Last evening West Virginia Governor Earl Ray Tomblin gave his annual State of the State address (transcript) to a joint session of the state legislature. His focus on investing in the future of the Mountain State was very encouraging, but he missed an opportunity to go further. Read More
January 9th, 2014
December 19th, 2013
The last 12 months have brought a lot of change to the world — some good, some less so; some too fast, some too slow. But in the energy space, the essential transition to energy that is cleaner, healthier, lower-cost, and more secure is definitely underway in the U.S. This year, we saw strong signals that we’re moving in the right direction on energy, with renewables like wind and solar (going up), coal (going down), renewables integration (looking good), and energy storage (on its way). Here’s a look at some of the year’s highlights. Read More
December 9th, 2013
This is Part One of a 3-Part Blog Series.
Today, the Union of Concerned Scientists released an update of our 2012 ground-breaking analysis, Ripe for Retirement, examining the economic viability of U.S. coal generators compared with modern, cleaner alternatives. Our new findings, published in Electricity Journal, show that nearly 59 gigawatts (GW) of coal power capacity are not cost competitive when compared with natural gas, and more than 71 GW are uneconomic when compared with wind power. These coal generators are prime candidates for retirement and their closure would provide substantial benefits for consumers and the environment. It would also accelerate the transition to a cleaner, more reliable and affordable energy system. Read More
November 18th, 2013
Last week, the Tennessee Valley Authority’s (TVA) board of directors voted in favor of retiring 3,300 megawatts (MW) of coal power capacity. This action is good news for consumers and the environment in the region. It also continues the drumbeat of retirement announcements nationwide and provides further evidence of the eroding economic viability of the aging U.S. coal fleet. A recent UCS analysis, Ripe for Retirement, documents why many more U.S. coal generators should also be considered for closure. Read More
October 8th, 2013
The Brayton Point coal plant is shutting down, and that’s a really positive development for a whole lot of reasons.
The new owners of the Somerset, MA, plant let it be known this week that they’d be shutting down Brayton Point by 2017. For the many community members and organizations that have worked for this goal for years, it’s a cause for celebration. But it’s also a great thing for the public at large. Read More
September 17th, 2013
“Don’t put all your eggs in one basket” is a mantra often used by investors who diversify their portfolios to protect against volatility in financial markets. It’s also appropriate for the electricity sector in Ohio, a state that has historically been overdependent on coal and is fast becoming over reliant on both coal and natural gas, leaving consumers vulnerable to volatility in energy markets and many other risks. Renewable energy and energy efficiency can help diversify Ohio’s power mix, and bring safe, clean, reliable, and affordable power to consumers, according to a new UCS report. Why then is the central policy that is successfully supporting these clean energy industries in Ohio under attack? Read More
Power Plant Carbon Standards: The EPA Should Use the Clean Air Act’s Flexibility to Help Reduce Emissions
September 17th, 2013
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will be reissuing a draft carbon standard for new power plants on or around September 20. These standards, particularly the one for existing power plants which will be issued in draft form in June 2014, could help reduce carbon emissions significantly if EPA uses existing flexibilities in the Clean Air Act to help ensure a transition away from polluting coal plants to clean sources like renewable energy and energy efficiency. Read More
June 28th, 2013
What a week. President Obama delivered a major speech on climate change on Tuesday, directing the Environmental Protection Agency to carry out its obligations under existing law and limit carbon emissions from both new and existing power plants.
As a scientist studying climate change, I’m excited by the President’s leadership. He articulated the reality of the problem that we face, and why it’s so important that we act today to prepare for climate change that’s already locked in and protect future generations by cutting emissions. Read More
April 29th, 2013
Since its launching in 2006, the Blue-Green Alliance (BGA) has united some of the largest and most impactful unions, environmental, and science-based organizations in an effort to accelerate the transition to a clean and prosperous energy economy. As proud members of the BGA, the Union of Concerned Scientists was well represented at their annual Good Jobs, Green Jobs conference in Washington, DC last week. My colleague and UCS Kendall Fellow Jeremy Richardson was an active participant and logged the following report: Read More
April 22nd, 2013
In the fine tradition of mashups that have produced zombie-enhanced classic novels and cutting-edge high school music efforts, a new UCS mini-report is a stimulating amalgamation of two exciting areas of UCS research, pointing to additional bonuses from closing old coal plants. This Earth Day, you can celebrate water savings, too. Read More