Energy Exchange

Multi-state “action plan” on zero-emission trucks, buses is robust, but key additions are needed

Last month truck manufacturers, environmentalists and others shared their thoughts on a multi-state draft action plan to spur zero emission medium- and heavy-duty trucks in 17 states, the Province of Quebec and Washington D.C.

The plan, spearheaded by the Northeast States for Coordinated Air Use Management and developed by signatory states, was the culmination of months of educational webinars and stakeholder outreach and demonstrated the fruits of that labor. It was comprehensive and reflected the inclusion of a diverse array of perspectives and ideas.

The model action plan could be further strengthened to provide a roadmap for states that adequately addresses the climate and health imperative created by diesel trucks and buses. Read More »

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An all-inclusive way to look at energy transition in New Jersey

By Elizabeth B. Stein and Cole Jermyn

Update: On August 17th, the BPU voted to accept the final version of the Ratepayer Impact Study. The final version has the same limitations EDF and others identified in comments on the proposed study, including not accounting for the environmental and public health benefits of the energy transition, and failing to fully account for modernized utility practices that can minimize costs such as innovative price signals and grid modernization. But even with these limitations, the final study shows that electrification is the pathway to both lower costs and less greenhouse gas pollution.

 By 2030, New Jersey ratepayers who adopt electric vehicles, electrify their buildings and improve their energy efficiency will see lower energy costs than both their fossil fuel-reliant neighbor and the average customer today. This is true for small and large commercial customers, residential customers and low-income residential customers. These results should be a wakeup call to ensure all customers can afford to deploy these technologies in order to meet the state’s environmental and energy affordability goals.

New Jersey, like many other states, has been hard at work developing a strategy to drastically reduce its own climate impact. The state’s residents are already experiencing more than their share of climate change. With 130 miles of coastline, including population centers near much-loved beaches, more frequent extreme weather events are an existential threat to the state.

The state’s Energy Master Plan identifies and coordinates efforts, in various parts of the economy, to achieve a sustainable pathway to substantial decarbonization by 2050. But a new study, proposed by the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities, that seeks to estimate the financial impact of these efforts to eliminate fossil fuels on gas and electric utility customers, is infected with methodological flaws and faulty assumptions that would put it out of step with the state’s energy and climate policy.

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Illinois lays out blueprint for next generation climate legislation

Immediately after the Future Energy Jobs Act was passed in 2016, EDF and our tremendous partners in the Illinois Clean Jobs Coalition started work again. Building on that momentum and with many new and diverse partners, the Coalition held over 100 listening sessions with communities about their top priorities for Illinois. During those listening sessions, in every corner of the state, shared priorities emerged and became the pillars of the Climate and Equitable Jobs Act.

The core tenants of CEJA were built from the bottom-up, and after years of hard work, deep listening and authentic collaboration, the Climate and Equitable Jobs Act, SB2408, was signed into law by Governor J.B. Pritzker yesterday.

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Current power crunch underscores Texas Legislature’s lackluster efforts to “fix the grid”

When Texas state senators and representatives return to their home districts this summer, they’ll be able to tell constituents they did something in response to this winter’s deadly energy crisis. But they better not brag. And they might face some difficult questions when constituents ask why the Electric Reliability Council Of Texas is facing another supply crisis during a very predictable warm June.

Because despite promises to make sure February’s grid failures are never repeated, the Legislature only passed modest grid-related bills this session. They missed a once-in-a-generation opportunity to pass comprehensive electricity reforms that would have fortified the grid and protected Texans from increasingly frequent weather-related energy crises. And they spent an unforgivable amount of time and effort vilifying solar, wind and electric vehicles and considering punitive legislation that had nothing to do with February’s disaster.

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Clean firm power is the key to affordable, reliable grid decarbonization in California

California has ambitious efforts underway to decarbonize our electric grid by 2045. The choices we make today will help determine how affordably, equitably and reliably we can get there.

Renewables are an important piece of the puzzle, but we will also need something else. Renewable energy supplies can drop up to 60% between summer and winter months, due to cloudier skies and less-powerful winds. Short duration storage batteries can complement renewable generation production on a day-to-day basis, but they cannot pull the state through several weeks of reduced supply.

According to a recent study published in the journal Issues in Science and Technology, California will need to increase its renewable energy generation capacity while also tapping into clean firm power resources to meet these goals.

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Fossil fuel industry failed Texans during the freeze, now it’s using the crisis to attack renewables

February’s energy crisis did something no Texas politician has done in decades: It brought Texans together to demand our leaders in Austin fix the flawed energy system that failed so miserably, caused nearly $300 billion in damage and killed more than 200 Texans.

Unfortunately, fossil fuel interests and their willing allies in the Texas Legislature are pushing bills that would have absolutely zero impact on the problems that caused the crisis and would instead place additional costs on producers and customers of electricity generated by solar and wind. The Houston Chronicle called the bills a “cheap shot at renewable energy” and “shameless political opportunism aimed at helping the oil and gas industry profit off Texans’ misery.”

At issue are Senate Bill 1278 and House Bill 4466, companion bills that would force onto wind and solar power generators a disproportionate percentage of ERCOT’s “ancillary service” costs — costs that are currently divided equally among all electricity generators and then passed on to their customers.

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