Selected category: California

A Stealth Tool to Modernize the Electric Grid

Electricity regulators, clean energy innovators, and rappers have all lamented poor communication. And some have pushed for cleaner, cheaper, more reliable solutions for meeting our energy needs. This is particularly so with the much anticipated emergence of a new kind of non-event based, price-responsive demand response (DR), or flexible DR.

Whereas traditional DR signals customers to voluntarily and temporarily reduce their energy use at times when the electric grid is stressed, this type of DR does that and more. The big difference? It signals customers, their appliances, and their electric vehicles to increase their energy use when electricity is clean, plentiful, and cheap.

For example, electric vehicles can be programmed to charge at mid-day when the sun is bright and solar energy is at its peak, and use that stored energy when the sun sets. Better yet, many of our cars, homes, and appliances can be programmed to monitor grid conditions in real time, via the Internet, and respond accordingly by charging or defecting. Also known as a “set-it-and-forget-it” feature, this function enables the seamless integration of flexible DR while also supporting the full potential of energy efficiency measures and distributed energy resources (DERs), like rooftop solar and energy storage.

The seamless and stealth nature of this type of DR, which can be largely automated by tools and service providers, is something neither the customer nor the utility have to think about. It’s like a secret agent, operating behind walls and wires to find the greatest energy (and cost) saving-potential. Regulators need to unleash this “secret agent DR” by rewarding it fairly and efficiently in the energy marketplace, giving it a “license to thrill” in households and businesses across California. Read More »

Also posted in Clean Energy, Demand Response, Electricity Pricing, Energy Efficiency, Energy Storage, Renewable Energy, Smart Grid, Time of Use| 1 Response

New State Laws Seek to Improve Transparency in Utility Leak Management

A new Massachusetts law requiring gas utilities to annually report the location and age of known gas leaks has, for the first time, enabled the mapping of gas leaks from natural gas distribution pageonemap-8843pipelines across the state. This effort parallels EDF’s methane mapping project, as part of which it is publishing maps of methane leaks from utility pipes in various U.S. cities, highlighting the scale of the problem and the need for thoughtful utility and regulatory responses.

The issue is multidimensional. Gas leaks have both environmental and economic consequences, in addition to public safety implications. Most states only require utilities to address leaks that pose a present or future public safety threat. Other leaks can and do continue unabated for years, wasting gas and imposing an undue economic burden on ratepayers. The environmental implications are also serious. Methane, which is the primary constituent of natural gas, is a greenhouse gas, 84 times more potent than carbon dioxide over a 20-year timeframe. Read More »

Also posted in General, Methane, Natural Gas| Comments are closed

Four Things California Should Consider before Rolling Out Time-of-Use Pricing


This summer the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) ordered big changes in how Californians will pay for electricity. Starting in 2019, residential customers of the big three investor-owned utilities (Pacific Gas & Electric, Southern California Edison, and San Diego Gas & Electric) will be switching residential customers to the same pricing plan used by commercial and industrial customers:  time-of-use (TOU) electricity pricing. This approach rewards people who shift some of their electricity use to times of the day when renewable energy is plentiful and electricity is cheaper. Before rolling this out to all 33 million Californians, however, the CPUC has instructed the utilities to perform experiments on how best to design and then market TOU pricing to customers. Read More »

Also posted in Time of Use| Read 2 Responses

Building Energy Retrofits Just got a lot Easier with this New Toolkit

toolsBy: Karen Penafiel, Vice President, Advocacy, BOMA International

At its Every Building Conference this summer, the Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) International announced the relaunch of its BOMA Energy Performance (BEPC) toolkit.  BEPC is an industry-vetted, proven process to plan, procure, and implement performance-driven building retrofits that has been used in successful projects around the world. For this reason, BEPC and the Investor Confidence Project (ICP) are a “natural fit.”

ICP, an Environmental Defense Fund initiative designed to unlock investment in energy efficiency, is accelerating the development of a global energy efficiency market by standardizing how projects are developed and energy savings are calculated. Together, BEPC and ICP can be used to execute successful, reliable, investment-grade energy retrofit projects from concept through measurement and verification.

ICP’s Roadmap to Investor Confidence lays out six major steps in the project development cycle: origination, project development, quality assurance, certification, underwriting, contracting, and performance. BEPC includes a flexible framework and supporting toolkit of template documents that can assist building owners, operators, and program managers at each stage of this process. Two key areas where the BEPC toolkit is particularly useful in the ICP project development cycle are: Read More »

Also posted in Clean Energy, Energy Efficiency, Energy Financing, Investor Confidence Project| Tagged , , , , | Read 1 Response

New Poll: U.S. Latino Communities Overwhelmingly Support Clean Air Protections

latinopollPoliticians and political observers are increasing the amount of time spent trying to figure out how to engage with Latino voters – a large and growing part of the American electorate. Issues such as immigration reform usually dominate the discussion nationally, but a new poll from the national polling firm Latino Decisions shows that clean water and healthy air are also of utmost importance for Latinos.

According to their poll 85% of those surveyed found reducing smog and air pollution to be extremely or very important, compared to 80 percent for comprehensive immigration reform.

This comes as no surprise to those of us that are rooted in this community where issues of the health of our communities and families are often top-of-mind around the dinner table.  In reality, it also comes as no surprise to decision makers who have listened to our communities, and know Latinos have rich ties to the outdoors, but are too often the first and worst impacted by pollution. Read More »

Also posted in Air Quality, Clean Energy, Clean Power Plan, Climate, Colorado, Methane, Natural Gas| Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Comments are closed

‘Eastside Sol’ gets L.A. Community Dancing to Solar Power


Walking around my neighborhood in Boyle Heights, on the eastside of Los Angeles, I see murals and street art conveying pride in the community and the cultural roots of its residents. I see street vendors and informal entrepreneurs trying to capture the America dream, smell delicious food, and hear infectious Latin music that will make you want to move with the rhythm. What I don’t see are solar panels, plentiful shade under trees and green space, electric vehicles, and other icons of the growing clean energy economy. Instead, I smell vehicle exhaust and feel the heat trapped in my neighborhood and many like it on the eastside, where communities are bisected by freeways, surrounded by toxic facilities, and bound by a jungle of concrete.

But it doesn’t have to be like this. Recently a coalition of labor, environmental justice, and community organizations teamed up with Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) to put together Eastside Sol, the first 100 percent solar powered art and music festival on the eastside of Los Angeles. The goal of the event was to create a vision of what the community might look like with abundant solar power, more trees and greenspace, and a fair share of the growing clean energy economy. Read More »

Also posted in Clean Energy| Tagged | Read 2 Responses
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