energy policy

Driving Sustainable Energy Storage Technology

Maximizing the Environmental Utility of Battery Storage: Building a Life Cycle Assessment Framework

Battery energy storage is recognized as a key element of making our energy infrastructure more sustainable and resilient. Battery storage, however, encompasses many technologies–how should sustainability-minded agencies, utilities and storage developers choose among these options? UCLA’s Emmett Institute and the UCLA Institute of the Environment and Sustainability is hosting an interactive workshop on that question …

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Coal Takes a Nosedive

Despite Trump’s efforts to save it, the most environmentally destructive fuel is fading quickly.

In the 2016 election, Trump pledged to save coal. Since then, his Administration has pulled out all the stops in this effort, including repeal of dozens of environmental regulations.  All for naught. In 2021, U.S. coal use will be 30% below what it is when Trump took office. Coal’s immediate situation is even worse, due …

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Another Problem with Cost-Benefit Analysis of Climate Policy

It’s hard to estimate benefits. But it turns out costs are also uncertain.

It’s common knowledge— at least, among people who follow these things — that it is hard to estimate the benefits of a proposed climate policy.  But it’s actually quite difficult to estimate the costs as well. There are three major problems in estimating the benefits of  a proposed climate policy.  First, it’s hard to estimate …

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Bold But Realistic Climate Actions

Here’s what a new President could actually do.

What options are available to a new President taking office in 2021?  Let’s assume a favorable scenario for climate action in which Dems take unified control of the government (White House, Senate, House) in 2021.  What then? The first theme to keep in mind is that the Democrats will still be subject to some significant …

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Juliana and the Future of Climate Litigation

Asking judges to pass judgment on all U.S. energy policy was a bridge too far.

The Ninth Circuit threw out the Juliana litigation this morning.  The two judges in the majority basically said,  legalistic language, that you can’t get the Green New Deal by court order. It was wrong for the Supreme Court to step in at the last minute to put the trial on hold, rather than giving the …

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Guest Blogger Michael Wara: The Trump Administration Moves to Guarantee Profits for Coal-fired and Nuclear Power Plants

Finally, something anti-regulation conservatives and pro-environment progressives can agree on: dislike of the Sec. Perry’s Resilience and Reliability NOPR

The gloves came off last week when it comes to the Trump Administration’s attempts to subsidize coal in U.S. electricity markets. On Friday, Energy Secretary Rick Perry formally requested that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission guarantee profits for both new and existing coal fired and nuclear power plants. While Sec. Perry doesn’t have the power …

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How “Leakage” Will Undermine Trump’s War Against Renewables

Trying to stop renewables is like playing whack-a-mole.

When you try to reduce use of fossil fuels in one place, you can actually increase emissions elsewhere, because some of the same fuels may just move to another country.  In a sense, the carbon that used to be emitted in your country has “leaked” outside your borders.  This is a well-known headache for climate …

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Climate Policy in the Land of 10,000 Lakes

What is “Lake Wobegon” doing about climate change?

Minnesota has had climate change legislation on the books since 2007, when the Next Generation Energy Act was signed by Republican Governor Tim Pawlenty. The 2007 law called for the state to reduce its emissions 15 percent by 2015 and 80 percent by 2050. At the time, Pawlenty saluted the bill, saying,”The nation has been …

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Industry’s Hostile Takeover of EPA

When you’re Scott Pruitt, who you gonna call? Industry reps.

When there are hard decisions to make, who does EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt turns to? Not, as you might naively think, the experts on the staff of his own agency. Instead, he turns to industry lobbyists and lawyers, and to politicians like the Republican state attorneys general who used to be his colleagues. As the …

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Is Texas Cleaning Up Its Act?

Carbon emissions are set in decline in Texas, with less coal and more renewables.

At a national meeting of state utility regulators, the head of the group recently said that the Clean Power Plan was basically dead, BUT this might not matter because “arguably, you’re seeing market-based decarbonization” due to technological changes.  Case in point: Texas. Market trends are pushing Republican-stronghold Texas toward a cleaner grid. ERCOT, which operates nearly all …

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