As the oil boom outgrows the US pipeline network, the oil industry is increasingly using alternatives such as rail to transport crude oil across the country. Between 2008 and 2013, annual crude oil transported by rail in the U.S. grew from 9,500 to 407,761 carloads (about 275 million barrels), according to the Association of American Railroads (AAR). During the same period, a debate about the safety of oil-by-rail has arisen in response to a few high profile accidents and spills, including the Lac-Mégantic derailment in Quebec on July 6th, 2013 that killed 47 people and destroyed half the … [read more]
Without significant gains in storage technology, electric generation from solar and wind will not meet the world’s energy needs. Nuclear power, however, can deliver electric power in a sufficiently safe, economical and secure manner to supplement supply from other carbon-free sources. Despite this, there remain major objections to the safety, cost, waste management and proliferation risk of nuclear power, which I’ll seek to address here.
There have been three serious accidents that challenged the safety record of nuclear power: the Three Mile Island (TMI), Chernobyl, and the tsunami-induced Fukushima accident. In all these accidents there were no immediate public … [read more]
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]