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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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Hot Models Try to Forecast CO2 Reductions

A hot chase over models began soon after the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released draft CO2 rules June 2. Reducing CO2 (carbon-dioxide, the climate-altering pollution) in the electricity sector is not a mystery, but expecting too much from a model can be frustrating. With the CO2 rules, we have entered a new era, triggering a great clamoring amongst policymakers and advocates to get comfortable with the models. Temperatures are rising, and it is not just the hot summer weather. Read More

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Me to the EPA: Increase Renewables, Limit Carbon, and Protect Coal Miners

Today I testified at the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) public hearing in Washington, DC on the proposed carbon standard for existing power plants. My prepared remarks are below. Read More

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Pennsylvania and the Clean Power Plan

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has proposed the first-ever limits on carbon dioxide emissions from existing power plants, designed to begin to address the consequences of climate change. The agency has proposed a flexible framework that allows states to decide for themselves how to meet the emissions reductions targets. For many states, the required emissions reductions are actually quite modest, and at UCS we see an opportunity for states to be more ambitious in developing renewable energy in particular. Here I explore what the carbon standard means for Pennsylvania. Read More

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As EPA Hearings Begin, Colorado Makes Strides toward Reducing Carbon Emissions

On July 30, I will be testifying in support of the EPA’s power plant carbon standard at a hearing in Denver. As one of four locations where the EPA will be seeking public comment on the draft rule this week, Colorado is a mighty fine choice. The Rocky Mountain State is well positioned to exceed its proposed carbon emissions reduction target and serves as an excellent example of how a state can successfully transition toward a low-carbon, clean energy economy. Read More

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How Virginia Can Meet and Exceed Its Targets under the EPA Power Plant Carbon Standard

On June 2, the EPA issued draft carbon standards for existing power plants. The standard sets state-specific goals for emissions rate reductions that are expected to add up to nationwide power sector emissions reductions of 30 percent below 2005 levels by 2030. We analyzed Virginia’s target and found that the state is well on track to meet – and can even exceed – its required goal. Read More

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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

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Clean Energy Leaders and Laggards: How Utilities Stack Up

Utilities are lynchpins in moving us toward the clean energy future we need to see. But how quickly they’re helping us move in that direction varies greatly. A really useful new report from Ceres and Clean Edge looks at who’s leading and who’s lagging among U.S. utilities. Read More

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The Opportunity for Agricultural Residues and Manure to Fuel a Sustainable Future

Not all ethanol is created equal. The benefits, or consequences, of this ubiquitous ‘home-grown’ fuel that is blended in nearly every gallon of gasoline sold across the country vary depending on how it is produced and what it is produced from. As my colleague and uber biofuels-wonk Dr. Jeremy Martin has explained, ethanol produced from food, like corn or soybean, does little to reduce the carbon intensity of our transportation fuel and, in some cases, can actually be responsible for more greenhouse gas emissions on a lifecycle basis compared to gasoline. Read More

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Brilliance from Sea to Shining Sea: Which States are the Clean Energy Superstars?

A great new report from the smart folks at CleanEdge looks in depth at which states are leading the clean energy charge in the United States. And, given the many ways to look at, the list of clean energy superstars is long. Here are eight slices from their analysis. Read More

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