Mark Specht

Energy analyst

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Mark Specht is an energy analyst for the Climate & Energy program at the Union of Concerned Scientists. In his role, he works to generate new research and policy solutions for integrating renewable energy into power grids, and scaling down reliance on fossil fuels in electricity systems throughout the Western states.

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ELCC Explained: the Critical Renewable Energy Concept You’ve Never Heard Of

To completely transition away from fossil fuels, we’ll need to replace not only the energy from fossil-fueled plants, but the capacity and grid reliability contributions as well. However, it’s actually pretty tricky to determine the extent to which renewable capacity ensures grid reliability. This has grid operators across the nation asking, “To what extent can we count on renewables to ensure grid reliability by preventing electricity shortfalls? And what is the best methodology to answer that question?” Great questions. This blog has answers. Read more >

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Democratizing California’s Most Powerful Regulator

I usually find myself criticizing the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) for their energy policy missteps, but right now, the CPUC deserves a round of applause. Yesterday, the CPUC approved important changes to the public comment process that will help ensure people’s voices are heard and that public input actually influences CPUC decisions.

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CPUC
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Are California’s Rotating Blackouts a Sign of a Broken Grid?

This past weekend, California experienced two consecutive days of power outages, and more are possible in the days to come. Prior to this past week, this type of power outage had not happened in the state since the California Electricity Crisis almost two decades ago.

In the midst of a global pandemic and a west-wide heatwave, rolling blackouts—or rotating outages as the experts call them—are exactly the last thing Californians needed right now. For some, a power outage is just a minor inconvenience, but for others, power outages can be deadly.

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CAISO
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Why Did My Power Go Out? Four Ways the Grid Can Fail and Cause an Outage

There are many steps involved in delivering electricity to customers, and a power outage can be caused at any step along the way. First, power plants generate electricity. Then high voltage transmission lines move that electricity over long distances. Finally, the last leg of the journey happens on the distribution network, which delivers electricity to customers. Power outages can happen because of failures at any point in that process. Read more >

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Three Stimulus Package Priorities to Rebuild a More Equitable and Sustainable Economy

With the COVID-19 pandemic pushing our medical system to the brink and ravaging the nation’s economy, we must respond decisively and forcefully. Without a doubt, our nation’s top priority should be shoring up our public health efforts to keep people healthy and providing financial relief to the millions of people across the country who have suddenly lost their jobs.

At the same time, our leaders must start thinking ahead, creating strategies to revitalize the economy when this public health threat begins to subside. As members of Congress contemplate various economic stimulus options, our leaders should advance measures that emphasize job creation, benefit those most impacted by the pandemic, and rebuild the economy in a way that promotes the long-term interests of society.

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