For the past 25 years, I have had the opportunity to work on clean energy and clean air issues for Texas. Throughout this time, I have come to believe the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), which manages about 90 percent of Texas’ grid, is the best grid operator in the country. In my opinion, ERCOT has implemented the most competitive electric marketplace in the country, while stabilizing utility costs and maintaining reliability.
And now, Texas is being presented with an opportunity to continue leading on electricity. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has just released its historic final standards on carbon pollution from power plants, the Clean Power Plan, and Texas is well-positioned to comply. Not only that, the plan could actually be one of our state’s most effective tools for economic development and water planning.
I’m hopeful ERCOT and other involved Texas decision makers will recognize the clean energy trends already underway and seize the potential benefits within our reach through the Clean Power Plan – making the best decisions for our citizens and economy. Read More
Each month, the Energy Exchange rounds up a list of top clean energy conferences around the country. Our list includes conferences at which experts from the EDF Clean Energy Program will be speaking, plus additional events that we think our readers may benefit from marking on their calendars.
August 4-6: 2015 ACEEE Summer Study on Energy Efficiency in Industry (Buffalo, NY)
- This year’s ACEEE Summer Study on Energy Efficiency in Industry will bring you the latest thinking on managing plant energy use, national energy policy, and industrial energy efficiency program administration. Session topics include Strategic Energy Management, Sustainability, Smart Manufacturing, Beyond Best Practices, Policy and Resource Planning, and Delivering Results.
Over the past few months, I have written a good deal about FirstEnergy, the massive electric utility serving customers across six states, and specifically its attempts to saddle Ohioans with the cost of its risky investments. The company has asked the Public Utility Commission of Ohio (PUCO) to guarantee profits for its uneconomic power plants through customer-funded subsidies.
FirstEnergy has also prevented opponents of its bailout from examining all relevant information to the case, including the credibility of its key witnesses. But, last week, the PUCO rejected these attempts to hide information about FirstEnergy’s embattled $3 billion proposal. As we near the start of the proposed bailout hearings on August 31st, this decision is a victory for transparency – and places the utility’s proposal on shakier ground than ever.
The full story involves a consultant – Judah Rose of ICF International – who FirstEnergy hired to justify the bailout. Rose was asked to project future electricity market prices, which would determine the economic value of the power generation plants in question. This contributed to how FirstEnergy settled on the figures for its bailout request. Read More
It’s been two months since EPA released its much anticipated draft report on hydraulic fracturing, and organizations like ours are busy preparing their official comments, which are due at the end of August.
But based on what we have learned so far and what has been written in the media, it’s important to spend some time on what the report said – and didn’t say – and what it all means.
“Is Fracking Safe?”
Scouring the EPA report for statements proving or disproving that hydraulic fracturing is safe will surely reveal both. It is true that water supplies have been contaminated by activities related to hydraulic fracturing. It is also true that the number of documented contamination events make up a small percentage of all wells. But “Is it safe?” is a red herring. Read More
SAS Institute, Inc. – a North Carolina-Based technology company – has joined big names like
Apple, Facebook, and Google in a growing chorus of high-profile tech firms urging lawmakers to protect North Carolina’s burgeoning clean energy economy.
SAS told state lawmakers in a recent letter: “Technology companies value North Carolina’s existing energy policies, which enable us to operate and grow our businesses in a sustainable manner.”
At stake is North Carolina’s Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard (REPS), which requires utilities to get 12.5 percent of their energy from sources such as solar and wind by 2021.The REPS and other thoughtful clean energy policies have helped create new markets that are attracting investments, building businesses, and creating jobs. The results are impressive.
North Carolina’s clean energy industry is growing
Today, North Carolina’s clean energy industry includes more the 1,200 firms providing nearly 23,000 jobs. In 2014, the industry generated nearly $5 billion in gross revenues for the state’s economy.
Much like North Carolina’s world-class university system, the growing clean energy economy makes the state an attractive choice for business leaders who are looking for the right place to invest and grow their businesses. Read More
If you drive around the Lone Star State, you’re sure to see bumper stickers that say, “Texas: Bigger than France.” It references an ongoing debate about which “country” is bigger (something Texans feel very strongly about), but a closer look (aka, a quick Google search) reveals Texas and France are roughly equivalent in size. This, however, is where the similarities end – at least until recently.
Earlier this summer, France and the rest of Western Europe were in the grips of a record-breaking heatwave. Texans are certainly no strangers to crippling heat, even if we have been enjoying a relatively mild summer (so far) with regular spring and summer rains. But one year of El Nino climate patterns does not mean Texas is in the clear. Nor does it mean one abnormally hot summer in France is the last one they’ll see.
Global climate change predictions show that extreme heat and drought are on the rise, meaning both Texas and France increasingly need to consider water in their energy decisions. Why? Because as temperatures increase, so will our energy demand, which means an increase in demand for water, too.
Both France and Texas are facing some tough times ahead based on climate models, but their responses are very different. Read More