Topic: Energy
Aug. 11, 2017

Nuclear plants in New York will continue to receive payments collected from all in-state load serving entities (LSE) in recognition of their clean energy contributions. Those payments, which might be as high as $8 billion over a ten year period, may also be as low as zero during years in which the average wholesale price of electricity rises to a level at which selling power becomes profitable for the qualifying plants. In a decision filed July 25, Judge Valerie Caproni dismissed the motions filed by various electrical generators and trade groups of electrical generators that challenged the constitutionality of the New York Public Service Commission’s decision to create a Zero Emission Credit program.

Aug. 4, 2017

There’s a limit on how much renewables will be able to do, going forward. Wind and solar are intermittent by nature, and can’t be relied upon to replace more consistent energy sources like nuclear power or coal en masse. Germany’s reactors would have made a nice foundation on which to build this renewables revolution, but Merkel’s mind seems made up. But however hard she tries to position herself as the virtuous green, the fact remains that German emissions rose last year, while America’s fell three percent (thanks to cheap, abundant shale gas displacing coal). Words matter, but so do numbers, and the data tells us that lately—whatever Trump is trumpeting—the United States is doing more to combat climate change than Germany.

Aug. 3, 2017

A new analysis by the National Center for Public Policy Research found that Gore's Tennessee home "guzzles more electricity in one year than the average American family uses in 21 years." In one month last year, the report found, Gore's home consumed more electricity than the average family uses in 34 months. The electricity used just to heat Gore's swimming pool would power six homes for a year. And this is after Gore spent tens of thousands of dollars installing "green" upgrades, which he was embarrassed into doing when his energy-hogging home first came to light a decade ago. In fact, according to the NCPPR report, Gore's home used more electricity last year than it did in 2007, before he installed all those energy-reducing features.

Aug. 1, 2017

California currently imports about 33 percent of its electricity from outside of the state. Of that 33 percent, 6 percent is from coal. This is compared to the 25 percent of energy imported into California in 2010 from outside states and it's clear California is headed in the wrong direction. California will need to flip the trend in energy importing and begin to produce enough energy to become self-sustaining. Not an insignificant task.

California is also the third largest oil and gas producing state, despite what Californians may tell you. California produced on average 500,000 barrels of oil per day in 2014, third to Texas and North Dakota. This means several things. One, that California will need to eliminate its oil production in the state by 2045, leaving behind accessible and profitable hydrocarbons in the ground. Secondly, the rest of the United States will no longer have its third largest oil producing state, meaning potentially higher gas prices at the pump around the nation. This could be minimal if a reduction in oil production is gradual, but it will certainly have an impact.

The oil and gas industry supports approximately 456,000 jobs in California, many of which will be eliminated if the state transitions to 100 percent renewable energy. This equals $38 billion in Californian's pockets from well-paying oil and gas jobs and accounts for 3.4 percent of the states GDP. In addition, California receives a kick back for all oil produced in the state, equaling $21 billion in revenue. These numbers ignore the positive impact of a burgeoning renewable energy sector and the jobs, GDP, and tax revenue it will generate. However, throughout such a significant change in a large state's energy system, there will be an interim period where there are likely to be negative economic consequences.


It is clear that meeting the Paris climate target of not exceeding 2 degrees Celsius (2°C) (and making best efforts to reach 1.5°C) global warming over this century will require a radical (that is, to the root) restructuring of energy supply and transmission systems globally.1 Furthermore, the technologies assumed to populate the clean energy shift (wind, solar, hydrogen and electricity systems) are in fact significantly MORE material intensive in their composition than current traditional fossil-fuel-based energy supply systems (Vidal, Goffé, and Arndt 2013). Our analysis in Chapter 2 indicates a rapid rise in demand for relevant technologies and corollary metals between reaching a 4DS and 2DS climate objective. Relevant metals demand roughly doubles for wind and solar technologies, but the most significant upsurge occurs with energy battery storage technologies—more than a 1000 percent rise for metals required for that particular clean energy option. . . . However, there is also an increasing sensitivity that supplying clean technologies required for a carbon-constrained future could create a new suite of challenges for the sustainable development of minerals and resources. Simply put, a green technology future is materially intensive and, if not properly managed, could bely the efforts and policies of supplying countries to meet their objectives of meeting climate and related Sustainable Development Goals. It also carries potentially significant impacts for local ecosystems, water systems, and communities.

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Nov. 17, 2017 / Andrew Khouri

Nov. 17, 2017 / The Editorial Board