NewEnergyNews: ORIGINAL REPORTING: President Obama’s clean energy revolution

NewEnergyNews

Gleanings from the web and the world, condensed for convenience, illustrated for enlightenment, arranged for impact...

December 7, 1941: Time to forgive but not forget.

The challenge now: To make every day Earth Day.

YESTERDAY

  • TODAY’S STUDY: How To Balance Competing Solar Interests
  • QUICK NEWS, December 6: Sliver Of Hope? Al Gore In Climate Change Meet With Donald Trump; The Opportunity In New Energy; Google Seizing New Energy Opportunity
  • THE DAY BEFORE

  • TODAY’S STUDY: A Way For New Energy To Meet Peak Demand
  • QUICK NEWS, December 5: Trial Of The Century Coming On Climate; The Wind-Solar Synergy; The Still Rising Sales Of Cars With Plugs
  • THE DAY BEFORE THE DAY BEFORE

  • Weekend Video: Trump Truth And Climate Change
  • Weekend Video: The Daily Show Talks Pipeline Politics
  • Weekend Video: Beyond Polar Bears – The Real Science Of Climate Change
  • THE DAY BEFORE THAT

  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-Aussie Farmers Worrying About Climate Change
  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-The Climate Change Solution At Hand, Part 1
  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-The Climate Change Solution At Hand, Part 2
  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-New Energy And Historic Buildings In Europe
  • AND THE DAY BEFORE THAT

    THINGS-TO-THINK-ABOUT THURSDAY, December 1:

  • TTTA Thursday-First Daughter Ivanka May Fight For Climate
  • TTTA Thursday-Low Profile High Power Ocean Wind Energy
  • TTTA Thursday-A Visionary Solar Power Plant
  • TTTA Thursday-EVs Have A Growth Path
  • THE LAST DAY UP HERE

  • ORIGINAL REPORTING: How The Clean Power Plan Drove The Utility Power Mix Transition
  • ORIGINAL REPORTING: How Utilities Are Answering The Distributed Energy Resources Challenge
  • ORIGINAL REPORTING: Looking At New Rates To Unlock The Utility Of The Future
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    Anne B. Butterfield of Daily Camera and Huffington Post, f is an occasional contributor to NewEnergyNews

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    Some of Anne's contributions:

  • Another Tipping Point: US Coal Supply Decline So Real Even West Virginia Concurs (REPORT), November 26, 2013
  • SOLAR FOR ME BUT NOT FOR THEE ~ Xcel's Push to Undermine Rooftop Solar, September 20, 2013
  • NEW BILLS AND NEW BIRDS in Colorado's recent session, May 20, 2013
  • Lies, damned lies and politicians (October 8, 2012)
  • Colorado's Elegant Solution to Fracking (April 23, 2012)
  • Shale Gas: From Geologic Bubble to Economic Bubble (March 15, 2012)
  • Taken for granted no more (February 5, 2012)
  • The Republican clown car circus (January 6, 2012)
  • Twenty-Somethings of Colorado With Skin in the Game (November 22, 2011)
  • Occupy, Xcel, and the Mother of All Cliffs (October 31, 2011)
  • Boulder Can Own Its Power With Distributed Generation (June 7, 2011)
  • The Plunging Cost of Renewables and Boulder's Energy Future (April 19, 2011)
  • Paddling Down the River Denial (January 12, 2011)
  • The Fox (News) That Jumped the Shark (December 16, 2010)
  • Click here for an archive of Butterfield columns

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    Some details about NewEnergyNews and the man behind the curtain: Herman K. Trabish, Agua Dulce, CA., Doctor with my hands, Writer with my head, Student of New Energy and Human Experience with my heart

    email: herman@NewEnergyNews.net

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      A tip of the NewEnergyNews cap to Phillip Garcia for crucial assistance in the design implementation of this site. Thanks, Phillip.

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    Pay a visit to the HARRY BOYKOFF page at Basketball Reference, sponsored by NewEnergyNews and Oil In Their Blood.

  • ---------------
  • TODAY AT NewEnergyNews, December 7:

  • ORIGINAL REPORTING: Turning Distributed Energy From Threat To Opportunity
  • ORIGINAL REPORTING: Solar Policy Action Heats Up
  • ORIGINAL REPORTING: Maine’s Almost Solar Policy Breakthrough

    Thursday, May 26, 2016

    ORIGINAL REPORTING: President Obama’s clean energy revolution

    President Obama calls for clean energy revolution: 'There is something big happening in America' ; Obama spoke about renewables investments, utility business models, and the dawn of a new clean energy age.

    Herman K. Trabish, August 25, 2015 (Utility Dive)

    Fresh from establishing the first national regulatory standards for carbon emissions earlier this month, President Obama has now joined the debate over the utility business model and called for a distributed, clean energy revolution.

    The president took his commitment to the fight against climate change to new ground in a keynote address at the eighth annual Clean Energy Summit in Las Vegas, Nevada. His bold words reinforced the message delivered earlier in the day by Senator Harry Reid (D-NV), who also showed an unflagging commitment to renewables and a reformation of the utility business model.

    “Earlier this month I unveiled our Clean Power Plan,” the president told a packed house at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center. “It is the first set of nationwide standards to end the limitless dumping of carbon pollution from our power plants and it is the single most important step America has ever taken to combat climate change.”

    He repeated his now-familiar belief that “no challenge poses a greater threat to our future than climate change.”

    But his administration holds another belief as well, he added.

    “We are deeply optimistic about American ingenuity. We think we can do good and do well. We believe we have the power, the dynamism, and the creativity to solve a big problem while keeping the engines of the American economy moving.”

    The president talked about his administration’s crucial investments, beginning with the 2009 Recovery Act — which he called the biggest commitment to renewables ever made — and carrying through to a just-announced $1 billion Department of Energy (DOE) commitment to new loan guarantees for distributed generation technologies.

    That loan program was just one of multiple executive orders the White House released Monday ahead of Obama's speech, all looking to stimulate the growth and technological progression of distributed resources.

    In line with his executive orders, the president aggressively advocated for higher penetrations of renewables like solar and wind, and reiterated that government investments that are needed to help make it happen.

    “If we keep investing in wind rather than making mindless cuts chasing shortsighted austerity, wind could provide as much as 35% of America’s electricity and supply renewable power in all 50 states by 2050,” Obama said, taking a swipe at fiscal conservatives on behalf of wind energy’s production tax credit.

    “America generates 20 times as much solar as we did in 2008,” President Obama said. And with a new solar array connected every three minutes, the solar industry last year added jobs 10 times faster than the rest of the economy, he said.

    “Now is not the time to insist on massive cuts to investments that have helped drive our economy, including the hundreds of millions of dollars in cuts that many Republicans want to take from successful job-creating clean energy programs,” Obama said, “investments that have finally, in some places, made clean power from the sun cheaper than conventional power from utilities.”

    It had to be a hard-to-hear message for NV Energy CEO Paul Caudill, who spoke just ahead of the president. His utility is in a tense face-off with Nevada solar advocates over its proposal to reduce the nationally embattled net energy metering policy crucial to the rooftop solar value proposition.

    “NV Energy needs to get real,” Senator Reid, whose age and health make a 2016 Senate run unlikely, warned in a private session earlier in the day. “It is not 1888. Customers want choice. If NV Energy continues on this path, they will lose on the battlefield of public opinion and the courts will also ultimately decide they are wrong.”

    President Obama on the economics of renewables

    It is impossible to overstate the significance of solar becoming price competitive with utility-provided electricity, the president said. “For decades we have been told it doesn’t make economic sense to switch to renewable energy. Today that is no longer true.”

    He described big renewables buy-ins from major corporation such as Google, Apple, and Costco. “Walmart has the most installed onsite solar capacity of any company in America," he said. "They are not in the business of giving away money.”

    The commitment of these companies should be cause for hope in the climate fight, he added, but to get to the renewables goals his administration has set, “we have to triple where we are today — so I am here to give you hope, but not complacency.”

    He described a new initiative from DOE to fund the Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) program that will allow homeowners to obtain solar financing secured by their mortgages and repay the loan through their energy bill savings.

    “It will allow more Americans to join this revolution with no money down,” Obama said. “You don’t have to share my passion for fighting climate change. Americans are going solar not because they are treehuggers, though trees are important, but because they are cost-cutters. Solar isn’t just for the green crowd anymore — it’s for the green eyeshade crowd, too.”

    Resistance and change

    Solar is less than 1% of the U.S. energy mix and wind is only about 5%, but together they were over half of the new generation capacity built in 2014, the president said. “We see the trend lines. We see where technology is taking us, we see where consumers want to go.”

    But fossil fuel interests, formerly unrestrained advocates of a free market, are suddenly opposed to choice in the marketplace because “solar is what people want to buy,” he smiled. “That’s a problem.”

    The president acknowledged Tea Party members who, in joining a Green Tea Alliance with environmentalists, stayed true to their free market ideology. “This is not and should not be a Republican versus Democratic issue,” he said. “If you care about the future of our children and grandchildren, you should care about it.”

    For decades, he explained, “utilities generated power, usually by burning fossil fuels, they ran lines to homes and businesses, and we paid for it. It wasn’t exciting. There wasn’t a lot of innovation. And we didn’t think about much about it until the bill came. And the economy grew under that model."

    But that has all changed, the president said. With smart technologies, customers can understand their energy use, change their habits, use energy more efficiently, and save without great sacrifice.

    “That empowers us to generate our own energy or store it in battery packs or sell it to the grid," he said. "That is power. That is the future. It is happening now. It is like evolving from the telegraph to the smart phone in less than a decade.”

    The president commended the utilities that are adapting their business models “to seize the opportunities of this emerging reality.” He called outCPS Energy of San Antonio for its rooftop solar program, Southern Company for its partnership with Nest and Tesla on energy storage, and Oklahoma Gas & Electric for its smart meter rollout.

    The rapid change is also drawing protective resistance from “some fossil fuel interests” dedicated to an “outdated status quo,” he said. But utility CEOs may have found solace in the president’s call for addressing “legitimate issuesaround how a new distributed system can work and how to deal with the costs.”

    There is no legitimacy, however, in “massive lobbying efforts backed by fossil fuel interests or conservative think tanks or the Koch brothers” against consumers’ rights to choose renewables, the president said. “That is not the American way. That is not progress. That is not innovation.”

    Obama echoed Senator Reid’s earlier attack on NV Energy. “The utility business model made sense a long time ago,” Reid said. “But today consumers would rather pay to make their homes more efficient than for utility electricity.”

    Utilities thinking of clean energy as a burden,” Reid said, makes as much sense as the Washington Nationals benching star player Bryce Harper. “Utilities must not have a stodgy commitment to the status quo. They must seize the clean energy opportunity or consumers will suffer.”

    There is something big happening

    President Obama framed the fight over energy as a question of whether the “big polluters” control the system or consumers have the “freedom to choose,” pitting “old ways” against new business models.

    “This is about the past versus the future and America believes in the future," Obama said. "But to make that future real, we have to have everyone: Utilities, entrepreneurs, workers, businesses, consumers, energy regulators, treehuggers, Tea Partiers. Everybody has to seize the opportunities before us.”

    Some utilties that have chose to disrupt themselves have already moved in the direction the president and Senator Reid described. In particular their comments fall in line with NRG Home’s organizing principle, as described recently to Utility Dive by CEO Steve McBee.

    “The company’s strategy, value proposition, and value creation are aimed at figuring out what the customer wants,” McBee explained. Companies that don’t understand what is happening are struggling, while companies that are empowering consumers are seeing success.

    “There is something big happening in America,” President Obama said. “For the first time we can actually see what our clean energy future looks like.” If the opposition claims it is a bad thing, “we have to be able to politely but firmly say ‘Sorry, we are moving forward.’”

    It is “an age old debate in America between the folks who say ‘No we can’t’ and the folks who say ‘Yes we can,’” Obama said. “America always comes down on the side of the future. We have always been a people who reach, proudly and boldly and unafraid, to that more promising future. We refuse to surrender the hope of a clean energy future to those who fear it and fight it. And sometimes provide misinformation about it.”

    They underestimate what the American people are capable of, the president said.

    “This generation of Americans is hammering into place the high-tech foundations of a clean energy age. Like the Americans who harvested the power of the atom, they are harvesting the power of the sun. That is what Americans do. You,” he said to the clean energy advocates in the summit’s audience, “are doing it every day, and I am going to be right there beside you.”

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