News and Events

The Joint Institute for Strategic Energy Analysis (JISEA) increases the impact of its analysis by staying engaged in and helping to shape the global energy dialogue. News about JISEA, JISEA leadership, and JISEA partners is highlighted below.

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Natural gas and renewable energy can help contribute to a low-carbon, resilient, and reliable electrical grid, say energy systems stakeholders

May 4, 2015 — A new JISEA report, Pathways to Decarbonization: Natural Gas and Renewable Energy: Lessons Learned from Energy System Stakeholders, captures key insights from the workshop series, Synergies of Natural Gas and Renewable Energy: 360 Degrees of Opportunity. The workshops, convened by JISEA in collaboration with the Center for the New Energy Economy and the Gas Technology Institute, explored natural gas (NG) and renewable energy (RE) synergies in the U.S. power sector. The report also details results of supporting economic valuation analyses conducted by JISEA researchers that quantify the value proposition of investing in NG and RE together as complements. The analysis finds that from a system-wide perspective, NG-RE synergies offer portfolio risk-reducing benefits. A key driver for NG and RE synergies will be the ability to operate systems in a way that creates value for the customer, such as by providing more reliable, resilient, and affordable service.

Arent Named to Sustainability Editorial Board

May 5, 2015 — JISEA's Doug Arent has joined the editorial board of the journal Sustainability. Arent joins internationally-renowned experts on the "Energy Sustainability" section board. Sustainability addresses environmental, cultural, economic, and social sustainability of human beings.

Renewable Electricity Technologies Anticipated to Become Increasingly Cost-competitive, According to JISEA Report

March 2, 2015 — A new JISEA report sponsored by Ecomagination of General Electric examines cost reduction and technology improvement trends for a suite of renewable electricity generation options, and illuminates other factors that may influence their deployment through 2025. Advancements in technologies and experience gained from decades of learning have dramatically changed electricity markets worldwide. Renewable electricity is better positioned than at any time in history to provide increased value to customers, utilities and system operators, and contribute to the new wave of electricity systems solutions.

Arent on "Next-generation Utilities" Panel at Energy for Tomorrow Conference in Kuala Lumpur

January 22, 2015 — At the International New York Times' "Energy for Tomorrow" conference, JISEA's Doug Arent presented a picture of the utility of the future during the "Next-generation Utilities" panel. The panel was chaired by Andrew Revkin, writer for the New York Times' Dot Earth blog and included panelists from major Malaysian utilities. See Arent's presentation.

Report highlights opportunities to build tomorrow's electricity sector

January 22, 2015 — A new report published by the World Economic Forum offers guidance on transforming the electricity sector to a more sustainable, affordable, and reliable system. The Future of Electricity outlines recommendations for policymakers, regulators, and businesses in developed markets to attract needed investment. JISEA's Doug Arent contributed to the report. View the press release from the World Economic Forum.

EVs Powered by Electricity from Natural Gas, Wind, Water, or Solar Power May Reduce Environmental Health Impacts

January 12, 2015 — A new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and edited by JISEA's Doug Arent assesses 10 alternatives to conventional gasoline vehicles and the life cycle air quality impact of each on human health. The study finds that electric vehicles (EVs) powered by electricity from natural gas or wind, water, or solar power are best for improving air quality. Vehicles powered by corn ethanol and EVs powered by coal appear to increase environmental health impacts relative to conventional gasoline. Arent edited the article, "Life cycle air quality impacts of conventional and alternative light-duty transportation in the United States," as an invited guest editor of the journal's Editorial Board.

Arent Named to Energy Policy International Advisory Board

October 6, 2014 — JISEA's Doug Arent has been named to the International Advisory Board of Energy Policy. One of the top journals in its field, Energy Policy addresses policy implications of energy supply and use from various perspectives. Arent's work has appeared multiple times in the journal.

GHG from Electricity Produced from Shale Gas on Par with Conventional Natural Gas, Lower than Coal on Average

Study Published in Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences

July 21, 2014 — A new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences says estimates of life cycle greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from electricity generated from shale gas are similar to those from conventionally-produced natural gas, and both energy sources, on average, emit approximately half the GHG emissions of coal-powered electricity. However, under certain circumstances, the emissions for conventional and shale gas electricity can reach levels approaching best-performing coal-fired plants.

Published on July 21, "Harmonization of Initial Estimates of Shale Gas Life Cycle Greenhouse Gas Emissions for Electric Power Generation," uses a meta-analytical technique called harmonization to compare existing studies estimating life cycle GHG emissions from shale gas, conventionally-produced natural gas, and coal.

"Published studies and articles about greenhouse gas emissions have come to widely differing conclusions; harmonization helps to clarify the existing knowledge on this important topic," National Renewable Energy Laboratory Senior Scientist and lead author Garvin Heath said. "With a more 'apples-to-apples' comparison provided by harmonization, a clear tendency emerges in the published literature. We see that life cycle GHG emissions from electricity generated from shale gas are similar to those from conventionally-produced natural gas. Both energy sources, on average, emit approximately half the GHG emissions of coal-powered electricity when considering emissions from the smoke stack and those upstream through the supply chain. Further, through development of novel probability distribution functions, we find assumptions about lifetime production of wells and the practice of liquids unloading to have the greatest influence on the results."

Study authors—Heath and Patrick O'Donoughue of NREL and Douglas Arent and Morgan Bazilian of the Joint Institute for Strategic Energy Analysis—emphasized the importance of actual measurements of GHG emissions to advance understanding of energy options.

"Harmonization of prior estimates of GHG emissions provides greater precision, but does not fully address the questions of accuracy of our knowledge of GHG emission sources in the natural gas supply chain, questions we highlighted in our recent article in Science magazine synthesizing 20-plus years of research on methane leakage from natural gas systems," Arent said. "As called for in that article and this one, verified measurements of emissions from components and activities throughout the natural gas supply chain, and robust analysis of lifetime well production and the prevalence of practices to reduce emissions, can help create a more robust understanding of our energy options."

The study team screened hundreds of published life cycle assessments for quality and modern relevance, including dozens related to conventionally produced natural gas and shale gas. In addition, the team conducted sensitivity analysis on three important activities in the production of shale gas—well completion, well recompletion, and liquids unloading. Previous research had found these activities to be significant to life cycle GHG emissions. When considering these additional factors, shale gas life cycle GHG emissions could approach the range of best-performing coal-fired generation.

JISEA conducts leading-edge interdisciplinary research and provides objective and credible data, tools, and analysis to guide global energy investment and policy decisions. JISEA is operated by the Alliance for Sustainable Energy, LLC, on behalf of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, the University of Colorado-Boulder, the Colorado School of Mines, the Colorado State University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Stanford University.

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Visit JISEA online at http://www.jisea.org/

Media may contact:
Heather Lammers, 303-275-4084
heather.lammers@nrel.gov

JISEA Announces IRAAP Call for 2014/15 Proposals

June 2014 — The Joint Institute for Strategic Energy Analysis (JISEA) announces its 2014/15 research funding opportunity, the Innovative Research Analysis Awards Program (IRAAP). The call for pre-proposals opens on July 7 and closes August 4, 2014. Accepted projects will focus on analytical research that works toward a more sustainable global energy economy with a focus in one of the following topic areas:

  • Energy Security — exploring new ways to quantify the wide set of impacts related to areas as diverse as reliability, resiliency, import dependence, geopolitics, and infrastructure
  • Nexus of Energy and Water / Food / Land Use/ Climate Change — understanding the interdependencies of energy and water / food / land use / climate change
  • Integrated Energy Systems — optimization of energy systems across multiple pathways and scales, including the nexus of natural gas and renewable energy.

JISEA's IRAAP provides funding for collaborative teams from our founding partner institutions: the National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL), the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Stanford University, the University of Colorado-Boulder, the Colorado School of Mines, and Colorado State University.

A pre-proposal is required; only invited teams will be asked to submit full proposals. Invited full proposals will be due Friday, September 26, 2014. Participating teams must be collaborative, consisting of at least one NREL principal investigator and at least one principal investigator from one other JISEA partner institution. Learn more about submitting a proposal to IRAAP.

White House Enlists JISEA to Help Bolster Co-Investment in Renewable Energy and Natural Gas

April 2014 — The White House honored solar energy deployment Champions of Change from across the United States during a full-day event April 17. The event featured panels discussing the successes of community leaders, innovators, educators, and organizers in creating opportunity for solar power and in driving policy changes at the local level to advance solar deployment in the United States. Arent moderated a panel focused on how solar, along with other renewable energy technologies, can work synergistically with natural gas to advance our nation's energy portfolio, and facilitate the path toward a clean energy future. During the panel it was announced that JISEA would host a series of workshops focused on the unique opportunities for greater synergistic use of natural gas and renewable energy. The workshops—part of a larger White House initiative supporting solar deployment and jobs—will be held in four locations: New York, Washington DC, Texas, and California. To learn more about the JISEA workshops, contact the JISEA Coordinator.

Arent a Lead Author on IPCC Report on Climate Change Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability

Image of Doug Arent talking with a participant at the IPCC.

JISEA's Doug Arent at the 10th Session of IPCC Working Group II, held 25 – 29 March 2014 in Yokohama, Japan.

March 2014 — The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) issued a report today that says the effects of climate change are already occurring on all continents and across the oceans. The world, in many cases, is ill-prepared for risks from a changing climate. The report also concludes that there are opportunities to respond to such risks, though the risks will be difficult to manage with high levels of warming.

The report, Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability, from Working Group II of the IPCC, details the impacts of climate change to date, the future risks from a changing climate, and the opportunities for effective action to reduce risks.

JISEA's Doug Arent was coordinating lead author of chapter 10 of the report. A total of 309 coordinating lead authors, lead authors, and review editors, drawn from 70 countries, were selected to produce the report. The authors and editors were selected in 2010 from a pool of more than 1,200 nominations.

The report concludes that responding to climate change involves making choices about risks in a changing world. The nature of the risks of climate change is increasingly clear, though climate change will also continue to produce surprises. The report identifies vulnerable people, industries, and ecosystems around the world. It finds that risk from a changing climate comes from vulnerability (lack of preparedness) and exposure (people or assets in harm's way) overlapping with hazards (triggering climate events or trends). Each of these three components can be a target for smart actions to decrease risk.

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