State Policy Program News

To Frack or Not to Frack

On the Duke Research Blog, Maya Iskandarani writes about alumnus Daniel Raimi's new book The Fracking Debate: The Risks, Benefits, and Uncertainties of the Shale Revolution. At a talk co-sponsored by the Duke Energy Initiative and the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions, Raimi shared some of the insights he gained in traveling the country to investigate the community-level impact of the shale revolution in the U.S. 

News Tip: Expert Available to Comment on Nuclear Plant Decision

The Georgia Public Service Commission will decide Dec. 21 whether to allow construction of two new nuclear reactors at the Plant Vogtle site to proceed or to call for the cancellation of the project. Plagued by delays and escalating costs, the Vogtle reactors represent the only large-scale nuclear construction underway in the United States.

Carbon Pricing Structure, Revenue Concerns Raised at Albany Meeting ($)

Key energy stakeholders explored the potential ramifications of an innovative proposal to place a price on carbon emissions in the electric sector, discussing ways to address imports into the state and how to divvy up potential revenues. New York's independent grid operator and utility regulator co-hosted the technical discussion at the Empire State Plaza December 11. Representatives from large energy consumers, environmental groups, state policymakers, public power authorities and in-state and out-of-state electric generators tried to establish principles for how revenue raised by a price on carbon could be used. This article in PoliticPro quotes Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions Climate and Energy Program director Kate Konschnik.

Eight Faculty Groups are Awarded 2018 Intellectual Community Planning Grants

Three Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions researchers are among the recipients of Duke University Intellectual Community Planning Grants. This funding will be used by these researchers—Kay Jowers, John Virdin and Steve Roady—to explore environmental and economic justice in rural America as well as governing the oceans for nutrition and food security.

Can Regional Competitive Wholesale Markets for Electricity Function alongside State Energy Policies?

As states have increasingly moved to implement state-specific energy policies, tensions have grown between these states and the regional wholesale electricity markets that serve them. Although regional transmission organizations (RTOs) oversee the markets and manage the electricity grid, states’ right to pursue certain energy policies—such as renewable portfolio standards and tax incentives for preferred generation resources—is raising fundamental questions.

Dialogue Series Sets Internet of Water in Motion

Duke University’s Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions and the Aspen Institute partnered with the Redstone Strategy Group to convene a dialogue series in 2016 and 2017. The goal: to formulate a national digital water data and information policy framework for sharing, integrating, and disseminating public data to characterize and forecast the quantity, quality, and uses of water across the United States, writes CleanTechnica.

North Carolina Leadership Forum Begins Second Year with Focus on Energy

The North Carolina Leadership Forum—launched last year—brings together civic, business and political leaders to discuss the problems facing North Carolina and develop possible solutions acceptable to both liberal and conservative leaders. Key partners in this year’s forum are the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions and the Duke University Energy Initiative, who are providing current research findings and critical expertise to inform forum participants about topics relating to fossil fuels and renewable energy, climate change, environmental impacts, regulations, economics and politics.

Researchers Propose an Open ‘Internet of Water’ Tracking Use, Quality and Costs

TechCrunch reports on work by researchers from Duke University's Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions and the Aspen Institute that looks to develop a shared, open internet of water. With natural disasters like droughts and flooding, and with man-made problems like overcrowded cities and factory runoff, the water system is frequently overtaxed and understudied. Local authorities and utilities produce reams of data on use, but there is little in the way of national databases, let alone standardized, open datasets. “Our water world is data rich, but information poor,” explains Martin Doyle, of Duke’s Nicholas Institute. “If water data were shared openly and then integrated in a common digital platform, there would be game-changing opportunities ranging from private citizens’ ability to gauge the quality of local water to public officials’ ability to warn populations of water-borne public health hazards.”

Kate Konschnik

Konschnik to Lead Climate and Energy Program

Kate Konschnik, a lecturer on law and executive director of Harvard's Environmental Law Program, has been named director of the Climate and Energy Program at Duke University's Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions. She begins her role Dec. 1.

Trump Moves to Cancel Landmark Obama Climate Change Rule

The Trump administration officially moved to kill the Obama-era climate change rule for power plants Tuesday, fulfilling a campaign pledge but setting off what is expected to be a bitter legal battle between the EPA and several states, health and environmental groups. EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt signed an agency proposal to repeal the Clean Power Plan, which would have sped the nation's shift away from coal-burning power plants and toward renewable power and natural gas, which emits less planet-warming carbon dioxide. Tim Profeta, director of Duke University’s Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions, told Politico that the EPA is nixing the rule now to keep the court from issuing a decision. “The court should decide the case that it has before it in order to clear up any dispute over the extent of EPA’s authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from power plants."

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