By Stephen Wright, Gulf States Renewable Energy Industries Association
When two million people suffer power outages like we saw across our region last month, no stone should be left unturned in assessing what happened--and what needs to change.
CIEL Supports the UN's Statement Denouncing Environmental Racism in Cancer Alley, and Calling for an End to Petrochemical Expansion
Originally published on Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL)
NEW ORLEANS, LA – Today, human rights experts appointed by the United Nations Human Rights Council released a statement raising “serious concerns” about further industrialization of Cancer Alley in Louisiana, saying that the “development of petrochemical complexes is a form of environmental racism.” The statement comes after years of campaigning by Louisiana residents and the submission of a letter led by Loyola law students to the United Nations Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia, and related intolerance late last year.
As we've reported in the past, in 2020 Louisiana's Governor kicked off a Climate Initiatives Task Force along with clear goals for reducing emissions to "net zero" across Louisiana over the coming three decades. The 23 full Task Force members represent the decision-making body; their work is divided across 6 Committees and 4 Advisory Groups, each composed of both task force members and additional relevant expertise. A full list of all Task Force Committee, and Advisory group members can be found here.
Much of the Task Force represents the interests of the "incumbent" power: oil and gas trade groups, manufacturing and business interests, and utilities, while a smaller portion of members represent environmental justice advocates, clean energy experts, and equity-focused allies. In order to ensure the work of this Task Force and climate efforts to come are informed by real Louisianans, we are working with organizations across the state to support public input and engagement. We know that climate action must be equitable, otherwise we will only double down on Louisiana's social and environmental injustices.
The Alliance is part of the region-wide people-powered effort called "Gulf South for A Green New Deal", which is a collaborative of grassroots organizations across the five states across the Gulf of Mexico. Louisiana's efforts are focusing on the Climate Task Force, and also improving fair housing and the development of renewable energy across the state.
Over the next year, we are meeting regularly with anyone who is interested in building a people-centered set of recommendations to the task force and various agencies. Join us won't you!?
Let us know if you want in.
Our infrastructure was not designed for the new world we face.
In six months we’ve seen two black swan weather events cause an energy crisis. As we reckon with the systems engineering impact of extreme weather, energy resilience will undoubtedly emerge as an essential underpinning of our future grid.
The first of these events was in August of 2020. A multi-state heat wave led to blackouts in California when the power system operator couldn’t secure adequate generation to meet immense air conditioning loads.
The second event is happening as we speak. A massive winter storm is delivering crushingly low temperatures across much of the US. Texas, most of which currently does not have power, is being hit the hardest, not necessarily in absolute temperature, but relative to their typical winters.
Lawmakers and the Murdoch media target wind and solar but grid operator says fossil fuel generators suffered biggest problems
The Wall Street Journal said in an editorial that “the power grid is becoming less reliable due to growing reliance on wind and solar, which can’t provide power 24 hours a day, seven days a week”.
While some wind turbines did freeze, failures in natural gas, coal and nuclear energy systems were responsible for nearly twice as many outages as renewables, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (Ercot), which operates the state’s power grid, said in a press conference on Tuesday.
Also gone were the state’s energy efficiency programs, which had saved consumers and corporations millions of dollars. When citizens tried to organize a referendum to repeal the bill, FirstEnergy indulged in various dirty tactics to thwart this democratic opposition.
Karen made notable contributions as an officer in the League of Women Voters and cofounder of the Alliance for Affordable Energy. Propelled by a strong sense of civic duty and the common good, Karen advocated for the rights of utility customers and promoted energy efficiency and progressive energy policies in New Orleans and across the country.
Desiring to be closer to family, she moved to St. Augustine in 2015 and became actively involved in the lives of her grandchildren. Karen touched many lives, as evident in the vast variety of friends she made. Her bright spirit lit up every room she walked into. Karen's family will host a Zoom-assisted celebration of her life in February. Anyone who knew Karen and is interested may contact a member of the family.
We are grateful for Karen's vision, leadership and commitment to the Alliance.
If you would like to make a donation to Karen Wimpelberg's special memorial fund please use the button below. Karen’s mentorship was vital to so many in keeping the mission of the Alliance going. Therefore we will direct any donated funds to support our internship program to maintain that spirit.
With all of this hubbub about the potential loss of oil and gas jobs in Louisiana due to new Federal policy, it makes sense to dig a bit deeper into the actual job numbers. The Louisiana Mid-Continent Oil and Gas Association (LMOGA) claims 48,000 jobs will be lost, yet the most recent report by the Louisiana Workforce Commission claims only 1.5% of Louisiana’s jobs are in oil and gas. So what gives??
The Alliance is hiring a full time Climate Coordinator to support organization-wide efforts to combat climate change through organizing, regulatory policy, and litigation. Commitment of a minimum of 40 hours per week is required. Due to the nature of the Alliance’s work, it is understood that additional hours may be required and that some flexibility in daily hours may be required. This position reports directly to the Executive Director.
The Alliance is hiring a full time New Orleans Policy Manager to promote energy efficiency, renewable energy, and consumer protection, within the New Orleans regulatory environment. Commitment of a minimum of 40 hours per week is required. Due to the nature of the Alliance’s work, it is understood that additional hours may be required and that some flexibility in daily hours may be required. This position reports directly to the Executive Director.
Updated March 4, February 8, 2021
Originally Posted January 29, 2021
In New Orleans, at least part of the bill spike is due to the Fuel Adjustment Charge more than doubling, plus the charge for the new gas plant, all on top of the higher usage from the cold and being home due to Covid. Entergy sent a letter to the City Council back on December 18th (attached), to let them know about some of these changes, as they are required to alert the Council if the fuel charge has a significant increase.
The Fuel Adjustment Charge gives us insight into the bill impact when power plants are down and gas costs spike. This charge (also called a Fuel and Purchased Power rider on bills) is based on what was happening in energy markets two months prior and it is always on this two month lag.
Back in November 2020 (think way back!) three things happened that all impact this one line item.
Sierra Club Report Exposes ‘Dirty Truth’ about Electric Utilities’ Climate Pledges: Entergy New Orleans and Entergy Louisiana Receive Worst Ratings in State
The Dirty Truth About Utility Climate Pledges
Report by Sierra Club, John Romankiewicz, Cara Bottorff, Leah C. Stokes
January 25, 2021
NEW ORLEANS, LA -- The Sierra Club released a groundbreaking report and research tool today that grades utilities based on their plans to retire coal plants, stop building new gas plants, and invest in clean energy. The tool gives the public the power to judge each utility’s climate progress based on its stated carbon reduction goals and how that compares to what science actually demands. Sierra Club will update the scores in this analysis on a regular basis.
“Entergy New Orleans and Entergy Louisiana each received the worst possible grade because the utilities plan to invest in new fracked gas power plants while making very little investments in proven and affordable options like energy efficiency, wind, and solar power,” said Dave Stets, Delta Chapter Chair from New Orleans. “Utilities could save $1.1 billion annually if Louisiana’s remaining coal plants retire by 2030 and replaced with energy efficiency and renewable energy.”
Sky High Electric Bill? Here's Why! Interview with Our Executive Director Logan Burke by Jennifer Crockett
Electricity systems are designed to meet peak demand — the maximum load during a specified period, typically in summer — even if that demand occurs only a few hours in a year. Yet most evaluations of electricity efficiency programs focus on reductions in annual energy use. However, these efficiency programs are also delivering peak demand savings at an affordable cost.
A new study, Peak Demand Savings From Energy Efficiency: Practices and Opportunities (link is external), by the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) explores the program administrator (PA) cost – or the cost to implement an energy efficiency program to a utility or third party administrator – of saving peak demand through efficiency programs for electric utility customers.
Now the Council is expected to take up a final renewable resolution in January 2021. So, what does the rule on the Council’s desks look like, and does it meet those top four goals laid out by the Council earlier this year? Here is the breakdown.
We’ve posted the spreadsheets from 2019, 2020, 2021 on our Bills & Economics page, and will continue to update those as the year goes on. AND, once we get a little free time on our hands, we plan to dive into some of those bill components! Why does Entergy have so many ‘riders’? What is a ROE, and why is Cleco’s so high? Stay tuned friends, in the meantime you can read up on Why Utility Rate Design is So Hot Right Now.
Learn more about what these changes mean for you, your utility bill, and the future of net metering in this interesting article by Catherine Lane, originally published on Solar Reviews!
This task force must work together and with the people of our state, to lean into our expertise and to look to proven policies and technologies to reduce emissions and protect our coast.
Most importantly, the task force must center the people who make Louisiana so great.
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