natural gas


No, Natural Gas Power Plants Are Not Clean

You may have heard that natural gas is “clean.” Compared to coal, natural gas produces less global warming emissions and air pollution. But coal is just about the dirtiest way to produce electricity, so almost anything will seem cleaner in comparison. The fact of the matter is that natural gas power plants still produce a significant amount of air pollution, and that’s a problem.

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The 671 MW Monticello Nuclear Generating Station is located along the Mississippi River 40 miles northwest of the Twin Cities and provides about 10 percent of Xcel’s electricity in the Upper Midwest. Photo: Source: Nuclear Regulatory Commission/Flickr

Carbon Pricing is Key to Economic Viability of Xcel’s Nuclear Power Plants in Minnesota

, director of energy research, Clean Energy

A new UCS report released today found that more than one-third of U.S. nuclear plants–representing 22 percent of total US nuclear capacity–are uneconomic or slated to retire over the next decade under current market conditions. The UCS study, The Nuclear Power Dilemma, shows that the economic viability of the nation’s nuclear plants is threatened by low natural gas prices, the declining cost of renewable energy, investments in energy efficiency, and the costs of upgrading aging plants to ensure safe operation.

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Photo: Source: Nuclear Regulatory Commission/Flickr
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California State Capitol
Photo: Rafał Konieczny CC-BY-SA-4.0 (Wikimedia)

New California Laws Address Climate Change—Some Bills Fall Short

, Western states policy manager

It’s Fall. That means crisp morning air, dwindling sunlight, and a chance to take stock of legislative victories and setbacks in California, as Governor Brown has now signed or vetoed the last of the bills sent to his desk this year.

As always, the progress we make in Sacramento is not only improving Californians’ quality of life, but also keeping momentum going for other states and countries. Many of the gains we make in clean technologies, for example, are reducing costs and proving solutions at scale, charting a course from which others can learn.

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Office of Governor Brown
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Photo: W.carter/Wikimedia Commons

If You Smell Something, Say Something: Identifying Local Natural Gas Leaks

Sarah Salois, , UCS

Walking my dog around my neighborhood one day, I caught a whiff of something very clearly – gas. At first, I noted the smell but assumed it was a fleeting odor and chalked it up to urban living. But soon I realized there was nothing fleeting about it.  I take the same route each day, and it became clear that specific locations  persistently smelled strongly of gas. Internal alarm bells went off in my head as I calculated the amount of gas necessary to be detected outside, in open air, uncontained. I asked my neighbors and the local utility company about the leaks – surely, I was not the only one who had noticed the smell, which led to my next question, what was being done about it? I was surprised to find that my neighbors had actually been smelling the leaks and alerting the utility companies for years. YEARS. I was shocked, and I wanted to know more.

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Photo: W.carter/Wikimedia Commons
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Industry Criticizing… Industry? This is What Effective Advocacy Looks Like

, senior energy analyst, Climate & Energy Program

This is the first time people can recall when one of the grid operators was singled out by the others for making inappropriate demands on the industry. Read more >

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