Energy Exchange

The President Should Understand Clean Energy is a Bipartisan Issue.

Last Friday, students at UC Berkeley hosted their 8th annual Energy Summit about the future of federal energy policy under the Trump Administration. It was refreshing to hear a respectful discussion — participants from people from private industry, non-profits and business exploring serious solutions — and listening with respect to all sides — including a conservative Trump supporter on a panel with me.

There was a remarkable amount of agreement — which is very surprising in these divisive times. But we should not be surprised: When we get together we can find a lot of common ground. The reality is that most Americans want clean energy and the freedom and prosperity that comes with it. Yes, there is controversy about the future of coal — but there is consensus in our country about the future for clean energy. Read More »

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

Companies Want Clean Energy – These 2 EPA Programs Help Them Get It.

For companies, future planning is simply good business. This is why many in Corporate America – having long accepted that climate change is real – are continuing to transition towards low-carbon energy options and to work with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Recently, it was reported that under the watch of newly-appointed EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, the environmental agency’s budget could be cut by 24 percent – to roughly $6 billion, its lowest since the mid-1980's. If this happens, it may be up to the business community to maintain its vigilant eye on the environment and future while helping today’s economy thrive.

Here’s a look at just two of the many EPA programs that have helped business transition to a clean energy future. Read More »

Also posted in Clean Power Plan / Comments are closed

As New Energy Secretary, Rick Perry Will Inherit Trump’s Assault on American Clean Energy

Rick Perry by Gage SkidmoreThose of us who lived through Rick Perry’s governorship in Texas were concerned he’d take his “pollution-first” mentality to Washington. But the Trump administration’s assault on clean energy started before Perry cleared the first hurdle for becoming Secretary of Energy today, signaling he’ll likely be confirmed by the full Senate.

In two short weeks, President Trump laid out the dismal, dirty, and dangerous energy platform he’ll expect Rick Perry to execute. It’s up to us to protect and defend the jobs clean energy creates, along with its benefits for business, consumers, health, and our natural resources.

Energy efficiency
President Trump’s regulatory freeze halted four rules designed to reduce energy waste and, consequently, energy bills and greenhouse gas pollution. The Washington Post reported, “The freeze would appear to have the effect of sweeping up four very nearly finished Energy Department energy efficiency standards, affecting an array of products, including portable air conditioners and commercial boilers.” Heating and cooling use the most energy in buildings. This rule on commercial air-conditioners was published last year. The amount of C02 reduction and the fact that the Department of Energy negotiated the rule with industry make it a landmark example of how efficiency rules don’t hurt manufacturers while saving utility customers billions of dollars. Closing off this avenue of cooperation between the government and industry stakeholders takes away drive for innovation and allows others (China) to take the lead. Read More »

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

Market Forces are Driving Coal’s Demise and Cleaning Up the Grid in Texas

power lines unsplash croppedWhat do economists and environmentalists have in common? When it comes to Texas’ energy future, more than you may think.

According to a new study from the Brattle Group, a reputable, national economics consulting firm with extensive experience in Texas’ electricity sector, market forces are leading to coal’s rapid decline in the Lone Star State. Moreover, rapidly-growing cleaner electricity sources like natural gas and renewable energy will be able to entirely meet Texas’ additional power needs – without increasing electric bills. We couldn’t agree more.

That said, we’re confident the impacts are going to be even more powerful in terms of Texas’ wind, solar, and energy efficiency. And the latest report from Texas’ main grid operator, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), continues to support that expectation. Read More »

Also posted in Air Quality, Natural Gas, Texas / Comments are closed

Texas’ Evolving Energy Reality: Clean Energy Uses Less Water

wind water flickrIt’s been an interesting time for water in Texas. Beyond the incredibly wet and cool spring we’ve been having, Memorial Day saw the second year in a row of record-breaking floods.

And a few weeks ago, the Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) asked for comments on the draft 2017 State Water Plan. The TWDB is the state agency responsible for water planning, and every five years it produces a strategy that “addresses the needs of all water user groups in the state – municipal, irrigation, manufacturing, livestock, mining, and steam-electric power.”

In the five years since the last state water plan, Texas has gone from one extreme to the other in terms of water: from the throes of a devastating drought to historic flooding that resulted in some reservoirs being full for the first time in 15 years.

In this climate of feast or famine, we need to better understand our water supplies and conservation efforts, both of which have a strong tie to our energy choices. That’s why Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) weighed in on Texas’ draft water plan. Not only does the state significantly overestimate the amount of water needed to make electricity, but a more comprehensive view of energy in relation to water demand and supply would benefit the 2017 State Water Plan and future plans. Read More »

Also posted in Energy-Water Nexus, Natural Gas, Texas / Read 1 Response

We're wasting solar energy because the grid can't handle it all. Here's a solution.

caligrid_378x235California has a nice problem: It’s producing so much clean solar energy that the state’s electric grid is at capacity, and sometimes beyond.

As Vox’s David Roberts reports in his excellent piece about California’s grid headache, it makes good sense to expand the system by interconnecting state-run energy markets.

But he also notes, at the end of his story, some other and complementary strategies California can use to increase its grid bandwidth – while accommodating rapidly growing, but variable, renewable energy sources.

Connected grids, alone, are not a long-term fix. Read More »

Also posted in California, Clean Energy, Electricity Pricing, Energy Efficiency, Energy Storage, Grid Modernization, Solar Energy, Time of Use / Read 3 Responses