Author Archives: Jim Marston

Here's why putting more tax dollars behind coal is such a wasteful proposition

West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice just pitched a coal boondoggle to President Donald Trump. And boy oh boy, it’s a doozy.

Justice, who made news recently for announcing at a Trump rally that he was switching from the Democratic to the Republican party, is a billionaire climate denier who owns a host of companies, including a golf course and casino and who put his children in charge of his empire while he is governor. Sound familiar?

He also owns several coal mines and was delinquent on $2 million in mine safety violations until a 2014 story by National Public Radio prompted him to start paying his fines.

So let’s have a closer look at the governor’s pitch. Turns out, it’s a really lousy deal for American taxpayers and coal workers alike – while doing nothing for energy security. Read More »

Posted in Clean Energy, Grid Modernization, Jobs| Comments are closed

Waiting for Perry: Leaked draft gives us a glimpse into the study he should release

It’s been 100 days (and counting) since Secretary Perry ordered the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to conduct a 60-day study of the U.S. electricity system. We expect the final report to be issued any day now.

The initial focus of the study was clear: to determine whether renewable energy policies or regulations have accelerated the retirement of coal and nuclear plants. Perry himself admitted the so-called study was intended to reassess “politically driven policies driven by a hostility to coal,” implying he intends to use the study to discriminate against renewables in favor of dirty, expensive coal.

But a bombshell recently hit. A leaked draft of the study seems to contradict Sec. Perry’s pro-coal thesis and rhetoric.

The draft is thoughtful, and it boils down to some conclusions that Sec. Perry’s political appointees – ahem, editors – will be hard pressed to massage into policy recommendations that call for more coal. Namely, America’s grid reliability remains strong with more clean energy and less coal. Read More »

Posted in Clean Energy, Grid Modernization, Renewable Energy| Comments are closed

Rick Perry just got scooped: New report shows cleaner grid provides reliable power

As Secretary of Energy, Rick Perry set out to examine the impact of policies or regulations on coal and nuclear plants.

He wasn’t the only one. A new report from the Analysis Group, commissioned by national business groups Advanced Energy Economy (AEE) and American Wind Energy Association, finds market forces are pushing old coal and nuclear plants to retire, without posing any threat to the electric grid’s reliability. In other words, coal can’t compete in today’s market, and the United States is getting a cleaner, more diverse, and reliable energy mix as a result.

Market forces

The American energy system is undergoing a transformation, with more – and cleaner – power options than ever before.

The primary driver of change? Market forces. In efficient and competitive markets, it’s natural for uneconomic assets (cough, coal) to be pushed out. Read More »

Posted in Clean Energy| Tagged | Read 1 Response

What we know so far about Rick Perry’s power grid “study”

Among Rick Perry’s first acts as Secretary of Energy was calling for a 60-day “study” of whether any policies or regulations have led to the premature retirement of coal or nuclear plants. I – and many others in the clean energy industry – are concerned this so-called study will amount to little more than a pro-coal fluff piece.

To people familiar with energy policy and the coal industry’s rhetoric, Perry’s request is a transparent promotion of coal and a backdoor attack on clean energy resources, like solar, wind, and energy efficiency. Besides, 60 days is barely enough time to fill job vacancies in a new administration, much less conduct a thorough analysis of America’s complex energy policies.

But until the report is released, we can only look at what Perry and other Trump appointees have said and done about energy, generally, and coal, specifically, to predict what arguments Perry’s office will make.

Over the next few weeks, EDF will examine several of the administration’s pro-coal arguments and explain why: Read More »

Posted in Clean Energy, Solar Energy, Wind Energy| Comments are closed

Purchasing power over politics: American consumers buy more clean energy and electric vehicles

Americans are switching to cleaner cars and electricity. In addition to being smart purchases, these clean energy choices could be a political statement. Consumers are choosing to use their hard-earned dollars to show what they want: clean energy, a clean economy, and government policies that reflect their values.

Last month, electric-car company Tesla was valued higher than General Motors, making it the most valuable U.S. carmaker based on market capitalization. Despite low gas prices, U.S. sales of plug-in electric vehicles increased by 70 percent in January from the same month in 2016. The Chevrolet Volt alone saw an 84 percent increase during the same time.

The increase in electric car sales isn’t surprising in light of The Consumer as Climate Activist, a scientific article published by researchers from Yale University, George Mason University, and the University of Texas. They found that Americans are more likely to engage in consumer activism than political activism to combat climate change. And consumer activism for clean energy is on the rise. Read More »

Posted in Clean Energy, Electric Vehicles, Energy Efficiency, Solar Energy, Wind Energy| Read 1 Response

Four reasons to be optimistic this Earth Day

I’m going to stay positive this Earth Day. I know that’s not what you might expect from me this year, but really, when it comes to America’s shift to cleaner, smarter, advanced energy, there’s reason to be optimistic.

  1. Business is booming…

The advanced energy industry is booming. This includes everything from solar and wind power, to new energy innovations that are smarter and reduce our reliance on fossil fuels, like energy storage, electric vehicles, energy efficiency, and demand response.

The industry grew 29 percent in the last five years, and last year was worth $200 billion – about the same size as the pharmaceutical industry. Tesla – a sort of poster child for the advanced energy industry – just passed Ford Motor Company and General Motors in market cap. In fact, the company dropped “motors” from its name last year, a simple recognition that it’s far more than a car company. Read More »

Posted in California, Clean Energy, Demand Response, Illinois, Ohio, Solar Energy, Time of Use, Wind Energy| Comments are closed
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    EDF Energy Exchange - Accelerating the clean energy revolution

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