In 2008, EDF launched Climate Corps, an innovative graduate fellowship program committed to jump-starting investment in corporate energy efficiency.
Now, after almost a decade of embedding over 700 fellows inside large organizations across all sectors—public, private and non-profit—we’ve taken a step back to survey the broader landscape.
What did we find? Energy management today looks very different than when we started out. As large organizations have shifted to take on more sophisticated approaches, significant advancements in management strategies have emerged.
And for those of you toiling away on a daily basis in the complicated world of energy management, we’re pleased to offer you a mile-high view of how your efforts fit into a larger picture of progress.
By Gabriela B. Zayas del Rio, Tom Graff Diversity Fellow, Clean Energy
The system for supplying electricity in the U.S. was premised on the assumption that utilities would make evermore electricity to sell to customers. But, the global need to reduce carbon emissions from traditional power generation, along with the emergence of distributed energy resources – small, grid-connected devices, like rooftop solar and energy storage – have disrupted demand for electricity produced from traditional power plants.
In May, the New York State Public Service Commission introduced a new way to pay the state’s utilities, one where utilities are compensated not just based on how much electricity they produce, but also for producing environmental benefits aligned with the public good. This approach aligns with Reforming the Energy Vision (REV) – New York’s official plan to make its electric grid cleaner, more efficient, and affordable – and comes at a time of unparalleled population growth in New York. Read More
“I am the Lorax. I speak for the trees. I speak for the trees for the trees have no tongues.” – Dr. Seuss, The Lorax.
As a child, that line from the classic Dr. Seuss book struck a chord in me, far beyond the giggle it caused when I thought of trees having tongues. The quote clearly imprinted the idea that – when a situation needs attention – those who can speak, should. For me, one of those situations is sharing the good news that energy-efficient buildings are cleaner and smarter than ever.
Buildings can be big polluters: 70 percent of the world population will live in cities by 2050, adding 40 percent to the current world building stock. As energy-efficient structures develop in growing countries, the U.S. can help stay competitive by retrofitting its existing buildings. Plus, improving building efficiency can contribute to reductions in global CO2 emissions from buildings by 83 percent below business-as-usual by 2050, reports the World Resources Institute.
I believe we are well on our way to creating a cleaner, smarter energy future. My optimism is fueled by efficiency trends in three important arenas: people, places, and partnerships.
Co-authored with Martha Roberts
If someone was tallying up all the benefits of energy efficiency programs, you’d want them to include reducing climate pollution, right? That’s just common sense.
Thankfully, that’s what our government does when it designs energy efficiency programs—as well as other policies that impact greenhouse gas emissions. And just this month, this approach got an important seal of approval: For the first time, a federal court upheld using the social cost of carbon to inform vital protections against the harmful impacts of climate change. Read More
As a utility executive, it is the best of times, it is the worst of times. It is the age of innovation, it is the age of stagnant tradition. With a nod to Charles Dickens, it is the epoch of environmental improvement, it is the epoch of continued pollution.
Perhaps no state better represents those extremes than Illinois, where Commonwealth Edison (ComEd) in the north is considering new business models and embracing greenhouse-gas reductions, while Ameren in the south is rejecting change and virtually anything related to clean energy.
On June 20 and 21, temperatures across the Southwest hit record triple digits. It was a scorching way to start the summer. For Southern Californians, early arrival of extreme heat tested the region’s already compromised electricity system: Residents braced for rolling blackouts as the Aliso Canyon natural gas storage facility (one of the primary sources of power generation in the region) was offline after a disastrous methane leak last winter. Aliso will remain offline until Southern California Gas Company can assure regulators, legislators, and the community that it can be operated safely and efficiently.
The heatwave was further complicated by devastating wildfires to the north and southwest, but the region was ultimately able to emerge from the threat relatively unscathed. Although thousands of residents dealt with short-term outages, rolling blackouts – reminders of California’s dramatic energy crisis of the early 2000s – never came and the region was able to breathe a collective sigh of relief.
During the heatwave, focus was rightly on keeping the system running. But now it’s time to look at how we were able to meet historic electricity demand without the system crashing, and how this will inform power providers in the months ahead.