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Bezos Earth Fund Announces First Major Recipients (Funding Report)
Bezos Earth Fund
Date: 2020-11-23
Amazon CEO and billionaire Jeff Bezos has announced the first 16 recipients who together will receive a total of $791 million fro Bazo's $10 billion Earth Fund. The recipients are listed in order of funding:
  • Environmental Defense Fund -- $100 million grant will support work that includes completion and launch of MethaneSAT, a satellite that will not only locate and measure sources of methane pollution around the world, but also provide public access to data that ensures accountability and drives deep reductions of this pollutant. www.edf.org

  • The Natural Resources Defense Council -- $100 million to advance climate solutions and legislation at the state level, move the needle on policies and programs focused on reducing oil and gas production, protect and restore ecosystems that store carbon (like forests and wetlands), and accelerate sustainable and regenerative agriculture practices. www.nrdc.org

  • The Nature Conservancy -- $100 million to protect the Emerald Edge forest in the U.S. and Canada. www.nature.org

  • The World Resources Institute -- $100 million will be doled out over 5 years and will be used to develop a satellite-based monitoring system to advance natural climate solutions around the world. www.wri.org.

  • The World Wildlife Fund -- $100 million to help protect and restore mangroves, which store carbon and protect coastal communities from the ravages of climate-accelerated weather events www.worldwildlife.org.

  • ClimateWorks Foundation -- $50 million will be used to drive climate action in the transportation and industrial sectors.www.climateworks.org

  • The Hive Fund for Climate and Gender Justice -- $43 million over three years to expand grant-making to organizations led by Black, Brown, and Indigenous women and other frontline leaders. www.hivedund.org

  • The Solutions Project -- $43 million over the next three years to accelerate the transition to 100 pct clean energy and equitable access to healthy air, water, and land. www.thesolutionsproject.org

  • The Climate + Clean Energy Equity Fund -- $43 million over 3 years to support grassroots organizing to build power and increase participation in our democratic processes. www.theequityfund.org

  • Salk Institute for Biological Studies -- $30 million to advance efforts to increase the ability of crop plants, such as corn and soybeans, to capture and store atmospheric carbon via their roots in the soil. www.salk.edu

  • The Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) -- $15 million over teo years to advocate for updates to the U.S. electrical grid that will speed the amount of wind, solar, and energy storage used in key states. www.ucsusa.org

  • Rocky Mountain Institute -- $10 million, $8 million of which will go to its carbon-free buildings campaign, which seeks to make all U.S. buildings carbon-free by 2040 by advocating for all-electric new construction and retrofitting existing homes and businesses to reduce their carbon footprint. www.rmi.org

  • Dream Corps Green For All -- $10 million to continue its work creating a green economy that prioritized low-income communities and people of color.www.thedreamcorp.org.

    Eden Reforestation Projects -- $5 million to plant trees and alleviate extreme poverty in three countries.www.edenprojects.org. (Source: Bezos Earth Fund, Release, 16 Nov., 2020)

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Bezos Earth Fund,  Climate Change,  


  • DOE Sued Over Energy Efficiency Standards Changes (Ind. Report)
    NRDC, US DOE
    Date: 2020-10-19
    The NYC-headquartered Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) reports it has again sued the Trump administration DOE for altering its energy efficiency standards-setting process to make it more difficult to set rigorous energy-saving levels for America's appliances and equipment.

    NRDC was joined by three other environmental groups and 13 states in this suit, which is closely related to an ongoing lawsuit regarding DOE's "Process Rule."

    At issue is how the DOE determines whether a new energy efficiency standard is "economically justified" -- meaning that its benefits, such as consumer savings from lower utility bills, exceed its costs.

    DOE is looking for ways to set weaker standards, or no standards at all as part of an ongoing pattern to weaken a critically important program. And it's illegal. Without strong efficiency standards, purchasers can't be sure the appliances they buy are not wasting energy, which can substantially increase their energy bills.

    According to NRDC, these changes represent yet more attacks on the nation's highly successful energy efficiency standards program that has been saving U.S. households, on average $500 every year and will deliver $2 trillion in savings to consumers and businesses as well as help avoid 3 billion tonnes of CO2 pollution by by 2030.

    This is the 130th lawsuit NRDC has filed against the Trump administration's rollbacks and efforts to undermine environmental safeguards. To date, NRDC has prevailed in 73 of the 81 cases resolved thus far. This latest lawsuit related to the Process Rule also marks the fourth time in 11 months that NRDC and other environmental and consumer groups have sued DOE over energy efficiency standards.

    Meanwhile, DOE has repeatedly failed to meet its statutory requirements to update standards for appliances and equipment, having now missed 26 deadlines -- the most of any administration, according to the NRDC release. (Source: NRDC, Blog, 17 Oct., 2020) Contact: Natural Resource Defense Council, 212.727.2700, www.nrdc.org

    More Low-Carbon Energy News NRDC,  Energy Efficiency,  Appliance Energy EfficiencyAppliance Energy Efficiency,  


    Notable Quotes
    NRDC
    Date: 2020-09-04
    "Our two biggest global environmental challenges -- climate change and biodiversity loss -- are inextricably linked so keeping forests standing must be a priority of all governments.

    "Much of the wood burned in UK power plants is cut down and shipped from ecologically sensitive forests in the US Southeast. Those forests are efficient and powerful carbon- capture systems and support unique wildlife found nowhere else in the world. But they can't serve that important purpose if the trees are cut and turned into wood pellets, and don't grow back for decades." -- Sasha Stashwick, Natural Resource Defense Council www.nrdc.org

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Woody Biomass,  NRDC,  


    NC Energy Efficiency Helping Home Fund Lands $6Mn (Ind. Report)
    Duke Energy
    Date: 2020-07-31
    In North Carolina, the Energy Efficiency for All (EEFA) project partners are reporting a settlement with Duke Energy in the pending rate cases that includes a $6 million contribution over two years to the state's Helping Home Fund. The Fund delivers a suite of energy efficiency improvements and critical health and safety repairs, including heating and cooling upgrades and appliance replacement. The settlement also included a commitment to develop new energy-efficiency pilot programs in North Carolina that will serve the needs of low-income households.

    As of 2018, the Helping Home Fund has assisted over 4,300 North Carolinians most burdened by high energy bills. A study from the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy and EEFA found the median household in Charlotte, for example, spent 4 pct of their income on energy, while the median low-income household spent about twice that much. And the most under-resourced households spent more than 3.5 times as much.

    The Helping Home Fund is administered by the North Carolina Community Action Association and provides funding for its member agencies that provide energy efficiency weatherization assistance to low-income households. (Source: Duke Energy, NRDC, 31 July, 2020) Contact: Duke Energy Helping Home Fund, www.duke-energy.com/home/products/income-qualified/helping-home-fund; EFFA, www.eefa.net

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Duke Energy news,  Energy Efficiency news,  


    Notable Quote on UK Woody Biomass, Renewables Disconnect
    Woody Biomass
    Date: 2020-07-22
    "The views of the public are clear: Burning wood for electricity is both unpopular and destructive. It's time for the (UK) government to end the wasteful subsidies for this polluting industry -- especially when people don't even consider it to be renewable energy. In this respect, our data shows a striking disconnect between government policy and public opinion." -- Sasha Stashwick, NRDC

    A new online YouGov poll has found only 23 pct of Britons think electricity generated by burning forest woody biomass should be classified as "renewable energy". Additionally, 55 pct also disagreed with the Government's continued subsidies for this dirty source of energy as part of the UK's renewable energy strategy. Currently, the government gives more than £2 million per day in subsidies to power stations that burn biomass.

    While wind energy has 80 pct public backing and solar has 82 pct, only 3 pct say the Government should help companies that burn wood sourced from forests overseas, the poll found. Nearly all UK biomass is imported.(Source: NRDC, Southern Environmental Law Center, 22 July, 2020)Contact: SELC, David Carr, General Counsel , 434-977-4090, www.southernenvironment.org; NRDC, www.nrdc.org

    More Low-Carbon Energy News NRDC,  Woody Biomass,  UK Woody Biomass,  Wind,  Solar,  


    Woody Biomass for UK Power Strips Southern US Forests (Ind. Report)
    Southern Environmental Law Center
    Date: 2020-07-22
    As we previously reported in June, the Charlottesville, Virginia-based Southern Environmental Law Center (SELC) reported it was joining with Biofuelwatch, the Dogwood Alliance and NRDC in the "Cut Carbon Not Forests Campaign."

    The campaign is intended to convince the UK to end more than £1 billion a year in government subsidies to biomass-fired power producers. A large portion of the biomass fuel used in the UK is sourced from forests in the Southeastern US then shipped to the UK -- Europe's largest user of biomass-fired electricity.

    "The UK classifies biomass electricity as a carbon-neutral fuel. It is anything but. Cutting live trees, shipping them thousands of miles across an ocean and then burning them to generate electricity both reduces forest capacity for carbon capture and releases more carbon pollution into the atmosphere. It is a lose-lose proposition for the environment and a definite contributor to climate change," according to the SELC release.

    Download Cut Carbon Not Forests campaign details HERE. (Source: Southern Environmental Law Center, PR, 22 June, 2020) Contact: SELC, David Carr, General Counsel , 434-977-4090, www.southernenvironment.org

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Southern Environmental Law Center,  Woody Biomass,  Climate Change,  


    Woody Biomass for UK Power Strips Southern US Forests (Ind. Report)
    Southern Environmental Law Center
    Date: 2020-06-24
    The Charlottesville, Virginia-based Southern Environmental Law Center (SELC) reports it is joining with Biofuelwatch, the Dogwood Alliance and NRDC in the Cut Carbon Not Forests campaign.

    The campaign is intended to convince the UK to end more than £1 billion a year in government subsidies to biomass-fired power producers. A large portion of the biomass fuel used in the UK is sourced from forests in the Southeastern US then shipped to the UK -- Europe's largest user of biomass-fired electricity.

    "The UK classifies biomass electricity as a carbon-neutral fuel. It is anything but. Cutting live trees, shipping them thousands of miles across an ocean and then burning them to generate electricity both reduces forest capacity for carbon capture and releases more carbon pollution into the atmosphere. It is a lose-lose proposition for the environment and a definite contributor to climate change," according to the SELC release.

    Download Cut Carbon Not Forests campaign details HERE. (Source: Southern Environmental Law Center, PR, 22 June, 2020) Contact: SELC, David Carr, General Counsel , 434-977-4090, www.southernenvironment.org

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Southern Environmental Law Center,  Woody Biomass,  Climate Change ,  


    St. Louis Enacts Building Energy Performance Standard (Ind. Report)
    St. Louis
    Date: 2020-05-08
    In the Show Me State, the city of St. Louise reports passage of Building Energy Performance Standard (BPS) legislation requiring buildings in the city to meet a minimum level of energy efficiency-performance standard. The legislation also establishes resources to help building owners achieve the savings that come with decreased energy usage. The City is the first jurisdiction in the Midwest and the fourth in the country to pass a BPS. The policy will use Site Energy Use Intensity (EUI) as its chief performance metric.

    The St. Louis BPS covers buildings 50,000 square feet or larger, which have been required to report the energy and water use of their properties since 2017 under the city's Building Energy Awareness Ordinance.

    Compared to other energy-saving building policies, a BPS requires greater changes, but allows building owners broad flexibility to make improvements. By setting long-term targets, a BPS provides the commercial real estate market with the certainty it needs to make confident investments in properties over time. It can also enable cities to achieve multiple city priorities at once, including carbon reductions, building electrification, energy efficiency, peak demand reductions, and more. (Source: City of St. Louis, NRDC Blog, May, 2020)

    More Low-Carbon Energy News St. Louis,  Building Energy Efficiency,  Energy Performance,  


    Ruling Awaited on Trump Lightbulb Efficiency Rollback (Ind. Report)
    Energy Efficiency
    Date: 2019-12-30
    Cronkite News at Arizona State University is reporting the Trump administration's plan to roll back Obama-era stricter regulations on energy-efficient lightbulbs may have put environmentalists and some utility companies on the same side of an issue. The Obama-ear new, tougher rules were set to take effect Jan. 1, 2020.

    In October, the Trump DOE announced it would not impose the new rules, framing the decision as one of choice for consumers who were already moving in the direction of energy-efficient bulbs on their own. The department doubled down Friday, with a notice in the Federal Register that it has determined tougher restrictions on general service incandescent lamps "would not be economically justified." When Trump signed the rollback in October, he criticized the rules for forcing consumers to buy a "much more expensive bulb that doesn't have a good-looking light."

    The Trump plan to roll back the tighter rules was challenged in court by 15 states -- NEW YORK, CALIFORNIA, COLORADO, CONNECTICUT, ILLINOIS, MARYLAND, MAINE, MICHIGAN, MINNESOTA, NEW JERSEY, NEVADA, OREGON, VERMONT, and WASHINGTON, the COMMONWEALTH OF MASSACHUSETTS, the DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA,and the CITY OF NEW YORK. The NRDC has joined multiple environmental groups in a separate lawsuit. To date, the courts have allowed the rollback to proceed. (Source: Cronkite News, Arizona State University, 27 Dec., 2019)

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Lightbuld Efficiency,  


    NY PSC OKs Community Solar Consolidated Billing (Ind. Report)
    New York State,Community Solar
    Date: 2019-12-13
    In Albany, the New York Public Service Commission (PSC) reports the issuance of an order allowing consolidated billing for community solar projects. The ruling is expected spur the cost-effective completion of over 1 GW of community solar projects currently in development, which in turn will help the state reach its goal of 6 GW of distributed solar by 2025, as required by the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CPCLA).

    Consolidated billing has another benefit as well. Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) programs, which allow local communities to leverage their combined demand to purchase renewable forms of power and other energy services, have not included community solar projects in their portfolios because of the high customer acquisition costs and because CCA programs typically use an "opt-out" model, in which customers are enrolled in the CCA unless they specifically decline to participate. (Source: New York Public Service Commission, NRDC, 12 Dec., 2019) Contact: New York Public Service Commission, www.dps.ny.gov

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Community Solar,  Solar,  


    NRDC Questions EU Biomass Power Generation Subsidies (Int'l.)
    National Resources Defense Council
    Date: 2019-11-13
    Burnout: EU Clean Energy Subsidies Lead to Forest Destruction, a new report from the not-for-profit National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) highlights the environmental impact of the practice of burning biomass as fuel.

    For the purpose of allocating energy subsidies, the EU defines biomass as a clean energy source; however, the process of burning wood for electric power production both releases high levels of carbon emissions and contributes to the destruction of forest ecosystems. As forests act as a "carbon sink", absorbing CO2 which would otherwise be released into the atmosphere.

    The report, which is based on research provided by economic policy consultancy Trinomics, covers biomass subsidies in 15 EU Member States between 2105 and 2018. Overall in 2017, the 15 Member States assessed for the report spent a total of €6.6 billion in direct subsidies for energy production using biomass. The report identifies Denmark as the highest subsidiser of biomass energy per capita followed by the UK and Germany. their renewable energy subsidies on biomass production.

    According to the Burnout: EU Clean Energy Subsidies Lead to Forest Destruction report, "Burning trees for electricity is not renewable and not a viable climate solution. Critically, no EU Member State has formally ruled out burning forest biomass for electricity in the future. That can and should change before we (NRDC) publish our next assessment. In the coming years, we hope and expect that in EU countries where massive biomass industry subsidies have become entrenched, policymakers will redirect this financial support toward genuinely zero-emitting and renewable energy sources like solar and wind. Countries considering new policies and incentives to replace aging fossil fuel-based energy infrastructure, both inside and outside the European Union, must rule out incentives for burning forest biomass instead of or alongside coal." (Source: NRDC, Gov. Europa, 12 Nov., 2019) Contact: NRDC, Kit Kennedy, Snr. Dir. Climate and Clean Energy Programme, 212.727.2700, nrdcinfo@nrdc.org, www.nrdc.org

    More Low-Carbon Energy News National Resources Defense Council ,  NRDC,  Biomass,  Woody Biomass,  


    NRDC Fighting DoE Lightbulb Standards Rollback (Reg. & Leg.)
    NRDC,Earthjustice
    Date: 2019-11-06
    The NYC-headquartered Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), Earthjustice, the U.S. Public Interest Research Group and others have filed suit against the US DoE for its rollback of established light bulb efficiency standards in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. According to the NRDC, the "DOE's latest rollback follows a pattern of repeatedly delaying, stalling, and weakening energy efficiency requirements."

    In 2007, Republican President George W. Bush signed bipartisan legislation to phase out inefficient incandescent and halogen light bulbs by 1 January 2020. The first tier of standards (phased in between 2012 and 2014) required light bulbs to use 25 to 30 pct less energy than old-style incandescent bulbs. The second tier was due to become effective in 2020, requiring everyday "general service" light bulbs to use about 65 pct less energy.

    The lawsuits contend the Trump administration's DoE acted illegally in reversing its 2-year-old rules expanding the types of bulbs required to become more energy efficient as of 1 January 2020, under a law passed by Congress in 2007.

    DOE announced this year that it was reversing that decision even though almost 64,000 comments were registered against the rollback, including 37 major electric utilities serving 55 million customers in 42 states and the District of Columbia. Five lighting companies, and their trade association support the DoE's rollback. (Source: NRDC, Smart Energy, Nov., 2019) Contact: NRDC, Kit Kennedy, Snr. Dir. Climate and Clean Energy Programme, 212.727.2700, nrdcinfo@nrdc.org, www.nrdc.org

    More Low-Carbon Energy News NRDC,  Earthjusice,  Light Bulb Efficiency,  Energy Efficiency,  


    PSEG Claims Among Lowest Power Producer CO2 Emissions (Ind Report)
    Public Service Enterprise Group (PSEG)
    Date: 2019-07-01
    In the Garden State, Newark-based power producer Public Service Enterprise Group (PSEG) is touting its record as having one of the lowest carbon emissions rates of the nation's largest power producers, according to Benchmarking Air Emissions of the 100 Largest Electric Power Producers in the United States , a recently released report by M.J. Bradley & Associates, Bank of America, CERES, Entergy, Exelon and NRDC. According to the report:
  • In 1993, PSEG became the first electric utility in the U.S. to volunteer to participate in the Climate Challenge Program; PSEG successfully met this goal and stabilized carbon dioxide emissions from its New Jersey plants to 1990 levels by 2000.

  • In 2002, PSEG joined EPA's Climate Leaders program to reduce the six greenhouse gases covered under the Kyoto Protocol. Under this program, PSEG committed to reduce its CO2-equivalent GHG emissions on a pound-per-mWh basis by 18 pct from 2000 levels by Dec. 31, 2008. PSEG surpassed this goal by achieving a 31 pct reduction, due primarily to the fact that more than half our power comes from nuclear generation.

  • In 2009, PSEG established a new goal of reducing company-wide GHG emissions by 25 pct from 2005 levels by 2025. PSEG met this goal 14 years ahead of schedule. PSEG achieved this goal through implementation of energy efficiency programs, deployment of renewable energy, increasing nuclear output and building clean, efficient natural gas generation.

  • Since 2010, PSEG has invested approximately $400 million in energy efficiency initiatives that reduce emissions in hospitals, multifamily housing and buildings occupied by nonprofits and government agencies.

  • In 2018, PSEG announced its new goal of eliminating 13 million metric tons of CO2-equivalent by 2030 from 2005 levels. The new goal expands upon previous reduction goals, including efficiency upgrades of existing combined-cycle natural gas fleets and the retirement of the company's New Jersey and Connecticut coal plants.

  • PSEG has invested $1.7 Billion in 625 MWs of solar, including 211 MWs in New Jersey and 23 projects in 14 states totaling 414 MWs. PSEG is New Jersey's leading developer of solar energy resources and is an active supporter of efforts to develop offshore wind facilities.

  • Supplying more than 90 pct of the state's emissions-free power, PSEG's Salem and Hope Creek nuclear generating plants play a key role in supporting New Jersey's clean energy goals.

    Download the Benchmarking Air Emissions of the 100 Largest Electric Power Producers in the United States report HERE. (Source: PSEG, CSRWire 28 June, 2019) Contact: PSEG, PSE&G, PSEGPower, www/investor.pseg.com

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Carbon Emissions,  CO2,  Public Service Enterprise Group (PSEG),  Carbon Emissions,  


  • Coalition Seeks Renewed Energy Efficiency Tax Incentives (Ind. Report)
    Alliance to Save Energy
    Date: 2019-05-03
    The Alliance to Save Energy and a coalition of manufacturers, advocacy groups, and trade associations representing millions of American workers has called for Washington to modernize and extend expired energy efficiency tax incentives. If so enacted, the updated incentives that would sharply reduce US carbon emissions. create employment and cut millions of dollars in energy bills.

    The coalition, led by the Alliance to Save Energy, includes leading manufacturers of windows, air conditioners, insulation and other components alongside environmental and efficiency advocates such as the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions (CRES), and the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE).

    The proposed tax incentives call for broadly supported improvements to the expired 45L tax incentive for high-efficiency new home construction and the 25C tax incentive for homeowner efficiency improvements -- installing insulation, replacing windows, or purchasing high-efficiency heating and cooling equipment. The improvements include strengthening the efficiency level that must be met to receive the incentives, while also increasing the dollar value of the incentives.

    The coalition also called for extending the 179D incentive for efficiency improvements in commercial buildings. (Source: Alliance to Save Energy, PR, May, 2019) Contact: Alliance to Save Energy, (202) 857-0666, www.ase.org

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Alliance to Save Energy,  Energy Eficiency,  


    Ending Woody Biomass Power Gen. Subsidies Urged in UK (Int'l)
    Committee on Climate Change
    Date: 2019-05-03
    In the UK, the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) and other environmental groups are calling for an end to the government's multi-billion pound subsidy programme for wood-fired electric power generation on the grounds that woody biomass does not fit the government's net-zero GHG by 2050 plan.

    Environmental groups, including to Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), Biofuelwatch, the Dogwood Alliance, and the Southern Environmental Law Center, have noted that relying on woody biomass with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) to achieve climate targets is "misguided" and will prove overly expensive. Biomass power generation reached a record 35.6 TWh in 2018, up by 12 pct year-on-year, according to government statistics.

    The environmental organizations say the UK should rely on genuinely zero-emission renewables like wind, wave, and solar power, energy efficiency and conservation, and smart resources like energy storage, rather than woody biomass power generation. (Source: Committee on Climate Change, Renewables,May, 2019) Contact: Committee on Climate Change, www.theccc.org.uk

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Woody Biomass,  Biomass,  Committee on Climate Change ,  


    Trump Wants to Withhold $353Mn in Energy Efficiency Funds (Opinions, Editorials & Asides)
    Alliance to Save Energy
    Date: 2019-03-22
    "We've (the Alliance to Save Energy) seen a constant tension in the last two years: Congress has maintained funding for the DOE's investments in energy efficiency, but under the Trump administration, the DOE has at times slowed research and development work and other efficiency programs.

    "For instance, the GAO found in 2017 that the DOE had failed to spend ARPA-E funds appropriated by Congress, and last year NRDC raised serious questions about how much, or little, the Department had actually spent in the 2018 fiscal year on energy efficiency and renewable energy research.

    "The latest wrinkle in the 'will-they-won't-they' spend the money drama emerged last week, when the administration, again proposing deep cuts in energy efficiency for the coming fiscal year, called for $343 million for the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, plus a proposal to use $353 million in prior year balances for a total of $696 million.. A detailed budget estimate for the Department, released by the White House on Monday, similarly said that $353 million 'shall be derived from prior year unobligated balances previously appropriated.

    "Unobligated balances? That's a fancy term for funding that Congress authorizes that the administrative branch doesn't spend. The administration is saying it wants to use such money for next year. Just how much unobligated funding currently exists is not clear.

    "Of course, the executive branch is generally legally required to use the funds appropriated by Congress -- it's not an optional thing. In September, to make the point extra clear, Congress even specified, when it passed the appropriations bill for the current year, that it was directing the Department to 'fully execute the funds appropriated in a timely manner.'

    "The administration's new proposal -- and it's stated reliance on not spending money Congress has directed it to spend -- raises more questions about its commitment to following Congress's direction." (Source: Alliance to Save Energy, 20 Mar., 2019)Contact: Alliance to Save Energy, Jason Hartke, Pres., (202) 857-0666, www.ase.org

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Alliance to Save Energy,  Energy Efficiency,  


    NRDC Calls Coal vs. Renewables Political Divide Fake News (Opinions, Editorials & Asides)
    NRDC
    Date: 2019-02-25
    The following is from the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC): "New polls show that all Americans -- Democrats, Republicans, and independents alike -- want to close the book on our dirtiest fossil fuel. From a political standpoint, defending coal consumption is harder than ever. Coal is far and away the dirtiest fossil fuel there is in terms of carbon emissions and regular old air pollution (and its messy mining practices certainly aren’t helping its reputation). And when you factor in health care costs, environmental costs, and costs to local communities in the form of reduced tourism and property values, coal is also a real loser economically speaking -- especially in relation to natural gas and renewables like wind and solar.

    "Still, lawmakers from coal-producing states and members of the current presidential administration have long attempted to justify their defense of coal on the grounds that it's more than a fossil fuel -- it's a way of life. This has been a reasonably effective tactic, up to a point. If you're trying to neutralize the arguments of those who want to see coal phased out of the U.S. energy diet, the best way to do so is to play the culture card: Point to all the people who rely on the coal industry for a regular paycheck and appeal to their sense of history and heritage.

    "But this last line of defense -- 'Renewables may be all the rage in San Francisco or Seattle or wherever, but where I come from, the people still love coal and always will' -- may not be effective for much longer.

    Two recently released reports show how public sentiment regarding coal and renewables has shifted dramatically in recent years. One of them looks at attitudes at the national level; the other explores them in the historically coal-friendly state of Ohio. Both spell trouble for the future of an industry that's already, by nearly all accounts, on its last legs.

    "The University of Michigan's National Surveys on Energy and Environment (NSEE) is a biannual survey of public opinion surrounding issues of climate and energy policy, providing perhaps the best snapshot we could ever hope for in regard to how Americans stand on subjects like coal, renewables, climate science, geoengineering, a carbon tax, and a host of other climate-related topics. Late last year, to commemorate its 10th anniversary of publication, NSEE released a trove of reports that illustrate just how much public opinion has changed on these matters over the past decade.

    "One of them in particular should strike fear into the hearts of the coal industry's dead-enders and spark joy in the hearts of the rest of us. It shows that between 2016 and 2017, the number of Americans who strongly support a coal phaseout increased 11 percentage points, from 18 pct to 29 pct. In that same one-year period, the number of Americans who oppose a phaseout fell by the same amount. Remarkably, in states with active coal mines, strong support for a phaseout rose even more: by 13 points. Just as remarkably, this trend seemed to cut across political lines, rising among Democrats, independents, and Republicans. Among the last group, strong support for a phaseout actually increased by 5 percentage points, whereas the number of Republicans who strongly oppose it fell by 14 points.

    "Another NSEE report provides a perfect complement. As more Americans announce their willingness to say goodbye to coal, they're also saying hello to the opportunity presented by renewables. This report reveals that 88 pct of Americans are in favor of increasing the use of solar energy in their state, and 82 pct feel the same about wind energy. Here, too, there's real bipartisan buy-in, with 79 pct of Republicans getting behind solar and 72 pct getting behind wind. What's more, the numbers show that a sizable majority of Republican, Democratic, and independent respondents support requiring and/or subsidizing renewable energy production at the state level. Nearly two-thirds of Republicans surveyed -- 64 pct -- said they like the idea of a state renewable energy requirement; even more amazingly, 65 pct of them said they have no problem with boosting the nascent renewables sector through subsidies.

    "But an even more eye-opening poll is making news too. An organization with a somewhat eyebrow-raising name, the Ohio Conservative Energy Forum, released the results of a survey last week suggesting that support for renewables is no longer a politically exploitable issue. In a survey of 400 Ohioans who self-identify as conservative, two-thirds of respondents said they believe their state needs to diversify its energy portfolio by having at least half of its energy come from renewable sources. Nearly the same percentage of respondents said they were more likely to support a politician who voted for or otherwise expressed support for renewable energy or energy efficiency legislation. "Ohio, just as a reminder, ranks 11th in coal production among U.S. states, and its coal industry supports about 33,000 jobs. It also ranks fourth among states in coal consumption.

    "For too long, it's been too easy for lawmakers and administration officials to claim that by kowtowing to the coal industry's wishes, they were simply doing right by voters. It's getting harder. The gap between the interests of average Americans and the interests of coal-company executives is getting wider every day. And solar and wind are wedging their way in. (Source: NRDC, 22 Feb., 2019) Contact: NRDC, Jeff Turrentine www.nrdc.org

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Renewable Energy,  Coal,  NRDC,  


    Notable Quote
    Natural Resources Defense Council.
    Date: 2018-12-12
    "All in all, rural renewable energy projects are laying the foundation for a clean energy economy that meets the needs of local communities and provides clean and affordable energy throughout the (mid-western) region. Federal leaders should increase funding for clean energy research, development, and demonstration projects that will continue to bring down the costs of clean energy and allow more people to gain access." -- -- Arjun Krishnaswami, Policy Analyst, Natural Resources Defense Council, www.nrdc.org

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Renewable Energy,  


    Steel City Adopts Climate Action Plan Update (Ind. Report)
    NRDC
    Date: 2018-06-13
    In the Keystone State, Pittsburgh City Council reports it has approved Climate Action Plan 3.0 -- a holistic vision for how the city will achieve dramatic greenhouse gas reductions.

    Unlike the previous 2008 and 2012 versions, the new plan tracks progress and adds new measures to further slash emissions as needed with a new goal of cutting the city's CO2 emissions by 80 pct below 2003 levels by 2050.

    Under the new plan, the city will have divested city funds from fossil fuels and transitioned city operations to use 100 pct renewable electricity and a fully fossil fuel free fleet of vehicles, by 2030. The plan also identifies a wide range of additional strategies for buildings to achieve a mid-term goal of 50 pct energy reduction by 2030. For example, the city intends for all newly constructed buildings to be carbon neutral by 2030 by using passive house standards and to use energy usage transparency to reduce consumption among residential buildings, using energy labeling and transparency strategies. The city also plans to implement a PACE program to fund building energy efficiency retrofits, upgrades and renewables projects. (Source: City of Pittsburgh, NRDC, June, 2018)

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Climate Change,  Carbon Emissions,  NRDC,  


    Race to Reduce to Energize Saint Paul (Ind. Report)
    Energize Saint Paul
    Date: 2018-06-13
    The ity of Saint Paul, Minnesota, is reporting the launch of it's "Race to Reduce" Energy Efficiency Challenge directed at the city’s largest buildings.

    The program aims to streamline energy operations, reduce utility costs, and slash greenhouse gas emissions. In total the city aims to enlist 100 of the city's largest commercial and multi-family buildings over the three months of the program in an effort to reduce emissions 4 pct by the end of the summer. To that end, the city will provide tip sheets, newsletters, and networking and training events to help identify concrete opportunities for efficiency upgrades, while creating a network of building managers for future collaborations . The "Race to Reduce" is part of the Energize Saint Paul Initiative, a broader city energy efficiency effort. (Source: City of St.Paul, NRDC, 12 June, 2018) Contact: Energize Saint Paul, www.stpaul.gov/departments/mayors-office/energize-saint-paul

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Energy Efficiency,  Energy Reduction,  Energy Consumption,  


    Reno Touts Energy Efficiency Leaders, ReEnergize Reno (Ind. Report)
    City of Reno
    Date: 2018-05-21
    In the Silver State, the City of Reno is touting its first annual Green Building Awards celebrating the accomplishments of local leaders in building energy efficiency. The event took place on May 8th.

    Award recipients included four organizations that have invested in green and high-efficiency buildings: the Glenn Group, Harrah's Reno Hotel and Casino, the University of Nevada, and the Veterans Administration Hospital. Reno also recognized two notable ENERGY STAR certified buildings -- JC Penney's Logistics Center and Silver Lake Apartments -- both of which had recorded significantly lower energy consumption than their peers across the nation.

    In addition, the City lauded eleven leaders in the city's ReEnergize Reno energy efficiency challenge program. Through the program, launched in October of last year, commercial, industrial, and multifamily buildings have committed to cut their energy consumption 20 pct by 2025.

    Details on the ReEnergize Reno program are HERE. (Source: City of Reno, NRDC, May, 2018)

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Energy Efficiency,  Energy Star,  Green Buiding,  

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