California’s big three utilities – San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E), Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E), and Southern California Edison (SCE) – serve approximately 80 percent of the state's residential customers, which is why their recent move to update the state’s antiquated electricity pricing could be a game-changer for helping the state achieve its climate and clean energy goals.
In late December, while most people were on holiday, the utilities submitted plans to the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to assess electricity prices that vary with the season and time of day. These plans detail the next two years of piloting time-of-use (TOU) pricing for most residential customers, and will help California reduce pollution and increase renewable energy production. Read More
In his final State of the Union address last night, President Obama did not spend any time bragging about his signature environmental achievements, such as the Clean Power Plan or the Paris climate accord. Instead, he highlighted the need for a more flexible electric grid in order to accelerate America’s transition to a clean energy economy, noting that, “Rather than subsidize the past, we should invest in the future.”
But some climate deniers and industry leaders alike are stuck in the past, and do not share Obama’s enthusiasm for a clean energy future. They argue that this path will cost too much and have a devastating impact on our economy. We’ve heard this argument before, and it doesn’t hold true. Read More
Back in September when the New York Times declared 2015 “the year humans got serious about climate change,” we knew they were on to something. But as we near the end of 2015, it’s hard to believe we’ve accomplished as much as we have in just 12 months.
This momentum culminated in representatives of 195 nations agreeing in Paris to act together on world knowledge of climate change. This historic agreement will aim to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions, report transparently, and review and strengthen standards every five years. EDF President Fred Krupp stated, “It sends a powerful, immediate signal to global markets that the clean energy future is open for business.”
Though history proves “hindsight is 20/20,” historians just might look back at 2015 as the year everything changed for clean energy. Here’s a look at some of the top trends that fueled climate action by governments, investors, corporations, individuals, cities, utilities, market analysts, real estate professionals, and cleantech leaders in 2015. [Click through the following slideshow to see the trends.] Read More
By: Charlene Heydinger, Executive Director, Keeping PACE in Texas
As a bustling metropolis and the biggest city in Texas, Houston has a lot of buildings – and that equals a lot of opportunity to make these facilities more energy- and water-efficient.
Houston grabbed headlines last month when it became the first in Texas to adopt a citywide Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) program. PACE will help Houston building owners undertake much-needed water and energy efficiency improvements through private financing – all without having to worry about steep upfront costs. This move means substantial economic development potential, in addition to environmental benefits, for the nation's fourth largest city.
It’s also a sign this innovative clean energy finance tool is catching fire in Texas: Houston joins Austin’s Travis County, which embraced PACE in March, and a Dallas city ordinance is just on the horizon. Additionally, Cameron and Willacy Counties expect to bring PACE to the Rio Grande Valley in January.
2015 marks a record year for the PACE finance approach across Texas, and interest is growing in several other counties. Even better, all are following the stakeholder-designed PACE in a Box model toolkit – meaning PACE is uniform, user-friendly, and market-based throughout the state. Read More
By: David Kolata, Citizens Utility Board executive director, and Dick Munson, EDF Midwest director, clean energy
If Illinois wants a cheaper, cleaner, and more stable power grid, then we have to put policies in place that make it easier for people to adopt solar in their neighborhoods.
Fortunately, solar energy’s future looks a little brighter in Illinois since two recent Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) rulings. The Citizens Utility Board (CUB) and Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) applaud the decisions after months of dogged work advocating the reforms.
On November 13, the ICC simplified solar interconnection standards, enabling Illinoisans to more easily connect their solar panels to the power grid. It’s now cheaper than ever to generate electricity using solar panels, and the costs keep coming down. But we need to cut administrative burdens to make it easier for people to enjoy cheaper, cleaner power – and the ICC’s decision is an important step in this direction. Read More
The Paris climate negotiations can set the stage for a global shift on climate change – when our world’s emissions finally stop rising, level off, and begin to fall.
There is reason to be optimistic: from China to the United States, from Europe to South Asia, countries are coming together with commitments to cut climate pollution. And so are cities, companies, investors, entrepreneurs – and even moms. That’s real momentum that could open a new era for how we make and use energy.
The real action starts after we all go home from Paris with the biggest question coming out of COP-21: Now what? I want to share three specific ideas for the future – ideas that could accelerate access to clean energy.
First, the biggest barriers today lie in how to deploy the technology we have or will soon have. Solar panels, “smart” buildings, electric cars – the cost of these technologies is on its way down. Yet we still face problems of scale, because barriers in policy and finance limit the ability of clean technologies to deploy in ways accessible to everyone. Read More