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Energy

Diablo Canyon Closure Decision Missing Critical Elements

By Peter Miller

The historic proposal to retire and replace California's last remaining nuclear power plant, Diablo Canyon, was mostly rejected Thursday in a final decision unanimously adopted by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), which removed critical elements protecting the climate, plant workers and surrounding communities. The commission voted to approve this decision, setting the wheels in motion to close the plant by 2025, but without these protections.

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Energy

FERC Rejection of Coal and Nuclear Bailout Is Big Win for Renewable Energy

By Alex Formuzis

Federal regulators' rejection Monday of the White House's scheme to prop up the coal and nuclear power industries is a big win for electricity customers and renewable energy, said Environmental Working Group (EWG) President Ken Cook. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) denied a petition by Energy Sec. Rick Perry to require the use of electricity from coal and nuclear plants, even when cheaper sources are available—a move analysts said would drive up Americans' utility bills by billions of dollars a year.

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Energy
This data visualization shows very cold temperatures gripping large portions of North America on Jan. 1, 2018. The cold is a key ingredient in forming the "bomb cyclone" along the East Coast. NOAA

'Bomb Cyclone' Brings Freezing Weather as Grid Debate Intensifies

Temperatures continue in their second week of freezing lows in much of the U.S. as the Northeast braces for an intense "bomb cyclone" storm expected to hit Thursday.

Science studies and models report that the outbreak of arctic air bringing freezing temperatures to the lower U.S. is consistent with a warming planet, while researchers also report the conditions fueling the current bomb cyclone are consistent with trends linked to climate change that intensify nor'easters.

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Energy
Midtown Manhattan, New York City. Jonathan Morgan / Flickr

Cuomo Commits to Set Energy Efficiency Goal for New York

By Kit Kennedy and Miles Farmer

In an advance State of the State proposal released Tuesday, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo committed to "propose a comprehensive and far reaching energy efficiency initiative by Earth Day, April 22," including a new 2025 energy efficiency savings target.

The governor's commitment is an important first step to transforming the state into a national energy efficiency leader. Energy efficiency is fundamental for climate progress and integral to the state's clean energy platform. The governor's vision for New York to go big on energy efficiency comes at a crucial time, as President Trump and Congress pursue their agenda to try to decimate important federal energy efficiency programs.

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Renewable Energy
France's Flamanville: Late and over budget. schoella / Wikimedia Commons

Will Cheap Renewables Make Nuclear Power Obsolete?

By Paul Brown

Cheap renewables are mounting a serious challenge to nuclear power, which in 2017 has had a difficult year.

Key projects have been abandoned, costs are rising, and politicians in countries which previously championed the industry are withdrawing their support.

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Potatoes with wind turbines in Tiemannsegge, Lower Saxony, Germany. antje whv / Flickr

Germany Sets New Renewable Energy Record

Germany has broken another renewable energy record, with clean power providing a third of of the country's electricity in 2017.

Preliminary data from the Association of Energy and Water Industries show that renewable electricity generation grew to a record 33 percent this year, up from 29 percent in 2016.

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Renewable Energy
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100% Renewable Energy Worldwide Isn't Just Possible—It's Also More Cost-Effective

By Lorraine Chow

Transitioning the world to 100 percent renewable electricity isn't just some environmentalist pipe dream—it's "feasible at every hour throughout the year" and is more cost-effective than the current system, which largely relies on fossil fuels and nuclear energy, a new study claims.

The research, compiled by Finland's Lappeenranta University of Technology (LUT) and the Berlin-based nonprofit Energy Watch Group (EWG), was presented Wednesday at the Global Renewable Energy Solutions Showcase, a stand-alone event coinciding with the COP 23 climate talks in Bonn, Germany.

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Federal regulators observe Vogtle Unit 3's liquid processing tanks inside the reactor building in Georgia. Nuclear Regulatory Commission / Flickr

Betraying Ratepayers and Clean Energy Future, Georgia Panel Approves Vogtle Nuclear Reactors

By Jessica Corbett

Georgia's public utility commission voted 5-0 on Thursday to continue construction on two half-finished nuclear reactors that will cost an estimated $25 billion, even though the project is now "more than $10 billion over budget and five years late."

Opponents of nuclear power were disappointed by the unanimous decision, which the Wall Street Journal noted was considered "a victory for Southern Co., whose subsidiary Georgia Power is the primary owner of the Alvin W. Vogtle Electric Generating Plant, which has two existing reactors." The project has faced opposition from local residents as well as national groups that emphasize the long-term risks of nuclear power.

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Energy
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The Obscure Federal Agency That Soon Could Raise Your Electric Bill: 5 Questions Answered on FERC

By Joshua D. Rhodes

Editor's note: On or before Dec. 11, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) is expected to take action on a controversial proposal by Energy Sec. Rick Perry that seeks to prevent noncompetitive coal and nuclear power plants from retiring prematurely. Depending on how such a rule is structured, analyses have estimated that it could cost ratepayers in affected regions up to several billion dollars yearly. Energy scholar Joshua Rhodes explains what FERC is and why it has so much power over energy markets and (indirectly) the prices consumers pay.

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