All around the country, we are seeing signs of innovation when it comes to the electricity industry. The state of New York is performing a comprehensive review of related technologies and business practices, Illinois is modernizing the electric grid and empowering customers to save energy by creating transparency around smart meter data, and the wind industry in Texas continues to set new records. The U.S. grid is truly beginning to evolve from the system Thomas Edison created 100 years ago, moving toward a more flexible grid that runs on clean, renewable resources.
Yet some players – with significant revenue and power – are not on board. FirstEnergy, the Akron-based utility giant, has been clinging to the past and waging war on clean energy in Ohio, as I explain in my op-ed published today in the Akron Beacon Journal. The Beacon Journal is the hometown newspaper of FirstEnergy’s headquarters. Read More
By: Matt Golden, Senior Energy Finance Consultant
A few days ago, economists from the University of Chicago and the University of California, Berkeley released a study that called into question the cost-effectiveness of energy efficiency. The study was based on the team’s analysis of energy savings shortfalls in the Michigan low income Weatherization Assistance Program. Since then, a host of articles have used the study’s results to call into question the value of utility-sponsored energy efficiency programs.
While this study did raise some thought-provoking points, it also contained biased assumptions and reached conclusions that far exceed its scope, lumping together market-based efficiency with low-income weatherization programs. Read More
Last week’s papal encyclical on climate change galvanized those of us who already see responsible stewardship for the earth as both a moral mandate and business imperative. In the 184-page document, Pope Francis calls for a sweeping overhaul of political, economic, and individual practices to halt the degradation of the environment and protect our planet for the long term.
The pope's sweeping vision is sure to prompt churches, people of faith, and a whole range of organizations to rethink their actions with regard to use of energy, water, and other natural resources. But already, religious organizations have been working quietly and steadily to effectively manage their environmental impact, in keeping with the established theological tradition of moral economic development and use of resources.
Take Gene Murphy of Prescott, Arizona, as a prime example of someone sitting at the intersection of religion, sustainability, and business. As the business manager for the Sacred Heart Parish in the Diocese of Phoenix, Gene has developed scalable solutions for his church and school that could and should be replicated across all churches, schools and relevant organizations. Read More
By: Matt Golden, Senior Energy Finance Consultant
The Investor Confidence Project (ICP), an Environmental Defense Fund initiative designed to unlock investment in energy efficiency, announces the launch of the ICP Quality Assurance Credential for companies with the skills, training, and experience to provide independent review of ICP projects.
This last of three key credentials authorizes third-party Credentialed Quality Assurance providers to verify that a project conforms to a set of ICP protocols, as well as certify it as an Investor Ready Energy EfficiencyTM project. The completion of the ICP credentialing system marks a crucial step forward for ICP and the standardization of the commercial and multifamily energy efficiency industry.
By: Paul Fenn, Founder and President of Local Power Inc.
New York has embarked on a major energy reform that will change the way electricity is produced, distributed, and priced in the state. The effort, called ‘Reforming the Energy Vision’ (REV) has the potential to scale up the use of local renewable energy resources and widely deploy energy efficiency technologies, reduce energy bills, and give customers greater control over their energy use.
New York’s REV effort would change the longstanding utility business model that relies on a one-way, centralized power grid delivering electricity to customers, most of it generated by aging, polluting power plants. Under this model, the environmentally-conscious customer has little say over how her energy is produced. Read More
Solar energy is booming – and you needn’t look further for proof of its success than Brian H. Potts’ recent op-ed in the Wall Street Journal. When a utility lawyer like Potts is arguing for what type of solar energy our country should be investing in –utility-owned, large-scale solar versus customer-owned, rooftop – you know this renewable energy resource has gone mainstream. And that’s a good thing.
We should support a wide variety of clean energy resources precisely because these technologies eliminate the costs of pollution now being socialized by fossil fuel generators. And this is becoming all the more critical as the costs of a changing climate grow. Read More