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Discussion

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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What is Next for the Clean Power Plan?

Author(s): OurEnergyPolicy.org
Administrator
OurEnergyPolicy.org
Date: August 7, 2017 at 11:00 AM

The Clean Power Plan (CPP), the signature piece of environmental regulation from the Obama Administration, is now facing an uncertain future. Following President Trump’s request for a review of the rule and the June 1st announcement that the U.S. will be leaving the Paris agreement, the President is widely expected to eliminate or significantly change the CPP. Review by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) typically takes about 60 days, meaning that the review period may be drawing to a close. The CPP has faced criticism from both sides of the aisle, as well as from industry and environmental… [more]

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How to Pack More Power into NYC’s Energy-Efficiency Bill Package

Author(s): Abbey Brown
Former Clean Energy Project Manager
Environmental Defense Fund
Date: August 1, 2017 at 11:00 AM

Earlier last month, the New York City Council introduced a package of bills designed to make buildings more energy efficient. Given that about 70 percent of greenhouse gas emissions in the City come from heating and cooling buildings, regulating how buildings manage energy is crucial to reaching Mayor Bill de Blasio’s goal of reducing citywide emissions 80 percent below 2005 levels by 2050. While these bills represent an important step in the right direction, there are opportunities to strengthen them so the intended reduction in pollution is more effective and long-lasting. For example, Int. 1644 proposes the establishment of a… [more]

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Climate Scientists Challenge ‘100% Renewables’ Paper

Author(s): Rod Adams
Publisher
Atomic Insights LLC
Date: July 19, 2017 at 10:30 AM

In 2015, Mark Z. Jacobson released a report claiming via modeling that 100% of the energy – not just the electricity – needed by the U.S. could be reliably provided at a reasonably low cost by a mixture of wind, water and solar energy. Jacobson’s paper, Low-Cost Solution to the Grid Reliability Problem with 100% Penetration of Intermittent Wind, Water, and Solar for All Purposes, was recently challenged when the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences published a paper titled Evaluation of A Proposal for Reliable Low-Cost Grid Power with 100% Wind, Water, and Solar. The new paper, developed… [more]

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Targeting Corporate Climate Risk

Author(s): Sharon Reishus
President
Reishus Consulting, LLC
Date: July 10, 2017 at 10:00 AM

With American federal climate policy in retreat after President Trump announced his intention for the US to withdraw from the Paris Accords, where will climate change activists focus their efforts? While recent announcements coming from local politicians indicate that cities from Portland to Pittsburgh, plus many states, are intent on moving forward with strategies to decarbonize, corporations form a key sector whose willingness to embrace strategies to avoid climate risk matters greatly. Do shareholder activists play a critical role in forcing large businesses, especially those firms holding fossil fuel assets, to acknowledge risks and adopt strategies that directly address climate… [more]

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