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Posts Tagged ‘California’

A Bad Day for the Climate, But Hope in the West

The conventional wisdom following Tuesday’s election is that national action on climate change is likely to be stalled or mired in partisan political wrangling until at least 2016. The long-sought effort to achieve a comprehensive climate law seems unlikely in the foreseeable future, and even administrative action on climate may be held up in federal budget battles and oversight hearings. For those of us dedicated to lowering emissions to a level that prevents the worst consequences of climate change and worried that time is growing short to achieve significant progress, the election results seem like a very discouraging outcome.

But as UCS President Ken Kimmell has pointed out in a post-election blog post, the results do not mean we should be discouraged or stop trying to make progress—we just need to focus our efforts where they are most likely to make progress. Read More

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Death, Taxes, and the California Drought

Some say the only things you can count on are death and taxes, but in California there’s something else: drought. No one knows how long the current drought will last or when the next drought will be, but we can be sure that droughts will continue to cycle through in California. Unfortunately, many of our water management systems haven’t been built with this basic fact in mind and aren’t being operated to deal with longer or more severe droughts in the future. Read More

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Renewable Energy in California Deserts: New Plan to Guide Smart and Sustainable Development

A draft of the long-awaited Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan (DRECP) will be released any day now. The DRECP is intended to provide a landscape-level assessment of the most appropriate and inappropriate places to build large-scale renewable energy projects in the California portions of the Mojave and Colorado deserts to minimize impacts on wildlife habitats and desert ecosystems. By identifying the most suitable locations for renewable energy projects, the DRECP will bring more efficiency and certainty to the project permitting process and help us meet our clean energy goals. Read More

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Connecting the Dots: Drought, Climate Change, and Groundwater Regulation

UCS California Climate Scientist Dr. Juliet Christian-Smith provides this guest blog that celebrates today’s signing of historic California legislation to require regulation of groundwater, and offers some thoughts about the need for climate-resilient water management going forward.

Although California is known as a leader when it comes to climate change, its approach to groundwater has been more reminiscent of the Wild West. Groundwater provides around 60 percent of the state’s water supply in dry years, but it has remained largely unregulated since the Gold Rush era. Today, California took a major leap forward into the 21st century as Governor Jerry Brown signed two bills into law aimed at protecting groundwater for current and future generations. Read More

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Birds, Solar Power, and the Future of Renewable Energy in California

It’s an exciting time for solar, as UCS recently communicated its new report, Solar Power on the Rise. But with any strong surge in an emerging industry, unintended consequences crop up that must be addressed. 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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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  

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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

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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  

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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

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