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

July 1, 2015 by Jeff St. John
1

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]

Progress on Phasing Down HFCs as Countries Build Momentum Toward a Deal

July 1, 2015 by David Doniger

HFC Reduction

The global effort to phase down powerful heat-trapping hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) is gaining speed as several nations recently put forth detailed plans to curb HFC use. Negotiators at the upcoming Open-Ended Working Group (OEWG) in Paris next month will weigh in on updated amendment proposals.[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]

Public Investment in Clean Energy ''Poised for Exponential Growth'

June 30, 2015 by Katherine Tweed
1

Green Investment

Even without access to MLPs, which are publicly traded entities that are allowed to act like traditional corporations in the eyes of the Internal Revenue Service, financing vehicles for clean energy projects are already being unleashed. Investment in clean energy hit nearly $340 billion in 2014.[read more]

Don't Write Off Energy Efficiency, It's Just About to have its Day.

June 30, 2015 by EDF Energy Exchange

The Advent of Energy Efficiency

Economists from the University of Chicago and the University of California, Berkeley released a study that called into question the cost-effectiveness of energy efficiency. The study was based on the team’s analysis of energy savings shortfalls in the Michigan low income Weatherization Assistance Program.[read more]

Moving Nuclear Energy Discussions Forward

June 30, 2015 by Rod Adams
1

Nuclear Energy Discussion

Bloomberg Bureau of National Affairs recently conducted a morning meeting titled 'A Chain Reaction: The Role of Nuclear Energy in New England’s Energy Mix' in Boston. The timing was fortuitous, my wife and I were in Maine, so we decided to make a little detour on the way home so we could attend.[read more]

North Carolina Solar Leadership at the Crossroads

June 30, 2015 by NRDC Switchboard
2

Solar in the States

As a North Carolinian, I can tell you it's pretty darned amazing that, last year, our state was number 2 in the nation in installed solar capacity. And number 4 in the first quarter of 2015, despite what can only be described as some really crappy (and construction-slowing) winter weather.[read more]

Rare Earths Not So Rare?

June 29, 2015 by Geoffrey Styles
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Rare earths are elements of low abundance, compared to the ores of metals like iron and copper. Five years ago it appeared that China had cornered the market on rare earths and was exercising its market power to, among other aims, lure businesses reliant on these minerals to shift their operations to China.[read more]

The IEA's Bridge Scenario to a Low Carbon World Again Underestimates the Role of Renewables

June 29, 2015 by Adam Whitmore
5

IEA and Renewables Measurement

The IEA has just produced its World Energy Outlook Special Report on Energy and Climate Change, which is intended to describe how the energy sector can transition to being part of a lower carbon world. It includes a new Bridge Scenario which emphasizes what can be done over the next decade or two.[read more]

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Watering Down the Energy Debate

June 29, 2015 by David Hess
6

Energy Debate

Water is essential for the production of energy. Energy facilities both consume water and have impacts on the aquatic ecosystems they interact with. These interactions are complex however and it is a mistake to over-simplify – one we must avoid if we are to meet our future energy needs sustainably.[read more]

The Internet of Things Provides the Opportunity to Achieve Global Sustainability Now

June 29, 2015 by Nick Blandford

Sustainability and Technological Advancement

 

Take a look at these numbers. 1.3 billion – that’s the number of people in the world today who don’t have access to electricity. 30% – this number represents the projected growth of global energy consumption by 2020. Universal access to electricity and renewable energy can help address these problems.[read more]

Argentina and China Lead Shale Development Outside North America in First Half of 2015

June 29, 2015 by U.S. EIA: Today in Energy

Shale Development

As recently as last year, only four countries in the world were producing commercial volumes of either natural gas from shale formations (shale gas) or crude oil from tight formations (tight oil): the United States and Canada, and more recently, Argentina and China.[read more]

Where is Future EU Gas Demand Going? Implications for Russian and US LNG Exports to Europe

June 26, 2015 by Roman Kilisek

Liquid Natural Gas Demand and Exports

A new paper calls into question official EU projections regarding EU gas demand, which raises important questions about the economic viability of new gas import infrastructure – both pipelines and especially LNG terminals – and, by extension, about gas supply diversification efforts to enhance overall EU energy security.[read more]

A New Look for Nuclear Power

June 26, 2015 by Energy @ MIT
13

Nuclear Design Innovation

A novel nuclear power plant that will float eight or more miles out to sea promises to be safer, cheaper, and easier to deploy than today’s land-based plants. In a concept developed by MIT researchers, the floating plant combines two well-established technologies — a nuclear reactor and a deep-sea oil platform.[read more]

Friday Energy Facts: U.S. Refinery Capacity Reaches 18 Million Barrels Per Day

June 26, 2015 by U.S. EIA: Today in Energy

Refinery Capacity Growth

Increased refinery runs—based on increases in both capacity and utilization—have helped accommodate increases in U.S. crude oil production. The United States' capacity to refine crude oil into petroleum products increased by 0.2% in 2014, reaching 18.0 million barrels per calendar day.[read more]

The Common Goals of the Pope and Clean Energy

June 26, 2015 by EDF Energy Exchange

The Pope and Clean Energy

Pope Francis turned a keen eye toward the environment and the problem of climate change with his encyclical,“Laudato Si” (“Praised Be”), released yesterday. As a clean energy advocate, I’m heartened that Pope Francis recognizes the need to transform our energy system.[read more]

Energy Efficiency Investments Deliver Huge Benefits

June 26, 2015 by NRDC Switchboard

Return on Green Investments

Decades prove energy efficiency programs deliver benefits to consumers and the environment - and these benefits far exceed the costs. A new working paper about a single federal efficiency program for low-income residents in Michigan is generating a lot of hype, but does nothing to contradict these basic facts.[read more]

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Natural Gas Production in East Africa: An Inevitable Resource Curse?

June 25, 2015 by Neha Nandakumar

African Resources and Consequences

East African nations are experiencing a boom in oil and natural gas production that is increasingly exported by Western companies. While these activities may appear to be an economic boon to these countries, they could potentially cause natural gas to be a “resource curse” for developing nations.[read more]

Solar Star, Largest PV Power Plant in the World, Now Operational

June 25, 2015 by Eric Wesoff

Solar Star PV Plant

BHE Renewables' 579-megawatt solar project located in in Antelope Valley, California is now fully connected to the California ISO grid. That allows the facility, dubbed "Solar Star," to claim the title of the largest operational solar project on the planet.[read more]

Development of Arctic Offshore Resources via Submarine: Here We Come?

June 25, 2015 by Roman Kilisek

Arctic Resource Exploration

A recent analysis in “Today in Energy” looked at oil production in Alaska and concluded that oil exploration in the US Arctic continues despite the current low price environment. No surprise there given that the energy industry requires long lead times for new projects and new production.[read more]

Two Degrees: EU Climate Debate Highlights Key Ingredients for a Deal in Paris [VIDEO]

June 25, 2015 by David Thual
1

EU Climate Debate

Sonja van Renssen is joined by Jos Delbeke, Director General for Climate Action, European Commission, Kathleen Van Brempt MEP, Vice-president of the S&D Group, and Eirik Wærness, Chief Economist and Vice President, Statoil, to debate: “Road to Paris: can the EU retain its leadership role at COP21?”[read more]

Under Sanctions, Iran's Crude Oil Exports Have Nearly Halved in Three Years

June 25, 2015 by U.S. EIA: Today in Energy

Iran Oil Sanctions

Sanctions imposed by the United States and the European Union (EU) at the end of 2011 and during the summer of 2012, respectively, led to the displacement of more than 1.0 million barrels per day (b/d) of Iranian crude oil on the global market.[read more]

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How Much Land Does Solar, Wind and Nuclear Energy Require?

June 24, 2015 by Jesse Jenkins
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Land use impacts of solar wind and nuclear energy.

Does wind and solar take up too much land to be practical? Does the extreme energy density of nuclear fuel make it the ecologically ideal energy source? In this post, I run the numbers on the land use impact of wind, solar, nuclear and other energy sources.[read more]

BP Data Suggests We Are Reaching Peak Energy Demand

June 24, 2015 by Gail Tverberg
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Peak Demand and Energy Risk

Some people talk about peak energy (or oil) supply. They expect high prices and more demand than supply. Other people talk about energy demand hitting a peak many years from now, perhaps when most of us have electric cars. Neither of these views is correct.[read more]

Surging US SUV Sales: Why Increased Engine Performance May Augur Badly for Climate Targets

June 24, 2015 by Roman Kilisek

SUVs and Climate Change

According to the EPA, the majority of such transportation-related CO2 emissions result from the “combustion of petroleum-based products, like gasoline, in internal combustion engines” with the largest emitters being “passenger cars and light-duty trucks, including sport utility vehicles, pickup trucks, and minivans.”[read more]

Wind and Solar Will Soon Become the 'Least-Cost Option Almost Universally'

June 24, 2015 by Stephen Lacey
8

Wind and Solar Costs

Two new reports on global demand for renewables forecast dramatic growth in nearly every region of the world over the coming decades. While promotion policies are still important for supporting the industry, conventional technologies like wind and solar are becoming cheap enough to compete without subsidies.[read more]

Oil and Natural Gas Production Job Declines Tend to Lag Oil Price Declines

June 24, 2015 by U.S. EIA: Today in Energy

Fossil Fuels and Labor Levels

Employment in oil and natural gas extraction and support activities in the United States reached nearly 538,000 in October 2014, but then it declined by about 35,000 jobs, or 6.5%, over the following six months, through April 2015, according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).[read more]

How Should Distributed Generation be Distributed?

June 23, 2015 by Meredith Fowlie

Distributed Generation Planning

In the U.S., residential solar PV installations last quarter were up 11% over the previous quarter: In those states where residential solar is taking hold, there are mounting concerns that rate structures currently in place to support residential PV will result in adopters bearing less than their fair share of system costs.[read more]

The Centrality of Sustainability

June 23, 2015 by Steven Cohen
1

The Importance of Sustainability/shutterstock

We have seen the environmental issue evolve from a fringe topic barely clinging to a spot on the political agenda to the subject of a pope's encyclical. Presidents and prime ministers must now negotiate over climate change and habitat preservation just as they have long held talks on trade, jobs and national security.[read more]