The identity of the chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing fluid has been a key policy issue since the beginning of the shale revolution a decade ago. Now, that chemical information just became publicly available in a whole new way.
Today, FracFocus, the nationwide state-run hydraulic fracturing chemical registry database, made its chemical data publicly available as a raw data download – bringing FracFocus into the modern era of Big Data where large information sets can be analyzed for actionable patterns and trends.
In the past, data about the chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing were obtainable only on a well-by-well basis and only in PDF format. With nearly 100,000 wells registered with the FracFocus program, this made collecting and analyzing broad chemical information a nearly impossible task for researchers and the public. Read More
By: Jeremy Faust, Strategic Business Development Director, Greater Cincinnati Energy Alliance
In a surprising show of bi-partisanship, lawmakers in one of the nation’s more conservative states came together last month to approve a major victory for clean energy.
Kentucky became the latest state in the country to approve PACE (Property-Assessed Clean Energy), an innovative financing tool that allows cities to use their property taxes as a way to finance clean energy upgrades to buildings.
PACE’s unique structure and benefits have helped spur the proliferation of PACE programs around the county. As a result, the market for PACE financing is estimated to rise above $1 billion this year.
Kentucky has authorized businesses and other commercial property owners in the state to apply for PACE financing, which can be used for energy efficiency, renewable energy, and water efficiency improvements to their buildings. The victory comes after a two-year legislative effort led by the Greater Cincinnati Energy Alliance and the Kentucky Energy Project Assessment Districts (EPAD) Council. Read More
Too much ink has been spilled on the anti-climate furor of the Koch brothers. If we lose on climate, it won’t be because of the Koch brothers or those like them.
It will be because too many potential climate champions from the business community stood quietly on the sidelines at a time when America has attractive policy opportunities to drive down economy-endangering greenhouse gas emissions.
Corporate executives have the savvy to understand the climate change problem and opportunity. They have the incentive to tackle it through smart policy, and the clout to influence politicians and policy makers. Perhaps most importantly, they can inspire each other.
And today, they have a chance to do what they do best: lead. Corporate climate leadership has nothing to do with partisanship – it’s ultimately about business acumen.
For starters, here are three immediate opportunities smart companies won’t want to miss. Read More
$5 billion is a lot of money, yet that’s the difference in cost estimates between an Ohio-based, consumer advocacy group and FirstEnergy for the utility’s proposed bailout plan.
FirstEnergy, the giant Akron-based company that owns power plants and transmission lines in several midwestern and northeastern states, calculates its proposed plan to raise electricity rates will eventually save Ohio customers $2 billion. The Ohio Consumers’ Counsel, in contrast, estimates the subsidies will cost Ohioans $3 billion.
To appreciate the differences, consider a little history.
Several years ago, FirstEnergy thought it could profit in emerging regional electricity markets, so it convinced regulators to allow it to set up a separate subsidiary that would generate and sell electricity. That unit was to be independent from another subsidiary company, which managed the power wires and delivered power to customers. This partial step toward free markets, however, didn’t work out too well for FirstEnergy. Now, it’s asking regulators to abandon competition. Read More
Apple made news earlier this year when it signed an $848-million “direct access” deal to bypass Pacific Gas & Electric Co. and buy clean energy directly from a third-party solar provider. For Apple, the big win was a contract that locked in affordable energy for the next 25 years.
But the deal also set a historical precedent for corporate renewable energy purchases that may, over time, have huge financial implications for traditional utilities.
Energy deals break new ground
With its solar contracts, the iPhone maker is insulating itself from the price volatility that accompanies fossil fuels, in addition to getting power for less than half the cost. Going forward, it can count electricity as a fixed, predictable cost – an attractive proposition that is sure to spark interest among other large buyers of electricity.
Apple’s investment in First Solar’s PV Flats, a 2,900-acre solar array in Monterey, California, also suggests that corporations are ready to take procurement of energy to a new level.
On the heels of Apple’s deal came news that Google signed a 20-year purchase agreement to buy half of the energy produced at the soon-to-be refurbished Altamont Pass wind energy facility. The wind turbines there will power the company’s sprawling Googleplex headquarters in nearby Mountain View, California – again, effectively bypassing the local utility. Read More
During the next five years, 200,000 service members will transition from active duty military to civilian life. They will need jobs. The solar industry is booming and needs skilled workers. The math is simple.
The recently announced Solar Ready Vets program aims to help transitioning service members pursue training in the solar industry, which is adding 30,000 jobs a year, according to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).
Solar Ready Vets will focus on the specific needs of high-growth solar employers and build on the technical skills that veterans acquired during service. Solar Ready Vets is part of a larger DOE initiative to train 75,000 people for the solar workforce by 2020, some of whom are also veterans.
Initially, Solar Ready Vets will roll out at 10 military bases across the United States. Four bases in Colorado, California, Utah, and Virginia have been identified, and the other six will be selected based on the number of transitioning military personnel and strength of the solar market, among other things. Read More