Trump donors and appointees poised to profit off science agencies

Read the full story at Reveal.

When Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt declared last week that “the war against coal is over,” it was cheery news for some of President Donald Trump’s most generous financial supporters.

The nation’s coal mining interests – from CEOs and corporate attorneys to ordinary miners in small towns in West Virginia and Kentucky – together pumped more than $6 million into Trump’s campaign last year, according to an analysis of the president’s top campaign donors by Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting.

Trump taps climate skeptic for top White House environmental post

Read the full story in the Washington Post.

President Trump on Thursday tapped Kathleen Hartnett-White, a former chairman of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, to head a key White House office that coordinates environmental and energy policies across the government.

The nomination of Hartnett-White to chair the administration’s Council on Environmental Quality is not entirely surprising — she previously had been considered to head the Environmental Protection Agency — but nevertheless is sure to infuriate environmental advocates.

Like other members of the Trump administration, she has long questioned the overwhelming scientific consensus on human-fueled climate change and has criticized the findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a volunteer group of climate scientists whose findings are considered the gold standard of climate science. And she has described efforts to combat global warming as little more than an attack on the fossil fuel industry.

Identifying Potential Markets for Behind-the-Meter Battery Energy Storage: A Survey of U.S. Demand Charges

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Commercial electricity customers who are subject to high demand charges may be able to reduce overall costs using battery energy storage to manage demand, according to research by NREL.

The analysis represents the first publicly available survey of commercial-sector demand charges across the United States. By determining where high demand charges are located and the number of customers that may be paying them, researchers provide insight into the commercial battery storage market across the United States.

The white paper, Identifying Potential Markets for Behind-the-Meter Battery Energy Storage: A Survey of U.S. Demand Charges, details an analysis of more than 10,000 utility tariffs in 48 states. The findings indicate that approximately 5 million commercial customers across the country may be able to achieve electricity cost savings by deploying battery storage to manage peak demand.

Many medium to large commercial customers are subject to utility demand charges, yet customers often do not understand how these charges are structured or calculated. Demand charges are a portion of an electricity bill based on a customer’s peak level of demand and are typically based on the highest average electricity usage occurring within a defined time interval (usually 15 minutes) during a billing period. In many cases, these demand charges can account for anywhere from 30% to 70% of a customer’s electricity bill.

Many states have adopted policies to encourage energy efficiency

Read the full story from the Energy Information Administration.

As of July 2017, thirty states and the District of Columbia have adopted energy efficiency policies—either mandated requirements, voluntary goals, or pilot programs—designed to lower the growth of electricity consumption by using electricity more efficiently. Seven of these states have either created new or updated existing energy efficiency standards within the past year.

Appliance and Equipment Efficiency Standards: A Roadmap for State and Local Action

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This new working paper examines how the Energy Policy and Conversation Act (“EPCA”), and the DOE regulations promulgated thereunder, place limits on the ability of states and cities to outlaw the use of inefficient appliances and equipment.  It surveys existing state efficiency laws that cover products beyond federal jurisdiction, and discusses several steps states can take to advance appliance and equipment efficiency including: (i) seeking EPCA waivers from DOE to create and enforce statewide standards for federally covered products (and, if necessary, litigating the rejection of any such waiver petition); (ii) regulating non-federally covered products such as computers; (iii) encouraging the use of more efficient appliances and equipment through local building codes for new construction; and (iv) revising procurement laws to require the use of products that exceed federal efficiency standards.

Memo to the President: Support for Green Climate Fund Puts America First

Read the full story at e360.

President Trump plans to end U.S. contributions to the Green Climate Fund, which helps developing countries finance climate-related projects. But his decision ignores the reality that this cost-effective global initiative protects the strategic interests of the United States.

Strong Public Support for State-level Policies to Address Climate Change

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This report presents findings from the Spring 2017 National Surveys on Energy and Environment (NSEE) fielded just prior to President Trump’s June 2017 announcement to withdraw the U.S. from the 2015 international climate agreement negotiated in Paris and subsequent pledges by a number of states to continue to honor their share of Paris emission reduction commitments. The data suggest that these state-level pledges match the expectations of a majority of Americans who feel that in the absence of federal action, state governments have a responsibility to act to address climate change. Furthermore, while it is still unclear what specific policies states will seek to uphold their pledges, our data finds the suite of policy options that have previously formed the backbone of state climate policy are likely to enjoy broad-based public support across the political spectrum. This even holds among those who don’t necessarily think that climate change is occurring.