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Discussion

Nuclear Power’s Role in Responding to Climate Change

Author(s): Dr. Andrew C. Kadak
President
Kadak Associates, Inc.
Date: June 19, 2014 at 12:10 PM

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. Safety 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… [more]

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Discussion

Transforming the Electric Utility Industry and Corporate Culture

Author(s): Karl Rabago
Executive Director
Pace Energy and Climate Center
Date: June 11, 2014 at 12:20 PM

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, cost-of-service… [more]

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Obama’s EPA to Cost Americans Billions of Dollars and Hundreds of Thousands of Jobs

Author(s): Former Congressman Ed Whitfield (R-KY)
Member
U.S. House of Representatives
Date: June 2, 2014 at 7:00 AM

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… [more]

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Clean Energy Poised for Market Domination or More Innovation Needed?

Author(s): Matthew Stepp
Senior Policy Analyst
Information Technology and Innovation Foundation
Date: May 30, 2014 at 11:15 AM

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… [more]

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Let Freedom Ring: Oil Companies, Capitalism and Fuel Choice

Author(s): Marshall Kaplan
Advisor
Fuel Freedom Foundation
Date: May 22, 2014 at 5:21 AM

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… [more]

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Discussion

Can Shale Gas Limit Air Pollution?

Author(s): Richard Muller
Professor of Physics
University of Califoria at Berkeley
Date: May 15, 2014 at 7:15 AM

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 also reduce a deadly pollution known… [more]

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American Perspectives on Energy Efficiency

Author(s): OurEnergyPolicy.org
Administrator
OurEnergyPolicy.org
Date: May 9, 2014 at 1:38 PM

On April 30th, OurEnergyPolicy.org and The University of Texas at Austin co-hosted “American Perspectives on Energy Efficiency,” a panel discussion about energy efficiency at The National Press Club. The panel of thought-leaders provided insight into energy efficiency policy issues and explored the results of two recent sister surveys that reveal Americans’ and energy professionals’ perspectives on energy efficiency. Please see below for an abridged version of the transcript and a full video recording of the event. You can view or download the full transcript here. Opening remarks: Bill Squadron, President, OurEnergyPolicy.org Presentation of survey results: Sheril Kirshenbaum, Director of The… [more]

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Discussion

Tariffs Threaten the U.S. Solar Industry

Author(s): Jigar Shah
President
Jigar Shah Consulting
Date: May 1, 2014 at 7:30 AM

SolarWorld, a German-based manufacturer, has introduced a petition with the International Trade Commission and the U.S. Department of Commerce seeking to impose additional antidumping (AD) and countervailing (CVD) duties on imports of solar products from China and Taiwan. Interestingly, the petition aims to relieve U.S. solar panel manufacturing companies from imports that are sold in the U.S. at less than fair value (“dumped”) or allegedly benefit from subsidies in China or Taiwan. However, the petition could increase material costs and have significant impacts on the broader U.S. solar industry. The U.S. solar industry grew ten times faster than national job… [more]

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Hydropower: The Silent and Aging Renewable

Author(s): Nate Sandvig
President
Clean Energy Development, LLC
Date: April 28, 2014 at 10:53 AM

Often termed the country’s “silent renewable,” hydropower is the nation’s largest renewable electricity resource, providing 7% of total generation. Hydropower’s many supporters – 81% of U.S. voters favor maintaining existing hydro, according to a recent National Hydropower Association poll – value its low-cost, reliability and ability to integrate intermittent renewable resources.  Critics argue that hydropower is not environmentally-friendly and, if included in state Renewable Portfolio Standards, will reduce the growth of renewables like wind and solar power. Historically, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Bureau of Reclamation built the vast majority of major federal dams with integrated hydroelectric… [more]

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Where Can Environmental Policies Enable Efficiency and Profits?

Author(s): Congressman Alan Lowenthal (D-CA)
Member
U.S. House of Representatives
Date: April 24, 2014 at 8:00 AM

When we think of environmental policies that impact business, we don’t often think of increased profits. Too often the private sector is positioned at odds with efforts to address environmental issues through state and federal legislation. But alternatives to this false dichotomy exist and it’s important that we identify and act on these opportunities. As an example, let me point to the adjacent ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles, which together make up the busiest container port complex in the Western Hemisphere. Last year, the ports moved the equivalent of nearly 15 million 20-foot-long containers. The ports contribute well… [more]

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