Monthly Archives: December 2015

Clean Energy Conference Roundup: January 2016

conferenceEach 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.

Top clean energy conferences featuring EDF experts in January:

January 19-21: The Food-Energy-Water Nexus  (Washington, DC)
Speaker: Kate Zerrenner, Manager

  • One thousand innovative thinkers in science, technology, policy, governance, business, education, and civil society will gather to work across traditional boundaries and address big questions:
    1. How will we feed the 9.6 billion people expected to be alive in 2050 while also meeting their needs for water and energy and improving the environment?
    2. What are the opportunities to improve water and energy efficiency and reduce food waste such that every improvement in one area yields gains in all areas?
    3. What are the strategies for resilience in the face of increased climate variability and other environmental changes?
    4. How do we unleash scientific talent, technological advances, human ingenuity and entrepreneurialism, with wise public policy to meet essential human needs and restore the earth’s environment, both regionally and globally?

    The conference will emphasize putting ideas into action – moving forward on policy and practice. This is a conference designed to challenge thinking and spur creativity. Participants will take away new ideas, new relationships, and increased motivation to contribute to addressing these integrated challenges in new ways. Read More »

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10 Clean Energy Trends that Prove 2015 was a Transformative Year

Back in September when the New York Times declared 2015 “the year humans got serious about climate change,” we knew they were on to something. But as we near the end of 2015, it’s hard to believe we’ve accomplished as much as we have in just 12 months.

This momentum culminated in representatives of 195 nations agreeing in Paris to act together on world knowledge of climate change. This historic agreement will aim to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions, report transparently, and review and strengthen standards every five years. EDF President Fred Krupp stated, “It sends a powerful, immediate signal to global markets that the clean energy future is open for business.”

Though history proves “hindsight is 20/20,” historians just might look back at 2015 as the year everything changed for clean energy. Here’s a look at some of the top trends that fueled climate action by governments, investors, corporations, individuals, cities, utilities, market analysts, real estate professionals, and cleantech leaders in 2015. [Click through the following slideshow to see the trends.] Read More »

Posted in Clean Energy, Electricity Pricing, Energy Efficiency, Energy Financing, Energy Innovation, Energy Storage, Utility Business Models / Comments are closed

In California, Electric Vehicles are the New DeLorean in ‘Back to the Future’

CARRAs any child of the ’80s knows, October 21, 2015 is “Back to the Future Day” – the day that the film’s protagonist, Marty McFly, travels to the future in his DeLorean. Though it would no doubt be useful to have access to flying cars (think of the traffic one could avoid), Californians are seeing increased access to something more practical: electric vehicles (EVs).

In order to meet the state’s greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction goals, emissions from transportation – the sector most responsible for harmful pollution – need to be addressed. Enter Governor Brown’s zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) mandate, which aims to build enough infrastructure statewide to support one million clean vehicles by 2020, and put 1.5 million ZEVs on the road by 2025. With this executive order, we have a much better chance of ensuring a low-carbon future and effectively combatting climate change in California. Read More »

Posted in California, Electric Vehicles, Electricity Pricing, Grid Modernization / Comments are closed

A Sunny Future for Utility-Scale Solar

512px-Nellis_AFB_Solar_panelsUtility-scale solar and distributed solar both have an important role to play in reducing greenhouse emissions, and both have made great strides in the past year.

Utility-scale solar, the focus of this article, is reaching “grid parity” (i.e., cost equivalency) with traditional generation in more areas across the country.  And solar received a major boost when the federal tax incentive was recently extended through 2021. The amount of the incentive decreases over time, but the solar industry may be able to offset the lower tax incentive if costs continue to decline.  New changes in policy and technology may further boost its prospects.

Record year for utility-scale solar

Some of the world’s largest solar plants came on-line in the U.S. during the past year, such as the 550-megawatt (MW) Topaz Solar plant in San Luis Obispo County, California and the 550MW Desert Sunlight plant in Desert Center, California. Last year saw a record increase in the amount of new utility-scale solar photovoltaic generation installed – about four gigawatts (GW), a whopping 38 percent increase over 2013, and enough solar power to supply electricity to 1.2 million homes.  This number is expected to increase in 2015 when the final numbers are in. Read More »

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Pennsylvania Continues Moving toward Smarter, Cleaner Electric Grid

Just in time for the hSolar-3-2011_11_17_0003 morgueolidays, the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) quietly gave the gift of more affordable electricity to millions of Pennsylvanians.

PECO Energy Company, a leading Pennsylvania utility, had requested a significant distribution rate increase – meaning higher bills for its approximately 1.6 million electric customers. After months of discussion, last week the PUC approved a settlement with a lower rate increase and a directive for PECO to hold a series of collaborative meetings with all interested parties on revenue decoupling, or separating a utility’s profits from its sales. Decoupling suggests a system in which utilities are rewarded based on the overall service they provide, rather than the amount of electricity they sell.

The PUC’s decision represents a win for grid modernization and distributed energy resources like energy efficiency, energy storage, and rooftop solar in the Keystone State. Read More »

Posted in Electricity Pricing, Pennsylvania, Utility Business Models / Comments are closed

Star Wars Awakens Much-Needed Energy-Water Innovation

Tunisie_Star_Wars_2Originally published on CleanTechnica.

I was a little kid when the first Star Wars movie came out, and it’s not an understatement to say that it remains a huge influence on me. For those of my generation, growing up in the 1980s, it was a powerful “force” in our lives. The Star Wars films have arguably left a legacy like no other: in the 2011 census, nearly 200,000 residents of England and Wales identified themselves as Jedi Knights, the largest single category after the traditional, mainstream religions. And now, with the new film promising to restore fans’ faith in the franchise, a new generation can be inspired.

But aside from its devoted fan base, Star Wars and other sci-fi mega-blockbusters have a much greater role to play in our society. Science fiction both reflects the times we are in and inspires future technologies – not to mention the innovators that create them. This is true of most science fiction: think about Jules Verne (arguably the father of Science Fiction) and the influence 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea had on submarines, or the original Star Trek series and communicators (flip phones), or 2001: A Space Odyssey and interactive computers (hello, Siri!). Read More »

Posted in Clean Energy, Energy Innovation, Energy-Water Nexus / Comments are closed