Selected category: Energy Efficiency

Illinois’ Future Energy Jobs Bill Shows States are Taking the Lead to Build the Clean Energy Economy

By Andrew Barbeau, senior clean energy consultant

For a breakdown of the bill's renewable energy details, see here.

Two years, three competing major energy reform bills, more than 300 diverse organizations and companies, and countless hours of negotiations have now come down to one important moment: Illinois’ Future Energy Jobs Bill is signed into law today.

A clean energy economic development package of monumental size, the Future Energy Jobs Bill will create thousands of homegrown jobs, save billions of dollars in wasted energy, and secure Illinois’ place at the forefront of the nation’s clean energy economy.

In fact, Environmental Defense Fund’s (EDF) analysis estimates Illinois will see an additional $12 billion to $15 billion in new private investment as a result of the new clean energy priorities in this bill. That’s the greatest economic development package in Illinois in years, and likely will be the largest for the foreseeable future.

It’s also the most significant climate bill in Illinois history. We estimate it will reduce harmful carbon dioxide emissions by more than 33 million metric tons annually in 2030. Combined with the ongoing impact of market changes on the fossil fuel industry, this means Illinois will reduce its carbon emissions from the power sector by more than 50 percent from 2012 levels by 2030.

Oh, and did I mention customers’ bills will go down? Based on extensive analysis from the Illinois Commerce Commission and Illinois’ consumer watchdog Citizens Utility Board, the Future Energy Jobs Bill’s energy efficiency initiatives will lower customers’ electric bills.

At a time when President-elect Trump is threatening to roll back federal environmental protections, state victories like the Future Energy Jobs Bill are more critical than ever.

That’s the ultimate win, win, win.

At a time when President-elect Trump is threatening to roll back federal environmental protections, state victories like the Future Energy Jobs Bill are more critical than ever. And, with strong bipartisan support in the Illinois General Assembly and being signed into law by a Republican governor, the deal is a clear signal that Illinois is ready to reap clean energy’s economic rewards – even if federal leaders refuse to join us in this endeavor. Read More »

Also posted in Illinois, Jobs, Solar Energy, Wind Energy| Comments are closed

What Trump and Pence Don't Get about Clean Energy Jobs

President-elect Trump's victory tour began in Indiana last week, where he and running mate Mike Pence announced they had cobbled together enough taxpayer cash to convince Carrier – a gas furnace manufacturer that planned to move 2,000 jobs to Mexico – to keep some of its jobs in the state.

But just two years ago, Governor Pence allowed Indiana to become the first state to abandon its energy efficiency standards – a move that Carrier and other companies warned would threaten nearly 1,500 jobs and $500 million a year in local economic investment. Evidently, losing 1,500 jobs wasn't enough to worry about. Yet two years and a presidential election later, saving 1,000 on the backs of taxpayers is held up as proof that Trump is making good on his promise to reinvigorate the American economy.

Politics is theatre, but what worries me about the Carrier announcement is that it underscores how our new president and vice president don't understand the true economic potential of clean, modern energy.

The clean energy industry – everything from wind turbines and solar panels, to home energy storage and energy efficiency – is exploding around the country. In 2014, the U.S. clean energy market grew by 14 percent – at nearly five times the rate of the overall economy – to nearly $200 billion. That's bigger than the U.S. airline industry, and roughly equal to the pharmaceutical business. And this growth is creating millions of quality, homegrown jobs. If Trump wants to be the jobs president he promised he would be, someone needs to brief him on the facts. Read More »

Also posted in Clean Energy, Jobs, Solar Energy, Wind Energy| Comments are closed

The $330 million question: Why new oil and gas waste rules are something we all should support

Pump jacks and storage tanks at oil field

Today the Bureau of Land Management finalized new rules that limit the amount of methane oil and gas companies can leak, vent, or flare on the 245 million acres of taxpayer-owned and tribal lands. This is a huge, $330 million dollar problem according to a recent study from ICF international. While an analysis from the Western Values Project estimates taxpayers could lose out on almost $800 million over the next decade – unless the BLM acts to reduce wasteful venting and flaring practices.

Reeling in waste of resources that belong to the nation’s tribes and taxpayers is an effort that folks from across the   political spectrum can get behind. Read More »

Also posted in Air Quality, BLM Methane, Methane, Natural Gas| Tagged | Comments are closed

Affordable Housing Can Save Money, Water, and Energy with this Innovative Finance Tool

By Laura Sanchez, EDF Climate Corps 2016 Fellow

Like many booming cities, Texas’ capital is experiencing overwhelming demand for affordable housing. Austin’s Mayor Steve Adler highlighted the affordable housing crisis shortly after taking office in January 2015, and urged the use of Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) to help encourage affordability. PACE enables commercial, industrial, and multifamily property owners to improve the water or energy efficiency of their buildings – without having to worry about steep upfront costs. Investing in these types of upgrades can reduce a property’s operating costs, as well as tenants’ utility bills.

That’s why I spent this past summer with Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), as an EDF Climate Corps Fellow with Texas PACE Authority, the PACE program administrator in the state. In June 2016, Mayor Adler created a committee of housing experts to determine how to leverage PACE for affordable housing. Alongside the committee, I worked to size up the opportunity, benefits, and challenges of using PACE to help pay for upgrades to affordable multifamily-housing properties.

After conversations with officials and program administrators from over 30 public for-profit and non-profit entities, we found there are significant opportunities – in Texas and nationwide – for the affordable multifamily-housing sector to leverage PACE. We are proud to present a new whitepaper that can serve as a guide to unlocking water, energy, and cost savings. Read More »

Also posted in Energy Financing, Solar Energy| Comments are closed

These Energy Efficiency Laws Give New York City a Fresh Start on Power Savings

eebillssigning_103116The New York City Council has an excellent environmental track record, and I’m pleased to say that most recently it has passed a group of bills tackling energy efficiency in buildings, adding to its stellar standing.

Mayor Bill de Blasio this week signed a package of laws developed by the City Council that address energy efficiency in thousands of buildings citywide. Buildings account for nearly three-quarters of the city’s greenhouse gas emissions, which makes buildings crucial to New York City’s goal of reducing emissions 80 percent by 2050. In fact, the mayor’s office estimates that these bills will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by roughly 250,000 metric tons throughout the city, and create an estimated 100 jobs by spurring retrofits in 16,000 buildings. I attended the bill signing on October 31st, and am proud to say that Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) has been working closely with both the mayor’s office and the City Council to get to this point, along with our partners, the New York League of Conservation Voters, Natural Resources Defense Council, and Urban Green Council.

These new laws – which affect 57 percent of New York City’s buildings (a higher percentage than any other U.S. city) – are important because they mandate that buildings track their energy use. Tracking use will inform necessary energy-efficiency upgrades that will have lasting impacts and ultimately improve the city’s environment and New Yorkers’ public health. Read More »

Also posted in Air Quality, General, New York| Comments are closed

Working Smarter, Not Harder: How Companies Are Setting New Energy Goals

buildingIt’s no secret that companies use goals to push their businesses in a positive direction. Whether it’s about creating more value or reducing impacts, goals provide focus, direction, and a sense of urgency. Recently, a wave corporate, climate-related goals, such as renewable energy and emissions-reductions targets, have grabbed the public’s attention. Companies, cities, and other large institutions are stepping up and committing to reduce their environmental impact. But behind the scenes, are these goals actually leading to corporate action? And if so, what kind?

As program director of EDF Climate Corps, every summer I get a glimpse inside the operations of 100 large organizations that are working to manage energy and carbon in progressively responsible ways. This past summer, 125 EDF Climate Corps fellows – talented graduate students armed with training and expert support – worked to advance clean energy projects in large organizations across the U.S. and in China. Their project work reveals that organizations are more strategic, focused, and results-oriented than ever. More than 70 percent of EDF Climate Corps host organizations have energy or emissions-reductions goals, and to meet these targets, our class of 2016 fellows were strategically deployed to help achieve them. In fact, the majority (two-thirds) of our entire cohort of fellows worked on strategic plans and analyses that will help turn these goals into action. So what did we see this summer? Read More »

Also posted in Clean Energy, EDF Climate Corps, General| Comments are closed
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