Energy Exchange

Puerto Rico can achieve reliable and equitable clean energy. Here’s what it’ll take.

By Fred Krupp and Ramón Cruz, Sierra Club President

En Español

Puerto Rico sits in the eye of what’s been the busiest hurricane season on record with an old and historically unreliable power system. The all too common occurrence of blackouts left more than 400,000 people in San Juan in the dark hours before Tropical Storm Isaias made landfall on the U.S. territory this week. Isaias is the latest storm to test Puerto Rico’s preparedness after Hurricane Maria tore apart its electric grid in 2017.

Lack of funding to rebuild critical infrastructure and the Trump administration’s ongoing neglect have elevated the risk that unimaginable human suffering awaits with the next storm.

Read More »

Also posted in Air Quality, Energy Equity, Grid Modernization, Puerto Rico, Solar Energy / Comments are closed

Puerto Rico puede tener energía limpia, fiable y equitativa. Se requiere lo siguiente.

Por Fred Krupp  y Ramón Cruz, presidente de Sierra Club

Puerto Rico se encuentra en el medio de lo que ha sido la temporada de huracanes más activa de la que se tiene registro y la enfrenta con un sistema de energía eléctrica antiguo y poco fiable. Los apagones, cada vez más frecuentes, dejaron a más de 400.000 personas a oscuras antes de que la tormenta tropical Isaías tocara tierra en el territorio estadounidense la semana pasada. Isaías es la última tormenta que ha puesto a prueba la preparación de Puerto Rico después de que el huracán María destrozara su red eléctrica en el 2017.

Read More »

Also posted in Air Quality, Energy Equity, Grid Modernization, Puerto Rico, Solar Energy / Comments are closed

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.

Read More »

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

New York’s EV plan takes small but critical steps in the right direction

UPDATE: Since the publication of this blog post on June 11, 2020, the New York Public Service Commission released an order that recognizes the legitimacy of calls from stakeholders to address the requirements of both passenger EVs as well as trucks and buses. It proposes a $15 million “make-ready” pilot program for medium- and heavy-duty electric vehicles that, among other considerations, “must support a direct reduction of diesel emissions located in environmental justice communities through electrification of the medium-duty/heavy-duty vehicles and trucks.” In addition, the commission directs $10 million toward utilities partnering with transit authorities in the state to provide make-ready bus infrastructure in depots, and directs the establishment of a $20 million competition to drive innovation in the medium- and heavy-duty electric vehicle sector. This innovation competition will give heightened consideration to last-mile movement of goods and people in disadvantaged communities. EDF is gratified to see these small but critical steps in the right direction, for the reasons explained in the below blog post, and will work with the commission to ensure these programs are as beneficial as possible.

Read More »

Also posted in Air Quality, Electric Vehicles, New York / Comments are closed

New multi-state collaboration makes an important commitment to electric trucks and buses

As our nation grapples with a historic public health crisis, 15 states and the District of Columbia are showing leadership by committing to address a dangerous culprit that makes us more vulnerable to COVID-19 and climate change: diesel pollution from trucks and buses.

These pollutants have significant negative consequences on air quality and health. Despite comprising just 10% of vehicles on the road across the U.S., trucks and buses are responsible for 57% of fine particulate matter, 45% of oxides of nitrogen and 28% of greenhouse gas emissions for that sector.

Besides increased planetary warming, pollution from diesel vehicles leads to a higher rate of asthma, heart attacks and premature deaths — ailments that disproportionately affect people of color and disadvantaged communities, which often border freight corridors, ports and depots. A growing body of evidence suggests that people with respiratory illnesses, often caused or exacerbated by transportation-related pollution, are more susceptible to the effects of COVID-19. Read More »

Also posted in Air Quality, California, Colorado, Electric Vehicles, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Washington, DC / Tagged | 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.

Read More »

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