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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]

What Will the 21st Century Grid Look Like?

July 25, 2014 by NRDC Switchboard

It seems everyone involved with renewable energy and climate change is asking the same question these days. What will the 21st century grid look like? This is one of the key questions the Department of Energy is asking as part of the first “Quadrennial Energy Review.”[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]

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]

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]

The Great Electric Company Growth Opportunity

July 24, 2014 by Elias Hinckley
5

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]

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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]

The Climate Protection-Urban Expansion Nexus

July 23, 2014 by Roman Kilisek

Climate Change and Urbanization

Today, more than half of the world’s population lives in cities and this urban growth trend continues uninhibited at a fast clip. By 2050 it is projected that 67 per cent of the world’s population will consist of urban dwellers. They will have to deal with Climate Change.[read more]

A New Paper on Disaster Losses and Climate Change

July 23, 2014 by Roger Pielke, Jr.
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Disasters and Climate Change

A new paper appeared in Climatic Change this week by Visser et al. which looks at disasters and climate change. Like other studies and the IPCC assessment, Visser et al. find no trends in normalized disaster loses, looking at several metrics of economic and human losses.[read more]

How One Industry Association Would Transform the Grid

July 23, 2014 by Christine Hertzog

Back in January 2014 when we were still packing up holiday decorations, the Obama administration initiated a Quadrennial Energy Review (QER), a comprehensive survey of energy production, infrastructure, and transport in the United States.[read more]

Renewable Energy Provides 56 Percent of New Electrical Generation Capacity in First Half of 2014

July 23, 2014 by Tom Schueneman
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Renewables and Generation

The latest Energy Infrastructure Update report just released from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s Office of Energy Projects states that wind, solar, biomass, geothermal and hydropower accounts for 55.7 percent of newly installed generating capacity in the U.S. for the first half of 2014.[read more]

Setting State Carbon Pollution Targets

July 23, 2014 by NRDC Switchboard

In June, the EPA proposed the first-ever carbon pollution standards for fossil-fuel power plants. Since then, a bevy of pundits have been busy finding fault with various aspects of the proposal. For the most part, these critiques are off-base, failing to highlight the most important issues.[read more]

Why we Need CCS - Part 5: Bridge to a Sustainable Energy Future

July 22, 2014 by Schalk Cloete
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Carbon Capture and Sustainable Energy

If climate science is correct, the world has little choice other than aggressive pursuit of the bridge technologies of CCS and bio-energy through a true technology-neutral CO2 mitigation framework. Pursuing renewables and nuclear power as a primary climate change mitigation strategy can do much more harm than good in the long run.[read more]

Daniel Yergin: US Oil Output Helping Avert Crisis

July 22, 2014 by Edward Dodge
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US Oil Production and Crisis Aversion

Daviel Yergin stated that if not for the recent domestic boom in tight oil production the U.S. would be in trouble. “I’m convinced we’d be looking at an oil crisis,” he said. “We’d have panic in the public. We’d have inflamed congressional hearings and we’d have the U.S. economy falling back into a recession.”[read more]