Energy Exchange

This Energy Efficiency Day, manufacturing has its moment

By: Caroline Heilbrun, EDF+Biz intern

Have you ever thought about how much energy it takes to manufacture the products you use every day?

While our nation’s refineries, factories, and plants produce some of the world’s highest quality products, the energy at work in our industrial manufacturing facilities is extremely intensive. This is due, in large part, to the inefficiencies inherent in the manufacturing process. The sparks flying from giant robotic arms along the assembly line? That is heat lost to friction. Those harmful chemicals spewing from smokestacks? They represent unused inputs. At every step of the supply chain, there is opportunity to cut waste.

On Energy Efficiency Day, October 5, we should consider the myriad benefits of acting upon those opportunities. Efficiency cost savings for the manufacturer can translate into cost savings for the consumer, higher quality products, and healthier air for people who live and work nearby. Plus, less electricity consumption means less stress on the electric grid.

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Also posted in Energy Efficiency, Jobs, Ohio / Comments are closed

Can blockchain unlock a sustainable future?

Blockchain – a really high-tech “spreadsheet” or ledger used to record transactions securely – offers exciting potential for clean energy. With the rapid rise of distributed energy technologies — such as rooftop solar, batteries, smart energy devices, and electric vehicles — some analysts believe the market for blockchain applications in the energy sector is many times larger than it is for cryptocurrency in the financial sector.

Blockchain technology may hold great promise for a sustainable future, but we need to solve some important challenges first.

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Also posted in Community Solar, Fourth Wave, Grid Modernization / Read 2 Responses

How New Jersey can finance its bold new clean energy targets

By Dakota Gangi and Mary Barber

On May 23, New Jerseyans scored a major economic and environmental victory when Governor Phil Murphy signed a groundbreaking law that will soon make the Garden State an even greener one. The Board of Public Utilities (BPU) has initiated a proceeding that will establish a community solar pilot program within one year of the bill’s signing. Low-income and multifamily households will be able to earn credits on their electric bills for purchasing power from a shared solar array. In just ten years, half the state’s power will come from emissions-free renewable resources, and New Jersey will boast the highest amounts of energy storage and offshore wind in the United States. New Jerseyans can expect clean air, electric bill savings, and the creation of many local and lucrative job openings.

These groundbreaking targets can bring about significant economic growth, especially if New Jersey utilizes a multitude of green financing tools to achieve its goals. The BPU will ensure the state is on track to meet its clean energy goals, as it is putting in place rules and regulations to attract investment. Now, New Jersey should create a green bank to add to its arsenal of green investment mechanisms and to fill the clean energy financing gap identified in EDF’s December 2017 report, Financing New Jersey's Clean Energy Economy: Pathways for Leadership.

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Also posted in Energy Financing, General, New Jersey / Read 1 Response

North Carolina celebrates ‘American Wind Week’ with optimism for the future

Governor Roy Cooper has issued a proclamation recognizing August 5-11 as “American Wind Week” here in North Carolina. It’s a good time to reflect on our clean energy progress – as a nation and as a state – and to consider what’s next.

The amount of energy generated from wind turbines has more than tripled in the United States in the last decade, according to the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), representing 6.3 percent of the nation’s generation mix last year. The Tar Heel state can take credit for a tiny portion of that with the 104 turbines generating power at the Amazon East Wind Farm near Elizabeth City, but we are lagging behind with wind representing only 0.4 percent of our state’s energy mix. Read More »

Also posted in General, North Carolina / Comments are closed

Regionalize and resist: A regional power grid could unlock 100 percent clean energy across the West

Captain Planet taught us that when our powers combine, we can defeat any villain.

That’s hopeful news for those of us who want a livable planet for the future, because times are fraught: Our president has called global warming a “hoax,” withdrew the U.S. from a global climate agreement, and installed former fossil fuel lobbyists and CEOs to the highest positions of power.

Meanwhile, carbon pollution is at an 800,000-year high (the highest concentration of C02 in human history), and climate change is ravaging the world in the form of record-breaking heatwaves, extreme drought, and severe storms. Scientists warn that we need a dramatic decrease in carbon pollution and fossil fuels to avoid runaway climate change – which needs to happen at the fastest pace possible, and at the most efficient cost.

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Also posted in California / Read 1 Response

What this summer's heat waves tell us about America's electric grid

With another triple-digit heat wave scorching the Southwest this week, fears of widespread outages are back.

California’s grid operator has urged homes and businesses to crank up thermostats and avoid running power-hungry appliances during evening peak hours – all in an effort to avoid disruptions like the ones we saw earlier this month.

The dangerous and expensive outages that left 80,000 Los Angeles residents in the dark then may have been limited to Southern California, but they should sound alarms nationwide. The world is changing, affecting how our grid works.

Utilities are taking steps to adapt and expand their power systems to maintain reliability and accommodate the growth of renewables, but they need to pick up the pace – and fast. Read More »

Also posted in California / Comments are closed