Last week, even as Peabody Energy, the world’s biggest coal company,declared bankruptcy, the U.S. government issued striking figures showing how much coal production in the United States has declined in the space of just a few years. The U.S. Energy Information Administration, in its latest Short-Term Energy Outlook, stated that the U.S. production of coal last month totaled 52 million short tons — which was a 36 percent decrease from levels seen just one year earlier, in March of 2015. Looking at annual production numbers over the past few years, combined with EIA’s prediction for total production in 2016, gives a similar message.
In a rapid turn of events, the bipartisan “Energy Policy Modernization Act” went from the legislative dustbin to an upcoming Senate floor vote. And not a moment too soon considering the unexpectedly rocky road the bill embarked on since it was first introduced. In February, the Senate took up the bipartisan bill, introduced last summer by Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources Chairman Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Ranking Member Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), that would modernize our nation’s energy policy for the first time since 2007. Yet, the bill—on track to pass owing to strong support on both sides of the aisle—was derailed when a small group of senators objected because of an impasse over funding for the Flint, Michigan, water crisis and other separate policy initiatives. Votes on final amendments to the bill were postponed, and the package ultimately stalled, leaving our nation’s energy sector without the comprehensive policy reform it desperately needs.
In December, 196 countries adopted the historic Paris Agreement on climate change, creating the first universal pact to put the world on a path towards a zero-carbon, resilient future. Since then, some concrete steps have been made while examples of substantial progress that took place in 2015 is just now coming to light. Countries, regions, cities and businesses are taking action to move the world in the right direction toward a low-carbon, climate resilient future. With global leaders gathering in New York on April 22 to sign the Paris Agreement, now is a good time to reflect on the changing landscape of the global response to climate change.
The G7 leading industrial nations pledged last year to phase out fossil fuels by the year 2100. While the announcement by German Chancellor Angela Merkel was hailed by environmental campaigners as historic, a new study claims the feat could theoretically be achieved by 2026. Researchers at the University of Sussex found that, if the right measures were put in place, the world could completely transition away from fossil fuels in less than a decade. “Energy transitions have no magic formula,” the study, published in the journal Energy Research and Social Science, states. “Moving to a new, cleaner energy system would require significant shifts in technology, political regulations, tariffs and pricing regimes, and the behaviour of users and adopters.
The Solar Impulse project to fly a plane around the world without consuming a drop of fossil fuel is nearing the end of the Pacific crossing — its biggest hurdle. While its mission is not over yet, the team has already demonstrated that renewables can provide reliable power both day and night, an important step towards a clean energy future.To get this far, the Solar Impulse team has had to overcome many of the same technological challenges that are facing humanity on our low-carbon transition. Its solutions to these challenges deserve our attention.
After four years of steady growth, U.S. plug-in electric car sales were essentially flat last year. Low gas prices and increased demand for SUVs had a dampening effect on the segment, which still accounts for a very small fraction of U.S. new-car sales. However, in other parts of the world, it was a different story. Global electric-car sales actually increased significantly last year, thanks to strong sales outside the U.S., according to data compiled by the Department of Energy.
RAED KHADER, a Jordanian driver, has an alarming habit of thumbing his mobile phone while at the wheel—albeit on a straight road cutting across the desert. But after scrolling back through almost two years of photos, he finds a picture that tickles him: of camels against a sandy backdrop. Today that same spot outside Ma’an, a poverty-stricken city in south Jordan, is crawling with workers in the final stages of installing five square kilometres (almost two square miles) of solar panels.
Subsidies for renewable energy aren’t always all they are cracked up to be. The Partnership for Affordable Clean Energy has written in recent years of failed promises and bad policies that hurt taxpayers. On the other hand, we back a simple strategy about renewables: Build them where they work best. Subsidies, too, should be targeted to create real, measurable results.
The issuance of green bonds by corporates could reach up to $28 billion this year, three times more than last year, if the Chinese green bond market takes off as expected, credit ratings agency Standard & Poor's said on Friday. Green bonds are created to fund clean energy or low-carbon infrastructure projects such as water treatment or wind and solar plants. They are typically issued by banks and corporate companies. The corporate sector issued $9.6 billion in green bonds last year and will issue at least $15 billion this year, Standard & Poor's said in a report.
The Energy Department today announced nearly $4 million for projects to increase access to solar data. Four partners will help launch the new Orange Button℠ initiative, which will increase solar market transparency and fair pricing by establishing data standards for the industry. In order to understand the financial risk of solar energy project development, the solar energy community relies on fragmented datasets released by state energy offices and a limited number of private organizations regarding project origination, grid integration, operations, and retirement. These datasets vary widely in format, quality, and content, which makes it difficult for potential providers to have an accurate understanding of potential markets. The Orange Button project will standardize this data, making it easier to share and secure, which will ensure a more standardized and transparent marketplace.
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