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Is less government the key to nuclear waste management?

Author(s): David M. Klaus
William J. Perry Fellow, Visiting Scholar
Center for International Security and Cooperation, Stanford University
Date: November 5, 2018 at 10:52 AM

The 2019 Energy and Water Appropriations bill that President Trump signed early last month provides no funding for Yucca Mountain. In doing so, it officially extends by another year the U.S. government’s failure to implement a portion of the Atomic Energy Act of 1954 whereby the government would accept responsibility for managing the spent fuel from commercial nuclear reactors. In the 1950s, when public faith in government was high, a decision to entrust a federal agency with safely managing waste from the country’s commercial nuclear reactors was relatively uncontroversial. Today, the idea is almost unthinkable. In all likelihood, Yucca Mountain… [more]

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A Bold Step Forward for Solar

Author(s): Zadie Oleksiw
Communications Director
Vote Solar
Date: October 29, 2018 at 11:09 AM

In May, the California Energy Commission unanimously approved the nation’s first commitment to putting solar on qualifying new home construction starting in 2020 – a move that’ll be good for our cost-of-living and our climate alike. Building solar on new homes is consistent with California’s zero net energy goals for new buildings, and it’s a great way of getting rooftop solar built cheaply for customers. When solar PV is installed at the time of construction, you get economies of scale and save big on non-hardware costs like customer acquisition, permitting and financing. Assuming modules are 40 cents/W and the other… [more]

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Reducing the Ethanol Mandate is Smart Environmental Policy

Author(s): Arthur Wardle
CGO Graduate Research Fellow
The Center for Growth and Opportunity - Utah State University
Date: October 22, 2018 at 10:30 AM

Following the boom in oil production from the hydraulic fracturing revolution, environmental protection outstripped energy independence as the major selling point of US biofuels policy. The ethanol mandate continues to grow and includes 15 billion gallons that can be met using ethanol made from corn. All of that corn ethanol, despite being a renewable fuel resource, does not deliver the environmental benefits hoped for by early biofuel advocates. The production of billions of gallons of ethanol requires vast expanses of farmland, and with the introduction of the ethanol mandate, these areas have grown to encompass what were previously unimproved critical… [more]

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California: Carbon-Free by 2045?

Author(s): OurEnergyPolicy.org
Administrator
OurEnergyPolicy.org
Date: October 15, 2018 at 9:45 AM

California is the second state after Hawaii to establish a 100% clean energy goal for its electric grid. In late August, the state legislature passed Senate Bill 100 (SB 100) which created a 100% clean electricity standard by 2045 and also altered California’s current renewable portfolio standard (RPS). Previously, California’s RPS mandated 50% of the state’s retail electricity sales come from renewable sources by 2030, but following passage of SB 100, that figure is now modified to 60%. To achieve the 2045 goal, however, SB 100 takes a broader approach by explicitly instructing California’s energy agencies to “plan for 100%… [more]

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Energy Company Bailouts: Avoiding the Mistakes of the Past

Author(s): Brandon Arnold
Executive Vice President
National Taxpayers Union
Date: October 8, 2018 at 11:30 AM

Republicans rightly criticized the $500 million loan guarantee to failed solar energy company Solyndra under the Obama administration, but now the current administration is preparing an energy industry bailout that will dwarf the size of that mistake. If this bailout goes forward, taxpayers will be on the hook for billions of dollars for failing coal and nuclear power plants. The Solyndra failure was a textbook example of the pitfalls that exist when the federal government tries to pick winners and losers in the energy industry. The Trump administration seems to not have learned the lesson, as a number of financially… [more]

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Smarter Together: Integrating Electric Vehicles, Buildings, and the Grid

Author(s): Jim Saber
President & Chief Executive Officer
NextEnergy
Date: September 24, 2018 at 11:15 AM

NextEnergy works with innovators to accelerate smarter, cleaner, more accessible solutions for communities and cities with a focus on smart mobility and smart buildings, homes, and infrastructure. When we think of smarter and cleaner, we typically think of technologies or solutions which are more integrated, connected, and more efficient. This integration will also improve our lifestyles, energy use, and environmental footprint. For example, in commercial buildings, more efficient networked lighting that saves energy for both the building owner and utility, can also create a better or more pleasing user experience. With transportation, electric vehicles can be more efficient to drive… [more]

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Energy Security Must Be High On The Agenda

Author(s): Congressman Fred Upton (R-MI)
Chairman of the Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy
U.S. House of Representatives
Date: August 27, 2018 at 10:45 AM

Whether it’s the flip of a light switch or plugging in your cell phone to charge – never has the reliability of our energy supply been more important to so much in our daily lives. That also means never has energy infrastructure been a greater potential target for an attack. It is indisputable that ensuring the reliable and uninterrupted supply of fuels and electricity is absolutely essential to our nation’s economy, security, and the health and safety of its citizens. However, as our energy infrastructure has become more complex and society has grown more dependent on this infrastructure, safeguarding it… [more]

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Unleashing Hydropower

Author(s): Michael Messina
Director, Market Development & Business Affairs
Whooshh Innovations
Date: August 20, 2018 at 10:14 AM

Several years ago, the Department of Energy (DOE) issued a report on the energy potential of the thousands of non-powered dams in the US. With a significant number of untapped hydropower sources readily available, it makes sense to consider how we can utilize more of this emissions-free resource. Many companies have attempted to shepard one of the more than 80,000 non-powered dams through the hydropower licensing process at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) only to find that unanticipated obstacles can arise like the requirement for fish passage. Often, FERC imposes a condition on the issuance of a hydropower license… [more]

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How Blockchain is Changing Energy

Author(s): Alex Kizer
Director of Strategic Research
Energy Futures Initiative
Date: August 8, 2018 at 11:45 AM

Quote: Blockchain is not just buzz, it is an existing – and exciting – new technology   Cities are complex patchworks of infrastructures that include electric grids, natural gas distribution systems, water distribution networks, telecommunications systems, transportation networks, and buildings that can be built or modified to maximize energy efficiency.    These systems are highly interdependent. Water systems, transportation, buildings, and telecommunications all need safe and reliable delivery of electricity. While these systems need to be increasingly integrated, they are often structurally and institutionally isolated, subject to different regulatory regimes and managed by siloed departments and private utilities. The objective… [more]

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Should the EPA Spur Emissions Trading?

Author(s): William Murray
Federal Energy Manager, Energy Policy
R Street Institute
Date: July 31, 2018 at 10:45 AM

The Trump administration is close to an official announcement freezing fuel economy standards for U.S. cars and light-trucks at their 2020 levels (roughly 35-37 miles per gallon), rather than continuing to increase them to around 50 mpg by 2025. The end of Obama-era standards should not be interpreted as either a terrible idea for the environment or a victory for automakers and polluters. Instead, it’s an opportunity to end a regulatory system that failed to deliver on its promises for decades. Congress’ intent when it passed the 1975 Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) Act was to reduce the amount of… [more]

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