Category Archives: Blog

The EPA’s Clean Power Plan

On August 3, 2015, President Obama and EPA announced the Clean Power Plan. The plan’s  summary states: “Shaped by years of unprecedented outreach and public engagement, the final Clean Power Plan is fair, flexible and designed to strengthen the fast-growing trend toward cleaner and lower-polluting American energy. With strong but achievable standards for power plants, and customized goals for states to cut the carbon pollution that is driving climate change, the Clean Power Plan provides national consistency, accountability and a level playing field while reflecting each state’s energy mix. It also shows the world that the United States is committed to leading global efforts to address climate change.” Although the plan addresses a number of different strategies for addressing climate change, its primary focus is on carbon dioxide emissions from power plants with key goal to cut carbon dioxide emissions from the power industry to 32 percent below 2005 levels by 2030. And to achieve this, the plan envisions a significant increase in renewable energy, in particular to replace coal plants that are the primary source of carbon dioxide emissions. Continue reading The EPA’s Clean Power Plan

Affordable Solar Power for All

Solar power’s contribution to the United States’ energy mix comes in two primary forms: 1) utility scale solar such as the recently completed Ivanpah and Crescent Dunes power generating stations which supply power to the existing electrical grid and which is indistinguishable from electricity generated by other fuel sources, and 2) distributed solar from rooftop solar systems or community solar gardens which is primarily used for local houses or businesses that have installed the system. Although both forms of power generation are growing at rapid rates, industry experts see distributed solar as having the greatest potential. Continue reading Affordable Solar Power for All

Soda Mountain Solar Project in Jeopardy

In the “Say it isn’t so” department, on June 11th the city of Los Angeles announced that it has dropped plans to buy electricity from the Soda Mountain Solar Project proposed for the Mojave Desert, just south of Baker, CA. City officials said that the project would be too damaging to bighorn sheep, desert tortoises and other wildlife near the site. This decision has left developers scrambling to find other customers and has put the project at risk. At a time when the State of California has reached an impressive milestone of 25% of its power needs from renewable sources, including 5% from solar power (over 10 times the national average), maintaining momentum in the quest to convert from fossil fuels to renewable power is critical. One would expect that environmental groups that have lobbied for so long and hard such a change would be embracing projects such as Soda Mountain. Particularly when the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has issued its final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) which includes a modified proposal that responds to concerns raised by the public and various agencies about the project’s potential impacts to bighorn sheep movement, groundwater and scenic vistas. The alternate proposal includes a smaller project footprint that reduces potential interference with future efforts to re-establish bighorn sheep movement across Interstate 15 as well as other changes to address concerns. But instead of celebrating success, the Sierra Club, the National Resources Defense Council, and other environmental activists groups have lauded the city’s decision. Continue reading Soda Mountain Solar Project in Jeopardy

America at an Energy Crossroads

Welcome to the Our World of Energy (OWOE) blog. This is the first in what we hope will be a long series of blogs related to the state of energy in the United States.  Our World of Energy has been developed to provide information to the American public on the subject of energy. Although energy is critical to the lives of all Americans and one of the primary enablers to prosperity, most Americans know little about energy, how it is produced, or how it used to make their lives better. In addition, most of the media information surrounding energy is driven by biased agendas from both sides of the energy debate – either the side promoting a specific form of energy due to economic self interest or the side opposing it for a variety of other reasons. OWOE will provide an unbiased view of energy, including pros and cons of each source, in order to educate the public on where the energy that drives modern life comes from, why this subject is important to the American consumer, and how technology is changing the industry.

Energy in America is at a critical crossroads as a number of very powerful forces are converging – the tremendous growth in energy demand driven by the emerging economies of the world, the recognition that burning of fossil fuel is the primary driver behind climate change, and the rapid evolution of technologies that have the potential to dramatically reduce the world’s dependence on fossil fuel. Over the next several weeks, OWOE will examine each one of these forces and how, taken together, they will dramatically change America’s energy landscape. OWOE will present it’s vision of this energy future in which renewable energy will play a predominant role with all other forms of energy filling supporting roles for which they are uniquely suited.