Join
Search

Laura Wisland

http://blog.ucsusa.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/laura-wisland-95px.jpg

About the author: Laura Wisland is a senior energy analyst and an expert on California renewable energy policies. She holds a master’s degree in public policy. See Laura's full bio.

Will California Go Green or Go Gas?

When one of California’s two nuclear plants–the San Onofre Nuclear Generation Station (SONGS)–unexpectedly closed last year because of damage to its steam tubes, many clean energy advocates including UCS hoped that the state would replace much of that electricity with generation from renewable resources, as well as increased investments in other carbon-free energy resources, such as energy efficiency, demand response, and energy storage devices. Unfortunately, plans are now in the works to replace most of the SONGS electricity with a new natural gas plant, without a process that gives clean energy resources a chance to compete. Read More

Bookmark and Share

Basking in the Rays of the Summer Solstice, California Positioned to Break Solar Generation Record

Since we are approaching the summer solstice (June 21), the longest day of the year and the official start of summer, I thought it was a good time to look at how longer days and more sunshine are translating into more clean electricity. The bottom line: solar is starting to pull its weight on the grid. Read More

Categories: Energy  

Tags: , ,   

Bookmark and Share

Court Protects California’s Largest Program for Clean Energy Research and Development

California’s track record as a leader for developing cutting-edge clean energy and energy savings technologies was not created overnight.  For over a decade, a nominal charge on monthly electricity bills has funded research and development efforts to bring technologies to the marketplace that have helped Californians save electricity (and money on our electricity bills) and improve the ways in which we generate electricity from renewable energy resources to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels. Read More

Categories: Energy  

Tags: ,   

Bookmark and Share

How Green is your Data? Tech Companies and Energy Use

Tech companies may be savvy innovators, but the electricity they need to power their businesses can also make them energy hogs. The giant data centers that store all of our e-mails, process our search requests, and stream our favorite movies rely on whopping amounts of electricity — often generated by coal and natural gas. Cloud computing may be making our lives easier and more entertaining, but it’s taking a toll on the planet. Read More

Categories: Energy  

Bookmark and Share

Which Electricity Source Will Best Weather the Drought in California?

The late-March storms in California gave the Sierra snowpack a belated boost, but the state is still bracing for dry times ahead. This was confirmed by the Department of Water Resource’s April 1 snow survey, one of the closest watched of the year because it marks the expected end of the wet season. Read More

Categories: Energy  

Tags: , ,   

Bookmark and Share

Will Tesla be a Game-Changer for Battery Energy Storage?

Last week Tesla, an electric car manufacturer based in Palo Alto, made national news by announcing it intends to launch a “Gigafactory” to produce lithium-ion batteries for at least 500,000 vehicles by 2020. This is no small potatoes. The level of battery production Tesla envisions is equivalent to the lithium ion batteries produced worldwide last year. Read More

Bookmark and Share

Largest Solar Power Plant in the World Turns On

The largest solar plant in the world, a 392 MW concentrated solar power tower in California’s Mojave Desert, began generating electricity from all three of its power towers the day before Valentine’s Day. The timing seems fitting, because the project is [almost] guaranteed to touch your heart, one way or another. For some, the Ivanpah plant has made hearts flutter in excitement. After all, the construction of the plant is a huge step forward in our nation’s effort to increase technology options for supplies of pollution-free electricity. The plant has the generation capacity of a mid-sized natural gas plant, and will make enough electricity to power 140,000 homes. Read More

Categories: Energy  

Tags: ,   

Bookmark and Share

Powering California with 50% Renewable Energy by 2030: New Analysis Shows It Can Be Done

Last week, a new analysis was released that explored the technical, environmental, and economic implications of raising California’s Renewables Portfolio Standard (RPS) from 33 percent by 2020 to 50 percent by 2030. I’m excited to report that although the study illuminates the challenges of installing unprecedented amounts of renewables on the grid, it is technically possible. Moreover, California has tools in hand today to scale up renewables, and is developing programs and policies that will continue to lower the cost and technical challenges of doing so. Read More

Categories: Energy  

Tags: ,   

Bookmark and Share

Renewable Energy, an Aging Electricity Grid, and the Solutions that Matter

The LA Times recently wrote an article about the U.S. electricity grid that inaccurately likens the challenges we face deploying large amounts of renewable energy to serious grid problems caused by major storms, cyber-attacks, or other forms of sabotage. Read More

Categories: Energy, Fossil Fuels  

Bookmark and Share

How Should California Design its Renewable Energy Future?

California’s landmark renewable energy policy, the Renewables Portfolio Standard (RPS), establishes a clear blueprint for clean energy investment in the short-run: by 2020, all utilities are required to source 33 percent of their retail electricity sales from renewables. The big question now is what happens after that? What role should renewables play in California’s long-term goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050? Read More

Categories: Energy, Fossil Fuels  

Tags: , ,   

Bookmark and Share