The policies explored in this series, taken together and adopted at national scale, would allow the United States to do its part in limiting global warming to 1.5°C. Can it be done? The final installment of “Look to the States” concludes with an outlook and some tools — drawing once more from state-level successes — for putting a decarbonization plan into practice.
A conference convening 450 investment professionals, 40 speakers and more than 30 sponsors, Sustainable Investment Forum 2019 sparked debate and introspection among its attendees. The event focused on the importance of climate resilience, climate-aligned investment and how the financial sector can play its part to ensuring a swift global energy transition.
A panel discussion about new forms of VPPA aggregation formed a focal point for this year’s Renewable Energy Markets conference in San Diego. Now, some companies are taking shares of VPPA projects rather than bilaterally contracting to build one strictly for their own renewable energy demand. The talk explored the ins-and-outs of such deals, and provided some pointers for constructing one.
What if excess carbon in the atmosphere could be converted to more useful forms? That’s the ultimate goal of carbon conversion companies such as Opus 12, a startup in Berkeley, California. Making stuff out of carbon dioxide could be a trillion-dollar industry by 2030, and it creates an economic incentive to start removing carbon from the atmosphere sooner rather than later, which is a critical piece of most scenarios for limiting global warming to 2 degrees Celsius.
Although China’s conventional auto industry has never matched that of nations like Germany, Japan or the United States, the nation has managed to outpace rivals in the production and adoption of electric vehicles (EVs). Last year, the majority of all the world’s electric cars were sold in China. China’s electric vehicle purchases exceeded U.S. sales by 2015 and in 2018, over 1.1 million electric cars were sold in the country.
To support decarbonization efforts, we will have to overhaul our transportation system. Over the course of the past century, we used fossil fuels to revolutionize the way we move from place to place — creating unprecedented mobility, but substantially contributing to climate change. About 30% of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions come from transportation. But we can look to key states for a glimpse of what climate leadership on transit looks like.
States across the country have led efforts to revamp the electric grid: modernizing century-old systems, promoting energy efficiency, and investing in distributed energy generation that replaces central grids. Through smart investment and incentives, the federal government has the ability to usher in this new energy future nationwide, and ensure that all share equitably in the benefits — and that those who suffer from the highest energy burden receive the most help.
Maine’s renewable energy landscape is poised for big changes. Legislation passed into law in June establishes greenhouse gas emission reduction targets and an ambitious renewable portfolio standard. In this interview, Dylan Voorhees, climate and clean energy director of the Natural Resources Council of Maine, explains what the new laws mean for the state, and what brought about the shift in policy.
Hawaii has experienced ups and downs in its ambitious solar programs, according to Gwen Yamamoto Lau, executive director of Hawaii Green Infrastructure Authority (HGIA). In this interview, she describes her state’s journey toward its 100-percent-renewable energy goal.
Texas offers an instructive case study for the growth of renewable energy. Most of the state’s electricity is delivered through the deregulated Electric Reliability Council of Texas market. The state has long since surpassed its mandated renewable portfolio standard, so market dynamics dictate the ongoing pace of renewables growth. Nonetheless, Texas is by far the country’s largest wind power generator and is slated to see major growth in solar capacity as well.
Brandon Cheshire is board president of the Arizona Solar Energy Industries Association and founder of SunHarvest Solar, as well as a licensed electrician. In this interview, Cheshire lays out a solar industry perspective on how to advance clean energy in the state.