News - Kate Konschnik

The New Republic reports that the massive Aliso Canyon storage field, which contained more than 110 underground wells, is just a small part of America’s much larger natural gas infrastructure. Approximately 15,000 such wells are active across the United States, and nearly half of them are concentrated in six states: Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, Michigan, New York, and California.

A Harvard study published in the Journal of Environmental Health found that around 65% of active natural gas storage (UGS) wells in the United States are located in suburban residential areas—not more sparsely populated commercial, industrial, or even rural areas like many new unconventional wells. The Nicholas Institute's Kate Konschnik was a co-author on the study.

As part of his climate-change focused presidential campaign, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee has proposed a plan to rapidly phase out extraction of fossil fuels in the U.S. The plan includes ending fossil fuel drilling on federal land, terminating taxpayer subsidies to fossil fuel business, and pursuing a complete, nationwide ban on fracking.

The Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions at Duke University has awarded funding to six research projects for Fiscal Year 2019–20 through the institute's Catalyst Program.

Now in its third year, the Catalyst Program aims to build on the Nicholas Institute’s mission by increasing engagement with Duke faculty to incubate and advance new partnerships, enhance policy-relevant knowledge, and create innovative policy solutions based on new creative synergies.

A new article in InsideEPA explains that a new peer-reviewed study of the greenhouse gas (GHG) and other emission effects of EPA's Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) proposal finds the policy would have the perverse outcome of boosting GHGs in 18 states and the District of Columbia by causing almost one-third of existing coal plants to run more often.

A new article in Law360 discusses how Pacific Gas & Electric Co.'s plan to seek bankruptcy protection to address crippling liabilities for California wildfires should ring alarm bells for utilities, regulators and lawmakers in other states and force them to examine whether the current utility business model can accommodate climate change-related risks to energy infrastructure, policy experts say.

Carbon emissions tied to U.S. electricity generation have dropped 28 percent since 2005 to a total of 1,744 million metric tons last year — the lowest since 1987 — according to data the U.S. Energy Information Administration posted publicly, reports Greenwire.

The White House, federal agencies and some regional grid operators are seeking to boost electric grid reliability and resilience. In Utility Dive, Duke's Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions' Kate Konschnik and Jennie Chen write that improving grid flexibility could achieve the aims of fuel security more cost effectively while modernizing and decarbonizing the grid.

The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), a cooperative effort of nine Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from power plants through a market-based emissions trading program, recently marked ten years of carbon auctions. 

The Environmental Protection Agency proposed a rule Aug. 21 to replace President Barack Obama’s Clean Power Plan — his signature climate change initiative, targeting carbon pollution from coal plants — with a more modest measure designed to encourage plants to invest in efficiency upgrades that would allow them to burn less pollution, and exist longer.