RPSs (and the recent fossil fueled vehicle bans) send a solid message and states and the market respond

(Shutterstock) Back in the 1990s and 2000s, when Democrats had more power in state governments, 29 states (and DC) passed some form of renewable portfolio standard (RPS), a policy that requires a state’s utilities to get a certain percentage of their power from renewable sources by a certain year. Standards range from California’s wildly ambitious 50-percent-by-2030 to Ohio’s modest12.5-percent-by-2026, and everywhere in between. Though they aren’t …

Microgrids considered for support in disasters can also be used for storage year round, unlike diesel generators

Reuters on Monday reported 80% of the island’s power lines are down, and the island is on the brink of a humanitarian crisis.   Acccording to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, last year almost half of Puerto Rico’s electricity came from petroleum, more than a third from natural gas, and 17% from coal. Just 2% came from renewable energy. Modernization has been …

California considers banning fossil fueled cars by as soon as 2030, in favor of EVs

California and its Air Resources Board have long been perceived as leaders in the fight against climate change and especially in the adoption of electric cars.  But several other countries have since been more aggressive and announced upcoming bans on sales of new gas and diesel-powered cars. Now California’s government is reportedly considering the same drastic initiative.  Mary Nichols, chairman of the California …

Solving the issues around self-driving cars: China’s search engine wants to catch up with US rivals

Chinese internet search engine Baidu sets up $1.5bn self driving car fund By Cate Cadell, The Independent Online, Sept 2017 Baidu autonomous vehicles have already been road tested in China REUTERS Chinese search engine Baidu announced a 10bn yuan ($1.1bn) self-driving car fund on Thursday as part of a wider plan to speed up its technical development and compete with US rivals. The “Apollo …

New models for utility business and regulation, EVs, and smart grid modernization are path to viability for utilities

In the summer of 2016, two high-profile investment advisors declared “The Sun Will Set on Electric Utilities” in a well-read Barron’s article.  Citing rising fixed costs and competition from energy storage and microgrids, Leonard Hyman and William Tilles predicted a “death spiral” for utilities where rising prices create ever-reinforcing incentives for customers to find cheaper power elsewhere. But contrary facts …

Scientists Urge ‘System Change’ to Avoid Catastrophic Climate Change​

By Nafeez Ahmed, on Motherboard, 26 Sep 2017 Image: Nicole S. Glass/Shutterstock In a recent report, experts outlined four steps that could help us get on track. If the world is to have a serious chance of limiting global warming to the internationally-agreed 2 ℃ limit this century, the transition to renewable energy should happen much more rapidly than current efforts, according …

Exercise outside

By Lloyd Alter All of us pasty-faced bloggers in our pyjamas should take note of a new study out of the University of Essex: Just five minutes of fresh air and exercise, no matter how moderate, makes a huge difference in mood and self-esteem. If you want an even bigger effect, add water, such as a lake or river. Study …

Government’s Role in Protecting Health and Safety

By Thomas R. Frieden, M.D., M.P.H., Center for Disease Control N Engl J Med 2013; 368:1857-1859 May 16, 2013DOI: 10.1056/NEJMp1303819 What is the appropriate role of governmental public health action? Law and public opinion recognize protection of health and safety as a core government function, but public health actions are sometimes characterized as inappropriately intrusive. Such criticism has a long history, …

Numbered highways come to bicycle superhighways in some cities

Bicycle superhighways, bikeways with wide lanes and no or few stops, allow for higher spends and smoother rides than regular bikeways. Grand opening of northern bicycle superhighway 28 September 2017 in Helsinki 20 Sep 2017  A northern bicycle superhighway ­running along the main railway racks is now open to cyclists. Called Pohjoisbaana in Finnish, the bikeway connects southern and northern cycling routes …