Author Archives: Jim Marston

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

The Energy Star Program Saves Americans Billions. So, Why Cut It?

Evidently, President Trump and his environmental protection chief Scott Pruitt are just getting warmed up.

Now they’ve set their sights on one of the most successful and noncontroversial energy-related programs the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has ever managed – Energy Star, a program that saves consumers more than $30 billion a year.

According to E&E News, Trump’s draft budget encourages the EPA to “begin developing legislative options and associated groundwork for transferring ownership and implementation of Energy Star to a non-governmental entity.”

Translation: Energy Star, you’re dead. Read More »

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

Trump Promises a Renaissance for Coal – But These Clean Energy Numbers Tell a Different Story

A big part of President Trump’s agenda involves rolling back critical environmental protections. And yet, the issue that most people think won him the 2016 election is the economy.

From coast to coast – and especially places in between – jobs were the most pressing concern for American voters. So Trump has promised he will create 25 million new ones over the next decade by, among other things, reviving America’s declining coal industry.

“We’re gonna put the miners back to work,” he told a roaring crowd in West Virginia last year.

But for all the bluster about bringing coal production back to life, Trump is not just ignoring market realities – he’s also overlooking the biggest economic opportunity since the computer revolution. Read More »

Posted in Clean Energy| Tagged | Comments are closed

As New Energy Secretary, Rick Perry Will Inherit Trump’s Assault on American Clean Energy

Rick Perry by Gage SkidmoreThose of us who lived through Rick Perry’s governorship in Texas were concerned he’d take his “pollution-first” mentality to Washington. But the Trump administration’s assault on clean energy started before Perry cleared the first hurdle for becoming Secretary of Energy today, signaling he’ll likely be confirmed by the full Senate.

In two short weeks, President Trump laid out the dismal, dirty, and dangerous energy platform he’ll expect Rick Perry to execute. It’s up to us to protect and defend the jobs clean energy creates, along with its benefits for business, consumers, health, and our natural resources.

Energy efficiency
President Trump’s regulatory freeze halted four rules designed to reduce energy waste and, consequently, energy bills and greenhouse gas pollution. The Washington Post reported, “The freeze would appear to have the effect of sweeping up four very nearly finished Energy Department energy efficiency standards, affecting an array of products, including portable air conditioners and commercial boilers.” Heating and cooling use the most energy in buildings. This rule on commercial air-conditioners was published last year. The amount of C02 reduction and the fact that the Department of Energy negotiated the rule with industry make it a landmark example of how efficiency rules don’t hurt manufacturers while saving utility customers billions of dollars. Closing off this avenue of cooperation between the government and industry stakeholders takes away drive for innovation and allows others (China) to take the lead. Read More »

Posted in Clean Energy, Energy Efficiency, Renewable Energy, Wind Energy| Comments are closed

A Tale of Two Countries – China’s Betting on Renewable Energy While Trump Dreams of Coal’s Glory Days

solar-panels-1794467_1280That whoosh you just heard was China passing the United States in the race for the 21st century energy economy. Or is it the 21st century jobs race? Or the “world’s only superpower” race? Unfortunately, it might be all three.

Last week, China announced it will invest $361 billion over the next three years in renewable power generation. Compared to the $90 billion dedicated to clean energy in the 2009 stimulus package that was spread over several years, it dwarfs America’s commitment to an industry that nearly every country on Earth agrees will dominate the global energy landscape.

Surely, China’s air quality is playing a role in its government’s planning. The country has a severe air pollution problem – its hazy city skies are as famous as its Great Wall. Still, it would seem strangely out-of-character for China – given its history on environmental issues – to spend three times as much money as the United States on a tree-hugger pipedream.

Read More »

Posted in Clean Energy, General| Comments are closed

Could Rick Perry Forego his Special-Interest Past for a Clean Energy Future?

rick-perry-by-gage-skidmore-flickrBy now you may have heard that Rick Perry, former Governor of Texas, is President-elect Trump’s pick for Energy secretary. If appointed, he will be succeeding Samuel Bodman, Doctor of Science in chemical engineering from MIT; Steven Chu, PhD in physics from the University of California, Berkeley; and Ernest Moniz, PhD in theoretical physics from Stanford University.

Since the majority of the budget of the Department of Energy (DOE) is spent on nuclear waste clean-up and very technical research projects, the fact that Gov. Perry doesn’t measure up to his predecessors in his scientific credentials is disappointing. All the more so that his track record is one of unquestioning support of highly polluting interests in his state.

I have written about Perry plenty of times, so it should come as no surprise that I am less than thrilled with the idea of him heading the same department he famously declared he would eliminate.

Put simply: The appointment of Rick Perry is "open season" on the environment, and all who care about the health of their families should be concerned. Time and again, he has put polluters over people for political gain, and leveraged backroom deals with special interests — the rest of the economy and the air be damned. My only hope is that he takes to heart the jobs and economic growth resulting from Texas wind power, and uses it to steer the DOE toward fostering a thriving clean energy economy. Read More »

Posted in Clean Energy| Comments are closed
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