ORIGINAL REPORTING: Obama Energy Heads Says New Energy Is Coming
Moniz: Utilities should prepare for very low carbon future; Despite current moves to support coal generation, the former energy secretary tells Utility Dive "there's no going back on the fight against climate."
Herman K. Trabish, Oct. 19, 2017 (Utility Dive)
Editor’s note: The good news is New Energy is gaining a foothold in the power mixes of the leading utilities.
While the Trump Administration is still conniving to bolster coal-fired generation and rescind climate regulations, electric utilities should prepare for a very low-carbon future, former Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz told Utility Dive at the National Clean Energy Summit in Las Vegas last fall. Despite the White House’s withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement, “there is no going back on the fight against climate and the innovation prize is enormous,” Moniz said. “We are talking about multi-trillion-dollar markets. The real issue is that the U.S. needs to capture a big part of that market to keep its innovation edge.” As part of the shift to low carbon energy, the world has added a terawatt of renewables capacity in the last decade, with about a quarter of it in the U.S. and about half in China, Moniz said.
Utilities differ depending on how they are regulated, whether they are vertically integrated, and whether they are investor-owned, public power or cooperative utilities, Moniz noted. But broadly, the first thing he would say to utility CEOs is: “expect to go to very low carbon…If they are making long term decisions and capital allocations, they would be crazy to base them on a high carbon future,” Moniz said. “Projections now show the Clean Power Plan targets will be achieved nationally, even without the Clean Power Plan.” Without the CPP, however, state energy profiles will differ significantly, he said. “I would say to utility leaders in those states that if there is a 32% reduction in emissions by 2030 nationally, the few states which do not move in that direction are going to be behind the eight ball competitively.” Moniz's views put him at odds with his successor at DOE — current Energy Secretary Rick Perry. While Secretary Perry is fighting to keep the power system the way it is, Moniz argued for addressing both “today’s grid and the system we are moving to… click here for more
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