Working Smarter, Not Harder: How Companies Are Setting New Energy Goals

buildingIt’s no secret that companies use goals to push their businesses in a positive direction. Whether it’s about creating more value or reducing impacts, goals provide focus, direction, and a sense of urgency. Recently, a wave corporate, climate-related goals, such as renewable energy and emissions-reductions targets, have grabbed the public’s attention. Companies, cities, and other large institutions are stepping up and committing to reduce their environmental impact. But behind the scenes, are these goals actually leading to corporate action? And if so, what kind?

As program director of EDF Climate Corps, every summer I get a glimpse inside the operations of 100 large organizations that are working to manage energy and carbon in progressively responsible ways. This past summer, 125 EDF Climate Corps fellows – talented graduate students armed with training and expert support – worked to advance clean energy projects in large organizations across the U.S. and in China. Their project work reveals that organizations are more strategic, focused, and results-oriented than ever. More than 70 percent of EDF Climate Corps host organizations have energy or emissions-reductions goals, and to meet these targets, our class of 2016 fellows were strategically deployed to help achieve them. In fact, the majority (two-thirds) of our entire cohort of fellows worked on strategic plans and analyses that will help turn these goals into action. So what did we see this summer? Read More »

Posted in Clean Energy, EDF Climate Corps, Energy Efficiency, General| Leave a comment

5 Steps for Making Electric Vehicles Benefit All

woman-with-ev-photo-by-rudy-espinozajpgThe Greenlining Institute partners with Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) and is a policy, research, organizing, and leadership institute working for racial and economic justice. They recently released a report highlighting how inclusive policy can make electric vehicles accessible to all. Here at EDF, we know clean energy policies cannot be truly transformative without accessibility across all income levels and among all communities. Indeed, that is the only way we will accomplish our goal of curbing harmful climate change.  

By: Joel Espino, Legal Counsel, The Greenlining Institute

State programs that help low-income Californians access electric vehicles (EVs) mark a big step in our fight against poverty and pollution.

Cars, buses, and trucks are the biggest source of global-warming pollution in California – creating nearly 40 percent of the state’s total emissions. This makes tens of thousands of Californians sick, costs us billions in avoidable health costs, and causes twice as many deaths as traffic-related accidents. Vehicle pollution hurts low-income neighborhoods and communities of color the most because they are more likely to be located near busy roads and freeways, exposing them to dangerous levels of pollution. Paired with the fact that low-income families spend a disproportionate amount of their income on gas and public transit fares, the substantial burden of transportation on our poor communities is clear.

However, if drawing on renewable energy, EVs have the potential to dramatically reduce pollution as compared to their gasoline-powered counterparts and save folks money. From well-to-wheels, EVs produce fewer emissions than gas-powered cars and are cheaper to power and maintain. That’s why in 2014 we at The Greenlining Institute worked with Communities for a Better Environment, Coalition for Clean Air, Environment California, and the Natural Resources Defense Council to pass the Charge Ahead California Initiative. This law works to place 1 million EVs on California’s roads by 2023 and ensure all Californians, especially lower-income households most impacted by pollution, can access clean cars.

We’ve learned a lot from implementing this initiative. Now, those lessons are illuminated in a comprehensive online tool, “Electric Vehicles for All: An Equity Toolkit,” to help policymakers and advocates make EVs a reality for underserved communities by providing tools, tips, and resources. In particular, five important steps can ensure EV benefits reach all communities: Read More »

Posted in California, Clean Energy, Electric Vehicles, Energy Equity| Leave a comment

Reinvigorating Ohio’s Clean Energy Standards Could Save $5B by 2030. Here’s How.

oh-greenlink-analysisOhio policymakers are at a crossroads. They can create jobs, grow the economy, cut pollution, and save customers money by rebuilding the state’s renewable and energy efficiency policies, or they can continue to let Ohio fall behind in the clean energy economy.

A little background: In 2014, the Ohio Legislature placed a two-year freeze on the state’s energy efficiency and renewable energy standards as a result of political pressure from Ohio’s largest power company, FirstEnergy, among others. The standards required electric utilities to generate 12.5 percent of electricity sales from renewable sources, as well as reduce energy consumption 22 percent by 2025 through efficiency programs. Since the freeze, Ohio has lost millions of dollars in energy investment and jobs, and lags behind nearly every other state in percentage of renewable energy generated.

Now that the two years are almost up, it’s time for Ohio to decide how to move forward – if at all – on its clean energy standards. Fortunately, according to a new report from Environmental Defense Fund and The Nature Conservancy, there are at least three achievable routes to reinstate the renewable and efficiency standards – each of which would provide substantial economic and health benefits to the state at a value of $3 to $5 billion by 2030. Read More »

Posted in Energy Efficiency, Ohio, Solar Energy, Wind Energy| Leave a comment

8 Benefits of Distributed Solar that Prove it’s Worth More than Dollars and Cents

ga_washington-dc-2By Bret Fanshaw, Solar Program Coordinator, Environment America

This week, Environment America Research & Policy Center is showcasing Shining Rewards, a new review of 16 value-of-solar studies from around the country. The report shows what we already know intuitively: Solar panels provide pollution-free energy that delivers far reaching benefits to people, the environment, the economy, and the electric grid.

Powering homes and businesses with rooftop solar can help communities avoid greenhouse gas emissions, reduce air pollution that’s harmful to public health, and avoid the cost of increasingly expensive fossil fuels.

In our report, we found at least 8 key benefits of rooftop solar, all of which have real value that can be measured by regulators, policymakers, and utilities as the conversation around the future of distributed energy – solutions like rooftop and community solar – evolves. Read More »

Posted in Air Quality, Clean Energy, Electricity Pricing, Solar Energy| Leave a comment

Aliso Canyon Disaster One Year Later: Some Progress, But More Action Needed

When the gusher of methane pouring out of the Aliso Canyon natural gas storage field was discovered last October 23, it almost instantly transformed the sleepy Los Angeles suburb of Porter Ranch into the site of one of the biggest environmental disasters in recent history. It would ultimately take four months to stop the massive leak. According to a new report released today, it pumped nearly 100,000 tons of methane into the atmosphere.

Now, a year later, the question: What’s been done to fix the problem, and to prevent future blowouts – either at Aliso Canyon, or the 400 similar facilities in more than 30 states? The answer is, while there’s been some progress, it’s not nearly enough.

Read More »

Posted in Aliso Canyon, California, Climate, Energy Storage, Methane, Natural Gas| Tagged , | Comments are closed

New EPA Guidelines Will Help Oil And Gas Communities Breathe Easier

8622279579_a15f44c77a_zWhile air quality as a whole has been improving across the United States over the past few decades, many areas that are ground zero for the nation’s expanding oil and gas industry have shown an increase in dangerous pollutants. In fact, states with substantial drilling activities saw worsening air quality recently, according to the American Lung Association’s last State of the Air report.

That’s because the oil and gas industry is the largest industrial source of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which mix with NOX and sunlight to form ground-level ozone, also known as smog. Additionally, existing oil and gas sources do not face comprehensive nationwide limits for this type of pollution.

This smog has tangible effects, though. In late September, the Clean Air Task Force released a report detailing that the amount of smog forming emissions from the oil and gas sector could lead to as many as 750,000 asthma attacks.  The report, called “Gasping for Breath,” similarly documents that these emissions could lead to more than 500,000 days of school missed and 2,000 asthma-related emergency room visits. Accompanying the report is an interactive map, developed by Earthworks, which displays data about the location of active oil and gas wells, and areas of threats to public health.

Read More »

Posted in Air Quality, Methane, Natural Gas| Leave a comment
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