This discussion is presented in conjunction with the closing keynote at the Association for Environmental Studies and Sciences 2014 Conference.
Cost-effective and profitable energy efficiency technologies and services, and renewable energy generation alternatives are available today to end GHG emissions from the electric utility sector entirely. Traditional cost-of-service regulation rewards capital investments more than the provision of value, punishes innovation and efficiency, and treats customers as “ratepayers” with few choices and little clout. Today’s electric utilities are not well prepared to make the business model changes required to become truly sustainable. Three key strategies map a path forward.
First, … [read more]
As Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Energy and Power, I’m continuing the fight against President Obama’s Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) overregulation of our nation’s power plants without any regard to the consequences for our economy and consumers.
This week, the EPA is expected to release its proposed rule regulating carbon dioxide emissions from existing and modified electricity power plants. This effort is certain to result in a de facto cap and trade program, which Congress most recently rejected in 2009. This regulation follows the proposed rule on new power plants, which essentially makes it illegal to build a power … [read more]
Whether or not the world has all of the clean energy technologies it needs to dramatically cut greenhouse gas emissions is an important ongoing debate among the climate policy community. Buoyed by steep cost reductions for wind and solar power technologies during the past decade, proponents argue political will is the major factor holding clean energy back from dominating the global energy market. Critics counter that even with recent cost reductions clean energy still isn’t realistically competitive with fossil fuels everywhere without the help of unsustainable subsidies and contentious government mandates.
The debate over whether clean energy is ready for … [read more]
Americans have many choices that are denied to citizens of other less-fortunate nations. But we forget how many decisions are made for us, sometimes out of necessity, such as paying taxes; sometimes out of greed, such as the monopolistic actions of oil companies in denying many Americans the ability to purchase alcohol-based fuels at their corner gas station.
Through various rules imposed on gas stations, oil companies limit many of us from using existing, safe, alternative fuels, like E85, and make available only more expensive, environmentally harmful gasoline. For example, gas stations owned or franchised by an oil company have … [read more]
Some oppose shale gas because it is a fossil fuel, a source of carbon dioxide. Some are concerned by accounts of the fresh water it needs, by flaming faucets, by leaked “fugitive methane”, by pollution of the ground with fracking fluid and by damaging earthquakes. Although I believe that global warming is real, caused by humans, and a threat to our future, these concerns about shale gas are either largely false or can be addressed by appropriate regulation such as the controversial but ultimately positive developments in Illinois.
Shale gas can not only reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but … [read more]