Monthly Archives: October 2018

3 reasons Texas’ electric grid survived a summer that pushed its limits

As the hot summer approached, Texas leaders expressed concern about potential blackouts and brownouts. Yet, thoughtful planning, a functional electricity market and clean energy helped ensure the lights stayed on.

Power outage concerns

Hotter temperatures and continued population and commercial growth drove record electricity demand this past summer. Additionally, in early 2018, Luminant (now Vistra) shut down three large coal plants – all inefficient and highly-polluting – with a combined capacity of 4,200 megawatts (MW).

The shutdown of these power plants and other changes in the electricity market initially led the state’s electric grid operator, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), to forecast few electricity-making resources would be available beyond the amount customers would likely demand.

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Posted in Clean Energy, Electricity Pricing, Grid Modernization, Regional Grid, Texas / Comments are closed

A little flexibility can go a long way to maximize renewables

Greentech Media’s Power & Renewables Summit takes place November 13-14, 2018 in Austin, Texas. The conference will gather industry views on how renewable integration, decarbonization and sector electrification are impacting electricity systems.

In the last month, a new report from the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change heightened the urgency of climate threats and the need for decisive actions to avoid them. The report “describes a world of worsening food shortages and wildfires and a mass die-off of coral reefs as soon as 2040.”

As I and other renewable energy insiders plan our talking points for Greentech Media’s “Power & Renewables Summit” in Austin next month, this report should serve as inspiration. The need for a clean, resilient energy economy just got a lot more salient. Read More »

Posted in California, Renewable Energy, Texas / Comments are closed

Amendment 74’s multi-billion dollar threat to Colorado taxpayers and our environment

With ballots arriving in mailboxes across Colorado, it is time to address Amendment 74, a seemingly innocuous amendment to the Colorado Constitution that would create a nightmare of litigation and severely limit the ability of state and local governments to protect our clean air and water, develop renewable energy, and conserve our treasured landscapes.

As former Colorado Supreme Court Justice Rebecca Love Kourlis pointed out, Colorado’s constitution already protects private property rights. Amendment 74 would create new entitlements that ultimately benefit polluters. It’s no wonder that 99.7 percent of the money backing Amendment 74 comes from an oil and gas group.

The measure would amend Colorado Constitution as follows: Read More »

Posted in Colorado, Natural Gas / Comments are closed

Sacramento leads by example on cleaner energy with help from electrification

Good news for California’s clean energy fans. Last week the Board of Directors of the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) approved an aggressive new plan that will help push California’s capitol city and its surrounding area closer to meeting, and beating, the state’s deep carbon reduction goals. Once implemented, SMUD will help create a cleaner energy and transportation system for the region.

The importance of SMUDs proposed investment shouldn’t be understated, nor should its impact. Between now and 2040, the utility plans to invest nearly $7 billion toward projects that generate renewable energy and help switch consumers’ energy use away from fossil fuels like natural gas and gasoline. This powerful commitment goes above and beyond the greenhouse gas reforms required by the state, and will enable the region to be net zero for climate pollution in a little more than 20 years.

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Posted in California, Clean Energy / Comments are closed

This year’s Greenbuild works to make sustainable buildings accessible to everyone

This is my fifth year attending Greenbuild and I am excited that my hometown of Chicago will again host the green building conference. I have come to appreciate the educational value and community that Greenbuild provides more and more each year, and I’m delighted Chicago will get to add to the tradition once more.

Greenbuild’s theme this year, Humans by Nature: The Intersection of Humanity & the Built Environment, covers a wide array of topics that define how we relate to the world we live in. One of these topics is enhancing building efficiency and performance, an ongoing mission that is at the very core of the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and Greenbuild.

Moreover, the mission statement highlights the importance of making sustainable buildings and environments accessible to everyone. As one of the founding cities of the BIT Building energy efficiency program, Chicago reflects these ideals, and the BIT Building program is a clear example of accessibility in action.

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Posted in Clean Energy, Energy Efficiency, Illinois / Comments are closed

New EPA data confirms methane emissions not declining fast enough

Last week EPA released its annual data from large emitters, called the Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program (GHGRP). It is not a comprehensive account of all methane emissions (for that, check out our methane synthesis paper published earlier this year) but it does provided us with an important snapshot of 2017 oil and gas methane emissions.

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Posted in California, Colorado, Methane, Natural Gas, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Texas, Wyoming / Comments are closed