Water funds are a collective investment vehicle in which stakeholders collaborate to implement nature-based source water protection. Downstream water users invest in upstream land and water management practices, compensating upstream land managers for restoration activities and better management of agricultural land. Rural landowners and communities can benefit economically from these investments as well. Mutual benefits are the hallmark of successful water funds.
Archive for category: Analysis
Recent strategies and policies to phase out coal in China have led to an increase in demand for natural gas. In October 2017, China’s Ministry of Environmental Protection unveiled plans to cut harmful air pollution, especially the particularly damaging fine particulate matter known as PM2.5. The plan, or “Coal Ban,” has set strict targets on air quality levels in addition to a ban on burning coal in 28 of its northern cities, including Beijing. However, while the air quality improved significantly in Beijing this past winter, the rapid ban on coal burning and the transition to natural gas has left thousands without heat.
Electricity markets are complex compared to other markets such as transportation and physical commodities markets, as supply and demand are required to be matched in real time. In addition to this, mismatches in electricity load scheduling can lead to serious consequences such as blackouts. Due to its high social importance, in many countries, the electricity sector was previously owned and operated by state agencies. This has however changed, and many countries have restructured and deregulated their electricity markets. Regulated and deregulated electricity markets have their pros and cons in terms of consumer price, efficiency and environmental impacts. In this article, the case of United States is examined to compare the renewable integration strategies in these two different types of electricity markets. In the United States, the Northeast, Midwest, Texas and California have deregulated market structures while other parts have regulated markets. Currently, 24 states have a deregulated generation sector and 18 of them have deregulation at retail level also.
Over the last few years, the conversation has changed to not “if” but “when” the vehicle electrification revolution will occur. Many of the major automakers have recently announced strategies to focus on plug-in electric vehicles (EVs). Ford, realizing “an inflection point in the major markets toward battery electric vehicles”, created “Team Edison” dedicated on developing all-electric cars and plans to introduce 13 new battery electric vehicles by 2023. GM announced its commitment to an all-electric future and will offer at least 20 all-electric vehicle models by 2023. Volvo will have an electric motor in every car it sells beginning in 2019. Mercedes-Benz plans to offer each model in an electric version by 2022.
In March this year, I wrote about the how the Italian model could unlock the great energy efficiency potential in the country’s SMEs. While energy audits are mandatory for large companies, Italy requires them for certain SMEs as well.
New data presented in the Energy Efficiency Annual Report 2017 published by ENEA, the Italian National Agency for New Technologies, Energy, and Sustainable Economic Development, confirms how the energy audits model continues to be successful in Italy. 2016 data reveals that 20% of the total energy audits received were performed by SMEs, and shows that potential savings between 0,8 Mtoe and 1,1 Mtoe could be achieved with a payback period equal or less then three to five years respectively.
What is the secret to this success? We already know that one of the keys is that the Italian model requires SMEs to undergo energy audits in case it is an energy consuming company, and mandatory implementations of the identified measures.
Maryland’s Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard (RPS) serves two purposes: to promote the growth of a renewable energy industry, and to increase the production of renewable energy resources in the state.
The Renewable Portfolio Standards are often touted as a policy that has generated both economic benefits and jobs in the state. But the data presented here shows that these claims may not hold up.
A recent report published in Nature Energy by researchers at two UK institutions, the University of Sheffield and Imperial College London, considers the “enabling conditions in Great Britain and the potential for rapid fuel switching in other coal-reliant countries.” The report found that the United Kingdom’s overall carbon emissions dropped by 6% in 2016, thanks to “cleaner electricity production.” Importantly, the report found that the reduction was not due to an increase in lower-carbon nuclear or renewable energy sources, but rather, the underestimated benefits of switching from coal to natural gas energy generation. If a fuel switch can be encouraged to make better use of existing gas infrastructure, the fuel switch may be able to scale up quickly and produce significant near-term emission reductions.
There is a short analogy that has been used to explain the human response to climate change (whether in the form of denial, inaction, or delay, or simply nonchalance): that if you throw a frog into a pot of boiling water, he will hop right out, but if you put the frog in a pot of cold water and then turn on the burner, he will remain calmly in the pot until he is fully cooked.
The analogy does provide some insight into our lackadaisical response to a changing climate. From a human perspective, climate change is indeed a slow-moving phenomenon, but geologically-speaking, it is incredibly rapid. As a set of events and changes unleashed primarily by our discovery of fossil fuels some 300 years ago (and dramatically increased rates of extraction and combustion mostly in the last hundred), a cognitive sense of changing climate is distributed across only a dozen generations – either too slow to notice, or too ambiguous to come to conclusions about causality.
Trends in the LNG market in Japan have a significant impact on global energy markets, with implications for the global economy and security. This article examines the outlook for the Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) market in Japan based on government data and other sources.