State Policy Program News

Does Coal or Gas use More Water? It's Complicated ($)

Switching from coal- to gas-fired power reduces greenhouse gas emissions, but the transition's net effect on water consumption is a more complicated calculation, according to a working paper from Duke and Harvard universities. EnergyWire reports that Pennsylvania's coal-to-gas conversion resulted in an annual 2.6 to 8.4 percent increase in water use across the state. On a local level, though, the net effect was tied to available natural gas resources and pre-existing power-generating infrastructure.

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Duke Kunshan to Offer New Professional Degree in Environmental Policy

Duke Kunshan University will offer a new international master’s degree in environmental policy (IMEP) beginning in the fall of 2017. The four-semester, 16-course program is designed to meet the growing global need for leaders who are versed in both Chinese and international environmental issues and policies. Billy Pizer of the Sanford School and the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutionsis among the faculty members that spearheaded the program’s creation.

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As Water Use in Gas Extraction Grows,Use in Coal Extraction Declines

A new study co-authored by researchers at Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Duke University’s Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions, and the University of Calgary provides the first comprehensive representation of changing water consumption patterns associated with fuel extraction and power generation, the Resources for the Future blog reports.

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Coal-to-Gas Transition Alters Pennsylvania Water Consumption

Extraction of coal and natural gas and power generation from both fuels contributed to a yearly 2.6 to 8.4 percent increase in water consumption in Pennsylvania during the early stages of the coal-to-gas transition from 2009 to 2012. However, impacts varied across the state as some areas experienced no change or large decreases in water consumption, according to a new working paper examining the water implications of Pennsylvania’s energy extraction and generation choices.

 

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Proof That a Price on Carbon Works

The New York Times editorial board writes that nearly 40 nations, including the 28-member European Union, and many smaller jurisdictions are engaged in some form of carbon pricing. They mention a study by the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions and Sustainable Prosperity that finds British Columbia's tax helped cut emissions but has had no negative impact on the province’s growth rate, which has been about the same or slightly faster than the country as a whole in recent years.

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Carbon Trading Finds a Foothold in at Least 20 States ($)

Close to half of states, including many run by Republicans, are hoping to use some form of a carbon market similar to cap and trade to meet federal Clean Power Plan targets, according to a ClimateWire review of high-level planning talks. In at least 20 of the 47 states that must meet U.S. EPA requirements, top policymakers or major utilities are pushing for a system where power generators could purchase carbon allowances or credits across state borders as a way to meet EPA's goals. "You can do this without using markets, but it is, put simply, really hard to do at a low cost," said David Hoppock, senior policy associate with Duke University's Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions, a group that has been coordinating compliance discussions among Southeastern states.​

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FERC to Launch 'Significant Outreach' on Clean Power Plan ($)

In an interview with ClimateWire, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's Colette Honorable discusses how state regulators will deal with the Clean Power Plan. She suggests regulators look to entities that "don't have a dog in the hunt," citing Duke University's Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions' work to study "what this new energy future would look like with implementation" of the Clean Power Plan.

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MISO: Redispatch Key to CPP Compliance Through 2025

MISO’s 15 states may be able to comply with the Clean Power Plan through 2025 by redispatching the RTO’s generation fleet, according to early modeling by RTO staff. RTO Insider reports on Sarah Adair's participation at the Arkansas’ Department of Environmental Quality and Public Service Commission on Jan. 5. A senior policy associate with Duke University’s Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions, Adair and other Nicholas Institute staff have been crisscrossing the country convening regional dialogues on the Clean Power Plan. She described the pros and cons of the mass- and rate-based compliance approaches.

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Deadline Nears for State, Utility Power-Plan Comments

Arkansas environmental and energy officials will submit their final comments this month on the federal Clean Power Plan, the Environmental Protection Agency's new rule to enforce more stringent standards on coal plants and carbon dioxide emissions. The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports that Sarah Adair, a policy analyst with Duke University's Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions, told Arkansas stakeholders at a meeting last week in Little Rock that as many as 300 aspects of the Clean Power Plan have been subject to comment since the plan was published in the Federal Register in October.

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State Regulators Prepare To Send EPA Final Comments On President’s Clean Power Plan

State regulators hosted the fifth and final “stakeholder” meeting in Little Rock before a draft plan and comments are submitted to federal environmental officials on Jan. 21 to move Arkansas closer to complying with the Clean Power Plan. NPR reports on the meeting, where the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions' Sarah Adair detailed the pro and cons of choosing a mass- or rate-based state plan for complying with the EPA’s greenhouse gas rules. 

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