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UCS Publications | Clean Energy

 

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UCS reports are available online. For print copies of *select* books and other items, see our online store, or complete this order form and send it to UCS Publications, 2 Brattle Sq., Cambridge, MA 02138-3780 (or fax it to 617-864-9405). For orders under $50, add 20% for shipping & handling; over $50, add 10%. UCS members are entitled to a 20% discount on all prices listed.

Burning Coal, Burning Cash: Ranking the States that Import the Most Coal — 2014 Update

Thirty-seven states were net importers of coal in 2012, sending billions of dollars to other states and nations for coal — money that could have instead been used to support local economies.

This 2014 analysis — a follow up to the 2010 Burning Coal, Burning Cash report — ranks the 37 coal-importing states, highlights the rapid changes taking place in the U.S. energy landscape, and provides recommendations for states to move toward a cleaner, healthier, and more affordable energy future.

UCS, January 2014

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Ripe for Retirement: An Economic Analysis of the U.S. Coal Fleet — 2013 Update

As many as 329 coal-fired power generators in 38 states — representing 58.7 gigawatts (GW) of power capacity — are no longer economically competitive compared to a typical existing natural gas plant. They are ripe for retirement and should be considered for closure.

This 2013 update to the report, Ripe for Retirement: The Case for Closing America's Costliest Coal Plants, also includes a comparison with new wind power facilities and determines that as much as 71 GW of coal-fired generating capacity is uncompetitive with this renewable energy source.

UCS, December 2013, 18 pages

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Gas Ceiling: Assessing the Climate Risks of an Overreliance on Natural Gas for Electricity

Natural gas is a fossil fuel. It produces heat-trapping carbon dioxide when combusted, and generates other global warming emissions when it leaks during extraction and distribution through pipelines.

As a result, shifting the U.S. from a coal- to a natural gas-dominated electricity system would still generate substantial global warming emissions — and fail to effectively address the growing dangers of climate change.

UCS, September 2013, 12 pages

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Water-Smart Power: Strengthening the U.S. Elecricity System in a Warming World

The country stands at a critical crossroads. As water-intensive power plants near the end of their lives, the choices we make to replace them will determine the water and climate implications of our electricity system for decades to come.

This report explores the intricacies of water consumption by the U.S. power sector, highlighting how issues such as drought-induced power shutdowns are likely to worsen in a warming world. The report argues that we have a unique opportunity to shift the electricity grid toward water-smart energy choices that also reduce global warming emissions, such as renewable energy sources and efficiency improvements.

UCS, July 2013, 58 pages

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How Renewable Electricity Standards Deliver Economic Benefits

Renewable electricity standards require electric utilities to gradually increase the amount of renewable energy in their power supplies. This approach has been adopted by twenty-nine states and the District of Columbia in an effort to create markets for renewable energy, while reducing dependency on fossil fuels.

This 2013 report finds that not only are utilities meeting these requirements, but they're doing so with little or no added cost to consumers, while also creating jobs and benefiting local governments.

UCS, May 2013, 20 pages

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Ramping up Renewables

Renewable energy is growing rapidly, with record numbers of new wind and solar installations coming online in the U.S.

This 2013 report explores that trend, including a realistic plan for renewable energy to reliably provide 80 percent of U.S. electricity by 2050. It also highlights technologies that would help make that vision possible, including wind and solar power, and makes specific policy recommendations for moving us forward.

UCS, April 2013, 16 pages

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Climate 2030: A National Blueprint for a Clean Energy Economy

The United States has many reasons to make the transition to a clean energy economy. What we need is a comprehensive set of smart policies to jump-start this transition without delay and maximize the benefits to our environment and economy. Climate 2030: A National Blueprint for a Clean Energy Economy (“the Blueprint”) answers that need.

The United States must play a lead role and begin to cut its heat-trapping emissions today—and aim for at least an 80 percent drop from 2005 levels by 2050. Blueprint policies lower U.S. heat-trapping emissions to meet a cap set at 26 percent below 2005 levels in 2020, and 56 percent below 2005 levels in 2030. The nation achieves these deep cuts in carbon emissions while saving consumers and businesses $464 billion annually by 2030

View the executive summary and download the full report.

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Ripe for Retirement: The Case for Closing America's Costliest Coal Plants

This report finds that as many as 353 coal-fired power generators in 31 states — representing up to 59 GW of power capacity — are no longer economically viable compared with cleaner, more affordable energy sources. Simply stated, they are ripe for retirement and should be considered for closure. 

Shutting them down doesn't just make sense financially. Reducing America's reliance on coal would also improve public health, lower global warming emissions, and provide a historic opportunity to accelerate the transition to a cleaner, healthier energy future.

The report shows that with appropriate planning, these outdated coal generators can be closed down while still maintaining a reliable electricity system. By ramping up underutilized natural gas plants, increasing renewable energy through existing state policies, and reducing demand through improved energy efficiency, every region in the country could more than replace the electricity currently produced by ripe-for-retirement generators.

UCS, November 2012, 98 pages

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A Bright Future for the Heartland: Powering the Midwest Economy with Clean Energy

This report outlines practical and affordable ways to help revitalize the Midwest economy and ensure a clean, safe, and reli¬able power supply. The report analysis is based on the renewable energy and energy efficiency goals of the Midwestern Governors Association (MGA)—a collaboration of 10 states working on key public policy issues—which call for producing 30 percent of the Midwest's electricity supply from renewable energy by 2030, and for investing in energy efficiency technologies to reduce growth in power consumption at least 2 percent annually by 2015.

Energy efficiency technologies and renewable electricity resources, such as wind, bioenergy, and solar energy, offer a cost-effective and responsible path away from polluting fossil fuels toward an innovation-based twenty-first-century economy. Investing in these solutions would deliver new jobs and other economic develop¬ment benefits, save consumers money, diversify the region’s energy mix, and cut heat-trapping emissions that cause global warming. Boosting invest¬ment in renewable energy and energy efficiency would also help keep the Midwest competitive in the growing global clean energy industry.

A Bright Future for the Heartland shows how we can get there.

UCS, July 2011, 76 pages

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Burning Coal, Burning Cash

Roughly half of the electricity in the US is produced by coal power, and nearly 80% of US states send money out-of-state to fuel this addiction. In our new report, Burning Coal, Burning Cash, we take a state-by-state look at those hardest hit by coal dependence, and propose solutions for keeping funds in-state through investments in clean energy.

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Coal Power in a Warming World

UCS's new report, Coal Power in a Warming World, examines the pros and cons of a proposed technology that would capture coal plant carbon dioxide emissions and store them underground.

UCS supports construction of five to 10 full-scale demonstration projects to test carbon-capture-and-storage technology's ability to cut emissions. The report also says no new coal plants should be built that do not capture and store carbon emissions.

Download the full report [PDF]

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Renewables Are Ready: A Guide to Teaching Renewable Energy in Junior and Senior High School Classrooms

This newly revised and updated teacher's guide provides an ideal background for teaching a unit on renewable energy. It can be used to illustrate basic scientific principles and includes hands-on activities, games, action projects, and a resource guide.

UCS, 2003. 89 pp.

Download the table of contents [PDF] or the full guide [PDF]

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Plugging in Renewable Energy: Grading the States

This report assigns grades to each of the 50 states based on their commitment to supporting wind, solar, and other renewable energy sources. We measure commitment by the projected results of renewable electricity standards for electric companies and dedicated renewable electricity funds.

UCS, 2003. 52 pp.

Viee the executive summary or download the full report [PDF]

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Energy Security: Solutions to Protect America's Power Supply and Reduce Oil Dependence

The events of September 11, 2001, point unmistakably toward a new national priority: building a secure energy future. Clean and efficient technologies can cut oil dependence and reduce infrastructure vulnerability while saving consumers money and protecting the environment. Strong government action today will ensure that these technologies fulfill their promise of a safer, cheaper, and cleaner energy future.

UCS, 2002. 19 pp.

Download the report

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Clean Energy Blueprint: A Smarter National Energy Policy for Today and the Future

How consumers could save more than $440 billion between 2002 amd 2020, if a series of energy-efficiency and renewable energy policies recommended in the report were to become law.

By Steven Clemmer, Deborah Donovan, Alan Nogee, and Jeff Deyette. UCS, 2001. 52 pp.

Download the report

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Clean Power Surge: Ranking the States

Many states have made recent commitments to renewable energy. This report identifies which states have taken the strongest measures.

By Steven Clemmer, Bentham Paulos, and Alan Nogee. UCS, 2000. 24 pp.

Download the report

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Powerful Solutions: Seven Ways to Switch America to Renewable Electricity

Seven practical measures to switch America to renewable electricity sources: renewable portfolio standards, public benefits funding, net metering, fair transmission and distribution rules, fair pollution rules, consumer information, and putting green customer demand to work.

By Alan Nogee, Steven Clemmer, Bentham Paulos, and Brent Haddad. UCS, 1999. 53 pp.

View the table of contents or download the full report [PDF]

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Recipe for an Effective Campus Energy-Conservation Program

Description of the author's energy-conservation experiences at SUNY Buffalo with practical guidelines for establishing similar programs at colleges and other large institutions.

By Walter Simpson. UCS, 1991. 17 pp.

Download the report

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