Energy Exchange

Germany's Energiewende Proves Electricity can be Clean and Reliable

electric-power-273644_640Since 2004, the year of the first major revision of Germany’s Renewable Energy Act (EEG), the country has added at least 35 gigawatts (GW) of solar and 35 GW of wind to its electric grid – enough to offset upwards of 35 coal plants. What’s more impressive is during the first half of 2014, close to 29 percent of Germany’s electricity came from renewable sources. For perspective, America’s renewables percentage, at about 14 percent, was half of Germany’s during this timeframe.

Meanwhile, the country has improved its status as a grid reliability leader, causing the Heinrich Böll Foundation’s Energy Transition blog to conclude, “Clearly, installing the equivalent of 100 percent of peak demand as wind and solar capacity does not bring down the grid.”  Renewables International further asserts, “Renewables have not yet reached a penetration level that has detrimentally impacted grid reliability.”

This success runs contrary to the predictions of Energiewende’s critics, who have sounded the alarms about investing in “too much” renewable energy. Some of these concerns are more valid than others, but the truth is, most of these claims are blown out of proportion, fixable with solutions that are not overly complex, and/or based on no empirical data. Read More »

Posted in Clean Energy, Renewable Energy, Smart Grid| Tagged | 5 Responses

Call for Action Intensifies from Multiple Directions: EPA Needs to Regulate Methane Pollution from Oil & Gas

climate marchThe droughts in the west and the rains in the east this week are compelling reminders that the impacts of climate change are here and now. Just this week the Pentagon issued a report laying out how they will adapt to growing threats to our nation’s defenses in the face of climate change. We need to act now to reduce the pollution from coal, oil, and natural gas that is making climate change worse and move aggressively to clean, renewable energy sources.

People and organizations throughout the nation – and across the globe – (including EDF) are working to bring about the transformation that can build a strong clean energy economy at the pace needed to match the urgency of the climate change we are now experiencing.

Even as this work continues, a growing number of voices are calling for action to cut potent methane emissions from our oil and gas industry – one of the biggest sources of climate pollution in the country. We cannot afford to ignore real opportunities to cut pollution right now from any source, including the fossil fuel energy sources that make up the bulk of our energy use today. Read More »

Posted in Methane, Natural Gas| 1 Response

Benefits of Clean Power Plan Are Measureable – Drop for Drop

Hallisburg Texas power plantSince EPA released its proposed Clean Power Plan (CPP) in June of this year, the plan has been a hot topic in every state. In Texas alone, the state has held a joint regulatory agency hearing and two days of legislative hearings. Unfortunately, in both cases, the general tone of testimony was that of Chicken Little. But I prefer to view the CPP as a fantastic opportunity and certainly don’t think the sky will fall because of it. In fact, our skies should be considerably brighter without all that carbon pollution clouding them up.

I’ve written before about the opportunity for Texas to amplify current trends and increase our energy efficiency and renewable energy to meet these goals. And there’s an added benefit to transitioning away from coal-fired power plants and toward cleaner energy choices, one that will be critical in a state like Texas that’s in the middle of a multi-year drought: water savings and relief for our parched state.

What if I told you that with the CPP, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), which controls the power grid for roughly 80 percent of the state, could save more than 60,000 acre-feet (or nearly 21 billion gallons) of water per year by 2030? Read More »

Posted in Clean Energy, Clean Power Plan, Energy Efficiency, Energy-Water Nexus, Renewable Energy, Texas| Leave a comment

Utility 2.0: New York State Envisions New Platform Giving Equal Priority to Clean Energy Solutions

brooklyn-bridge-71800_640New York’s “Reforming the Energy Vision” (REV) proceeding aims to reform the state’s long-standing electricity system to lay the groundwork for a cleaner and more efficient grid that allows for more customer choice and competition from third-party energy services companies. Forming the centerpiece of this 21st-century vision is a platform that would smoothly integrate innovative energy services and solutions into the existing grid, allowing them to compete on equal footing with electricity from centralized power plants.

Currently, the electric industry comprises three functions: generation, transmission, and distribution. Generation refers to making electricity, traditionally from large, centralized power plants. Transmission refers to sending that electricity along high-voltage wires to substations closer to electricity customers. Distribution refers to delivering the power from the substations to homes and businesses. In its recent straw proposal, the Department of Public Service Staff (Staff) recommends splitting the distribution function into two parts, one performing the traditional delivery service and the other serving as the Distribution System Platform Provider (DSP), to grant equal priority to energy solutions that are not centralized, such as on-site, distributed generation and energy efficiency. Read More »

Posted in Clean Energy, Demand Response, Electricity Pricing, Energy Efficiency, New York, Smart Grid, Utility Business Models| 2 Responses

Investors Voice Market Support for Methane Regulation

By: Tom Murray, Vice President, Corporate Partnerships Program 

banner_gas-300x150Last week, financial community leaders took a big step into the intersection of business and policy on the urgent need to curb methane emissions from the oil and gas sector. A group of investors managing more than $300 billion in market assets sent a letter to the U.S. Environmental Protection Administration and the White House, calling for the federal government to regulate methane emissions from the oil and gas sector. The letter urged covering new and existing oil and gas sites, including upstream and midstream sources, citing that strong methane policy can reduce business risk and create long-term value for investors and the economy.

Spearheaded by Trillium Asset Management, the cosigners of the letter to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy included New York City Comptroller Scott M. Stringer, who oversees the $160 billion New York City Pension Funds, and a diverse set of firms and institutional investors. They spelled out in no uncertain terms that they regard methane as a serious climate and business problem – exposing the public and businesses alike to the growing costs of climate change associated with floods, storms, droughts, and other severe weather. Read More »

Posted in Colorado, Methane, Natural Gas| 1 Response

Investor Confidence Project Releases Software Provider Credential To Boost Energy Efficiency Market

By: Jeff Milum, ICP Director of Marketplace Development

software provider icpIn virtually all established markets, from car loans to timeshares, standardization and automation has helped to accelerate underwriting, reduce long-term liability, and spur investment. The potential energy efficiency market is estimated at $1 trillion, but in order to achieve a fraction of this, the energy efficiency industry will need to leverage standardization and automation in order to scale to this level.

EDF’s signature energy efficiency initiative, the Investor Confidence Project (ICP), is accelerating the development of a global energy efficiency market by standardizing how Investor Ready Energy Efficiency™ projects are developed and energy savings estimates are calculated.

As a part of this effort, ICP is pleased to announce the release of the ICP Software Provider Credential, which will standardize the process of developing and documenting energy efficiency projects. Read More »

Posted in Clean Energy, Energy Efficiency, Investor Confidence Project| Comments closed

Red River Rivalry: What Oklahoma Gas & Electric can Teach Texas Utilities

800px-Red_River_Shootout_2006Fall is in the air, the State Fair of Texas is in full swing, and the annual meeting of the University of Texas (UT) and the University of Oklahoma (OU) will occur at Dallas' Cotton Bowl this weekend. One of the greatest football rivalries in the Big 12, UT and OU have been battling it out since 1900. Even the governors of both states frequently place bets on the game, like the losing governor having to present a side of beef to the winning governor.

And, while Sooners and Longhorns may not easily take advice from each other, Texas utilities should take a few lessons from Oklahoma Gas & Electric (OG&E). OG&E is Oklahoma's regulated utility serving over 800,000 customers in Oklahoma and western Arkansas.

Here in Texas, we are proud of many things from our "don't fence me in" ethos and wide-open landscapes to our self-reliance and abundant natural resources. Not too many states have the type of pride that Texas possesses (kitschy or otherwise). That pride extends to our innovative energy utilities as well, like Green Mountain Energy, Austin Energy, and CPS Energy in San Antonio, all of which are helping lead the state into the new energy sphere. Read More »

Posted in Clean Energy, Demand Response, Renewable Energy, Texas| 2 Responses, comments now closed

Mad Global Props: The International Energy Agency Hearts ICP

By: Panama Bartholomy, Director of ICP Europe

iea ee reportThe Investor Confidence Project (ICP), was recognized by the International Energy Agency (IEA), a global organization for 29 member countries, in its annual energy efficiency report, released today.

The IEA’s Energy Efficiency Market Report 2014 highlighted ICP as a program that will accelerate the development of a global energy efficiency finance market, saying in its energy efficiency finance chapter that the EDF initiative will “facilitate a global market for financings by institutional investors that look to rely on standardized products.”

For investors, the IEA puts the financial market for energy efficiency in the range of $120bn, with the launch of new products, such as green bonds, corporate green bonds, energy performance contracts, and expanded sources of finance likely to expand that figure. Lending from multilateral development banks and bilateral banks alone amounted to more than $22bn in 2012. Read More »

Posted in Energy Efficiency, Energy Financing, Investor Confidence Project| Comments closed

Finding Gold in the Value Chain

By: Victoria Mills, Man­ag­ing Di­rec­tor of EDF Cli­mate Corps

chinafellowblogphotoEnergy efficiency is a goldmine, but not everyone has the time or resources to dig. That’s why for the past seven years, over three hundred organizations have turned to EDF Climate Corps for hands-on help to cut costs and carbon pollution through better energy management. And every year, the program delivers results: this year’s class of fellows found $130 million in potential energy savings across 102 organizations.

But this year we also saw something new. In addition to mining efficiencies in companies’ internal operations, the fellows were sent farther afield – to suppliers’ factories, distribution systems, and franchisee networks. What they discovered demonstrated there is plenty of gold to be found across entire value chains, if companies take the time to mine it.

Here are three places where EDF Climate Corps fellows struck gold: Read More »

Posted in Clean Energy, Energy Efficiency| 1 Response, comments now closed

North Carolina is well positioned for EPA’s Clean Power Plan

alternative-21761_640A majority of Americans endorse setting limits on carbon emissions from the nation's power plants, which account for the single largest source of carbon pollution in the U.S. The United States is on the verge of doing just that with EPA's proposed Clean Power Plan.

Nationally, the plan will reduce carbon emissions from power plants 30 percent below 2005 levels by 2030. However, these carbon-reduction mandates vary from state-to-state, which will cumulatively lead to a nation-wide reduction of 30 percent.

In North Carolina, where I live, the plan requires the state to reduce absolute carbon emissions about 21 percent by 2030 from a 2012 baseline, according to an analysis by Bloomberg New Energy Finance. Read More »

Posted in Air Quality, Clean Energy, Climate, North Carolina, Renewable Energy| 1 Response, comments now closed