Since EPA released its proposed Clean Power Plan (CPP) in June of this year, the plan has been a hot topic in every state. In Texas alone, the state has held a joint regulatory agency hearing and two days of legislative hearings. Unfortunately, in both cases, the general tone of testimony was that of Chicken Little. But I prefer to view the CPP as a fantastic opportunity and certainly don’t think the sky will fall because of it. In fact, our skies should be considerably brighter without all that carbon pollution clouding them up.
I’ve written before about the opportunity for Texas to amplify current trends and increase our energy efficiency and renewable energy to meet these goals. And there’s an added benefit to transitioning away from coal-fired power plants and toward cleaner energy choices, one that will be critical in a state like Texas that’s in the middle of a multi-year drought: water savings and relief for our parched state.
What if I told you that with the CPP, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), which controls the power grid for roughly 80 percent of the state, could save more than 60,000 acre-feet (or nearly 21 billion gallons) of water per year by 2030? Read More
New York’s “Reforming the Energy Vision” (REV) proceeding aims to reform the state’s long-standing electricity system to lay the groundwork for a cleaner and more efficient grid that allows for more customer choice and competition from third-party energy services companies. Forming the centerpiece of this 21st-century vision is a platform that would smoothly integrate innovative energy services and solutions into the existing grid, allowing them to compete on equal footing with electricity from centralized power plants.
Currently, the electric industry comprises three functions: generation, transmission, and distribution. Generation refers to making electricity, traditionally from large, centralized power plants. Transmission refers to sending that electricity along high-voltage wires to substations closer to electricity customers. Distribution refers to delivering the power from the substations to homes and businesses. In its recent straw proposal, the Department of Public Service Staff (Staff) recommends splitting the distribution function into two parts, one performing the traditional delivery service and the other serving as the Distribution System Platform Provider (DSP), to grant equal priority to energy solutions that are not centralized, such as on-site, distributed generation and energy efficiency. Read More
By: Jeff Milum, ICP Director of Marketplace Development
In virtually all established markets, from car loans to timeshares, standardization and automation has helped to accelerate underwriting, reduce long-term liability, and spur investment. The potential energy efficiency market is estimated at $1 trillion, but in order to achieve a fraction of this, the energy efficiency industry will need to leverage standardization and automation in order to scale to this level.
EDF’s signature energy efficiency initiative, the Investor Confidence Project (ICP), is accelerating the development of a global energy efficiency market by standardizing how Investor Ready Energy Efficiency™ projects are developed and energy savings estimates are calculated.
As a part of this effort, ICP is pleased to announce the release of the ICP Software Provider Credential, which will standardize the process of developing and documenting energy efficiency projects. Read More
By: Panama Bartholomy, Director of ICP Europe
The Investor Confidence Project (ICP), was recognized by the International Energy Agency (IEA), a global organization for 29 member countries, in its annual energy efficiency report, released today.
The IEA’s Energy Efficiency Market Report 2014 highlighted ICP as a program that will accelerate the development of a global energy efficiency finance market, saying in its energy efficiency finance chapter that the EDF initiative will “facilitate a global market for financings by institutional investors that look to rely on standardized products.”
For investors, the IEA puts the financial market for energy efficiency in the range of $120bn, with the launch of new products, such as green bonds, corporate green bonds, energy performance contracts, and expanded sources of finance likely to expand that figure. Lending from multilateral development banks and bilateral banks alone amounted to more than $22bn in 2012. Read More
By: Victoria Mills, Managing Director of EDF Climate Corps
Energy efficiency is a goldmine, but not everyone has the time or resources to dig. That’s why for the past seven years, over three hundred organizations have turned to EDF Climate Corps for hands-on help to cut costs and carbon pollution through better energy management. And every year, the program delivers results: this year’s class of fellows found $130 million in potential energy savings across 102 organizations.
But this year we also saw something new. In addition to mining efficiencies in companies’ internal operations, the fellows were sent farther afield – to suppliers’ factories, distribution systems, and franchisee networks. What they discovered demonstrated there is plenty of gold to be found across entire value chains, if companies take the time to mine it.
Here are three places where EDF Climate Corps fellows struck gold: Read More
Also posted in Clean Energy
By: Lana Zaman, graduate student at UC Berkeley
Companies today are increasingly investing in energy efficiency upgrades, both to conserve energy and to reduce operating costs. By lowering greenhouse gas emissions and fuel expenses, energy efficiency benefits the economy as well as the environment in the face of climate change. Being from Bangladesh, a country that is on a trajectory to become completely submerged as sea levels rise, climate change is an important issue to me and is largely the reason why I joined EDF Climate Corps.
Before I began my fellowship, I asked myself: When there exists a seemingly obvious solution to current energy challenges, why aren’t more companies investing in these solutions? What is holding the private sector back from pursuing initiatives that not only save the company money, but can also contribute to mitigating climate change? Read More
Also posted in Clean Energy
Superstorm Sandy crippled much of New Jersey’s critical infrastructure when it swept through the state two years ago. Stuck without power at home, many of the state’s residents also couldn’t get to work because the operations center for New Jersey Transit (NJ Transit) flooded, damaging backup power systems, emergency generation, and the computer system that controls train operations.
New Jersey is doing its best to make sure that won’t happen again. After a highly competitive grant process, NJ Transit last week received $1.3 billion in federal funds to improve the resilience of the state’s transportation system in the event of devastating future storms. The funds include $410 million to develop the NJ TransitGrid into a first-of-its-kind microgrid capable of keeping the power running when the electric grid goes down.
Microgrids are different from traditional electric grids in that they generate electricity on-site or nearby where it’s consumed. They can connect to the larger grid or island themselves and operate independently. Read More
Source: Caroline Culler
Take thousands of people, put them on a college campus – and watch the energy and water usage spike. That's what happens in the fall at universities across the country when students flood back to classrooms and dorms.
The nation's oldest public university system is keeping a keen eye on utility meters. The University of North Carolina (UNC) is on its way to reducing energy and water use by 30 percent by 2015.
Also noteworthy is UNC's goal for 2050, when the university's 17 campuses aim to be carbon neutral.
Slowing down UNC's progress are North Carolina statutory restrictions that make it difficult for campuses to finance and use their own renewable energy. Read More
Source: Kevin Case Flickr
Over the weekend, New York City Mayor de Blasio unveiled an ambitious plan to address energy use in the city’s buildings, called NYC Built to Last. Through this plan, NYC is committing to reduce its emissions by 80 percent below 2005 levels by 2050. This makes NYC the largest city in the world to commit to a goal like this. Representing three quarters of the city’s greenhouse gas emissions, New York City buildings must play a central role in any effective climate action plan, and Mayor de Blasio knows this.
A key component of this plan is the ‘retrofit accelerator,’ a program modeled on the successful NYC Clean Heat program. Retrofit accelerator aims to upgrade 20,000 private buildings, making up 15 percent of citywide built square footage. Of these buildings, 40 percent of them will be low-income housing.
EDF partnered with the City to create NYC Clean Heat, which forged a diverse coalition of financial, real estate, and non-profit communities to launch a $100 million financing program to help phase out dirty heating oils. Last week, the City announced the program met its goal of reducing soot pollution from heating oil in NYC by 50 percent. The program helped 4,000 buildings – half of them affordable housing – convert to cleaner, more efficient heating fuels. Read More
Source: designmilk flickr
New York is re-examining the way energy is regulated, priced, and distributed in the state in order to emerge with a 21st century business model. This change will deliver on a broad range of objectives, including increased customer value and environmental benefits, among others. However, achieving greater system efficiency could lead to the most impactful outcomes for customers, the environment, and society as a whole. Not only does increasing system efficiency have the potential to significantly reduce costs, energy use, and carbon emissions, it also makes the customer an integral part of the solution to meeting our future energy needs.
Electric utilities are tasked with meeting consumer demand for electricity at all times and, until now, have done so primarily by installing additional infrastructure on the electric grid whenever needed. While this has resulted in a fairly-reliable way to meet our energy needs, it has and continues to be extremely expensive and inefficient given the evolution in how energy is used today. Read More