Energy Exchange

Energy storage, wind, and solar companies are recruiting coal miners for their work ethics and high-tech skills

When a California battery company officially moved its headquarters and manufacturing to Kentucky coal country last week, generous state tax subsidies certainly played a role – but so did something often lost in the debate about coal.

Struggling coal mining towns offer an abundance of highly trained workers, many of whom are eager for new opportunities and stable jobs. Mine work today requires mechanical and technical skills that are transferable to new industries, a fact that companies inside and outside the energy sector are beginning to discover in America’s tightening labor market. Read More »

Also posted in Clean Energy, Energy Storage, Wind Energy, Wyoming / Read 2 Responses

New Jersey’s leaders pave the way for a clean energy future

New Jersey’s legislature voted on two important bills last week related to the state’s energy future. One will boost clean energy like renewables and energy efficiency, create jobs, and cut pollution. The other subsidizes two nuclear plants indefinitely. Both bills passed. Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) enthusiastically supported the clean energy bill, but withheld our support for the nuclear bailout.

New Jersey deserves a clean, healthy, and prosperous future, and we need a plan to make it happen. The clean energy bill is such a plan. The details may be complex, but the result is simple: It prepares the state for the inevitable retirement of nuclear plants by accelerating the adoption of renewable energy and energy efficiency. The nuclear bailout is flawed and wasteful. It should have been fixed. Read More »

Also posted in Clean Energy, Energy Efficiency, Energy Equity, New Jersey / Read 2 Responses

Clean energy bill: A roadmap for New Jersey

Today, New Jersey lawmakers will be voting on a “Clean Energy Bill,” a piece of legislation that can help the state transition to a 21st-century clean energy economy, and set us on a path to becoming a national clean energy leader once again.

Gov. Phil Murphy’s pledge to source 100 percent of the state’s electricity from clean energy by 2050 points us in the right direction. But we need a roadmap to get there – one that will boost the state’s economy and reduce harmful pollution.

The clean energy bill paves the way to invest in clean energy – a critical step toward achieving a more resilient, healthier future for New Jerseyans. We can only move forward if elected officials vote for it, accelerating the adoption of renewable energy and energy efficiency. Read More »

Also posted in Clean Energy, Electricity Pricing, Energy Efficiency, New Jersey, Wind Energy / Comments are closed

Clean energy boom played key role in recent U.S. carbon emissions drop, study shows

After rising for nearly two decades, carbon dioxide emissions from United States energy use began to fall sharply and unexpectedly in 2007.

For years now, experts attributed this decrease to the drop in energy demand during the economic recession that began late that year, and to the huge surge in cheap natural gas that displaced coal in our energy mix during this period. But they overlooked another key change that drove the drop in emissions just as much: the rapid rise in renewable energy production.

By 2013, our country’s annual carbon dioxide emissions had decreased by 11 percent – a decline not witnessed since the 1979 oil crisis. Our research shows that the growth of renewable energy sources accounted for 31 percent of that 640-million metric ton carbon drop.

The impact from renewables is just below the 34-percent contribution the switch from petroleum and coal to natural gas made to the emissions decline – a fact that, until now, has previously gone largely unrecognized.

Read More »

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

Still cheaper than coal – a report on the economics of solar power in Colorado

By Rama Zakaria, Graham McCahan

A newly-updated report is shedding light on what President Trump’s solar trade tariffs may mean for one state – and underscoring a tremendous opportunity to move forward toward clean energy, with all the benefits it can bring.

Xcel Energy filed its 30-day bid report update with the Colorado Public Utilities Commission on March 1. The update follows Xcel’s filing at the end of last year, in response to an “all-source solicitation,” as part of its Electric Resource Plan and its proposed Colorado Energy Plan.

Xcel’s plan would shut down two units at the Comanche coal plant in Pueblo, Colorado, and replace the capacity with a mix of lower-carbon resources. Earlier results were unprecedented, with more than 80 percent of the bids coming from renewable energy and storage at incredibly cheap prices.

Xcel then provided bidders an opportunity to refresh their bids following President Trump’s final decision in the Suniva/SolarWorld trade case in January, which imposed tariffs on imported solar equipment.

The refreshed bids in Xcel’s updated report show minimal change relative to last year’s results and confirm that new wind and solar power in Colorado continues to be cheaper than existing coal plants – despite the trade tariffs. Read More »

Also posted in Clean Energy, Colorado, Energy Equity / Comments are closed

Illinois is about to release its plan to kick-start new renewables. Here's what you need to know.

The Future Energy Jobs Act, which catapulted Illinois to the forefront of the clean energy movement, includes an ambitious directive for electric utilities to get 25 percent of their power from renewable resources by 2025. To achieve that, the Illinois Power Agency has been developing a Long-Term Renewable Resources Procurement Plan (the Plan) based on workshops and input from stakeholders, including Environmental Defense Fund (EDF).

The Agency filed the Plan in December 2017 for the Illinois Commerce Commission’s approval.  Following several more rounds of comments, it is now up to the Commission to make its final modifications to the Plan before approving it on April 3.

By jumpstarting Illinois’ renewables development, the Plan contains huge wins for the environment and people. But there are a few questions yet to be resolved. Here’s what you should know. Read More »

Also posted in Illinois, Wind Energy / Comments are closed