Barely a month after his inauguration, President Trump is proceeding with plans to dismantle protections under the Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act. The targets include limiting pollution into streams and wetlands that flow into drinking water for a hundred million Americans, automobile fuel economy standards that cut tailpipe pollution, and performance standards under the Clean Power Plan that would boost renewable power and fight climate change. Trump and his EPA Administrator, Scott Pruitt, have drawn up reckless plans to slash EPA’s budget—greeted with derision even by some Republicans in Congress. With the tragic story of Flint still fresh in people’s minds, the President is betraying the demands of his own supporters — fully 64% of Trump voters want to maintain or increase spending on environmental protection.
These actions are a tragic wrong turn for the country — and not just because they threaten to roll back decades of progress on air and water pollution, and the recent steps forward on climate change.
What I especially worry about are the lost opportunities for economic growth, new jobs, and the competitiveness of American companies — at a time when China and others are stepping up.
The late California historian Kevin Starr once wrote, “California had long since become one of the prisms through which the American people, for better and for worse, could glimpse their future.” These words have never felt truer. Just ask Gov. Jerry Brown or the leaders of the state legislature, who are all issuing various calls to action to protect and further the state’s leading climate and energy policies.
California is the sixth largest economy in the world and the most populous state in the nation. What’s more, we’ve shown that strong climate and energy policy is possible while building a dynamic economy. We’ve proved that clean energy creates far more jobs than fossil fuels – nationwide, more than 400,000, compared with 50,000 coal mining jobs – while protecting the natural world for all people.
It’s no shock our leaders are fired up. There’s too much at stake. With our state’s diverse, booming yet unequal economy, we are not unlike the rest of the nation. State-level leadership is more important than ever, and other states can and should learn from California to drive action across the U.S. Read More
The New York Public Service Commission recently approved plans by National Grid, the largest distributor of natural gas in the Northeast, to use advanced leak detection and quantification technologies developed by EDF and Google Earth Outreach in order to maximize the environmental and ratepayer benefits of a three-year, $3 billion capital investment program. This program includes plans to replace 585 miles of old, leak-prone pipes on the company’s systems in Long Island and parts of New York City.
The Commission’s December 16 order marks a major step forward in EDF’s efforts to accelerate the diffusion of environmentally beneficial technologies – in this case cutting edge methane emission measurement tools – by natural gas utilities. Read More
The need to plan for and design a more efficient, cleaner, and resilient electricity grid has never been greater. Our aging grid is ill-prepared to keep pace with rapid technological advances and an increasingly distributed, dynamic energy system. A greater number of customers are producing electricity themselves, demanding expanded energy choice and a more interactive relationship with their utilities. In the meantime, an increased number of severe storms in recent years keep pressing the need for resilience. In order to meet these challenges, we need to look beyond traditional planning solutions for how we make, use, and distribute electricity.
This year has seen a flurry of activity on grid modernization in states across the U.S. As 2016 comes to a close, the spotlight is on Maryland as it joins the ranks of states investigating how to transform our electric system. Read More
Co-authored by David Kirkpatrick, Techonomy’s CEO.
When Elon Musk announced his lower-priced Tesla 3 electric car in the spring of 2016, he opened the press conference with rhetorical questions. “Why does Tesla exist? Why are we making electric cars?” The audience of car fanatics and techies didn’t expect the answer he gave, though a clue came from the fact that Musk was already working to fold his other company, SolarCity, into Tesla. He continued: “Because it’s very important to accelerate the transition to sustainable transport…for the future of the world.”
Then Musk started talking about the world’s “record CO2 levels,” noting, “The chart looks like a vertical line, and it’s still climbing!” He sees Tesla as targeting climate change — the cars will connect to the solar systems and home storage batteries, so “every individual is their own utility,” and less carbon is emitted. Not what you’d expect from a car company.
Musk seldom uses the phrase, but what he was talking about was the Internet of Things (IoT) — putting computing intelligence into the objects and systems that surround us, connecting them to the network, and stitching it all into a digital ecosystem. Tesla’s cars, solar collectors and batteries all are connected, communicating via the internet. While the concept of IoT has been batted around the tech industry for a decade, with companies including Cisco and Intel placing hefty bets on its success, only now — suddenly — is it starting to make sense. Read More
UPDATE: Since the July 2016 publication of this original blog post, California Gov. Jerry Brown announced that he will wait until January 2017 to introduce legislation to expand California’s Independent System Operator (CAISO), which manages the state’s electric grid, beyond its borders.
The governor’s plan is good news for California and the other western states. With only a few weeks left in California’s legislative session, stakeholders were still working out remaining questions about how a western regional grid can deliver the significant benefits to the West’s economy and the environment (as shown in the SB 350 studies).
Stakeholder groups, including Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), lawmakers, and regulators covered a lot of ground this session. Working together, we identified the important issues related to successfully implementing a western regional grid that should go into legislation.
EDF strongly thanks the governor’s office and legislative leaders for the focus and time dedicated to regionalization, and looks forward to working diligently over the next few months to help develop the benefits of a regional energy market for California and its neighbors. Read More