Author Archives: Jim Marston

What One Conservative Texas Think Tank Doesn’t Want You to Know about the Clean Power Plan

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Every time I open my hometown newspaper and see a negative op-ed on America’s first nationwide limits on power plant carbon pollution – the Clean Power Plan – I think, “Oh boy. Some new industry water-carrier opposing commonsense efforts to improve public health.”

Now, to be sure, Texas is not the only state where groups have been telling lies and fearmongering in the press about these new clean air standards. But at least here in Texas, there seems to be one group in particular that’s leading the pack of spreading misinformation: Texas Public Policy Foundation (TPPF). They’ve been regurgitating the same tired, anti-science, anti-health nonsense for years.

A conservative think tank based in Austin, Texas, TPPF claims it is trying to protect people’s wallets – which is true if by ‘people,’ you mean its members. Just take a look at its donor list, which includes out-of-state interests like the Koch Brothers and Big Tobacco, as well as major coal players like The American Coalition for Clean Coal and Texas coal-burning electric generators.

The truth is, they don’t want Texans to realize the pollution standards are good for our health, water supply, and economy. Here are a few other things they’d prefer you didn’t know about the Clean Power Plan: Read More »

Posted in Clean Energy, Clean Power Plan, Climate, Energy Efficiency, Solar Energy, Texas, Wind Energy| 2 Responses

Three Technologies that will Keep Energy Costs in Check

Jay Godwin photo - 07/31/2015 Location: The Mueller community in Austin, Texas. Caption: Mueller resident Dennis Mick is a Pecan Street program participant. He has solar collectors on his roof and an electric car in his garage. Information about his energy use can be accessed through mobile apps and on the web.Many American households and businesses saw energy costs soar this summer with July being the hottest month in Earth’s hottest year on record.

Utilities rely on “peaker plants” during these record-setting heat waves to avoid blackouts. Such plants are more expensive and often more polluting to operate, and utilities pass the higher costs straight on to their customers.

Fortunately, this energy equation is changing. Innovative pricing and smart energy systems are gradually taking hold across the United States, already allowing homes and businesses to save energy and cut costs. It’s just the beginning of what I call our next energy revolution.

Here are three technologies on the market today that are fueling this trend: Read More »

Posted in Clean Energy, General, Renewable Energy, Time of Use| Read 1 Response

How Energizing Renewables can Spur Carbon Pricing

Photoy Jürgen from Sandesneben, GermanyTo avoid the worst effects of climate change, we must do more to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions. Yet, we still do not have a price on carbon, one of the most prevalent greenhouse gases in the world and the biggest contributor to climate change. Despite knowing that a carbon price creates broad incentives to cut emissions, the current average price of carbon globally (which is below zero, once half a trillion dollars of fossil-fuel subsidies are factored in) is much too low relative to the hidden environmental, health, and societal costs of burning a ton of coal or a barrel of oil.

Policies that comprehensively reform the energy sector—a sector designed around fossil fuels—are necessary even as the price of renewable energy declines. The cost of solar photovoltaics, for example, has declined 80 percent since 2008. Prices will continue to fall, but not fast enough to make a dent in the climate problem.

Policymakers are more likely to price carbon appropriately if renewables are competitive with (or cheaper than) fossil fuels. But reducing the cost of renewable energy requires substantial investment, and thus a carbon price. The best hope of resolution is through controlled policy experiments designed to drive down the cost of renewable power sources even further and faster than in the past five years. Read More »

Posted in Cap and Trade, Clean Energy, Climate, Electricity Pricing, Energy Storage, General, Renewable Energy| Tagged , | Comments are closed

3 Ways the Clean Power Plan Will Strengthen Our Economy

cleanenergymarket_378x235_0On Monday, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the Clean Power Plan, the first initiative of its kind to curb carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from existing U.S. power plants. By improving air quality, the plan promises to prevent 90,000 childhood asthma attacks and avoid up to 3,600 premature deaths each year – without compromising economic growth. In fact, the Clean Power Plan is an incredible economic opportunity that states can’t afford to miss.

By limiting power plants’ “free pass” to pollute, EPA projects their Plan will deliver billions of dollars in environmental and public health benefits each year – and that’s just the start. Here are three ways in which the Clean Power Plan will work to strengthen states’ economies and accelerate many of the clean energy trends already underway: Read More »

Posted in Clean Power Plan, General, Renewable Energy, Smart Grid| Read 2 Responses

We Need to Support All Types of Solar: Utility-Scale, Rooftop, Community, and More

solar panelSolar energy is booming – and you needn’t look further for proof of its success than Brian H. Potts’ recent op-ed in the Wall Street Journal. When a utility lawyer like Potts is arguing for what type of solar energy our country should be investing in –utility-owned, large-scale solar versus customer-owned, rooftop – you know this renewable energy resource has gone mainstream. And that’s a good thing.

We should support a wide variety of clean energy resources precisely because these technologies eliminate the costs of pollution now being socialized by fossil fuel generators. And this is becoming all the more critical as the costs of a changing climate grow. Read More »

Posted in Clean Energy, Climate, Electricity Pricing, Energy Financing, Renewable Energy, Utility Business Models| Comments are closed

Texas Leaders Defy All Logic, Side with Sen. McConnell on “Just Say No” to EPA Campaign

pinwheel-pixabayGovernor Greg Abbott and Texas Senators John Cornyn and Ted Cruz recently met in a meeting with Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell to discuss how they could sabotage the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposed (CPP). The CPP would place the nation’s first-ever limits on carbon pollution from existing power plants – the rules for which are expected to be finalized this summer.

The reason for the meeting is simple: Sen. McConnell is currently touting a “just say no” approach to EPA’s regulations, advocating states refuse to create a compliance plan, which is clearly to protect his coal-producing state. He also supports legislation to let states opt-out of the pollution reduction program. After the closed-door meeting, Governor Abbott announced he is siding with the Senator from Kentucky on the CPP.

What the press release didn’t say: By aligning himself with Sen. McConnell, Governor Abbott is hurting Texas. Read More »

Posted in Air Quality, Clean Energy, Clean Power Plan, Natural Gas, Renewable Energy, Texas| Comments are closed
  • Vice President, Clean Energy
    Jim Marston is the founding director of the Texas office of Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), located in Austin, where he has served since its beginning in 1988. He is also a leader of the Pecan Street, Inc., a partnership that includes Austin Energy, the University of Texas, the Chamber of Commerce, and several large high/clean tech companies aimed at making fundamental changes in the nation's electricity grid.

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