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Solar in Low-Income Communities

Author(s): OurEnergyPolicy.org
Administrator
OurEnergyPolicy.org
Date: November 2, 2015 at 12:00 PM

In 2014, the U.S. residential solar industry installed 1,231 MW of capacity and installation costs fell 10 percent. While lower prices made onsite solar energy more affordable and accessible for many Americans, the upfront costs still make solar installation out of reach to low-income communities that could benefit from alternative sources of energy. Over the past few years, governments at every level have been instituting programs that support low-income access to solar energy. In 2013, California extended two provisions of the California Solar Initiative, the Single-Family Affordable Solar Homes (SASH) and Multi-Family Affordable Solar Homes (MASH) programs, by providing an… [more]

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Do We Have the Talent to Manage America’s Energy Needs?

Author(s): Elias Hinckley
Partner
KL Gates
Date: October 26, 2015 at 11:00 AM

Our inability to provide enough skilled labor presents real and serious challenges to our ability to meet America’s energy demands over the coming decades. In recent years there has been a growing and increasingly vast shortage of skilled labor in the energy industry at every professional level, from technical specialists and operators to leaders and senior management. A Deloitte Survey from a few years ago put this in stark perspective with 70% of respondents from throughout the U.S. energy industry answering that given the current labor force, they would not be able to meet their future staffing needs. In addition,… [more]

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Climate Change Failure?

Author(s): Herschel Specter
President
Micro-Utilities, Inc.
Date: October 19, 2015 at 12:00 PM

Attitudes towards climate change vary. Some have doubts, but even fish know better as they migrate north to cooler waters. Meanwhile, advocates agree that human influence is clear, but they are divided on how to address climate change, with too much focus on individual energy sources when in reality all non-carbon sources of energy have major problems. The divisions amongst advocates can undermine national energy policies and render U.S. policymakers ineffective. But most importantly, divisions amongst advocates rallying for an ‘all-solar,’ ‘all-nuclear,’ or ‘all-anything’ energy system ignore large problems facing a carbon-free future and risk climate change failure. There are… [more]

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Renew and Sustain

Author(s): OurEnergyPolicy.org
Administrator
OurEnergyPolicy.org
Date: at 11:26 AM

Renew and Sustain is a firm dedicated to helping people and organizations navigate the path to sustainability. We work with clients to explore and identify opportunities to implement best practices, achieve goals, and increase profits. While sustainability is not a game, we are here to be your coach. We collaborate with our partners and clients to create winning strategies for them, their communities, and the environment.

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Protecting the U.S. Electric Power Grid from Attack

Author(s): Dawn Santoianni
Lead Communications Consultant
Duke Energy
Date: October 13, 2015 at 7:00 AM

Industry experts recently testified before Congress that more needs to be done to protect the nation’s electric grid from natural disasters, cyberattacks, physical threats and planned sabotage. Recent news stories have highlighted grid security issues, including analysis by USA Today that claims the U.S. Department of Energy’s computer systems were compromised more than 150 times between 2010-2014. And while cybersecurity is a persistent threat, physical damage to “critical infrastructure” facilities from severe storms, flooding, wildfires, and even shootings, has the potential for extensive, long-duration outages: Critical high-voltage substations, while representing only 3% of all substations, carry the bulk of the… [more]

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Energy Efficiency and the Clean Power Plan

Author(s): Kelly Speakes-Backman
Executive Director
Energy Storage Association
Date: October 5, 2015 at 1:00 PM

It’s been two months since the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released the Final Rule for the Clean Power Plan (CPP). Even if you haven’t read all 1560 pages yet, you probably know the gist of it by now. At its core, the CPP identifies three building blocks in setting the goal for each state: (1) lowered heat rates at coal-fired steam plants, (2) increased utilization of existing natural gas combined cycle plants, and (3) increased deployment of utility-scale non-emitting renewables. Most notably, energy efficiency (EE) is missing from that list, which is a change from the 2014 proposal. However, while… [more]

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Low Oil Prices: Opportunity or Barrier for U.S. Industry?

Author(s): OurEnergyPolicy.org
Administrator
OurEnergyPolicy.org
Date: September 28, 2015 at 11:00 AM

Crude oil prices have dominated headlines and industry attention over the past year. In 2014 and continuing in 2015, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) agreed to unconstrained output for it 12 member countries, resulting in a dramatic increase in global oil supply. Meanwhile, China and Europe’s demand for oil has remained relatively steady. In addition, U.S. domestic production nearly doubled since 2008, decreasing domestic imports and leaving more oil on the global market. As a result, oil prices fell from $90 per barrel in 2014 to $46 per barrel today and projections indicate prices between $30 and $60 per barrel… [more]

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What Role Can Biomass Play in the EPA’s Clean Power Plan?

Author(s): Jessie Stolark
Policy Associate
EESI
Date: September 22, 2015 at 7:00 AM

Although the administration’s finalized Clean Power Plan was released in early August, EPA is still actively grappling with the rules regarding biomass feedstocks as a compliance option under the Plan. Biomass (or biogenic) feedstocks include wastes such as organic wastes, lumber, pulp and paper industry wastes, agricultural residues and purpose-grown feedstocks. Solid biomass can be co-fired with coal in existing plants or used in renewable heating applications. The biomass industry argues that the utilization of biomass as an electricity source is an attractive option for states as it has the potential to sequester carbon as additional feedstocks are grown, it… [more]

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Post-Event: What Will EPA’s Ozone Rule Mean for the Energy Sector?

Author(s): OurEnergyPolicy.org
Administrator
OurEnergyPolicy.org
Date: September 21, 2015 at 9:45 AM

On September 16th, 2015, OurEnergyPolicy.org (OEP) hosted a panel event moderated by Mark Drajem of Bloomberg News on EPA, ozone and the energy sector at the National Press Club in Washington, DC. EPA is expected to announce a new standard for ground level ozone, a smog-forming pollutant. Most believe they will reduce the existing standard from 75 parts per billion (ppb) to 65 or 70 ppb by 2025. According to EPA, this would prevent 4,200 premature deaths, between 1,400 and 4,300 asthma-related emergency room visits, and between 320,000 and 960,000 annual asthma attacks in children. The very spirited discussion largely… [more]

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The Case for Nuclear Central Station Power

Author(s): David Hammer
J.C. Ward Jr. Professor of Nuclear Energy Engineering
Cornell University
Date: September 9, 2015 at 9:30 AM

 “Sustainable future” advocates seem to believe that solar, wind and hydro-electricity will eventually make up close to 100% of our energy generation, but there are benefits to having “central station” power plants in addition to distributed power generation. If the goal is to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions while assuring the health of our economy, the most viable way of generating central station power at present is nuclear fission. Central station power complements distributive power generation in two important ways.  Central station power plants are better able produce power on a small area relatively close to where the energy will… [more]

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