By: Jorge Madrid, Coordinator, Partnerships and Alliances, and Kate Zerrenner, Clean Energy Project Manager
School’s out for summer! It’s time to check those report cards and figure out if we made the energy efficiency grade or if we’re stuck trying to catch up.
For Los Angeles, the marks are pretty consistent: “Not great yet, but getting there…”
According to the American Council for an Energy Efficiency Economy (ACEEE), who just released their 2015 City Energy Efficiency Score Card, Los Angeles is the most improved city in the country – rising the fastest of all cities and finally breaking the top 15 rankings (up to #12 from #28 last year). ACEEE cites “a strong new suite of climate goals and high marks in energy and water utilities” as key factors in the city’s improved score.
For a city the size and scale of Los Angeles (second largest U.S. city in total population, a regional economy larger than most countries, and the largest manufacturing sectors and ports in the U.S.) these are impressive accolades. The city has consistently kept water demand relatively flat despite a booming population and desert-like climate. L.A. also has a gold star from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for being ranked second on a list of the top 25 U.S. cities with the most energy efficient buildings in the nation. Read More
By: Karin Rives, editor of EDF Voices
The solar industry is booming and the U.S. Department of Energy’s loan guarantee program, chastised after several high-profile cleantech companies went belly up in 2011, has more than recovered.
In fact, leading venture capitalists, some of our largest banks and brands, and – lately – private investors are expected to continue to invest heavily in clean energy projects this year after the market rebounded with a vengeance in 2014.
Here are five reasons why. Read More
By Scott Henderson, Advisor to Metrus Energy
While many in the clean energy industry are familiar with the use of power purchase agreements (PPA) to finance solar energy systems at commercial and industrial facilities, many may be surprised to know that there is a similar contract for funding energy efficiency retrofit projects. Called an efficiency services agreement (ESA), this contract was designed to address the challenges, or “pain points,” that building owners commonly face when contemplating such projects.
Like a PPA, an efficiency services agreement enables third-party ownership of a project, in which a developer designs, finances, implements, and owns a package of energy and water efficiency measures at a customer facility. In return for implementing the project, the ESA provider charges the customer for any realized savings, at a rate that is less than their current cost of electricity, gas, or water. This continues until the end of the contract period, typically 10 years, upon which time the customer can renew the contract or purchase the equipment at fair market value. Read More
By: Jonathan Camuzeaux, Senior Economic Analyst
The surge in natural gas production that has reshaped the American energy landscape has many in the commercial transportation sector considering whether to start shifting their heavy-duty vehicle fleets from diesel to natural gas fuel. Many are looking to an advantage in carbon dioxide emissions to justify the higher cost and reduced fuel efficiency of a natural gas vehicle.
But in fact, a study published today in Environmental Science & Technology finds that while there are pathways for natural gas trucks to achieve climate benefits, reductions in potent heat trapping methane emissions across the natural gas value chain are necessary, along with engine efficiency improvements. If these steps are not taken, switching truck fleets from diesel to natural gas could actually increase warming for decades.
Methane, the main ingredient in natural gas, has 84 times more warming power than CO2 over a 20-year timeframe. Reducing emissions throughout the natural gas value chain is an important opportunity to reduce our overall greenhouse footprint. Read More
Every year, SXSW Eco – one of the most high-profile environmental conferences – selects its programming based on votes from the public. This means anyone, regardless of whether you submitted a panel, can cast a vote.
This year, seven experts from Environmental Defense Fund are featured on dynamic panels that cover everything from solar equity and new utility business models to innovative building efficiency programs and the threat of methane pollution. To make sure EDF and energy-related programming is represented at the conference in Austin, TX this October, we are asking our readers to please vote for your favorite EDF panels and presentations. Read More
Posted in California, Clean Energy, Climate, Demand Response, EDF Climate Corps, Energy Efficiency, Energy-Water Nexus, General, Illinois, Methane, Natural Gas, Renewable Energy, Smart Grid, Texas, Utility Business Models
By: Tom Murray, Vice President, Corporate Partnerships Program
A company’s public statements matter – they can influence consumer choice, sway public policy decisions, and demonstrate leadership on important issues. But in terms of actual change, it’s where a company puts its money that really matters. This week, Bank of America (BoA) spoke with both its voice and wallet: At its shareholder meeting last week, the bank announced a new coal policy that continues the company's commitment to reducing its exposure to coal extraction companies and accelerating the transition from a high-carbon to a low-carbon economy.
According to BoA, its portfolio has grown to favor renewable energy over coal by a ratio of more than three-to-one. That’s an important step forward toward a clean, low-carbon energy future. And, it’s one that builds on moves by other institutions, like the recent news from Goldman Sachs about how the company is looking to divest some of its mining interests and Citi’s recent 10-year, $100-billion commitment toward investments in areas like energy efficiency, renewable energy, green affordable housing, and climate change resiliency projects. Read More