Federal regulators today revealed that they have launched three nonpublic investigations into “discrete market participant actions” that may have been at play when extreme, subfreezing temperatures seized the Northeast during last winter’s polar vortex siege. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s Office of Enforcement said it had found no proof of “widespread or sustained market manipulation” when a blast of arctic air hit the United States in January, the coldest in 17 years, producing record demands for electricity and natural gas.
Clean energy is creating real opportunities and prosperity in Colorado. Earlier this year, the Metro Denver Economic Development Corporation reported that over 18,000 Coloradans were employed in the state’s red-hot clean tech sector that has now grown to over 1,400 companies in the nine-county metro Denver area. And wind power plays a key role in the growing diversification of Colorado’s economy. The state has 19 supply chain facilities that employ thousands of residents in good paying family-wage jobs.
Using more natural gas won’t slow the growth of greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 and isn’t “necessarily an effective substitute for climate change mitigation policy,” according to a study published online today in the journal Nature. The study says inexpensive natural gas would replace not only higher-emission fossil fuels like coal but also low-carbon, expensive sources like nuclear reactors and renewable energy.
The clean energy revolution can trace its origins to the dramatic expansion of wind power, solar power and other renewable energy resources globally over the last decade. Its future, however, will be determined by ideas that are only now taking shape on the dry-erase boards and engineering test beds of the world’s energy visionaries. Among the next big energy breakthroughs, experts told an audience gathered here Monday, are batteries capable of socking away thousands of megawatts of clean energy for later use; microgrids that allow energy to be produced, delivered and controlled at scales as small as a village or campus; and the application of the “Internet of Things” to power-consuming devices, allowing for unprecedented levels of demand-side energy management.
One of the top challenges facing electric utilities and grid operators over the coming decade will be how to integrate distributed energy, such as that produced by rooftop solar panels and wind turbines, into the electricity mix without compromising the steady flow of electrons to the end-users when and where they need them. The exploding growth of such energy resources, called distributed generation (DG), has already become a central issue in states like California, Hawaii, New Jersey and even North Carolina, where solar and wind power represent ever-larger parts of the electricity mix.
Professors and scientists in Iowa last week emphasized the tangible effects climate change will have on local lives. Over 180 science faculty members and researchers from 38 colleges endorsed this year’s Iowa Climate Statement, which was released at the Iowa Capitol on Friday. The aim of the statement is to increase Iowans’ access to resources and scientific data, according to its authors.
Mainers live in a cold climate and are burdened by above-average rates for heat and electricity. So the choices that the next governor makes about energy policy will affect everyone who pays to keep the lights on and the house warm. But energy policy is about more than just paying bills. Decisions made by state government are intertwined with big-picture issues ranging from economic development to climate change.
Gov. Terry McAuliffe formally rolled out his energy plan for Virginia on Tuesday, advocating more renewable sources such as solar and wind, efficiency and traditional resources including natural gas. Federal dollars that have sustained the economies of northern Virginia and Hampton Roads, which has a huge military footprint, can’t be relied on in the future and an energy-based economy could be the solution, he said.
U.S. EPA’s Clean Power Plan underestimates states’ capacity to ramp up renewable energy in the coming years and assigns them inappropriately easy carbon reduction targets as a result, a science advocacy group says. The Union of Concerned Scientists released a report today arguing that EPA’s June 2 proposal leaves money on the table when it comes to encouraging states to make the most of their clean energy potential.
The mood was upbeat at last week’s offshore wind industry conference in Atlantic City, New Jersey on October 7 and 8. The massive, long-awaited Cape Wind and Block Island offshore wind energy projects are kicking into high gear from the private sector, the Interior Department is steaming full speed ahead with the leasing process for additional Atlantic coast sites, and earlier this year the Energy Department announced federal funding for two more Atlantic coast projects that will serve as R&D platforms for cutting edge, cost-reducing offshore wind energy technologies.