Selected category: California

These Policy Solutions Can Help Unleash The Full Potential of Renewable Energy

cps-energy-4New installed renewable energy capacity surpassed coal for the first time last year, the International Energy Agency reported recently.

It means that we added more wind and solar to our global energy system than oil, gas, coal or nuclear power combined – a trend that is expected to continue over the next five years.

But to truly transition to a global clean energy economy, we must accelerate this growth rate and modernize our electricity grid to maximize the potential of these new renewables. That way we can use as much clean energy as possible on any given day.

Many of these optimizing solutions already exist today.

They include technology such as powerful batteries that can store energy when renewables don’t produce electricity, for example, when the sun is shaded by a cloud.

There are also energy management tools such as demand response that pay customers for saving energy at critical times when the grid needs it. And innovative electricity pricing programs that encourage customers to shift some of their power use to times of day when clean energy sources are plentiful and electricity is cheaper.

All can, with the help of good policy, make the most of variable energy sources – as would a modernized and more dynamic electric grid. Read More »

Also posted in Clean Energy, Community Solar, Demand Response, Electricity Pricing, Energy Financing, Energy Storage, Grid Modernization, Solar Energy| Comments are closed

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 »

Also posted in Clean Energy, Energy Equity| Comments are closed

Aliso Canyon Challenges Underscore Need to Realign California Energy Markets

rp_Aliso-Canyon.pngYesterday, the Southern California Gas Company filed for permission to resume operations through approved wells at its Aliso Canyon gas storage facility, saying it has completed key safety tests. The facility has been offline over the last year, after it sprung one of the largest gas leaks ever recorded.

Efforts to bring the facility online – and the challenges for the region’s electricity system if Aliso stays offline – underscore the need to address these issues from a broader, longer term perspective.

In addition to supplying gas to homes and businesses, the giant storage field served 17 major gas fired electric generating plants in the region. When a link as important as Aliso Canyon fails, the reliability implications for the electric grid are serious. Read More »

Also posted in Aliso Canyon, Gas to Clean, Natural Gas| Comments are closed

5 Steps for Making Electric Vehicles Benefit All

woman-with-ev-photo-by-rudy-espinozajpgThe Greenlining Institute partners with Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) and is a policy, research, organizing, and leadership institute working for racial and economic justice. They recently released a report highlighting how inclusive policy can make electric vehicles accessible to all. Here at EDF, we know clean energy policies cannot be truly transformative without accessibility across all income levels and among all communities. Indeed, that is the only way we will accomplish our goal of curbing harmful climate change.  

By: Joel Espino, Legal Counsel, The Greenlining Institute

State programs that help low-income Californians access electric vehicles (EVs) mark a big step in our fight against poverty and pollution.

Cars, buses, and trucks are the biggest source of global-warming pollution in California – creating nearly 40 percent of the state’s total emissions. This makes tens of thousands of Californians sick, costs us billions in avoidable health costs, and causes twice as many deaths as traffic-related accidents. Vehicle pollution hurts low-income neighborhoods and communities of color the most because they are more likely to be located near busy roads and freeways, exposing them to dangerous levels of pollution. Paired with the fact that low-income families spend a disproportionate amount of their income on gas and public transit fares, the substantial burden of transportation on our poor communities is clear.

However, if drawing on renewable energy, EVs have the potential to dramatically reduce pollution as compared to their gasoline-powered counterparts and save folks money. From well-to-wheels, EVs produce fewer emissions than gas-powered cars and are cheaper to power and maintain. That’s why in 2014 we at The Greenlining Institute worked with Communities for a Better Environment, Coalition for Clean Air, Environment California, and the Natural Resources Defense Council to pass the Charge Ahead California Initiative. This law works to place 1 million EVs on California’s roads by 2023 and ensure all Californians, especially lower-income households most impacted by pollution, can access clean cars.

We’ve learned a lot from implementing this initiative. Now, those lessons are illuminated in a comprehensive online tool, “Electric Vehicles for All: An Equity Toolkit,” to help policymakers and advocates make EVs a reality for underserved communities by providing tools, tips, and resources. In particular, five important steps can ensure EV benefits reach all communities: Read More »

Also posted in Clean Energy, Electric Vehicles, Energy Equity| Comments are closed

Aliso Canyon Disaster One Year Later: Some Progress, But More Action Needed

When the gusher of methane pouring out of the Aliso Canyon natural gas storage field was discovered last October 23, it almost instantly transformed the sleepy Los Angeles suburb of Porter Ranch into the site of one of the biggest environmental disasters in recent history. It would ultimately take four months to stop the massive leak. According to a new report released today, it pumped nearly 100,000 tons of methane into the atmosphere.

Now, a year later, the question: What’s been done to fix the problem, and to prevent future blowouts – either at Aliso Canyon, or the 400 similar facilities in more than 30 states? The answer is, while there’s been some progress, it’s not nearly enough.

Read More »

Also posted in Aliso Canyon, Climate, Energy Storage, Methane, Natural Gas| Tagged , | Comments are closed

What would it mean for Los Angeles to go 100% renewable?

10182500174_6070b2f074_kThe Los Angeles City Council recently passed a unanimous resolution requiring Los Angeles Department of Water and Power – the largest municipally-owned utility in the country — to study how the city can achieve a 100% clean energy future. With help from research partners, including academic institutions, the U.S. Department of Energy, and environmental and consumer groups, the study has the potential to become a foundational roadmap for running the utility on only clean and renewable energy.

California currently has a goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 40% below 1990 levels by 2030, with half of the state’s energy supply powered by renewable electricity by 2030. To achieve these targets, it is imperative for the state to look seriously at how to get off of fossil fuel dependency for our energy needs. Utilities and cities can be the key to reaching those climate goals. Read More »

Also posted in Air Quality, Clean Energy, Climate, Energy Storage, Gas to Clean, Natural Gas, Wind Energy| Tagged , , | Comments are closed
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