The Joint Institute for Strategic Energy Analysis' (JISEA's) publications continue to guide, influence, and inform global energy policy and investment decisions. For more information on any JISEA published work, please contact us.
Battery storage is becoming an important component of the energy grid. A correlation can be drawn between the growth in renewable energy and the expected growth in battery storage. This white paper discusses the use of battery storage and battery hybrids, provides a high-level analysis of markets that are best suited for battery storage and storage hybrids, and covers regulations and incentives that support or impede the implementation of standalone storage and battery hybrids.
This study focuses on onshore natural gas operations and examines the extent to which oil and gas firms have embraced certain organizational characteristics that lead to 'high reliability'—understood here as strong safety and reliability records over extended periods of operation. The key questions that motivated this study include whether onshore oil and gas firms engaged in exploration and production and midstream (i.e., natural gas transmission and storage) are implementing practices characteristic of high reliability organizations and the extent to which any such practices are being driven by industry innovations and standards and/or regulatory requirements.
This report identifies key greenhouse gas (GHG) emission sources in the industrial sector and proposes low-emitting alternatives using targeted, process-level analysis of industrial heat requirements. The report examines emissions generated during process heat generation from the industrial sector. The study focuses on the 14 industries with the largest emissions as reported under the Environmental Protection Agency's Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program in 2014. Approximately, 960 plants from those industries represent less than one half of one percent of all manufacturing in the U.S., but they emit nearly 25 percent of all industrial sector emissions—5 percent of total U.S. GHG emissions in 2014. The report also identifies non-GHG-emitting thermal energy sources that could be used to generate heat without emissions. Those potential sources include small modular nuclear reactors, solar heat for industrial processes, and geothermal heat. The report identifies potential opportunities for each source, identifies implementation challenges, and proposes analyses to identify approaches to overcome the challenges.
This report explores the economics of a nuclear-renewable hybrid energy system that sells a thermal product (steam or a high-temperature heat transfer fluid) to one or more industrial customers. Under each scenario examined, the economically optimal system configuration includes a nuclear reactor generating a thermal product such as steam or a heat transfer fluid—a configuration that can economically reduce GHG emissions from industry. In addition, configurations that include a thermal power cycle can support resource adequacy for the electricity grid while maximizing production of the thermal energy product if the markets sufficiently incentivize that option.
Low-Carbon Natural Gas for Transportation: Well-to-Wheels Emissions and Potential
Market Assessment in California
Natural Gas and the Evolving U.S. Power Sector Monograph Series
This report improves the understanding of the long-term techno-economic potential of low-carbon natural gas (LCNG) supply pathways by exploring transportation market adoption potential through 2030 in California. Techno-economic assessments of fourteen different pathways are proposed to compare the resource availability, capacity, cost, and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of select LCNG production pathways. The study analyzes the use of fuel from these pathways in light-, medium-, and heavy-duty vehicle applications. Economic and lifecycle GHG emissions analyses suggest that landfill gas resources are an attractive and relatively abundant resource from a cost and GHG reduction potential, followed by wastewater treatment plants and gasification of woody and herbaceous biomass coupled to methanation. Total LCNG production potential in California is assessed to be in line with total natural gas demand for transportation, and could result in a successful scenario for future natural gas vehicle adoption by 2030 across light-, medium-, and heavy-duty vehicle markets.
Tightly coupled nuclear-renewable hybrid energy systems (N-R HESs) can generate zero-carbon, dispatchable electricity and provide zero-carbon energy for industrial processes at a lower cost than alternatives. N-R HESs are managed by a single entity and link a nuclear reactor that generates heat, a thermal power cycle for heat to electricity conversion, at least one renewable energy source, and an industrial process that uses thermal and/or electrical energy. This report provides results of an analysis of two N-R HES scenarios.
Technology development in the clean energy and broader clean tech space has proven to be challenging. Long-standing methods for advancing clean energy technologies from science to commercialization are best known for relatively slow, linear progression through research and development, demonstration, and deployment (RDD&D); and characterized by well-known valleys of death for financing. This report details a new technology incubator launched by Wells Fargo and Company (WFC) and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). The incubator is designed to support faster commercialization through a focus on technology development. The incubator combines strategic financing, technology and technical assistance, strategic customer site validation, and ongoing financial support.
Understanding the dynamics of nexus of energy, finance, and society informs 21st century innovation strategies that government and business leaders rely upon to address modern technological, social, environmental, and demographic realities. This Research Highlight previews JISEA's continuing work on innovation strategy.
Considering the Role of Natural Gas in the Deep Decarbonization of the U.S. Electricity
Natural Gas and the Evolving U.S. Power Sector Monograph Series: Number 2
Natural gas generation in the U.S. electricity sector has grown substantially in recent years, while the sector's carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions have generally declined. Many attribute the decrease in CO2 emissions to increased natural gas use, which raises questions related to the concept of natural gas as a potential enabler of a transition to a lower-carbon future. This report examines the role of natural gas as increasingly strict carbon emission targets are imposed on the electricity sector. In the scenarios studied, requiring the electricity sector to lower CO2 emissions over time increases near- to mid-term (through 2030) natural gas generation.
A Review of Sector and Regional Trends in U.S. Electricity Markets: Focus on Natural
Natural Gas and the Evolving U.S. Power Sector Monograph Series: Number 1
Starting in mid-2008, U.S. electricity generation from coal began to decline substantially for the first time. By early 2015, coal-fired electricity output was down 25% compared to its peak. Natural gas generation, in contrast, has been growing strongly since about 1990, a trend that predates the shale gas revolution. Renewable electricity—primarily wind and solar—is also driving change in the power sector, with notable cost and performance improvements occurring over the past five years. In the first quarter of 2015, solar photovoltaic (PV) technology was the single largest source of new capacity installed in the U.S. power sector, and both wind and PV power purchase agreements are now routinely being executed at prices of $50/MWh or lower. These changes, along with improvements in energy efficiency, are allowing the United States to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions significantly while maintaining a reliable and affordable power supply. Inexpensive and abundant U.S. natural gas supply is one reason the U.S. has been able to declare a national carbon mitigation target that exceeds any previous declaration. This study explores dynamics related to natural gas use at the national, sectoral, and regional levels, with an emphasis on the power sector.
Potential Cost-Effective Opportunities for Methane Emission Abatement
The energy sector was responsible for approximately 84% of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the U.S. in 2012. Methane is the second most important GHG, contributing 9% of total U.S. CO2e emissions. A large portion of those methane emissions result from energy production and use; the natural gas, coal, and oil industries produce approximately 39% of anthropogenic methane emissions in the U.S. As a result, fossil-fuel systems have been consistently identified as high priority sectors to contribute to U.S. GHG reduction goals. In this report, we synthesize previously published estimates as well as incorporate additional data to provide a comprehensive national analysis of methane abatement opportunities and their associated costs across the natural gas, oil, and coal supply chains. Results are presented as a suite of marginal abatement cost curves (MACCs), which depict the total potential and cost of reducing emissions through different abatement measures. We report results by sector (natural gas, oil, and coal) and by supply chain segment—production, gathering and boosting, processing, transmission and storage, or distribution—to facilitate identification of which sectors and supply chain segments provide the greatest opportunities for low cost abatement.
The energy sector was responsible for approximately 84% of carbon dioxide equivalent CO2e greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the United States in 2012. Methane is the second most important GHG, contributing 9% of total U.S. CO2e GHG emissions. A large portion of those methane emissions result from fossil energy production and use; the natural gas, coal, and oil industries produce approximately 39% of anthropogenic methane emissions in the United States. Over the last decade, the United States has experienced dramatic growth in the domestic natural gas and oil industries. As a result, estimates of GHG emissions from these industries in the Inventory of United States (U.S.) Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks (GHGIs) as well as in other inventories have garnered heightened interest. This report builds on the solid foundation of past and current GHGIs to suggest opportunities to strengthen its accuracy and reduce uncertainty. Although this report focuses on the U.S. GHGI, to the extent other inventories share common methods, data sources, and challenges, the observations and conclusions discussed in this report could apply.
Methane (CH4) is a potent greenhouse gas that is released from the natural gas supply chain into the atmosphere as a result of fugitive emissions and venting. In this report, the authors assess five potential CH4 reduction scenarios from transmission, storage, and distribution (TS&D) using published literature on the costs and the estimated quantity of CH4 reduced. Utilizing cost and methane inventory data, this report estimates that the implementation of these measures could support approximately 85,000 jobs annually from 2015 to 2019 and reduce CH4 emissions from natural gas TS&D by over 40%. Based on standard input/output analysis methodology, measures are estimated to support over $8 billion in GDP annually over the same time period and allow producers to recover approximately $912 million annually in captured gas.
This report provides an overview of the regulatory frameworks governing natural gas supply chain infrastructure siting, construction, operation, and maintenance. The scope includes all onshore facilities that contribute to methane emissions from the natural gas sector, focusing on three areas of state and federal regulations: (1) natural gas pipeline infrastructure siting and transportation service (including gathering, transmission, and distribution pipelines), (2) natural gas pipeline safety, and (3) air emissions associated with the natural gas supply chain. In addition, the report identifies the incentives under current regulatory frameworks to invest in measures to reduce leakage, as well as the barriers facing investment in infrastructure improvement to reduce leakage.
This report 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.
Globally, renewable technologies, led by wind and solar, are part of a suite of technologies and business solutions that are transforming electricity sectors around the world. Renewables captured approximately half of all electricity capacity additions since 2011, and renewables deployment is expected to continue. But could the collapse in global oil prices since mid-2014 and continued growth in natural gas supply in the United States—due to the development of low-cost shale gas—potentially change the course of renewables? This report examines cost reduction and technology improvement trends for a suite of RE generation options, and illuminates other factors that may influence their deployment through 2025.
Concentrating solar power (CSP) systems utilize the sun's energy to create heat that is used to generate electrical power. CSP systems in the United States are installed primarily in the Southwest, with 92% of plants that are operational, under construction, or under development located in three western states: Arizona, California, and Nevada. This report provides an overview of CSP development in these states, with a particular focus on the water supply issues associated with CSP.
Use of a readily-accessible framework that allows for evaluating impacts and comparing tradeoffs among social, environmental, and economic factors in energy policy, expansion planning, and investment decision-making is needed. Multi-metric sustainability analysis (MMSA) provides energy decision makers with a means to make more comprehensive comparisons of energy technologies. The MMSA tool lets decision makers simultaneously compare technologies and potential deployment locations.
This study provides the rationale and foundation for a tool utilizing existing Geographic Information System (GIS) data that can successfully address a subset of the factors considered in concentrating solar power siting decisions.
This study identifies compelling business models that build from the synergies of two abundant, domestic forms of energy: natural gas and renewable energy.
This paper uses a life-cycle assessment inventory tool to examine cost, net energy production, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and conventional air pollution impacts of waste-to-energy technology in Boulder, Colorado.
Both natural gas and renewable energy have been touted as key elements of a transition to a cleaner and more secure energy future, but much of the current discourse considers each in isolation or concentrates on the competitive impacts of one on the other. This paper explores potential synergies of natural gas and renewable energy in the U.S. electric power and transportation sectors.
JISEA's study provides a new methodological approach to estimate natural gas related greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, tracks trends in regulatory and voluntary industry practices, and explores various electricity futures. The study found that life cycle GHG emissions associated with electricity generated from 2009 Barnett Shale gas were very similar to conventional natural gas and less than half of those from coal-fired electricity generation.
Two recent studies sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory examined the impacts of integrating high penetrations of wind and solar energy on the Eastern and Western electric grids. Drawing from these studies, this paper identifies key insights for integrating high penetrations of renewables in the U.S. electric grid.
This study documents the diverse approaches to effective integration of variable renewable energy among six countries —Australia (South Australia), Denmark, Germany, Ireland, Spain, and the United States (Western region-Colorado and Texas)— and summarizes policy best practices to ensure that electricity markets and power systems can effectively coevolve with increasing penetrations of variable renewable energy.
This document summarizes policy best practices that energy ministers and other stakeholders can pursue to ensure that electricity markets and power systems can effectively coevolve with increasing penetrations of variable renewable energy.
In April 2012, renewable energy and financing experts assembled at two roundtable discussions to address renewable energy financing challenges and to identify new sources of capital to the U.S. market. This report summarizes the key messages of those discussions and is designed to provide insights to the U.S. market and inform the international conversation on renewable energy financing innovations.
The Institute for Nuclear Energy Science and Technology (INEST) and JISEA co-sponsored an international workshop to identify research topics important in advancing the potential use of hybrid systems with a specific focus on nuclear-renewable hybrid systems.
In September 2011, JISEA convened the Nuclear and Renewable Energy Synergies Workshop to identify potential synergies and strategic leveraging opportunities between nuclear energy and renewable energy. This report records the proceedings and outcomes of the workshop.
Journal Articles and Conference Papers
Understanding the life cycle surface land requirements of natural gas-fired electricity. Nature Energy. October 2017.
Estimating the Implied Cost of Carbon in Future Scenarios using a CGE Model: The Case of Colorado. Energy Policy. March 2017.
Quantifying the Value of Investing in Distributed Natural Gas and Renewable Electricity Systems as Complements: Applications of Discounted Cash Flow and Real Options Analysis with Stochastic Inputs. Energy Policy. October 2016.
Methane Leaks from Natural Gas Systems Follow Extreme Emissions. Environmental Science & Technology. October 2016.
Colocation opportunities for large solar infrastructures and agriculture in drylands. Applied Energy. March 2016.
A review of water and greenhouse gas impacts of unconventional natural gas development in the United States. MRS Energy & Sustainability. June 2015.
Life Cycle Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Barnett Shale Gas Used to Generate Electricity. Journal of Unconventional Oil and Gas Resources. December 2014.
Developing a pre-retrofit energy consumption metric to model post-retrofit energy savings: Phase one of a three-phase research initiative. Energy and Buildings. September 2014.
Enhancing hydropower modeling in variable generation integration studies. Energy. July 2014.
Distributional and efficiency impacts of clean and renewable energy standards for electricity. Resource and Energy Economics. May 2014.
Cyber Security and Critical Energy Infrastructure. The Electricity Journal. March 2014.
Ensuring benefits from North American shale gas development: Towards a research agenda. Journal of Unconventional Oil and Gas Resources. February 2014.
Methane Leaks from North American Natural Gas Systems. Science. February 2014.
Evaluation of Existing Customer-owned, On-site Distributed Generation Business Models. The Electricity Journal. January-February 2014.
Renewable energy potential on marginal lands in the United States. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews. January 2014.
Power systems balancing with high penetration renewables: The potential of demand response in Hawaii. Energy Conversion and Management. December 2013.
The Energy-Water-Food Nexus Through the Lens of Algal Systems. Industrial Biotechnology. August 2013.
CO2 Mitigation Potential of Mineral Carbonation with Industrial Alkalinity Sources in the United States. Environmental Science & Technology. June 2013.
Linking Energy Independence to Energy Security. IAEE Energy Forum. Summer 2013 (article, table of contents).
Interactions, Complementarities and Tensions at the Nexus of Natural Gas and Renewable Energy. Electricity Journal. Volume 25, Issue 10, December 2012.
Improving Reliability of Islanded Distribution Systems With Distributed Renewable Energy Resources. IEEE Transactions on Smart Grid. December 2012.
Impact of alkalinity sources on the life-cycle energy efficiency of mineral carbonation technologies. Energy & Environmental Science. Issue 9, 2012.
Decarbonizing the Electric Sector: Combining Renewable and Nuclear Energy using Thermal Storage. Energy Policy. Vol. 44, May 2012.
Considering the Energy, Water and Food Nexus: Towards an Integrated Modeling Approach. Energy Policy. Vol. 39(12), December 2011.
An Evolutionary Algorithm and Acceleration Approach for Topological Design of Distributed Resource Islands. Paper accepted for presentation at the 2011 IEEE Trondheim PowerTech.
Webinars and Presentations
Spatiotemporal Considerations in Energy Decisions
May 4, 2016
Environmental, Economic, and Technological Effects of Methane Emissions and Abatement
April 20, 2016
This webinar reviewed JISEA's work to illuminate areas of opportunity for methane
emission abatement and the economic effects of various abatement scenarios.
View recorded webinar | Read transcript | View slides
Natural Gas and Power Sector Decarbonization Pathways: Three Snapshots from Recent JISEA Research
April 13, 2016
The Health Consequences of a Changing Climate
April 29, 2014
In this presentation, Dr. George Luber, epidemiologist and Associate Director for
Climate Change at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, provided perspectives
on climate change as a public health threat, drawing on findings from the 3rd U.S.
National Climate Assessment.
View recorded webinar | View slides
Sensors, Behavior, and Energy
May 28, 2013
Dr. Carrie Armel from Stanford University provided an overview of the roughly 15 projects
that comprise the Stanford ARPA-E Energy Behavior Initiative, which centers on how
sensor data can be leveraged along with behavioral approaches to achieve energy savings.
View recorded webinar | Read transcript | View slides
An Ocean of Potential: The Peril and Promise of Renewable Energy
April 25, 2013
In this presentation, Susan Avery, president of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution,
discusses the state of the ocean today as well as potential impacts of our quest for
large-scale renewable energy.
View recorded webinar | View slides.
Natural Gas Exports and the U.S. Market
April 25, 2013
In this presentation, Kenneth B. Medlock III of Rice University's Baker Institute
presents a basic international trade framework and uses it to assess the validity
of several key concerns about exporting natural gas from the United States.
View recorded webinar | View slides.