Energy Exchange

FirstEnergy’s bailout campaign is filled with all kinds of wrong. Please let a failed HB 6 be the end of it.

Since it was first filed in the Ohio legislature, HB 6 has been pitched as a necessary savior for a struggling Ohio utility and employer. FirstEnergy Solutions’ nuclear plants are losing money, the sales pitch goes, and the publicly-traded company needs $150 million a year by June 30 or it will shut down the plants and Ohio will lose 4,000 jobs.

Let me suggest that everything about this is wrong.

The June 30 deadline was wrong

We know now that the June 30 deadline was wrong because, well, it’s after June 30. When the deadline passed, FirstEnergy told reporters that it will proceed with taking steps to shut down the plants, but it can reverse course at a later date. Perhaps FirstEnergy’s leadership knew it was a false deadline, like the many other times the company cried wolf.

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Also posted in FirstEnergy, Ohio / Comments are closed

The FirstEnergy bailout bill benefits out-of-state executives and investors, not Ohioans

FirstEnergy and its supportive legislators have tied themselves in knots to sell their bailout bill (HB 6), a $1.4 billion money grab by a publicly traded company and its speculative, out-of-state investors that made a bad bet on a declining business.

They’ve been lying to Ohioans, claiming that HB 6 is a panacea that will clean the air, preserve local jobs and keep the lights on across Ohio. But it isn’t about any of that. And it’s barely about Ohio. Ohioans deserve to know the truth, and the legislature should reject this dishonest bill.

FirstEnergy claims it needs $150 to $190 million a year from Ohioans to keep two old nuclear plants online. And this would be the fifth time Ohioans will have paid for these plants. They first paid when the plants were built. They paid again in 1999 when the electricity market was restructured. They paid again when companies were allowed to add plants back into their supply plans in 2008. And finally, they’ve paid via the bailout ruling approved by the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio in 2016.

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Also posted in FirstEnergy, Ohio / Comments are closed

Preparing for hurricane season in Puerto Rico with long-term solutions

With hurricane season upon us again, I am reminded of the lessons learned after the devastation we went through in 2017, when thousands of people in Puerto Rico went without electricity for nearly a year after Hurricane Maria made landfall on the island. Many communities had limited access to clean water, food and health services.

As much as we’ve been able to rebuild, a lot of work remains to be done to prepare for the future. As temperatures rise, we see stronger, more frequent and more deadly hurricanes. We must ensure their outcome affects people as minimally as possible. This will require a better understanding of what communities need to rebuild and adapt, what technology can be deployed to address specific challenges — such as a modern, more resilient grid and infrastructure —and the tools that can be used to finance them.

Many local officials and communities in Puerto Rico are making remarkable progress to make this transformation possible. Following their lead is essential to making any solution to the island’s energy crisis successful in the long- term. Communities, energy reform, technology and finance – all have a role to play in protecting the island from the next super storm, while improving the quality of life for all its residents and strengthening its economy long into the future.

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Also posted in Puerto Rico / Comments are closed

Federal regulators should reevaluate the incentive model for gas pipelines

The energy industry is in the midst of a massive transformation. Natural gas fired power plants are now the dominant source of electric power in the U.S., and according to numerous studies, natural gas will continue to have a role in our future energy system — even in stringent greenhouse gas reduction scenarios. For the first time ever, renewables supplied more generation than coal in April. New technologies, evolving customer expectations and state laws directing greenhouse gas reductions are driving significant changes in the way we use and consume energy. The pace of this change will be even further accelerated as we turn to electrification as a means of decarbonization.

Regulators must reevaluate their policies and rules to ensure they are keeping up with these major changes. This is particularly true for the current revenue model of gas pipelines, which is built on the idea that “the more you spend, the more you earn.”

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Also posted in Gas to Clean, Natural Gas / Comments are closed

Electric fleets are the future of transportation, this California regulator explains how we get there

 

This post is the second in our Innovation Series

If you’ve ever wondered why some California cities consistently rank among the nation’s most polluted, the answer is simple: cars and trucks.

California’s transportation sector is responsible for about 80% of the state’s smog and 50% of its climate pollution, and much of that pollution comes from the vehicles traveling up and down our highways.

Fortunately, the state is at a turning point: over half a million drivers have made the switch to zero-emission vehicles. And more commercial fleet owners also see benefits to investing in zero-emission vehicles.

I recently sat down with Steve Cliff, the Deputy Executive Officer of the California Air Resources Board to learn more about what the state is doing to accelerate the transition to cleaner cars and trucks.

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Also posted in Electric Vehicles, Innovation series / Comments are closed

Trucking companies, utilities and innovators work together to put more electric vehicles on the road

This post is the first in our Innovation Series

One of the largest sources of climate pollution is the transportation sector, which is responsible for about a quarter of our nation’s greenhouse gas pollution. It is clear that to reach our climate goals, we must reduce car and truck emissions.

One way to reduce harmful air and climate pollution is by electrifying the transportation sector, especially long-haul trucks, buses, delivery vehicles, garbage trucks and regional “day cab” tractors used at ports. Heavy-duty vehicles are not only responsible for significant climate pollution, they are also responsible for about 30% of Nitrogen oxide pollution. These emissions can increase cancer risk, neurological and metabolic diseases, and cause respiratory and cardiovascular damage.

Toxic air pollutants like these are often hyper-localized, disproportionately impacting low-income communities and communities of color who are more likely to live near major highways, ports, and distribution centers. A recent EDF study of Oakland’s air pollution, for example, observed residents living near one particular freeway (home to much of the city’s diesel fueled traffic) were exposed to concentrations of black carbon 80% higher than a similar road.

Electrifying these medium and heavy-duty vehicles therefore reduces both pollution that harms human health and reduces greenhouse gas emissions from the combustion of the fuel. But making this win-win transition will require significant technological and political support to succeed. Fortunately, a growing number of innovators are adopting and/or developing tools to expand the number of medium- and heavy-duty electric vehicles on the road — ultimately reducing harmful pollution and preserving a clean, reliable and equitable electric grid.

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Also posted in Electric Vehicles, Innovation series / Comments are closed