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Reports on Energy
The reports below represent a sample of Frontier Group’s work on Energy. For more of our reports on this and related topics, please visit www.PolicyArchive.org. Full archive coming soon.
The United States is responsible for more climate-changing pollution in the atmosphere than any other country. As the fight to avoid the worst effects of global warming intensifies, American pollution-cutting efforts are setting an example for the world.
Deeper cuts are needed at home and abroad, but by fully implementing policies already enacted at the state and federal levels – including the Clean Power Plan, the first national policy to limit climate pollution from power plants – the U.S. can prevent as much as 1.1 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide pollution annually by 2025.(June 2015)
Net energy metering has been instrumental in the rapid growth of solar energy in the United States, making it more affordable for people to “go solar” and enabling solar panel owners to earn fair compensation for benefits they provide to other users of the electricity grid and to society at large. The 11 studies reviewed in Shining Rewards demonstrate that the value created by solar energy – in avoided energy losses, reduced need for capital investment in the grid and reduced greenhouse gas emissions – is often higher than the compensation solar panel owners earn through net metering.(June 2015)
Ohio has a great deal to lose from the freeze and rollback of the Clean Energy Law – and stands to lose even more if the law is permanently frozen or repealed. In just the second year of the freeze, according to this report’s analysis, Ohioans will miss out on energy savings worth as much as $218 million, while the state will produce up to an additional 3.7 million metric tons of carbon dioxide pollution. If the freeze is left in place, the costs will rise, leading potentially to an extra 27.7 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions in 2025.(June 2015)
America’s major cities have played key roles in the clean energy revolution and stand to reap significant benefits from solar energy adoption. Many cities are already benefitting from smart policies that encourage investment in solar energy. Shining Cities: Harnessing the Benefits of Solar Energy in America is the second report in our series ranking cities for their installed solar PV capacity - showing that cities from every region of the U.S. are driving solar development with strong public policies.(March 2015)
Wind power is on the rise across America, increasing 24-fold since 2001. But with the urgent need for action against global warming and America's tremendous wind energy potential, wind power has the potential to make an even greater contribution to a cleaner future less dependent on fossil fuels. More Wind, Less Warming documents American wind energy's role in reducing carbon pollution today and shows how a future of 30% wind energy can help the U.S. meet its obligations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, protecting ourselves and future generations from the worst impacts of global warming.(December 2014)
America could meet its energy needs by capturing just a sliver of the virtually limitless and pollution-free energy that strikes the nation every day in the form of sunlight. With solar installation costs falling, the efficiency of solar cells rising, and the threats of air pollution and global warming ever-looming, solar power is becoming a more attractive and widespread source of energy every day. Star Power: The Growing Role of Solar Energy in America challenges our local, state and federal government officials to set strong goals and implement pro-solar policies to spur America to meet at least 10 percent of our nation’s electricity needs with solar power by 2030.(November 2014)
Solar energy is on the rise. Over the course of the last decade, the amount of solar photovoltaic (PV) capacity in the United States has increased more than 120-fold, from 97 megawatts in 2003 to more than 12,000 megawatts at the end of 2013. America’s solar energy revolution has been led by 10 states that have the greatest amount of solar energy capacity installed per capita. These 10 states have opened the door for solar energy with solar-friendly public policies, and they are reaping the rewards as a result. This report is a follow-up analysis of our 2013 report, Lighting the Way, in which we compared the solar energy policies of the states with the nation’s most well-developed solar energy markets. This report notes changes from last year’s rankings, as well as policy developments over the last year.
South Portland, Maine, became “ground zero” for the tar sands debate when residents, in partnership with several statewide environmental groups, qualified a ballot initiative to stop the oil industry from establishing Portland Harbor as the U.S. East Coast shipping hub for tar sands’ entry into the world market. In response, Big Oil launched a massive, $750,000 campaign to defeat the initiative in a city of just 25,000 people. Using Big Oil’s campaign to defeat South Portland’s Waterfront Protection Ordinance as a case study, this report describes the tools and tactics the industry can be expected to use to keep alive the possibility of shipping tar sands oil out of Portland Harbor.(July 2014)
Increasing the use of electric vehicles – especially those powered by clean, renewable sources of electricity – can protect the climate and help America get off oil. Driving Cleaner estimates that in 2025, widespread use of electric vehicles, coupled with a cleaner electricity grid, could reduce global warming pollution by 18.2 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent per year, compared to conventional vehicles. Federal and state governments can realize these emission reductions by committing to policies that will increase the number of electric vehicles on the road; speed the growth of clean, renewable electricity; and curtail the use of dirty electricity sources.(June 2014)
Solar power is on the rise across America—increasing 200-fold in the United States since 2002—and major cities are helping to lead this clean energy revolution. Shining Cities: At the Forefront of America’s Solar Energy Revolution shows that cities from every region of the U.S. are driving solar development with strong public policies – reaping important benefits for the environment, public health, and the economy. By building local solar power, cities can keep more of their energy budget at home and create good local jobs.(April 2014)
Although North Carolina has been a national solar leader, one of the state's biggest, largely untapped potential markets for solar power is large commercial buildings, such as "big box" retail stores, supercenters and shopping malls. Tapping into this solar resource to boost North Carolina’s solar capacity can have substantial benefits for the state’s environment, public health and economy. Solar on Superstores quantifies the solar power potential of North Carolina's commercial buildings and argues for strong solar policies that can help the state take advantage of this clean energy resource.(February 2014)
America’s wind power capacity has quadrupled in the last five years. In 2012, more wind energy was added to the U.S. electric grid than any other form of electricity generation. Thanks to wind energy, America uses less water for power plants and produces less climate-altering carbon pollution. Wind Energy for a Cleaner America II documents the growing environmental benefits of wind energy and urges the continuation and expansion of key public policies that support the development of wind power.(November 2013)
Ohioans are realizing the benefits of Clean Energy Law - renewable energy projects and energy efficiency measures are saving energy, cutting costs for residents and businesses, and protecting Ohioans public health and the environment. Over the past four years, creative utility programs have spurred 5 million killowatt-hours of energy savings and driven hundreds of renewable energy projects acros the state - demonstrating that the Clean Energy Law is working and making Ohio a leader in renewable energy and energy efficiency. Ohio's Clean Energy Success Story, Year 4 documents the transformative impact of the Clean Energy Law in its fourth year, highlighting the most creative and effective utility programs that are moving the state towards a clean energy future.(November 2013)
Recognizing that energy efficiency can save money, improve the reliability of the electricity system, and reduce pollution, Maryland enacted the EmPOWER Maryland Act in 2007, directing utilities to cut per-capita energy use 15 percent below 2007 levels by 2015. Unfortunately, due to poor implementation by the Public Service Commission (PSC) and the utilities, EmPOWER Maryland energy efficiency programs are not delivering adequate electricity savings to meet the 2015 goals. Stepping up to Bigger Savings discusses how Maryland utilities can move the state toward an energy-efficient economy by adopting energy efficiency programs that are succeeding in other states.(November 2013)
Over the past decade, the oil and gas industry has fused two technologies—hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling—in a highly polluting effort to unlock oil and gas in underground rock formations. Fracking is already underway in 17 states, with more than 80,000 wells drilled or permitted since 2005. Fracking by the Numbers quantifies some of the key impacts of fracking to date—including the production of toxic wastewater, water use, chemicals use, air pollution, land damage and global warming emissions.(October 2013)