Author Archives: Jayant Kairam

How cities are using clean energy commitments to prosper

Cities have long been testing grounds for policy innovation. That identity is critical as we barrel headfirst into an urbanized world. As of 2014, 54 percent of the world’s population lived in urban areas, and the United Nations estimates that by 2050, over 6 billion people will live in cities.

So, it only makes practical and economic sense that local leaders around the world have doubled-downed on addressing one of, if not the, biggest threats to humans and the planet we call home: climate change.

In fact, over 300 U.S. mayors have reaffirmed their commitment to meet the climate reduction goals set forth in the 2016 Paris Agreement. Read More »

Posted in California, Clean Energy, Energy Equity, Energy Innovation, Pennsylvania| Comments are closed

New Report: How cities can prosper with 100 percent clean energy

Over 70 cities across the globe have set targets to achieve 100 percent clean energy and made commitments to cut a billion tons of greenhouse gases by 2030. These trend-setting jurisdictions are found across the U.S. – underscoring that local leaders recognize the resiliency, cost-savings, job-creation, and pollution-reduction benefits clean energy investment provides.

That said, making the clean energy transition is something new: Clean energy isn’t an established city service like picking up the trash. Nor has it always been a major focus of cities. Here’s where a new report from Meister Consultants provides some guidance (Environmental Defense Fund staff provided technical guidance to the report’s authors).

The Meister report outlines options for cities pursuing 100 percent clean energy. It explains how to evaluate the clean energy landscape and can help officials understand the value of key actions and policies like renewable portfolio standards, incentives for distributed energy generation like rooftop solar panels, and power purchasing agreements which allow third parties to own clean energy assets like wind turbines and other renewables.  Read More »

Posted in California, Clean Energy, Energy Equity| Read 2 Responses

This Earth Day, 100 percent clean energy is 100 percent possible

More than 25 U.S. cities, 12 countries, and at least 89 companies have all committed to transition to 100 percent renewable energy. That’s because they all recognize the unstoppable potential clean energy has to create jobs, strengthen and protect the economy, and fight climate change.

Now, U.S. states are throwing their hats into the 100-percent renewable ring. California and Massachusetts have proposed plans to get there, while Hawaii has made the pledge. This 100-percent dream does not come from fantasy, but is actually the result of a number of coalescing factors.

Earth Day is our time to recognize what’s more: With the right mix of clean energy technologies and solutions, 100 percent renewable is 100 percent possible.

100 percent is possible

Cost competitive and scalable renewable energy has taken off over the past 10 to 20 years. The hungry solar market in California for example, has resulted in exponential growth of utility-scale and rooftop solar over the last decade, creating over 150,000 jobs throughout the Golden State.

Recently, California powered 40 percent of its midday energy demand with solar power. A steady stream of policy actions at the state and local level – timed with the dramatic drop in costs of renewables – have helped make this possible. Across the U.S., current RPS policies alone could result in these benefits:

  • Renewables contributing 40 percent of total electricity generation in the U.S. by 2050;
  • Reducing climate change-causing greenhouse gases and harmful air pollutants like SOx and NOx (which together form ozone) by 6 percent; and
  • An almost 20 percent increase in jobs.

The bold inspiration, urgency, and benefit of 100 percent renewables is without question, but the pathway for getting there is less clear and will vary by state and region. Read More »

Posted in California, Clean Energy, Electricity Pricing, Grid Modernization, Solar Energy, Time of Use, Utility Business Models| Comments are closed

The Future is California – How the State is Charting a Path Forward on Clean Energy

29812927675_a0c937acac_kThe late California historian Kevin Starr once wrote, “California had long since become one of the prisms through which the American people, for better and for worse, could glimpse their future.” These words have never felt truer. Just ask Gov. Jerry Brown or the leaders of the state legislature, who are all issuing various calls to action to protect and further the state’s leading climate and energy policies.

California is the sixth largest economy in the world and the most populous state in the nation. What’s more, we’ve shown that strong climate and energy policy is possible while building a dynamic economy. We’ve proved that clean energy creates far more jobs than fossil fuels – nationwide, more than 400,000, compared with 50,000 coal mining jobs – while protecting the natural world for all people.

It’s no shock our leaders are fired up. There’s too much at stake. With our state’s diverse, booming yet unequal economy, we are not unlike the rest of the nation. State-level leadership is more important than ever, and other states can and should learn from California to drive action across the U.S. Read More »

Posted in California, Clean Energy, Demand Response, Energy Efficiency, Energy Equity, Energy Innovation, Solar Energy, Time of Use| Read 2 Responses

Reaching California’s Clean Energy Goals Requires Inclusive Solutions

ga_navajo_azJust over a year ago, California’s SB 350 became law and was rightly celebrated for its boldness and impact, increasing the state’s renewable energy mix to 50 percent and doubling energy efficiency buildings. Today, a less heralded provision of SB 350 – charging the California Energy Commission with studying barriers to clean energy – pushes us toward exceeding our renewables and efficiency aspirations. Moreover, it recognizes that in order for the state to realize its climate and energy future, planning must include and reflect the needs of all Californians.

Through the SB 350 Barriers Study, the commission has engaged consumers, businesses, local leaders, environmental groups, and others to identify strategies that can unlock clean energy investments and spur growth in low-income and disadvantaged communities across the state.

The final version of the study and recommendations are scheduled for release later this month, just in time for lawmakers to noodle on the robust and far-ranging ideas before the 2017 legislative session. In addition, the commission – in conjunction with the California Air Resources Board – will issue a companion report about barriers to clean transportation. The study and its companion report are the kinds of tools that are critical for California to reach its clean energy goals. Read More »

Posted in California, Clean Energy, Energy Equity| Comments are closed

How Did Southern California Keep the Lights on During an Historic Heatwave? We Need to Know.

CATempOn June 20 and 21, temperatures across the Southwest hit record triple digits. It was a scorching way to start the summer. For Southern Californians, early arrival of extreme heat tested the region’s already compromised electricity system: Residents braced for rolling blackouts as the Aliso Canyon natural gas storage facility (one of the primary sources of power generation in the region) was offline after a disastrous methane leak last winter. Aliso will remain offline until Southern California Gas Company can assure regulators, legislators, and the community that it can be operated safely and efficiently.

The heatwave was further complicated by devastating wildfires to the north and southwest, but the region was ultimately able to emerge from the threat relatively unscathed. Although thousands of residents dealt with short-term outages, rolling blackouts – reminders of California’s dramatic energy crisis of the early 2000s – never came and the region was able to breathe a collective sigh of relief.

During the heatwave, focus was rightly on keeping the system running. But now it’s time to look at how we were able to meet historic electricity demand without the system crashing, and how this will inform power providers in the months ahead.

Read More »

Posted in Demand Response, Energy Efficiency, Gas to Clean, Grid Modernization, Methane, Natural Gas| Read 1 Response
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