Solar power in California has, in many ways, been an unparalleled success: the state has more solar power installed than the rest of the country combined. There are more solar workers in California (55,000) than working actors or utility workers. Solar workers earn a higher than average wage, and the industry is making strides in employing more women, veterans, and people of color. And, the median income of households installing solar in California in 2012 was between $40,000-$50,000, mostly middle- and working-class homeowners.
But there are two sides to this story because, unfortunately, solar power is still inaccessible to many low-income households.
Take my neighborhood of Boyle Heights, on the east side of Los Angeles, for example: over 70 percent of residents are renters and cannot install solar on roofs they don't own. For those who do own their homes, many can't afford to purchase their own solar system (the median income is just over $33,000) or don’t qualify for traditional financing. Residents here have captured a paltry $0.33 per capita in solar incentives over the past 15 years, as compared to Bel Air (yup, that Bel Air) which received almost $200 in solar incentives per capita – over 600 times more than Boyle Heights. Read More
Mexico is getting good news today about a strategy it can use to help meet its 25% greenhouse gas reduction pledge by 2030. A new report conducted by energy research firm ICF International found that by using available and low-cost technologies, Mexico can cut 54% of its methane emissions from the oil and gas sector for less than one peso per ton of carbon dioxide. Not only does this keep a very potent greenhouse gas out of the atmosphere, methane is 84 times more powerful than CO2 in intensifying warming, but by capturing it, methane is the main ingredient in natural gas, Mexico wastes less energy.
The Mexican government showed leadership in recognizing the importance of reducing short-lived climate pollutants like methane in its climate pledge to the UN Climate Change Conference. And ICF’s study suggests that reductions in oil and gas methane emissions can be a valuable tool as Mexico considers how it will implement policies to meet its goal. Read More
By: Jeff Milum, Director of Market Development, Investor Confidence Project
40 percent of all energy in the U.S. is used by buildings, which also accounts for one-third of our country’s greenhouse gases emissions. This represents a huge opportunity, both for climate action and financial gain.
There’s just one problem: Project developers often have trouble finding financing for projects, even though investors who are looking to finance building efficiency upgrades are in need of more quality projects. This conundrum is increasingly apparent as more mainstream investors are entering the energy efficiency sector searching for investments with consistent, long-term yields, as well as “green” attributes.
That’s why Environmental Defense Fund’s Investor Confidence Project (ICP) is proud to announce the launch of the ICP Investor Network. By connecting investors who are seeking quality projects with trained and vetted project developers who are originating certified ICP-certified energy efficiency projects, ICP is working to help close this gap. Read More
Each year, the oil and gas industry produces more than 800 billion gallons of wastewater. Coupling the massive volumes of wastewater generated over the life of the well and the millions of gallons of water needed to hydraulically fracture each well, it’s easy to see that oil and gas exploration and production is just as much a water issue as it is an energy issue.
With growing frequency, this huge volume of oil and gas wastewater – which contains hundreds of chemicals resulting from operations as well as underground water that is usually heavily laden with salt and naturally-occurring pollutants – is being recycled, and some groups are pushing for mandatory recycling policies. Sounds great. After all, recycling is good for the environment, right? Read More
Also posted in Natural Gas
Today, the International Energy Agency (IEA) released its latest World Energy Outlook, which projects how global energy systems will evolve between now and 2040 and estimates their relative impact on the climate. This annual report always offers important insight into where some of the world’s top experts see the global energy sector heading. But what’s particularly striking this year is its highlight on oil and gas methane, among other interesting conclusions.
The report confirms and builds on IEA’s findings from earlier this summer — that global emissions could peak by 2020 without slowing economic growth, and that reducing methane emissions from the world’s oil and gas industry is one of the fastest, biggest opportunities to make significant climate progress now.
In particular, the gas chapter includes this important takeaway:
"The oil and gas sector is the largest industrial source of methane emissions, a potent contributor to climate change. Outside North America, the absence of robust policy action in this area represents a major missed opportunity to tackle near-term warming. The available evidence suggests that a relatively small number of emitters may account for a large share of overall emissions, but tracking and fixing these leaks – which can be short-lived and intermittent – requires a systematic effort of measurement, reporting and monitoring, backed up by effective regulation." Read More
In case you missed it, PBS NewsHour recently took a close look at an issue EDF has been deeply involved in: oil and gas methane emissions.
PBS captured what many across the country have experienced for years – frustration with a significant waste and pollution problem. U.S. oil and gas drillers emit millions of tons of methane into the air every year. This pollution increases global warming and deteriorates air quality. As impacted rancher Don Schreiber in Gobernador, New Mexico told the reporter, the problem is “sobering.” Read More