Five Energy Stories Worth Reading Today (4/8/15)

April 8th, 2015

Here are five recommended reads for today (4/8/15).

  1. Grist editor Chip Giller writes, “It is with great sadness but also no small degree of pride that I’m writing to share the news that David Roberts will be leaving Team Grist shortly to join Vox.”
  2. According to the Washington Post: “The way we get power is ‘at a metaphorical fork in the road,’ says the new report released today by the Rocky Mountain Institute, an influential energy policy think tank. The reason is not just rooftop solar but, beyond that, the growing feasibility of home electricity systems combining solar panels with batteries for storage of energy.”
  3. The Guardian reports: “It’s been 23 years since investor activists first tried to get the oil business to face up to the risks of climate change. Progress has been painfully slow and gains have been few. Now many campaigners have concluded that engagement is not delivering anywhere near fast enough: it is time to sever ties with fossil fuel companies.”
  4. According to Renewable Energy World: “In March, the IRS published Notice 2015-25. The rules in the notice will facilitate wind projects raising financing and give projects that had started construction in 2013 but were facing obstacles an additional year to navigate those obstacles.”
  5. The Toledo Blade reports, “American Electric Power is preparing to close six coal-fired power plants in four states on May 31 to comply with stricter federal emissions standards.”

Five Energy Stories Worth Reading Today (4/7/15)

April 7th, 2015

Here are five recommended reads for today (4/7/15).

  1. The New York Times reports, “No Red and Blue Divide When it Comes to Renewable Energy Innovation and CO2 Rules.”
  2. According to CleanTechnica: “China is already a global solar leader, but you ain’t seen nothing yet. The country is slowly but surely starting to march away from coal power, and a new development could turn that slow march into an all-out run. The renewable energy company UGE International has teamed up with financial experts Blue Sky Energy Efficiency to offer the first ever power purchase agreements to customers in China, and we’re thinking that could blow the China solar market wide open.”
  3. Climate Progress reports, “Even in the midst of its historic, ongoing drought, California used millions of gallons of water for hydraulic fracturing last year, according to state officials.”
  4. RenewEconomy explains “why battery storage may put peaking gas plants out of business.”
  5. Bloomberg reports: “Green energy is going to war. Starting in June, defense companies including Thales SA and Multicon Solar AG will join NATO to test the military’s ability to use renewable power in combat and humanitarian operations.”

New Study Shows Revenue-Neutral Carbon Tax Would Slash CO2 Emissions, Increase Jobs in Rhode Island

April 6th, 2015

We have previously reported on studies by the policy-neutral economic modelers, Regional Economic Models, Inc. (REMI), on the potential economic and environmental impacts of revenue-neutral carbon taxes nationally, as well as in California, Massachusetts, and other states. The results have been consistent: increased economic activity and jobs; reduced carbon pollution. Now, REMI is out with a study of Rhode Island, the results of which – more jobs, a stronger economy, and significantly lower carbon pollution – are summarized in the graphic. A few more key points from this study include:

  • There were four scenarios considered, returning carbon tax revenues to the state in different ways, and in ALL four cases, there was an increase over the baseline in “the total number of jobs and [Gross State Product – GSP] in Rhode Island—mostly by reducing the importation of fossil energy and, therefore, keeping dollars local to create jobs and grow businesses in the Ocean State.”
  • A key point made by this study is that “a strong economy and environmental quality are not mutually exclusive.” To the contrary, these “environmental measures might have positive economic effects,” in part due to reduced fossil fuel imports (aka, “economic losses”).
  • In addition to the significant economic benefits Rhode Island would enjoy from implementation of a revenue-neutral carbon tax, the state would also see “20% to 30% [carbon dioxide emission] reductions from the baseline in the 2020s, and up to 30% to 50% reductions in the 2030s and out to 2040 from price and efficiency.”
  • Almost every economic sector (construction, health care, finance and insurance, real estate, retail trade, etc.) in Rhode Island would benefit from the carbon tax, with only utilities, manufacturing, transportation and warehousing seeing any signficant adverse impacts.  Overall, however, Rhode Island’s economy would benefit significantly, as there are many more sectors seeing a positive impact than a negative one from the carbon tax.

We’d just add that these results would almost certainly be applicable to most states in the country, except possibly in the short term for the few states  (e.g., Alaska) where fossil fuels make up a large share of the economy.  Our bet, though, is that even in those states, the long-term benefits of switching to a clean energy economy would far outweigh any adverse impacts from moving away from dirty energy. That is particularly the case given how fast the costs of clean energy have been falling, and are projected to continue falling, while fossil fuel costs will likely remain volatile for the foreseeable future.  Finally, of course, there are the crucial benefits that would result from slashing carbon pollution that is contributing to dangerous, potentially disastrous, global warming.  In sum, most states would benefit from a revenue-neutral carbon tax on purely economic grounds, but adding in the environmental beneifts makes it a huge winner in Rhode Island, and across the country.

Five Energy Stories Worth Reading Today (4/6/15)

April 6th, 2015

Here are five recommended reads for today (4/6/15).

  1. According to Clean Technica, “One of the top utility companies in the US, Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E), recently achieved a new milestone with regard to solar energy — the company now has more than 150,000 solar customers connected to the wider electric grid.”
  2. On Friday, the White House wrote, “Today, President Obama visited Hill Air Force Base in Salt Lake City, Utah to host a roundtable on clean energy, tour solar installations on the base, and talk about the importance of clean energy jobs.”
  3. The Energy Collective reports: “Leading national companies in North Carolina want more choice and competition when it comes to energy, including where it comes from and who they buy it from. That’s the message recently delivered to the North Carolina legislature in a letter signed by 10 corporate giants in the state.”
  4. At Clean Technica, Tina Casey writes: “That’s why we’re fans of smaller-scale distributed solar, which lends itself to rooftops, brownfields, parking lots, and other parcels of land that have already been developed for human use. Distributed solar also reduces the need for vulnerable transmission pathways, which is part of the reason why the distributed solar market has been exploding.”
  5. The Washington Post reports, “Facing a loss of high-profile corporate sponsors, a conservative state-level policy group — the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) — threatened action in recent weeks against activist groups that accuse it of denying climate change.”

Five Energy Stories Worth Reading Today (4/3/15)

April 3rd, 2015

Here are five recommended reads for today (4/3/15).

  1. At Renewable Energy World, John Farrell argues, “The U.S. electricity system is undergoing the biggest change in its 130-year history, undermining the rationale for monopoly ownership and control.”
  2. Bloomberg reports, “Duke Energy Corp. plans to install as much as 500 megawatts of solar power in Florida by 2024, a proposal that would more than triple the capacity of the Sunshine State.”
  3. David Roberts of Grist writes that “Jonathan Franzen is confused about climate change, but then, lots of people are.”
  4. The Guardian “asked 50 companies for their position on the EPA’s clean power act. Here’s how they responded.”
  5. Bloomberg reports, “Activists say more coal exports will harm the Great Barrier Reef.”