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Currently 83 percent of the energy consumed in the United States is from fossil fuels. This in turn creates 81 percent of the United States' emissions of greenhouse gases, is the principle source of air pollution, and leads to major environmental problems where the fuel is extracted from the ground. Increasing the share of non-fossil energy involves a switch from the fuels that took tens of millions of years to form under the ground, to sources that are constantly renewed. This column is devoted to the legal aspects involved in increasing the share of the energy that we use that comes from renewable sources. The author points to six legal techniques that have been developed to increase the use of renewable energy: 1) Portfolio Standards 2)Mandatory Utility Purchases 3)Renewable Fuel Standards 4)Carbon Price 5) Tax Incentives and 6)Research and Development. In addition to this, the author points to six impediments to the growth of renewables: 1)Intermittency 2)Fossil Subsidies 3)Capital Availability 4)Turnover Rate of Capital Plant 5)Scale and Timing and 6)Siting and Environmental Impacts.
To evaluate initial success of California's Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund program in assisting underserved communities tackle climate change,, The Greenlining Institute examined 10 projects: nine already funded and one that is eligible for funding. These case studies provide an early snapshot of the Fund’s impact and suggest ways the program might be improved. These 10 projects alone will provide over 2,000 solar power systems for low- income families generating nearly six megawatts of clean power, plant 2,250 trees in disadvantaged communities, provide 252 homes permanently-affordable to lower income households, create over 400 jobs and replace 600 old, highly polluting cars and trucks with clean electric or plug-in hybrid vehicles.
A jurisdiction that seeks to enact a municipal wind energy ordinance must first delineate areas suitable for wind energy projects in its comprehensive plan. Then, the municipality must choose a legal mechanism to regulate wind energy projects within those areas. Lastly, the municipality must write specific regulations addressing details such as size, location, and noise. This paper discusses the choices that a municipality in New York must make in drafting a wind energy ordinance, with reference to how existing codified wind energy ordinances and model municipal wind energy ordinances have dealt with these choices.
Hawaii became the first state to pass a law committing to the goals and limits of the Paris Climate Accord. The state’s governor, David Y. Ige, signed a bill explicitly geared toward reducing greenhouse gas emissions in accordance with the landmark goals adopted by world leaders with the Paris Agreement in 2015.
A 100% Just Energy Economy must go beyond simply replacing fossil fuels; in order to be 100% Just, it must include other key elements, such as renewable fuels, an end to sacrifice zones, and good green jobs targeted to the communities that have survived decades of divestment. This guide outlines options policymakers can take to transform the U.S.’ energy economy to not only meet the challenges of climate change, but also to put people and planet before profits.
For more than two centuries, corporations have extracted enormous wealth from the Appalachian region for the profit of owners and shareholders, leaving the area with high rates of poverty, unemployment and low wages. To navigate around these issues, along with the severely changing climate, this blueprint outlines real, lasting, structural changes that will lead to healthy and successful Appalachian communities. In particular, the "New Deal that Works for Us" proposes that the Appalachian region can build a strong and lasting economy based on investments in a clean economic future that puts workers first, respects communities, takes care of the land, and grows local wealth.
This report explores a range of national policies to increase energy efficiency, accelerate the adoption of renewable energy technologies and shift energy use to more efficient power systems while reducing the electricity bills of consumers and businesses. The policies considered for the industrial sector are aimed at utilizing the vast potential for cogeneration of heat and power and improving energy efficiencies through technical assistance, financial incentives and expanded research and development (R&D) programs to encourage cost-effective emissions reductions. The policies for residential and commercial buildings include strengthened codes for building energy consumption, new appliance efficiency standards, and tax incentives. The policies considered for the electric generation sector include a market-oriented “renewable portfolio standard” (RPS) and a cap on pollutant emissions of sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, mercury and carbon dioxide.
Community solar, also called “shared solar”, creates local economic value. Residents save money on their monthly bills by subscribing to a “solar garden”––they reserve a share in a solar array located offsite, and the power generated by their solar panels shows up as a credit on their utility bill. Building solar gardens can also create local jobs, promote community climate resilience, and can reduce emissions from carbon-based electricity generation. While the economic, climate, and resilience benefits of community solar are compelling, the extent to which a community solar program drives equitable outcomes depends on its design. This report provides guidance for creating community solar programs that promote racial and economic equity.
A nation of renewable-powered, job-generating, self-reliant states is within reach – and necessary; improved renewable electricity technology would allow nearly every state to produce 100 percent of its electricity needs from local renewable sources. This report includes a series of maps that illustrate nationwide renewable electricity potential from a wide variety of sources, including rooftop solar, offshore wind, onshore wind, geothermal, and small hydro. Additionally, this report also includes maps that demonstrate how decreased energy intensity could offset increased electricity demand from high electrification.
Renewable energy serves as a viable solution to replace fossil fuel generation to create a healthier environment. A number of cities across the United States are pledging to reach community-wide goals of 100 percent renewable energy, in order to combat the social, environmental, and economic impacts of climate change; however, many of these cities are unsure of how to meet these commitments. The goal of this report is to utilize qualitative and quantitative data through a national survey and case studies to help understand the mechanisms that will best enable cities and their decision-makers to equitably transition to 100% renewable energy.