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In the aftermath of the recent PG&E shutdowns, we wrote about the hardships that Californians faced–especially those who didn’t have solar and battery storage available to them. The ordeal exposed the inequity for those who can’t afford distributed energy. As High Country News reported,
How To Fix This: California has some of the most robust low-income solar incentive programs in the country like the Self-Generation Incentive Program (SGIP) and its Equity Budget which allocates 25% of the SGIP budget to help low-income communities have access to solar plus storage. But these programs haven’t flourished as there are so many upfront costs associated with distributed resources that still make them unaffordable. However, recent changes to the Equity Budget hope to alleviate some of these upfront costs.
Why This Matters: Distributed energy can help supply energy during blackouts and decreased reliance on transmission lines can help prevent wildfires from sparking. However, residential solar and battery storage cannot just be a luxury available for the wealthy, it should be a right for all communities capable of having it. Even as we make broader investments in renewable energy overall (as the Dept. of Energy recently did) we must ensure that deployment of green technology is equitable and accessible to everyone who needs it.
President Trump trumpeted his trade deal with China, but so far it has been a bust, according to The Wall Street Journal — the Chinese have not purchased nearly the amount of energy (in terms of total dollars) as they promised — only $2B in oil and gas purchases against a commitment of $25B for this year.
A federal judge in Washington, DC ruled yesterday that the Dakota Access Pipeline must shut down and empty all its oil until the government completes an environmental review of the pipeline’s impacts, giving the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, whose reservation lies downstream, a huge victory. Similarly, late in the day, the Supreme Court refused to overturn the order of a district judge that shut down construction of parts of the Keystone XL pipeline so it is also blocked for now.
Why It Matters: The Dakota and Keystone XL news is greatly tempered by the fact that numerous other pipeline projects can go ahead despite their inadequate permit unless they are individually challenged in court and blocked.
Yesterday, Dominion Energy and its partner, Duke Energy, announced they were ending a 600-mile natural gas project that would have cost at least $8 billion to complete. As the Richmond Times-Dispatch wrote, Dominion and Duke canceled the construction of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline in the face of mounting regulatory uncertainty caused by a federal court […]
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