Monthly Archives: June 2015

Orange is the New Black, 40 is the New 30…and Energy Storage Could be the New California Power Plant

Moss_Landing_Power_Plant_p1270026If you follow pop culture, you’ve likely heard that Orange is the New Black, and 40 is the new 30. A perhaps lesser known – but equally important – new comparison that is turning heads in California is that energy storage might just be the new power plant.

This probably warrants a bit of explanation. On a power grid without storage, solar energy is generated during the day when the sun is shining its brightest, providing clean, renewable energy to homes and businesses – thus lessening the hold on the grid of dirty power plants. But what happens when this energy source goes offline? As people come home after work and turn on TVs, run dishwashers, and fire up other hungry appliances (also referred to as “peak” energy hours), the grid must rely on fossil fuel-powered electricity to ramp up production quickly.

However, when energy storage is added into this mix, a shift occurs. If there is enough renewable energy stockpiled during the sun’s most productive hours, between 11 AM and 3 PM, then the use of fossil fuels at peak times can be reduced.  In this way, new fossil fuel power plants that might be necessary to meet increased population and demand can be avoided.  And voila: energy storage is the new power plant. Read More »

Posted in California, Clean Energy, Energy Storage, State / Comments are closed

Don’t Write Off Energy Efficiency. It’s Just About to have its Day.

By: Matt Golden, Senior Energy Finance Consultant

pgegreenenergy-smartmeterA few days ago, economists from the University of Chicago and the University of California, Berkeley released a study that called into question the cost-effectiveness of energy efficiency. The study was based on the team’s analysis of energy savings shortfalls in the Michigan low income Weatherization Assistance Program. Since then, a host of articles have used the study’s results to call into question the value of utility-sponsored energy efficiency programs.

While this study did raise some thought-provoking points, it also contained biased assumptions and reached conclusions that far exceed its scope, lumping together market-based efficiency with low-income weatherization programs. Read More »

Posted in California, Clean Energy, Energy Efficiency, Energy Financing, Grid Modernization, Illinois, Investor Confidence Project / Read 14 Responses

Bringing The Pope’s Climate Encyclical to Life, a Church at a Time

SacredHeartLast week’s papal encyclical on climate change galvanized those of us who already see responsible stewardship for the earth as both a moral mandate and business imperative. In the 184-page document, Pope Francis calls for a sweeping overhaul of political, economic, and individual practices to halt the degradation of the environment and protect our planet for the long term.

The pope’s sweeping vision is sure to prompt churches, people of faith, and a whole range of organizations to rethink their actions with regard to use of energy, water, and other natural resources. But already, religious organizations have been working quietly and steadily to effectively manage their environmental impact, in keeping with the established theological tradition of moral economic development and use of resources.

Take Gene Murphy of Prescott, Arizona, as a prime example of someone sitting at the intersection of religion, sustainability, and business. As the business manager for the Sacred Heart Parish in the Diocese of Phoenix, Gene has developed scalable solutions for his church and school that could and should be replicated across all churches, schools and relevant organizations. Read More »

Posted in Clean Energy, Climate, Energy Efficiency, Energy Financing, Renewable Energy / Comments are closed

Building Blocks of a True Energy Efficiency Market Now in Place

By: Matt Golden, Senior Energy Finance Consultant

qa provider logos2The Investor Confidence Project (ICP), an Environmental Defense Fund initiative designed to unlock investment in energy efficiency, announces the launch of the ICP Quality Assurance Credential for companies with the skills, training, and experience to provide independent review of ICP projects.

This last of three key credentials authorizes third-party Credentialed Quality Assurance providers to verify that a project conforms to a set of ICP protocols, as well as certify it as an Investor Ready Energy EfficiencyTM project. The completion of the ICP credentialing system marks a crucial step forward for ICP and the standardization of the commercial and multifamily energy efficiency industry.

Read More »

Posted in Clean Energy, Energy Efficiency, Energy Financing, Investor Confidence Project / Comments are closed

Big Oil and Gas Emissions out West – New Report Sizes Up Methane Problem on Federal and Tribal Lands

US-DOI-BLM-logoThe American West is home to the vast majority of the nation’s federal and tribal lands, which account for well over half of the total land area of several Western states. And, the Western states are also significant centers of domestic oil and gas production, contributing 80 to 90 percent of total federal and tribal production.

Now, a new report estimates that fugitive and vented losses from oil and natural gas operations on federal and tribal lands amounted to over 65 billion cubic feet (Bcf) of natural gas in 2013, representing over 1 million metric tons of harmful methane pollution.

The report, released this week by the independent consultancy ICF International and commissioned by the Environmental Defense Fund, looks at oil and gas development on federal and tribal lands —specifically, emissions from gas that is leaked, vented, or flared every year.

Oil and gas emissions matter. Excessive venting, flaring and leaking of gas can degrade regional air quality. Moreover, natural gas is comprised mostly of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change. In addition to the emissions associated with these activities, we believe venting, flaring and leaking of natural gas represents the wasteful loss of a finite and valuable natural resource.

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Posted in Climate, Colorado, Methane, Natural Gas, Wyoming / Tagged , , , , , , | Read 1 Response

The Common Goals of the Pope and Clean Energy

popemainPope Francis turned a keen eye toward the environment and the problem of climate change with his encyclical,“Laudato Si” (“Praised Be”), released yesterday. As a clean energy advocate, I’m heartened that Pope Francis recognizes the need to transform our energy system.

He writes not as a scientist or politician, but as a pastor and spiritual leader. He offers moral guidance rooted in an “integral ecology” based on fundamental Catholic teaching about care for all creation. And while we can and should measure, analyze, and debate climate change using the tools of science, we cannot hope to find adequate solutions without a shared moral understanding of what it means to take care of each other and the planet. That’s not just the Pope’s idea, either – that’s the argument of world renowned economist Jeffrey Sachs and others.

A leading voice without political boundaries, the Pope has the ability to reach people who previously could not or would not face the reality of climate change and, ultimately, inspire action. Read More »

Posted in Clean Energy, Climate, General / Comments are closed