renewable energy

Oregon Takes a Big Step Forward

New climate legislation sets a high bar for other states.

On Wednesday, Oregon Governor Kate Brown signed a package of four clean energy bills. These bills move Oregon to the forefront of climate action.  These laws ban new fossil fuel plants and set aggressive targets for the state’s two major utilities, requiring emission cuts of 80% by 2030, 90% by 2035 and 100% by 2040.  …

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Major International Climate Developments

China and the EU took important steps forward this week.

This week has seen some big climate moves on opposite sides of the world. The EU has proposed a major new climate plan. Meanwhile, China is ready to go live with its emissions trading system. The U.S. is at risk of being left behind. The EU’s proposal is impressive. The goal is to cut  net …

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The Hidden Green-Infrastructure Bill

Every year, Congress provides lavish funding for clean energy and climate adaptation. No one notices.

Biden’s green-infrastructure bill is headline news.  Republicans are up in arms. Yet every year there’s already a green-infrastructure bill.  Hardly anyone notices. Republicans vote for it without a fuss.  Why?  It’s part of the annual funding bill for the military. The Defense Department remains the biggest single consumer of energy in the country, and it …

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Guest Contributor Jetta Cook: Greater Than the Sum: Sub-national Renewable Energy Policy during the Trump Administration

Solar panel array in CA desert

Even Red-States Supported and Increased Renewable Energy during the Trump Administration

Below the federal level, it’s difficult to discern the impact that the Trump Administration had on energy policy. To take a closer look, I conducted a fifty-state survey to discern how state, local, and public utility actions affecting energy policy came together as a whole over the past four years. Across the nation, I found, …

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Time to End FERC’s Misguided Effort to Fix Wholesale Power Prices

A FERC ruling tilts the playing field against renewable energy. It should be repealed.

In 2018, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) decided that state clean energy policies were distorting energy markets operated by PJM, the country’s largest grid region.  That, at least, was the view of the Commissioners who were appointed by Republican presidents. PJM, which runs the electricity grid more or less from Chicago to Maryland, has …

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Renewable Energy in the Midwest

Under Trump, it’s been a mixed picture, with progress except in two states. What were Midwestern states doing during the four years Trump was busy promoting fossil fuels? States with Democratic governors are making progress.  Of the three states under unified Republican control, two are trying to prop up coal. Ohio has decreased support for …

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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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Renewable Energy in the Carolinas

While we were focusing on DC, there has been a lot of action at the state level.

Trump has dominated the national conversation for the past four years. While our eyes were on his efforts to rollback climate action, a lot has been happening at the state level.  This post is the one of an episodic series of posts on state renewable energy policy.  Today, the focus will be on North and …

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Climate Politics and the Urban-Rural Split

How do we sell climate policies to huge swathes of Trump country?

The 2020 elections revealed America as bitterly divided as ever. The split between rural and urban voters is intensifying, with rural voters delivering massive support to Trump and down ticket Republicans.  Success in decarbonizing the economy will ultimately require the support of those voters.  Short of a miraculous turnaround in attitudes about climate change, how …

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The Year Ahead

Nine key developments to watch for on the environmental front.

2020 was a tumultuous year. Hopefully, 2021 will be balmier.  Widespread use of vaccines will hopefully tame the COVID-19 pandemic, and maybe the political world will settle down a bit too.  Here are nine key things to watch for in terms of environmental policy. The Georgia runoff elections. Currently, the Republicans look likely to control …

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