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Water-Energy Nexus Debate Heats Up

Author(s): OurEnergyPolicy.org
Administrator
OurEnergyPolicy.org
Date: August 20, 2012 at 10:44 AM

As drought continues to affect much of the U.S., many observers are thinking critically about the water-energy nexus. A New York Times article points out the myriad ways in which water shortages can threaten energy, from low river levels reducing hydropower output, to cities banning the use of municipal water for hydraulic fracturing. Although we have yet to see water access limit our ability to produce energy, it could lead to higher energy prices, particularly for natural gas, which will increasingly require water recycling and freshwater transport from non-local sources. Biofuels will also increase in price, if crops fail and… [more]

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Encouraging Grid Security with Distributed Generation

Author(s): Congressman Roscoe Bartlett (R-MD)
Member
U.S. House of Representatives
Date: August 9, 2012 at 7:00 AM

Along with Rep. Yvette Clarke (D-NY), Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ) and Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA), I recently introduced H.Res.762, with which we mean to express “the sense of the House of Representatives regarding community-based civil defense and power generation.” The Resolution is intended to “encourage community based civil defense preparations, including distributed generation of 20% of local electricity needs.” The U.S. electric grid is one of our nation’s most critical infrastructures—none of the other 17 critical infrastructures will function properly without it. America’s grid is vulnerable to widespread blackouts of extended duration from any and all of the following threats:… [more]

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Can We Get It Right on Gas?

Author(s): OurEnergyPolicy.org
Administrator
OurEnergyPolicy.org
Date: August 7, 2012 at 7:56 AM

In an August 5th op-ed, the New York Times’ Thomas Friedman urges America to “Get It Right On Gas.” While noting domestic natural gas development’s potential to address a host of energy policy issues – the trade imbalance and job creation, greenhouse gas emissions, and energy security – Friedman quotes Energy Innovation’s Hal Harvey in asking if natural gas offers “a transition to a clean energy future, or does it defer a clean energy future?” “A sustained [natural] gas glut could undermine new investments in wind, solar, nuclear and energy efficiency systems – which have zero emissions – and thus… [more]

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Is Carbon Pricing Back on the Table?

Author(s): OurEnergyPolicy.org
Administrator
OurEnergyPolicy.org
Date: August 6, 2012 at 7:33 AM

Congressman Jim McDermott (D-WA) has introduced legislation that would put a price on CO2 emissions. Known as the Managed Carbon Price (MCP) Act, the bill is structured more as a cap-and-dividend program than cap-and-trade, and is intended to reduce emissions while also directing revenue towards deficit reduction and reimbursing consumers for costs. The bill would have a target of 80 percent CO2 reductions by 2050. “My bill would reduce carbon emissions, and it returns all the money to consumers and deficit reduction. Businesses want this kind of predictability, consumers need to be protected, and we need to step up and… [more]

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Impacts of the Section 1603 Program

Author(s): OurEnergyPolicy.org
Administrator
OurEnergyPolicy.org
Date: August 2, 2012 at 1:23 PM

Section 1603 of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act was designed to attract private investors to renewables projects by offering investors a cash reimbursement equal to and in lieu of the 30% federal Investment Tax Credit. According to a recent NREL report, the program has awarded $11.6 billion to around 38,000 projects – which have received $38.6 billion in total investment – and has supported the installation of 16.9 GWs in new renewable capacity. To put that in context, in 2007 third-party tax equity financing provided about $6.7 billion to renewable project developers. In 2009, in the heart of the financial… [more]

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The State and Stakes of the Climate Discourse

Author(s): OurEnergyPolicy.org
Administrator
OurEnergyPolicy.org
Date: July 31, 2012 at 7:21 AM

Despite a comprehensive climate bill passing the House in 2009, the enactment of some policies that may reduce CO2 emissions over the long-term, and continuing Congressional discussion of a clean energy standard, it seems that clear paths forward on climate change are not emerging. Nevertheless, in spite of some debate as to the phenomenon’s authenticity, climate change does not seem to be going away. June 2012 was the 328th straight month above 20th Century temperature averages, Greenland’s glaciers are melting more than ever due to “freakish weather,” and the UT Energy Poll reports that the American public’s belief in the… [more]

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Senate GOP Offers Up Familiar Energy Bill

Author(s): OurEnergyPolicy.org
Administrator
OurEnergyPolicy.org
Date: July 30, 2012 at 12:14 PM

Senate Republicans recently unveiled the “Domestic Energy and Jobs Act,” an energy bill intended “To approve the Keystone XL Pipeline, to provide for the development of a plan to increase oil and gas exploration, development, and production under oil and gas leases of Federal land, and for other purposes.” Sen. John Hoeven (R-ND), who drafted the bill, has said that Romney would offer similar legislation if elected. Provisions of the bill would: Suspend U.S. EPA rules on refineries, pending a gas prices study Impose a minimum threshold on the amount of oil and gas leasing each year Reverse a Bureau… [more]

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Can We Rely on Technology to Stop Climate Change?

Author(s): OurEnergyPolicy.org
Administrator
OurEnergyPolicy.org
Date: July 26, 2012 at 7:20 AM

In a column for the New York Times titled “There’s Still Hope for the Planet,” columnist David Leonhardt describes why investments in technology – particularly governmental investments in clean tech research and development – may be the best bet for reducing CO2 emissions, and may provide a small basis for optimism to those interested in fighting climate change. Leonhardt argues that renewable energy, which is becoming increasingly cost-competitive with traditional fossil fuels, and the emergence of natural gas as a replacement for coal, make putting a price on CO2 emissions less attractive than investment programs. “Carbon pricing is going to… [more]

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Heritage Report Calls on Congress to Save Coal

Author(s): OurEnergyPolicy.org
Administrator
OurEnergyPolicy.org
Date: July 25, 2012 at 7:30 AM

Describing recently implemented or approved regulations – including the Greenhouse Gas New Source Performance Standard, the Utility MACT standards, and the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule – and their deep impacts on the coal industry, a report from the Heritage Foundation calls on Congress “to create a framework that restricts overregulation, empowers the states, balances economic growth and environmental well-being, and creates a timely permitting process for all aspects of coal production.” The report finds no issue with the free market changing coal’s share of our energy mix, but argues against artificially reducing that share through disincentives and regulation. The report states that… [more]

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House Pushing Offshore Drilling

Author(s): OurEnergyPolicy.org
Administrator
OurEnergyPolicy.org
Date: July 24, 2012 at 8:04 AM

House leadership is planning a vote this week on a bill to expand leasing for offshore drilling, the “Congressional Replacement of President Obama’s Energy-Restricting and Job-Limiting Offshore Drilling Plan” (H.R. 6082). As E&E News reports, the bill would “expand future offshore leasing to almost all of the Atlantic Ocean, the southern Pacific and Alaska’s Bristol Bay, all areas that were excluded from Interior’s final five-year leasing plan.”  The bill would also double the number of sales in the Department of Interior’s plan and accelerate by three years sales Interior plans in Alaska’s Chukchi and Beaufort seas. Some have criticized the… [more]

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