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Don’t Be Deceived by ALEC’s Special Interest Agenda

When the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) arrives in San Diego on July 22 for its annual meeting, the agenda will include efforts to undermine clean energy and climate policies that are widely supported by the people of California. Yet the public won’t know what is discussed at the meeting because the doors will be closed to most media, despite the presence of lawmakers from around the country. Read More

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Jaw-Dropping News in the Solar vs. Fossil Fuels Debate

You know the cliché about work that can be 59 minutes of boredom and one minute of white knuckle excitement and danger? In the electric power industry, this happens when a major power plant loses its connection to the grid, instantly and dramatically unbalancing the supply and demand of electricity. Blackouts follow if there isn’t an instant response.

Last week I had a similar exciting moment at a conference of utility commissioners, where I learned that a key grid reliability requirement during these emergencies has not been provided by new natural gas plants. Read More

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Misdirected Anger on Full Display in the Purported “War on Coal” — King Coal’s Stages of Grief, Part 3

In my previous post in this series, I wrote about how coal has become uneconomic—and how that has led to great financial risk for companies in the coal mining business. I noted that some analysts are predicting a wave of bankruptcies in the industry. As reported last month, the industry’s market value has fallen by half in less than a year. On Wednesday Alabama-based Walter Energy filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. And the Wall Street Journal is reporting that Alpha Natural Resources is now in bankruptcy talks as well.

These events are having and will continue to have real world impacts on the folks employed at these companies. Which leads me to the second stage of grief: anger. Read More

Categories: Energy  

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Financing Clean Energy: A Cost-Effective Tool for State Compliance with EPA’s Clean Power Plan

A new UCS report released today shows how clean energy financing programs offer a promising avenue for scaling up investments in renewable energy and energy efficiency that can reap significant economic and consumer benefits, while helping states achieve EPA’s Clean Power Plan carbon emission reduction targets. Read More

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And the Cheapest Electricity in the U.S. Is… Solar?

A Nevada utility and a solar developer have just struck a deal for solar electricity at a price that stands out compared not just to other solar deals, but also to just about any other option for new electricity. Here’s what it and other recent deals say about the future of solar. Read More

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I ♥ the Clean Power Plan: Six Great Reasons You Should Too

It’s summer, it’s beautiful out, and all thoughts naturally turn to… the Clean Power Plan! This historic, first-ever nationwide limit on carbon emissions from power plants will be finalized within weeks. Many of my colleagues and I have spent months deep in the weeds of the technical details of the draft proposal. But it’s important to look at the big picture, and think about why we’re doing this. Here are six reasons I really care about this powerhouse of a rule – and why you might too. Read More

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King Coal’s Stages of Grief, Part 2: Financial Risk and the Economics of Coal

This post continues my series on King Coal’s Stages of Grief, and focuses on more denial—this time about economics. Yesterday the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) noted that the production of coal from mountaintop removal (MTR) mining has decreased by 62 percent since 2008. And last month, Bank of America released its new Coal Policy, committing to phasing out financial support for mountaintop removal coal mining. Read More

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The Evidence For How Fossil Fuel Companies Misled Us For Decades

My parents instilled two core values in me—tell the truth and if your actions harm others, take responsibility for them. These messages were reinforced when I went to law school and practiced law for almost twenty years; honesty and responsibility are bedrock principles in the law, and significant damage awards are often imposed on those who breach them.

Today, UCS is releasing a report titled “The Climate Deception Dossiers.” This report is a sobering exposé of how major fossil fuel companies have failed to abide by these axioms. Read More

Categories: Energy, Fossil Fuels, Global Warming  

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5 Reasons Obama’s New Solar Access Initiative Is Welcome News

The Obama administration has just announced a new initiative to “increase access to solar energy for all Americans, in particular low- and moderate- income communities, while expanding opportunities to join the solar workforce.” Here are five reasons why this effort matters. Read More

Categories: Energy  

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King Coal’s Stages of Grief, Part 1: Facing the Facts

Coming from a coal mining family, I’m well aware of the seemingly vast coal resource underground and how extracting that resource has helped boost local economies, including the one where I grew up. As the reality of climate change sets in, however, and the impacts of burning fossil fuels become all too real, it’s clear that the status quo is not sustainable. Looking at the recent incredible growth in wind and solar, the boom in shale gas from fracking, and headline after headline full of bad news for the coal industry, I began wondering, How does it feel to be a coal miner right now? And more importantly, how do we ensure the future is hopeful for them as well? It’s a deeply personal question to me. Read More

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