America Knows Better: Addressing Climate Change Is Good Business

President-elect Donald Trump made claims of his own business smarts a cornerstone of his campaign. Vote for him, the logic went, and send a first-rate businessman to the Oval Office to apply business acumen to make America great. Unfortunately, Trump’s actions to date on climate and energy – notably charging a climate change denier with leading the EPA transition and signaling desire to abandon the historic Paris climate accords – send a message of business obliviousness.

In contrast, a smart business approach would embrace tackling greenhouse gas emissions and supporting clean energy. Here are four reasons why:

1. Create American jobs

The opportunity to create new American jobs in the transition to clean energy is tremendous. There are now more jobs in solar energy than in coal mining, and the number of solar jobs has grown more than 20 percent in each of the last three years. States like Florida and Nevada are bountiful in sun and can contribute to American energy self-sufficiency.

Moreover, just as smart action to nurture domestic clean energy can accelerate jobs in the renewable sector, there are jobs on the line helping the oil and gas industry reduce its air pollution in a cost effective way. Read More »

Posted in Climate| Comments are closed

The Killer App for The Internet of Things? Combating Climate Change.

graphicCo-authored by David Kirkpatrick, Techonomy’s CEO.

When Elon Musk announced his lower-priced Tesla 3 electric car in the spring of 2016, he opened the press conference with rhetorical questions. “Why does Tesla exist? Why are we making electric cars?” The audience of car fanatics and techies didn’t expect the answer he gave, though a clue came from the fact that Musk was already working to fold his other company, SolarCity, into Tesla. He continued: “Because it’s very important to accelerate the transition to sustainable transport…for the future of the world.”

Then Musk started talking about the world’s “record CO2 levels,” noting, “The chart looks like a vertical line, and it’s still climbing!” He sees Tesla as targeting climate change — the cars will connect to the solar systems and home storage batteries, so “every individual is their own utility,” and less carbon is emitted. Not what you’d expect from a car company.

Musk seldom uses the phrase, but what he was talking about was the Internet of Things (IoT) — putting computing intelligence into the objects and systems that surround us, connecting them to the network, and stitching it all into a digital ecosystem. Tesla’s cars, solar collectors and batteries all are connected, communicating via the internet. While the concept of IoT has been batted around the tech industry for a decade, with companies including Cisco and Intel placing hefty bets on its success, only now — suddenly — is it starting to make sense. Read More »

Posted in Clean Energy, Climate, Energy Innovation, Energy Storage, Grid Modernization, Solar Energy, Time of Use, Utility Business Models, Wind Energy| Comments are closed

Baseload Power is So Yesterday. A Cleaner, Modern Electric Grid Deserves Flexibility.

power-lines-unsplash2Coal-heavy utilities in the Midwest have mustered a new argument to secure subsidies for their uneconomic power plants. They used to suggest the plants were needed to maintain reliability, until regional grid operators declared there was plenty of generation to ensure the lights stayed on. They then attempted to argue the plants provided jobs and taxes to the local communities, until conservative economists highlighted the inefficiency of subsidies.

Now several utility executives, including the chief executive officer of American Electric Power (AEP), are trying to regale regulators with the importance of baseload generation. The argument goes something like this: Since some power plants – largely nuclear reactors and coal-fired power plants – have a hard time ramping up and down in response to changing electricity demand, the grid needs those units to operate all the time, to provide a “base” output of power.

Such last-century thinking, however, ignores the phenomenal advances provided by modern sensors, smart meters, and telecommunications. A combination of dynamic power options – like demand response (crediting homes and business for using less electricity when the power grid is stressed), renewable energy, and battery storage, among others – allow the grid to respond more nimbly than ever before. Rather than propping up old, lumbering baseload generators, we should prioritize a more modern, cleaner grid that focuses on flexibility and diversity. Read More »

Posted in Clean Energy, Utility Business Models| Read 4 Responses

How EDF and Google are Mapping a Cleaner, More Efficient Energy Future for Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf and EDF Chief Scientist Steve Hamburg check out the methane-sniffing Google Street View car

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf and EDF Chief Scientist Steve Hamburg check out the methane-sniffing Google Street View car

*UPDATE: Days after this data was released, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection issued draft permits that will help reduce methane emissions from select oil and gas facilities across the state – making Pennsylvania the latest state to take commonsense action on methane .*

EDF and Google have released new interactive maps that show Pittsburgh residents just how much methane may be escaping from city pipelines.

Methane is the main component of natural gas. Millions of families across Pennsylvania and the country depend on it to heat homes and prepare their dinners. But when leaked into the atmosphere, it can wreak havoc on our climate, represent millions of dollars’ worth of wasted American energy, and pose serious risks to public health and safety.

That’s why we spent the past year working with Peoples Gas in Pittsburgh to use Google Street View mapping cars specially equipped with state-of-the-art methane sensors to determine how many pipeline leaks there are, how much methane is leaking, and where these leaks are located. Read More »

Posted in Air Quality, Climate, Methane, Natural Gas, Pennsylvania| Tagged , , | Comments are closed

These Policy Solutions Can Help Unleash The Full Potential of Renewable Energy

cps-energy-4New installed renewable energy capacity surpassed coal for the first time last year, the International Energy Agency reported recently.

It means that we added more wind and solar to our global energy system than oil, gas, coal or nuclear power combined – a trend that is expected to continue over the next five years.

But to truly transition to a global clean energy economy, we must accelerate this growth rate and modernize our electricity grid to maximize the potential of these new renewables. That way we can use as much clean energy as possible on any given day.

Many of these optimizing solutions already exist today.

They include technology such as powerful batteries that can store energy when renewables don’t produce electricity, for example, when the sun is shaded by a cloud.

There are also energy management tools such as demand response that pay customers for saving energy at critical times when the grid needs it. And innovative electricity pricing programs that encourage customers to shift some of their power use to times of day when clean energy sources are plentiful and electricity is cheaper.

All can, with the help of good policy, make the most of variable energy sources – as would a modernized and more dynamic electric grid. Read More »

Posted in California, Clean Energy, Community Solar, Demand Response, Electricity Pricing, Energy Financing, Energy Storage, Grid Modernization, Solar Energy| Comments are closed

4 Ways to Enhance Texas’ Approach to Electric Reliability

power-lines-pixabayFor one scorching week in August, Texas broke electricity-use records on three different days. And the main grid operator met that exceptional demand every time.

That’s because the grid operator’s top priority is right there in its name: the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT). ERCOT deploys many tools to ensure the lights stay on, including Reliability Must-Run (RMR) agreements, which keep open a power plant – like a coal or natural gas plant – that otherwise planned to stop or suspend operations. Recently, there has been concern that the use of RMRs may increase due to market conditions, specifically low electricity prices that are forcing uneconomic plants to retire.

RMRs serve a critical purpose. But as technology transforms the way we power our lives, we need smart policies that recognize the unprecedented array of new energy options. ERCOT currently is in the process of revising its rules, and Environmental Defense Fund has a few recommendations on how the grid operator can improve its approach to reliability agreements, so Texans can enjoy a healthier, cleaner, and more affordable energy future. Read More »

Posted in Clean Energy| Comments are closed
  • About this Blog

    EDF Energy Exchange - Accelerating the clean energy revolution

    EDF's energy experts discuss how to accelerate the transition to a clean, low-carbon energy economy.

    Follow EDFEnergyEX

  • Get blog posts by email

    Subscribe via RSS

  • Categories

  • Authors