Volume 5, Issue 6
April 1, 2018 – April 7, 2018
Anushka Dasgupta '19 | Amy Amatya '21 | Neha Chauhan '21 | Joseph Kawalec '21


  It's the No. 1 Power Source, but Natural Gas Faces Headwinds   March 28, 2018 | New York Times | Ivan Penn  An increase in fracking across the country has made natural gas a plentiful and cheap energy source, taking the place of coal as the nation’s top power source. However, increasing regulations and the appeal of wind and solar sources are threatening its reign. Proponents of natural gas cite the limits of wind and solar energy and the flexibility of natural gas, which can be used “well after the sun has gone down,” notes Greg Bernosky, the director of state regulation and compliance at Arizona Public Service. Natural gas won’t be dethroned anytime soon. But as the prices of solar and wind farms continue to go down and regulations push for decreasing carbon emissions, natural gas may have to compete with these sources rather than prop them up. - JK      Taxes On Natural Gas Pipelines Can Result In Money Flow For Rural Schools   March 26, 2018 | NPR | Ashton Marra  The construction of a natural gas pipeline in Medina County, Ohio, may generate millions of dollars in tax revenue for the area’s school district. The 5 million dollars per year the Cloverleaf School District is expected to receive are a dramatic change for a district that recovered from a fiscal emergency only four years ago. However, environmental concerns cause tensions between pipeline companies and the communities in which they build. Medina County’s auditor Mike Kovack speculates that the company may have overestimated the tax revenue the pipeline will generate to alleviate these tensions, but Cloverleaf superintendent Daryl Kubilus is already planning for the windfall. - NC   E.P.A. Prepares to Roll Back Rules Requiring Cars to Be Cleaner and More Efficient   March 29, 2018 | New York Times | Coral Davenport and Hiroko Tabuchi  Sources report that Scott Pruitt, the head of the Environmental Protection Agency, is planning to relax fuel economy and emissions standards, a move which will slow down the deployment of hybrid and electric vehicles both in the U.S. and abroad. Additionally, it could lead to a split market for cars - one for California and its ally states (representing a third of the U.S. car market), which propose to enforce the stricter standards set by the Obama administration, and one for middle America, where customers will have a choice of cheaper but more polluting vehicles. -AD   How California Taught China to Sell Electric Cars   March 27, 2018 | Bloomberg | Mark Chediak, John Lippert, and Ying Tian  China, driven by California’s ambitious automobile goals, is using clean transportation reform to combat climate change from the top-down, despite the two groups’ vastly contrasting political systems. California Governor Jerry Brown met with President Xi Jinping last year to discuss climate change mitigation at a time when relations between Washington and overseas were becoming increasingly incendiary (and when Trump spoke of pulling out of the Paris Climate Accord, which he later did). As a result, the Trump administration wants to countermand California’s right to set its own emission laws in a state known for spearheading nationwide environmental policy reform. Since, China has surpassed the U.S. in electric car sales, as well as implemented California-initiated alternative energy credits, rebates, and subsidies. -AA

It's the No. 1 Power Source, but Natural Gas Faces Headwinds
March 28, 2018 | New York Times | Ivan Penn
An increase in fracking across the country has made natural gas a plentiful and cheap energy source, taking the place of coal as the nation’s top power source. However, increasing regulations and the appeal of wind and solar sources are threatening its reign. Proponents of natural gas cite the limits of wind and solar energy and the flexibility of natural gas, which can be used “well after the sun has gone down,” notes Greg Bernosky, the director of state regulation and compliance at Arizona Public Service. Natural gas won’t be dethroned anytime soon. But as the prices of solar and wind farms continue to go down and regulations push for decreasing carbon emissions, natural gas may have to compete with these sources rather than prop them up. - JK   

Taxes On Natural Gas Pipelines Can Result In Money Flow For Rural Schools
March 26, 2018 | NPR | Ashton Marra
The construction of a natural gas pipeline in Medina County, Ohio, may generate millions of dollars in tax revenue for the area’s school district. The 5 million dollars per year the Cloverleaf School District is expected to receive are a dramatic change for a district that recovered from a fiscal emergency only four years ago. However, environmental concerns cause tensions between pipeline companies and the communities in which they build. Medina County’s auditor Mike Kovack speculates that the company may have overestimated the tax revenue the pipeline will generate to alleviate these tensions, but Cloverleaf superintendent Daryl Kubilus is already planning for the windfall. - NC

E.P.A. Prepares to Roll Back Rules Requiring Cars to Be Cleaner and More Efficient
March 29, 2018 | New York Times | Coral Davenport and Hiroko Tabuchi
Sources report that Scott Pruitt, the head of the Environmental Protection Agency, is planning to relax fuel economy and emissions standards, a move which will slow down the deployment of hybrid and electric vehicles both in the U.S. and abroad. Additionally, it could lead to a split market for cars - one for California and its ally states (representing a third of the U.S. car market), which propose to enforce the stricter standards set by the Obama administration, and one for middle America, where customers will have a choice of cheaper but more polluting vehicles. -AD

How California Taught China to Sell Electric Cars
March 27, 2018 | Bloomberg | Mark Chediak, John Lippert, and Ying Tian
China, driven by California’s ambitious automobile goals, is using clean transportation reform to combat climate change from the top-down, despite the two groups’ vastly contrasting political systems. California Governor Jerry Brown met with President Xi Jinping last year to discuss climate change mitigation at a time when relations between Washington and overseas were becoming increasingly incendiary (and when Trump spoke of pulling out of the Paris Climate Accord, which he later did). As a result, the Trump administration wants to countermand California’s right to set its own emission laws in a state known for spearheading nationwide environmental policy reform. Since, China has surpassed the U.S. in electric car sales, as well as implemented California-initiated alternative energy credits, rebates, and subsidies. -AA

  Saudis, SoftBank Plan World's Largest Solar Project   March 28, 2018 | Bloomberg | Vivian Nereim and Stephen Cunningham   Earlier this month, we wrote about how Saudi Arabia is reshaping  its economic and diplomatic strategy to account for changes in the oil market, investing in refineries with partners in China and Russia and considering a public offering for its national oil company. Now, the nation is taking its diversification a step further by partnering with Japanese holding company SoftBank to build a massive solar project. If built (completion is likely a decade away), the 200GW development will triple Saudi Arabia’s electricity generation capacity. To give you some idea of its scale, the United States currently has about 50GW in total installed solar capacity. -AD

Saudis, SoftBank Plan World's Largest Solar Project
March 28, 2018 | Bloomberg | Vivian Nereim and Stephen Cunningham
Earlier this month, we wrote about how Saudi Arabia is reshaping its economic and diplomatic strategyto account for changes in the oil market, investing in refineries with partners in China and Russia and considering a public offering for its national oil company. Now, the nation is taking its diversification a step further by partnering with Japanese holding company SoftBank to build a massive solar project. If built (completion is likely a decade away), the 200GW development will triple Saudi Arabia’s electricity generation capacity. To give you some idea of its scale, the United States currently has about 50GW in total installed solar capacity. -AD