Fossil Fuels


Stephen Melkisethian/Flickr

BlackRock Faces the Reality of Climate Activism

, Corporate Analyst and Engagement Specialist

It’s been a big year for BlackRock, which joined the Climate Action 100+, an influential climate shareholder advocacy group, back in January just before Chair and CEO Larry Fink’s annual letter to CEO’s laid out climate-related financial risks as a key long-term concern for shareholders. The next few weeks will show everyone if BlackRock really means business when it comes to climate action – its vote could make or break climate-critical resolutions at ExxonMobil, Chevron, and JPMorgan Chase. Read more >

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Brayton Point coal plant Credit: Mr. Ducke (http://www.flickr.com/photos/dippy_duck/)

Coal Is No Longer a Baseload Resource, So Why Run Plants All Year?

, Senior Energy Analyst

Today’s energy experts are increasingly questioning the validity of the generations-old way of thinking about our electric grid that says coal is needed as a baseload power resource year-round. “Baseload resources” are the generators that are thought of as providing a constant stream of electric power year-round. At its simplest level, energy wonks tend to fall in one of two camps:

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Synapse Energy Economics
Sierra Club + UCS
EIA
UCS
EIA
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How Does Uneconomic Coal Generation Impact the Grid? A Discussion with Regulators

, Senior Energy Analyst

On November 19th I had the privilege to sit on a panel of industry luminaries discussing an issue I’ve been researching for some time: Coal-fired power plants that operate uneconomically in wholesale markets.

Wholesale power markets all have rules in place that are designed to prevent power plants from running uneconomically. However, some power plant operators use those same market rules to bypass the market decision-making process through a process known as “self-committing.” Self-committing coal-fired power plants allow those plants to operate out of “merit-order” (from least cost to highest cost) and can result in serious market distortion and inflated consumer costs. Read more >

Photo: PDTillman/Wikimedia Commons
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Natural Gas vs. Renewable Energy: Beware the Latest Gas Industry Talking Points

The natural gas industry is on an aggressive public relations tear to convince Americans that for decades to come, it is the “bridge” between coal and renewable energy.

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public domain
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Mass. Gas Explosions: What Can We Do About Home Fossil Fuels?

, Senior energy analyst

The calls and texts from my kids’ school started coming in at 5:11 p.m. last Thursday: “Evacuate campus buildings immediately.” Some of the messages included mention of a gas leak. The northern Massachusetts headlines about gas leaks, fires, and explosions were scary, and this was my own family potentially in harm’s way.

After events like that, it’s easy to imagine wanting to be done with fossil fuels. Not just because of their climate change, broader environmental, or public health impacts, but also because of the problems, even rare ones, that can arise from having those fuels right where we live.

But where might that fossil fuel reduction plan happen on the home front? Here are a few ideas. Read more >

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