transmission

The Year Ahead

Here are the top ten environment and energy developments to watch for.

Here we are, starting another year.  Last year turned out to have some major environmental developments. The most notable were the Supreme Court’s ruling in West Virginia case, striking down the Clean Power Plan, and the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act, with its huge economic incentives for clean energy.  Here’s quick rundown of what …

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Climate Rides the Omnibus

An image of the U.S. Capitol Building in the evening.

The year-end law gives a boost to climate-related spending

The omnibus spending bill is by no means a “climate law.”  Because it spans the entire government, though, it has many provisions relating to climate change. They aren’t dramatic step forward. But the fact that they can pass as part of a bipartisan spending law is a sign of how climate change is slowly becoming …

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Renewable Texas: Lessons from the Lonestar State

Texas has the most wind power in the country and is rapidly building solar. How did that happen?

People are often surprised to learn that Texas is the national leader in wind power, with the twice the generating capacity of any other state.  On one notable night in December of 2015, the state got 45% of its power from wind, though the year-round average was only about 10%.  In July of this year, the …

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Wildfires and the Cost of Electric Service

It turns out, electric transmission is not as cheap as we thought it was.

Economists detest externalities – those nasty hidden costs that businesses don’t face when they sell polluting or dangerous products and services, but that are instead imposed on the public or the environment. And economists are right to be concerned. A polluter that does not pay the cost for its pollution is likely to keep polluting. …

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Court Doesn’t Cast Much Doubt on the Constitutionality of Michigan’s Renewable Portfolio Standard

Thanks to Ann Carlson for pointing out the significant decision recently issued by 7th Circuit Court of Appeals related to allocating the cost for new electric transmission lines and for so concisely describing its complicated fact pattern. But I have to respectfully disagree with Ann’s suggestion that this decision has cast any meaningful doubt on …

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Court Casts Doubt on Constitutionality of Michigan’s Renewable Portfolio Standard, Upholds Cost Sharing for Transmission Lines

In an important victory for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) — and in my view for renewable energy more generally — the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit has upheld a FERC order that helps finance transmission lines to carry renewable energy from rural areas to urban centers in the midwest and …

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Energy Policy: Kicking Butt and Taking Names

Steve, you write: This is not just about ceiling insulation and more heat-reflective roofs.  It also has to do with the ability of electric generators to convert heat to power, the elimination of line losses from the transmission grid, and the improvement of fuel delivery systems to avoid leakage.  It has to do with strategic …

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What a Waste of Energy

The Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory has issued its annual snapshot of our national energy use, based on data collected by the Department of Energy’s Energy Information Agency.  The good news is that we used less energy in 2009 than we did in 2008 (almost all of the savings probably attributable to the still-weak economy).  The …

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Move Over, Summer of Love. It’s Time for Power Flower

We tend to think of renewable power as coming in two sizes: single home-sized photovoltaic arrays, or big, remotely-located power plants.  Thus, we pour incentive dollars on solar homes, and place a tremendous emphasis on building large new transmission lines.  Perhaps it is time to review this approach, and consider what we can do to …

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Silos: Great for Fodder, Not So Hot for Energy Policy

The electricity grid is one big machine.  Transmisssion must be centrally coordinated.  Generating units must all be in sync.  Voltage levels have to be maintained.  There must constantly be an even match between demand and supply.  But you would hardly know it from the way we look at energy policy at the states and on …

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