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Energy Transformation: Finding Policy and Finance Solutions

Author(s): Matt Futch
Vice President, US Retail Regulatory Strategy
National Grid, US
Date: June 10, 2015 at 8:00 AM

We hear about the promise of transforming America’s infrastructure every day. But if we’re going to capitalize on that promise, we need to reverse the 20-year trend of underinvestment in energy networks. Greater overall resiliency, reliability and innovation come with a sizeable price tag; it is estimated that U.S. energy infrastructure needs $2.5 trillion in investment by 2035. If we don’t meet this challenge, the growing limitations of our current system threaten to derail progress toward our long-term energy sustainability and security goals. We either invest now, or pay that much more later. The current regulatory landscape also complicates this transformation.… [more]

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Will Demand for Oil Peak by 2035?

Author(s): OurEnergyPolicy.org
Administrator
OurEnergyPolicy.org
Date: June 2, 2015 at 1:00 PM

Many are familiar with peak oil theory — the idea that global oil production will hit a ceiling and then decline — yet the concept of peak oil demand, where demand will plateau before supply, appears to be replacing this controversial hypothesis. Amy Myers Jaffe, Executive Director of Energy and Sustainability at UC Davis, recently wrote in the Wall Street Journal that a combination of technical, economic, environmental and demographic shifts could lead to peak global oil demand in the next two decades. By contrast, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) projects that global oil demand will rise from 87 million barrels per… [more]

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Getting Past Rate Fixation to the Benefits of the Clean Power Plan

Author(s): Marilyn Brown
Professor of Public Policy
Georgia Institute of Technology
Date: May 27, 2015 at 8:00 AM

Making use of energy efficiency can help contain the cost of complying with the EPA’s Clean Power Plan and reduce electricity bills. Yet as climate policy discussions try to balance the urgent demand for quick action with upfront capital investments, the benefits of energy efficiency must be viewed in the long term. As efficiency programs are being ramped up by utilities with an over-capacity of power plants, rates may rise for a few years before they fall. Policymakers and stakeholders need to get past “rate fixation” to see the long-term value of energy efficiency. With the strong “nudge” of the… [more]

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The Nuclear Investment Vacuum

Author(s): Michael S. Lubell
Professor of Physics
City College of the City University of New York
Date: May 19, 2015 at 8:00 AM

The low cost and abundance of natural gas is rapidly causing utility companies to replace coal plants and aging nuclear power plants with gas-fired power plants. The widespread transition to natural gas highlights a need for the nuclear industry to focus on innovation as a means of regaining its competitiveness. Yet innovation requires long-term investment, and the nuclear sector faces structural difficulties in procuring the necessary funds to develop promising technologies. Republicans, who now control both houses of Congress, draw a strong distinction between basic research, which they generally accept as a federal responsibility, and applied research, which they believe… [more]

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The Role of Innovation in Meeting the EPA’s Clean Power Plan

Author(s): Peter Kelly-Detwiler
Principal
NorthBridge Energy Partners, LLC
Date: May 12, 2015 at 8:00 AM

The EPA’s proposed Clean Power Plan, meant to reduce carbon by 30% by 2030, is expected to be accomplished through a combination of improving existing power plants, switching to cleaner generation, boosting renewables, and improving energy efficiency. It is more than likely that the global economy’s ability to innovate and drive economies of scale will significantly ease this transition, providing as yet unknown but superior alternatives. Consider this: the wind and solar industries barely existed five years ago. Today, costs of wind have fallen by 58% in the last five years, and the price of installed solar has plummeted by… [more]

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End the Crude Oil Export Ban

Author(s): Senator Lisa Murkowski (R – AK)
United States Senator, State of Alaska
Chairman, Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee
Date: May 5, 2015 at 9:00 AM

Some of America’s oldest allies are heavily reliant on unappealing sources of oil and our nation’s resource abundance places us in a position to render vital assistance. The International Energy Agency estimates that in 2012 the United Kingdom depended on Russia for 12 percent of its crude oil imports, a relatively modest proportion when compared to the Netherlands (31 percent) and Poland (96 percent). All told, Russian oil accounts for approximately one-third of European Union imports. Meanwhile, Italy receives some 21 percent of its imported crude from Libya, and other key partners — India, Japan, and South Korea — bank… [more]

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What’s Next for the RFS?

Author(s): OurEnergyPolicy.org
Administrator
OurEnergyPolicy.org
Date: April 29, 2015 at 12:00 PM

In November, 2013, EPA announced a highly contentious proposal that lowered the 2014 Renewable Fuel Standard targets below their 2013 levels. These targets apply to the amount of renewable fuels that are blended into the nation’s gasoline supply. A year later, EPA abandoned the proposal after significant push back from the renewable fuel industry, agreeing to reconsider the 2014 targets. EPA has yet to reissue the proposal. The American Petroleum Institute (API) and the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM) filed a lawsuit over the delay, contending that they are left guessing how much ethanol they were required to use last… [more]

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Developing Water/Energy Policies for the Smart City of the Future

Author(s): Bobbi Harris
Founder and CEO
SMART WATER, SMART CITY LLC
Date: April 21, 2015 at 7:00 AM

Around the country, a new conversation is emerging among municipal leaders and utility executives as they explore the energy/water nexus. While Senator Murkowski started the discussion at the federal level in 2014, local leaders are just beginning to question the impact of the energy/water nexus. The water/energy nexus deals with the need for water to produce energy, and for energy to treat and distribute clean water. Water infrastructure is an essential public service in any city and is intrinsically linked to energy. Smart technologies and smart strategies for water and energy utilities are needed to address conservation challenges and form… [more]

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Fracking on Federal Lands

Author(s): OurEnergyPolicy.org
Administrator
OurEnergyPolicy.org
Date: April 14, 2015 at 12:00 PM

On March 20th, following a lengthy public review process, Secretary of Interior Sally Jewell unveiled new federal regulations for hydraulic fracturing on federal lands. According to the Department of Interior, these new standards are designed to (1) improve safety, (2) protect groundwater by updating requirements for well-bore integrity, (3) ensure wastewater is disposed of properly and (4) require public disclosure by companies of chemicals. The regulations will go into effect on June 24th, 2015. The fracking boom put the U.S. on track to be a leading producer of oil and gas, yet most of the production has taken place on… [more]

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EPA’s Clean Power Plan: Will it Work and Will it Be Upheld?

Author(s): Carol Werner
Executive Director
Environmental and Energy Study Institute
Date: April 7, 2015 at 7:00 AM

According to the EPA, its proposed Clean Power Plan (CPP) would lead to a 30 percent cut in carbon emissions from the power sector by 2030, compared to 2005 levels. The CPP sets a customized goal for each state, which takes into account its existing policies and the unique structure of its energy system. The current draft regulation gives states interim goals for 2020-29, and a final target for 2030. The EPA proposal offers a great deal of flexibility for states to choose how best to achieve these emissions reduction goals. The CPP suggests four “building blocks” that states can… [more]

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