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Solar and Other Renewables Maintain Lead in U.S. Generating Capacity Installed

July 24, 2014 by Rosana Francescato
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The latest “Energy Infrastructure Update” reports that renewable energy sources provided 55.7% of new installed U.S. electrical generating capacity in the first half of 2014, with solar coming in at 1,131 MW. The trend is expected to continue, both in the U.S. and globally.[read more]

High-Efficiency Planet

Dramatic increases in energy efficiency historically have allowed for cheaper energy services, and rather than reducing the amount of energy people used, these improvements increased energy consumption. As such, consumers play an important role in energy transitions.[read more]

World Oil Production at 3/31/2014: Where are We Headed?

July 25, 2014 by Gail Tverberg

Oil Production and Energy Future

The standard way to make forecasts of almost anything is to look at recent trends and assume that this trend will continue, at least for the next several years. With world oil production, the trend in oil production looks fairly benign, with the trend slightly upward. However, we may be dealing with an unstable situation.[read more]

Here's What Utilities Really Think About Microgrids

July 25, 2014 by Stephen Lacey

Microgrids and Utility Opinions

There is just over a gigawatt worth of microgrids scattered throughout the country. While many of those projects have proved their value during major storms or extended outages, they are largely custom-engineered and limited to public facilities like schools, hospitals and military bases.[read more]

Change In Antarctic Sea Ice Trend Not So Extreme, Study Finds

July 25, 2014 by Joseph Romm

Antarctic Ice Change Study

A new study finds that the change in the trend of Antarctic sea ice growth over time is “not as extreme as the published literature indicates,” as one coauthor put it. The most important thing to know about Antarctica and ice is that a large part of the South Pole’s great sheet of land ice is close collapse.[read more]

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When Politics Constraints Carbon Pricing, Part 2: 6 Tips for Improving Climate Change Policy

July 24, 2014 by Jesse Jenkins
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Carbon Pricing and Politics

The repeal of Australia’s carbon tax last week put the political obstacles to establishing a price on carbon in stark relief. Yet the news from Canberra is just the most dramatic manifestation of a set of powerful political economy forces that can fundamentally constrain efforts to put a price on carbon.[read more]

The Great Electric Company Growth Opportunity

July 24, 2014 by Elias Hinckley
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Utilities and Growth Choices

Energy use in the United States can be split into two large (very, very large) pies. One is electricity for use in homes, buildings, and industry, and the other is transportation, which is powered primarily by liquid fuels (gasoline and diesel) from oil.[read more]

What We Don't Know About Economic Climate Change Impacts

July 24, 2014 by Maximilian Auffhammer

Climate Change Economic Effects

Relatively recent econometric literature examines the impact of weather/climate on a variety of outcomes of economic interest. In order to provide an estimate of a climate impact you need two things: An estimate of how a sector responds to a change in weather/climate and projections of future climate.[read more]

Sure the Utility Business Model is Changing, but Not So Fast

July 24, 2014 by Jared Anderson

Changing Utility Business Models

The changing utility business model has been a major theme in the news and industry circles this year, with many bemoaning that fact that as distributed generation and energy efficiency proliferate, utilities sell less of their product. The trend has even been dramatically called the “utility death spiral.” Scary.[read more]

'Pay-As-You-Go' Solar Financing Hits New Milestone

July 24, 2014 by Justin Guay

Pay-As-You-Go Solar

From Pakistan to Kenya, anecdotal reports have been trickling in that pay-as-you-go solar finance -- the off-grid solar market's version of a "solar lease" -- is driving record sales. Now, we can add one more data point to add to the mounting evidence.[read more]

The Coming Storage Boom: Project Proposals Nearly Double California's Storage Target

July 24, 2014 by Jeff St. John
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California’s push to transform the market for grid-scale energy storage is working even better than expected -- at least on paper. Last year, California created a mandate calling for 1,325 megawatts of energy storage projects by 2020, to be scaled up every two years.[read more]

Building Climate-Resilient Communities with State Revolving Funds

July 24, 2014 by NRDC Switchboard

Climate Resiliency and State Funding

Water and wastewater infrastructure systems play a vital role in our daily lives. Without these critical systems, life as we know it would not be possible. Yet much of this infrastructure is outdated, under-maintained, and in desperate need of repair.[read more]

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Should the U.S. Implement a New 'Value-Added Carbon Tax' to Replenish the Federal Highway Trust Fund?

July 23, 2014 by John Miller
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Carbon Taxes and Highway Funding

As Congress struggles to develop revenue generation solutions for needed Highway and Roads infrastructure projects the Federal Highway Trust Fund is going broke. Is it time to consider generating needed, long-term revenues by implementing a new tax such as a ‘value-added carbon tax’?[read more]

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Power Over Pollution: How Legal Enforceability Will Drive Implementation of EPA's Power Plant Rule

July 23, 2014 by Ari Peskoe

Under EPA's Clean Power Plan proposal, states will submit plans to the EPA describing how they will meet 2030 carbon intensity targets. A state can include any strategy that will produce a quantifiable and verifiable reduction in carbon intensity, so long as it has legal authority to enforce its implementation.[read more]

High-Energy Africa

Africa and Energy Development

Six of the best performing economies have come from Africa in the past six years, but energy poverty continues to be a significant barrier for development goals. Sub-Saharan Africa will need to power its factories, hospitals, schools, and other foundational infrastructure with cheap and reliable sources of electricity.[read more]