Why Are Big Utilities Planning to Cut Carbon?
The top ten utilities have set goals for emissions reduction. It’s less clear what’s driving them.
As my post on Monday indicated, the top ten utilities have all announced plans for cutting carbon in the next several decades. Some of these utilities, like PG&E or ConEd, operate in states that have ambitious climate policies. It’s easy to see why utilities in New York or California would be setting their own targets. …
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Carrots and Sticks for Utilities
Utilities control a lot of the power system. How can we get their support for the energy transition?
Investor-owned utilities supply almost three-quarters of U.S. electricity. With some notable exceptions, they’ve tended to drag their feet on the energy transition. In order to push the transition forward, we need to get them on board. This post will try to diagnose the problem and sketch some possible remedies. The proposed Clean Energy Standard is …
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The Expanding Gap Between Business and Trump
Big business was happily married to the GOP. But there’s trouble in paradise.
The GOP used to be synonymous with big business. But there seem to be growing divisions – divisions that may open the way to new environmental initiatives. In April, the Washington Post ran a story about the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s decision to loosen its ties to the GOP and move toward a more bipartisan …
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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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How to Erode Public Confidence in Regulatory Decisions: Meet With Parties Behind Closed Doors
A scandal at the California Public Utilities Commissions brings a questionable practice to light.
The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) has an unusual way of doing business. Most state and federal regulatory agencies prohibit private, closed-door discussions with interested parties about contested matters (ex parte communications). Even though it makes decisions affecting the welfare of Californians and the disposition of billions of dollars, the CPUC does not discourage ex …
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