Energy

How Much Should Texas Invest in Grid Resilience?

The Texas blackouts provide a case study in how to think through resilience issues.

As we begin to think through the long-term response to the Texas blackout, there’s a lot we don’t yet know.  The ultimate issues are how much resilience we need against events like this  and how we should obtain it. It’s helpful to lay out the kinds of questions we need to be asking as we …

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The Big Chill

What went wrong in Texas and what can we learn from it?

The rolling blackouts in Texas were national news. Texas calls itself the energy capital of the United States, yet it couldn’t keep the lights on. Conservatives were quick to blame reliance on wind power, just as they did last summer when California faced power interruptions due to a heat wave.  What really happened? It’s true …

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Expertise versus Politics Under Biden

Experts will no longer be pariahs under Biden. But will their voices be heard?

One of the abiding issues in governance is the balance between democratic leadership and experts.  We don’t want government solely by technocrats.  Nor do we want government steered solely by ideology and politics, as under Trump.  Biden will be a vast improvement, but there’s still some question about whether he’ll get the balance right. I …

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Three of Yesterday’s Stories of Climate Progress

There was Biden’s Executive Order, of course. And two other things. Or maybe three.

Yesterday, I read three encouraging stories about the U.S. and climate change.  One was about action by the federal government, one about action by the states, and one about action by the private sector.  The biggest news was from the federal government, in the form of Biden’s Executive Order on Tackling the Climate Crisis at …

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A Big Win for Climate Regulation

The DC Circuit overturns Trump’s effort to hamstring regulation of carbon from power plants.

The D.C. Circuit issued an opinion today knocking out Trump’s Affordable Clean Energy rule.  The Trump rule was a rollback of Obama’s keystone climate initiative, the Clean Power Plan.  The majority opinion plus dissent take up 185 pages, and I won’t try to describe it all here.  Briefly, here’s what the appeals court ruled and …

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Renewable Energy in the Southwest

Despite Trump, the needle has kept moving in the right direction.

The sun is intense in the desert Southwest.  During the Trump years, the federal government has hard worked to promote fossil fuels. Trump also has been no friend of renewable energy. This has not stopped progress toward a cleaner energy mix in Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico, and Utah. Arizona Arizona’s current power mix is about …

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What’s At Stake

Here’s a quick crib sheet on the climate change and the election

Here’s a quick reminder about the environmental stakes in the election.  I’ve tried to stick with the facts here — you’re free to decide which way the cut. ISSUE TRUMP BIDEN Problem of climate change ” I don’t know that it’s man-made… I don’t wanna give trillions and trillions of dollars.” Biden “has long appreciated …

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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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Guest Contributor Samantha Zurcher: The Current State of Wildfire Liability in California

Wildfire Grows Rapidly In California s Lake County. Bjorgialt; Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-SA 4.0)

Wildfires Are Ravaging California. Can Electric Utilities Take the Heat?

In recent years, California has experienced its largest and deadliest wildfires in history, resulting in hundreds of fatalities and more than $50 billion in damage. The confluence of rising temperatures, less rainfall, and strong winds signal that the annual “wildfire season” is here to stay, and will continue to proliferate. Every year, thousands of Californians …

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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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