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Discussion

Refueling the Future with Alcohol Fuels

Author(s): Eyal Aronoff
Co-Founder
Fuel Freedom Foundation
Date: August 22, 2014 at 2:56 PM

The lack of alternative energy sources to fuel our vehicles and replace expensive oil, jeopardizes U.S. national security, forces Americans to pay more at the pump, and greatly represses our ability to reduce pollution and address climate change concerns. In my state of California, 74% of all emissions – including CO2, toxic pollutants, ozone forming emissions and more – come from petroleum. Oil accounts for 65% of California’s GHG emissions, compared to 33% from natural gas, and less than 2% from coal. Meanwhile, each year, the U.S. spends more than $600 billion to buy oil and oil products, which is… [more]

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Discussion

The Challenges Of Integrating Renewables On To The Grid

Author(s): Duncan Callaway
Assistant Professor, Energy and Resources Group
University of California, Berkeley
Date: August 14, 2014 at 9:20 AM

Wind and solar capacity have grown significantly in the last decade, and many believe that significant reductions in carbon emissions require continued expansion of their capacity (see for example recent papers by Jim Williams et al and Jimmy Nelson et al[1]). With the declining cost of wind and solar, the economic case for increasing production from sources whose fuel is free is getting better. But getting these energy sources on to the grid is not without its engineering and economic challenges. Wind and solar production is both variable and uncertain, and grid system operators need to make sure they have… [more]

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Discussion

Protecting Our Climate and the Middle Class

Author(s): Congressman Chris Van Hollen (D-MD)
Member
U.S. House of Representatives
Date: August 4, 2014 at 9:03 AM

Two of the most pressing issues facing us today are the need to address the economic costs and public health risks associated with climate change and strengthening the middle class. Over 97 percent of climate scientists agree that our planet is warming, primarily as a result of fossil fuel combustion, and that this warming is already causing more frequent, dangerous, and expensive extreme weather events. At the same time, our middle class is struggling. While the productivity of our economy increased by 75 percent between 1979 and 2012, wage growth for middle class workers increased by only 5 percent during… [more]

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Discussion

Would a carbon tax effectively combat climate change?

Author(s): Lee Lane
Visiting Fellow
Hudson Institute
Date: July 24, 2014 at 9:30 AM

A number of scholars, from the left and the right have floated versions of a carbon tax. Henry Paulson has also weighed in, favoring a tax. In theory, a uniform comprehensive carbon tax enforced among all major global emitters might have great advantages. Such a tax, if linked to a stringent accounting system, could be more transparent than any other approach to greenhouse gas control. In contrast to command-and-control schemes, a tax would target abatement resources to where they would be most cost-effective. A tax, unlike the 2009  cap-and-trade bill, would make it harder for proponents to falsely promise both… [more]

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Discussion

Examining The FERC-NERC Relationship & Setting Grid Reliability Standards

Author(s): Thomas Popik
Chairman
Foundation for Resilient Societies
Date: July 16, 2014 at 7:00 AM

Through the Energy Policy Act of 2005, Congress formed a hybrid system for setting electric grid reliability and security standards; a private corporation, the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC), writes grid standards, while a government agency, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) reviews and approves NERC’s standards. FERC and NERC appear to have a close working relationship in jointly developing grid standards. During an April 10, 2014 Senate Energy Committee hearing “Keeping The Lights On—Are We Doing Enough To Ensure The Reliability And Security Of The U.S. Electric Grid?” both Cheryl LaFleur, Acting Chair of FERC, and Gerry Cauley,… [more]

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Discussion

A Standard That Makes Sense for Natural Gas Vehicle Customers

Author(s): Kathryn Clay
Vice President for Policy Strategy
American Gas Association
Date: July 7, 2014 at 4:50 PM

There is currently no national standard for dispensing liquefied natural gas (LNG) as a motor fuel. In July, the National Conference of Weights and Measures (NCWM) will consider requiring retail natural gas dispensers to use kilograms as the primary unit of sale for liquefied natural gas (LNG). The same regulators and officials advocating for that approach are encouraging that CNG no longer be sold in gasoline gallon equivalents as well. This would be a drastic departure from the current practice of using diesel gallon equivalents (DGE) for the sale of LNG, since it primarily competes with diesel fuel for trucking.… [more]

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Discussion

How Should We Be Moving Oil?

Author(s): OurEnergyPolicy.org
Administrator
OurEnergyPolicy.org
Date: June 30, 2014 at 5:37 PM

As the oil boom outgrows the US pipeline network, the oil industry is increasingly using alternatives such as rail to transport crude oil across the country. Between 2008 and 2013, annual crude oil transported by rail in the U.S. grew from 9,500 to 407,761 carloads (about 275 million barrels), according to the Association of American Railroads (AAR). During the same period, a debate about the safety of oil-by-rail has arisen in response to a few high profile accidents and spills, including the Lac-Mégantic derailment in Quebec on July 6th, 2013 that killed 47 people and destroyed half the town. At… [more]

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Discussion

APCO Worldwide

Author(s): Michael Spiak
Program Manager
OurEnergyPolicy.org
Date: at 11:32 AM

APCO Worldwide is an independent, global communication, stakeholder engagement and business strategy firm. We challenge conventional thinking and inspire movements to help our clients succeed in an ever-changing world. Stakeholders are at the core of all we do. We turn the insights that come from our deep stakeholder relationships into forward-looking, creative solutions that always push the boundaries. Through our global Energy & Clean Tech practice, APCO engages with companies, trade associations, NGOs and others to create strategic communications that clearly define the values and benefits they bring to the marketplace. We work with clients along the entire value chain–… [more]

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Discussion

Nuclear Power’s Role in Responding to Climate Change

Author(s): Dr. Andrew C. Kadak
President
Kadak Associates, Inc.
Date: June 19, 2014 at 12:10 PM

Without significant gains in storage technology, electric generation from solar and wind will not meet the world’s energy needs. Nuclear power, however, can deliver electric power in a sufficiently safe, economical and secure manner to supplement supply from other carbon-free sources. Despite this, there remain major objections to the safety, cost, waste management and proliferation risk of nuclear power, which I’ll seek to address here. Safety There have been three serious accidents that challenged the safety record of nuclear power: the Three Mile Island (TMI), Chernobyl, and the tsunami-induced Fukushima accident. In all these accidents there were no immediate public… [more]

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Discussion

Transforming the Electric Utility Industry and Corporate Culture

Author(s): Karl Rabago
Executive Director
Pace Energy and Climate Center
Date: June 11, 2014 at 12:20 PM

This discussion is presented in conjunction with the closing keynote at the Association for Environmental Studies and Sciences 2014 Conference. Cost-effective and profitable energy efficiency technologies and services, and renewable energy generation alternatives are available today to end GHG emissions from the electric utility sector entirely. Traditional cost-of-service regulation rewards capital investments more than the provision of value, punishes innovation and efficiency, and treats customers as “ratepayers” with few choices and little clout. Today’s electric utilities are not well prepared to make the business model changes required to become truly sustainable. Three key strategies map a path forward. First, cost-of-service… [more]

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