Tag archives for energy policy

Loan guarantees have been around since at least the 1940s, when the U.S. government backed loans for homes, farms and businesses for World War II veterans. More recently, the U.S. government has used loan guarantee programs to support the development of clean energy. Projects including the large Ivanpah solar facility in California’s Mojave Desert, a…

Detractors have called the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed limits on power plant emissions onerous and unachievable, but the Union of Concerned Scientists is out with a report that does more than fend off those claims. The group says the Clean Power Plan could go much further than it does in cutting carbon, simply by properly accounting for the demonstrated…

As Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi met with U.S. President Barack Obama Tuesday, clean energy was on the agenda. A joint editorial from the leaders promised they would discuss ways to “expand affordable renewable energy” in India during the prime minister’s visit, his first official trip to the States. The word “affordable” is key everywhere,…

You’ve probably seen or heard something about solar roadways, or as one promotional video puts it, “solar freakin’ roadways!” The bold idea to turn roads into solar generation infrastructure has captured the imagination of millions in recent weeks. The concept is an example of the fascinating advancements in solar energy technology that are nudging our…

Wrangling in the U.S. Senate over unrelated amendments has derailed the bipartisan Shaheen-Portman energy bill for a second time. The stalemate left the bill’s supporters unable to gain the 60 votes needed to end debate over the bill and move to a final vote Monday. There seems to be little disagreement in Congress over the…

Projects in three states will lead the way as the United States attempts to leap ahead on offshore wind power by deploying cutting-edge technologies. The Obama administration announced on Wednesday it would grant  awards of up to $47 million apiece to three renewable energy projects. The U.S. Department of Energy selected projects in Oregon, New…

For the first time in the short history of the U.S. government’s Renewable Fuel Standard, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has proposed to decrease the total amount of renewable fuel required as part of the national supply, with a 41 percent cut to the advanced biofuel category. But a study recently published by our organization…

After decades of debate and with growing anxiety about climate change, the planet is no closer to a systematic solution to our collective energy challenge. Yet still we try. At its impressive Vancouver gathering, National Geographic asked a simple question:  Is natural gas the bridge to a sustainable energy future?  (See video featuring participants including…

Federal loan guarantees for renewable energy, which spurred the development of massive projects like the recently completed Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System in California – and roiled the 2012 elections – are emerging from hibernation. More than two years after closing the last such loan guarantee, the U.S. Department of Energy announced on Wednesday that…

The incandescent light bulb has been around since the late 1800s, but the venerable technology’s dominance seems just about over.  On January 1, 2014, in keeping with a law passed by Congress in 2007, the old familiar tungsten-filament 40- and 60-watt incandescent light bulbs can no longer be manufactured in the U.S., because they don’t…

In last night’s episode of the NBC post-apocalyptic drama, Revolution, each of the characters faced the consequences of the risky alliances they made in their struggle to survive in a world without electricity. That world—complete with water-borne disease, warlords, and refugee camps—is a reality for many of the 1.2 billion people who live each day…

OK, with the government shutdown that kicked in at midnight this morning, it should come as no surprise that we have a highly dysfunctional Congress. Still, when Congressional gridlock derails a good, sensible, popular bill on energy efficiency in a country that harnesses less than half of the energy we produce and loses almost 30 percent due to inefficiencies, at least some attention should be paid.

The federal government’s latest international energy projections are out, and there’s no question we’re living in a time of enormous change—and perhaps remarkably little progress. The International Energy Outlook from the U.S. Energy Information Administration tries to identify the big trends and projections affecting the energy world through 2040. Some of the trends include: The…

Egypt remains mired in crisis since the military-backed ouster of President Mohammed Mursi July 3. The ongoing political instability will further delay attempts to address one of the country’s thorniest economic issues: long-standing fuel subsidies that account for a fifth of state spending, a reported $17.4 billion over the past year. Those subsidies played a…

Imitation, they say, is the sincerest form of flattery. But is duplicating “Race to the Top” the way to get a new energy grid up and running? If you don’t keep track of education policy, Race to the Top is the Obama administration’s signature schools initiative, with $4 billion in federal grant money awarded to…

Speaking at Argonne National Laboratory Friday, President Barack Obama emphasized the need for research on alternative energy technologies and called for an energy security trust to fund such research, pulling $2 billion in royalties from oil and gas leases over 10 years. Taking aim at the recent sequester-driven budget cuts and partisan budget battles in…

The question on many minds following the inaugural speech was: would climate change rank high enough as an issue to appear in his State of the Union address? And if so, would its inclusion indicate a strong intent on the part of the president to act quickly? Or would it be a mere mention to placate those worried about the planet’s health, with no assurance that anything substantive would happen? Last night we seemed to get our answer.

  Energy policy historically has been a matter of policymakers chasing events – and the most recent example is the current boom in natural gas. The controversial technique of fracking gets most of the attention, and there’s no question that fracking’s ability to  vastly increase the supply of natural gas is reshaping the energy world.…

If the people expecting the world to end when the Mayan calendar does on Dec. 21 are right, then we probably don’t need an energy policy. But NASA has an ironclad case that they’re wrong, and not many people seem to be taking the doomsayers seriously. Just about everyone is doing their holiday shopping as…

Surveys show the American public is more convinced of the reality of global warming – but how much will that really shift policy? Two surveys released this month, from the Pew Research Center and the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication, both find solid majorities of Americans who say global warming is real and growing…

A contentious exchange over energy policy occurred early in Tuesday night’s second presidential debate in Hempstead, New York. While Gov. Mitt Romney accused President Barack Obama of “keeping us from taking advantage of oil, coal and gas,” Obama continued to advocate for his “all of the above” plan to promote clean energy. “We’ve got to…

Most news coverage of energy and the environment is in love with the new: cool new technologies, new research, and all the impressive creative energy that’s being poured into these fields. Yet one of the most significant factors shaping the energy field is the power of old decisions. Take, for example, the power plants that…

I’ve begun thinking that one of the defining questions for clean energy is, “What’s the plan?” Not a company plan, but a country plan — one that realistically maps us to an economy that gets the vast majority of its energy from wind, solar, geothermal, and that has us drastically minimizing waste. Amory Lovins has taken a…

It’s a sad fact of modern politics that what politicians don’t say is as significant as what they do. That certainly seems to be true on energy and climate change in the 2012  campaign, where both sides seem to be ducking the issues as best they can. Unfortunately, that’s not much help to the voters.…

Two years ago, we did not know what kind of challenge was ahead of us. The Alerion Supermileage team, from Université Laval in Québec City, Canada, already has pushed the boundaries on fuel efficiency, taking first place in Shell Eco-marathon Americas for three consecutive years. Last year, on our winning run in Houston, we achieved…