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Ohio Regulators’ Controversial $600 Million for FirstEnergy

Author(s): Dick Munson
Director, Midwest Clean Energy
Environmental Defense Fund
Date: October 31, 2016 at 12:00 PM

In a long-awaited decision, the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) approved a $600 million electricity rate plan for Ohio utilities provider, FirstEnergy. FirstEnergy has been struggling financially since a 2011 merger with Allegheny Energy. The utility paid a premium to acquire Allegheny’s coal dependency just as the cost of natural gas began its rapid decline. The PUCO decision was in response to FirstEnergy’s $4 billion bailout plan, which the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) rejected after determining the bailout equated to an illegal subsidy that distorted competitive electricity markets. In order to avoid FERC jurisdiction, FirstEnergy revised its bailout… [more]

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Is Utility Solar Better Than Residential Solar To Meet Renewable Goals?

Author(s): Herschel Specter
President
Micro-Utilities, Inc.
Date: October 24, 2016 at 11:30 AM

Twenty-nine states have renewable energy mandates. California’s mandate calls for 33% renewable energy by 2020 while New York State mandates 50% of its electricity be renewable by 2030. It is one thing to set energy or electricity mandates and quite another to achieve them. New York is quite fortunate; today 26% of its electricity comes from renewable electricity sources. However, large hydroelectric facilities today provide 80% of NY’s renewable electricity electricity and, unless more hydropower is imported from Canada, an expanded contribution from large hydropower seems unlikely. So to meet this 50% mandate, solar and wind which today produce 5.2%… [more]

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U.S. Signs on to Global Agreement Capping Aviation Emissions

Author(s): OurEnergyPolicy.org
Administrator
OurEnergyPolicy.org
Date: October 17, 2016 at 10:00 AM

The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) finalized an agreement to cap the aviation industry’s CO2 emissions at 2020 levels. Due to the cross-border nature of aviation, this sector, which is responsible for 2 percent of all GHG emissions globally, was excluded from the Paris Agreement in 2015. Although the agreement’s mandatory phase begins in 2027, more than 60 countries will voluntarily participate in the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA) beginning in 2021. CORSIA is a market-based measure capping emissions at 2020 levels. Airlines that exceed the emissions cap can offset their excess CO2 in two ways.… [more]

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Arguments of the Clean Power Plan

Author(s): OurEnergyPolicy.org
Administrator
OurEnergyPolicy.org
Date: October 3, 2016 at 11:00 AM

Last week, the Clean Power Plan’s (CPP) latest chapter unfolded before an en banc hearing at the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. Petitioners argued the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) overstepped its congressional authority under the Clean Air Act. A central issue before the court was whether the agency exceeded its authority under Section 111(d) by designing a scheme that regulates “beyond the existing source’s fence line” – outside the four walls of the utility. Section 111(d) requires EPA to establish emission guidelines that reflect the best system of emission reductions (BSER) that have been adequately demonstrated. Petitioners, led by the… [more]

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If a Tree Falls in the Forest…Should We Use It to Generate Electricity?

Author(s): Meredith Fowlie
Associate Professor, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics
University of California, Berkeley
Date: September 27, 2016 at 11:30 AM

California is experiencing what has been dubbed the worst epidemic of tree mortality in the state’s modern history, with the death of an estimated 66 million trees since 2010. There seems to be widespread – but not unanimous – agreement that leaving close to 40 million dry tons of wood in the forest will increase wildfire risk to unacceptable levels. A tree-mortality task force is working to safely remove the dying trees, some of which can be harvested for timber. But given the current trajectory, lots of wood will be burned on-site. This begs the question: are we better off… [more]

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Intermittent Renewables Can’t Favorably Transform Grid Electricity

Author(s): Gail Tverberg
Editor / Researcher
OurFiniteWorld.com
Date: September 20, 2016 at 9:30 AM

Many people are hoping for wind and solar PV to transform grid electricity in a favorable way. Is this really possible? Is it really feasible for intermittent renewables to generate a large share of grid electricity? The answer increasingly looks as if it is, “No, the costs are too great, and the return on investment would be way too low.” We are already encountering major grid problems, even with low penetrations of intermittent renewable electricity, which in the U.S. was 5.4% of 2015 electricity consumption. In fact, I have come to the rather astounding conclusion that even if wind turbines… [more]

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Forum for Climate Engineering Assessment

Author(s): OurEnergyPolicy.org
Administrator
OurEnergyPolicy.org
Date: September 14, 2016 at 10:29 AM

The Forum for Climate Engineering Assessment’s (FCEA) overarching objective is to assess the social, ethical, political, and legal implications of emerging technologies that fall under the broad rubric of climate engineering (sometimes referred to as “climate geoengineering”). We produce high-quality and policy-relevant research and commentary, and work in a variety of ways ensure that the climate engineering conversation maintains a focus on issues of justice, equity, agency, and inclusion.

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Are Government Projections Underestimating Clean Energy’s Potential?

Author(s): Jane Twitmyer
Principal
CACW|Watts
Date: September 12, 2016 at 4:30 PM

As we continue to debate what the future mix of grid generation will be, we should also critique projections of grid demand that suggest the largest share of future generation will continue to derive primarily from central power sources. Distributed resources like on-site wind, solar, and energy efficiency are filling U.S. power needs in greater amounts every year while also offsetting central generation requirements. The structure of our system is changing in ways many policy makers and investors are not seeing. In 2015, the Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) figures were challenged by the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) after SEIA… [more]

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Leaders in Energy

Author(s): OurEnergyPolicy.org
Administrator
OurEnergyPolicy.org
Date: September 6, 2016 at 2:54 PM

Leaders in Energy is an educational, professional networking, and advisory services organization which focuses on energy, environmental, and sustainability topics. We help to connect leaders and other committed professionals via on-line forums and in-person events to create an environment that nurtures the creation of innovative solutions leading to a sustainable energy system, economy and world. Topics include clean energy; renewable, fossil, nuclear, and energy storage technology; the circular economy; green finance, green jobs; “Four Generation” talent, Showcases at universities; green infrastructure, energy and water; biodiversity; community and corporate responsibility, project implementation, etc. Key building blocks of the organization involve utilizing… [more]

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Is Offshore Wind Finally Ready To Serve U.S. Power Needs?

Author(s): Rod Adams
Publisher
Atomic Insights LLC
Date: August 31, 2016 at 10:00 AM

Deepwater Wind recently completed construction on the last of five massive, 6 MWe peak capacity wind turbines that make up the 30 MWe Block Island Wind Farm. By the end of 2016, the developer expects that the project will enter commercial operation and begin providing the first electricity from offshore wind turbines to the U.S. electricity grid. It is a development with far reaching implications and several lessons available to be learned. This modest-sized installation has been in the works since 2008. Initially, the public utility commission (PUC) rejected the project’s negotiated power purchase agreement (PPA) on the basis of… [more]

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