We’ve spent a lot of time this year looking at the global move to decarbonize and explaining why there isn’t going to be a straight line leading directly to abundant carbon-free power and a net-zero world. That might be the way a lot of people would like to see it go, but that’s not the reality we’re now facing. All sorts of obstacles have popped up, indicating that the energy industry’s trilemma of availability, reliability and affordability not only clash with each other on occasion, they can also conflict with economic and environmental priorities. Nowhere is that more evident than in the U.S., where small-scale battles over the clean-energy transition are playing out all over the map. In today’s RBN blog, we discuss highlights from our newly released Drill Down Report on the ways the nation’s clean-energy push is playing out at the state level.
Posts from Jason Lindquist
If it seems like the push for decarbonization has suddenly picked up the pace lately, Michigan provides proof. Home to the Big 3 automakers and for many the symbolic heart of U.S. manufacturing, its efforts to move away from fossil fuels have long been met with skepticism and resistance. But changing attitudes about climate change and renewable power — and full Democratic control of the state government for the first time in 40 years — have led to a swift about-face in the state’s energy policy. In today’s RBN blog, we examine Michigan’s plans to accelerate its transition away from coal-fired power and the long-term challenges that come with it.
The push to decarbonize frequently focuses on the transportation sector, which is responsible for the largest share of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. That has led to increased blending of ethanol into gasoline and the development of several alternative fuels, most notably renewable diesel (RD) and sustainable aviation fuel (SAF). But as production of those two fuels accelerates, an often-overlooked byproduct of their creation is beginning to attract more attention: renewable naphtha. In today’s RBN blog, we explain the similarities and differences between traditional naphtha and renewable naphtha, look at how renewable naphtha is produced, and show how it can be used to help refiners, petrochemical companies and hydrogen producers meet their sustainability goals and reduce the carbon intensity (CI) of their products.
It’s been a rough few weeks for the offshore wind industry, highlighted by Ørsted’s decision to cancel two high-profile projects in the Northeast: Ocean Wind 1 and Ocean Wind 2. The industry continues to be plagued by a host of problems around inflation, the supply chain and permitting, leading some developers to write-down losses and question whether their projects remain economically viable. But it hasn’t all been bad news, as other projects have been able to move forward and hit major milestones. In today’s RBN blog, we look at the recent cancellations, some key projects that have been approved or are advancing, and what we’ll be watching for over the next several months.
Every state has its unique set of advantages and challenges, but very few face the number of contrasts that makes New York and its ambitious decarbonization goals so interesting. The Empire State ranks fourth in population (behind California, Texas and Florida) and is home to the biggest city in the country, yet most of the state would be considered rural. It has the nation's third-largest economy, but because its key industries — including financial and business services — are not energy-intensive, and many in the New York City area use mass transit, its per-capita energy use is lower than all but two states (Hawaii and Rhode Island). And while the state gets about 30% of its power from renewable sources (most of it large-scale hydropower), solar and wind generation are still very limited there. In today’s RBN blog, we look at how the state’s plans to ramp up renewable generation — which have long been plagued by problems with incentives, permitting and project cancellations — are running headlong into the difficulties of adding so many resources in a short period of time.
When Navigator CO2 Ventures decided to pull the plug on its long-planned Heartland Greenway project, a vast network that would have captured carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from dozens of ethanol producers in the Midwest and Great Plains then piped them hundreds of miles for permanent sequestration, it was a significant setback for the Biden administration’s climate goals. More than that, it showed how large-scale carbon-capture projects face opposition from seemingly all sides and how the lack of a meaningful regulatory framework at the federal level only adds to the industry’s challenges. In today’s RBN blog, we look at the Heartland Greenway cancellation, what it says about the future of similar projects, and what regulatory changes might be needed at the federal level to make large-scale carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) a reality.
Plans to greatly expand the production of low-carbon energy and reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions can be found just about everywhere, from national and international policy discussions to debates at the state and local levels. Given the potential for dramatic economic, social, and geopolitical impacts over the coming decades, it’s no surprise that top-down mandates for a transition to a more renewables-centric energy mix and away from fossil fuels can stir up concern over the pace, scale, and ultimate effectiveness of such a massive undertaking. In some places, like California, critical voices are largely drowned out. In other spots, apprehension may fester just below the surface. But in a state like Texas that identifies so closely with the energy industry, the conversation is right out in the open. In today’s RBN blog, we look at how that debate is playing out in Texas, where renewable energy is booming in a state known for fossil fuels.
If you’re vying for billions in federal dollars, a predictable selection process with measurable criteria is probably what you’re hoping to see. And while there was much speculation about what projects would be ultimately picked for the Department of Energy’s (DOE) regional clean hydrogen hubs initiative, H2Hubs, the selections made October 13 included no curve balls and matched the agency’s previous guidance. In today’s RBN blog, we’ll look at the selections and how they fit into the DOE’s stated criteria.
Second chances don’t always come around, but when they do, you’d do well to learn from your previous experiences and make the most of them. For the Petra Nova carbon-capture/enhanced-oil-recovery (EOR) project southwest of Houston, its previous three-year run largely confirmed the preconceived notions of critics as a highly touted project that fell short of expectations for a variety of economic and technical reasons. But it also enjoyed some significant successes, and now the facility has been given a second life, courtesy of a new owner and higher oil prices. In today’s RBN blog, we look at the long-awaited restart of the Petra Nova project, what its owner hopes to gain from it, and what it could mean for the carbon-capture industry.
The uncertainties around solar power are well understood. When the sun doesn’t shine as much as expected, power grids that rely heavily on solar must turn elsewhere to meet consumer demand. And while a shortfall in solar generation can be tricky to navigate, the difference between actual and forecast levels is typically only a few percentage points, and power grids are usually ready and able to make up any difference. But what happens when the daytime sun is obscured for hours at a time? Much of the U.S. is about to find out. In today’s RBN blog, we’ll preview the path of the October 14 solar eclipse, detail its expected impact on the generation of electricity, and describe what steps are being taken to keep power grids performing as usual.
U.S. oil, natural gas and NGL markets are more interconnected than ever — with each other and with global dynamics. The deep connections we see today have evolved in the 15 years since the start of the Shale Revolution, and in recognizing how the various segments have impacted one another, we can better explain how they are driving today’s markets. That was the focus of our Fall 2023 School of Energy and it’s the subject of today’s RBN blog, which (warning) is a blatant advertorial for School of Energy Encore, a newly available online version of our recent conference.
When you’re in competition for billions in federal dollars, you need more than just a sensible approach and a strong economic case. You need a real competitive advantage. That’s what Hy Stor Energy believes it has with its proposed Mississippi Clean Hydrogen Hub (MCHH). It sees off-the-grid renewable power and extensive salt-dome storage capabilities as the surest path to decarbonization for a myriad of industrial needs. In today’s RBN blog, we look at the overall strategy behind the MCHH, the plan to produce 100% green hydrogen, and how Hy Stor hopes to beat the competition and secure Department of Energy (DOE) funding for a regional hydrogen hub.
The U.S.’s effort to prioritize low-carbon energy entails some bumps and bruises along the way, an indication that the energy industry’s trilemma of availability, reliability and affordability can conflict with today’s economic realities and environmental priorities, even in a state like California with abundant financial and clean-energy resources and a commitment to decarbonization. In today’s RBN blog, we look at the state’s lofty goals to phase out fossil fuels, why it has been forced to put its transition away from natural gas and nuclear power on hold, and some of the biggest challenges ahead for the Golden State.
It’s no secret that the past several months have been challenging for the wind power industry, especially when it comes to offshore projects. Major developers have sought to renegotiate power-purchase agreements (PPAs) signed years ago, delayed work on some projects, and walked away from others, despite severe financial repercussions in some cases. On top of all that, only one of three offshore tracts available in the U.S.’s first Gulf of Mexico lease auction for wind power attracted any bids. It all amounts to a major setback in the Biden administration’s goal for the nation’s electricity to be 100% carbon-free by 2035. In today’s RBN blog, we look at the significant challenges being faced by wind power developers, what they mean for the projects currently under development, and some changes that could eventually help bring more of the renewable power online.
Considerable time and effort has been spent tracking the federal government’s plan to spend billions of dollars to create a number of regional hydrogen hubs. News about the Department of Energy’s (DOE) hub-selection process has been hard to come by, especially since the potential applicants weren’t publicly disclosed at the time of the agency’s informal cutdown in late 2022 and many potential developers, for competitive reasons, have elected to play their cards very close to the vest. In today’s RBN blog, we’ll publish the DOE’s full list of 33 encouraged proposals for the first time, examine some of the plans that were combined in an effort to produce a stronger joint application, and share a little about the concept papers that didn’t make the DOE’s informal cut.