Somewhere in the world, the sun and wind are always shining and blowing, and people are always using electricity. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could get renewable power from the windy and sunny places to the power hungry places? That was presumably the thinking behind a question posed by an Inside Energy audience member:
Would transmission losses be too high to sustain an international green power electrical grid? The short answer: Yes. An international power grid would sustain huge transmission losses and would therefore be too expensive to be feasible, right now. But in some situations, regional or continental grids do make financial sense and are already under development.
Methane is spewing from an underground natural gas storage field in southern California called Aliso Canyon at a rate of 50,000 kg per hour – the equivalent of 5 million full-grown cows. The leak is causing health problems, air traffic detours, and mass evacuations. And because methane is a potent greenhouse gas, its contribution to global warming is like having three extra coal-fired power plants. This isn’t just California’s problem: In addition to those direct consequences, Aliso Canyon is a wake-up call about the challenges facing our natural gas infrastructure. U.S. energy strategy, as outlined by the new Clean Power Plan, hinges on the idea that burning natural gas has a smaller carbon footprint than burning coal.
It’s no secret that America’s roads are in trouble. Our highways, interstates and bridges are crumbling and there’s an estimated $90 billion dollar annual shortfall in funding to make the fixes. So, now would be a good time to raise gas taxes, right?
Montana Department of Environmental Quality | The oil spill in Montana’s Yellowstone River is the second of its kind in five years. Can the nation’s aging pipeline system keep up with its oil and gas boom?
About forty-five percent of U.S. crude oil pipeline is more than fifty years old. Even pipeline laid into the ground in the 1920s and before (think the There Will Be Blood era) is still operating today.
More than a half a million miles of new pipeline will be built in the United States by 2035, according to a new study by the Interstate Natural Gas Association of America. That’s 22 trips around the Earth and then some.
Inside Energy is a collaborative journalism initiative of partners across the US and supported by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting