Skip to: Content
Skip to: Site Navigation
Skip to: Search


Energy Voices: Insights on the future of fuel and power

5 new ways Obama could jumpstart clean energy

President Obama can push clean energy forward without the need for congressional action, Cunningham writes. A new report lists over 200 recommendations for executive action on clean energy and energy efficiency.

By Nick CunninghamGuest blogger / January 22, 2014

President Obama listens to engineer Rod Washington as he tours Vacon, a company that manufactures AC drives, during a visit to Raleigh, N.C., in January. A new report provides some clues to what the Obama administration might be thinking as it tries to implement the President’s Climate Action Plan.

Kevin Lamarque/Reuters/File

Enlarge

A group of energy experts released a thick report that details a laundry list of ways that the President can take executive action to push clean energy forward without the need for congressional action. Led by former Colorado Governor Bill Ritter, the report published by the Center for the New Energy Economy (CNEE) was inspired by a meeting Ritter had with President Obama and other clean energy leaders last year, in which the President solicited advice on how he could lawfully accelerate the deployment of clean energy. Ritter’s document, “Powering Forward,” lays out over 200 recommendations.

Skip to next paragraph

offers extensive coverage of all energy sectors from crude oil and natural gas to solar energy and environmental issues. To see more opinion pieces and news analysis that cover energy technology, finance and trading, geopolitics, and sector news, please visit Oilprice.com.

Recent posts

The recommendations fall into five categories: energy efficiency; cleantech finance; natural gas production; integrating clean energy into the grid; and alternative fuels and vehicles.

The recommendations vary from the not-very-new (use federal procurement to purchase energy efficient goods and services), the vague (streamline regulatory process X to speed up deployment of Y), and the all too often recommendation that calls for a new report that will issue future recommendations. (Related article: Harvard Research Team has Breakthrough on Battery Storage

However, there are a bunch of interesting ideas as well.

•    For example, the report suggests modifying mortgage rules such that qualifying for federally backed mortgage loans would require new homes be constructed with updated energy efficiency standards. 
•    Gov. Ritter’s report argues that there are significant environmental benefits of increased natural gas production, but calls for a national methane leak-reduction strategy in order to reduce emissions in the drilling process. Such a strategy would be spearheaded by the White House in collaboration with the states in order to “reach an agreement on guidelines that indicate a ceiling on the amount of methane that can be released from the natural gas value chain while retaining the resource’s advantages over coal and oil in regard to greenhouse gas emissions.”  
•    While light on some detail, the report suggests the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issue new regulations that incorporate the administration’s objectives on greenhouse gases. For example, FERC could approve premiums for return on investment rates for transmission projects to those that meet clean energy and climate goals. 
•    Ensuring grid reliability while integrating clean energy is a hot topic in energy circles these days, with many predicting the declining importance of the centralized utility in the coming years. The CNEE report tries to strike a balance, arguing that utilities are key to a “21st Century electricity grid,” but that they need to evolve to incorporate more distributed generation. In this regard, the report believes the Tennessee Valley Authority – a corporation owned by the government – can act as a laboratory for the “future of the utility” by transitioning to cleaner energy while decoupling profits from electricity sales. 
•    Finally, on alternative fuels, CNEE calls on the White House to develop clear national objectives, which prioritize performance over fuel-specific policies. This would seem to hint at overhauling policies of the recent past like the renewable fuels standard and since-expired subsidies for ethanol.

While there is a lot to the 200-plus page document, and many of the recommendations will never be implemented, they do provide some clues to what the administration might be thinking as it tries to implement the President’s Climate Action Plan. Unlike other think-tank documents that often get lost in cyberspace after publication, it appears Ritter’s group had the interest of the President from the outset, and given that the launch event featured Obama’s former climate adviser, Heather Zichal, one can assume the report is being widely read inside the White House.

Original article: http://oilprice.com/Alternative-Energy/Renewable-Energy/Energy-Experts-Call-for-Executive-Action-on-Clean-Energy.html

The Christian Science Monitor has assembled a diverse group of the best energy bloggers out there. Our guest bloggers are not employed or directed by the Monitor and the views expressed are the bloggers' own, as is responsibility for the content of their blogs. To contact us about a blogger, click here. To add or view a comment on a guest blog, please go to the blogger's own site by clicking on the link in the blog description box above.

  • Weekly review of global news and ideas
  • Balanced, insightful and trustworthy
  • Subscribe in print or digital

Special Offer

 

Doing Good

 

What happens when ordinary people decide to pay it forward? Extraordinary change...

Danny Bent poses at the starting line of the Boston Marathon in Hopkinton, Mass.

After the Boston Marathon bombings, Danny Bent took on a cross-country challenge

The athlete-adventurer co-founded a relay run called One Run for Boston that started in Los Angeles and ended at the marathon finish line to raise funds for victims.

 
 
Become a fan! Follow us! Google+ YouTube See our feeds!