Energy Exchange

VW settlement funds spark string of North Carolina electrification projects

By Michelle Allen

After years of legal and legislative wrangling at state and federal levels, the first round of Volkswagen settlement funds will soon begin to flow to grantees. Thanks to the leadership of Rep. Chuck McGrady (R-Hendersonville), the General Assembly unanimously passed legislation in June to release $31 million to fund the first of a three-phase plan to utilize the state’s settlement allocation. The funds are part of the settlement Volkswagen agreed to after six years of deliberately programming vehicle models to deceive tailpipe inspectors by dramatically under representing their nitrogen oxide emissions — a pollutant linked to respiratory diseases and a key element for the formation of smog and acid rain.

The settlement dictated that allocated dollars only be spent on projects that reduce air pollution. In North Carolina, that first round of funds has been earmarked to replace the state’s oldest transit and school buses with a combination of improved efficiency and zero-emission models. Of the total $31 million, lawmakers also allocated $3.4 million to install electric vehicle charging infrastructure across the state.

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Also posted in Air Quality, Clean Energy, Electric Vehicles, North Carolina, Solar Energy, Wind Energy / Comments are closed

Resilience in the eye of the storm: how Puerto Rico can build a stronger, more sustainable energy future

By Agustín Carbó and Amalia Saladrigas

En español

The Atlantic hurricane season is under way and scientists predict it will be one of the strongest in recent memory, as climate change makes more frequent and severe storms the new normal. For communities across Puerto Rico, already battered by an array of crises, the need to plot a more resilient future is urgent.

Energy is a critical lifeline for Puerto Ricans, and residents’ health and well-being depend on a stable and reliable source of power. Previous disasters, from hurricanes to earthquakes, have shown how unreliable and fragile the current centralized energy system is.

Now, the archipelago has an opportunity to reimagine its electric infrastructure in a way that puts communities first with more sustainable and resilient solutions.

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Also posted in Clean Energy, Community Solar, Grid Modernization, Puerto Rico, Solar Energy / Comments are closed

The energy job market is in trouble. Here’s how we fix it.

The coronavirus is inflicting a heavy toll on America: Over 100,000 dead, almost two million infected, and more than 40 million unemployed. Beating the virus is the top priority. But we also need to put people back to work as fast as safety allows. How we go about that now will determine our nation’s economic future for decades.

To achieve lasting prosperity, we need to rebuild better by investing in jobs that restart the economy, improve the environment and move us to a cleaner future.

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Also posted in Air Quality, Clean Energy, Climate, Energy Efficiency, Methane, Methane regulatons, Natural Gas / Comments are closed

How FERC’s flawed definition of “subsidy” could reshape the energy future for 65 million Americans

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission issued an order last December that could force many clean energy resources to bid into the nation’s largest wholesale electricity market, PJM, at artificially high prices. State policy makers, consumer and environmental advocates and the clean energy industry alike spoke out in vigorous opposition. Now, that order is being challenged in the courts. In the meantime, PJM must implement its directives in a process that will shape the future energy system for 65 million Americans in a region that spans 13 mid-Atlantic states and the District of Columbia.

While FERC’s December order was already bad policy — replacing competitive bidding with administrative pricing — many aspects of their mid-April order clarifying that policy are illogical and unworkable. As well as threatening competitive markets, these orders undermine state clean energy choices and, if FERC ignores PJM’s latest proposal attempting to soften the impact of the orders, could increase customer costs by billions.

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Also posted in Clean Energy, Market resilience, New Jersey, New York, Regional Grid / Comments are closed

Without the right policies, energy storage could increase emissions

In December, the six major Independent Systems Operators (ISO’s) across the country filed their plans for creating new market rules and opportunities for energy storage. While the rules will take at least a year to go into effect and the plans are just an initial step, a recent study suggests that this effort may add up to 50,000 megawatts (MW) of storage nationwide in the next decade.

At the same time, many states – like California, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York – are recognizing the potential value of energy storage and are starting to integrate it as a key component of their plans to meet climate and renewable energy goals.

Combined with falling capital costs, these trends suggest a lot of new energy storage in the pipeline. This presents both opportunities and challenges for states looking to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.

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Also posted in Clean Energy, Energy Storage / Tagged , | Comments are closed

These red and blue states are tackling climate change since Trump won’t

By Keith Zukowski, Communications Project Manager

If you’ve been focused on recent reports of climate disaster, or on the Trump administration’s relentless attacks against environmental safeguards and climate science, you’re probably worrying we’re not making progress – at all.

But look a little closer, right here in the United States, and you’ll see that people aren’t waiting around. Instead of giving in to a warmer, more chaotic world, states across the country have stepped up, and into, the vacuum left by the federal government.

They’re implementing creative, innovative solutions that tackle climate change while prioritizing people, our economy and the environment. While federal policies will ultimately be necessary to fully take on climate change, these states are proving that action is both doable and good for the economy.

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Also posted in California, Clean Energy, Climate, Colorado, New Jersey, North Carolina, Wyoming / Comments are closed