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Clean Power Plan Cuts Costs for Low-income Communities

November 20 -- At all levels of government ­— federal and local alike — the Clean Power Plan has faced serious backlash because of cost concerns. Politicians fear spending money on environmental policy, while citizens are wary of spikes in their electricity bills — both points that critics have been quick to tout. The emphasis on minimal upfront costs undervalue the plan’s climate benefits, estimated to be worth billions, and divert attention from its true impacts on electric bills, which are expected lowered in the years following its implementation.

Opponents of the Clean Power Plan have claimed that it will disproportionately harm low-income communities who are particularly vulnerable to higher energy costs. Much of these claims come from a study conducted by Management Information Services, a consulting firm whose clients include American Electric Power, the Southern Company, and Private Fuel Storage. >>View Article 

BNP Says Will Double Renewable Energy Investments, Cuts Carbon

November 20 -- French banking group BNP Paribas will double its investment in renewable energy projects to 15 billion euros ($16.07 billion) by 2020 from 6.9 billion euros and will no longer finance coal extraction projects, it said on Thursday.

The bank also said it would continue to promote green bonds among institutional investors. "Doubling our funding for renewable energy and strengthening our carbon risk management system is an environmental requirement. It is also an economic requirement," BNP said in a statement.

BNP Paribas said it had "taken the decision to no longer fund the extraction of coal either through mining projects or coal mining companies that do not have diversification strategies". >>View Article 

In 15 years, Renewables Will be the World’s Biggest Source of Electricity

November 20 -- Coal is the biggest source of electricity worldwide. But not for much longer. In a comprehensive report on the future of energy, the International Energy Agency, a policy and research group, said that renewables now sit in second place in the global electricity production mix. By the 2030s, they will become the biggest source. 

Falling coal demand from China and a glut of American supply hitting the market pushed prices down in recent years. Even so, coal use is being restrained by policy decisions—like the EU closing coal plants to meet its emissions objectives. >>View Article 

Decade of Success Under the RFS

November 20 -- Ten years ago, the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) was passed by a bipartisan Congress and signed into law by President George W. Bush. This year, we are not only commemorating the creation of our nation’s most successful energy policy in the past 40 years. We are also celebrating a decade of job creation, clean air, innovation, increased energy independence and consumer choice.

But even as we are celebrating these victories, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is deliberating the fate of the RFS. In its latest RFS proposal for 2014-2016, EPA unfortunately chose to side with the obligated parties who have deliberately refused to live up to their obligation to provide consumers with a lower cost, higher performing, homegrown renewable fuel option at the pump. >>View Article 

Wind and Solar Beating Conventional Fuels on Costs

November 20 -- The latest study by US investment bank Lazard has highlighted the extent to which wind and solar technologies are beating conventional fuels – coal, gas and nuclear – on costs of production, and also on abatement.

The study, the “Levellised Cost of Energy Analysis 9.0 notes that utility scale solar PV has fallen 25 per cent in the last year alone, since its most recent study. Since 2009, when it began the analysis, solar and wind energy have fallen by 80 per cent and 60 per cent respectively.

Lazard says that because of this, and despite big falls in the cost of natural gas in the US, wind and solar are beating conventional fuels in most situations, as revealed in their success in competitive capacity auctions. >>View Article 

U.S. Onshore Wind Power Becoming Mainstream

November 20 -- WASHINGTON, Nov. 19 (UPI) -- With more than 30 percent of new electricity coming from wind power, the U.S. Department of Energy said the industry is becoming entrenched in the power sector.

The Department of Energy published a 24-page document highlighting trends in the renewable power sector. Wind energy, the report said, is becoming a "mainstream power source," accounting for 31 percent of all new electricity capacity added to the U.S. grid between 2008 and last year. >>View Article 

Alan Caron: LePage Just Spins Wheels on Energy

November 20 -- Gridlock. Food fights. Acrimony. These are the hallmarks of Augusta today, as they have been over the last five years. While the Legislature can be faulted, most of it starts and stops at the door of the governor.

A lot of LePage supporters – and there seem to be fewer of them with each passing day – like to say that LePage is good because he’s telling it like it is. “He’s blunt and forceful, which is just what we need,” they say. As though the problems of the world can be solved by being louder than everyone else. Call it politics by “Trump-et.” (I promised our 10-year-old I’d get that into a column, and there it is).

What should matter most, to everyone, is not how loud or nasty a leader is but how effective they are. The crucial question is this: Did anything get done? In LePage’s case, the answer is very little in his first term and nothing in his second term. >>View Article 

Local View: Fossil Fuel Subsidies Dwarf Wind Energy Incentives

November 20 -- In response to the opinion column “Support affordable energy by ending corporate welfare” (LJS, Nov. 14) here are three questions for author Thomas J. Pyle, president of the American Energy Alliance, with ties to the Koch Brothers oil company.

Why did you fail to call for an end to government/taxpayer-funded fossil fuel subsidies? Are you going to call on Nebraska’s U. S. senators and representatives to repeal oil, coal and gas subsidies? Aren’t oil companies able to stand on their own without subsidies? The fossil fuel industry has been getting federal subsidies for 100 years. The cumulative cost of oil, coal and gas subsidies dwarf wind energy incentives. >>View Article 

Dear 'Wall Street Journal': Bill Gates Is Not an Idiot

November 20 -- I love the Wall Street Journal, I really do. I read it every day, all the sections. It's really the only "national" newspaper we have that isn't a joke. The New York Times is still too local and doesn't have enough business news, plus it wears its politics not only on its sleeve, but on both sleeves and on its shirtfront as well. USA Today qualifies in the "joke" category. The Washington Post is a mere ghost of its former self. And I read the Wall Street Journal because by and large the articles are pretty factual and don't seem biased, at least on the surface on the surface.

But every so often, the Journal just can't help itself, and it has to publish something really nutty about energy. For some reason they hate renewable energy, and continue to ignore facts and data and trends that I can easily find just by reading a couple of free digital newsletters. Hey, these guys are professionals, they should be better at this than I am. I just sit here north of San Diego, mostly looking through the palm trees and watching the pelicans fly over the ocean. >>View Article

Counterpoint: Hydropower is a Star among Renewables

November 18 -- With the nation searching for clean energy solutions, a recent commentary by Ron Way (“Is hydropower green? Not really,” Nov. 15) asked Minnesotans a valid question: Is hydropower green? The author’s conclusion, however, is at odds with the facts, the Department of Energy and the American people. Hydropower isn’t just a renewable — it’s the nation’s largest source of renewable energy, accounting for half of all generation of renewable energy.

At the national level, hydropower is combating climate change more than any other renewable resource. Thanks to hydropower, the U.S. avoids approximately 200 million metric tons of CO2 annually — the equivalent of taking 42 million cars off the road. >>View Article 

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