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Solar Power on the Rise: Rooftop Solar, Large-Scale PV, CSP, and the Solar Revolution

Shining. Soaring. Skyrocketing. Solar is so exciting, we’re running out of adjectives.

The what, the why, and the where-to of America’s solar power revolution are the subjects of a new UCS report and infographic. It’s a story worth celebrating.

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Bio-what? Organic Waste Can Provide Clean Energy

Before I became president of UCS, I served as Massachusetts’ environmental commissioner, and I pushed hard to turn an environmental problem (food waste) into a clean energy solution (biogas). It is great to see that the federal government has signed on to this idea.

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Los Alamos Firing Demonstrates Exactly What’s Wrong with Scientific Integrity at the Department of Energy

Yesterday, my colleague Lisbeth Gronlund wrote about the unjust firing of James Doyle, a 17-year employee of Los Alamos National Laboratory. The PhD political scientist was fired over an academic article he wrote on his personal time—not as an official representative of the national lab—that argued for eliminating nuclear weapons. 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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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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