On June 11, 2015, the Progressive Policy Institute hosted an event called “The Future Grid: A Smarter Way to Power America,” which included two discussion panels of policy-makers, industry leaders, and expert analysts. In his opening statement, Will Marshall, President of the Progressive Policy Institute, said that the key to advancing the energy grid, and in turn stimulating America’s productivity, “is investing more in infrastructure.” Ladeene Freimuth, Policy Director of GridWise Alliance and President of The Freimuth Group, corroborated Marshall’s statement by arguing that “smart grid technology will give us more resilience and flexibility. And we will have a more reliable grid in the future because new technologies will help us forecast outages.” In response, however, Ronald Minsk, former Director of the National Economic Council at the White House, warned that “sometimes when things get more complex, they get less reliable.”
Continue reading The Future Grid: A Smarter Way to Power America
With the Vaca Muerta rock formation reaching over 7.4 million square acres, Argentina boasts the second largest shale gas deposit in the world by some accounts. Currently, Argentina is importing more fossil fuels than it is producing, and the exacerbation of this trend will prove unaffordable in the long-run. Argentina’s government has framed natural gas extraction in Vaca Muerta as the key to ending this trend, but there are also some significant issues to consider.
Proponents of natural gas argue that taking advantage of this resource could significantly boost Argentina’s economy, but it is necessary to look at some of the major concerns regarding increased investment in the hydraulic fracking of Vaca Muerta. According to Elizabeth Tedsen, a Senior Fellow at the Ecologic Institute, “the government has courted foreign investment to begin fracking, which has drawn opposition from local governments, environmentalists, and indigenous groups who fear that the environmental damage of fracking will far outweigh any short-term economic and energy benefits.” Other important considerations include the uncertain nature of the natural gas sector, questions of national and provincial sovereignty in light of government deals with American corporations, and the need for effective regulation. Continue reading Pitfalls of Fracking in Argentina
On May 27, 2015, the World Resources Institute (WRI) hosted an event at the National Press Center in Washington, DC. WRI’s Karl Hausker presented a working paper on “Delivering on the U.S. Climate Commitment: A 10-Point Plan Toward a Low-Carbon Future.”
Hausker and his colleagues found that “with a comprehensive approach using existing federal laws and state action” the United States could achieve its goal of reducing green house gas (GHG) emissions by 26-28% below 2005 levels by the year 2025. According to Hausker and his colleagues, the United States can achieve this reduction through two sets of tasks: a) “expanding and strengthening some current and proposed policies and standards”; b) “taking new action across emission sources that are not yet addressed.”
Hausker and his colleagues modeled three low-carbon pathways, each of which reflects a different mixture of policies and the resulting reduction in emissions. Hausker then presented a 10-Point Action Plan, which provides “steps that federal agencies and states can take to achieve the necessary reductions.”
10-Point Action Plan (as presented in the working paper):
1. Strengthen the Clean Power Plan both in the near term and over time to fully reflect cost-effective renewable energy and energy efficiency potential.
2. Scale up programs for residential and commercial energy efficiency.
3. Continue and expand programs to reduce hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) emissions.
4. Use emissions standards and voluntary programs to improve industrial energy efficiency.
5. Set methane emissions standards for new and existing natural gas and oil infrastructure.
6. Extend and strengthen GHG and fuel economy standards for passenger cars while reducing travel demand.
7. Extend and strengthen GHG and fuel economy standards for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles.
8. Accelerate air travel management and establish standards for new aircraft.
9. Reduce methane emissions from landfills, coal mines, and agriculture through standards or other measures.
10. Reduce emissions from other sources while increasing carbon sequestration from forests and other land types. Continue reading A 10-Point Plan Toward a Low-Carbon Future