MCEA Staff blog regularly about current environmental issues and how they relate to MCEA's work.
Important post from Joe Romm today, listing many of the studies showing that because of methane leaks, shifting from coal to natural gas for electricity generation does not do much to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and may make it worse, particularly if it delays the transition to renewables. This issue is coming up right now in Minnesota. With Xcel Energy committing to close down the Sherco 1 and 2 coal-burning units by the early 2020's, the question now is what will come next. Xcel will want to build major natural gas facilities, probably right on the Sherco site, to replace the old coal units, and will likely seek PUC authorization to do that, but it is very important that a switch to natural gas not get locked down. With the price of solar continuing to plummet, it may well make sense, economically and certainly environmentally, to wait. By the early 2020's, the case for natural gas may weaken substantially.