Author Archives: EDF Blogs

How More Transparent Electricity Pricing Can Help Increase Clean Energy

By: Beia Spiller and Kristina Mohlin

The price of most goods we purchase is CostPriceImagegenerally based on the costs associated with the goods' production, including the raw materials used to generate them, the labor associated with their manufacturing, and so on. However, when it comes to pricing residential electricity, many regulators choose to use a flat price per unit of electricity (kilowatt-hours, or kWh) that unfortunately fails to adequately reflect the underlying costs of generating and delivering energy to our homes.

This creates incorrect incentives for conservation and investments in distributed energy resources (like rooftop solar, energy storage, and demand response). Getting these incentives right can go a long way in creating more opportunity for efficiency and clean energy resources.

Pricing electricity generation

The cost of generating electricity from large-scale power plants varies significantly over the course of a day. When demand is low, electricity providers call upon the most efficient and inexpensive power plants to produce electricity. As demand increases, they must also utilize more inefficient and expensive power plants. So, for the price of generation to accurately reflect these costs, it too must vary with the time of day. Time-variant pricing charges customers more for using electricity during periods of high demand (such as during hot afternoons) and less when demand is not as great. This pricing system is an accurate reflection of generation costs.

In contrast, flat rates that don’t vary over time incentivize customers to consume more electricity when it’s most valuable to them, even though consuming during times of high demand places a larger cost on the system. Thus, the current, static pricing system creates incorrect incentives for conservation and electricity use. Read More »

Posted in Electricity Pricing| Comments are closed

Clean Energy Conference Roundup: July 2016

rp_conference-300x2001-300x200-1-300x200.jpgEach 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 July:

July 26-28: NY Rev Summit (New York, NY)
Speaker: Rory Christian, Director, New York Clean Energy

  • Building on New York’s Reforming the Energy Vision (REV) initiative, Infocast’s second REVolution summit will focus on how utilities are planning for the future, and how they will explore both the promise and the practical development of microgrids, renewable energy, and emerging opportunities for third party providers. The summit will also consider various state efforts to finance and encourage clean energy markets sufficiently to ensure a robust, sustainable power delivery system. Read More »
Posted in Aliso Canyon, California, Conference Roundup, Illinois, New York, Pennsylvania, Washington, DC| Comments are closed

As SoCal Braces for Aliso Canyon-Related Blackouts, These Energy Programs Can Help


blackout2By Jayant Kairam and Timothy O’Connor

Adding insult to injury, Californians learned this spring that the disastrous four-month methane leak at the sprawling Aliso Canyon natural gas storage facility could result in a new problem: outages.

The failure at Southern California Gas Company’s massive storage site exposed a critical weakness in the state’s energy system. Densely populated Southern California is over-dependent on natural gas from a single provider.

As a result, a vast area stretching from San Diego in the south to Los Angeles and San Bernardino County in the east may face power and gas shortages during the hot summer and cold winter months, a recent report by a group of state regulatory agencies warned. Read More »

Posted in California, Demand Response, Electricity Pricing, Energy Efficiency, Energy Storage, Gas to Clean, Grid Modernization, Methane, Natural Gas| Comments are closed

Keeping an Important Methane Research Question in Proper Perspective

 

By Mark Brownstein and Steve Hamburg

An organization in North Carolina this week asked the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to examine questions about the accuracy of measurements from a device used in two of the large and growing list of studies published in recent years quantifying the enormous amounts of methane released into the atmosphere by the U.S. oil and gas industry each year.

That long list of studies is a major reason why EPA recently increased its official estimates of industry emissions by 34 percent, and why the agency is pursuing new rules to start fixing the problem.  In fact oil and gas methane emissions have moved from obscurity to center stage with remarkable speed, thanks to rush of compelling data.

The particular papers at issue were written by a team of scientists led by Dr. David Allen of the University of Texas. They are among of a group of studies on oil and gas industry methane emissions organized and coordinated by EDF. Possible complications involving a piece of sampling equipment (among several that were used) have been discussed by researchers in both academic literature and the news media for more than a year. You can read the blog that EDF wrote on it back in 2015 here. Read More »

Posted in General| Tagged | Read 1 Response

Clean Energy Conference Roundup: June 2016

rp_conference-300x2001-300x200.jpg

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.

Top clean energy conferences featuring EDF experts in June:

June 19-21:  Citizens’ Climate Conference & Lobby Day (Washington, D.C.)
Speaker: Michael Panfil, Director of Federal Energy Policy and Senior Attorney

  • Citizens’ Climate Lobby is a non-profit, non-partisan, grassroots advocacy organization focused on national policies to address climate change. Attendees will hear speakers and receive training to speak on this issue on behalf of future generations. The conference’s keynote speaker is Dr. Michael Mann, Distinguished Professor of Atmospheric Science at Penn State University and director of the Penn State Earth System Science Center. In 1998, it was his research – conducted with Raymond Bradley and Malcolm Hughes – that led to the famous “hockey stick” graph that shows the alarming rise in average global temperatures during the 20th Century.

Read More »

Posted in California, Conference Roundup, Illinois, New York| Comments are closed

“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| Read 2 Responses
  • From time to time, the Energy Exchange blog includes posts from infrequent contributors, such as other EDF scientists and staff. Since these authors vary, we use this standard author bio profile for guest posts. For more information about this author, please see his/her link at the beginning of the post.

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