By Lisa Albrecht, renewable energy specialist with Solar Service Inc., and member of the Illinois Clean Jobs Coalition
This week, Illinois Governor Rauner gave his annual State of the State address – but, there was one big thing missing. Despite broad bipartisan support across the state for action on clean energy, Gov. Rauner failed to address this issue at all.
In summing up Illinois’ current priorities, Gov. Rauner should have looked to the remarks he himself delivered in his first State of the State address last year:
“Our top priority must be making Illinois competitive again, to grow more jobs here… Competitiveness must become our watchword.”
“We must avoid slipping further behind other states in…the capacity of our economy to grow.”
“It’s now or never for Illinois. It’s time to act.”
Those are sound principles. And, if the Governor is still committed to them, there is a clear and obvious path to achieving them: by embracing Illinois’ clean energy future through the Clean Power Plan and the Illinois Clean Jobs Bill. Read More
Clean energy investments are soaring worldwide, and the United States is no exception with $56 billion going toward renewable generation in 2015, an 8-percent increase over the year before.
So why are some utilities going against this trend – and risking a contest against more progressive competitors that are gaining market share at their expense?
To understand why, it helps to have a closer look at Ohio-based FirstEnergy, a large investor-owned energy company with operations in six states that has become the poster child for resistant utilities.
The FirstEnergy case also illustrates why companies that refuse change won’t be able to stop the rising clean energy tide, no matter how hard they try. Read More
California’s big three utilities – San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E), Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E), and Southern California Edison (SCE) – serve approximately 80 percent of the state's residential customers, which is why their recent move to update the state’s antiquated electricity pricing could be a game-changer for helping the state achieve its climate and clean energy goals.
In late December, while most people were on holiday, the utilities submitted plans to the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to assess electricity prices that vary with the season and time of day. These plans detail the next two years of piloting time-of-use (TOU) pricing for most residential customers, and will help California reduce pollution and increase renewable energy production. Read More
Yesterday, the Supreme Court issued an important decision in support of a vital clean energy resource: demand response. The case, FERC v. EPSA, revolves around demand response, a resource that helps keep prices low and the lights on, all while being environmentally friendly.
It’s a significant victory for anyone in favor of a cleaner, cheaper, accessible, and more reliable grid. That describes a diverse group — consumer advocates, environmentalists, economists, states, grid operators, and leading legal scholars all filed in support of a critically important and well-designed policy creating access for demand response in wholesale energy markets. Read More
2015 proved to be another weird weather year around the country, especially for Texas. 80 degrees and dry in Austin on Christmas Day, spring wildflowers in bloom, and kids playing outside in shorts – a surprise ending to a wild ride of drought followed by devastating floods followed by drought and then more floods.
Texas is used to drought-flood cycles and extreme weather, but last year the pendulum seemed to swing wildly from one to the next. And climate models predict intense swings for the future as well: After the next flood is another drought, which will likely be more intense and longer than usual due to climate change.
Unfortunately, it seems like during our brief respites from drought, we also take a break from thinking about water scarcity. After the year we’ve just had, this should not be the case – water security should be at the top of Texans’ minds going into 2016. But there are two promising developments for our water future: the Clean Power Plan and examples that cities in other water-stressed Western states are setting. Read More
Critics of American Electric Power’s (AEP) bailout have been quick to call out the utility for forcing Ohioans to prop up its uneconomic coal fleet. They note how the deal will cost customers $2 billion to keep open AEP power plants that would otherwise close.
One complaint we haven’t heard yet comes from Senator Bill Seitz, chairman of the Ohio Senate Public Utilities Committee. Sen. Seitz recently joined in on criticizing AEP’s bailout proposal – but for the wrong reasons. Rather than attack the multibillion dollar subsidies going to outdated power plants, the senator critiques a small carve-out for a new solar energy project in Appalachia that will employ veterans. Read More