Energy Exchange

Dope Deal: Wall Street Journal Falls for Methane “Facts” Cooked by Industry

Source: flickr.com/photos/earthworksWhen credibility is your stock in trade, it’s important to have your facts straight. On Monday, the Wall Street Journal blew it.

In an unsigned opinion piece dubbed “Meth Heads in the White House,” the paper dismisses plans expected to be announced by the Obama administration in the next few weeks that would start to tackle the huge amount of methane leaking from America’s oil & gas production facilities.

The question is a significant one, because – as the article notes in passing – methane is an extremely potent greenhouse gas (in point of fact, packing more than 80 times the warming power of carbon dioxide over a 20 year time frame). According to EPA data, oil & gas operations emit roughly 8 million metric tons of unburned methane annually, enough gas to heat nearly 6 million homes. Read More »

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Investor Confidence Project Gains Momentum in 2014, Poised for Even More Success in 2015

ICP Logo newestThe Investor Confidence Project (ICP), an EDF initiative designed to unlock investment in energy efficiency, experienced significant momentum in 2014. By gaining support in key states across the country as well as expanding to Europe, ICP laid the groundwork for even more successes in 2015.

Through ICP, EDF is accelerating the development of a global energy efficiency market by standardizing how energy efficiency projects are developed and energy savings are calculated.

In virtually all established markets, from car loans to home mortgages, standardization in how projects are structured and documented has helped to accelerate underwriting and create a vibrant secondary market, reducing long-term liability and spurring investment. The potential energy efficiency market is estimated at $1 trillion, but in order to realize a fraction of this market, the energy efficiency industry will need to leverage standardization to scale to this level. Read More »

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Clean Energy Conferences Roundup: January 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 January:

Jan 26-27: Net Metering 2.0 and Utility Solar Rates, Anaheim, CA
Speaker: Jamie Fine, Senior Economist

  • Net metering was a simple and appropriate rate mechanism when the solar industry was in its infancy and consumer-installed PV panels were relatively uncommon. But as policies and incentives enticed increasing numbers of home owners and businesses to adopt solar, the growing penetration of these resources onto the grid has resulted in some uncomfortable balancing acts among utilities, customers, regulators, solar providers, and other stakeholders important to the process. The objective of this conference is to explore rate structures that facilitate meeting solar development goals for consumer adoption, while striking an optimum balance among all solar development stakeholders, including utilities, and their business models.

Read More »

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Why Falling Oil Prices Don’t Hurt Demand for Renewable Energy

By: Victor A. Rojas, Senior Manager, Financial Policy, and Paul Stinson, Program Coordinator

solar greeneryIt’s understandable that many people would look at falling oil prices and wonder what it might mean for clean, renewable energy sources. Some recent headlines even suggest that cheaper crude might spell doom for the burgeoning clean energy economy.

Over the last six months, the price of crude oil has fallen by about 40 percent, currently trading below $60 a barrel, the lowest it’s been since 2009. Continuing global production and oversupply mean oil prices could remain low through the winter months and well into 2015.

While it’s true that stocks for some of the more trusted, clean energy investments are being dragged down by dipping oil prices, it doesn’t mean demand for clean energy is also suffering. In fact, as oil prices have tumbled, demand for energy efficiency and renewable energy only keeps growing.

Oil can mean energy, but energy doesn’t mean oil

The historic correlation between the price of oil and the demand for renewable energy has been increasingly weakened in today’s global markets. Like apples and oranges, we use oil and renewables to make completely different types of juice: oil primarily to produce transportation fuels, and renewables primarily to generate electricity. From an economics perspective, oil and renewables are not substitutes: when the price of one decreases, demand for the other does not decrease. Read More »

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Germany’s Energiewende Requires Sophisticated Governance, Political Stamina

"Berlin reichstag CP" by Cezary Piwowarski - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Berlin_reichstag_CP.jpg#mediaviewer/File:Berlin_reichstag_CP.jpgConceptualizing a policy as broad and ambitious as Energiewende – Germany’s goal to transition nearly 100 percent of its electricity supply to renewable energy by 2050 – is one thing. Implementing it is another thing entirely.

For this, ‘good governance’ is required – or as the Hertie School defines it: “an effective, efficient, and reliable set of legitimate institutions and actors engaged in a process of dealing with a matter of public concern.”

Energiewende’s implementation presents significant governance challenges. It is a public matter that requires cooperation and coordination from various public and private actors, as well as top-down decision-making. It also comprises diverse political levels and jurisdictions – global, European, federal, state, and municipal – as well as interest groups, cooperatives, alliances, banks, and individuals.

While Energiewende is very much a German policy designed for a German political context, there are still lessons the U.S. (and any country considering an energy transition for that matter) can learn from the challenges Germany has faced in developing a governance strategy to go where no one has gone before: overhauling the modern electricity system as we know it to make the German power grid more clean, efficient, resilient, and dynamic. Read More »

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Exploring U.S. Seniors’ Perspective Toward the Smart Grid

By: Patty Durand, Smart Grid Consumer Collaborative Executive Director

Durand headshotUnderstanding customers’ attitudes, viewpoints, and overall favorability around a modernized electric grid is integral to fully realizing all the benefits the smart grid has to offer.

Smart Grid Consumer Collaborative (SGCC) recently completed a new consumer analysis, Consumer Pulse: Focus on Seniors, which takes a deeper dive into the data collected from SGCC’s national flagship research series, Consumer Pulse Wave 1-4, which was collected during 2011–2013.

In the energy industry, there is no single study that explores seniors’ attitudes toward the smart grid and energy programs. Therefore, this new analysis provides insight for utilities and the smart grid stakeholder community on a demographic that is not well understood. Further, the Consumer Pulse: Focus on Seniors report answers the key question: What benefits do older Americans value most from a smarter grid? Read More »

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