Energy & Technology

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 November 16, 2015

Week of November 9, 2015

  • Rising inventories drive down federal crude price forecast (Energywire - subscription)
    The U.S. Energy Information Administration, in its short-term energy outlook, said it expects Brent crude oil prices (the global benchmark) next year to average $56 per barrel, up $2 per barrel from this year's expected average but $2 per barrel below what the agency was predicting just a month ago for 2016.
  • For once, oil prices are responding to supply and demand, not OPEC (Economist)
    The International Energy Agency expects oil demand to grow by 1.9 percent this year, well above the average for the past decade, of 0.9 percent.
    More from C2ES on oil
  • Stagnant load growth fueling US utility merger mania (Utility Dive)
    Utility deals in North and South America reached $57 billion in the third quarter of this year, marking a 5-year record for the quarter. The spike in merger activity is being fueled by stagnant load growth and increasing interest from the electric sector in gas investments.
  • Pipeline's defeat could translate to rail gains (Energywire - subscription)
    President Obama's decision to reject the Keystone XL pipeline could come with a heavy side of tank cars. Canadian energy companies need about a dozen crude-laden trains each day to replace the volume of oil that could have been transported through the Keystone XL pipeline.
    More from C2ES on Keystone XL Pipeline
  • Surviving U.S. power plants will help keep coal demand steady (Bloomberg)
    Power plants with 23 gigawatts of coal-burning capacity will close this year as utilities strive to meet U.S. Environmental Protection Agency limits on mercury and other air toxins, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance. The retirements are the most in a single year, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Still, America will use 773 million tons of coal in 2016, the same as this year, as plants that survive the regulatory shakeout use more of the fuel, the EIA said in its Short-Term Energy Outlook.
  • Glut of coal-fired plants casts doubts on China’s energy priorities (New York Times)
    In the first nine months of this year, state-owned companies received preliminary or full approval to build 155 coal power plants that have a total capacity of 123 gigawatts. That capacity is equal to 15 percent of China’s coal-fired power capacity at the end of 2014.
    More from C2ES on coal

Week of November 2, 2015

  • Citing climate change, Obama rejects construction of Keystone XL oil pipeline (New York Times)
    President Obama rejected the request from a Canadian company to build the Keystone XL oil pipeline, ending a seven-year review that had become a symbol of the debate over his climate policies. Mr. Obama’s denial of the proposed 1,179-mile pipeline, which would have carried 800,000 barrels a day of carbon-heavy petroleum from the Canadian oil sands to the Gulf Coast, comes as he seeks to build an ambitious legacy on climate change.
    More from C2ES on Keystone XL Pipeline
  • Entergy announces plans to retire NY's FitzPatrick nuclear plant (Utility Dive)
    Entergy Corp. announced it will shut down its 838 MW James A. FitzPatrick nuclear facility in Scriba, New York, by late 2016 or early 2017 due to the cost of maintaining the plant.
  • Despite recent closures, U.S. nuclear capacity is scheduled to increase by 2020 (Energy Information Administration)
    Despite the scheduled closure of more than 2,000 megawatts (MW) of nuclear generating capacity by 2019, scheduled additions of more than 5,000 MW of capacity between 2016 and 2020 could result in a net increase in total U.S. nuclear capacity.
  • White House hosts nuclear summit (E&E News PM – Subscription)
    The White House held a nuclear summit Friday afternoon and unveiled an initiative to help developers overcome regulatory and financial hurdles, a sign of support for a struggling industry facing a surge of cheap natural gas, lower power demand, high capital costs, and a new run of closures in the Northeast and Midwest.
    More from C2ES on nuclear
  • 5. How to decarbonize the US energy system, in 14 charts (Utility Dive)
    A new, powerful and free Energy Policy Simulator (modeling tool) from San Francisco-based think tank Energy Innovation (EI) shows meeting the Clean Power Plan is not a very heavy lift for the power sector. A separate analysis of President Obama’s international climate pledge to reduce U.S. emissions 26-28 percent (below 2005 levels) by 2025 shows ambitious, but still achievable, policy solutions are required.
    More from C2ES on Clean Power Plan, International
  • China burns much more coal than reported, complicating climate talks (New York Times)
    China, the world’s leading emitter of greenhouse gases from coal, has been burning up to 17 percent more coal a year than the government previously disclosed, according to newly released data.
    More from C2ES on coal

Week of October 26, 2015

  • China confronts the pain of kicking its coal addiction (Washington Post)
    In China, coal use, which had risen by more than 9 percent a year in the decade to 2011, fell by 2.9 percent last year, as the industrial economy faltered. The decline has continued this year. Coal consumption may flicker upward for another year or two as plants already under construction come online, but peak use is just around the corner.
    More from C2ES on coal
  • Duke Energy to Buy Piedmont Natural Gas for $4.9 Billion (Wall Street Journal)
    Duke Energy Corp. said it would buy Piedmont Natural Gas for $4.9 billion, as the electric utility tries to bulk up on gas assets that offer reliable profit margins and good growth prospects. The deal marks the second time this year that an electric utility has agreed to buy a gas-distribution company already operating on its home turf. In August, Southern Co. agreed to buy AGL Resources Inc. for $8 billion; both companies are based in Atlanta.
  • FERC: Renewables account for over 60 percent of new generation in 2015 (Utility Dive)
    Renewables accounted for just over 60 percent of the new U.S. electricity generation capacity for the first three quarters of 2015, according to the "Energy Infrastructure Update" from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) Office of Energy Projects.
  • Wind power industry catches another breeze (Climatewire - Subscription)
    The U.S. wind power industry added 1,602 megawatts of new generation during the third quarter of 2015, nearly four times the amount of capacity added in the same quarter of 2014 and the second-highest third quarter since 2012.
    More from C2ES on wind
  • After years of decline, U.S. oil imports rise (Wall Street Journal)
    U.S. crude imports declined 20 percent between 2010 and 2014 amid the domestic energy boom but have recently started to rise again. Total crude-oil imports rose for three straight months between April and July, according to the most recently available data from the Energy Information Administration.
    More from C2ES on oil
  • Start-ups take on challenge of nuclear fusion (New York Times)
    A group of start-ups is promising a new and virtually unlimited source of power, one that produces none of the gases scientists say contribute to global warming. The only problem? A way to harness the energy source, nuclear fusion — the reaction that gives birth to sunlight — still needs to be invented.

Week of October 19, 2015

  • NRC issues Watts Bar 2 nuclear power plant operating license (Power Mag)
    For the first time in nearly 20 years, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has issued an operating license for a new nuclear power plant. The 40-year license was issued to the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) for the long-overdue Watts Bar Unit 2 reactor (1,150 MW) on Oct. 22.
  • Xi's U.K. nuclear deal seen as boon for Chinese reactor exports (Bloomberg)
    China’s 6 billion pound ($9.3 billion) investment in the U.K.’s first nuclear power project (Hinkley Point, 3.3 gigawatts) in a generation may be the biggest boost yet for the Asian nation’s efforts to gain wider acceptance for its atomic technology and expertise. As part of the deal announced Wednesday during President Xi Jinping’s visit, they also agreed to develop a 1 gigawatt plant at Bradwell in southern England that may incorporate Chinese nuclear technology.
  • Report: 11 percent of U.S. nukes could retire early, putting Clean Power Plan goals at risk (Utility Dive)
    A review by SNL Energy of three major rating agencies (UBS, Moody’s and Fitch) industry analysts concludes that a dozen nuclear reactors are “at risk” of early retirement largely due to their inability to compete in power markets.
    More from C2ES on nuclear, Clean Power Plan
  • Exelon-Pepco merger could create largest U.S. electric utility (Energy Information Administration)
    The proposed merger of Exelon and Pepco would, if approved, create the largest electric utility holding company in the United States as measured by number of customers. The combined 8.5 million customers served by the new Exelon would surpass the number of customers served by the next-largest utility holding company, Duke Energy, which merged with Progress Energy in 2012.
  • Xcel plans $100 million in LED upgrades (Energy BIz)
    Streetlights are about to get brighter, cheaper, last longer (up to two decades) and more energy-efficient wherever Xcel Energy does business. The company is starting in Minnesota, where it intends to replace all of its 100,000 streetlights across the state with energy-efficient LEDs -- part of a proposed $100 million, five-year streetlight upgrade in all eight states it serves.
    More from C2ES on lighting efficiency
  • OPEC is about to crush the U.S. oil boom (Bloomberg)
    After a bit of a delay, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) decision last November to keep pumping instead of curtailing oil production in the face of an oversupplied market and weed out competition appears to be working. U.S. crude production has retreated about 500,000 barrels a day from the three-decade peak reached in June to 9.1 million a day in the week to Oct. 9, according to data from the Energy Information Administration (EIA). The losses will accelerate next year with a drop of 390,000 barrels a day in annual average production to 8.86 million barrels a day, according to the EIA.
    More from C2ES on oil

Week of October 12, 2015

  • Entergy announces closure of Massachusetts nuclear reactor (Boston Globe)
    Citing ‘financial viability’, the owner of the 43-year-old Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station (Massachusetts only nuclear reactor) announced that it plans to close the facility no later than June 2019. A company statement noted, “Low current and forecast wholesale energy prices — brought about by record low natural gas prices, driven by shale gas production — significantly impacted Pilgrim’s revenues.”
    More from C2ES on nuclear
  • Michigan plans to shutter 25 coal units by 2020 (Utility Dive)
    Michigan, which gets over 50 percent of its power from coal, is poised to shut down 25 coal-fired facilities by 2020. Many of these older units were slated for retirement before the EPA finalized its Clean Power Plan in August.
    More from C2ES on Clean Power Plan, coal
  • New England looks north for power boost (Wall Street Journal)
    New England’s most populous states are looking to tap Canadian dams and rivers for more of their electricity, a change that officials say would help cut greenhouse-gas emissions and help keep some of the nation’s highest power prices in check.
    More from C2ES on Canadian hydropower
  • Energy Secretary Moniz releases report on America’s regional vulnerabilities to climate change (U.S. Energy Department)
    A new Energy Department report concludes that climate change -- and the worsening droughts, intense storms and rising temperatures that come with it -- poses a threat to energy production and infrastructure across the U.S., and calls for proactive action to identify risks and boost resilience.
    More from C2ES on science and impacts
  • Why energy storage is key to a future with 'no more gas turbines' (Utility Dive)
    San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) chief development officer James Avery speaking at the Energy Storage North America conference in San Diego said that we are living through the inflection point in storage — the period when it moves from a niche technology, deployed mostly in demonstration projects and the imaginations of power engineers, to a possible replacement for [natural gas turbine] peaker plants and even traditional generation.
    More from C2ES on electric energy storage

Week of October 5, 2015

  • Nationwide, electricity generation from coal falls while natural gas rises (Energy Information Administration)
    The monthly natural gas share of total U.S. electricity generation surpassed the coal share in July for the second time ever, with natural gas fueling 35.0 percent of total generation to coal's 34.9 percent share.
  • UK said to consider closing all coal-fired plants by 2023 (Bloomberg)
    The United Kingdom is considering whether to close all of its 12 coal-fired power plants by 2023 as part of its effort to reduce the greenhouse gases blamed for global warming, an official with knowledge of the discussions said.
  • Half of world's coal output Is unprofitable, Moody's says (Bloomberg)
    China’s slowing appetite for the power-plant fuel and steelmaking component has depressed the seaborne market, creating a worldwide glut. In the U.S., cheap natural gas is stealing coal’s share of the power generation market. And the strong dollar has tempered exports.
    More from C2ES on coal
  • California leads a quiet revolution (New York Times)
    Contracts already in place virtually guarantee that California will reach its goal of getting 33 percent of electricity from renewables by 2020, a number that does not include most home generation. And at the rate California has been going, a new target of 50 percent renewables for 2030 is within reach.
    More from C2ES on renewables, map
  • Africa could meet 20 percent of its power with renewables by 2030 -- report (Climatewire - subscription)
    A new analysis from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) projects that hydropower and wind energy have the greatest growth potential over the next 15 years, to 100 gigawatts of capacity each. Solar power could achieve 70 GW of capacity over the same period, including sizable increases in concentrated solar power in North Africa, the group said.
    More from C2ES on renewables

Week of September 28, 2015

Week of September 21, 2015

  • Fading coal industry in China may offer chance to aid climate (New York Times)
    Across China’s grimy coal heartland, mines have fallen silent, reduced production or shut down. Miners, owners and officials here wonder whether boom times will return for the “black gold” that has fed the nation’s craving for cheap but dirty energy.
  • U.S. coal mine starts continue to decline (Energy Information Administration)
    The number of new and reactivated coal mines that began production in 2013 fell to the lowest level in at least the past 10 years.
    More from C2ES on coal
  • Pipeline replacement aids in GHG emissions reduction: Study (Platts)
    As energy industry and government officials alike wrestle with the best way to limit the release of methane into the atmosphere, a new study reveals that U.S. cities with programs calling for the replacement of aging natural gas pipeline have 90 percent fewer leaks per mile than cities without such programs.
    More from C2ES on natural gas
  • Seven years later, Obama still mum on Keystone (McClatchyDC)
    More than seven years have passed since TransCanada applied for its permit to build the pipeline from the Canadian oil sands, through the United States’ midsection and on to refineries in Texas. As Obama prepares to leave office in a year, there is still no sign of a decision from him on the pipeline.
    More from C2ES on Keystone XL Pipeline
  • China to launch a nationwide cap-and-trade system (New York Times)
    Chinese leader Xi Jinping announced plans for a national greenhouse gas trading program, which would launch in 2017 and initially include large companies in several industries.
    More from C2ES on Clean Power Plan

Week of September 14, 2015

Week of September 7, 2015

  • Drought takes toll on renewable power share (Energywire - subscription)
    The share of renewable energy in the U.S. power sector is expected to decrease around 3.5 percent this year due to the impact of the California drought on regional hydropower, according to federal energy forecasters.
    More from C2ES on renewables
  • U.S. crude oil production continued to decline in August (Energy Information Administration)
    EIA estimates that total U.S. crude oil production declined by 140,000 barrels per day in August compared with July production. Domestic crude oil production is forecast to continue decreasing through mid-2016 before growth resumes late in 2016.
    More from C2ES on oil
  • Solar energy is poised for yet another record year (Washington Post)
    The U.S. solar industry is on course for a new growth record in 2015, according to a new report that finds that solar photovoltaic installations now exceed 20 gigawatts in capacity and could surpass an unprecedented 7 gigawatts this year alone across all segments. A gigawatt is equivalent to 1 billion watts and can power some 164,000 homes, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA).
    More from C2ES on solar
  • Central New York nuclear plant could close by 2017 (Politico New York)
    Entergy, the owner of the James A. FitzPatrick nuclear facility located in Oswego in Central New York, said its financially struggling plant may shut it down by early 2017. The 838 MW plant is licensed to operate until 2034.
  • Exelon defers decision to close 2 of its Illinois nuclear plants (Chicago Tribune)
    Exelon announced that it will put off a decision, for at least a year, to close its Quad Cities and Byron nuclear plants because of dwindling profits. Over the past few weeks, a series of power auctions, known as "capacity auctions,” (which represent a promise to deliver power to the electric grid in the future) have positioned Exelon to receive an additional $1.2 billion in estimated revenue for its northern Illinois nuclear plants, according to industry experts.
    More from C2ES on nuclear power, Clean Power Plan

Week of August 31, 2015

  • Southern Co. to buy AGL resources for $8 Billion (Wall Street Journal)
    Southern Co. agreed to buy natural-gas utility AGL Resources Inc. for about $8 billion, a move that would give the electricity provider a big chunk of the fast-growing gas market from New Jersey to Florida. The acquisition would double the number of Southern’s customers to nine million, making it the second-largest utility in the U.S., and providing it with new revenue to help offset its rising costs.
  • U.S. coal burn back down to early 1980s levels (SNL Energy)
    U.S. electricity generation from coal fell by over 14 percent in the first half of 2015 from the same time in 2014 on competition from natural gas-fired capacity and unit retirements, causing coal burn to slump to levels not seen since the early 1980s on an annualized basis.
    More from C2ES on coal
  • Solar ready to thrive without subsidy, says U.S. Energy Secretary (PV Magazine)
    U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz says the Obama administration backs Democrats' calls for an extension of the Federal Investment Tax Credit (ITC) for solar energy, but stresses the solar industry will grow even without further subsidy.
    More from C2ES on solar
  • Report: Nuclear retirements could scuttle Clean Power Plan climate goals (Utility Dive)
    According to a new report from Third Way, retirements of much of the U.S. nuclear energy fleet could make it much more difficult for the nation to meet its carbon reduction goals outlined in President Obama's Clean Power Plan.
  • Analyst: Cuomo may need to keep NY’s nuclear plants alive (Politico New York)
  • Gov. Andrew Cuomo may have to keep the state’s struggling nuclear power plants open because of the revenue and jobs they generate for local municipalities and the pollution-free energy they provide, an independent analysis has concluded.
    More from C2ES on nuclear power and the Clean Power Plan

Week of August 24, 2015

  • DC regulator rejects proposed Pepco-Exelon merger (Washington Post)
    Saying it was not in the best interests of the ratepayers, the three-member District of Columbia Public Service Commission denied Chicago-based electric utility Exelon’s proposed $6.4 billion takeover of Pepco Holdings.
  • Three nuclear plants fail to clear PJM capacity auction (Market Watch)
    Exelon’s Oyster Creek (New Jersey), Three Mile Island (Pennsylvania) and Quad Cities (Illinois) nuclear power plants failed to clear PJM’s annual capacity auction. Therefore, these plants will not receive capacity revenue from this auction. Although capacity revenue in a single year is an important consideration in a plant’s long-term viability, it is just one of several factors Exelon will use to make decisions about its plants’ future operations. Note that many of Exelon’s other plants did clear the auction and will receive considerably higher payments than in previous years due to new market rules. In 2010, Exelon announced it would retire the Oyster Creek plant at the end of 2019.
    More from C2ES on nuclear power
  • New U.S. electric capacity is mostly renewable (Federal Energy Regulatory Commission)
    In the first seven months of 2015, 62 percent of new electric generating capacity was wind (43 percent), solar (14 percent), biomass (4 percent), geothermal or small hydro.
    More from C2ES on electricity
  • India coal consumption exceeds 800 million metric tons (Energy Information Administration)
    In 2014, coal consumption in India rose above 800 million metric tons. In the same year, China used 3,877 million metric tons (estimated) and the United States consumed around 830 million metric tons.
  • Thermal coal imports to India soar 24 percent to 33 MT at 12 major ports (The Hindu)
    Imports of thermal coal jumped 24 per cent at India’s top 12 major ports to 32.54 million metric tons (MT) during the April-July period this year even as the government continues to announce its commitment to boost domestic output, mainly by monolith Coal India.
    More from C2ES on coal

Week of August 17, 2015

  • EPA proposes cutting methane emissions from oil, natural gas drilling (Wall Street Journal)
    The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed rules aimed at cutting methane emissions from oil and gas production by requiring energy companies to install new technologies at future wells. The proposals are part of a broader Obama administration goal to cut methane emissions from oil and gas production by as much as 45 percent from 2012 levels over the next decade.
  • EPA proposes stricter landfill methane regulations (ClimateWire - Subscription)
    U.S. EPA wants to tighten the threshold at which landfills (responsible for about one-fifth of the country's human-related emissions of methane) must begin collecting methane emissions. EPA expects the change to reduce yearly methane emissions by more than 436,000 metric tons beginning in 2025, compared with current requirements. That's the equivalent of 10.9 million metric tons of CO2.
  • Methane leaks from gas supply chain top EPA estimate (New York Times)
    Natural-gas gathering facilities, i.e., pipelines and equipment that bring natural gas from the field into power plants and homes, lose about 100 billion cubic feet of natural gas a year, about eight times as much as estimates used by the EPA, according to a study, which appeared in the journal Environmental Science & Technology. The newly discovered leaks, if counted in the EPA inventory, would increase its entire systemwide estimate by about 25 percent, said the Environmental Defense Fund, which sponsored the research as part of methane emissions studies it organized. In 2013, natural gas systems, which include production, processing, transmission and storage and distribution were responsible for 2.9 percent of total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions.
    More from C2ES on natural gas
  • Canadian oil-sands producers struggle (Wall Street Journal)
    Canada’s high-cost oil-sands producers are struggling as oil prices sink to fresh six-year lows, and even the most efficient drillers are losing money on every barrel they produce at current prices, according to a report from Canada’s TD Securities.
    More from C2ES on oil

Week of August 10, 2015

  • Oil demand growing at fastest pace in five years, says IEA (Wall Street Journal)
    Demand for oil is increasing at its fastest pace in five years, boosted by an oil-price drop below $50 a barrel, according to the International Energy Agency, as it sharply upgraded its consumption-growth forecast for the commodity.
  • Lower oil prices expected to continue through 2016 (Energy Information Administration)
    In its latest Short-Term Energy Forecast, the U.S. Energy Information Administration forecasts crude oil prices (U.S. benchmark) will average around $50 per barrel in 2015 and $54 per barrel in 2016, down from around $93 in 2014. Lower prices are expected to increase consumption of gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel. Total U.S. liquid fuels consumption is forecast to grow by 400,000 barrels per day (b/d) (2.1 percent) in 2015 and by 190,000 b/d (1.0 percent) in 2016. More from C2ES on oil
  • Installed price of distributed solar PV continues to fall (Berkeley Lab)
    Installed prices for residential and small non-residential solar photovoltaic systems completed in 2014 were $0.40-per-watt lower, and prices for large non-residential systems were $0.70-per-watt lower, than in the prior year.
    More from C2ES on solar
  • Japan poised for nuclear restart (Financial Times)
    Japan is set to re-enter the ranks of nuclear power-producing nations on Tuesday after a two-year hiatus that has heightened its reliance on imported energy and sent electricity prices soaring.
    More from C2ES on nuclear power
  • Australia sets emissions goal (New York Times)
    Prime Minister Tony Abbott announced a greenhouse gas reduction goal for Australia of reducing carbon emissions at least 26 percent, and possibly 28 percent, from 2005 levels by 2030.
    More from C2ES on international

Week of August 3, 2015

Week of July 27, 2015

  • Climate change: Obama to unveil Clean Power Plan (BBC)
    The revised Clean Power Plan is expected to cut carbon emissions from the power sector by 32 percent by 2030, compared with 2005 levels.
    More from C2ES on Clean Power Plan
  • With $1B loss, Peabody searches for ways to weather industry storm (Energywire - subscription)
    Peabody Energy Inc., the world's largest private-sector coal firm, posted a loss of over $1 billion in the second quarter. The company cited "extended low-cycle market conditions," including soft global demand and stubbornly weak international coal prices as driving factors.
  • Coal will remain major power source in 'foreseeable future' -- Moody's (Climatewire - subscription)
    Despite its present headwinds, coal will remain a dominant energy source in the United States for years to come, according to a research note from Moody's Investors Service.
    More from C2ES on coal
  • New methanol and fertilizer plants to increase already-growing industrial natural gas use (Energy Information Administration)
    Reversing a decline that lasted more than a decade, industrial natural gas consumption has grown steadily since 2009 as relatively low natural gas prices have supported use of natural gas as a feedstock for the production of bulk chemicals.
    More from C2ES on natural gas
  • 'First Steel In The Water' For Wind Farm Off Block Island (Hartford Courant)
    Construction has begun off Rhode Island's coast on the nation's first offshore wind farm, a milestone that federal and state officials say will help the fledgling U.S. industry surge ahead.
    More from C2ES on wind power
  • Obama will reject KXL pipeline during recess -- Hoeven (E&E Daily – subscription)
    Not detailing his sources, Sen. John Hoeven (R-N.D.) said, from the Senate floor, that President Obama will reject the Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada during the upcoming congressional recess. In early February 2015, the State Department received “national interest” comments from eight federal agencies (Departments of Defense, Justice, Interior, Commerce, Transportation, Energy, Homeland Security, and the Environmental Protection Agency) effectively completing the pipeline permit application process. A decision on the pipeline could come at any time.
  • More from C2ES on Keystone XL Pipeline

Week of July 20, 2015

Week of July 13, 2015

  • Most U.S. LNG projects won’t cross the finish line, new study says (Fuel Fix)
    According to a new report by Brookings, most of the proposed U.S. liquefied natural gas (LNG) projects won’t get built due to stiffening foreign competition and weakening demand, among other factors. Only five U.S. LNG export terminals (Sabine Pass, Cameron, Freeport, Cove Point and Corpus Christi), which are already under construction are likely to be completed.
  • Natural gas surpasses coal as biggest U.S. electricity source (ABC News)
    According to U.S. Energy Department data for April 2015, natural gas overtook coal as the top source for U.S. electric power generation for the first time ever – about 31 percent of generation in April came from natural gas, 30 percent from coal, and 20 percent from nuclear power. For the full year, the EIA expects coal to generate 35.6 percent of U.S. electricity in 2015, down from 38.7 percent in 2014, while natural gas is forecast to average 30.9 percent this year, up from 27.4 percent in 2014.
    More from C2ES on natural gas
  • Southeast U.S. getting its first large-scale wind farm (Utility Dive)
    Iberdrola Renewables is breaking ground on the 208 MW (104 turbine) Amazon Wind Farm U.S. East installation in northeast North Carolina, the first large scale wind energy development to go into construction across the nine states of the Southeast. Taller turbines are making wind more viable in the Southeast.
    More from C2ES on wind power
  • China's coal imports plunge more than one-third in first half of 2015 (ClimateWire - subscription)
    According to the General Administration of Customs, China's coal imports decreased by 37.5 percent year over year to 99.86 million tons in the first half of the year. In 2014, Chinese coal imports fell by 10 percent, the first decline since 2008. While the slowdown in China's coal consumption is a key driving force behind this slide, some analysts say that recent policy changes on imported coal have also played a role.
    More from C2ES on coal

Week of July 6, 2015

  • Oil prices tumble nearly 8 percent (Wall Street Journal)
    Worries over weak oil demand in China, Greek drama strengthening the U.S. dollar (because oil is a dollar-denominated commodity, a stronger dollar often drags prices lower) and potential new Iranian supply put downward pressure on crude prices.
  • Despite the slowdown, U.S. on track to produce its greatest quantity of oil since 1970 (Energy Information Administration)
    In its latest Short Term Energy Outlook, the U.S. Energy Information Administration projects that domestic crude oil production will average 9.5 million barrels per day (b/d) in 2015 (the highest level in 45 years) and 9.3 million b/d in 2016.
    More from C2ES on oil
  • Utility-scale solar at record low prices (Utility Dive)
    NV Energy, a Nevada public utility, agreed to a power purchase agreement at a $0.0387 per kWh rate for the 100 MW output of First Solar’s Playa Solar 2 installation. It is likely the lowest rate for solar energy-generated electricity made public to date, and is likely the cheapest electricity available in the U.S. today.
    More from C2ES on solar
  • Carbon tax repeal sparks jump in Australia's electricity emissions (The Guardian)
    According to the Climate Council, Australia’s electricity emissions have increased 4.3 percent since the repeal of the carbon tax, which has undone part of an 11 percent fall in emissions during the two years the carbon tax was in place.
    More from C2ES on pricing carbon

Week of June 29, 2015

  • China pledges to halt growth of carbon emissions in climate plan (New York Times)
    China, the world’s largest greenhouse gas emitter, offered the following goals as part of its commitment to an international climate agreement expected later this year: achieve the peaking of carbon dioxide emissions around 2030 or sooner; lower carbon dioxide emissions per unit of GDP by 60 to 65 percent from the 2005 level; increase the share of non-fossil fuels in primary energy consumption to around 20 percent; and increase the forest stock volume by around 4.5 billion cubic meters on the 2005 level.
    More from C2ES on international
  • U.S., Brazil ramp up renewable goals (Greenwire - subscription)
    President Obama joined with Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, who visited Washington, D.C., to pledge that both countries would draw 20 percent of their power from non-hydropower renewable sources by 2030.
    More from C2ES on renewables
  • New York seeks deep emissions reductions (Utility Dive)
    The New York State Energy Plan seeks to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 40 percent from 1990 levels by 2030 and 80 percent by 2050, to obtain 50 percent of electricity from renewable sources and to cut building energy consumption 23 percent below the 2012 level by 2030.
    More from C2ES on energy
  • Why the French are losing enthusiasm for nuclear (ClimateWire - subscription)
    France, which currently derives about 75 percent of its electricity from nuclear power, is aiming to pass legislation this month that will bring nuclear's share of generation to 50 percent by 2025.
  • Germany shuts down nuclear power plant (ABC News)
  • Germany shut down its oldest nuclear reactor, part of a move initiated four years ago to switch off all its nuclear plants by the end of 2022. Germany until March 2011 obtained one-quarter of its electricity from nuclear energy; as of the end of June, it is now about 17 percent.
    More from C2ES on nuclear

Week of June 22, 2015

  • U.S. coal production expected to decline by 7 percent in 2015 (Energy Information Administration)
    The U.S. Energy Information Administration projects that lower coal demand for domestic consumption and exports will contribute to a 70 million short ton or 7 percent decline in production for 2015 (from 2014 levels). Production is expected to decline in all coal-producing regions with the largest decrease in Appalachia.
    More from C2ES on coal
  • Bloomberg New Energy Outlook sees global power emissions peaking in 2029 (ClimateWire - subscription)
    A new report from Bloomberg New Energy Finance expects a significant build of renewable power generating capacity (around 5,900 GW) over the next 25 years; however, it still sees power sector carbon dioxide emissions increasing by 13 percent from 2014 to 2040. Emissions are projected to peak in 2029, then only slowly declining out to 2040.
    More from C2ES on energy
  • Planning for Maryland offshore wind project gets underway (Baltimore Sun)
    U.S. Wind, the Italian company that won federal leases to develop a wind project off Maryland’s coast, recently began surveying the ocean floor to work out where it will place steel foundations for turbines. If it can successfully clear financial and regulatory hurdles, it plans to construct a 500 MW project. U.S. Wind is currently developing Deepwater Wind Block Island in Rhode Island, which will be the nation's first offshore wind project.
    More from C2ES on wind
  • Solar developers rush to install capacity ahead of tax credit expiration (Utility Dive)
    32 GW of utility-scale solar PV projects were currently under development in the U.S. ahead of the Federal energy investment tax credit (ITC) deadline. Analysts believe just 16 GW will be completed by the end of 2016.
    More from C2ES on solar
  • World nuclear performance gained in 2014 for first time since Fukushima (Platts)
    World nuclear generation tracked by Platts in 2014 rose 1 percent compared to 2013, the first annual gain since the 2011 accident at Fukushima in Japan curbed global nuclear output sharply, an analysis shows.
    More from C2ES on nuclear

Week of June 15, 2015

  •  Record year for renewable power; heat, transport stay fossil (New York Times)
    In its new Global Status Report on renewables, REN21 reports that the growth of renewable energy outpaced that of fossil fuels in the electricity sector in 2014, with a record 135 gigawatts of capacity added worldwide from wind, solar, hydropower and other natural sources.
  • EU on track to meet its 2020 renewable target (The Guardian)
    A status report from the European Commission finds that the EU-28 is on track to source 20 percent of its energy from renewables such as wind, solar and biomass by 2020. Most countries are on track to meet their individual targets. Notably, the UK, France and the Netherlands are currently off track.
    More from C2ES on renewables
  • Report offers strategy to peak global energy emissions (International Energy Agency)
    A peak in global energy-related emissions could be achieved as early as 2020 and at no net economic cost by implementing five key policy measures, according to the International Energy Agency in its new World Energy Outlook Special Report on Energy and Climate Change.
    More from C2ES on energy
  • Dozens of U.S. companies bet on nuclear power revolution (Reuters)
    A new report from Third Way finds that dozens of companies are collectively betting more than $1.3 billion that a new wave of advanced nuclear power can be a force to fight climate change.
    More from C2ES on nuclear

Week of June 8, 2015

  • U.S. oil production expected to decline through 2016 (Energy Information Administration)
    The Energy Information Administration (EIA) estimates that U.S. crude oil production averaged almost 9.6 million barrels per day (b/d) in May 2015 – the highest level in 44 years. However, in its latest Short-Term Energy Forecast (STEO), EIA expects U.S. crude oil production will begin to decline in June, with continuing declines through early 2016, when total production is forecast to average 9.2 million b/d in the first quarter.
  • Pace of Canadian oil production projected to slow (Wall Street Journal)
    In its latest forecast, the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers expects Canadian crude output—mostly from Alberta’s oil sands—to reach 4.96 million b/d by 2025. That forecast is less than the previous estimate of 5.6 million b/d and the 6.0 million b/d it had forecast back in 2013. The lower forecast is the latest sign of a global retrenchment in oil and gas investment that has hit the most expensive forms of extraction the hardest, including oil sands and shale oil production in North America.
    More from C2ES on oil
  • Fueled by Growth in Residential Solar, US Installs 1.3GW of PV in Q1 2015 (Greentech Media)
    According to GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industries Association’s (SEIA), the U.S. installed 1.3 gigawatts of solar PV across all market segments in Q1 2015. The United States residential segment of the market grew 76 percent over the first quarter of 2014, installing a record-breaking 437 megawatts of photovoltaics (PV) in the first three months of 2015.
    More from C2ES on solar
  • World needs to ramp up battery use, energy storage to meet climate targets (ClimateWire - subscription)
    A new report from the International Renewable Energy Association (IRENA) finds that energy storage will be a vital element for utilities and grid operators in order to double the amount of clean energy produced by 2030. The "Renewables and Electricity Storage" technology road map estimates construction of 150 gigawatts of battery storage and 325 GW of pumped hydro storage will be needed.
    More from C2ES on electric energy storage
  • Chinese greenhouse gases projected to peak earlier than pledged (Bloomberg)
    A new report from former World Bank chief economist Nicholas Stern suggests that Chinese greenhouse gas emissions could peak around 2025.

    More from C2ES on international climate agreement

Week of June 1, 2015

  • Big oil’s plan to become big gas (Bloomberg)
    Oil companies that have pumped trillions of barrels of crude from the ground are now saying the future is in their other main product: natural gas, a fuel they’re promoting as the logical successor to coal.
    More from C2ES on oil
  • Global growth in natural gas lower than previous forecasts (International Energy Agency)
    In its latest update of the Natural Gas Medium-Term Market Report, the International Energy Agency finds that weaker than expected demand growth in Asia leads global demand to rise by only 2 percent per year by the end of the five-year forecast period, compared with the 2.3 percent projected in last year’s outlook. The report also notes that capital-intensive, liquefied natural gas (LNG) projects are likely to be adversely impacted (delayed or cancelled) in the medium-term by lower oil prices.
  • PJM gas capacity exceeds coal for the first time (Argus)
    Natural gas has edged out coal as the fuel with the most installed generating capacity in the PJM Interconnection, the largest U.S. wholesale power market, for the first time.
    More from C2ES on natural gas
  • Exelon to decide fate of Illinois nuclear plant in September (Platts)
    As the Illinois General Assembly fails to pass legislation creating a low-carbon portfolio standard this session, Exelon CEO Christopher Crane said the nation's largest nuclear generator will decide in September whether to close its money-losing, 1,824-MW Quad Cities merchant nuclear plant in Illinois.
    More from C2ES on nuclear
  • Japanese PM to pledge 26 percent greenhouse gas cut (Australian Financial Review)
    Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced that he would pledge (by the end of July) a 26 percent reduction in greenhouse gases from 2013 levels by 2030 as his country’s contribution to an international climate agreement expected later this year.
    More from C2ES on international climate agreement

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.




Download the Brief


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 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[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.


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.                                                               


Lifecycle Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Different Light-Duty Vehicle and Fuel Pathways: A Synthesis of Recent Research

Lifecycle Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Different Light-Duty Vehicle and Fuel Pathways: A Synthesis of Recent Research

July 2013

by Nick Nigro and Shelley Jiang

Download the full report (PDF)

Transitioning to a cleaner fleet of advanced vehicles powered by electricity, hydrogen, and advanced biofuels or petroleum products can yield a significant reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and petroleum consumption. A meaningful assessment of the comparative merits of these alternate fuel pathways requires a solid understanding of their technological potential to reduce emissions. Available studies evaluating full lifecycle emissions rely on various assumptions of that potential and yield a wide range of results. This brief summarizes and synthesizes the results of several recent studies and presents the full range of greenhouse gas emission estimates for each type of advanced vehicle and fuel. It also explains the reasons these estimates vary so widely and identifies opportunities for future analyses that use a consistent set of scenarios with transparent assumptions in order to compare the greenhouse gas impacts of fuel and vehicle pathways.


Nick Nigro
Shelley Jiang
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