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Greater Resilience in a Climate-Enhanced World

Author(s): Stephan Dolezalek
Managing Director
Resourcient
Date: November 6, 2017 at 10:30 AM

Struck by fire and flood, first from two hurricanes enhanced by climate change, and then by heat and drought enhanced fires, our urge is to rapidly assist, fix and rebuild. A more thoughtful response should also address what exactly should be fixed, and how and where to rebuild in a more resilient fashion. For Houston, Florida, Puerto Rico, and Napa and Sonoma Counties, these are gut wrenching questions with few easy answers. The typical and very human response — quick rebuilds — is attractive to construction companies looking for work and banks providing short-term construction loans. Politicians and communities like… [more]

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Pricing Grid Resiliency: A Lifeline for Coal and Nuclear?

Author(s): Alex Gilbert
Cofounder
Spark Library
Date: October 23, 2017 at 10:15 AM

In late September, the Department of Energy (DOE) issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NOPR) for consideration by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). Using §403, a little-used provision in the DOE Organization Act of 1977, Secretary Perry proposed that FERC, an independent agency, exercise its authority to establish just and reasonable rates for wholesale electricity sales. Specifically, the NOPR requires ISO’s and RTO’s create special cost of service compensation for certain types of generation that DOE alleges are essential to protecting grid reliability and resiliency. Facilities would be eligible for this special, non-market compensation if they could provide essential… [more]

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The ITC Ruling: Could the Cure Kill the Patient?

Author(s): Marilyn Brown
Professor of Public Policy
Georgia Institute of Technology
Date: October 2, 2017 at 10:30 AM

On September 22nd, the U.S. International Trade Commission ruled that low-cost, imported solar panels from China and other countries have hurt two “domestic” manufacturers: Chinese-owned Suniva and German-owned SolarWorld. Both companies are now insolvent. The ITC seems likely to recommend a steep increase in solar import tariffs. If the Suniva recommended tariff is implemented, the price of solar panels could double. Implementing such a “cure” for dumping international products into the U.S. marketplace could be devastating to our solar industry. It would hurt the expanding solar installation business, it would hurt U.S. racking, wire and balance of system manufacturing, and… [more]

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Climate Nexus

Author(s): Maggie Rees
Program Manager
OurEnergyPolicy.org
Date: September 26, 2017 at 9:51 AM

Climate Nexus is a pro-bono, foundation-funded communications firm focused on climate and clean energy issues. We work to change the conversation from an argument to a constructive search for solutions. With backgrounds spanning science, journalism, government, public affairs, corporate sustainability, consulting, policy and filmmaking, our team brings these diverse skills to partners in the science, business, public health, environmental and policy fields.

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Getting the Price Right for Local Wind and Solar

Author(s): John Farrell
Director, Energy Democracy Initiative
Institute for Local Self-Reliance
Date: September 25, 2017 at 10:00 AM

A federal policy enacted nearly 40 years ago has breathed life into an ongoing argument at the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission over utility opposition to a wind-solar hybrid project proposed in the rural city of Red Lake Falls. The law, known as PURPA, was designed to promote local renewable generation by requiring utilities — even monopolies — to buy their electricity from qualified distributed and renewable facilities that can provide power at prices that roughly match the utilities’ “avoided cost” for electricity. But even after all this time, questions loom over exactly how to calculate that value. Utilities would like… [more]

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Harvey Highlighted Vulnerability of Nation’s Fuel Infrastructure

Author(s): Nathan Taft
Research Analyst
Fuel Freedom Foundation
Date: September 11, 2017 at 11:00 AM

In the wake of Hurricane Harvey, the average price of a gallon of gasoline nationwide spiked by 25 cents, with some states seeing an increase of as much as 42 cents per gallon. This is the largest increase in a single week since the 49-cent jump following Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The fact that the entire nation’s fuel infrastructure can be disrupted by a localized single event is deeply concerning. In fact, our economy is disproportionately reliant on oil —10 of the previous 11 U.S recessions were preceded by a spike in oil prices (and subsequently gasoline). Indeed, as Michael… [more]

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Policymaker Support Key to Offshore Wind Prospects in U.S.

Author(s): Herman Trabish
Contributing Editor
Utility Dive
Date: September 5, 2017 at 1:30 PM

Offshore wind is not yet easy to build in the United States. But the question is no longer if a boom will happen, industry stakeholders say, it is when and how it will happen, with policy follow-through a critical component along with improving economics and other factors. While the U.S. had only one of the world’s 111 operating offshore wind projects as of the end of 2016, global developers are still setting up shop. Of the estimated 231,000 MW of potential capacity in the global development pipeline at the end of 2016, 10% is slated for the U.S. Falling prices… [more]

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Grid Passes Eclipse Test

Author(s): OurEnergyPolicy.org
Administrator
OurEnergyPolicy.org
Date: August 23, 2017 at 12:30 PM

This week, a total solar eclipse crossed the United States for the first time in nearly a century. The eclipse dimmed the sun for several hours, leaving utilities questioning the impact on solar power generation and whether grids are prepared to handle state policies mandating a greater renewable energy mix. As solar output plunged along the route of totality, grid operators and utilities were forced to manage the drop by bringing on greater amounts of natural gas and hydro. Those states with high solar producing capacity, such as California and North Carolina, were significantly impacted by the path of the… [more]

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Clean Energy Leadership Institute (CELI)

Author(s): OurEnergyPolicy.org
Administrator
OurEnergyPolicy.org
Date: August 22, 2017 at 2:12 PM

The Clean Energy Leadership Institute (CELI) is a nonprofit leadership development organization working in Washington D.C. and the San Francisco Bay Area. CELI provides early career professionals with the technical content, leadership development, and a professional community to build the next generation of clean energy leaders. CELI believes that our clean energy future must be powered by diverse, effective, and innovative leaders. We recruit Fellows with diverse backgrounds and equips them with a strong working knowledge of energy markets, project finance, technology innovation and public policy, realized through the Clean Energy Leaders Fellowship program.

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The Future of Fossil Fuels: Trailing and Leading Indicators

Author(s): Carl Pope
Former Executive Director
Sierra Club
Date: August 14, 2017 at 11:00 AM

In late July, Hunter Harrison, the CEO of CSX railway corporation, declared that his railroad, founded to haul coal, and still getting a fifth of its revenue from coal, would no longer invest capital in its coal business – neither new locomotives or track investments designed to support its coal business. Harrison was blunt as to the reason. “Fossil fuels are dead,” the CSX CEO said. “That’s a long-term view. It’s not going to happen overnight. It’s not going to be in two or three years. But it’s going away, in my view.” The same week, Morgan Stanley reported that… [more]

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