The Appalachian Energy Summit, held in mid-July in Boone, North Carolina, had the 2017 theme, “Perspectives: Policy & Practice.” This theme highlighted the interdisciplinary approach necessary for the successful deployment of efficient and sustainable energy.
Three topics from the summit—education, community, and leadership—were discussed in detail, all of which relate to energy in unique ways. The summit’s main ideas of the topics were presented in relation to the deployment of energy-based technology, though they can be applied to almost any industry. Continue reading
As a society, we expect a lot from our schools. In addition to teaching basic skills, we hope our educational institutions will prepare students to be 21st century leaders. Part of preparing future leaders includes teaching students about environmental topics and helping them develop tools to understand and address environmental challenges.
One environmental topic that many schools are now trying to incorporate into their curricula is energy (in particular the role of energy efficiency and renewable energy), but these can be tough ideas to teach. Energy brings together complex concepts, from the science of electricity to broader questions of how our energy use impacts the environment. In the face of this challenge, schools have a unique opportunity to educate through real-world application of concepts and hands on projects. Schools are in a unique position to become public leaders in taking advantage of new improvements in technology and growing renewable energy markets. Schools have predictable electrical consumption, teachers who are able to take advantage of new educational tools, and generally have enough real estate to install new energy systems.
On Monday, June 8, 2015, Hawai’i Governor David Y. Ige signed into law four energy bills, including House Bill 623, which will “strengthen Hawaii’s commitment to clean energy by directing the state’s utilities to generate 100 percent of their electricity sales from renewable energy resources by 2045,” according to the press release by the Governor’s office. This remarkable measure will make Hawai‘i the first state in the country to have a 100 percent renewable energy portfolio standard (RPS) for the electricity sector.
In North Carolina, and around the country, growth in the deployment of solar photovoltaic (PV) power has accelerated dramatically in recent years. However, from the standpoint of financing the provision of electric power to customers, this growth in solar deployment presents challenges to the traditional business models of investor-owned utilities (IOUs). How will the electric power industry adapt in the coming years, especially from the standpoint of sustainable financing of clean energy?
Glenn Barnes is a Senior Project Director with the Environmental Finance Center at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
For the past several years, the Environmental Finance Center has worked to set up energy efficiency and renewable energy finance programs around the country as a technical assistance provider to the US Department of Energy. These programs range from energy improvements for the sponsoring entity’s own operations to programs that encourage clean energy in the community at large.
For communities interested in establishing these types of programs, the process is less about selecting from one of a handful of “off the shelf” program designs and is rather about making a series of choices that shape the final program design. Continue reading