Many American households and businesses saw energy costs soar this summer with July being the hottest month in Earth’s hottest year on record.
Utilities rely on “peaker plants” during these record-setting heat waves to avoid blackouts. Such plants are more expensive and often more polluting to operate, and utilities pass the higher costs straight on to their customers.
Fortunately, this energy equation is changing. Innovative pricing and smart energy systems are gradually taking hold across the United States, already allowing homes and businesses to save energy and cut costs. It’s just the beginning of what I call our next energy revolution.
Here are three technologies on the market today that are fueling this trend: Read More
To avoid the worst effects of climate change, we must do more to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions. Yet, we still do not have a price on carbon, one of the most prevalent greenhouse gases in the world and the biggest contributor to climate change. Despite knowing that a carbon price creates broad incentives to cut emissions, the current average price of carbon globally (which is below zero, once half a trillion dollars of fossil-fuel subsidies are factored in) is much too low relative to the hidden environmental, health, and societal costs of burning a ton of coal or a barrel of oil.
Policies that comprehensively reform the energy sector—a sector designed around fossil fuels—are necessary even as the price of renewable energy declines. The cost of solar photovoltaics, for example, has declined 80 percent since 2008. Prices will continue to fall, but not fast enough to make a dent in the climate problem.
Policymakers are more likely to price carbon appropriately if renewables are competitive with (or cheaper than) fossil fuels. But reducing the cost of renewable energy requires substantial investment, and thus a carbon price. The best hope of resolution is through controlled policy experiments designed to drive down the cost of renewable power sources even further and faster than in the past five years. Read More
Critics of North Carolina’s clean energy industry recently bought some radio ads asking state lawmakers who support North Carolina’s clean energy policies to change their minds and turn their backs on this growing industry. These opponents mistakenly argue our state’s clean energy policies burden North Carolinians with rising energy costs that hurt families and cost the state jobs. These claims are baseless.
Yes, energy costs in North Carolina have increased – $40 or $50 per month for many households since 2001. But the growth of renewable energy is not the reason why. Conventional energy sources like coal are getting more expensive, accounting for as much as 84 percent of this increase.
The truth is, renewable energy is helping to slow rising energy costs, saving North Carolina electricity customers $162 million since 2007. And while clean energy continues to grow, so will the savings for our state’s families and businesses – delivering nearly half a billion dollars in additional savings over the next 15 years. Read More
Earlier this month, the United States announced a major step forward in addressing air quality concerns and climate change threats to Latinos. I’m talking about the Clean Power Plan, which establishes the first-ever national limits on carbon pollution from powerplants and places us on a path to heed Pope Francis’s call to protect our planet.
Unfortunately, critics began attacking the plan even before it was final. Some of these attacks have targeted the Latino community in particular, arguing that the Clean Power Plan will disproportionately and negatively harm Latinos. These are baseless claims and arguments that have been debunked by experts.
When the Clean Power Plan takes full effect, Latinos will be among the many Americans who will share in the benefits of a cleaner, healthier future that also affords us good jobs and energy savings. Read More
Also posted in Air Quality, Clean Power Plan, Energy Efficiency, Energy Financing, General Tagged Clean Energy Incentive Program, Community Solar, jobs, Latinos, National Council of La Raza, Net metering, solar leasing
What do rural electric cooperatives have in common with United States military bases? They all want clean, reliable, affordable energy.
Rural electric cooperatives are not-for-profit electric utilities that provide reliable, at-cost electricity to their members. They’re ingrained in the American landscape: more than 900 rural cooperatives serve more than 42 million customers in 47 states, accounting for 12 percent of all U.S. electricity sales. Because of their market share and core mission to provide affordable, “at-cost” electricity, co-ops represent a huge (and largely untapped) clean energy opportunity. One way they’re starting to tap this potential is through partnerships with local military bases.
The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), which operates more than 300 domestic bases, is federally mandated to lower its energy consumption – and for good reason. The DoD is our nation’s largest single energy user, and as a result, has committed to expanding its clean energy portfolio to cut energy use. Each military service has ambitious goals to deploy one gigawatt of on-site renewables in the near future, and many are jump-starting these efforts on bases across the United States. Read More