Energy Exchange

New clean energy legislation in Illinois has customer and community needs at its core

Jobs. Equity. Savings. Economic development. Social justice. These are a few of the terms being used to describe the ground-breaking Clean Energy Jobs Act, a new bill in Illinois which Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) played a key role in developing and supporting.

Introduced by the Illinois Clean Jobs Coalition and policymakers around the state, the Clean Energy Jobs Act (affectionately called CEJA or “see-juh”) has racked up almost 60 legislative sponsors in the weeks since its introduction.

Here are four reasons Illinois’ Clean Energy Jobs Act stands out as a nation-leading proposal.

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Also posted in Energy Equity / Comments are closed

With dynamic electricity pricing, more data can lead to more savings

By Kim Sha and Ben Liu, clean energy interns

Illinois’ largest utility, ComEd, is almost finished deploying advanced metering infrastructure to its customers. In fact, there are now more than 3.8 million installed smart meters in Illinois, feeding anonymized energy-use data – recorded in half-hourly kilowatt-hours – back from the grid.

How to make use of this unwieldy flood of data and enhance the efficiency of the grid? Our new paper, Modelling Marginal System Costs for the Commonwealth Edison Distribution Network, provides a framework for regulators, utilities and other researchers to begin to examine the insights provided by smart meter data, highlighting opportunities to save money for customers and utilities alike. Specifically, our study shows that under real-time electricity pricing, ComEd customers can save money not only by changing how much electricity they use, but by adjusting when they use it.

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Also posted in Time of Use / Comments are closed

This year’s Greenbuild works to make sustainable buildings accessible to everyone

This is my fifth year attending Greenbuild and I am excited that my hometown of Chicago will again host the green building conference. I have come to appreciate the educational value and community that Greenbuild provides more and more each year, and I’m delighted Chicago will get to add to the tradition once more.

Greenbuild’s theme this year, Humans by Nature: The Intersection of Humanity & the Built Environment, covers a wide array of topics that define how we relate to the world we live in. One of these topics is enhancing building efficiency and performance, an ongoing mission that is at the very core of the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and Greenbuild.

Moreover, the mission statement highlights the importance of making sustainable buildings and environments accessible to everyone. As one of the founding cities of the BIT Building energy efficiency program, Chicago reflects these ideals, and the BIT Building program is a clear example of accessibility in action.

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Also posted in Clean Energy, Energy Efficiency / Comments are closed

Dear FirstEnergy, America doesn’t need your coal plants

Why do grocers mark down the price of asparagus in the spring, or strawberries in the summer? Because they’re in season and stores have excess supply, and they need to increase demand by cutting prices. The lower prices are a sign, or “price signal,” of excess supply, and the grocers are following the economic law of supply and demand.

Electricity markets follow the law of supply and demand, too. Falling electricity prices are a price signal that we have more power plants than we need. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), which oversees our nation’s electric grid, reports on wholesale electricity prices, and their latest State of the Markets report is an eye-opener.

The report shows that we’re retiring old coal plants at a fast clip, but we’re adding new natural gas plants at an even faster clip – causing power prices to plummet. In PJM, the largest regional electricity market in the country, 1.9 GW of coal plants closed in 2017 as 2.8 GW of new natural gas plants were added. Read More »

Also posted in Electricity Pricing, FirstEnergy, Ohio / Comments are closed

Fundamentals should guide FERC on PJM’s misguided state policy proposal

Federal regulators are currently considering a proposal that could fundamentally alter how our nation’s power markets work in tandem with state-crafted public policies.

The change being considered, submitted by the nation’s largest grid operator, PJM, would increase electricity prices and undermine state policies in the 13 states and D.C. where PJM operates. Today, Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), alongside other clean energy advocates, filed in opposition to this proposal.

PJM’s proposal before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) is dense and complex (for a great primer on the universe of issues surrounding a similar proposal, see this blog post by NRDC and this article by Vox’s David Roberts). At its core, however, PJM’s proposal centers on a subject that is elemental to the electricity sector: the interplay and interaction between states and federal regulators. PJM should not thrust itself into a public policymaking role, nor should FERC become judge and jury of state policies. Instead, PJM and FERC should facilitate state policy choices. Read More »

Also posted in Clean Energy, Electricity Pricing, Market resilience, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania / Comments are closed

This cleantech hotspot is giving New York and California a run for their money

California and New York often steal the spotlight on cleantech innovation, but those in the know are keeping their eye on Illinois.

The energy sector has been undergoing rapid change in the Land of Lincoln, thanks to a slew of innovative initiatives. More than ever before, Illinois’ buildings are more efficient, its electric grid is more modern, and its electricity use is smarter. And the state is just getting started.

Powering all of the buildings in the United States costs over $400 billion a year. Many of these buildings were built long before modern energy codes and, therefore, use more power than they should. This gap presents a ripe opportunity: The retrofit industry is now valued at $20 billion, and Illinois is paying attention. The state topped the list of most LEED-certified buildings from 2013–2015, and has remained in the top 5 since. Read More »

Also posted in Clean Energy, Grid Modernization / Read 1 Response