Energy Exchange

What do Uber and Airbnb Have in Common with Clean Energy?

Airbnb_Uber‘Disruptive’ is a favorite word among entrepreneurs and innovators, but start-up companies like Airbnb and Uber truly have disrupted long-standing industries over the past few years. Beyond their youth and success, what further links these two companies as well as many others (such as Teespring, Postmates, Patreon, and Verbling), is the way they empower people.

Exemplified by Airbnb and Uber, among others, is a new kind of business model that is revolutionizing many sectors, including how we get our electricity. Just like hotel and taxi industries, these disruptive, decentralized trends are taking hold in energy – affording people more choice, enabling existing resources and technology, and empowering people to veer from the traditional provider of services. Moreover, they even allow some people to make money in ways that didn’t exist until recently. Read More »

Posted in Clean Energy, Electricity Pricing, Energy Storage, Renewable Energy, Smart Grid, Utility Business Models| Comments are closed

Cracking the Code on California’s Clean Tech Leadership

Clean Tech IndexBy: Katie Hsia-Kiung

It may be hard to believe that just 15 years ago the term “clean tech” was largely unheard of. Today, the term has gained widespread usage, and is often applied to a diverse array of businesses, practices, and tools. Clean tech not only includes renewable energy technologies like wind and solar, but also electric motors, green chemistry, sustainable water management, and waste disposal technologies, to name just a few.

One research institution that has followed this sector through its short, but burgeoning history, is Clean Edge, a firm devoted exclusively to the study of the clean tech sector. Last week, the firm released their annual U.S. Clean Tech Leadership Index, which ranks each state based on several indicators across three categories: technology, policy, and capital. For the sixth year in a row, California came out on top as the leading state for clean technology. In fact, over the past year, California has widened its lead over the rest of the pack, with a score that is 15 percentage points higher than Massachusetts, the state in second place. According to the report, “with 55,000 people employed in its booming solar industry alone, a carbon market in place with its AB 32 trading scheme, and a 50 percent renewables goal by 2030 set by Governor Jerry Brown, California sets the pace for what a clean-energy economy looks like.” Read More »

Posted in Air Quality, California, Cap and Trade, Clean Energy, Climate, Electric Vehicles, Energy Efficiency, Renewable Energy| Comments are closed

Clean Jobs Legislation Maintains Momentum in Illinois

https://www.flickr.com/photos/oregondot/3049873452/in/photolist-PNtRR-a8bb4G-5FVki8-5Dr6mn-e56Sft-5Dvp83-7xGorg-9HajEF-5FZA45-5Dr5AM-aDnUMq-baP3Vr-9Hajwk-9Hdde3-9HddDQ-9duVAZ-azxqwi-5vWdqV-9HajMr-9HajAr-7F1KLB-hAP1e5-89gXDE-5Dvp4C-5BKeyv-7Pm1of-9duWjg-6mQ4Kx-2x6mJ1-afLB6B-9HddaE-9HajnK-9BV2oD-89vACi-a3XVDW-aS6Gwz-aHGbjv-6AQk5p-aS6GyX-9Hddo1-aDoWZu-bxPEVP-9HddMu-bjUNjL-auFcC7-auFd2y-9vatMw-9vaudW-9vavdq-9v7uozAt the start of the 2015 Illinois legislative session, a diverse coalition came together to introduce and support the Illinois Clean Jobs bill – legislation which would strengthen Illinois’ energy efficiency policies, as well as update and extend the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS). The bill would also create a market-based strategy to meet new federal carbon regulations to limit carbon emissions from existing power plants, otherwise known as the Clean Power Plan (CPP).

So now that the regular legislative session has ended, where does the Clean Jobs bill stand?

A victory for the little guy

Initially, the Clean Jobs bill was far from the energy legislation spotlight. Two deep-pocketed companies also introduced bills. Exelon proposed a bailout for three of its uneconomic nuclear reactors. And Commonwealth Edison (ComEd) wanted to restructure its rates to ensure a profit because efficiency and clean energy had reduced the demand for power.

Most political observers felt Exelon and ComEd – which employ teams of lobbyists and enjoy substantial political clout – would quickly obtain what they asked for. Yet neither went anywhere, and it was actually the Clean Jobs legislation that obtained more co-sponsors than the Exelon and ComEd bills – combined. Read More »

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

EPA Looks at Fracking Risks to Water: No Data, No Problem?

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its long-awaited draft report on impacts associated with hydraulic fracturing on drinking water last week, completing the most extensive scientific review of published data to date. At nearly 1,000 pages, it’s a substantial report. But it’s nowhere near a comprehensive evaluation – or even enumeration – of the risks that oil and gas development poses to both surface and ground water.

The biggest issues aren’t what’s in the document, but what isn’t. For all its heft, the biggest lesson in the report is just how little we actually know about these critical risks.

Read More »

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Corporate Giants Use their Power to Protect North Carolina’s Renewable Portfolio Standard

solar farmPop quiz: What do current and former executives at Apple, Facebook, Google, Bank of America, and Duke Energy have in common?

Answer: They all believe in expanding renewable energy in North Carolina, where the legislature proposes to gut the clean energy policies that have made the state a national leader in solar energy.

At stake is the state’s Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard (REPS), which requires utilities to get 12.5 percent of their energy from sources such as solar and wind by 2021. Lawmakers want to freeze the target at six percent, which happens to be the current level.

Not so fast, say the tech giants

Apple, Facebook, and Google have data centers and other investments in North Carolina – and they are big supporters of clean energy in their industry. They made their position on the REPS perfectly clear in a recent letter to state lawmakers: Read More »

Posted in Clean Energy, North Carolina, Renewable Energy| Comments are closed

Clean Energy Conference Roundup: June 2015

rp_Source-National-Retail-Federation-Flickr-300x2001.jpgEach month, the Energy Exchange rounds up a list of top clean energy conferences around the country. Our list includes conferences at which experts from the EDF Clean Energy Program will be speaking, plus additional events that we think our readers may benefit from marking on their calendars.

Top clean energy conferences featuring EDF experts in June:

June 17: PJM Grid 20/20: Focus on Gas/Electric Interoperability (Audobon, PA)

Speaker: N. Jonathan Peress, Air Policy Director – Natural Gas

  • The purpose of GRID 20/20 is to provide PJM members and policy makers with cutting edge ideas, visions, and technologies that will transform electricity in the 21st century. Industry experts and regulatory officials will address key questions during remarks or as part of panel discussions. Among the questions they will explore are: Why is gas-electric interoperability so important right now? What are the challenges of building natural gas pipelines and what will future needs be?

Read More »

Posted in Clean Energy, Conference Roundup| Comments are closed
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