Hot Topics in Clean Energy this California Legislative Session

10935503663_2740a674dc_kAs the days are getting longer and the weather is warming up, kids across the country are counting down the days until summer vacation. California state lawmakers, on the other hand, are rolling up their sleeves and building upon California’s strong foundation of clean energy leadership and momentum. With the electricity sector responsible for about 20 percent of California’s total greenhouse gas emissions – the main culprit of climate change – the state still has work to do.

Last year, the California Legislature passed ambitious clean energy legislation. At the head of the pack, SB 350 (De León) raised the state’s renewable energy target to 50 percent by 2030 and required a doubling of savings gained from energy efficiency in the residential, commercial, and industrial sectors.

This year, the legislature is considering bills that could help California continue on the path to a clean energy future. It is up to our lawmakers to ensure these efforts make it past the finish line and onto the governor’s desk. Read More »

Posted in California, Demand Response, Grid Modernization| Leave a comment

“We Don’t Do Green”

NC Heros Fund

John A. Nicholson, Col., USMC (Ret), and EDF consultant (fourth from left), pictured with fellow Board members of the NC Heroes Fund, which provides grants to service members and their families who are experiencing financial difficulties as they transition from active duty back into civilian life.

By: John A. Nicholson, Col., USMC (Ret), and EDF consultant

I cringed when I read this quote, attributed to a senior military representative in Scientific American. I understood what he was trying to say, but the sound bite could easily be misinterpreted.

The Department of Defense (DoD) most certainly “does green,” and it has for some time now. At the highest level of leadership, there is recognition that energy and environmental conservation is important. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have reinforced and brought to the forefront the importance of energy planning and, more importantly, its use and integration by our deployed forces. Furthermore, improved energy planning and use has played a significant role in reducing costs and improving the efficiency, resiliency, and security of military bases, facilities, and other installations that prepare DoD forces for their missions. Read More »

Posted in Energy Efficiency, Military, North Carolina, Solar Energy, Wind Energy| Leave a comment

It’s a Bird, it’s a Plane, it's Energy Savings for New York!

NY-Beautiful SkySuperheroes are all the rage these days. Whether at the theater or on our TV screens, we are surrounded by stories of powerful men and women working to make the world a better place.

And what would a good superhero be without a thriving metropolis to defend? If you want a great setting for your hero, look no further than New York. Known by a variety of names in the comics (Gotham, etc.), New York is where heroes go to prove themselves and save the day.

But what if I were to tell you that superheroes are not only real, they are being placed in public and private organizations around New York this summer to work towards making our city and state more energy efficient? Read More »

Posted in EDF Climate Corps, Energy Efficiency, New York| Leave a comment

New Hampshire Just Doubled Its Solar Net Metering Cap – And It Already Needs More

new hampshire solar roofBy: Roger Stephenson, EDF’s Senior Advisor for New Hampshire Affairs

New Hampshire’s solar industry has an opportunity to stand as an example of the economic gains and consumer savings that are possible when lawmakers reach across the aisle.

But the state’s public utilities commission must act quickly and responsibly.

Earlier this year, Republican and Democrat state lawmakers reached across the aisle to move forward on clean energy “net metering” legislation allowing the solar industry to continue growing in the state. (As many readers of this blog know, net metering is a policy that allows solar-equipped businesses and homes to sell their unused solar energy back to the grid.)

As it has in many other states, the solar industry in New Hampshire has seen tremendous growth in recent years. There are more than 73 solar related companies in New Hampshire, employing about 770 people. Last year, more than $45 million was invested in solar installation in the Granite State. But also, like other states, New Hampshire remained handcuffed by policies that stacked the deck in favor of legacy utilities and kept solar energy from truly taking off. Read More »

Posted in Electricity Pricing, Solar Energy| 2 Responses

SolSmart: Helping Communities Go Solar by Cutting Costs

CaptureBy: Jayant Kairam and Jorge Madrid

American cities have made excellent progress in installed solar. For example, the top 20 solar cities, which account for less than a 0.1 percent of total land area, account for six percent of solar capacity. But what’s really exciting is the potential, which is figured to be nearly 1,200 GW, or enough power 790 million homes a year – more than double the current population. If we are able to tap this potential and harness more of our power from this clean, renewable resource, we could avoid substantial amounts of harmful pollution from the electricity sector.

One huge barrier to utilizing all this potential is “soft costs.” These are costs associated with processing applications, issuing permits, inspections, and regulatory procedures. Laurence Berkeley National Lab finds soft costs related to permitting can increase typical rooftop installation prices by $700 and, combined with other soft cost factors, can increase a system price by as much as $2,500. These additional fees account for 50 to 70 percent of total rooftop solar costs in the U.S. today.

By expediting these processes, cities and third parties can reduce soft costs of solar installation, helping to spread this clean energy resource to more households and communities. Read More »

Posted in On-bill repayment, Solar Energy| Leave a comment

Five Nordic Countries Agree to “Drive Down” Oil and Gas Methane Pollution Alongside the U.S.

Nordiske-flagLast week’s White House announcement marked an important step in the march toward global climate action. The U.S.-Nordic Leader Summit Joint Statement, issued by the United States, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden, underscored the need for a broad climate strategy, one that prioritizes reductions in both long- and short-lived climate pollutants across key industry sectors.

In addition to addressing renewable energy, HCFs, international aviation emissions and deforestation, the statement included a commitment for each country to develop a national plan to reduce emissions of methane, a powerful short-lived greenhouse gas. This is critical, given a wave of scientific data that highlights the need to reduce methane emissions from the oil and gas supply chain. The agreement is another sign that methane is starting to get the international attention it deserves, as reducing oil and gas methane is one of the most impactful and cost-effective actions we can take to slow the current rate of warming. Read More »

Posted in General, Methane, Natural Gas| 2 Responses
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