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Energy Company Bailouts: Avoiding the Mistakes of the Past

Author(s): Brandon Arnold
Executive Vice President
National Taxpayers Union
Date: October 8, 2018 at 11:30 AM

Republicans rightly criticized the $500 million loan guarantee to failed solar energy company Solyndra under the Obama administration, but now the current administration is preparing an energy industry bailout that will dwarf the size of that mistake. If this bailout goes forward, taxpayers will be on the hook for billions of dollars for failing coal and nuclear power plants. The Solyndra failure was a textbook example of the pitfalls that exist when the federal government tries to pick winners and losers in the energy industry. The Trump administration seems to not have learned the lesson, as a number of financially… [more]

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Smarter Together: Integrating Electric Vehicles, Buildings, and the Grid

Author(s): Jim Saber
President & Chief Executive Officer
NextEnergy
Date: September 24, 2018 at 11:15 AM

NextEnergy works with innovators to accelerate smarter, cleaner, more accessible solutions for communities and cities with a focus on smart mobility and smart buildings, homes, and infrastructure. When we think of smarter and cleaner, we typically think of technologies or solutions which are more integrated, connected, and more efficient. This integration will also improve our lifestyles, energy use, and environmental footprint. For example, in commercial buildings, more efficient networked lighting that saves energy for both the building owner and utility, can also create a better or more pleasing user experience. With transportation, electric vehicles can be more efficient to drive… [more]

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Energy Security Must Be High On The Agenda

Author(s): Congressman Fred Upton (R-MI)
Chairman of the Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy
U.S. House of Representatives
Date: August 27, 2018 at 10:45 AM

Whether it’s the flip of a light switch or plugging in your cell phone to charge – never has the reliability of our energy supply been more important to so much in our daily lives. That also means never has energy infrastructure been a greater potential target for an attack. It is indisputable that ensuring the reliable and uninterrupted supply of fuels and electricity is absolutely essential to our nation’s economy, security, and the health and safety of its citizens. However, as our energy infrastructure has become more complex and society has grown more dependent on this infrastructure, safeguarding it… [more]

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Unleashing Hydropower

Author(s): Michael Messina
Director, Market Development & Business Affairs
Whooshh Innovations
Date: August 20, 2018 at 10:14 AM

Several years ago, the Department of Energy (DOE) issued a report on the energy potential of the thousands of non-powered dams in the US. With a significant number of untapped hydropower sources readily available, it makes sense to consider how we can utilize more of this emissions-free resource. Many companies have attempted to shepard one of the more than 80,000 non-powered dams through the hydropower licensing process at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) only to find that unanticipated obstacles can arise like the requirement for fish passage. Often, FERC imposes a condition on the issuance of a hydropower license… [more]

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How Blockchain is Changing Energy

Author(s): Alex Kizer
Director of Strategic Research
Energy Futures Initiative
Date: August 8, 2018 at 11:45 AM

Quote: Blockchain is not just buzz, it is an existing – and exciting – new technology   Cities are complex patchworks of infrastructures that include electric grids, natural gas distribution systems, water distribution networks, telecommunications systems, transportation networks, and buildings that can be built or modified to maximize energy efficiency.    These systems are highly interdependent. Water systems, transportation, buildings, and telecommunications all need safe and reliable delivery of electricity. While these systems need to be increasingly integrated, they are often structurally and institutionally isolated, subject to different regulatory regimes and managed by siloed departments and private utilities. The objective… [more]

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Should the EPA Spur Emissions Trading?

Author(s): William Murray
Federal Energy Manager, Energy Policy
R Street Institute
Date: July 31, 2018 at 10:45 AM

The Trump administration is close to an official announcement freezing fuel economy standards for U.S. cars and light-trucks at their 2020 levels (roughly 35-37 miles per gallon), rather than continuing to increase them to around 50 mpg by 2025. The end of Obama-era standards should not be interpreted as either a terrible idea for the environment or a victory for automakers and polluters. Instead, it’s an opportunity to end a regulatory system that failed to deliver on its promises for decades. Congress’ intent when it passed the 1975 Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) Act was to reduce the amount of… [more]

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Fugitive Emissions and the Future of Gas

Author(s): Robert Grant
Director of International Public Policy and Advocacy
Global Innovation Policy Center, U.S. Chamber of Commerce
Date: July 16, 2018 at 9:48 AM

It’s hard to overstate the growing importance of natural gas in the global energy marketplace, and the scale and mood of June’s World Gas Conference in Washington DC bore witness to the resurgent confidence of the global gas industry. With over two thousand delegates and 300 companies exhibiting in the hall, the conference reflected an industry that feels positive about its future. In 2011, the International Energy Agency talked about a potential “Golden Age of gas”. That suggestion attracted some derision at the time, as the flattening costs of renewables and the persistent growth of Asian coal use appeared to… [more]

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The Ineffectiveness of Renewable Portfolio Standards

Author(s): Josh Smith
Research Manager
The Center for Growth and Opportunity at Utah State University
Date: July 9, 2018 at 11:11 AM

Renewable portfolio standards (RPS) require a certain percentage of the electricity sold by utilities to be from qualifying sources as determined by state statute. RPS are one of the most common state-level environmental policies; 29 states and Washington DC have mandatory standards. Despite their popularity, however, renewable portfolio standards may not achieve their environmental ends in a cost-effective manner. Basic analysis of the effects of implementing RPS shows only a nominal impact on carbon emissions, but a large impact on electricity prices. Professors at Louisiana State University compared states that had enacted RPS to states that had not, and showed… [more]

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Can the US Phase Out Fossil Fuel Subsidies?

Author(s): Han Chen
International Climate Advocate, Global Advocacy, International Program
Natural Resources Defense Council
Date: June 25, 2018 at 2:13 PM

The use of fossil fuels drives climate change. Unfortunately, the path to clean sources of electricity, heat, and transport is impeded by the continued government subsidization of fossil fuels. In our recent Scorecard measuring the US against other G7 countries on progress in eliminating fossil fuel subsidies, the US ranked last, spending over $26 billion a year to prop up fossil fuels. Fossil fuel subsidies waste money and come at the expense of public health, local communities, and the climate. The US still provides subsidies for fossil fuel exploration, mining, production, and consumption. The US subsidizes more oil and gas… [more]

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Carbon Tax: Barriers and Solutions

Author(s): Mike Shatzkin
Founder & CEO
The Idea Logical Company, Inc.
Date: June 18, 2018 at 10:30 AM

Although there is a broad consensus that we need to “price carbon” to enable markets to account for the external costs of burning fossil fuels, no proposed national legislation has received significant traction since the failure of the Waxman-Markey cap-and-trade bill in 2010. One formula, long advocated by the non-partisan Citizens’ Climate Lobby but never proposed as legislation, is to simply refund the tax revenue in equal shares to individuals. CCL proposed starting at $15 per ton (which equates to 15 cents per gallon of gas) with an annual increase of $10 a ton forever. CCL has been instrumental in… [more]

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