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Are Microgrids the Answer to the Increasing Complexity of Electricity Markets?

Author(s): J. David Erickson
Public Utilities Regulatory Analyst
California Public Utilities Commission
Date: August 23, 2013 at 9:48 AM

The state of California is faced with the challenge of reaching its carbon emissions reduction and renewable portfolio standard goals while maintaining the safety and reliability of the electric supply and protecting the economic interests of the ratepayers. In addition to AB 32, which calls for reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020, the state also has a Renewable Portfolio Standard goal of 33% renewables by 2020. The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), the California Independent System Operator (CAISO) and many stakeholders have been working on policies, technologies and market mechanisms to reach these goals. Managing the effect… [more]

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Should the Federal Government Provide Energy Loan Programs?

Author(s): OurEnergyPolicy.org
Administrator
OurEnergyPolicy.org
Date: August 15, 2013 at 10:20 AM

At the recent National Clean Energy Summit in Nevada, Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz lauded federal loans for green energy projects. “We have done a lot to try to get renewables out there, in fact in [Nevada] six loan guarantees, four in geothermal, one in CSP, and one on the grid… all come together to see real progress on the ground,” said Secretary Moniz. The loan guarantee programs have garnered significant skepticism and criticism, with much of the criticism focused on the collapse of Solyndra. Some critics have argued against the government acting as venture capitalists and others suggest tax cuts… [more]

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What Maine Did to Secure Its Electric Grid from Electromagnetic Pulse and Geomagnetic Disturbance

Author(s): Andrea Boland
State Representative
Maine State Legislature
Date: August 8, 2013 at 10:38 AM

On June 11, 2013, the State of Maine passed the first legislation in the nation to protect the electric grid against electromagnetic pulse (EMP) and geomagnetic disturbance (GMD). EMP’s, such as high-altitude nuclear explosions, and GMD’s, such as major solar flares and storms, have the potential to critically disrupt or destroy the electric grid. In March 1989, a moderate solar storm hit Quebec, Canada, causing a province-wide blackout that cost two billion dollars in direct damage, and scattered effects throughout the northeast United States. The Maine legislation that I sponsored, LD 131, “Directing the Public Utilities Commission To Examine Measures… [more]

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Solar Foundation

Author(s): OurEnergyPolicy.org
Administrator
OurEnergyPolicy.org
Date: August 5, 2013 at 11:30 AM

The Solar Foundation (TSF) is an independent national 501(c)(3) nonprofit founded in 1977 and based in Washington D.C. Through research and educational outreach, TSF has worked to support the use of solar energy as a clean, sustainable, and secure way to meet global energy demand. Since 2010, TSF has published its annual National Solar Jobs Census, which established the first credible solar jobs base line and received widespread media coverage. The Solar Foundation is considered the authority on the solar labor force and advises many organizations on the topic, including the National Academy of Sciences. TSF has also released a… [more]

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Will MLPs Help Drive Renewable Energy Markets Forward?

Author(s): Andrea Luecke
Executive Director
The Solar Foundation
Date: July 30, 2013 at 11:33 AM

There is an investment vehicle available to oil and natural gas development that is not available to renewable energy resource projects.  There is a current effort in Congress to change that situation. Most political leaders today claim they support an “all of the above” energy strategy.  Yet solar and other renewable energy resources are currently restricted by the lack of access to master limited partnerships (MLPs). MLPs are business structures that are taxed as a partnership, but whose ownership interests are traded like corporate stock on a market. MLPs have the advantage of avoiding double taxation.  Projects done through MLPs… [more]

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Does the Renewable Fuel Standard Raise Food Prices?

Author(s): OurEnergyPolicy.org
Administrator
OurEnergyPolicy.org
Date: July 26, 2013 at 10:45 AM

The Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), which was recently amended to address numerous criticisms, is again under fire, this time for its potential effect on food prices. The RFS program requires an increasing volume of renewable fuel to be blended into transportation fuel each year and since its implementation in 2005, the US has become the world’s largest producer of ethanol fuel, a corn-based renewable fuel. Yet many RFS critics argue that the mandate is responsible for driving up food prices. The authors of this UC Davis study concluded that “Corn prices were about 30 percent greater between 2006 and 2011… [more]

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The European Union’s Emissions Trading System: Climate Model, Now Climate Muddle?

Author(s): Wil Burns
Co-Executive Director
The Institute for Carbon Removal Law and Policy, American University
Date: July 15, 2013 at 10:26 AM

The European Union’s Emissions Trading System (EU-ETS) is an extremely important component of global climate policymaking. It represents more than 80% of the global market value of emissions trading permits and serves as the cornerstone of the EU’s response to climate change. Moreover, a number of other States and sub-national actors, such as California – which has the second largest carbon trading program in the world – have either linked their emissions trading systems to the EU-ETS, or contemplate doing so in the future. However, with the price of allowances plummeting a startling 83% from 2008-2013 the EU-ETS is abjectly… [more]

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Association for the Study of Peak Oil – USA

Author(s): OurEnergyPolicy.org
Administrator
OurEnergyPolicy.org
Date: July 11, 2013 at 6:45 PM

The Association for the Study of Peak Oil (ASPO-USA) is a non-profit education​al organization dedicated to helping America understand and adapt to ​changing realities regarding the cost, demand, and supply of oil. Founded in 2005 as a network of scientists, researchers, analysts, and other energy observers, ASPO-USA has grown to comprise a wide range of professionals, civic leaders, and concerned citizens.  ASPO-USA maintains a core focus on technical oil issues, but also examines their broader economic, national security, and environmental consequences, and spurs positive action to build a more secure, prosperous, and sustainable future.  ASPO-USA is the U.S. affiliate of… [more]

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Can The EPA Regulate Oil and Gas Under RCRA?

Author(s): Jeremy Marcus
Legislative Director
Congressman Matt Cartwright
Date: July 8, 2013 at 10:47 AM

The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) of 1976 requires the safe disposal of solid waste and hazardous materials.  In 1980, RCRA was amended to exempt waste from the production and development of oil and natural gas (E&P waste).  In 1988, the EPA issued a Regulatory Determination further exempting oil and natural gas producers from RCRA’s most stringent safety requirements. This left the task of regulating disposal of these wastes to states, which they have done to varying degrees. Recent reports show the extent of the problem and highlight the potentially fatal consequences. The regulatory determination was issued before fracking,… [more]

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How Should We Make Decisions About Coal and LNG Exports?

Author(s): OurEnergyPolicy.org
Administrator
OurEnergyPolicy.org
Date: July 2, 2013 at 2:54 PM

A recent hearing of the Energy and Power Subcommittee discussed the regulatory, market and legal barriers to exporting Coal and LNG.  Critical issues were the length of time associated with the permitting process as well as the economic and climate impacts associated with the exports.  Christopher Smith, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary and Acting Assistant Secretary for Fossil Energy at the DOE, testified that most of the foundation has been built and that future approvals should be expedited.  Jeff Wright, Director, Office of Energy Projects at FERC, stated that many of the delays experienced were the result of filers submitting incomplete… [more]

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