Selected category: Grid Modernization

Why better energy data equals better lives – now more than ever

Better Data, Better Lives.

That was the theme of the second World Statistics Day celebrated two years ago on October 20th, 2015. The holiday was designed for celebration every five years, but in light of recent attacks on climate science, it is critical to showcase the value of clean energy data now, more than ever.

So, why is clean energy data important? Why do we need it? As a data analyst, I expect to answer or debate questions about the significance, trends, and use of data. But I don’t usually expect questioning why data should exist in the first place.

Upon reflection, however, I’d say the simplest response is this: We need clean energy data to progress economically, socially, and technologically.

From a family trying to save money on their electricity bill to the global community collaborating on a cleaner, more renewable future, energy data can unlock an unending list of benefits by facilitating the design of effective policies, empowering people and businesses with information, and spurring energy innovation. Here are a just a few of those benefits. Read More »

Also posted in Clean Energy, Data Access, Energy Innovation| Leave a comment

Rick Perry’s coal bailout is an attack on competitive energy markets, with customers footing the bill

Secretary of Energy Rick Perry – whose agenda as governor of Texas was squarely focused on states’ rights and free markets – is now pushing for a federal plan that could disrupt organized electric markets.

Perry’s proposal to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) aims to prop up uneconomic coal at the expense of Americans’ health and wallets.

Perry’s proposal would effectively pay owners of coal and nuclear power plants their operating costs, plus a guaranteed profit, regardless of whether those plants are selling electricity at a competitive price. These aging plants are currently being driven out of the competitive market by flattened energy demand and a growing list of cheaper, cleaner, more efficient alternatives – from natural gas and renewables to demand response and grid-scale battery systems. Simply put, Perry’s proposal shields uneconomic coal power, replacing competitive markets with profit guarantees.

That’s not a thumb on the scale supporting obsolete and expensive energy; it’s an elephant.

Because carbon pollution from coal plants causes asthma attacks, heart attacks, and a staggering number of premature deaths every year, propping up this dirty energy source will not only raise electricity bills, it will hurt American families. Read More »

Also posted in Clean Energy, Electricity Pricing, Energy Innovation| 1 Response

Innovative measurement tool will help Illinois calculate the benefits of smart-grid investments

Even as the Trump administration moved last week to repeal the Clean Power Plan, some of the biggest American utilities indicated they’ll continue investing in clean energy and strategizing around climate change.

And as they continue investing in smart meters and other grid modernization efforts, utilities will want to know how well they do. Are grid programs fulfilling environmental promises and cutting pollution? Can they measure success and prove to investors and regulators they’re making smart decisions?

In Illinois, electricity providers Commonwealth Edison (ComEd) and Ameren are the first in the country to adopt a new tool that calculates clean air benefits from investments such as advanced meters. ComEd began using the tool last year, and now Ameren will follow suit.

Beyond bringing tangible rewards to the utilities, this little-noticed milestone can have major implications for the entire power industry. Read More »

Also posted in Illinois| 1 Response

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, Energy Innovation| Comments are closed

Here's why putting more tax dollars behind coal is such a wasteful proposition

West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice just pitched a coal boondoggle to President Donald Trump. And boy oh boy, it’s a doozy.

Justice, who made news recently for announcing at a Trump rally that he was switching from the Democratic to the Republican party, is a billionaire climate denier who owns a host of companies, including a golf course and casino and who put his children in charge of his empire while he is governor. Sound familiar?

He also owns several coal mines and was delinquent on $2 million in mine safety violations until a 2014 story by National Public Radio prompted him to start paying his fines.

So let’s have a closer look at the governor’s pitch. Turns out, it’s a really lousy deal for American taxpayers and coal workers alike – while doing nothing for energy security. Read More »

Also posted in Clean Energy, Jobs| Comments are closed

How solar helped a church pull out of the red and steward the community

This summer, Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) and The Nature Conservancy (TNC) collaborated with First Baptist Church in Mount Olive, North Carolina to host an event to explore the new opportunities solar energy is providing for the church and Wayne County.

We spent most of the day together and heard how First Baptist Church is benefitting from solar energy projects situated a couple of miles from the church. The church has provided land for two solar installations, built by Birdseye Renewable Energy and owned and operated by Strata Solar, a Chapel-Hill based solar developer. The solar farm we all toured generates more than 10,000 MWh of energy every year.

Speakers included Senior Pastor Dennis Atwood and Angelo San Fratello, President of Trustees.

"It's a matter of stewardship for us and we didn't want the land to be developed for some purpose that would be contrary to the mission of our church," Atwood said. "And solar farming is clean energy, and it's a good use of the earth and it essentially goes back to providing power for almost an entire town." Read More »

Also posted in North Carolina, Renewable Energy, Solar Energy| Read 1 Response
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