What kept Governor Rick Snyder (R-Mich.) up all night in December? According to Katie Trachsel, manager of the Michigan Renewable Energy Certification System (MIRECS) program, it was the passage of two pieces of legislation that transformed the state’s renewable-energy laws, encouraged energy efficiency, and reshaped utility regulation. Meanwhile, Illinois rolled out its new renewable portfolio standard (RPS). Brian Granahan, chief counsel at Illinois Power Agency, said the RPS was designed to resolve a confusing set of policies. The new goals are clearer and easier to follow than the previous ones.
What is the federal government doing to catalyze access to clean energy? Last year, the United States Department of Energy (DOE) launched two programs that work side by side: the Clean Energy Savings for All initiative and the Clean Energy for Low-Income Communities Accelerator. These programs attempt to identify and promote models that work for low-to-moderate-income communities in urban and rural areas in every region of the country.
After continuously strengthening its ties since 2013, 100 Resilient Cities (100RC) is well on its way to facilitating a global practice of urban resilience. 100RC is a nonprofit supported by The Rockefeller Foundation.
As the solar industry grows and energy efficiency works to do the same, 2016 brought a significant expansion of breaking news for us to cover and curate. The articles below are our top stories showing the many new and surprising developments we saw last year.
Carbon Tracker Initiative has released a study that might surprise the general public. The global study, “End of the Load for Coal and Gas?,” found renewable energy is now more cost-effective than fossil fuels. These data conflict with conventional wisdom that coal and gas are the cheapest fuels available.
Two international awards for climate finance are starting to work together. On Dec. 5, the Global Innovation Lab for Climate Finance announced its three winners. In the same email, Finance for Resilience (FiRe) named its four finalists. FiRe will narrow down the list to two winners at the 2017 Bloomberg New Energy Finance conference in April. 125 project developers applied for one or both competitions.
Some of the largest battles at November’s United Nations climate conference, COP22, broke out over climate financing – who pays for it, who gets the money, and who meets the requirements. The stage for the financing challenges was set in 2009 when developed countries agreed to a target of raising $100 billion USD annually by 2020 in the Green Climate Fund (GCF).
Given the ongoing uncertainty about integrating renewable energy into the United States generation portfolio, investors will continue looking more and more to state governments and the private sector to lead the transition away from carbon-based fuels.
United States Secretary of State John Kerry walked to the stage at COP22 on Nov. 16 in Marrakech, Morocco, turning to face the stuffy conference room filled with excited smiles, furrowed brows, and determined eyes. The inspiring speech focused on his hopes and fears for the future of action on climate change.
The need to mobilize capital for green causes and adaptation initiatives to follow up on the Paris climate conference is raising many questions about the verification and assurance of what qualifies as “green” and how the proceeds of these bonds are allocated.
How can green banks collaborate internationally to scale up private financing to meet the challenge of climate change? A new international organization, the Green Bank Network, hopes to lead the way. During the Paris climate conference, six green banks and two nonprofit organizations jointly announced the opening of the network on Dec. 7. The network will accelerate clean energy installations and mobilize private investments worldwide.
International Energy Agency (IEA) launched the Energy Efficiency Market Report 2015 on Oct. 8 via a webinar. IEA projected the market would continue to grow and would reach $120 billion USD by 2020. However, this number “still falls far short of the estimated $215 billion USD to reach the 2-degree scenario,” said Sam Thomas, senior programme manager at IEA.
On May 7, 2014, Unilever and NRG Energy announced the formation of a strategic partnership. The goal? To source 100 percent of the energy used by Unilever’s United States operations from onsite and offsite renewable generation by 2020. During a recent two-day conference, managers from both companies reflected on the progress they’ve made and the lessons they’ve learned during the past year.
In the Navajo Nation, electricity may be a fragile commodity as climate change intensifies. Other tribes in the United States face similar energy quandaries. The United States Department of Energy (DOE) announced on Sept. 2 that it is requesting applications to co-fund renewable energy, energy efficiency, and combined heat and power to help increase the climate resilience of indigenous communities. The available funding is estimated to total around $4-6 million. Applications are due by Dec. 10.
One of the overlooked elements in President Obama's Clean Power Plan is the positive effect it will likely have on low-income United States citizens - those who suffer most from climate change and who are facing a crisis in available affordable housing...