Energy

Modernizing the Grid

Utilities are spending billions of dollars to make the grid more reliable and sustainable.

In my last post, I talked about how Obama’s Clean Power plan was the right response to a changing grid. The grid is in the process of changing even more. Itwas designed for some relatively straightforward tasks. The main power plants, mostly burning coal (but sometimes natural gas or nuclear energy), ran day and night. […]

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Jumping the Fence Line, Embracing the Grid

Precedent from another agency for the Clean Power Plan.

If you’ve been reading this blog or otherwise keeping up with environmental law, you’ve probably heard this a hundred times: In rolling back Obama’s signature climate regulation, the Clean Power Plan, the Trump Administration is relying on the idea that EPA’s jurisdiction stops at the fence line. That is, according to the Trump folks, EPA […]

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“National Security” Coal-Bailout Collapses

Trump demanded the use of national security powers to subsidize the coal industry. Looks like that’s not happening.

In its desperate effort to save the failing American coal industry, the Trump Administration promised to use emergency powers to keep coal-fired power plants in operation even though they’re not economically viable. That would have been the kind of disruptive change that Trump promised to bring to Washington. But the effort seems to have gone […]

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Wildfires: Managing the Risks

How can we limit the spread of wildfires and save people and property?

Wildfires are already a serious problem, and climate change will only make the problem worse, as I’ve discussed in my two prior posts. Reducing carbon emissions can help keep the problem from growing, but we need to deal with the risks we’re already facing. That is going to require a portfolio of risk management strategies.  We […]

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“What stands in the way becomes the way.”

Using current climate policies to address future political barriers to more stringent policy

Countries around the world are struggling with the political and policy challenges of developing effective tools to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and decarbonize their economies.  (See coverage here for Canada, and here for Australia.)   Moreover, even these policy proposals are as of yet inadequate to accomplish the goals of limiting climate change to below two […]

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California Raises Its Ambition for a Low-Carbon Fuel Future

First in a Series About California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard Program

[Post co-authored by Sean Hecht and Ted Parson] California’s Air Resources Board (CARB) has just enacted new regulations that strengthen the state’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS). The LCFS is a major component of California’s greenhouse-gas control strategy, but receives surprisingly little attention, compared to other policies like the statewide cap-and-trade system and the renewable […]

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China at the Global Climate Action Summit

Climate Action from the World’s Largest Emitter

Governor Brown’s Global Climate Action Summit came to a close this past Friday in San Francisco. A large delegation of Chinese government officials, researchers, business leaders and civil society representatives were on hand for the proceedings. Xie Zhenhua, China’s special representative on climate change, reaffirmed China’s commitment to action on climate change. While Xie had […]

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California’s New Energy Law (SB 100) Is a Piece in a Larger Puzzle

Rooftop solar,storage and energy efficiency still play critical roles

California’s new landmark energy law should be a matter of pride for the whole state. It calls for electricity providers to rely on renewable sources for at least 60% of their delivered power by 2030 and on zero greenhouse gas-emitted sources for the remaining 40% by 2045. People refer to this as the 100% clean […]

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Governor Brown Signs 100% Carbon-Free Grid By 2045 Legislation + Executive Order Making California Carbon Neutral By 2045

Landmark legislation and executive order to be discussed with State Sen. Kevin de León tonight on City Visions, KALW 91.7 FM at 7pm

As was expected, Governor Brown today signed SB 100 (de León) to put California on a path to achieve a carbon-free electricity grid by 2045. But in a surprise move ahead of this week’s Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco, he also issued an executive order directing state agencies to achieve statewide carbon neutrality […]

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Separated at Birth? No, not really.

Trump’s pro-coal EPA plan equates two legal provisions with little in common.

Trump’s plan for coal-fired power plants, like Obama’s plan to cut carbon emissions, is based on section 111(d) of the Clean Air Act.  But much of the legal argument relies on an analogy to section 165 to support EPA’s very restrictive interpretation of section 111(d). It’s that restrictive interpretation that leads the agency to reject […]

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