Renewable energy


Photo: UniEnergy Technologies/Wikimedia

What’s New with NextGrid?

, policy analyst, Clean Energy

Last year, the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) launched NextGrid,  a collaboration between key stakeholders to create a shared base of information on electric utility industry issues and opportunities around grid modernization. NextGrid is the Illinois Utility of the Future Study, which is being managed by the University of Illinois and consists of seven working groups comprised of subject matter experts, utilities, business interests, and environmental organizations. The Union of Concerned Scientists is a member of two of these working groups.

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Photo: UniEnergy Technologies/Wikimedia
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Transition to Renewable Energy: Legislation Puts Clean Air and Vulnerable Communities First

Gladys Limon,

A number of California’s natural gas power plants are located in low-income communities of color. For decades, these communities have unjustly carried the burden of powering our state and paid the highest price — their health — for dirty energy. The good news is that, according to an analysis just released by the Union of Concerned Scientists, California can retire a significant amount of natural gas generation because it is no longer needed. The bad news is that as California increases its reliance on renewable energy, an unintended consequence is that existing natural gas plants could get dirtier.

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Southern California Edison's Mountainview Gas Plant. Photo: David Danelski

How Can We Turn Down the Gas in California?

, senior analyst, Clean Energy

California’s deep commitment to addressing climate change and transitioning away from fossil fuels has helped establish the state as a worldwide hub for clean energy investment and innovation. Thanks in large part to the Renewables Portfolio Standard or “RPS”— a policy enacted first in 2002 and ramped up over time—renewables now meet about 30 percent of California’s electricity needs while the state is on track to reach its 50 percent renewable target by 2030.

But California also has a lot of natural gas-fired power plants that release greenhouse gas emissions and pollute our air. After the state deregulated its electricity market in 1998, a combination of market manipulation and price caps led to skyrocketing electricity prices and rolling blackouts in 2000 and 2001. To make sure the state would never be left in the dark again, utilities and independent power plant owners built more natural gas power plants.

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Photo: David Danelski
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Midwest Transmission Operator Planning for a High-Renewables Future

, senior energy analyst

Driven by clean energy policies, customer demand, and simple economics, renewable energy technologies are becoming the dominant part of our energy future. Studies consistently show that wind and solar technologies could produce far more electricity than we currently demand, but questions loom about the transmission system’s ability to enable this transition to clean energy and maximize its potential benefits.

A new study undertaken by the regional transmission operator serving much of the central United States is seeking answers to some of these questions. But navigating the complexity and uncertainty inherent in planning our electricity future is a daunting task. Read more >

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Getting More Wind and Solar is 100% Possible, But Not 100% Straightforward. Here’s Why

, senior energy analyst, Climate & Energy Program

It’s not an issue of technology. Read more >

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