Tag Archives: emissions

The next step for U.S. renewables is to drive low-cost private investment – and to do so as cost-effectively as possible

June 25, 2013 |

 

Today President Obama announced a goal to double renewable electricity generation by 2020 as part of a broader plan to tackle carbon pollution in the U.S.

Reaching this goal would add to the substantial renewable energy capacity the U.S. can already boast: Over the past five years, U.S. workers have built enough wind and solar farms to power over six million homes with clean energy. And in 2012, renewables comprised more than half of all new power generation in 2012 in the U.S. — surpassing all other sources including natural gas.

I recently worked with the American Council on Renewable Energy and CalCEF to look at the state of finance for renewable energy in the U.S. And in a paper released at the Renewable Energy Finance Forum – Wall Street today, we point out that this boom was enabled by the alignment of federal, state, and private interests: State-level renewable portfolio standards helped create a market for renewable electricity, federal incentives helped cover the incremental cost of that electricity, while private investors have contributed tens of billions of dollars to getting wind and solar off the ground.

So what’s the next step? What needs to happen to reach Obama’s targets?

We argue that the next step for U.S. renewable energy is to drive low-cost private investment — and to do so as cost-effectively as possibly.  CPI analysis points to five practical ways do this.

1. Maintain consistent, long-term policies by building on the success of current policy efforts. Catalyzing change in a highly regulated industry such as electricity is difficult.

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China at an energy crossroads

April 29, 2013 |

 

As the second largest economy in the world, China’s energy demand is growing at a speed never seen before, representing more than 80% of the growth in both oil and coal consumption internationally in the past few years. When a country is developing at this scale, anything it does will have huge implications on a variety of global issues, from energy markets, commodity prices, energy security, to climate change.

However, people trying to understand what energy path the country is heading toward are often puzzled by the complexity of the picture: On the one hand, the country is the biggest emitter and the largest net importer of coal. On the other, China also leads renewable energy manufacture and installation, and has helped push down the cost of renewable generation globally.

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Clearing the air with industrial audits

October 18, 2012 |

 

California’s cap and trade system will begin operation in 2013. It will be the most ambitious, comprehensive climate change program in the U.S., helping California reduce emissions to 1990 levels by 2020: 6% below 2009 levels and 12% below the peak in 2007.

As our recent analysis shows, if greenhouse gas and air quality regulators work together effectively, cap and trade can bring cleaner air to California and better health to Californians.

California’s Air Resources Board has already taken a step in the right direction, requiring large facilities to conduct industrial audits to assess energy efficiency opportunities that will lead to greenhouse gas and local air pollution emissions reductions.

The data from these audits are slated to be available online by the end of this year. It’s not yet clear what level of detail the data will provide, but more detail is better: It means a larger number of people will know exactly where facilities can make changes that will yield cleaner air.

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Tracking emissions and climate policies: How well are we doing?

June 13, 2012 |

 

On May 24, Kath Rowley and I presented CPI’s work on countries’ efforts to track emissions and mitigation actions to an international audience. Our event took place on the sidelines of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) conference in Bonn, Germany.

After sitting in on some of the negotiations, Kath and I were struck by the disconnect between the discussions at the negotiating table and the real world of policy implementation. Measurement, reporting, and verification (MRV) is a contentious issue in climate negotiations; the discussions might lead you to believe that “MRV” is a burdensome requirement and rarely done now. In fact, as our work demonstrates, countries are already doing a great deal to track emissions and mitigation actions, for both international and domestic purposes.

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