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China's new 2030 Climate Target Will Contribute to a Lower and Earlier Emissions Peak

July 6, 2015 by Jake Schmidt

China and Future Planning

China formally submitted its climate pledge for the post-2020 period in preparation for the new international climate agreement. These details were announced as part of the US-China climate agreement last November, but China has now added a carbon intensity reduction target to its 2030 goals.[read more]

Demand for Small Modular Reactors may be Impacted by Supreme Court Ruling on EPA Coal Plant Emissions

July 6, 2015 by Dan Yurman

SMRs and Supreme Court Rulings

The US Supreme Court recently threw out EPA’s coal emissions regulations that if implemented would have forced many utilities to close older coal-fired plants. The new emissions controls are aimed at mercury and other toxic pollutants which are not removed from stack emissions by current air pollution controls.[read more]

How Germany's Second-Biggest Utility Is Adapting to a Distributed Energy World

July 6, 2015 by Jeff St. John

German Utility Adaptation

German utility RWE is a victim of the so-called “utility death spiral,” with its central-power-plant-reliant business losing billions of dollars in Germany’s renewables-rich energy market. But distributed energy technologies and business models could help turn its fortunes around.[read more]

The Dog that Did Not Bark: A Nuclear Power Story

July 6, 2015 by NRDC Switchboard

Nuclear Energy Policy

A memorable Sherlock Holmes story involves "the curious incident of the dog" that did not bark when expected, and a much more contemporary California version involves calm in the aftermath of a sudden 2013 retirement for two giant nuclear power plants.[read more]

Hawaii and Vermont Set High Renewable Portfolio Standard Targets

July 6, 2015 by U.S. EIA: Today in Energy
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State Renewable Portfolio Standards

Two states recently passed legislation that would require significant increases in renewable electricity generation. On June 8, Hawaii updated legislation setting a 100% renewable portfolio standard (RPS) by 2045. On June 11, Vermont passed a bill creating a 75% RPS by 2032.[read more]

Remember When We Were Running Out of Crude Oil Storage?

July 3, 2015 by Robert Rapier

Given the amount of air time the crude oil storage situation received back in March and April, this might be a good time to revisit that situation. If you recall, there was a great amount of hand-wringing regarding the crude oil storage picture in the U.S. Inventories were high and they were continuing to rise.[read more]

NASA Satellite Images Show the Rapid Expansion of Utility-Scale Solar in China

July 3, 2015 by Stephen Lacey
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China Solar Expansion

China is a very difficult solar market to track from the outside. There's no doubt that the Chinese PV market is growing at unprecedented speed. But determining its overall health is more of an art than a science. So perhaps the scientists can help.[read more]

Reliability Means Being Connected: We Need a Strong Integrated Electricity System with Nuclear Generation

July 3, 2015 by Milton Caplan
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Nuclear and Energy Reliability

Our economy is completely dependent upon the availability of reliable, clean and economic electricity. So while we may dream of not needing the grid as we each generate our own electricity, what we really need is a strong, interconnected grid made up of reliable economic nuclear power as its work horse.[read more]

US-Brazil 20% Renewable Commitment is a Good Start, But We Can Do More

July 3, 2015 by NRDC Switchboard

International Renewables Commitments

President Obama and his Brazilian counterpart, Dilma Rousseff, announced a pretty impressive clean energy commitment at their joint White House appearance recently. They pledged that each country would get 20 percent of its electricity from non-hydro renewable sources, like solar and wind power, by 2030.[read more]

Why Should Climate Philanthropy Care About Energy Access?

July 2, 2015 by Justin Guay

Energy Access Efforts

Investing in clean energy access provides a disruptive opportunity to revolutionize electricity systems and get on the right side of the politics of development -- philanthropy just hasn't realized it yet. To be fair, philanthropy needs to step up it's game on climate across the board.[read more]

Cheapest Solar Ever: Austin Energy Gets 1.2 Gigawatts of Solar Bids for Less Than 4 Cents

July 2, 2015 by Stephen Lacey
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Solar Cost Reduction Efforts

A lot more cheap solar is coming for Austin, Texas. The city's utility, Austin Energy, just released new data on developer bids for PV projects as part of a 600-megawatt procurement. The numbers show how far solar prices have come down over the last year -- and will continue to drop.[read more]

How Does China's Climate Pledge Stack Up?

July 2, 2015 by Barbara Finamore
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China and Climate Action

China's climate pledge will require the country to make very significant changes to its emissions trajectory - including adding non-fossil power equivalent to the entire U.S. power generating capacity by 2030. When you compare China's growth trajectory against that of developed countries, how does it compare?[read more]

Solar's Value for Grid Circuits: Not Much on Average, but Huge for a Handful

July 1, 2015 by Jeff St. John
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Solar and the Grid

Solar advocates and opponents have argued over the merits of various studies about the relative costs and benefits of distributed solar PV. Different studies have reached different results -- so different that the Rocky Mountain Institute wrote an entire report just to compare and contrast 16 of them.[read more]

Residential PACE on the Rise; Innovative Solar Financing

July 1, 2015 by Dan Scripps

Residential PACE Financing

In 2010, the Federal Housing Finance Authority almost killed Property Assessed Clean Energy Programs (PACE) for residential properties. A lot can happen in five years, and what was once a program on the verge of foreclosure is now a booming market.[read more]

White House Wisely Rejects the 'Categorical Carbon Neutrality' of Biomass, But What Now?

June 30, 2015 by Jonathan Lewis
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The White House OMB released a Statement of Policy this week detailing the many reasons why the President would veto H.R. 2822, a 2016 appropriations bill for the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of the Interior put together by the Appropriations Committee in the House of Representatives.[read more]