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Is there a Policy Path that Pursues Today’s Greenhouse Gains while Building the Capacity to Solve Tomorrow’s Grander Challenges?

Author(s): Andrew Revkin
Founding Director, Initiative on Communication and Sustainability
The Earth Institute, Columbia University
Date: February 23, 2016 at 5:00 PM

Transitioning to a non-polluting energy menu and safe climate in a world of growing energy needs and persistently abundant fossil fuels is a tough task, whatever path you favor. And realistically, there will be no single path, as the flexible architecture of the Paris climate agreement reflects. In the United States, for example, there are places where new nuclear plants have a chance, and places where solar and wind power can have a greatly increased role. In every country, in fact, with its own unique energy mix, the challenge posed by simple inertia in physical systems and in social, financial… [more]

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ICAO Proposes Carbon Emissions Standard For Aviation Industry

Author(s): OurEnergyPolicy.org
Administrator
OurEnergyPolicy.org
Date: February 10, 2016 at 2:00 PM

Today the aviation industry is responsible for about 2% of all GHG emissions. Experts predict that by mid-century, this number could triple without policies designed to combat aircraft emissions due to rapid industry growth. In response, the International Civil Aviation Organization’s (ICAO) Committee on Aviation Environmental Protection (CAEP) has been negotiating a CO2 emissions standard for aircraft emissions with representatives from its member states, industry and non-governmental organizations. On February 8th, the CAEP unanimously approved a draft measure paving the way for final approval in 2016. If approved by the ICAO’s 36-State Governing Council, the new rules will become binding… [more]

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Grid Reliability: What Congress Can Learn From New York’s REV Initiative

Author(s): Congressman Paul Tonko (D-NY)
Chair, Energy & Commerce Subcommittee on Environment & Climate Change, U.S. House of Representatives
Co-Chair, Sustainable Energy & Environment Coalition
Date: February 1, 2016 at 10:00 AM

On a hot day in August 2003, a stretched transmission line tripped after dipping into an overgrown tree in Ohio. Soon after, multiple transmission lines nearby also tripped beginning what would become the second largest blackout at that time in history, impacting eight Northeastern states and Southern Canada. Since this massive blackout, power generation in the United States has changed dramatically both in form and quantity. In 2005, Congress recognized the need for mandatory grid reliability standards and expanded the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) authority to regulate the bulk power system. However, despite FERC’s efforts to improve grid reliability,… [more]

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Solutions to Energy-Water Conflicts

Author(s): Ken Carlson
Dr. Ken Carlson
Colorado State University
Date: January 13, 2016 at 3:00 PM

Water and energy networks are inextricably linked. Energy production and electricity generation both require water. Conversely, treatment and distribution of water to consumers and wastewater collection and treatment depend on energy. There are multiple other connections between these two fundamental resources and therefore new paradigms are needed for increased usage efficiencies to minimize energy water conflicts, especially when considering that climate change will significantly impact both. Water has traditionally been abundant in the US, even in drier parts of the country where large, federally funded infrastructure projects have literally made the desert bloom. Energy was also largely readily available so… [more]

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Integrating Food, Energy and Water Systems to Beneficially Utilize Food Waste

Author(s): Serpil Guran
Director
Rutgers EcoComplex: New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station
Date: January 12, 2016 at 2:00 PM

Industry production systems underlying the Food, Energy, and Water (FEW) Nexus have traditionally treated pollution and waste as externalities that often end up in a landfill. Food waste is the single largest component of municipal solid waste reaching landfills today and is often the byproduct of many FEW Nexus inefficiencies. In the U.S., food harvesting, processing and transportation accounts for 10 percent of our energy. However, 40 percent of food goes uneaten and Americans are not only wasting the equivalent of $165 billion each year on this organic compound, but this food waste also adversely affects freshwater, chemicals, energy, and… [more]

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Could Hydropower Flood America With New Power?

Author(s): James Conca
Senior Scientist
UFA Ventures, Inc.
Date: January 4, 2016 at 12:00 PM

After the events of COP21, the National Hydropower Association’s (NHA) goal to expand hydropower in America over the next few decades seems especially important. The existing hydro fleet was constructed over the course of an entire century and constitutes the longest-lived energy facilities in the world. NHA’s goal is to double hydropower by adding 60 GW of capacity by 2030 which will produce an additional 300 billion kWhs of electricity each year, without building a single new dam. Energy Secretary, Ernest Moniz agrees, stating, “Hydropower can double its contributions by the year 2030. We have to pick up the covers… [more]

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U.S. – China Energy Cooperation: Risks, Opportunities and Solutions

Author(s): OurEnergyPolicy.org
Administrator
OurEnergyPolicy.org
Date: December 14, 2015 at 12:00 PM

At a recent event hosted by the Hudson Institute, energy professionals gathered to discuss energy issues affecting both the United States and China, with significant discussion centering on how low oil prices generally correlate with economic prosperity and stability – and vice versa. It is projected that China’s oil import dependence will rise from 60% in 2013 to 75% in 2035 and that, in the next 15 years, China will overtake the U.S. as the world’s largest oil consumer. Like the U.S., China’s sustained economic growth is directly influenced by the price of oil. Although crude oil price spikes are… [more]

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Should We Use the Strategic Petroleum Reserve as a Revenue Stream?

Author(s): OurEnergyPolicy.org
Administrator
OurEnergyPolicy.org
Date: December 3, 2015 at 12:00 PM

The U.S. currently maintains one of the world’s largest stockpiles of government owned oil, the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR). In response to the 1970s oil embargo and supply shocks, the U.S. created the SPR to ensure access to oil in the event of a severe energy supply interruption. The current SPR consists of four storage sites, housing 694 million barrels of oil that is equivalent to at least 90 days of net oil imports. The SPR has only been tapped three times, but the recent budget deal provides that the government sell 58 million barrels of oil to fund a… [more]

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Coordinating State and Federal Energy Policy in Support of Nuclear

Author(s): Dr. Andrew C. Kadak
President
Kadak Associates, Inc.
Date: November 16, 2015 at 12:00 PM

There is an inconvenient and uncomfortable truth that nuclear energy is a significant non-CO2 source of electrical power in the U.S. Despite the dramatic expansion of solar and wind, these alternative forms of energy only provide 15% of non-CO2 emitting power nationwide. Nuclear energy on the other hand, provides 63% of all CO2-free sources. Often when a utility decides to shut down a nuclear plant it is replaced by natural gas. But replacing nuclear with “clean” natural gas only adds to the global CO2 load. In fact, each 1,000 megawatts of nuclear power replaced by natural gas adds 3.6 million… [more]

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Fueling Marine Shipping: The Potential of LNG?

Author(s): OurEnergyPolicy.org
Administrator
OurEnergyPolicy.org
Date: November 9, 2015 at 12:00 PM

There are over 90,000 cargo ships powered by oil-based fuels that, according to one study, account for 3-4% of worldwide emissions (including SOx, NOx, PM and CO2). In 2012, the International Maritime Organization sparked a series of regulations aimed at reducing sulfur emissions and in January, 2015, a new U.S. rule went into effect that requires ships operating in coastal waters to make further reductions. With an abundance of U.S. natural gas, one potentially cost-effective compliance option is to transition and build new LNG-fueled ships; however, challenges remain. Supporters of LNG as a fuel source say it will reduce air… [more]

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