Energy Exchange

Trump Undermining Jobs That Conserve Natural Gas, But States Should Create Them

The biggest irony of the Trump Administration’s attack on environmental safeguards is that it will undermine a central promise of his candidacy: supporting boots on the ground, American jobs in growth sectors. One prime example? The emerging service industry that puts people to work finding and fixing harmful natural gas leaks.

American workers in the methane mitigation industry keep the product, methane (the main ingredient in natural gas), in the pipes and out of the sky. That’s a win for workers, who receive technology training, competitive wages, and opportunities for upward mobility. It’s a win for surrounding communities, as methane emission reductions also help keep smog-forming pollutants out of the air they breathe. It’s a win for oil and gas operators, which make operations more efficient and improve safety. And it’s a win for the climate, since methane is 84 times more potent in the near term than carbon dioxide.

In other words, if winning were more than a campaign slogan, supporting America’s methane mitigation industry would be an obvious opportunity to seize. Unfortunately, President Trump’s anti-jobs approach to undermining methane safeguards does just the opposite. Read More »

Also posted in General, Methane, Natural Gas / Comments are closed

As Trump Signals a Rollback on Environmental Regulations, a New Jobs Report Indicates That May Not be Such a Good Idea

rp_iStock-498769592-1024x740.jpgPresident Trump’s regulatory freeze that halted four rules designed to promote greater energy efficiency appears to be just the first salvo in an ongoing plan to roll back environmental protections and slash environmental budgets. While that is obviously foolish from an environmental perspective, it is also problematic from an economic/job creation standpoint.

As program director of EDF Climate Corps, I have daily insight into how businesses are accelerating the transition to a clean energy economy while hiring the next generation of talented, motivated leaders – which is a good thing, because they’re needed.

Our new report, Now Hiring: The Growth of America’s Clean Energy & Sustainability Jobs, underscores this trend. As the economy becomes more sustainable and energy efficient, a new market for clean energy and sustainability jobs is created. This market is large, growing and intrinsically local. Even better, these jobs span across economic sectors, including renewable energy, energy efficiency and other green goods and services, like local and state government, transportation and corporations. Read More »

Also posted in Clean Energy / Comments are closed

Illinois’ Future Energy Jobs Act Shows States are Taking the Lead to Build the Clean Energy Economy

By Andrew Barbeau, senior clean energy consultant

For a breakdown of the bill’s renewable energy details, see here.

Two years, three competing major energy reform bills, more than 300 diverse organizations and companies, and countless hours of negotiations have now come down to one important moment: Illinois’ Future Energy Jobs Act is signed into law today.

A clean energy economic development package of monumental size, the Future Energy Jobs Act will create thousands of homegrown jobs, save billions of dollars in wasted energy, and secure Illinois’ place at the forefront of the nation’s clean energy economy.

In fact, Environmental Defense Fund’s (EDF) analysis estimates Illinois will see an additional $12 billion to $15 billion in new private investment as a result of the new clean energy priorities in this bill. That’s the greatest economic development package in Illinois in years, and likely will be the largest for the foreseeable future.

It’s also the most significant climate bill in Illinois history. We estimate it will reduce harmful carbon dioxide emissions by more than 33 million metric tons annually in 2030. Combined with the ongoing impact of market changes on the fossil fuel industry, this means Illinois will reduce its carbon emissions from the power sector by more than 50 percent from 2012 levels by 2030.

Oh, and did I mention customers’ bills will go down? Based on extensive analysis from the Illinois Commerce Commission and Illinois’ consumer watchdog Citizens Utility Board, the Future Energy Jobs Bill’s energy efficiency initiatives will lower customers’ electric bills.

At a time when President-elect Trump is threatening to roll back federal environmental protections, state victories like the Future Energy Jobs Act are more critical than ever.

That’s the ultimate win, win, win.

At a time when President-elect Trump is threatening to roll back federal environmental protections, state victories like the Future Energy Jobs Bill are more critical than ever. And, with strong bipartisan support in the Illinois General Assembly and being signed into law by a Republican governor, the deal is a clear signal that Illinois is ready to reap clean energy’s economic rewards – even if federal leaders refuse to join us in this endeavor. Read More »

Also posted in Energy Efficiency, Illinois, Solar Energy, Wind Energy / Comments are closed

What Trump and Pence Don’t Get about Clean Energy Jobs

President-elect Trump’s victory tour began in Indiana last week, where he and running mate Mike Pence announced they had cobbled together enough taxpayer cash to convince Carrier – a gas furnace manufacturer that planned to move 2,000 jobs to Mexico – to keep some of its jobs in the state.

But just two years ago, Governor Pence allowed Indiana to become the first state to abandon its energy efficiency standards – a move that Carrier and other companies warned would threaten nearly 1,500 jobs and $500 million a year in local economic investment. Evidently, losing 1,500 jobs wasn’t enough to worry about. Yet two years and a presidential election later, saving 1,000 on the backs of taxpayers is held up as proof that Trump is making good on his promise to reinvigorate the American economy.

Politics is theatre, but what worries me about the Carrier announcement is that it underscores how our new president and vice president don’t understand the true economic potential of clean, modern energy.

The clean energy industry – everything from wind turbines and solar panels, to home energy storage and energy efficiency – is exploding around the country. In 2014, the U.S. clean energy market grew by 14 percent – at nearly five times the rate of the overall economy – to nearly $200 billion. That’s bigger than the U.S. airline industry, and roughly equal to the pharmaceutical business. And this growth is creating millions of quality, homegrown jobs. If Trump wants to be the jobs president he promised he would be, someone needs to brief him on the facts. Read More »

Also posted in Clean Energy, Energy Efficiency, Solar Energy, Wind Energy / Comments are closed

Solar Ready Vets Trains Veterans for Jobs in Booming Solar Industry

ga_los-angelesBy: John A. Nicholson, Col., USMC (Ret), and EDF consultant

Veterans Day is a time for our nation to recognize and thank all those who have served in the military in peace and war. Moreover, it is a day to reflect and recommit to honoring the service of veterans.

But consider this: Five years ago, the unemployment rate among post-9/11 veterans was 12 percent. About 12 percent of veterans between the ages of 18-34 lived below the poverty level. One in seven homeless people were veterans.

These startling statistics prompted a national call to action in 2011 from the White House and others for employers to hire veterans and their spouses.

Enter Solar Ready Vets, a Department of Energy program aimed squarely at training veterans to work in the rapidly expanding solar energy industry, in which jobs have grown more than 20 percent in each of the last three years. Read More »

Also posted in Clean Energy, Climate, Military, Solar Energy / Read 2 Responses

Good Policy Gone Bad: How Nevada Killed Jobs and Clean Energy Competition

Road_Closed_sign_along_Nevada_State_Route_317_south_of_Caliente,_NevadaIf you want a good example how bad government can kill good jobs and clean energy innovation, take a look at what’s happening in Nevada, where a decision by Governor Brian Sandoval’s appointees, pushed by NV Energy Inc., essentially killed the thriving local solar energy industry.

In December 2015, Gov. Sandoval’s Public Utilities Commission (PUCN) approved a new net metering rule for people with rooftop solar systems that significantly increases monthly fees they pay their utility and significantly decreases the value of unused energy they sell back to the grid. Under the new rule, rooftop solar owners do not receive payments for the benefits they provide the electric grid and it will simply take too long to recoup a solar investment so that, for most, solar will no longer be a smart financial move. Solar companies are already running for the border.

And if killing jobs wasn’t enough, PUCN’s new rule is retroactive, essentially pulling the economic rug out from under the 17,000 Nevadans who have already invested in solar systems based on existing rules. In some cases, people who have invested tens of thousands of dollars are immediately underwater; it may take them decades to see a financial return on their investment. That is, unless Nevada decides to grandfather all existing solar customers for 20 years (a vote by the PUCN is scheduled for tomorrow). Read More »

Also posted in Electricity Pricing, Solar Energy, Utility Business Models / Read 9 Responses