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The previous longtime mayor of Somerville, Massachusetts, is settling into a brand new job as president of the Northeast Clear Energy Council.

Joseph Curtatone, who took over management of the regional clear energy group in January, is being tasked with increasing the group’s focus to incorporate fairness and environmental justice.

Because the Northeast struggles to curb emissions and adapt to a altering local weather, Curtatone sees a chance to higher unite business and policymakers to decarbonize in a means that ensures historically deprived teams share in the advantages.

“Our mission is now to guide a simply and fast transition to an equitable clear energy future,” Curtatone stated. “As we search to do the work round local weather motion we have to amplify voices which have the closest connection to the ache.”

‘All our work is linked’

The energy council, often called NECEC, was based in 2006 to be a voice for the rising clear energy business in New England. In the present day, it has expanded to incorporate New York and has 1000’s of members throughout the area. Lately it has pushed for adoption of state-level 100% clear electrical energy insurance policies, continued procurements of offshore wind energy and battery storage capability, and participation in regional clear transportation efforts just like the paused Transportation and Local weather Initiative. 

Curtatone’s concern for the atmosphere burgeoned throughout his time as a metropolis alderman within the late Nineties, when he realized that serving to younger folks, seniors, and different residents required consideration to points like open house, air air pollution, and recycling. Curtatone himself has lingering respiratory points he attributed to rising up close to the very busy McGrath Freeway, he stated. 

As he delved into municipal work — eight years on the town council and 9 phrases as mayor that resulted in 2021 — local weather change work turned a pure a part of supporting his constituents, he stated. 

“As mayor I discovered from the very starting how all our work is linked,” he stated. “I actually embraced the strategy of seeing the neighborhood as this advanced ecosystem.” 

Somerville, a metropolis of 81,000 folks situated simply north of Boston, modified quickly throughout Curtatone’s tenure. As soon as usually regarded as an also-ran cousin to neighboring Cambridge, Somerville is now a neighborhood with a fame for sensible growth, progressive beliefs, and environmental motion. In 2018, the town launched a 22-part motion plan aimed toward mitigating local weather change, adapting to its results, and guaranteeing fairness. A subway line extension into the town started operation in March. 

In consequence, Curtatone was a pure candidate for the place at NECEC when it opened up, stated Greg King, a board member who co-chaired the search committee after earlier president Peter Rothstein introduced his departure. King stated the group had turn out to be considerably insular, focusing too narrowly on the promotion of insurance policies to bolster clear energy companies. In trying to find a brand new chief, the board wished somebody who may assist prolong the council’s exercise and attain into the realm of environmental justice. 

“We noticed a necessity for injection of recent blood, new spirit,” King stated. “Joe is coming into the group with an actual curiosity in making an attempt to develop the affect.”

Business as a frontrunner

In Curtatone’s new function, he stated, his technique shall be impressed by his time presiding over the transformation of his residence metropolis. To translate this strategy to his work on the council, he stated, he’ll concentrate on creating a core, shared imaginative and prescient of what the group’s targets are and measure each selection in opposition to these goals. 

“Somerville was in a position to transcend and advance as a neighborhood as a result of we spoke with one voice,” he stated.

He pointed, for instance, to the Green Line extension mission. The state first introduced plans to increase the subway line in 1990. The following 32 years have been marked by debate, lawsuits, and delays. All through all of it, Curtatone stated, Somerville residents and leaders continued to push for the mission, which the neighborhood stated would open up financial alternatives whereas slicing again on air pollution. 

“I used to be overcome with the emotion of, ‘Oh my god, that is lastly right here,’” he stated. “The green line [extension] is a sworn statement to the folks of Somerville, their values, their tenacious and relentless activism to pursue not simply what was promised, however what was simply.”

Reaching the objective of simply clear energy progress would require the pace and new concepts the personal sector can supply, in addition to supportive insurance policies and funding from public leaders, Curtatone stated. 

Amongst his first strikes to faucet into the innovation of the personal sector was selecting a brand new location for council’s workplaces, shifting the operation from Boston to Somerville’s Greentown Labs, a enterprise incubator that hosts clean-tech startup firms. NECEC was already on the lookout for a brand new house and Greentown match Curtatone’s imaginative and prescient for the group’s future. 

“If we need to discuss earnestly and genuinely about innovation in local weather tech and cleantech, we now have to see it up shut,” Curtatone stated. “The concepts and improvements popping out of Greentown are going to have world impression, so it’s vital for us to be within the very depths of that work, to see it up shut.”

On the coverage facet, he intends to concentrate on city-level motion. He envisions a system of sharing and scaling up greatest practices from cities, like Somerville, which have taken motion to decrease emissions and adapt to local weather change with communities which might be nonetheless within the means of determining the appropriate insurance policies. 

Essential to the success of this plan, nonetheless, would be the willingness to hearken to stakeholders throughout the board, he stated. 

“Policymakers have an effect on {the marketplace},” he stated. “However business needs to be main with us — we must always not depend on the general public sector alone to resolve this.”



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Duke just released its N.C. climate plan. Now what?

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Duke just released its N.C. climate plan. Now what?



After months of anticipation, Duke Energy has submitted its plan to just about remove its climate-warming carbon air pollution by midcentury — the centerpiece of a bipartisan energy legislation adopted in North Carolina final 12 months. 

As Duke had previewed earlier than Monday’s submitting, the “Carbon Plan” isn’t a single proposed technique however four portfolios for curbing emissions, and it’ll take weeks earlier than clear energy advocates have totally analyzed the mountain of paperwork. 

In a twist, Duke isn’t asking regulators to decide on a single state of affairs from among the many 4. As a substitute, it desires permission to pursue the short-term investments widespread in all of the pathways, with the leeway to department off into extra particular routes sooner or later. “We’re not saying they’ve to decide on one portfolio right now,” stated Duke spokesperson Invoice Norton. “We’re saying: ‘right here’s what we have to begin with.’”

These near-term actions assist make clear the battle strains that may play out over the following a number of months — with Duke prioritizing an “all-of-the-above” technique that features fossil fuels and experimental expertise, and advocates pushing for faster, extra aggressive investments in wind, {solar}, battery storage and effectivity.

Every state of affairs exhibits Duke constructing small modular reactors — a method of nuclear plant nonetheless within the improvement section — and doing little to arrange for the long-term buildout of offshore wind. All however one delays a key benchmark within the carbon legislation, reaching a 70% reduce from its carbon air pollution by as late as 2034 as a substitute of 2030. Each technique contains almost a dozen new pure gasoline vegetation. 

“I used to be stunned and dismayed to see that every of the brand new portfolios had loads of new gasoline,” stated Gudrun Thompson, a senior lawyer with the Southern Environmental Legislation Heart, “notably since we must be phasing out reliance on fossil fuels.” 

Now, Thompson and different stakeholders will start crunching their very own numbers, sketching out their very own plans and brushing by way of Duke’s 4 situations line by line. Their feedback are due in July, when the seven-member utilities fee can even maintain a number of public hearings. 

“We sit up for presenting the Fee with an alternate plan that might cut back emissions whereas avoiding dangerous investments in new fossil-fuel infrastructure,” Maggie Shober, analysis director at Southern Alliance for Clear Energy, stated in an announcement. 

‘Yearly delayed…’: a query of timing

Thompson isn’t assured the legislation permits the method Duke suggests of following a number of pathways. And the fee may choose a plan submitted in July or develop one all its personal. However Duke’s submitting highlights key questions the panel should resolve by the 12 months’s finish, when the Carbon Plan have to be finalized. 

Timing is one. The 2030 deadline in final 12 months’s legislation isn’t arbitrary: local weather scientists imagine sharp emissions reductions are wanted by then to keep away from world warming’s most catastrophic impacts, and the identical date is mirrored within the state’s Clear Energy Plan, which the fee instructed Duke to include into its Carbon Plan. 

Although the legislation permits for a two-year delay for nearly any motive, and an indefinite delay the place nuclear or offshore wind is anxious, that flexibility ought to solely be utilized as a “final resort,” Michelle Allen, undertaking supervisor at Environmental Protection Fund, stated in a written assertion. 

“The warming results of local weather change are largely depending on the buildup of carbon air pollution over time, making early and chronic air pollution reductions a essential part of actual local weather progress,” Allen wrote. “Yearly delayed can lock in many years of further local weather impacts for North Carolina households, farms and companies.” 

Renewable expertise is prepared now, advocates say. Offshore wind may provide almost 4 occasions what Duke initiatives by 2030, stated Katherine Kollins, president of the Southeastern Wind Coalition. 

“They might simply get 1,500 megawatts from Kitty Hawk and 1,500 from Wilmington East,” she stated, naming two North Carolina offshore wind energy areas, “in the event that they began constructing the infrastructure now.”

And whereas that a lot offshore wind may in the end show too costly within the close to time period, advocates preserve the 2030 objective is inside attain with out violating the legislation’s necessities for a plan that’s “least price” and ensures reliability. 

“Primarily based on what we do find out about the price of renewables, and storage, and energy effectivity, these assets are more and more low-cost,” stated Thompson. “I’m optimistic that our specialists will have the ability to craft a least-cost plan to fulfill the carbon targets on time counting on clear energy assets.” 

What occurs after 2035?

Duke asserts that every one 4 of its portfolios will obtain net-zero carbon by 2050. However the overwhelming majority of the a whole lot of pages of paperwork submitted Monday give attention to what era assets the corporate will construct within the subsequent 15 years with little element after that.  

“It’s too early to foretell what we’ll add after 2035,” stated Duke’s Norton. “The advantage of this course of is now we have to replace it each two years.” 

However advocates say getting ready now for the midcentury mark is essential. For example, the 2 sole charts that do sketch out Duke’s era portfolio seem to vastly underestimate offshore wind potential in 2050 — with just one exceeding 800 megawatts and one with no offshore wind. 

“That’s ridiculous,” Kollins stated. “By 2050, we must be planning for 8 gigawatts of offshore wind, and if we don’t begin desirous about the land-based transmission upgrades required to try this, we’ll set ourselves up for failure.”

In all 4 situations mapped to 2035, the corporate plans over 2.4 gigawatts of latest combined-cycle pure gasoline vegetation (about 4 giant vegetation in comparison with its present fleet of 9), and roughly 1 gigawatt of simple-cycle varieties (seven new vegetation in comparison with its present fleet of 55). 

The midcentury projections present the whole lot of that gasoline fleet nonetheless on-line. A small portion of them look like burning hydrogen as a substitute of gasoline, nevertheless it’s not clear what the remaining are doing — fulfilling advocates’ worst fears. 

The “fracked gasoline vegetation,” David Rogers, Southeast deputy regional director for Sierra Membership’s Past Coal marketing campaign, stated in a written assertion, “will go away Tar Heel households on the hook for billions in stranded prices as these polluting services quickly turn out to be out of date and gasoline costs proceed to be unstable.” 

‘One of the best path ahead for customers’?

The destiny of the gasoline infrastructure raises one other key consideration for utility commissioners: price. Critics have lengthy contended that Duke undervalues renewables, lowballs the price of future fossil gas costs, and disregards the chance of constructing vegetation that might turn out to be unusable earlier than they’ve been paid off. 

Throughout Duke’s final 15-year planning docket, a raft of impartial research discovered that earlier coal plant retirements, mixed with renewables and storage, all got here in cheaper than a reliance on extra gasoline vegetation. One analysis from the Energy Transition Institute discovered that if Duke added 9.6 gigawatts of gasoline by 2035, such stranded property may price ratepayers in each Carolinas $4.8 billion.

This 12 months, Duke’s 4 situations differ comparatively little in price, starting from $95.2 billion to $101.1 billion in internet current worth by midcentury. Norton stated the figures mirror previous critiques of the corporate’s accounting. Nonetheless, different price projections from advocates are certain to look within the coming weeks. 

“The exhaustive evaluation accomplished by all stakeholders thus far has repeatedly concluded that the most effective path ahead for customers and the local weather is one which prioritizes energy effectivity, wind, {solar} and battery storage,” Luis Martinez, senior lawyer with the Pure Sources Protection Council, stated in an announcement.

The nuclear query  

Duke has made no secret of its curiosity in small modular nuclear reactors, telling Bloomberg News in February it was in talks with a number of nuclear corporations about buying the nascent expertise. The pathways the corporate submitted Monday spotlight one other key resolution level for commissioners: how new nuclear ought to issue into the Carbon Plan. 

Proponents imagine the small vegetation can be safer to function and cheaper to assemble than giant vegetation. Duke included two new small modular reactors by 2035 in every of its 4 portfolios, with the expectation to construct from there.

However whereas most clear energy advocates settle for giant, current nuclear energy vegetation of about 1,000 megawatts as a part of a zero-carbon future, they’re at greatest skeptical of small reactors lower than 300 megawatts.

No such vegetation are up and operating at this time in the USA. Critics say one defective manufacturing run of an element may produce widespread issues. And it’s an open query whether or not small nuclear plant building can keep away from the huge price overruns which have recently dogged the big selection. 

“As a substitute of investing in clear, low-cost, protected and ample sources of energy, Duke plans to pour monumental sums of cash into extraordinarily costly, doubtlessly harmful nuclear vegetation that don’t even exist,” stated Ken Cook dinner, the president of the Environmental Working Group, when Duke first revealed its plans to Bloomberg.

At a minimal, Southern Environmental Legislation Heart’s Thompson stated, Duke ought to protect the choice to attend on the brand new expertise.

“I do suppose it will be prudent to have a minimum of one portfolio that doesn’t financial institution on small nuclear reactors, on condition that the expertise shouldn’t be actually commercialized but,” she stated. “I  suppose the jury is out on whether or not you really need these to fulfill the close to time period targets.”



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GE secures order for 1.6GW combined cycle plant in Vietnam

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GE secures order for 1.6GW combined cycle plant in Vietnam




GE secures order for 1.6GW mixed cycle plant in Vietnam


























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Commentary: Oregon must take action to stay in the race to cut emissions

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Commentary: Oregon must take action to stay in the race to cut emissions


The next commentary was written by Meredith Connolly and Shelley Wenzel. Connolly is the Oregon director for Local weather Options, a Northwest-based clear energy coverage nonprofit. Wenzel is an energy information analyst at Energy Innovation, a nonpartisan local weather and energy coverage assume tank. See our commentary guidelines for extra info.


It doesn’t matter what occurs with federal local weather progress, state local weather motion is crucial to chop greenhouse gasoline (GHG) emissions and assist obtain the USA’ dedication to the Paris Settlement. Outdoors the media highlight, Oregon has adopted a number of the nation’s most vital local weather insurance policies, just lately finalizing guidelines to slash emissions from fossil gasoline and transportation, whereas concentrating on 100% clear electrical energy by 2040.

However new research reveals the state gained’t obtain its local weather objectives with out coupling energy sector progress with further insurance policies that get autos, buildings, and business off fossil fuels. In brief, the successful local weather playbook for all main states have to be “clear the grid and electrify every little thing.”

In 2020, Governor Kate Brown enacted an Govt Order (EO) to set a statewide aim of chopping greenhouse gasoline air pollution 45 % by 2035 and 80 % by 2050. The identical EO led to elevated transportation electrification, cleaner fuels, and a Local weather Safety Program (CPP), which units emissions caps for transportation fuels and fossil gasoline.

And final yr, Oregon’s legislature handed the quickest 100% clear electrical energy goal within the West, requiring the state’s largest utilities slash emissions from energy technology 80 % by 2030 and 100% by 2040.

Even with these successes, Energy Innovation modeling reveals the state is off observe for reaching its personal objectives: If all just lately adopted insurance policies are rigorously carried out, Oregon would nonetheless solely reduce emissions 60 % by 2050.

However there’s excellent news. The modeling additionally finds that adopting further insurance policies – particularly for transportation and buildings – wouldn’t solely reduce emissions by 75 %, however would additionally increase statewide GDP by $4 billion, create 18,000 jobs, and stop almost 900 bronchial asthma assaults yearly in 2050.

Oregon’s emissions trajectory

Analyzing statewide GHG sources illuminates why a broader set of insurance policies in Oregon, together with a pathway for a way they are going to be achieved, is required. As with a lot of the U.S., transportation has surpassed the facility sector as the most important greenhouse gasoline supply, composing 35 % of all emissions. In the meantime, houses and buildings consuming energy and gasoline make up the second largest supply at 34 %, adopted by business and agriculture at 10 % every.

With Oregon’s inhabitants anticipated to hit virtually 4.6 million by 2030, these emissions will pattern upward until insurance policies to shift from fossil fuels to scrub electrification begin straight away. Each new gasoline automotive or truck, each new gasoline furnace and new gas-heated constructing or dwelling locks in emissions for many years. With out significant progress in these different sectors, the state gained’t hit its 2050 local weather objectives.

What’s subsequent for Oregon—and different main states

The Oregon coverage modeling used the Energy Policy Simulator, a instrument created in collaboration with Energy Oregon and the Green Energy Institute, to guage the state’s new 100% clear electrical energy by 2040 regulation and the Local weather Safety Program, discovering they get Oregon a lot nearer however nonetheless fall in need of the state’s 80 % discount by 2050 aim. The open supply, peer-reviewed EPS estimates the emissions, jobs, and well being impacts of local weather and energy insurance policies utilizing federal and state information.

The Oregon EPS analysis modeled a set of broader local weather insurance policies for all sectors that will put the state on observe to attain its objectives and align with the U.S. Nationally Decided Contribution (NDC) to the Paris Settlement (i.e., Oregon doing its proportional fair proportion). The findings present an “NDC Situation” for Oregon would keep away from $4.8 billion in local weather and well being prices in 2050 (on prime of the $4 billion in GDP progress).

Oregon is in an ideal place to undertake further insurance policies that leverage its clear electrical energy sector to safe compounding emissions reductions throughout the financial system by means of effectivity and electrification insurance policies.  And state policymakers should make sure the clear energy transition’s well being and financial advantages are broadly shared and attain frontline communities hit the toughest by air pollution and local weather impacts.

First, Oregon ought to undertake a 100% all-electric new autos gross sales commonplace by 2035, paired with an EV subsidy lasting by means of 2030, to supercharge transportation electrification. These insurance policies have to be accompanied by EV charging investments to plug in rural areas, low-income communities, and trucking corridors.

Second, elevated investments in public transportation, in addition to protected strolling and biking paths, would cut back emissions whereas enhancing fairness and air high quality. An growth of the state’s Clear Fuels Program might additional reduce emissions because the state strikes towards a zero-emission future. These transportation sector insurance policies obtain almost one quarter of all of the reductions beneath the NDC Situation, displaying how important they’re to reaching Oregon’s local weather objectives.

Third, Oregon should section out fossil fuels for indoor makes use of. Just like Washington’s just lately handed industrial and huge multi-family constructing heat pump requirement, the NDC Situation modeling finds crucial coverage for chopping greenhouse gasoline emissions from buildings can be a constructing code or commonplace requiring all new buildings or constructing tools to be electric by 2030. This coverage alone achieves over 10 % of all of the NDC Situation’s reductions. To be most impactful, this transition have to be coupled with sturdy effectivity requirements.

These insurance policies additionally create different well being and financial advantages. Transportation electrification, together with higher reliance on energetic transportation, cuts health-damaging particulate and NOx emissions. Electric autos are additionally cheaper to personal and preserve than gasoline automobiles and defend drivers from unstable oil costs. Electric warmth pumps for area or water heating are extra environment friendly than their fossil gasoline burning counterparts, and electric or induction stovetops keep away from dangerous fumes from gasoline cooktops that consultants say could trigger childhood bronchial asthma signs.

Collectively, a broader set of insurance policies like these included within the modeling would get Oregon inside a pair share factors of the state’s 2050 emissions discount aim, whereas further land use and climate-smart agricultural practices might make up the distinction. Equitable coverage design and planning that prioritizes entry and affordability for low-income households and communities will guarantee the advantages are loved by all residents, not simply the rich.

The important thing takeaway

Whereas transitioning the facility grid to 100% clear electrical energy is a important step, Oregon’s lesson is that state local weather motion can nonetheless fall brief if that isn’t coupled with fast electrification. Chopping energy sector emissions alone is not going to resolve local weather change, however it may make a giant distinction and leverage clear electrical energy to safe urgently wanted emissions reductions within the transportation, buildings and industrial sectors. If we equitably and quickly electrify as we clear up our grid, extra of our automobiles and houses might be emissions-free, hopefully in time to keep away from local weather disaster.



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