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, email@example.com, www.nrdc.org
More Low-Carbon Energy News National Resources Defense Council , NRDC, Biomass, Woody Biomass,
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, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.nrdc.org
More Low-Carbon Energy News NRDC, Earthjusice, Light Bulb Efficiency, Energy Efficiency,
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,
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,
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 ,
"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,
"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,
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,
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,
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.
The fact highlights the findings of several published studies that describe the many benefits of increased energy efficiency. "By adopting a bold and pioneering new energy efficiency initiative, Governor Cuomo can ensure New Yorkers enjoy all of them, which will improve the economy and clean our air," the fact sheet says.
The NRDC has identified the following key themes it expects to dominate the meetings: (listen to the recording):
Presently, coal accounts for almost 70 pct of Ameren's power generation while solar and wind make up less than 1 pct of the supply. The company owns no wind projects and only purchases enough wind to power roughly 25,000 homes. The new commitment would raise winds share of the company's power generation to 10 pct.
(Source: Ameren Missouri, NRDC, 16 Oct., 2017) Contact: Ameren Missouri, Dan Laurent, Dir. Energy Services, Michael Moehn, Pres., CEO, (314) 554-2165, www.AmerenMissouri.com
More Low-Carbon Energy News Wind, Renewable Energy, Ameren Missouri, Coal, Carbon Emissions,
Other utilities that have committed to major emissions cuts include Xcel Energy, DTE Energy, Duke Energy and others. (Source: Ameren, NRDC, 16 Oct., 2017) Contact: Ameren Missouri, Dan Laurent, Dir. Energy Services, Michael Moehn, Pres., CEO, (314) 554-2165, www.AmerenMissouri.com
More Low-Carbon Energy News Ameren Missouri, Carbon Emissions,
According to the report, U.S. solar energy capacity is 450 pct higher than prior EIA predictions for solar energy capacity and 350 pct greater than previously predicted.
Download the full NRDC report HERE. (Source: NRDC, PR, Supra, 7 Oct., 2017) Contact: NRDC, www.nrdc.org
More Low-Carbon Energy News Natural Resources Defense Council, NRDC, Renewable Energy, Clean Energy,
America's Clean Energy Frontier: The Pathway to a Safer Climate Future HERE. (Source: NRDC, Sept., 2017) Contact: NRDC, www.nrdc.org
More Low-Carbon Energy News NRDC, Renewable Energy, Climate Change, Carbon Emissions, NRDC,
The suit claims the Trump administration ignored requirements under the federal Administrative Procedure Act when it suspended the transportation greenhouse gas standard which was intended to curb transportation sector climate-changing emissions. The suit asks the court to invalidate the suspension, meaning that the standard would go into immediate effect and thus help slow climate change and reduce ground-level ozone and other harmful pollutants .
(Source: U.S. PIRG, PR, 31 July, 2017) Contact:
NRDC, Jake Thompson, 202-289-2387, email@example.com, www.nrdc.org;
SELC and Clean Air Carolina, Claudine McElwain , 434-977-4090, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.selcva.org;
U.S. PIRG, Matthew Casale, 617-747-4314, email@example.com, www.pirg.org
More Low-Carbon Energy News Federal Highway Administration, Clean Air Act, NRDC,
With AB 1088, the state will benefit from energy bill savings, job creation, economic output, and public health benefits -- all due to increased levels of property improvements that benefit owners and renters, while safeguarding rents.
California multifamily-specific energy efficiency programs presently receive less than 5 pct of statewide funding, operate on unpredictable start-and-stop cycles, and are acknowledged to be difficult to access due to service territory variability and differing income eligibility requirements.
(Source: California Assembly, NRDC, 1 June, 2017) Contact: California State Assembly, (925) 679-2715, assembly.ca.gov
More Low-Carbon Energy News Clean Energy, Energy Efficiency,
NRDC Climate and Clean Air Program Director David Doniger issued the following statement:
"On the heels of news reports that the U.S. will walk away from a global commitment to combat climate change, President Trump is sabotaging headway the U.S. has already made. The Trump administration is giving its friends in the oil and gas industry a free pass to continue polluting our air. EPA is continuing to put thousands of people in communities near these facilities at increased risk for asthma attacks and cancer. We will fight Trump's latest polluter giveaway in court."
(Source: NRDC , PR, 31 May, 2017) Contact: NRDC, Kate Slusark Kiely, (212) 727-4592, firstname.lastname@example.org,
More Low-Carbon Energy News Natural Resources Defense Council, Paris Climate Agreement.Methane Rule ,
The REMI study documents job creation and GDP growth under three scenarios that continue energy efficiency tax policies:
The study was co-funded by the American Institute of Architects (AIA), Alliant Group LP, Ameresco, Blue Energy Group, Concord Energy Strategies, Energy Tax Savers, Energy Systems Group, National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA), the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC).(Source: Regional Economic Models Inc., Proud Green Building, 25 May, 2017) Contact: Regional Economic Models Inc., www.remi.com
More Low-Carbon Energy News Energy Efficiency, Energy Efficiency Incentive,
One strategy that Chicago implemented to encourage energy savings is an energy benchmarking and transparency law for existing buildings. The 2013 benchmarking ordinance came into force in 2016. In 2016, the city had nearly 2,700 buildings track and report energy use -- eleven times more buildings than initially reported in 2014. These properties represent about 733 million square feet of space, 23 pct of citywide energy use, and about $2 billion in energy bills.
The benchmarking report shows that regular tracking and reporting is helping to reduce energy use and emissions. Properties that have reported consistently are demonstrating annual energy reductions of 2 percent year-over-year. Combined, these energy reductions are saving the properties $17.6 million per year.
(Source: City of Chicago, NRDC, Lauren Zullo, February 03, 2017)
Contact: Retrofit Chicago Energy Challenge, http://www.retrofitchicago.net; City Energy Project, www.cityenergyproject.org
More Low-Carbon Energy News Carbon Emissions, Energy Efficiency, Energy Benchmarking,
The ordinance requires a transparent annual benchmarking of energy and water use with buildings over 100,000 square feet complying by July 1, 2017. Beginning in 2019, buildings will required to undergo an energy and water audit and retro-commissioning every five years. If the building can demonstrate sufficient energy and water efficiency improvement, it can be exempted from the audit and retro-commissioning requirements.
The new ordinance is expected to cut the city's greenhouse gas emissions by nearly 10 pct and energy consumption by 7 pct by 2025, compared to business as usual. It is also expected to shave more than $368 million off of city residential and business power bills by 2025.
Download the Los Angeles ordinance HERE.
(Source: City of Los Angeles, NRDC Blog, 19 Dec., 2016)
Los Angeles Management Committee , (213) 473-3231
More Low-Carbon Energy News Energy Benchmarking, Building Energy Efficiency,
Smarter energy use in homes, buildings, and appliances reduces the need for dirty fuels and allows utilities to avoid building polluting power plants, lowering customer bills and emissions levels. The US has also worked to reduce pollution from the transportation sector by improving vehicle efficiency, advancing cleaner fuels, promoting electric vehicle use, and improving land use practices. The report adds that oil consumption in 2015 was 12 pct below its 2005 peak, primarily as a result of historically low coal use, energy efficiency gains, and soaring generation from solar and wind. According to the report, 2015 marked a milestone in modern US history -- CO2 emissions from electric generation dropped below those of the entire transportation sector for half of the year.
To continue the US's clean energy progress, the NRDC report urges the following:
The ordinance requires buildings of 50,000 square feet or more to to annually benchmark and report their energy and water consumption. It also requires energy audits for buildings that perform below the national average in terms of their energy use.
The ordinance, which aims to help building owners identify low-cost energy efficiency improvements, is expected to save building owners and tenants an estimated $208 million in energy costs over the next 15 years as well as avoid an estimated 1.1 million metric tons of carbon pollution. Orlando's bui;ldings sector accounts for over 72 pct percent of the city's energy consumption. (Source: City of Orlando, NRDC Blog, 8 Dec., 2016)
More Low-Carbon Energy News Energy Efficiency, Building Energy Efficiency, Energy Benchmark,