International Women’s Day: Spotlight on a Texas Clean Energy Leader

Center: Debbie Kimberly, Vice President for Customer Energy Solutions at Austin Energy.

In honor of this year’s International Women’s Day we wanted to highlight a clean energy leader in Texas, and we didn’t have to go far from Environmental Defense Fund’s Austin office.

Debbie Kimberly is the Vice President for Customer Energy Solutions at Austin Energy (AE), the municipally-owned electric utility for the City of Austin. Her division is responsible for some of the utility’s clean energy portfolio, including energy efficiency, demand response (a tool that rewards people and businesses for using less electricity when the grid is stressed), and solar initiatives.

Debbie came to AE just over four years ago from an illustrious run at Arizona’s Salt River Project – the electric utility that serves the Phoenix area. I recently interviewed her about her leadership in Texas’ clean energy space. Read More »

Posted in Clean Energy, Texas| Comments are closed

In Early Action, EPA Administrator Pruitt Moves to Block Communities’ Right to Know about Oil and Gas Pollution

Last Thursday, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt withdrew the agency’s Information Collection Request (“ICR”) for the Oil and Natural Gas Sector, abruptly halting the gathering of information on harmful methane, smog-forming and toxic pollution from these industrial sources.

In announcing the move, Administrator Pruitt hailed the benefits for the oil and gas industry, but notably ignored the interests of everyday Americans right to know about harmful pollution from oil and gas facilities.

Pruitt’s action also stops EPA from obtaining information that can inform future safeguards against this pollution. Even though cost-effective, common-sense best practices and technologies exist to reduce emissions from oil and gas facilities, most existing facilities in this sector are largely exempt from any requirements to control the vast quantities of pollution they emit.

This flawed decision is at odds with the core tenets of the agency Administrator Pruitt is entrusted to lead and inimical to the health and environmental laws he has committed to faithfully execute. Unfortunately, it is also altogether predictable. Indeed this action—which allows oil and gas companies to withhold vital pollution data from thousands of sites across the country— reflects and reinforces concerns raised about Administrator Pruitt’s ability to lead an agency that he has persistently sought to undermine. Read More »

Posted in Methane, Natural Gas| Comments are closed

The President Should Understand Clean Energy is a Bipartisan Issue.

Last Friday, students at UC Berkeley hosted their 8th annual Energy Summit about the future of federal energy policy under the Trump Administration. It was refreshing to hear a respectful discussion — participants from people from private industry, non-profits and business exploring serious solutions — and listening with respect to all sides — including a conservative Trump supporter on a panel with me.

There was a remarkable amount of agreement — which is very surprising in these divisive times. But we should not be surprised: When we get together we can find a lot of common ground. The reality is that most Americans want clean energy and the freedom and prosperity that comes with it. Yes, there is controversy about the future of coal — but there is consensus in our country about the future for clean energy. Read More »

Posted in Clean Energy, Energy Efficiency, Renewable Energy, Solar Energy, Wind Energy| Tagged | Comments are closed

Companies Want Clean Energy – These 2 EPA Programs Help Them Get It.

For companies, future planning is simply good business. This is why many in Corporate America – having long accepted that climate change is real – are continuing to transition towards low-carbon energy options and to work with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Recently, it was reported that under the watch of newly-appointed EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, the environmental agency’s budget could be cut by 24 percent – to roughly $6 billion, its lowest since the mid-1980's. If this happens, it may be up to the business community to maintain its vigilant eye on the environment and future while helping today’s economy thrive.

Here’s a look at just two of the many EPA programs that have helped business transition to a clean energy future. Read More »

Posted in Clean Power Plan, Renewable Energy| Comments are closed

4 Signs Texas Could Lead the Clean Energy Economy – But Will It?

“If you want to know how wind works for America, just ask a Texan.” That’s according to Tom Kiernan, CEO of the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), which just released its newest wind industry market report.

The AWEA report shows Texas is the nation’s indisputable wind powerhouse, including serving as home to nearly a quarter of America’s wind jobs. But wind is just one piece of the puzzle, and recent reports confirm the pieces are in place for Texas to blaze the clean energy trail.

Wind is thriving in Texas and solar is growing, while the electric grid remains reliable and billions in savings await. But the Lone Star State can do more: California has more than 10 times as many solar jobs with less than a quarter of Texas’ solar potential. When it comes to clean energy, will lawmakers during this 85th Texas Legislative Session position the state to lead the nation? Read More »

Posted in Clean Energy, Solar Energy, Texas, Wind Energy| Comments are closed

REPORT: CA Utilities Are Leaking Lots of Gas – but There’s a Way to Stop It

A new report confirms with greater accuracy than ever before that California natural gas utilities are letting huge amounts of their product escape into the atmosphere – about 6.6 billion cubic feet in 2015. That’s more than the amount of gas released during last year’s Aliso Canyon disaster, and over twice the total loss from all of the state’s oil and gas wells.

These huge gas losses are a major environmental problem. Methane – the main ingredient in natural gas – is a potent climate pollutant.  Leaks and other emissions from California utilities in 2015 have the same climate impact as burning more than 1 billion gallons of gasoline.

Where the data comes from and what it means

In 2014 California passed SB 1371, a new law requiring utilities to reduce methane emissions. This new report is based on emissions data collected under that law.  Read More »

Posted in General, Methane, Natural Gas| Comments are closed
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