these initial projects are completed. After the collapse of climate legislation in the United States in 2010, a number of CCS projects were cancelled.

CCS is being increasingly thought of as carbon capture utilization and storage, or CCUS. Instead of seeing CO2 as a waste, utilizing and selling captured CO2, primarily for EOR, improves the economics of CCS projects and is an important market driver. Almost all of the existing or planned CO2 capture projects in the United States have been developed with the intention of marketing captured CO2 for use in EOR. Still, in many cases, additional drivers are needed. Those projects operating or underway today are being financed though some combination of U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) grants, utility cost recovery from ratepayers, private finance, sales of CO2 for EOR, other revenue streams from chemical production, and existing tax credits.

DOE’s role in CCS development has been and will remain critical. DOE is working with the private sector on the leading innovative CCS projects in the United States today. This collaboration is beginning to yield results. In late 2012, the DOE-supported Air Products’ Port Arthur CCS project, where CO2 is captured from refinery-based hydrogen production and sent for use in EOR, began operations. Through its Industrial Carbon Capture and Storage (ICCS) Program and with funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA), DOE agreed to fund $284 million of the Port Arthur project’s $430 million total investment cost. The Port Arthur project is expected to capture up to 1 million tons of CO2 per year and enable EOR production of 1.6 million to 3.1 million barrels of domestic oil a year in East Texas. 

DOE is also working on applying CCS to the power sector. Southern Company’s coal-fueled Kemper County energy facility in Mississippi is now under construction and will be the first commercial-scale CCS power project in the United States. DOE selected the Kemper project to receive more than $290 million through its Clean Coal Power Initiative (CCPI). A later round of the CCPI made possible through ARRA funding selected three additional coal-fired CCS power projects for funding. They are Summit Power’s Texas Clean Energy Project (TCEP), NRG Energy’s Washington Parish Project, and SCS Energy’s Hydrogen Energy California project. TCEP is nearing financial close and, when completed, will capture 90 percent of its emissions and supply approximately 2.5 million tons of CO2 for use in EOR.

Given the high costs and uncertainties of CCS investment for the private sector and the urgent need for CCS, it is extremely important that the federal government continue to support CCS research, development, demonstration, and deployment. Beyond DOE’s pivotal role, other forms of federal financial support, such as tax credits, should be reformed and expanded. States too can play a key role in advancing CCS through incentives and well-informed regulation.

Background on CO2-EOR

CO2-EOR is a means of commercial oil production that could play a key role in the development of CCS and in increasing our domestic energy security. CO2-EOR has the potential to increase American oil production by tens of billions of barrels, while displacing imported oil and safely storing billions of tons of CO2 underground.

How does CO2-EOR work? Even after conventional primary and secondary oil recovery, most of the oil in a typical oil field is left in the ground. When injected deep underground, CO2 can make it possible to recover more oil and extend an oil field’s life. The best available evidence indicates that by using best EOR industry practice and existing rules governing underground injection, the overwhelming majority of the injected CO2 remains underground, incidentally and safely storing CO2. Commercial injection of CO2 for EOR is regulated under EPA’s Underground Injection Control Program, and under current federal greenhouse gas reporting rules for air emissions, EOR operators may document this incidental CO2 storage through additional monitoring, reporting, and verification requirements to qualify as geologic sequestration. There is a range of views as to what additional state or federal rules are needed to ensure that CO2 is stored permanently.

The United States has been a global leader in CO2-EOR for 40 years. We currently obtain six percent of our domestic oil production through this method. While most CO2-EOR activity occurs in the Permian Basin of Texas, there are also projects in the Gulf Coast, the Rocky Mountains, Oklahoma, and even Michigan. Estimates of the potential for CO2-EOR to increase oil production and store CO2 have been increasing in recent years. According to the National Energy Technology Lab, using existing techniques, CO2-EOR could double or triple U.S. oil reserves and store 10 to 20 billion tons of CO2, which is equivalent to between five and 10 years of emissions from all U.S. coal-fired power plants. More advanced techniques could yield much higher oil production and CO2 storage.

The key role of CO2-EOR in advancing CCS

For those CO2 capture technologies that have not reached full commercialization, especially in electric power generation, selling captured CO2 for use in EOR can provide a revenue stream that helps reduce the financial risks and uncertainty of investing in emerging technology. About 75 percent of the CO2 used in EOR currently comes from naturally occurring CO2 reservoirs. The rest comes from man-made CO2 sources. Somewhat oddly, the EOR market lacks sufficient CO2. By expanding carbon capture from man-made sources, we can increase domestic oil production, promote economic development, create jobs, reduce CO2 emissions, and drive innovation in CCS technology.

It is because of these multiple benefits that we have been able to bring together the National Enhanced Oil Recovery Initiative, or NEORI, a diverse coalition favoring the reform and expansion of existing tax incentives to use captured CO2 in EOR. Among the members of NEORI are Arch Coal, Summit Power, Tenaska, the Natural Resources Defense Council, AFL-CIO, and The Wyoming Outdoor Council. Some of NEORI’s participants are primarily interested in job creation, others in increasing domestic oil production, and others in protecting the environment. But all agree that advancing the capture of man-made CO2 for use in EOR makes sense. NEORI has been briefing members on both sides of the aisle in both houses of Congress on its proposals.

EOR operators in some regions are willing to pay upwards of $30 per ton for CO2. At the same time, industrial facilities and power plants are emitting billions of tons of CO2 into the atmosphere as a waste. CO2-EOR therefore offers the opportunity to transform this waste into a marketable commodity and transform an environmental problem into an energy production solution. 

In a few cases, revenue from selling CO2 for enhanced oil recovery is sufficient to pay for CO2 capture and transport. Thanks to the efforts of the private sector and DOE, many CO2 capture technologies are already commercially proven, and only a modest incentive is needed to help close the gap between the market price of CO2 and the costs to capture and transport it. In the case of emerging technologies, however, companies need a larger incentive to help shoulder the additional financial and operational risk of deploying new, pioneering capture projects for the first few times at a commercial scale. 

By combining private EOR operators’ willingness to pay for CO2 with a tax incentive, society leverages its public investment. Perhaps most importantly, according to our analysis, such tax incentives would more than pay for themselves by driving increased domestic oil production and associated taxable oil revenues. Increased CO2-EOR production will generate federal revenue that more than pays for the cost of new incentives within a 10-year timeframe. Under existing tax treatment, CO2-EOR directly yields revenues from three main sources: corporate income taxes, individual income taxes on royalties from production on private land, and royalties from production on federal land. Our analysis indicates that federal revenues from incremental CO2-EOR production would exceed the fiscal cost of new incentives by more than $100 billion over 40 years.

Conclusion

CCS is a critical technology for reconciling our continued dependence on fossil fuels with the imperative to protect the global climate. Our best hope at the moment for CCS advancement is carbon capture, utilization, and storage, or CCUS. The best example of CO2 utilization we know of is enhanced oil recovery (CO2-EOR). Solving our climate and energy problems will require a portfolio of technologies, and all must be pursued vigorously. But we are focusing here today on CO2-EOR, because it is the most important climate and energy solution that no one knows about.                                                               

 

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