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Energy Policy Now

Author: Kleinman Center for Energy Policy

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Energy Policy Now offers clear talk on the policy issues that define our relationship to energy and its impact on society and the environment. The series is produced by the Kleinman Center for Energy Policy at the University of Pennsylvania and hosted by energy journalist Andy Stone. Join Andy in conversation with leaders from industry, government, and academia as they shed light on today's pressing energy policy debates.
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Rare earth elements are essential to many clean energy technologies, yet their production can bring severe environmental impacts. A new report grapples with rare earths' environmental negatives and efforts to diversify supply beyond China. —- In 2010 China withheld shipment of rare earth elements to Japan during a territorial dispute between the two countries. Rare earths, a grouping of 17 difficult to mine elements, are essential in the manufacture of goods such as cell phones and computer hard drives. They’re also a critical element in wind turbines and electric vehicle motors.   Today, China is the source of 85% of the world’s supply of refined rare earths, a fact that has raised concern in the United States given the growth of Chinese-American diplomatic tensions and rising demand for clean energy technologies. Any future disruption in the supply of the metals, similar to that experienced by Japan a decade ago, could have a crippling effect on clean energy development in the U.S. and elsewhere.   In the podcast, authors of the recent Kleinman Center report, Rare Earth Elements: A Resource Constraint of the Energy Transition, discuss the market for rare earths, explain why they are so important to clean energy, and examine growing calls to diversify global supply.  The authors, Amy Chu of Mills College, and Oscar Serpell of the Kleinman Center, also talk about the high environmental impact of rare earths production, a reality that is at odds with the environmental promise of clean energy.   Amy Chu is an assistant professor of chemistry at Mills College.  Oscar Serpell is Associate Director of Academic Programming here at the Kleinman Center. Their report, Rare Earth Elements: A Resource Constraint of the Energy Transition, was funded by the Kleinman Center for Energy Policy.  Related ContentRare Earth Elements: A Resource Constraint of the Energy Transition  https://kleinmanenergy.upenn.edu/research/publications/rare-earth-elements-a-resource-constraint-of-the-energy-transition/    Electricity Storage and Renewables: How Investments Change as Technology Improves. https://kleinmanenergy.upenn.edu/research/publications/electricity-storage-and-renewables-how-investments-change-as-technology-improves/   Electric Vehicles in the City  https://kleinmanenergy.upenn.edu/research/publications/electric-vehicles-in-the-city-the-relationship-of-ev-infrastructure-and-spatial-development-in-beijing/ 
The head of the International Energy Agency’s gas division discusses the outlook for natural gas as global efforts to address carbon emissions intensify.---Natural gas may be the most controversial of all fossil fuels. It has been heralded as a lower carbon alternative to coal as a fuel for electricity generation. At the same time, natural gas-fired generators have proven themselves to be a reliable backup for intermittent wind and solar power, and gas is viewed as an enabler of an increasingly renewables-based electric grid.   Yet natural gas is nonetheless a fossil fuel whose global consumption is on the rise even as a growing number of countries have set out to zero out carbon emissions from their energy systems within the coming two decades.  Peter Fraser, head of the Gas, Coal and Power Markets Division at the International Energy Agency, examines present and future demand for natural gas, and the growing perception of risk that accompanies investment in major natural gas infrastructure projects should demand for gas soften. He also discusses the technologies that must be developed to ensure the cleanest possible gas supply, and to enable a shift to non-gas alternatives.  Peter Fraser heads the Gas, Coal and Power Markets Division at the International Energy Agency. His work includes the IEA Outlooks used by governments and industry to understand the direction of the global energy sector.Related ContentThe Opportunities and Limitations of Seasonal Energy Storagehttps://kleinmanenergy.upenn.edu/research/publications/the-opportunities-and-limitations-of-seasonal-energy-storage/Have We Reached Peak Carbon Emissions? https://kleinmanenergy.upenn.edu/research/publications/have-we-reached-peak-carbon-emissions/The Essential Role of Negative Emissions in Getting to Carbon Neutral https://kleinmanenergy.upenn.edu/research/publications/the-essential-role-of-negative-emissions-in-getting-to-carbon-neutral/
America’s electric grid is ill-equipped to enable the low carbon energy system of the future.  A grid policy expert explores the policy and economic changes that will be needed to bring the grid up to date. ---There is little doubt that the electricity system of the future will look very different from the system that we have today. In the U.S., a growing number of states and the federal government have set 100% clean energy goals for the middle of this century or earlier. The growing demand for clean energy is already evident in fact that wind and solar power now account for the overwhelming majority of new additions to the nation’s power generation fleet.   Yet building an electricity grid to accommodate large amounts of renewable energy raises a host of challenges. The most important of these will be to manage the intermittent nature of wind and solar energy to ensure that reliable power is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Rob Gramlich, President of Grid Strategies and a former economic advisor to the chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, discusses strategies to manage all that clean energy, and the hurdles that will need to be overcome to expand the nation’s electric grid and allow wind and solar power to be reliably transmitted, often over hundreds of miles of power lines, to markets throughout the country. To reach this goal, existing frameworks used to plan and pay for electric transmission may need to be fundamentally reworked. Rob Gramlich is President of Grid Strategies, which provides engineering, economic, and policy analysis for the electric power system. Rob is also Director of Americans for a Clean Energy Grid, the Watt Coalition, and he is a former economic advisor to the chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Related ContentElectricity Storage and Renewables: How Investments Change as Technology Improves  https://kleinmanenergy.upenn.edu/research/publications/electricity-storage-and-renewables-how-investments-change-as-technology-improves/Have We Reached Peak Carbon Emissions?https://kleinmanenergy.upenn.edu/research/publications/have-we-reached-peak-carbon-emissions/The Opportunities and Limitations of Seasonal Energy Storage  https://kleinmanenergy.upenn.edu/research/publications/the-opportunities-and-limitations-of-seasonal-energy-storage/
Congress has directed the nation’s regulator for natural gas and electricity infrastructure to be more responsive to community and environmental concerns. Will FERC’s new Office of Public Participation deliver on the promise of public inclusion?---The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission increasingly finds itself at the center of controversy as momentum in the United States builds for a cleaner and more sustainable energy system. As the regulator of the nation’s natural gas and electricity networks, the FERC’s job includes the review of applications for new gas pipelines and electric transmission, and FERC commissioners spend a great deal of time assessing the arguments of energy industry legal teams in favor of a given project.Yet, some argue that the FERC has lost sight of what may be its most important role, which is to guard the public interest, including that of communities and landowners who are most directly affected by the development of energy infrastructure. In fact, community and environmental concerns often find it frustratingly complex, and expensive, to navigate the highly technocratic agency, with the result that public voices may not be adequately heard before the agency.In response, in December Congress mandated that the FERC present a plan to establish an Office of Public Participation, with the goal to assist the public in taking part in complex FERC proceedings and ensuring that community and landowner concerns are taken into full account. Details of the plan are due to lawmakers by the end of June.In the podcast Shelly Welton, associate professor at the University of South Carolina Law School, discusses the mandate of the Office of Public Participation, and the challenge of designing the office in a way that ensures that public views are not just voiced, but actively taken into FERC’s decision making process. She also explores why the public can find the FERC such a difficult agency to engage.Shelley Welton is an associate professor of Law at the University of South Carolina Law School. Her work focuses on the impact of climate change on energy and environmental law.Related ContentBalancing Renewable Energy Goals with Community Interests https://kleinmanenergy.upenn.edu/research/publications/balancing-renewable-energy-goals-with-community-interests/U.S. Electricity Regulator Takes A Hard Look at Carbon Pricing https://kleinmanenergy.upenn.edu/podcast/u-s-electricity-regulator-takes-a-hard-look-at-carbon-pricing/What’s the FERC, and How is it Shaping Our Energy Future?  https://kleinmanenergy.upenn.edu/podcast/whats-the-ferc-and-how-is-it-shaping-our-energy-future-part-1/ 
Heidi Binko, Executive Director of the Just Transition Fund, discusses the challenges coal communities face in adapting to a post-coal future, and strategies for economic transition.---Over the past decade the number of workers directly employed in the U.S. coal industry has fallen by half, as coal has been replaced by cheaper sources of energy such as natural gas and renewable power. From the Appalachian mountains in the East, to the Powder River Basin and tribal communities in the West, the continued decline of the coal industry has been devastating, depriving workers of livelihoods, and towns of revenue to support essential services.Yet coal communities often have a deep sense of place, and the drive to remain, reinvent, and rebuild is strong.Heidi Binko, Executive Director of the Just Transition Fund, discusses the impact on coal-dependent communities when the industries that sustain them leave, and looks at efforts of the same communities to find new paths of development and create economically diverse and sustainable futures. She also offers a view of strategies that may help communities facing transition.Heidi Binko is Executive Director of the Just Transition Fund, an organization that provides access to funding and technical assistance for coal communities.Related ContentEfficiency and Diversification: A Framework for Sustainably Transitioning to a Carbon-Neutral Economy https://kleinmanenergy.upenn.edu/research/publications/efficiency-and-diversification-a-framework-for-sustainably-transitioning-to-a-carbon-neutral-economy/Rebalancing Renewable Energy Goals with Community Interests https://kleinmanenergy.upenn.edu/research/publications/balancing-renewable-energy-goals-with-community-interests/
Sheila Oparaocha of the International Network on Gender and Sustainability discusses the global effort to ensure gender equality in energy access, as an essential foundation for economic development and public health.  ---One billion people around the world lack access to electricity, and three times as many do not have access to fuel and appliances that allow for clean and safe cooking inside the home. The lack of clean and reliable energy is a major barrier to economic development and an ongoing threat to human health in some of the poorest parts of the globe.Sheila Oparaocha, the recipient of the Kleinman Center’s 2021 Carnot Prize for outstanding contributions in energy policy, discusses efforts to bring access to reliable, affordable and clean energy to areas in need, and ensure that energy becomes a foundation of economic development that is available to women and men alike.Oparaocha is the International Coordinator of ENERGIA, the International Network on Gender and Sustainable Energy. ENERGIA partners with governments and industry to provide women with access to finance, training and technical skills to build energy-based businesses. It also works with governments and other key actors to integrate gender-responsive approaches in energy policies, programs and projects.Sheila Oparaocha is the International Coordinator of ENERGIA, the International Network on Gender and Sustainable Energy.Related ContentPowering the Slum: Meeting SDG7 in Accra’s Informal Settlements https://kleinmanenergy.upenn.edu/research/publications/powering-the-slum-meeting-sdg7-in-accras-informal-settlements/Mongolian Energy Futures: Repowering Ulaanbaatar https://kleinmanenergy.upenn.edu/research/publications/mongolian-energy-futures-repowering-ulaanbaatar-challenges-of-radical-energy-sector-decarbonization/ Balancing Renewable Energy Goals with Community Interests https://kleinmanenergy.upenn.edu/research/publications/balancing-renewable-energy-goals-with-community-interests/
Nature-based climate solutions can play a major role in climate change mitigation and adaptation. But biodiversity risks, and community impacts, loom large.---Technology often seems to be the focus when conversation turns to solutions to address climate change. Clean energy, carbon capture and even geoengineering dominate headlines and attract the attention of climate-focused investors. When it comes to protecting coastal communities, infrastructure projects like sea walls and raised roads likewise grab attention, particularly after extreme weather events.Yet, nature itself is likely to play just as important a role as engineered solutions in our efforts to slow climate change and navigate its worst impacts. Today, scientists and some policymakers are aggressively exploring the potential of nature-based solutions to help us slow and adapt to climate change.Nathalie Seddon, a professor of biodiversity at the University of Oxford, discusses the promise, challenges and potential moral hazards of nature-based climate solutions. Seddon explains what qualifies as a nature based-solution, and looks at the community and biodiversity impacts that need to be taken into account when putting nature-based solutions into action. She also looks at efforts to quantify the benefits of natural climate solutions as a means to accelerate investment.Nathalie Seddon is a professor of biodiversity at the University of Oxford and founding director of the Nature-based Solutions Initiative.Related ContentClimate Adaptation Strategies: How Do We “Manage” Managed Retreat? https://kleinmanenergy.upenn.edu/research/publications/climate-adaptation-strategies-how-do-we-manage-managed-retreat/ The Best Local Response to Climate Change is a Comprehensive Efficiency Plan. https://kleinmanenergy.upenn.edu/research/publications/the-best-local-response-to-climate-change-is-a-comprehensive-efficiency-plan/Balancing Renewable Energy Goals with Community Interests https://kleinmanenergy.upenn.edu/research/publications/balancing-renewable-energy-goals-with-community-interests/
One-third of American households struggle to afford basic energy needs. The University of Michigan’s Tony Reames explores the role of policy in overcoming energy poverty.---Energy justice and poverty have come to the forefront of public dialogue, and are part of long-standing inequities that continue to persist in the United States. In this country, one-third of households struggle pay for their basic energy needs. In response, federal and state agencies have turned increasing attention toward policies that might alleviate the energy cost burden.Yet the success of these policies has been mixed, and in many cases programs that might reduce energy burden, such as through increased energy efficiency, have been shown to provide least benefit to communities that need them most. Tony Reames, leader of the Urban Energy Justice Lab at the University of Michigan and visiting scholar at the Kleinman Center for Energy Policy, discusses energy poverty in the United States and the challenge of effectively addressing the problem through public policy solutions. Reames also looks at the socioeconomic, racial and geographic underpinnings of energy poverty, and some of the historic factors that have contributed to inequities.Tony Reames is an assistant professor at the University of Michigan, leader of the Urban Energy Justice Lab, and a visiting scholar at the Kleinman Center for Energy Policy. His work focuses on energy justice, and on disparities in residential energy generation, consumption and affordability.Related ContentAligning Historic Preservation and Energy Efficiency. https://kleinmanenergy.upenn.edu/research/publications/aligning-historic-preservation-and-energy-efficiency/The Best Local Response to Climate Change is a Comprehensive Efficiency Plan https://kleinmanenergy.upenn.edu/research/publications/the-best-local-response-to-climate-change-is-a-comprehensive-efficiency-plan/Balancing Renewable Energy Goals with Community Interests https://kleinmanenergy.upenn.edu/research/publications/balancing-renewable-energy-goals-with-community-interests/
President Biden will rely upon regulatory agencies like the EPA to push his ambitious clean energy and climate agenda. Yet increasingly conservative courts could stand in the way of Biden’s plans.---President Joe Biden has set an ambitious clean energy and environmental agenda that includes a $2 trillion infrastructure and climate plan, and a renewed commitment to the Paris Climate agreement. To achieve his climate goals, Biden is likely to rely on regulatory agencies, such as the EPA, to craft rules to limit the climate impact of the country’s energy, transportation and related industries.  Yet Biden’s need for new, climate-focused rules arguably couldn’t come at a more inopportune time.  New regulations often face legal challenge in the nation’s courts. The most prominent of those courts, the Supreme Court, has turned increasingly conservative, and many legal experts expect it to be generally less supportive of environmental regulations argued before it.  On the podcast, Cary Coglianese, Director of the Penn Program on Regulation at the University of Pennsylvania Law School, explores the challenge that a conservative Supreme Court may pose for President Biden’s clean energy and climate agenda. Coglianese also looks at how the legal philosophies of the court’s newest conservative members might guide their decisions on climate-related issues.  Cary Coglianese is the Edward B. Shils Professor of Law and professor of political science at the University of Pennsylvania Law School, and Director of the Penn Program on Regulation.Related Content Have We Reached Peak Carbon Emissions? https://kleinmanenergy.upenn.edu/research/publications/have-we-reached-peak-carbon-emissions/ Balancing Renewable Energy Goals With Community Interests  https://kleinmanenergy.upenn.edu/research/publications/balancing-renewable-energy-goals-with-community-interests/
Carbon Dioxide Removal is an industrial-scale strategy to hold climate change in check. Five experts weigh in on CDR’s potential, challenges and moral hazards.---The global effort to slow the pace of climate change will require that two basic strategies be implemented on a massive scale. The first strategy is well known, and involves shifting away from today’s fossil-fuel dependent energy system, and toward a future where nearly everything will run on electricity produced by zero-carbon resources.The second part of the effort to combat climate change has, until recently, attracted relatively less attention. Carbon dioxide removal is the process of removing carbon dioxide from Earth’s atmosphere. CDR can be used to offset some of today’s CO2 emissions, and might some day even be able to turn back the clock, by lowering the concentration of atmospheric carbon to levels that existed on an earlier, less hot Earth. CDR will be a key part of any plan to reach net-zero carbon emissions by the middle of this century, as the United States, the European Union, and a growing number of countries have proposed to do.In the podcast, five experts discuss CDR in its many forms, from cutting edge technologies to fundamental nature-based processes, and explore the complex, industrial-scale undertaking that will be required to remove CO2 at scale. The guests, whose research is available in the newly published, online CDR Primer, also look at potential moral hazards, equity challenges and unforeseen consequences of carbon dioxide removal.Erica L. Belmont is Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Wyoming.Jeremy Freeman is Executive Director at CarbonPlanNoah McQueen is a Ph.D. student in Chemical Engineering at the University of PennsylvaniaPeter Psarras is research assistant professor in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at the University of PennsylvaniaToly Rinberg is an Applied Physics Ph.D. Student at Harvard UniversityRelated ContentHave We Reached Peak Carbon Emissions? https://kleinmanenergy.upenn.edu/research/publications/have-we-reached-peak-carbon-emissions/The Essential Role of Negative Emissions in Getting to Carbon Neutral https://kleinmanenergy.upenn.edu/research/publications/the-essential-role-of-negative-emissions-in-getting-to-carbon-neutral/
Corporate renewable energy deals equaled a quarter of total U.S. electric power additions in 2020. The Renewable Energy Buyer’s Alliance talks policies to accelerate clean energy purchasing. ---Corporate America’s appetite for renewable energy is booming. In 2020, large businesses signed deals for over 10 GW of new clean generation, equal to a quarter of the total electric power capacity added in the United States for the year. The growth in corporate deals for clean power comes as the price of renewable energy has fallen, and as companies have increasingly felt pressure from the public, investors, and their own employees to address their climate impact.  Miranda Ballentine, CEO of the Renewable Energy Buyer’s Alliance, and Bryn Baker, REBA’s director of policy innovation, discuss the factors that are driving American corporations to make more, and bigger bets on clean energy. The pair also talk about how state and federal policy influences the rate of clean energy procurement, and policy changes that might accelerate development. The Renewable Energy Buyers Alliance is an industry association that represents the U.S.’s largest corporate clean energy buyers.Miranda Ballentine is Chief Executive Officer of the Renewable Energy Buyer’s Alliance. Bryn Baker is REBA’s Director of Policy Innovation.Related ContentHave We Reached Peak Carbon Emissions? https://kleinmanenergy.upenn.edu/research/publications/have-we-reached-peak-carbon-emissions/Balancing Renewable Energy Goals with Community Interests https://kleinmanenergy.upenn.edu/research/publications/balancing-renewable-energy-goals-with-community-interests/
The U.S. forfeited leadership in the global effort to combat climate change when it left the Paris Agreement. Now back, will the U.S. resume its former role?---On Friday, February the 19th, the United States officially rejoined the Paris Climate Agreement, bringing to an end an extended period of national disengagement from the global effort to address climate change. As the largest historic emitter of greenhouse gasses, and today’s second largest emitter behind China, U.S. engagement is critical to the global effort to address climate change.Yet the climate framework that the U.S. abandoned under the Trump administration looks different today. The U.S., rather than being a clear leader on climate issues, is embarking on an effort to rebuild trust and reassure the world that it will remain committed to addressing climate change, while the relative influence in of China, Europe and other regions has grown in global climate dialogue.Joanna Lewis, Director of the Science, Technology and International Affairs Program at Georgetown University, discusses how the Paris Climate framework, and the global hierarchy of climate leadership, has changed in recent years. She also looks at the barriers that U.S.-China trade tensions may present to climate cooperation as the U.S. rejoins the Paris process.  Joanna Lewis is Director of the Science, Technology and International Affairs Program at Georgetown University. She is also a Strategic Advisor to the China Energy Group at Lawrence Berkeley National Lab.Related ContentInnovation in Isolation: Islands and the Energy Transition https://kleinmanenergy.upenn.edu/research/publications/innovation-in-isolation-islands-and-the-energy-transition/ It’s Ideology Stupid: Why Voters Still Shun Carbon Taxes https://kleinmanenergy.upenn.edu/research/publications/its-ideology-stupid-why-voters-still-shun-carbon-taxes/ 
New research disproves the assumption that exposure to climate-related natural disasters motivates people to support climate policy.   ---A common assumption is that direct exposure to climate-related disasters such as severe wildfires and flooding motivates people to support policy to address climate change. Yet new research proves that this assumption doesn’t hold up in reality.Matto Mildenberger, assistant professor of political science at the University of California, Santa Barbara, discusses research, conducted in the aftermath of recent California wildfires, that dispels the notion that personal experience with climate-related disasters automatically drives support for policy-driven climate solutions. He also explores how efforts the inform people of personal climate risk can be counterproductive to climate action, and looks at alternate communications strategies that may prove more effective.Matto Mildenberger is an assistant professor of political science at the University of California, Santa Barbara. His work focuses on the political drivers of policy inaction in the face of climate change Related ContentInnovation in Isolation: Islands and the Energy Transition https://kleinmanenergy.upenn.edu/research/publications/innovation-in-isolation-islands-and-the-energy-transition/Climate Adaptation Strategies: How Do We “Manage” Managed Retreat? https://kleinmanenergy.upenn.edu/research/publications/climate-adaptation-strategies-how-do-we-manage-managed-retreat/Balancing Renewable Energy Goals With Community Interests https://kleinmanenergy.upenn.edu/research/publications/balancing-renewable-energy-goals-with-community-interests/
New Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has been tasked with combating climate change.  What climate action is the Treasury likely to take under her leadership?---Joe Biden has made the fight against climate change a focus of his new administration. Consistent with that focus is his appointment of Janet Yellen, a former Federal Reserve chairman and an advocate for climate action, to the role of Secretary of the Treasury.The Treasury Department is responsible for guarding the United States’ economic health. While much of its work during the early months of the Biden Administration will be to help the country to navigate the ongoing economic impacts of the COVID pandemic, economic damages due to climate change have become more apparent in recent years, and the need for the Treasury to take action on the climate front has also become clear.Joseph Aldy, an energy and climate economist at Harvard University, explores the steps that the new Treasury Secretary can take to address climate change, including the tools that the economic agency might employ to set its own climate policies, and influence climate action in other areas of government. Aldy also discusses the Treasury’s power to influence global climate action as the country’s chief economic diplomat.Related Content A More Effective Approach To Carbon-Zero Real Estate https://kleinmanenergy.upenn.edu/news-insights/a-more-effective-approach-to-carbon-zero-real-estate/Green Energy & National Security: A Fresh Perspective https://kleinmanenergy.upenn.edu/news-insights/green-energy-national-security-a-fresh-perspective/Innovation In Isolation: Islands And The Energy Transition https://kleinmanenergy.upenn.edu/research/publications/?exposed_related_research_area%5B%5D=331
Hydrogen energy is a key part of Europe’s plan to zero out carbon emissions by mid-century. But can the bloc build hydrogen capacity, and demand, in time to reach its goal?---In August the European Commission introduced its strategy to aggressively expand the market for hydrogen energy as part of its plan to go carbon neutral by the year 2050. The plan envisions using green hydrogen, produced mainly with wind and solar power, as an energy resource in a broad array of industries. In particular, the EU hopes that hydrogen will help it reduce carbon emissions in industries that are deeply dependent on fossil fuels, such as steel production and air travel, and for which there are few other decarbonization options.Kirsten Westphal, a member of Germany’s National Hydrogen Council, discusses the challenge of growing clean hydrogen supply and demand quickly enough to create a carbon-neutral economy in just 30 years. Westphal also talks about Germany’s plans, as Europe’s largest economy, to finance and build hydrogen infrastructure, as well as the prospects for a truly international hydrogen market.Kirsten Westphal is a senior associate at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs, and a member of Germany’s National Hydrogen Council.Related ContentThe Opportunities and Limitations of Seasonal Energy Storage https://kleinmanenergy.upenn.edu/research/publications/the-opportunities-and-limitations-of-seasonal-energy-storage/Efficiency and Diversification: A Framework for Sustainably Transitioning to a Carbon-Neutral Economy  https://kleinmanenergy.upenn.edu/research/publications/efficiency-and-diversification-a-framework-for-sustainably-transitioning-to-a-carbon-neutral-economy/The Essential Role of Negative Emissions in Getting to Carbon Neutral  https://kleinmanenergy.upenn.edu/research/publications/the-essential-role-of-negative-emissions-in-getting-to-carbon-neutral/
Electricity storage technologies have proven their worth in balancing daily fluctuations in wind and solar power output. But can storage address the challenges presented by the decarbonized grid of the future?---President-Elect Joe Biden’s clean energy plan aims to make America’s electricity system carbon neutral by the year 2035. To reach its goal, the plan will seek to develop the nation’s clean energy infrastructure, and expand the role of wind and solar power. Yet renewable energy presents certain challenges, one of which is to ensure that electricity is available even when wind and sunshine are scarce.In recent years, grid-scale batteries have emerged as an increasingly economic way to address the variability problem, or intermittency, of wind and solar output. In fact, over the last two years demand for grid-scale energy storage has accelerated, particularly in the Southwest, where batteries are increasingly used to balance daily ebbs in solar generation.Yet as renewables become a larger part of America’s energy mix, the challenge of balancing intermittency will grow exponentially. Eventually, storage could be called upon not only to even out daily fluctuations in energy output, but seasonal variation as well.Kleinman Center research associate Oscar Serpell explores the potential for grid electricity storage, in its many forms, to meet the seasonal balancing demands of a low-carbon electric grid. He also looks at the limitations of today’s energy storage technologies, and at the advances that may be needed to enable dramatic reductions in carbon emissions from the electricity industry.Oscar Serpell is research associate with the Kleinman Center for Energy Policy.Related Content The Opportunities and Limitations of Seasonal Energy Storage https://kleinmanenergy.upenn.edu/research/publications/the-opportunities-and-limitations-of-seasonal-energy-storage/ Feasibility of Seasonal Storage for a Fully Electrified Economy https://kleinmanenergy.upenn.edu/research/publications/feasibility-of-seasonal-storage-for-a-fully-electrified-economy/ Balancing Renewable Energy Goals with Community Interests https://kleinmanenergy.upenn.edu/research/publications/balancing-renewable-energy-goals-with-community-interests/ 
Georgia’s runoff election will determine the balance of power in the Senate, and the degree to which Joe Biden will count on Congress to back his ambitious clean energy agenda.---On January 5th a special runoff election in the state of Georgia will determine who will fill the state’s two seats in the United States Senate and which political party, Republican or Democrat, will control the upper chamber of Congress. The runoff election will be the final act in a tumultuous election season, in which the parties have offered starkly different visions for the role of government, the future direction of America’s energy system, and how that system will impact our environment.Crucially, the outcome of Georgia’s runoff election will determine the degree to which President-Elect Joe Biden may be able to count on the Senate’s support in enacting his energy platform, which aims for a carbon-free electricity sector by 2035. Bethany Davis Noll and Richard Revesz, regulatory experts whose work focuses on the legal tools available to presidents to pursue their agendas, take a look at the options available to Biden to pursue his energy agenda with, or without, help from the Senate.Bethany Davis Noll is litigation director at the Institute for Policy Integrity at New York University School of Law. Richard Revesz is Dean Emeritus at the NYU School of Law and Director of the Institute for Policy Integrity.Related Content Will Trump’s Regulatory Rollbacks Survive? https://kleinmanenergy.upenn.edu/energy-policy-now/will-trumps-regulatory-rollbacks-surviveHow to Combat the Corona-Recession and Climate Change https://kleinmanenergy.upenn.edu/blog/2020/08/07/how-combat-corona-recession-and-climate-changeBalancing Renewable Energy Goals with Community Interests https://kleinmanenergy.upenn.edu/policy-digests/balancing-renewable-energy-goals-community-interests
Large scale offshore wind development will require a rethink of how America’s electric grid is designed, and paid for. ---Over the coming decade, a number of states along the East Coast of the U.S. will deploy massive offshore windfarms in the Atlantic Ocean as part of their efforts to meet clean energy goals and reduce global warming emissions. Planning for the wind farms is well underway, and the first projects sponsored by New York, New Jersey and other coastal states are expected to begin generating electricity by 2025.Yet reaching long term, aggressive offshore wind power targets presents numerous challenges. The most pressing may be the need to build out the electric grid to reliably and economically deliver vast quantities of offshore wind power to market. This is an issue that the states, offshore wind developers, and operators of the country’s electric grid are now grappling with.  Solutions may require a fundamental reworking of how the electric grid is planned and financed.Brandon Burke, Policy and Outreach Director with the Business Network for Offshore Wind, discusses the challenge of transforming the electric grid to enable offshore wind power.Brandon Burke is an attorney and Policy and Outreach Director with the Business Network for Offshore Wind. Brandon is a 2018 graduate of the Kleinman Center’s Certificate in Energy Management and Policy program.Related Content U.S. Electricity Regulator Takes a Hard Look at Carbon Pricing https://kleinmanenergy.upenn.edu/energy-policy-now/us-electricity-regulator-takes-hard-look-carbon-pricingDeveloping Our Renewable Energy Futurehttps://kleinmanenergy.upenn.edu/blog/2020/04/21/developing-our-renewable-energy-future Developing the Electric Grid for Carbon Free Energy  https://kleinmanenergy.upenn.edu/energy-policy-now/developing-electric-grid-carbon-free-energy
Electricity market deregulation promised to bring more affordable and reliable electricity to consumers. A quarter of a century after deregulation began, has its promise delivered for all Americans?---The process of deregulating electricity markets began a quarter of a century ago, with the aim of leveraging competitive market forces to provide consumers with abundant and reliable electricity more economically than ever before. As experience has shown, however, deregulation has brought both benefits and challengesIn the early years of deregulation, an ill-conceived strategy to introduce competition to California’s electricity market led to market manipulation, high energy prices, and ultimately to utility bankruptcies. Yet over the last decade, deregulation has provided generally better outcomes. Competitive markets have been able to efficiently pass cost savings from the shale gas revolution to consumers, and competition has created a dynamic platform for the entry of new forms of clean and distributed energy.Yet the question remains. On the whole, has deregulation delivered on its promise to give consumers abundant and reliable electricity more economically than before?This special episode of Energy Policy Now was recorded live at Grid Forward 2020, an annual event that brings together leading insights from a range of stakeholders to address opportunities for electric grid modernization. Debaters Mark Kolesar and Bruce Edelston square off around the question of whether deregulation has ultimately led to better community outcomes which, in today’s context, means more than just cheap and reliable service, but also equitable access to clean energy options, and the environmental and public health benefits that a cleaner electricity system promises.Mark Kolesar is Managing Principal at Kolesar Buchanan and Associates, and former Chairman of the Alberta Utilities Commission.Bruce Edelston is President of the Energy Policy Group and former Vice President for Energy Policy at the Southern Company.Grid Forward is an industry association defining pathways for electric grid modernization via advanced technology, policy progress and business innovation.Related ContentBalancing Renewable Energy Goals With Community Interests  https://kleinmanenergy.upenn.edu/policy-digests/balancing-renewable-energy-goals-community-interestsEnergy Transitions Are Brown Before They Go Green. https://kleinmanenergy.upenn.edu/policy-digests/energy-transitions-are-brown-they-go-greenZoning Rules Stifle Clean Energy. Can The Rules Be Rewritten? https://kleinmanenergy.upenn.edu/energy-policy-now/zoning-rules-stifle-urban-clean-energy-can-rules-be-rewritten 
In September the U.S. electricity regulator, the FERC, held its first conference to explore carbon pricing in the nation’s electricity markets. Is a carbon price finally on the way?---In late September the regulator of America’s electricity markets, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, took the unusual step of convening a conference at which it, and members of the electricity industry, considered putting a price on carbon dioxide emissions. The meeting came as wholesale electricity markets, which supply power for two-thirds of Americans, have entered into a period of turmoil that, at the extreme, threatens to break those very markets apart, and which is based in the challenge of addressing climate change.Mike Borgatti, Vice President for RTO Services and Regulatory Affairs at energy consultancy Gabel Associates, explains the debate over carbon pricing in electricity markets, and the FERC’s recent, contentious efforts to balance conflicting state and national climate agendas.Mike Borgatti is Vice President for RTO Services and Regulatory Affairs at Gabel Associates, an energy and public utility consultancy. He advises energy industry clients that participate in the nation’s electricity markets, and has been at the forefront of efforts to explore carbon pricing in the world’s largest power market, PJM Interconnection.Mike Borgatti is Vice President for RTO Services and Regulatory Affairs at Gabel Associates, an energy and public utility consultancy. He advises energy industry clients that participate in the nation’s electricity markets, and has been at the forefront of efforts to explore carbon pricing in the world’s largest power market, PJM Interconnection.Related ContentWhat’s the FERC, and How Is It Shaping Our Energy Future? (Part 1). https://kleinmanenergy.upenn.edu/energy-policy-now/whats-ferc-and-how-it-shaping-our-energy-future-part-1The Rise of Partisan Politics in Energy Regulation  https://kleinmanenergy.upenn.edu/energy-policy-now/rise-partisan-politics-energy-regulation FERC’s Order Redesigning PJM’s Capacity Market  https://kleinmanenergy.upenn.edu/blog/2018/07/12/fercs-order-redesigning-pjms-capacity-market
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Comments (1)

Olubunmi Olajide

this has to be my favourite episode from this podcast, it addresses complexities behind the push for climate change policies and also addresses the sacrifices that is being expected from developing countries to facilitate those changes. your guest was brilliant and developed her arguments well, I'm really glad I listened.

May 28th
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