Blackouts in PJM are a growing risk without changes reflecting new realities of winter peak demands

The lessons learned and the second-guessing prompted by the polar vortexes that walloped the Eastern U.S. twice in January taught us that the power grid in the Mid-Atlantic states needs — quickly — to recast the rules by which peak power generators can meet demand during the winter months. Peak demands, at least in the […]

George P. Mitchell: Founder of Shale Gas — here’s how he and his team did it

The memorial services this week near Houston honoring the generosity and success of energy innovator, real estate visionary and philanthropist George P. Mitchell are inspiring accolades for his role in tapping the huge potential of natural gas from shale rock formations deep underground. He passed away July 26 at the age of 94. Mitchell — […]

Fugitive methane emissions: the achilles’ heal of the natural gas push?

Buoyed by low prices, environmental benefits and thousands of newly created jobs, the push to produce more natural gas in the U.S. is reaching its stride thanks largely to horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing. But do we understand the implications, some of which might negate the environmental gains? The answer to many objective analysts is: […]

Updated draft rules for hydraulic fracturing deserve the chance to work

Complaints by both sides over the Obama administration’s newly updated draft rules regulating the hydraulic fracturing of shale natural gas and oil on public and Indian lands signals the Interior Department has found enough common ground to raise the bar — albeit slightly — on drilling operations. Because the updated draft rules would only apply […]

To export LNG or not? If so, how much is prudent?

President Obama is preparing to decide how much liquified natural gas (LNG) from the the U.S. boom in shale natural gas production it makes sense to export. Economically and geo-politically a LOT hangs in the balance. If Obama’s first term on energy was mostly about incentivizing renewable energy, his second term is all about whether […]

Center for Sustainable Shale Development – peeling back the packaging

Since its launch about one month ago (see The Energy Fix, March 22), the Center for Sustainable Shale Development has been met with accolades from entities such as The Washington Post to harsh rebukes by the likes of the Sierra Club. It’s not surprising that these and other parties differ on the Center’s potential for […]

Collaborative set to forge workable rules for shale hydraulic fracturing shows promise

Led in part by Chevron, Shell, the Environmental Defense Fund and the Clean Air Task Force, these and seven other organizations are now on record having identified “shared values” in an intriguing effort to better manage the risks of hydraulic fracturing of natural gas and crude oil from shale developments throughout Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia […]

Bids to Repeal Renewable Energy Standards Getting Traction in AZ, NC, OH & TX, Not in KS

A bid by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and the Heartland Institute to roll back or repeal state Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) requirements is getting traction, including in Arizona, North Carolina, Ohio and Texas. But not in Kansas. The Environmental Defense Fund’s (EDF) Marita Mirzatuny calls their tactics “sneaky.” Heartland’s energy senior fellow,  James […]

Wind power could be a cost-effective hedge against rising natural gas prices

That’s the conclusion of a new report by researcher Mark Bolinger at the U.S. Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL). He’s done an enviable job of scouring public sources for wind energy supply contracts at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, state utility commissions and long-term power-purchase agreements in various wholesale markets. This question is front-of-mind for […]

Bloomberg to natural gas industry: stop resisting sensible regulations, join with renewables

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg used the 2013 ARPA-E Energy Innovation Summit near Washington, DC to prod the oil and gas industry to stop resisting efforts to forge “sensible” regulations. “We need sound regulation and we need it soon,” he said. While he’s been on the bandwagon for enabling responsible hydraulic fracturing for natural […]