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Environmental and Energy Study Institute

Author(s): OurEnergyPolicy.org
Administrator
OurEnergyPolicy.org
Date: January 7, 2015 at 1:20 PM

The Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) is an independent, non-profit organization advancing innovative policy solutions to set us on a cleaner, more secure and sustainable energy path. EESI educates policymakers, builds coalitions and develops policy in support of energy efficiency, renewable energy, sustainable biomass, sustainable buildings, and sustainable transportation. EESI was founded by a bipartisan Congressional caucus in 1984, and its strong relationship with Congress helps EESI serve as a trusted source of credible, non-partisan information on energy and environmental issues. EESI receives no congressional funding and is supported through contributions and grants.

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Did EPA Get it Right on Coal Ash?

Author(s): OurEnergyPolicy.org
Administrator
OurEnergyPolicy.org
Date: December 31, 2014 at 12:45 PM

On December 22, 2008, a disposal cell at the TVA Kingston Fossil Plant ruptured, releasing an estimated 5.4 million cubic yards of fly ash in eastern Tennessee. Fly ash is one of a variety of coal combustion residuals (CCR), collectively referred to as coal ash and stored in more than 500 disposal facilities across the country. The Kingston spill prompted an EPA effort to reassess how coal ash is regulated. In the initial rule proposal, two different options for regulating coal ash were included, under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), which regulates solid waste. The central question was… [more]

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The Water-Energy Nexus: How Can Collaboration Lead to Greater Impact?

Author(s): Diana Bauer
Director of Energy Systems Analysis and Integration
Department of Energy
Date: December 17, 2014 at 1:54 PM

This prompt is the second in a series of discussions led by invited speakers at the upcoming 15th National Conference and Global Forum on Science, Policy and the Environment: Energy and Climate Change to be held January 27-29, 2015 in Washington, DC. Energy and water systems have historically been designed and managed independently.  However, the systems are, in fact, interdependent.  In its simplest form, the energy-water nexus can be broken into two parts: “energy for water” —the energy required to treat, transport, or heat water—and “water for energy” —the water required for cooling thermoelectric power plants, oil and gas production,… [more]

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Abundance or Scarcity? Re-examining U.S. Oil and Gas Policy

Author(s): OurEnergyPolicy.org
Administrator
OurEnergyPolicy.org
Date: December 8, 2014 at 12:37 PM

On December 3rd, 2014, OurEnergyPolicy.org hosted “Abundance or Scarcity? Re-examining U.S. Oil & Gas Policy,” a panel event at the Capitol Visitor Center in Washington, DC. The panel discussed how recent growth in domestic oil and gas production is transforming the U.S. energy sector and challenging the paradigm of energy scarcity that has underpinned federal policy for the last 40 years. Topics covered include policy issues related to exports, finance, climate change, infrastructure, natural gas as a transportation fuel and politically viable energy legislation. Find the full video below and the transcript here. Introduction: Bill Squadron, President, OurEnergyPolicy.org Opening remarks:… [more]

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Bipartisan Energy Policy: The Solution or the Problem?

Author(s): Peter Grossman
Clarence Efroymson Professor of Economics
Butler University
Date: December 3, 2014 at 7:22 AM

As I explain in U.S. Energy Policy and the Pursuit of Failure, bipartisan compromise is possible and has led to policy change in the past. However, that change has almost always been bad for the country. Bipartisanship has given us ill-conceived and wasteful programs for synthetic fuels, breeder reactors, “super cars,” windmills, and ethanol. The problem runs much deeper than the current President or the balance of parties in Congress. For the past forty years, U.S. energy policy has been premised on false concepts of markets, government, technology, and history. The basis for this policy paradigm goes something like this:  The… [more]

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How Can We Enhance The Efficiency Of The Existing Coal Power Plant Fleet?

Author(s): Janet Gellici
Chief Executive Officer
National Coal Council
Date: November 24, 2014 at 10:14 AM

The existing fleet of coal-fired power plants is critical to the economic prosperity of the U.S. As the leading provider of U.S. electricity generation (at 39%), low cost coal keeps electricity prices below those of other free market nations and provides a competitive edge for U.S industry. In addition, the “Polar Vortex” weather events of January and February 2014 demonstrated the contribution of the existing coal fleet to the reliability of the U.S. electricity grid. After limited natural gas resources were diverted from electricity production to residential heating needs, coal-fired power plants made up the difference. Nationwide, over 90% of… [more]

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Dynamic Distribution System: Transforming the Grid from the Distribution System Out

Author(s): Gary Radloff
Director of Midwest Energy Policy Analysis
Wisconsin Energy Institute
Date: November 19, 2014 at 7:12 AM

This prompt is the first in a series of discussions led by invited speakers at the upcoming 15th National Conference and Global Forum on Science, Policy and the Environment: Energy and Climate Change to be held January 27-29, 2015 in Washington, DC. The environmental benefits and declining price of solar, wind, storage and other distributed energy resources are driving their increased use in the electrical utility system. As a result, more power is being generated at homes, businesses, and commercial buildings and used locally. This jump in power production at the distribution level presents a challenge to the traditional electrical… [more]

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California’s Solar Subsidies Have Little Impact On Adoption Trends

Author(s): Yevgeniy Vorobeychik
Assistant Professor
Vanderbilt University
Date: November 12, 2014 at 9:46 AM

The rooftop solar market in the US, and especially in California, has experienced explosive growth in the last decade. At least in part this growth can be attributed to the government incentive programs, which effectively reduce the system costs. One of the most aggressive incentive programs is the California Solar Initiative (CSI), a rooftop solar subsidy program initiated in 2007 with the goal of creating 1,940 megawatts of solar capacity by 2016. The CSI program has been touted as a great success, and it certainly seems so: over 2,000 megawatts have been installed to date. But how much of this… [more]

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Is this the end of the line for wind and solar energy tax credits? Should it be?

Author(s): Ben Finzel
President
RENEWPR
Date: November 7, 2014 at 10:07 AM

The American wind energy industry has grown in spite of the “boom and bust” cycle of wind energy development fostered by the renewal-expiration-renewal cycle of the wind production tax credit (PTC). The PTC is one of the primary tools used to spur wind energy development and expired at the end of 2013. The result was a 92% drop in 2013 installations, compared to 2012. Extension of the PTC will likely be the subject of debate about so-called tax extenders during the upcoming “lame duck” session of Congress as the wind industry seeks an extension of the PTC through 2015. The… [more]

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Growing Poor Slowly: Why We Must Have Renewable Energy

Author(s): Dr. Bruce Dale
University Distinguished Professor
Michigan State University, Dept. of Chemical Engineering
Date: October 29, 2014 at 12:31 PM

Human well-being is a direct function of power consumed, or the rate at which work is done. The relationship between rate of energy consumption and rate of wealth production should not surprise anyone. The faster work is done (more power consumed), the more wealth that is produced. It is impossible to think of a single wealth-producing activity that does not require work—the expenditure of energy. The great increase in the world’s wealth since the Industrial Revolution is the obvious outcome of using fossil fuels to provide the energy for machines to do work. We got rich in the last couple… [more]

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