Georgia & Vermont: A Contrast in Energy Policy Leadership

Georgia & Vermont: A Contrast in Energy Policy Leadership

In the energy policy space, as it pertains to the power sector, Georgia’s government leaders, its Public Service Commission and its electric power sector are of a different fabric and a different economic orientation than states such as Vermont where nuclear is being abandoned and rates are some of the highest in the country. The numbers bear out that Georgia is providing real leadership for a stable and reliable electricity future that will attract industry and support Georgia’s economic growth while keeping rates affordable for Georgia citizens.

Vermont, the Green Mountain State, is often touted as one of the more progressive states in the U.S. with respect to energy use, particularly in its power sector. On the surface, Vermont’s in-state power generation credentials are impressive (Table 1): Continue reading “Georgia & Vermont: A Contrast in Energy Policy Leadership”

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CO2 Intensities: Top 7 GDP-Producing Countries

What Would Our Carbon Intensities Be Without Nuclear Power?

Normalizing CO2 emissions to overall energy consumption is a reasonable indicator of a country’s carbon intensity. Low values indicate a greater dependency on low- or zero-carbon resources whereas higher values indicate a greater dependency on fossil fuels. This figure is for the top 7 GDP producing countries in the world, constituting about 60% of total global GDP. The figure includes nuclear and combined solar/wind as percentages of the respective generation portfolios as well as each country’s residential price per kWhr.

top-7-gdp-co2-intensity

Some notable points: Continue reading “CO2 Intensities: Top 7 GDP-Producing Countries”

EPA’s Clean Power Plan: We Can Do Better

How Can Someone Who is Concerned About Carbon Emissions and the Potential Impacts of Climate Change Be Opposed to EPA’s Clean Power Plan?

[A version of this post entitled, “U.S. Missing the Mark on Climate Policy” was published in GeorgiaPol as a guest Op-Ed]

The old expression, “Every little bit helps”, doesn’t hold true for global CO2 emissions if the little bit that helps in one country doesn’t translate and scale up to something systemic and impactful in emerging economies throughout the world where billions live in energy poverty and more energy is needed, not less. EPA’s Clean Power Plan is such an example as it gives the appearance of commitment to addressing climate change issues, yet will have little-to-no impact on the actual issues of energy, carbon, and climate at the scale of concern: the global scale. We don’t need this sort of regulatory greenwashing to respond to an issue of this magnitude.
We can do better than this…we have to.

Top 15 GDP’s in the world (based on 2015) ranked by CO2 intensitytop-15-gdp-for-cpp-blog Continue reading “EPA’s Clean Power Plan: We Can Do Better”

Pragmatism and Stability in Energy Policy for the U.S. Power Sector

Energy Policy Recommendations
for the Trump Administration

This is a summary of a paper (In-Press Article Here)that will be published in the January-February 2017 issue of The Electricity Journal.

Overview
The 2016 U.S. presidential election has generated concern within the environmental community, particularly with respect to climate change, as President-elect Trump has conveyed his intent to address what he considers regulatory overreach in the U.S. energy sector and unleash an energy revolution in America (Trump, 2016a). This includes expanding U.S. oil and natural gas development, reviving the coal industry, rolling back EPA’s Clean Power Plan, and withdrawing from the Paris climate agreement (Mufson and Dennis, 2016; Schoof, 2016; Trump, 2016a). All combined, this would extract from current U.S. energy policy the core of President Obama’s climate agenda and effectively put the Obama climate legacy into hibernation—a legacy that, if elected, Hillary Clinton would have likely kept intact and expanded upon (Clinton, 2016). How this projects forward remains in question. What is clear is this: the election of Donald Trump has triggered what will be an ideological shift in energy policy. While this may bode well for upstream and midstream oil and gas sectors in the near-term the impact on the power sector is not as certain (Rapier, 2016). Continue reading “Pragmatism and Stability in Energy Policy for the U.S. Power Sector”

U.S. Energy Policy: Setting Carbon Goals Without Nuclear Isn’t Global Leadership

U.S. Energy Policy: Setting Carbon Goals Without Nuclear Isn’t Global Leadership

(Published as an editorial in the Athens Banner-Herald on November 17, 2016.)

Since 2000, CO2 emissions in the U.S. have decreased 8% and are trending down while global emissions have increased 40% and are trending up. Does this represent global leadership by the U.S. with respect to energy policy and carbon goals? Continue reading “U.S. Energy Policy: Setting Carbon Goals Without Nuclear Isn’t Global Leadership”

An Unprecedented Challenge

An Unprecedented Challenge:
Climate, Energy Poverty, Reliable Electricity and Economic Aspirations

Developing countries need surges of energy to meet their economic development needs and to alleviate energy poverty—they don’t need an approach based predominantly on trickle-down renewables and the hope that energy storage technology will eventually mature to stand up intermittent resources. Meeting these challenges at the scale of billions of people is unprecedented and will require more energy-dense resources…not less…and these countries deserve the chance to deploy the technological resources to meet these needs. As such, try as we may to squeeze additional drops of CO2 out of the U.S. economy, if what we do doesn’t transfer to India and other developing countries, all bets are off and everybody loses for generations to come. Moreover, if we believe we can meet this unprecedented challenge without nuclear power and other carbon-reducing technologies, we’re ignoring the numbers, we’re fooling ourselves and we’re doing a grave injustice to billions of people in this world. Continue reading “An Unprecedented Challenge”

Georgia PSC Made the Right Decision on Nuclear

The Georgia PSC Made the Right Decision on Nuclear

(This was published as an editorial in the the Newnan Times-Herald on August 20, 2016)

The Georgia Public Service Commission (PSC) recently decided to maintain the nuclear energy option for the state while also increasing renewables-based power generation. This represents long-term integrated resource planning that’s in sharp contrast with states that have allowed their beliefs in renewable energy to override the realities and limitations of nature and engineering. Continue reading “Georgia PSC Made the Right Decision on Nuclear”

Nuclear and Renewables: Georgia is Zeroed-In on Zero-Carbon

Nuclear and Renewables:
Georgia is Zeroed-In on Zero-Carbon

Good news on nuclear and renewables coming out of Georgia as the Georgia Public Service Commission voted to preserve nuclear energy as a future option for the state by approving Georgia Power Company to conduct preliminary studies at a site in Stewart County, GA that has been proposed as the location for a potential nuclear plant. The Commission also approved Georgia Power to move forward on 1,600 MW of renewable energy projects, which includes utility-scale solar, distributed generation, wind and energy efficiency. Georgia Power also received approval to retire one coal unit and three combustion turbines. This is a wise, long-term move on nuclear power along with smart, calculated incremental steps on renewables. Continue reading “Nuclear and Renewables: Georgia is Zeroed-In on Zero-Carbon”

Overselling California Solar

Overselling California Solar

A couple of days ago the headlines read: “California Powers 6 Million Homes With Solar Energy, Slays Record.” The reference was to a record amount of solar power generated in California on July 12, 2016. I wonder how the general public interprets a headline that implies solar energy can sustain meeting the power requirements of six million homes for an appreciable period of time. Continue reading “Overselling California Solar”

Renewable Energy Cannot Substitute for Nuclear: A Georgia Perspective

Renewable Energy Cannot Substitute for Nuclear:
A Perspective on Meeting Power Generation Needs in Georgia, USA

The often-discussed issue of replacing nuclear with solar or wind is a false choice—solar and wind energy cannot substitute for nuclear energy. With respect to how we should move forward in our energy policy, everyone is entitled to their own convictions, but not their own math and not their own science and engineering. Continue reading “Renewable Energy Cannot Substitute for Nuclear: A Georgia Perspective”