Climate and Energy Program News

Solar Tariffs to Affect World's Poorest

The Trump administration's solar tariff announcement has spurred lively debate in the U.S. around whether these trade barriers are good or bad for businesses and workers, and to what extent cost increases will soften solar demand in the U.S. But on the other side of the globe, Duke-University Energy Access Project staff Jonathan Phillips and Hannah Girardeau write in Devex that there is a similar debate roiling around the treatment of solar panels and related equipment in trade policy that could make the stakes even higher for energy consumers across sub-Saharan Africa.

How to Reduce Methane Emissions from the Oil and Gas Industry Across North America

Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions Climate and Energy Program director Kate Konschnik and her co-author Sarah Jordaan write in The Conversation that a North American Methane Reduction Framework to coordinate regulations, voluntary industry actions and scientific developments in methane estimation and mitigation could help bridge the divide between science and policy. They discuss the framework and their newly published synthesis article that suggests this framework could drive new research that in turn can support better policies when governments are ready to act.

Ex-Utility CEO Goes Off the Grid ($)

ClimateWire feature story focused on former CEO of Duke Energy Corp Jim Rogers's work to distribute solar lights and other clean energy devices in developing nations quotes Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions Tim Profeta and mentions a new Energy Access Project at Duke University.

Methane Gets a Fresh Look as Trump Scraps Rules

The oil industry and scholars are trying to figure out a way to cut potent methane emissions without harming the energy industry or the environment. They also need to keep alive an agreement among U.S., Mexico, and Canada to curb the emissions, or find an alternative. Scholars from John Hopkins and Duke University's Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions published an article in Climate Policy that says a 2016 agreement among the three countries to cut methane emissions is flailing, at best, while the Trump administration's push to reverse regulations to control the potent greenhouse gas provides even more challenges.

Study Examines Methane Emissions Reduction from Oil and Gas in North America

Atmospheric methane concentrations continue to increase globally, despite a pledge in 2016 from the leaders of the United States, Canada, and Mexico to reduce methane emissions from each country's oil and gas sector. Additionally, the trilateral methane pledge faces more challenges as the Trump Administration seeks to reverse federal methane research and control efforts.

FERC's Resilience Order May Suggest Reliability Tweaks, Rather than Novel Solutions

The Nicholas Institute's Kate Konschnik and Brian Murray write in Utility Dive that determining whether resilience is a stand-alone concept or just a component of reliability has real world implications, including whether it requires its own novel mechanisms and market interventions.

To Frack or Not to Frack

On the Duke Research Blog, Maya Iskandarani writes about alumnus Daniel Raimi's new book The Fracking Debate: The Risks, Benefits, and Uncertainties of the Shale Revolution. At a talk co-sponsored by the Duke Energy Initiative and the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions, Raimi shared some of the insights he gained in traveling the country to investigate the community-level impact of the shale revolution in the U.S. 

Energy Data Analytics Lab Team Takes Top Prize at 2018 Duke Research Computing Symposium with Electricity Access Project

A Bass Connections team that includes the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions T. Robert Fetter took top honors for work using machine learning and visual object identification to assess electricity access at the 2018 Duke Research Computing Symposium on Jan. 25.

Pruitt was Headed to Ultra-Efficient Japanese Coal Plant ($)

U.S. EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt last weekend was slated to visit a Japanese plant that claims to be the world's most efficient coal-fired power producer. Japan is making a historic shift back to coal use after abandoning nuclear power in the wake of the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi disaster. Jackson Ewing, facutly fellow with the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions told ClimateWire that "Pre-Fukushima, Japan was planning to scale up nuclear to the range of 60 percent of its total energy generation by the end of the century. With the disaster, they've not only had to scuttle the expansionary plans, but they've had to considerably dial back the existing nuclear power that they have on the grid."

Author Examines Both Sides Of The Fracking Debate In New Book

In his new book, “The Fracking Debate: The Risks, Benefits, and Uncertainties of the Shale Revolution,” Daniel Raimi examines both sides of the oil and gas development issue. In an interview with NPR, Raimi discusses how the book tackles basic questions about the industry, from the environmental impacts to the health impacts. Raimi will be doing a book talk and signing on Thursday, January 25, on the Duke University campus in an event hosted by Duke University's Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions and the Duke University Energy Initiative.