In an ideal world, our electricity system would run on 100 percent clean, renewable energy. Moving toward that goal means transitioning away from a system of centralized, fossil fuel power plants, to an intelligent, efficient, networked energy grid that smoothly integrates vastly increased amounts of renewables and energy-efficient solutions.
To do that, we have to balance the intermittency of renewables with our steady need for electricity. That’s where natural gas comes in: When the sun stops shining or the wind stops blowing and renewables are offline, gas-fired plants can ramp up more quickly and efficiently than coal plants.
Many policymakers, regulators and industry members believe we have to build thousands of miles of new pipelines costing $150 billion or more to feed this need. But that could be an unnecessary and expensive mistake, not just now but over a very long term. Read More
It’s always inspiring to see people stand up and fight for issues that matter to them. In our world, when politics can at times seem petty or backwards, it’s especially uplifting to see politicians do this. And that’s exactly what’s happening inside California’s state capitol.
The three most powerful political leaders in the state – Governor Brown, Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León, and Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins – are moving in lockstep to enact an ambitious long-term climate and clean energy agenda. Yesterday, we witnessed a major demonstration of that political leadership when the pro tem and speaker marshalled support to move fundamental pieces of legislation through a key part of the lawmaking process – passing bills through their respective houses of origin.
The bills currently under consideration put in place a climate pollution reduction target of 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050 and reaffirm the ongoing role of market-mechanisms like cap-and-trade in California. They accomplish this while also codifying the governor’s goals to meet half of our energy demand with renewable energy, double energy efficiency in existing buildings, cut our harmful petroleum addiction in half, and reduce climate pollution 40 percent below 1990 levels all by 2030. Read More
By: Paul Fenn, Founder and President of Local Power Inc.
New York has embarked on a major energy reform that will change the way electricity is produced, distributed, and priced in the state. The effort, called ‘Reforming the Energy Vision’ (REV) has the potential to scale up the use of local renewable energy resources and widely deploy energy efficiency technologies, reduce energy bills, and give customers greater control over their energy use.
New York’s REV effort would change the longstanding utility business model that relies on a one-way, centralized power grid delivering electricity to customers, most of it generated by aging, polluting power plants. Under this model, the environmentally-conscious customer has little say over how her energy is produced. Read More
The technological advances that led to the “shale revolution” have undoubtedly had a large economic impact on the Texas economy – something state leaders and the oil and gas industry are never shy about pointing out. But the impact drilling has on air quality and public health, that’s something energy-friendly Texas has not been so quick to recognize.
When not managed responsibly, drilling operations can contribute to the formation of ozone, also commonly known as smog. At certain concentrations, this pollution can trigger asthma attacks and cause other severe respiratory illnesses.
San Antonio is one place that’s seeing the clear connection between drilling and lower air quality, thanks to increased drilling just south of the city from the Eagle Ford Shale region. Before 2008, ozone levels in San Antonio had been steadily dropping, but when the shale revolution hit and drilling increased, regional ozone readings started going up. In fact, based on air quality monitor readings from the last three years, San Antonio’s air quality is the 2nd worst in the state. This correlation between drilling and ozone levels has been documented by The University of Texas and the Alamo Area Council of Governments, both of which concluded oil and gas activity in the Eagle Ford Shale is materially impacting ozone levels in San Antonio. Read More
In the past few weeks, I have written extensively on the $3 billion bailout proposed by FirstEnergy, the giant utility that provides electricity across Ohio and multiple other states. For those of you who want to catch up on what FirstEnergy is up to and why the proposal is such a bad idea, take a look at our recent blog posts on the topic.
But we haven’t just written about FirstEnergy’s nefarious antics. A few weeks ago, Environmental Defense Fund (EDF)began running online ads in local Ohio markets and on some of the web’s most influential financial news sites. Since we launched, our ads have generated more than 2 million impressions on computers, tablets, and phones across the country. And, we’re just getting warmed up.
Thank you to the nearly 1000 EDF members who have already urged the Public Utility Commission of Ohio to reject FirstEnergy’s proposed bailout. If you see one of the below ads online, we hope you consider taking the same action! Read More
In January, the White House announced the ambitious goal of reducing methane emissions from the oil and gas industry by 40 to 45 percent over the next ten years. It was a landmark moment and a step toward making a great impact on greenhouse emissions and their effects on the climate by reducing a potent pollutant. Now, we await the rules EPA will propose later this summer to begin making that goal a reality.
In the coming days the EPA is expected to preview one piece of the plan the administration announced in January – Enhanced Natural Gas STAR, a program to enable companies to commit to voluntary actions to reduce emissions, and document progress toward achieving those commitments. The program is an important opportunity to ensure transparent and rigorous reporting of voluntary efforts to reduce emissions, but it is not a substitute for strong regulations and it is not the only step the administration has committed to taking. In its package of proposed rules that the administration has committed to release later this summer, the federal government will set, for the first time, methane emission limits from new and modified sources in the oil and gas industry, and is being called upon to implement rules to address leaks from existing sources as well. Read More