With $25 trillion in global energy infrastructure to be built by 2030 and wind and solar becoming cost competitive, a clean energy revolution is underway. The American people and the economy would benefit from joining this movement.
At a Senate confirmation hearing, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, President Trump's choice to be Energy Secretary, showed a limited grasp of the relationship between fossil fuels and climate change, and did not make the connection to the need to transition to a low-carbon energy system.
In their confirmation hearings, Secretary of State nominee Rex Tillerson, EPA Administrator nominee Scott Pruitt and Secretary of Energy nominee Rick Perry stopped short of denying climate change is real. But they insisted—at odds with the science—that there is uncertainty about the causes and effects.
Last year brought huge political shocks to the environment and development communities. During WRI’s Annual Stories to Watch event, Andrew Steer highlighted how these trends may affect U.S. and international climate policy, business and investment, global energy markets and more this year.
U.S. President-elect Donald Trump assured Americans he would preside over a time of rising employment, a growing economy and cheap, abundant, reliable energy. Five charts show why clean energy is key to keeping those promises.
WRI brings U.S. companies seeking more renewable energy together with traditional, coal-intensive electric utilities to jointly advance new, cost-effective renewable energy generation. Since 2015, businesses working with WRI have contracted more than 450 megawatts of new solar generation through regulated utilities in Nevada and North Carolina – equivalent to taking 120,000 cars off the road.
Corporate demand for renewable energy is a central driver of clean energy growth in the United States. In 35 states, electricity customers must buy power through their local utility, so companies cannot purchase local renewable energy unless their utility offers it. Companies are setting ambitious renewable energy targets and considering the ease of purchasing renewable energy when deciding where to locate new facilities.
WRI helps utilities meet corporate demand for new renewable energy without impacting other customers. WRI’s Charge team brings together regulated coal-intensive utilities – often in politically conservative states with limited clean energy requirements – with their largest customers to agree on optional rates for renewable energy, called green tariffs. WRI provides feedback to utilities on green tariff proposals to help make them attractive to regulators and corporate electricity buyers.
In partnership with other NGOs, WRI amplifies the collective voice of large buyers through the Renewable Energy Buyers Alliance (REBA), a coalition to empower multinational companies to transform electricity systems by cost-effectively scaling up renewable energy. WRI also created the Corporate Renewable Energy Strategy Map, which shows states where companies can more easily meet their clean energy goals. Utilities and states actively seek to be included on the map and frequently ask about creating green tariffs as a means to attract economic development.
Major utilities are creating voluntary programs to rapidly expand access to new renewable energy for their largest customers. Since 2015, green tariffs at monopoly, coal-intensive utilities have led to contracts for 450 megawatts of new solar energy capacity, which will help utilities annually avoid over half a million tons of carbon dioxide emissions – comparable to taking 120,000 passenger vehicles off the road. Contracts for an additional 500 megawatts of new solar energy are under negotiation, and more utilities are now replicating green tariffs.
By creating access to renewable energy for companies and aligning the interests of utilities with their customers, WRI and REBA partners are moving the conversation beyond politics, creating bipartisan support for measures that contribute to local economic development, lower greenhouse gas emissions, and cleaner air.
Although the burning of fossil fuels generates most of the potential emissions from most reserves, emissions from production and processing operations (known as “upstream emissions”) can also be important, depending on the reserve type and technologies used.
A Recommended Methodology for Estimating and Reporting the Potential Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Fossil Fuel Reserves
This working paper outlines a recommended methodology for estimating and reporting the potential emissions from fossil fuel reserves held by coal, oil, and gas companies. The overall goal is the availability of transparent, credible, and consistent data on potential emissions that help...