Selected category: Energy Efficiency

Purchasing power over politics: American consumers buy more clean energy and electric vehicles

Americans are switching to cleaner cars and electricity. In addition to being smart purchases, these clean energy choices could be a political statement. Consumers are choosing to use their hard-earned dollars to show what they want: clean energy, a clean economy, and government policies that reflect their values.

Last month, electric-car company Tesla was valued higher than General Motors, making it the most valuable U.S. carmaker based on market capitalization. Despite low gas prices, U.S. sales of plug-in electric vehicles increased by 70 percent in January from the same month in 2016. The Chevrolet Volt alone saw an 84 percent increase during the same time.

The increase in electric car sales isn’t surprising in light of The Consumer as Climate Activist, a scientific article published by researchers from Yale University, George Mason University, and the University of Texas. They found that Americans are more likely to engage in consumer activism than political activism to combat climate change. And consumer activism for clean energy is on the rise. Read More »

Also posted in Clean Energy, Electric Vehicles, Solar Energy, Wind Energy| Read 1 Response

How a digital dashboard could make cities’ power, water smarter

By: Jori Mendel, AT&T Smart Cities, and Chandana Vangapalli, former Environmental Defense Fund Climate Corps Fellow

Technology revolutionizes the way people interact with the world. From video chats to securing homes from thousands of miles away, digital connections bring us closer to what matters most.

This same connectivity can play a critical role in helping cities around the world in the fight against climate change – a fight that will only accelerate in the coming years, with cities and municipalities on the front lines.

Nearly 60 percent of the world’s population will live in cities by 2030. These urban areas already account for 60-80 percent of energy consumption and 75 percent of carbon emissions, and their impacts will worsen with expansion. Because of their population density, cities are also the most likely to be heavily impacted by water shortages, natural disasters, and heatwaves as climate change progresses.

Smart cities

Understanding how to mitigate these environmental impacts is vital, and the technology that enables cities to be “smart” is a big part of that. Technology can help communities around the world become cleaner, safer, and stronger through connectivity solutions that unlock environmental, social, and economic benefits. Read More »

Also posted in Clean Energy, Climate, Data Access, Energy Innovation, Energy-Water Nexus| Comments are closed

California’s clean-energy leadership continues

California is a leader, and has earned that title – it is the largest state economy in the U.S. and the sixth-largest economy in the world.  Forward-thinking clean energy policies are the backbone of California’s prosperity, creating jobs and businesses for the state while cutting emissions. While the presidential administration assaults critical environmental protections nationwide, clean energy momentum is unstoppable. California’s leadership is committed and poised to move forward.

Energy policy drives economic growth

Most energy policy is done at the state level, reflecting that energy management is a fundamental concern for local residents and their livelihoods. How we make, move, and use power can create jobs and protect citizens’ rights to clean air and energy choice. The following bills currently in front of the California State Legislature illuminate the state’s path forward: Read More »

Also posted in California, Clean Energy, Electric Vehicles, Solar Energy| Read 1 Response

Proving the negative: The challenge of calculating energy efficiency

Andrew Barbeau, senior clean energy consultant for EDF, contributed to this post.

“Efficiency is good.” That’s the mantra, a known truth, shared by both business executives and environmentalists, who eliminate waste to increase profits and reduce pollution.

When it comes to electricity, efficiency also has proven effective. Whereas power consumption a few decades ago was rising annually at more than 7 percent, the introduction of inexpensive and efficient lightbulbs, refrigerators, and smart heating and cooling has recently led to slight declines in energy consumption, even as the economy boomed and population increased.

Efficiency may be good and effective, but it is inherently hard to calculate. How do you prove the negative? Virtually every state has wrestled with the same questions of how and why electricity use didn’t happen. States with energy efficiency standards – requirements for local utilities to incentivize customers to reduce their energy use year after year – want to know if the investments are cost-effective. With new approaches to calculating energy efficiency, Illinois is tackling that question head on. Read More »

Also posted in Illinois| Read 6 Responses

The Energy Star Program Saves Americans Billions. So, Why Cut It?

Evidently, President Trump and his environmental protection chief Scott Pruitt are just getting warmed up.

Now they’ve set their sights on one of the most successful and noncontroversial energy-related programs the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has ever managed – Energy Star, a program that saves consumers more than $30 billion a year.

According to E&E News, Trump’s draft budget encourages the EPA to “begin developing legislative options and associated groundwork for transferring ownership and implementation of Energy Star to a non-governmental entity.”

Translation: Energy Star, you’re dead. Read More »

Also posted in Clean Energy, Grid Modernization| Comments are closed

The President Should Understand Clean Energy is a Bipartisan Issue.

Last Friday, students at UC Berkeley hosted their 8th annual Energy Summit about the future of federal energy policy under the Trump Administration. It was refreshing to hear a respectful discussion — participants from people from private industry, non-profits and business exploring serious solutions — and listening with respect to all sides — including a conservative Trump supporter on a panel with me.

There was a remarkable amount of agreement — which is very surprising in these divisive times. But we should not be surprised: When we get together we can find a lot of common ground. The reality is that most Americans want clean energy and the freedom and prosperity that comes with it. Yes, there is controversy about the future of coal — but there is consensus in our country about the future for clean energy. Read More »

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