The massive methane leak in southern California is spurring calls for greater oversight of natural gas infrastructure nationwide. The Environmental Defense Fund says the federal government should look at a Colorado law that regulates inspection and maintenance.
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.
Last night, Elon Musk made a long-anticipated, yet unsurprising, announcement about Tesla’s plans to sell batteries for home storage. If you’ve already got solar panels on your house, for $3,000 to $3,500 (plus the cost of installation), you can essentially go off the grid with your own sleek, wall-mounted, flat screen TV-sized battery. Here’s a round-up of Inside Energy’s favorite Tesla coverage.
Wyoming wind is powerful but not when it isn’t blowing. And that’s the problem with electricity generated by wind: the supply isn’t reliable. One solution? Storage. Deep underground in Utah salt caves. Inside Energy’s Leigh Paterson reports.
As we talk about the future of renewable energy, there’s one aspect that should be at the forefront of the conversation: storage. We’ve already figured out how to capture wind and solar energy, but it’s equally important to figure out the best way to store this energy and use it when it’s needed.
Inside Energy is a collaborative journalism initiative of partners across the US and supported by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting