Posted December 19, 2014
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Posted December 12, 2014
Pittsburgh Business Times: It's no secret that the shale energy boom is having an impact on the manufacturing sector, but according to a report released Thursday by PwC US, that impact may be bigger than expected.
As a result of the surge in shale gas production, the firm increased its forecast on cost savings and long-term employment gains in domestic manufacturing. According to the report, PwC estimates the "shale effect" could bring an annual cost savings of $22.3 billion by 2030, assuming a high natural gas recovery and low price scenario.
In terms of job creation, PwC estimates continued shale activity will create 930,000 shale gas driven manufacturing jobs by 2030 and 1.41 million by 2040.
Posted December 11, 2014
Breaking Energy: The EPA has long promoted cellulosic ethanol as the future of biofuels, but technical challenges have kept production far below targets. A recent rule change allows RNG, renewable natural gas, to qualify as cellulosic biofuel even though RNG is not cellulosic, but this helps EPA appear to be meeting their goals.
RNG growth has been dramatic and is the lowest carbon vehicle fuel available today. Perhaps the EPA should be promoting a Renewable Gas Standard instead of a Renewable Fuel Standard.
In 2013, production of cellulosic ethanol was effectively zero, even though the legislated target volume for 2013 was 1 billion gallons. In August 2013, EPA reduced the target to 6 million gallons, and again reduced the target retroactively to 810,185 gallons, less than 1 million. By all accounts this represents a complete failure of the cellulosic ethanol program. In July 2014 the EPA revised the cellulosic biofuel rules to allow RNG to be categorized as cellulosic.
Posted December 10, 2014
Reuters: A surge of oil and gas production will drive the U.S. economy 1 percent higher in 2040 than it would have otherwise grown, and energy exports will only stoke the expansion, an independent study on energy policy concluded on Tuesday.
New drilling technologies such as 'fracking' have unlocked an abundance of fossil fuels from shale deposits and the bounty will both jolt the economy and increase tax receipts, according to the study from the Congressional Budget Office.
Officials estimate "real (inflation-adjusted) GDP product will be about two-thirds of 1 percent higher in 2020 and about 1 percent higher in 2040 than it would have been without the development of shale resources," the report finds.
Posted December 9, 2014
The Hill: Methane leaks from natural gas drilling and production have fallen from the last estimate more than a year ago, according to a study sponsored by the industry and an environmental group.
Leaks of methane, the main component of natural gas, now represent 0.38 percent of production volumes, according to the study released Tuesday.
That is 10 percent lower than what the same University of Texas research team found in September 2013. Methane is a greenhouse has about 20 times more potent than carbon dioxide.
“Study after study shows that industry-led efforts to reduce emissions through investments in new technologies and equipment are paying off,” Howard Feldman, director of regulatory and scientific affairs at the American Petroleum Institute, said in a statement.
“This latest study shows that methane emissions are a fraction of estimates from just a few years ago,” he said.
Posted December 8, 2014
Chicago Tribune Editorial: Last summer the Chicago City Council briefly considered an ordinance that would require gas stations in the city to sell a blend of fuel called E15, which has the potential to damage your car engine.
An E15 mandate is a patently bad idea. Changing pumps to sell a fuel blend of 15 percent ethanol — what you buy now has 10 percent — would be a big expense for gas stations. And E15 isn't safe for use in many older engines, from cars to trucks to boats to lawn mowers.
The idea seemed to die last summer. You might think the aldermen decided to put their constituents before the ethanol industry lobbyists who are pushing this fuel mandate. If you did, chalk that up to a triumph of hope over experience. This is, after all, the Chicago City Council.