Selected category: Energy Innovation

How community air monitoring projects provide a data-driven model for the future

Nicoyia Hurt, EDF Oil and Gas Health Policy Intern, contributed to this post

Downtown Los Angeles with misty morning smog.

This month marks the one year anniversary since the residents in Imperial County California did something pretty amazing.

After experiencing some of the highest asthma hospitalization rates in the state, the community got together to launch the IVAN air monitoring project– a community website that provides real time air quality data collected from 40 different pollution monitors across the county.

Frances Nicklen said the air monitors make a huge difference to her community.

"The placement of these 40 air monitors throughout the Imperial Valley will be very beneficial so that the people can make educated decisions to protect their health and that of their families," she told the Comite Civico Del Valle. “We only have one valley, and we have to live here, and we need to make it a better place for all of our residents.” Read More »

Also posted in Air Quality, California, Climate, Data Access, Natural Gas| Comments are closed

New report: Clean tech boosts electric grid as coal use declines

By Rama Zakaria

new report by M.J. Bradley & Associates shows that coal-fired power plants are retiring primarily due to low natural gas prices and flattened demand, and that cleaner energy keeps our electric grid reliable.

The report estimates that coal plant closures caused less than 20 percent of the overall decline in coal generation over the past six years, and it affirms a recent Department of Energy (DOE) finding that the major driver behind U.S. coal plant closures is economics – namely, cheap natural gas. M.J. Bradley’s report also shows that new clean tech may enable the grid to begin performing better than ever.

Major findings

The M.J Bradley report confirms conclusions by multiple studies that show these are the three main factors that caused coal to decline:

  • Increased competition from cheap natural gas – accounting for 49 percent of the decline,
  • Reduced demand for electricity – accounting for 26 percent, and
  • Increased growth in renewable energy – accounting for 18 percent.

Read More »

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

California can prove a clean energy economy is a strong economy with SB 100

The California State Assembly faces an enormous opportunity when they come back from summer recess today: to drive the state towards 100 percent clean energy by 2045.

It comes in the form of SB 100, a bill that would accelerate the state’s current Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) requirement from 50 percent to 60 percent by 2030 and set a statewide policy to get to 100 percent clean energy by 2045. In the wake of recent legislation to extend a cap and trade system for greenhouse gases, this effort will help us to reduce climate and air pollution from the electricity sector.

California is already ahead of schedule in reaching its goal of 50 percent renewables by 2030. In fact, according to the California Public Utilities Commission, utilities are already on contract for an average of 43 percent renewable energy by 2020 – a huge accomplishment worthy of applause.

The difficulty is that once these targets are met, we anticipate clean energy development and installation will slow, meaning fewer clean energy jobs and less investment in California. We need SB 100’s ambitious goal of 100 percent renewables to keep up economic growth. Read More »

Also posted in California, Clean Energy| Read 3 Responses

Research competition invites students to solve real-world energy problems

Reviewing residential electricity data in Pecan Street's Pike Powers Lab.

By Maddie Venn, clean energy communications intern

Recently, it seems like everyone is competing to become the next big thing in the energy sector. Whether it’s electric vehicles, smart grid technology, or energy storage, innovation continues to pop up left and right as we work to build a smarter, cleaner electric grid.

If innovation and technology spark your competitive drive, here’s your opportunity to dive in and join a community of engaged researchers working to solve some of our most pressing energy concerns. Pecan Street is hosting its second student research competition, inviting the best and the brightest to use the organization’s extensive collection of energy-use data to help solve real-world problems.

Open to all full-time graduate and undergraduate students and with prizes totaling $10,000, the competition aims to connect Pecan Street’s well-established dataset with the innovation of young minds. As the grid gets smarter, data can help people play a more active role in how their electricity is made, moved, and used. Competitions like Pecan Street’s will get us there faster. Read More »

Also posted in Clean Energy, Texas| Comments are closed

The energy sector needs to adapt to millennials—not vice versa

By Elizabeth Villedrouin, Communications Intern, Clean Energy and Kristen Moore, Research Intern, Clean Energy

As interns at Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), we’ve been tapped as resident experts on surviving on college budgets, social media, and all things Millennial.  Research tells us Millennials are the largest living generation. So, as Clean Energy interns this summer, we’ve learned that gives us much power to change the game for the energy sector. But in unexpected ways.

As young people, we’re working at EDF because we want to promote systemic, market-based solutions and new technologies that shift our country toward clean energy and away from our fossil fuel past (did someone say solar paint?).

We have high standards for our energy future, and our priorities differ from our parents’ (for example, millennials tend to value careers [PDF] over religious life). And although we’re the thriftiest generation, 64 percent of us are actually willing to pay more on our electric bill if it’s generated by clean energy. Read More »

Also posted in Clean Energy, Energy Efficiency, Energy Equity, Energy Financing, General, Grid Modernization| Read 5 Responses

How cities are using clean energy commitments to prosper

Cities have long been testing grounds for policy innovation. That identity is critical as we barrel headfirst into an urbanized world. As of 2014, 54 percent of the world’s population lived in urban areas, and the United Nations estimates that by 2050, over 6 billion people will live in cities.

So, it only makes practical and economic sense that local leaders around the world have doubled-downed on addressing one of, if not the, biggest threats to humans and the planet we call home: climate change.

In fact, over 300 U.S. mayors have reaffirmed their commitment to meet the climate reduction goals set forth in the 2016 Paris Agreement. Read More »

Also posted in California, Clean Energy, Energy Equity, Pennsylvania| Comments are closed
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