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Steve Clemmer

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About the author: Steve Clemmer is the director of energy research and an expert on the economic and environmental benefits of implementing renewable energy technologies and policies at the state and national levels. He holds a master’s degree in energy analysis and policy from the University of Wisconsin. See Steve's full bio.

Google and the EPA’s Clean Power Plan: Leaders and Fortune 500 Companies Unite in Support of Renewable Energy

Q: What do Google, 223 other businesses, 14 attorneys general, 11 U.S. senators, and more than 25 environmental, public health, and clean energy organizations all have in common?

A: They all told EPA that renewable energy should play a strong role in reducing emissions from existing power plants under its proposed Clean Power Plan. Read More

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EPA Clean Power Plan Underestimates Power of Renewable Energy to Reduce Carbon Emissions

UCS released a new analysis today showing that strengthening the contribution from renewable energy can significantly increase the emissions reductions from the EPA’s 2014 Clean Power Plan. We found that increasing non-hydro renewable energy sources from about 6 percent of U.S. electricity sales today to 23 percent by 2030—or nearly twice as much renewable energy as the EPA proposed—could raise the reductions in U.S. power plant carbon emissions from the EPA’s estimated 30 percent below 2005 levels by 2030 to 40 percent. We also found that increasing renewables to these levels is affordable, resulting in little impact on electricity prices and lowering natural gas prices for both utilities and consumers. Read More

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House Testimony: Renewable Electricity Standards are Delivering Significant Economic Benefits Across the United States

Last week, I was invited to testify at the U.S. House of Representative’s Energy and Commerce Committee, Energy and Power Subcommittee’s hearing on “Laboratories of Democracy: The Economic Impacts of State Energy Policies.” My remarks focused on the tremendous success story of state renewable electricity standards (RES) and the important economic benefits they are delivering to state and local economies, as described in more detail in this 2013 UCS report. Read More

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How Much Could Master Limited Partnerships (MLPs) Lower the Cost of Renewable Energy Projects?

Allowing renewable energy technologies to be eligible for MLPs would expand the investor base and lower the cost of financing projects by 40 percent or more, according to a new analysis prepared for UCS by Meister Consulting, Inc. (see paper and presentation here).  Read More

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Power Outages, Extreme Weather, and Climate Change: How Smart Energy Choices Will Help Keep the Lights On

Our nation’s aging electricity system is increasingly vulnerable to extreme weather events — including flooding, extreme heat, drought, and wildfires — which often cause power outages. Today UCS released a new report called Power Failure, which describes how extreme weather events are likely to increase in the future as global temperatures continue to rise, with major consequences for the electricity sector. Read More

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President Obama’s Plan to Cut Methane Emissions Will Help Reduce Climate Risks of Natural Gas

On Friday, the Obama Administration released a multi-sector strategy to cut methane emissions from agriculture, landfills, coal mines, and oil and gas production. This is an important step to reduce the climate risks of natural gas — as long as we get the details right — and to create a more level playing field for cleaner, less risky options like renewable energy and energy efficiency. Read More

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Overreliance on Natural Gas: Risky for the Climate and the Economy

In last week’s State of the Union (SOTU) address, President Obama reiterated his support for climate science by unequivocally stating “The debate is settled. Climate change is a fact.” He also should be commended for highlighting the urgency of the problem as local communities are already experiencing damaging and costly climate impacts like drought, wildfires, heat waves, and coastal flooding.

But the President’s enthusiasm for increasing natural gas production and use as an important climate solution missed the mark. And like his climate action plan speech at Georgetown University last June, the President highlighted the economic benefits of increasing U.S. natural gas production, while failing to mention the economic risks of an overreliance on natural gas. Read More

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New Wind Power Cheaper than Existing Coal and Natural Gas in Many Parts of the Country

Part two of a three-part blog series.

Yesterday, we released an update of our 2012 Ripe for Retirement study that was published in the Electricity Journal, which analyzed the economic viability of updating the nation’s coal fleet compared to investing in cleaner alternatives. (For more details on the study, see this blog by my colleague Jeff Deyette.)  Thanks to new technology developments that have lowered the costs of new wind projects and increased electricity production, our new analysis shows wind power could play an even greater role than natural gas in replacing existing coal plants. Read More

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Climate Science, Nuclear Power, and a Renewable Energy Future

Contrary to the public assertions made this week by some of our climate scientist friends, nuclear power is likely to have a limited near-term role in avoiding the worst impacts of climate change. Renewable energy technologies are cheaper, less risky, and ready for deployment today. A look at where things stand with both nuclear and renewables bears all that out. Read More

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The Falling Cost of Wind Power Spurs New Investments

After a very slow start in 2013, U.S. wind development is really starting to pick up. According to the American Wind Energy Association’s (AWEA’s) just released Third Quarter 2013 Market Report, over 7,500 megawatts (MW) of new wind power capacity is under development in the U.S., representing an investment in the U.S. economy of roughly $15 billion. Read More

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