New England gave birth to the Industrial Revolution in this country using water power. Now New England is struggling with decisions over how to power its future. Read More
October 11th, 2013
October 11th, 2013
Members of the Ohio Senate Public Utilities Committee heard testimony this week on two bills that would roll back Ohio’s renewable energy and energy efficiency standards. Backed by fossil-fuel funded special interest groups and their political allies, these proposals would undermine Ohio’s emerging clean energy industries and make the state even more dependent on coal and natural gas. 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
October 3rd, 2013
A coalition of industry trade groups that have long opposed California’s clean energy policies funded a report about a month ago that blamed California’s rising electricity rates on — you guessed it — California’s clean energy policies. Since the California Energy Commission just updated its electricity and natural gas demand forecast, which contains revised estimates for rate increases that are 15-20 percent lower than original predictions (see slide 3 of Tuesday’s presentation), I thought it was time for a blog on the subject of renewables and rates. Read More
October 3rd, 2013
On September 20, the EPA released re-proposed draft power plant carbon standards for new power plants. These standards can serve as a backstop against future emissions. Together with standards for existing power plants, due next June, this is an opportunity to curtail global warming emissions from the largest single source of these emissions in the U.S. They are also a step forward in delivering on the President’s Climate Action Plan. Read More
September 24th, 2013
Plug-in electric vehicles (EVs) posted record sales numbers in August, with the Chevy Volt and Nissan LEAF both boasting their best sales month ever. This is good news for a technology that is an important part of getting our nation on track to cut our oil use in half and tackle global warming.
As more EVs hit the streets, we get a clearer picture of the plug-in car market. The news is good on this front too: while California continues to lead the pack, the data also show that consumer interest in EVs is spreading well beyond the Golden State. Read More
September 23rd, 2013
Life in New England is also good for fans of clean energy and a stronger, cleaner energy future, which should include just about anyone with lungs or a wallet. Just-announced plans for more local renewable energy, and a new report on best cities for energy efficiency, show the important progress New England is making in some key areas for our economy and our environment. Read More
September 18th, 2013
The President’s Climate Plan announced in June touts natural gas as an important climate solution, as I discussed in a recent blog. This week the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is taking the first step in implementing one of the key components of his plan by re-issuing carbon standards for new power plants. The next and more important step in this process is for the EPA to issue draft carbon standards for existing power plants by June 2014. (For more details, see this blog by my colleague Rachel Cleetus).
While standards for existing plants will help reduce power sector carbon emissions, they could lead to an overreliance on natural gas if they are not designed in the right way. In addition, the U.S. will need to make much deeper cuts in emissions to limit some of the worst impacts of climate change, as I discussed in my blog in July. A new UCS report released today shows that a transition from a coal- to a natural gas-dominated electricity system would not be sufficient to meet U.S. climate goals. Instead, a diversified electricity system—with amplified roles for renewable energy and energy efficiency and a modest role for natural gas—would both limit the threat of climate change and mitigate the risks of an overdependence on natural gas. Read More
September 18th, 2013
My family and I were fortunate to get to vacation last month with cousins, siblings, and grandparents on a long road trip around an area northeast of home. Great family time, loads of car games and card games, historical and natural attractions, and lots of driving practice.
The trip also included chances to see whales doing their thing, and wind farms doing theirs. To this ocean-loving and energy-oriented tourist, both aspects of the trip — the whales and the turbines — were marvels to behold. They have important differences, but more similarities than you might think. 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