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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 excessive… [more]

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The Road from Paris: Implications of COP21 for Fossil-Fuel Suppliers

Author(s): Joseph Caggiano
Partner
PiPRO Consulting
Date: August 22, 2016 at 10:00 AM

If carried out as envisioned, the Paris Agreement on climate change signed in April 2016 will have enormous environmental and social effects. It will also shake the oil and gas industries to their foundations and transform their business models. In the U.S., the Paris Agreement will become the legitimizing framework for a national energy policy, based on climate peril, not security of supply. Given the prospects, my paper sketches a scenario in which carbon-intensive oil and gas suppliers evolve from their current form into highly-regulated fuel utility businesses with significant accountability for climate action at regional and city levels. The… [more]

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Do We Have The Raw Materials For The World To Become 80% Renewable By 2050?

Author(s): James Conca
Senior Scientist
UFA Ventures, Inc.
Date: August 15, 2016 at 10:30 AM

There have been many voices lately saying that renewables could produce 80% or more of the world’s energy by 2050 in order to limit global warming to 2.5°C, as long as we develop sufficient energy storage and bring up efficiency and conservation. But the real issue is raw materials. It takes about 500 tons of steel and 1000 tons of concrete per MW of wind power. Even more to connect them to the grid. The United States has used 40 million tons of steel to build 48,800 wind turbines totaling 74,512 MW and costing about 150 billion dollars. Wind energy… [more]

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If Cities and States Can Cut CO2 Without Raising Energy Bills, Shouldn’t They?

Author(s): Marilyn Brown
Professor of Public Policy
Georgia Institute of Technology
Date: August 8, 2016 at 10:30 AM

City skylines have long been a symbol of innovation and prosperity. What you can’t see is that these same buildings are some of the largest energy consumers in the United States and are therefore responsible for significant amounts of the nation’s carbon pollution. In August 2015, President Obama and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released the final Clean Power Plan, regulating carbon pollution from existing power plants for the first time. Since then, many cities have released Climate Action Plans, setting targets for carbon emissions. The success of these two initiatives are mutually dependent. EPA’s Clean Power Plan requires strong… [more]

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The NY REV: Utility Engagement with Low-Income Communities

Author(s): OurEnergyPolicy.org
Administrator
OurEnergyPolicy.org
Date: August 3, 2016 at 2:00 PM

On July 20th, the World Economic Forum in collaboration with the New York Governor’s office, organized a workshop focused on New York’s Reforming the Energy Vision (REV) initiative. A number of leading energy professionals participated, including representatives from the utility sector, capital markets experts, as well as current and former state utility regulators. Participants worked together to craft practical policy recommendations designed to advance the various NY REV goals. Participants discussed approaches utilities could take to engage low and moderate-income (LMI) customers. Currently, New York has 2.3 million LMI households, representing one-third of the state’s population. At current funding levels,… [more]

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The NY REV: To Innovate, More R&D Spending By Utilities?

Author(s): OurEnergyPolicy.org
Administrator
OurEnergyPolicy.org
Date: July 27, 2016 at 12:00 PM

On July 20th, the World Economic Forum in collaboration with the New York Governor’s office, organized a workshop focused on New York’s Reforming the Energy Vision initiative. A number of leading energy professionals participated, including representatives from the utility sector, capital markets experts, as well as current and former state utility regulators. Participants worked together to craft practical policy recommendations designed to advance the various reforming the energy vision goals. Significant dialogue centered around the need for technology and business innovation, with concerns stemming from a lack of utility shareholder funded research and development (R&D). In 2015, Some utilities spent… [more]

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Is Bioenergy with CCS Critical to the Paris Agreement?

Author(s): Wil Burns
Co-Executive Director
The Institute for Carbon Removal Law and Policy, American University
Date: July 18, 2016 at 10:30 AM

The Paris Agreement establishes the objective of “[h]olding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels . . .” However, in the negotiations leading up to Paris, and in its aftermath, it has become increasingly obvious that meeting even the less stringent of these two goals may prove extremely daunting. As a result, new technologies and alternative methods of generation, such as bioenergy, are receiving increased attention. Policymakers and climate scientists believe the only way to avoid passing critical climatic… [more]

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Replacing California Nuclear with Renewables

Author(s): OurEnergyPolicy.org
Administrator
OurEnergyPolicy.org
Date: July 11, 2016 at 10:30 AM

California’s Renewables Portfolio Standard (RPS) requires 50% of utility retail sales derive from renewable sources by 2030. This includes ramping up efficiency, storage and renewable infrastructure, especially rooftop solar projects. A major California utility, Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) is addressing the RPS requirements in part by announcing the retirement of the Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant by 2025 with production to be replaced by renewables and improved energy storage. Although carbon-free, nuclear power is not classified as a renewable energy source under California’s 50% mandate and as a result, California nuclear is beginning a phase-out. Implementation of the state… [more]

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Should the Pentagon Rethink its Energy Strategy?

Author(s): OurEnergyPolicy.org
Administrator
OurEnergyPolicy.org
Date: July 5, 2016 at 10:30 AM

According to the Pentagon, the military’s reliance on fossil fuels – and the vulnerabilities that accompany that reliance – could potentially pose a major national security issue. This potential threat has invigorated the Department of Defense (DoD) to lead on the issue by rebalancing energy security throughout the military. Satisfying growing concern for both operational energy and installation energy looks to be a challenge in the years to come. Pentagon planners are responding accordingly by recognizing the critical role of energy in military operations and the potential vulnerabilities. The overarching mission is the preservation of operational capabilities at home and… [more]

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State Energy Subsidies and Competitive Wholesale Electricity Markets

Author(s): Devin Hartman
President & CEO
The Electricity Consumers Resource Council
Date: June 28, 2016 at 10:30 AM

On June 10, 2016, Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI), Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee and Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-KY), Energy and Power Subcommittee Chairman, sent a letter to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) regarding the state of organized wholesale electricity markets. This included questions on how federal and state energy subsidies affect organized markets and the jurisdictional “bright line” between state (retail) and federal (wholesale) authority. Deployment of new technologies, regulations, and subsidies are affecting the outcomes and compositions of electricity markets. The Congressmen are exploring whether the Federal Power Act should be altered to help markets… [more]

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